UpliftAnother1

Building Community Through Better Relationships

Who’s Driving This Car?

Concept 26

Organizations without real leaders are like a car with no one driving. Ordinary cars perform every function that they were built to do; yet they lack the ability to navigate challenges directly in front of them. Newer models are beginning to acquire that functionality. Likewise, successful leaders are developing the functionality to perform in more dynamic environments. And, with each success they develop people to accomplish more. These leaders intentionally develop others to help accomplish what is in everyone’s best interest. Better people contributing more effectively create more productive and satisfying environments. These leaders are who need to drive the car.

Lead As You Learn
Individuals who lead the same they were taught typically create more problems than they solve. Old paradigms helped organizations, but marginalized people. Eventually, that approach resulted in marginalized organizations. Realize that an organization is a group working toward a specific goal. Groups can be missionaries, sports teams, or corporate executives. To facilitate progress, leaders must get teams to move forward their joint interests. As team members grow and evolve, the leaders must meet their changing needs and priorities. Promising a gold watch after 40 years is no longer enough.

Leadership is dynamic. Old teachings no longer apply to modern workplaces. The solution is to lead as you learn. Conversely, success is realized when you learn as you lead. So, when the question arises whether learning or leading comes first, the answer is yes! By actively serving people under their watch, leaders can keep their needs as the focal point. Because everyone’s needs evolve quicker than ever before, effective leadership demands hitting multiple moving targets. Simultaneously, leading and learning offers the only fighting chance to compete and win.

Lead For Results
Because organizations’ objectives include winning, scoring systems must be established. Scoreboards make it easy for a sports team to identify winning. Publicly held corporations have stock markets as intrinsic metrics to identify winners. But what about individuals in the bowels of these organization? Or, what about professionals like educators or research teams? Scorecards are effective management tools to facilitate measurement over specific time horizons. SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Relevant Time-based) goals work well where quantifying outcomes gets tricky. Nevertheless, always measure results.

Leaders must tell their teams explicitly how they perform. These performance targets pave the road in front of the organization. They reveal where the organization is heading. Consequently, direction provides what followers require to determine their individual objectives. Then, the leader can channel their desire to deliver the team’s needs for mutual success. The team can now identify their desired results.

All of this sounds great, but it only works when the group knows who is driving. Where is the authority? That knowledge is necessary for the team to position itself to respond to ongoing directions. As teams gain alignment, productivity improves. Next, results improve. Then, all contributors benefit. Such awareness only occurs with clear direction and progressive leadership. “Because I said so”, may meet the quarterly numbers. But, it ultimately leads to short tenures for leaders. The leader who drives the car such that others understand how and why has a significant advantage. That leader and the team now both enjoy power. That power promotes encouragement, motivation, preparation and results which then leads teams to their rewards.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better World | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Permission to Fail

Enfante Terrible

Legendary college football coach, Bear Bryant, quipped, “The first time you quit, it’s hard. The second time, it gets easier. The third time, you don’t even have to think about it.” Why would a competitor give up when the thrill of victory is possible? Most likely, he did not quit because the desire to win was missing. That quitter accepted permission to fail! The offer may or may not have been extended. Regardless, quitting is the final step toward accepting responsibility for not contributing. But, why would anyone withhold their talents and gifts from a noble cause? Why give up on the team?

Authority
Typically, an authority figure is in position to grant permission. A parent permits a teenager to take the family car. However, a contributor, like the previously mentioned athlete who chooses to quit, has abandoned protocol. Their needs supersede the needs of the group. Essentially, a pompous act of selfishness leads to quitting. The act represents a total disregard for authority.

More importantly, the quitter is being selfish with their gifts. All teammates and participants have skills and talents to contribute. The individual that hijacks authority by withholding their gifts essentially limits the entire group. Authority weakens and all members are penalized. The selfish contributor has passively extended permission to fail for the rest of the team. Quitting becomes an option. The weakest element has now assumed authority. The group suffers because of one member’s selfishness.

Victory
Nevertheless, permission to fail is not a decision to fail! Strength in numbers still holds possibilities. Furthermore, superior leadership can reverse the trend toward defeat. Most importantly, cooperation by the group has the ability to rally success. Permission is not a proclamation. Failure is not final. No one needs to replace the quitter. Everyone else jointly contributing more to the cause will more than compensate. Simply rally the troops.

Besides, victory results from a process, not just an event. Because a selfish individual usurps authority to the detriment of the team, that does not guarantee sustained poor performance. Teamwork genuinely uplifts the group’s capability. Subtracting the selfish individual who undermined morale opens the opportunity for superior performance for the survivors. Better performance results from the group seizing the opportunity for excellence. The projected permission to fail has become stripped of its power.

Permission to fail is a singular decision in a long-suffering process. Successfully pursuing victory requires endurance. In fact, failure is part of the longer process. According to Winston Churchill, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” So, iterate and improve. Jettisoning dead weight is actually part of the bigger process. Persevering together is too. Let the loser claim permission to fail. His self-centeredness will comfort him in his loneliness. Conversely, champions are built on comrades uplifting each other toward a common goal. Dismiss the losers’ authority over very little. Kick him out quickly. Then, together accept authority over very much, resulting in permission for success.

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

 

August 9, 2017 Posted by | Better Community | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Naughty Manager

Old School Manager

Bad managers aren’t born. They are made. Unfortunately, they are often made very early in life. Unlike genuine leaders who continuously evolve and grow, immature managers get some authority and park. It is not really the managers’ fault that they were made that way. It is totally their fault that they refused to acquire skills and evolve to the point they develop team members. Consequently, they fail to deliver sustainable results. Their small mindedness is evident in their behavior, motivation and lackluster productivity. Leaders take responsibility for their teams’ results. Mangers should aspire to assume responsibility for others, as opposed to barking about their authority and whining about their lack of respect.

Old School Guy
“I’m just an old school guy. That is how I came up in the business.” is a common statement by stagnant managers. What that really means is that they are old and lazy. You don’t want to work to improve. You don’t want to be held accountable for progress. Progress requires learning skills. It also requires accepting responsibility for better communications. Old School Guy complains that no one listens. He is oblivious to demonstrating respect or earning it with people skills.

When results become a problem, discipline is the default. Teams do not produce for Old School Guy because they do not like him! While this manager quickly points to his 20 years experience in the business, his more mature superiors regretfully recognize that he really had one year’s experience 20 times! But like any naughty child, opportunities to learn to improve happen. If only he grasped the opportunities to learn. If only….

New School Results
Communication, inclusion, dialogue are not fads. Results emerge by getting colleagues to buy into both vision and goals, then working hard toward metrics. Being the boss is not most important. Delivering results is. Communication requires listening first. As a leader, authority means having the last word. Is the first one necessary, too? For leaders who listen poorly, practice using phrases like: why do you think that?; what have you seen work in this situation?; how would your idea impact your direct reports? The magic happens when the leader embraces the silence after the question and listens!

Better questions yield better answers. Honest dialogue cultivates better solutions. Ask any child, the threat of pain promotes additional lying. Remove the pain through open, pre-emptive dialogue and more honesty results. Subordinates tend to respond better when they are genuinely heard. As a leader, make the decision. Also, consider other perspectives. Disregard the team’s input long enough and leaders will have no followers. And, a parade leader without a marching band is just someone with a stick taking a walk.

Ironically, the beauty of team success is that when it happens, enough credit is available to share. This by no means suggests rewards are distributed equally. It means the team wins. Nevertheless, mistakes happen. All knowledge does not reside in the masses. Bad decisions occur. Naughty managers start blaming everyone else in those times. However, according to leadership expert, John Maxwell, “Leadership is taking responsibility while others are making excuses.” Leaders stand tall with integrity in tough times when that attribute is most valuable. No excuses. No threats. Just clear direction and accountability. Seize opportunity to lead. Or, just pout alone with no other toys to abuse!

By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter And Beyond

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Better Business, Better Communication, Better Person | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment