Posts Tagged ‘Team Building’

4 Disciplines Create “The Advantage” for Growth

Article submitted by guest author Pam Watson Korbel

In my years of consulting, a few common issues arise for small and medium-sized businesses that always inhibit their growth:

  • Infighting among the executive team;
  • Failure to get out of the weeds and take the time to plan for growth;
  • Poor communication cadences leading to problems with culture and productivity;
  • Lack of appreciation for the need for a strong employee base.

One book tightly delves into all these topics – The Advantage (Jossey Bass, 2012) by Patrick Lencioni.   Known as a fable writer, in this book Lencioni focuses instead on the “how to’s” of organizational health.  I recommend it for executive teams in any industry.

Building upon the same premises that Jim Collins (Built to Last and Good to Great) and Verne Harnish (Scaling Up and Mastering the Rockefeller Habits), The Advantage starts out by laying a foundation of four disciplines necessary for strong organizational health:

1.  Build a cohesive leadership team – Anecdotally, I have found that when members of a leadership team spend a lot of time together, professionally and socially, their growth rate is faster than those who do not.  Interestingly, the personal bonds often spur the commitment to the business more than the professional bonds.  Lencioni espouses team building and makes a strong point that it is a process not an event.

2.  Create clarity – Lencioni lays out six strategic questions that every leadership team needs to answer on behalf of the company.  Beyond answering “why” the firm exists and what the culture is, the Lencioni system provides a framework for setting priorities.

Most importantly, it helps a leadership team to focus on less than a handful of matters at a time; completing them before it progresses to a new set of priorities.  In my experience, mid-market companies fail to advance when everything needs to be done today.  I have seen many companies improve revenue and profit just by reducing the number of initiatives for the company and for individuals.

3.  Overcommunicate clarity – Smart people who lead entrepreneurial growth companies often assume that their employees are as smart and agile as they are.  Generally, the employees who fit this description leave your company and start their own.  Which leaves you with people who want stability and consistency along with understanding of priorities.  And that requires that you develop a strong communication system within your company so that employees always know what is important and then they can execute.

4.  Reinforce clarity – The Advantage concludes by laying out a foundation of hiring the right employees who fit your culture and then providing high-quality feedback to each so that they are motivated to excel.  Especially in today’s knowledge-based industries, involving staff in decisions and direction keeps them motivated.  And as Ken Blanchard (The One-Minute Manager) says, “None of us is as smart as all of us.”

The bottom-line is that reading and implementing The Advantage in your company is a simple, direct way to encourage financial growth while engendering a strong team of supporters.  Lencioni lays out a process to address the four disciplines and implement them that leadership teams can manage effectively with coaching.

You can study this system by reading the book and you should also check out The Advantage app, which includes an overview of the content plus an organizational health assessment. For help with the four disciplines and implementing The Advantage, contact Pam Watson Korbel.

The 4 reasons your employees are looking for a new job

They tell you it’s because they were offered higher compensation or found something closer to their career goals, but is that really why they looked elsewhere? Studies show that the four primary reasons for people quitting their jobs are:

  • I don’t like my boss
  • I feel no empowerment
  • I don’t like the internal politics going on
  • My manager/boss doesn’t recognize my accomplishments

 

“What do these four things have in common? They can all be tied back to poor leadership, specifically the leader’s emotional intelligence — how in touch a leader is with their professional emotions and those of the people they lead.”      — David Hults

 

That’s a strong statement.

When an employee quits, you have choices. As a leader, you can do the easiest thing and dismiss the employee as ‘not a good fit’, fill their spot with a new warm body, and move on. Or (and this is the more challenging route to take), you can stop and reflect upon your leadership style to see if it is having a negative effect on your team members. Are you an inspirational leader, one who motivates others to reach their fullest potential? Does your leadership style guide and mobilize individuals to feel a sense of belonging within your company, inspiring them to jump on board with the vision and pursue their roles with excitement and passion? Or is the way you are leading others causing them to feel disengaged, undervalued, and dismissed?

Inspirational leadership is a quality that can be developed, with the help of self-assessment, a coach, and a willingness to modify the way you’re currently doing things. If you sense your leadership could be one of the reasons your team members are “moving on”, here are some solid goals to begin working toward:

  • Articulate your company’s vision in a way that compels your team members to want to be a part of it.  Share with them your passions about the ‘why’ of company direction.
  • Be open to creative ideas and fresh perspectives. Maybe it doesn’t actually have to be your way or the highway.
  • Be authentic.  Your employees can see right through any attempts of putting on a facade or being someone you are not.
  • Openly discuss high-level issues with your team members and seek their input.
  • Attempt to match each individual’s talents, skills, and aspirations with the tasks/opportunities at hand to avoid micro managing. To do this, you will have to get to know your team members, and learn what really motivates them. You may be surprised that what motivates you may not motivate them!
  • Don’t forget to share the credit for successes with ALL of your team members — not just those you feel are most important. Remember everyone on your team plays a role in your team’s accomplishments.
  • Act with integrity at all times or your employees will not respect your leadership.

Want to dive more deeply into this one? Read David Hults’ interesting article here:  Your leadership style reveals your emotional intelligence

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