The Best Version

I just received in the mail the book The Dream Manager (Matthew Kelly). It was recommended to me by a new friend about a week ago.  Here’s an excerpt from the very beginning of the book:

“A company’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-itself.  The next question is:  What is an employee’s purpose?  Most would say, ‘to help the company achieve its purpose,’ but they would be wrong.  That is certainly part of an employee’s role, but an employee’s primary purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself…

The company exists for people.  When a company forgets that it exists to serve its customers, it quickly goes out of business.  Our employees are our first customers, and our most influential customers.  

A person’s purpose is to become the-best-version-of-himself or herself.”

I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this book.  Thank you, Scott Druhot, for the recommendation!

Update:  I just finished this book during my lunch!  Wow!  I will be implementing these ideas with my leadership team soon!  You need to read this book!

 

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Does Your Team Know What Your Team Does? by Jim Johnson

I’ve been working on a little project here at work.  I lead 4 different, unique divisions.  We are all on the same floor.  There is a lot of collaboration between the teams.  But I discovered something.  The team still doesn’t always know what the team (overall) does.

So I addressed it.

With the help of my leadership team, I created a document (12 pages long) that highlights each of my divisions, the work they do, and the up-to-date results they are getting.  In each of their sections, I also shared the company awards they’ve received over the past couple of years (it’s always good to be reminded of this!).  Each team member was listed and all of their photos were included.

Teams can do the work day in and day out.  We all are busy.  My team is full of flawed, human beings – myself included!  We are not perfect.  But we do a lot to move our company forward.  We work hard to serve our customers (members) to our best ability.  We care about each other inside and outside of work.

I created this document to be sure my team understands all that goes on.  I want them to appreciate their own efforts and results.  I want them to appreciate the efforts of those working on the other side of the room.  Together, we are making a positive impact.

I challenge you to do something similar with your team.  This exercise helped me focus on the positive strengths this team has.  I think it will help my team focus on that, too.

winning teams

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.

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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Coaching to Become Better by Jim Johnson

coaching

Will your team get better just because they show up for work?  Doubtful.

Coaching is the only, sustainable way to improve your team.  Of course, your team needs training and communication, but coaching is the only way YOU, the coach/manager/leader, will be able to enable them to become better.

As a leader, you cannot rely on other leaders to improve their teams to compensate for weaknesses on your team.  Each team leader must dedicate themselves to team improvement.  Then, as a whole, your company becomes better.

Improve your coaching and you help your team members become better.  Then your team becomes better.  Your company (and your customers and communities) become better.

That’s a winning combination.

 

On the Road Again

Tomorrow morning, I fly to Denver where I’ll be giving two presentations at the annual NACCAP (www.naccap.org) conference.  I will be speaking on:

  1. “Right On” – working towards your “next level” opportunity while broadening your influence.
  2. Adding Value – discovering why this is so important and finding practical ways to do it.

I look forward to sharing, learning, and meeting the professionals at NACCAP in Denver!

NACCAP annual conference