Brainstorming & a Shock Test

In a little over an hour, my leadership team and I will gather in a room to start a brainstorming session.  We’re going to talk about how we can become better/do better.  But instead of talking about ethereal topics, we’re going to put a timeline on our path to improvement.  We’re going to get specific on how we plan to improve.  We’re going to own our journey and our results.

MS Leadership TeamLast week, we all attended the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17, #fwgls) here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We were exposed to a lot of great content.  It’s time to put that content to work for us.  Today’s brainstorming session will kick-off this process.

Shock Test?  Yes.  We’re going to discuss what we would do/be differently when a deadline is applied to something we are expected to provide every day.  More on this later…

Today is about being intentional, creative, and influential.

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It’s about leadership.

Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.

LISTEN

When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.

ASK

Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.

FEEL

If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.

THINK

Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.

ACT

Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.

FOLLOW-UP

Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.

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What Great Mentors Do

I attended a meeting a week or so ago on mentoring.  At this meeting, several people shared about mentoring from different points of view.  One of the speakers was a young man, Brad Thomas.  He shared how being mentoring has changed his perspective and life.  His presentation was outstanding.

He shared that he believed a great mentor does 4 things for their “mentee”.  Here is it:

Great Mentors

So, leaders, are you a mentor?  If not, find someone today!  Our company promotes this and many of us are actively mentoring.  When you get this privilege, don’t forget Brad’s words:

  • Expand – a great mentor will expand someone’s world-view.  They will expand knowledge and help point to resources.
  • Engage – a great mentor will cause the “mentee” to think and act.
  • Encourage – a great mentor will build up the “mentee” and help them build on their strengths.
  • Empower – a great mentor will reveal to the “mentee” that they have power to act and make an impact.

Make the investment to pour yourself into the life of another.  It is so worth it!

A Great Customer Experience by Jim Johnson

If you are in business, you deal with customers all the time.  You want to provide a great customer experience, I know it!  And your customers want a great experience as well.

But it doesn’t happen automatically.

Providing a great experience for our customers must be done intentionally.  I created the following to help my team understand how they can deliver a great experience with our customers (we call them members at credit unions).  Does this make sense in your business environment?  Comment below.  We all would love to read your insights.

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Ask for the Commitment by Jim Johnson

I do a lot of coaching and work with coaches on their coaching.  Over the years, I’ve heard from coaches where they have team players that “do get it”.  Through many coaching sessions, the team player continues to remain where they are, not improving.  At times, this static-ness becomes a detriment to the team.

In a conversation with one of these coaches who had one of these team players, I asked, “Who does most of the talking during your coaching sessions?”

“I do,” the coach quickly responded.

“And you continue to see the same results from this team member?”  I ask.

“Yes, and I’m frustrated!”

“Then talk less,” I say, “it’s time you ask them for a commitment to change.”

This launched us into a good conversation about the coach’s focus – it had been all about what the coach wanted to happen.  The team member only had to sit and listen.  The team member “had to have skin in the game.”  They just had to endure a coaching session, and then it was back to the same behaviors.

There was no commitment coming from the team member.  None.

So the coach and agreed upon these next steps:

  • At the next coaching session, the coach would approach the same topic but this time ask the team member for their commitment to the process.
  • The coach would ask something such as:  “What things do you need to do more of or less of to bring about the change needed in your performance and to improve your relationships with your coworkers?”
  • The coach then needed to be quiet and expect answers from the team member. Ask more follow up questions and listen.
  • The coaching session would be documented and followed-up on.
  • The coach would take time in between coaching sessions to be around the team even more to observe and listen.
  • Feedback would be provided at future coaching sessions.
  • The team member’s commitment would be reviewed and evaluated in future sessions.

This plan was implemented.  It worked.  The coach remained consistent.  The team member complied and improved.  But she eventually left the company.  Why?

Expectations were backed up with accountability – the team member didn’t want this kind of accountability over the long-haul.  She knew (in my opinion) that she would not keep up her end of the commitment.  So she left.  And that was ok.

The coach’s team is now performing well together.  Their results have improved.  Their reputation has improved among their peers.

Leader, do not be afraid to ask for a commitment from your team.  Back up your expectations with accountability.  Be consistent in your coaching, documentation, and follow-up.  Your team can and will improve!

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