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Perspectives on the World We Work In

8 Leadership Books to Add to Your Summer Tote

Looking for some titles to add to your reading list this summer? Pull out your tote and pick up some of our top picks.

From recent bestsellers to old-school business parables, here’s a list of books that we think are well worth the read:

1. Dare to Serve: How to Drive Superior Results by Serving Others by Cheryl Bachelder

What it’s about: An engaging case study of the turnaround of Popeyes, proving that servant leadership is challenging, tough minded, and gets results.

Why pick it up: Bachelder takes you first-hand through the transformation of Popeyes to show that leaders at any level can become a dare to serve leader.

 

 

 

 

2. The Employee Experience Advantage: How to Win the War for Talent by Giving Employees the Workspaces they Want, the Tools they Need, and a Culture They Can Celebrate by Jacob Morgan

What it’s about: A new type of organization is emerging, one that focuses on employee experiences as a way to drive innovation, increase customer satisfaction, find and hire the best people, make work more engaging, and improve overall performance.

Why pick it up: Backed by extensive research, futurist Jacob Morgan breaks down the three environments that make up employee experience at every organization around the world.

 

 

3. Option B: How To Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

What it’s about: Following the sudden death of her husband, Silicon Valley executive Dave Goldberg, Sandberg described widowhood at a young age as “a club that no one wants to belong to.” Co-authored with Wharton professor Adam Grant, the book is focused on recovering from adversity.

Why pick it up: Though not strictly a business book, it includes stories of people who recovered from a variety of hardships. It contains lessons for leaders who want to build their own resilience, too.

 

 

 

4. Leaders Made Here: Building a Leadership Culture by Mark Miller

What it’s about: A scarcity of leaders today means a shortfall in performance tomorrow. Bestselling author and Chick-fil-A executive Mark Miller describes how to nurture leaders throughout the organization — from the front lines to the executive ranks.

Why pick it up:  Learn to build an organizational culture that will ensure your leadership pipeline is full and flowing.

 

 

 

 

5. Animal Farm by George Orwell

What it’s about: A dramatic takeover; disengaged, top-down management; besieged, under-appreciated workers — this Orwell parable on totalitarianism serves as a reverberating lesson in organizational behavior.

Why pick it up: If you haven’t picked this one up since ninth grade, it’s truly worth another read.

 

 

 


6.
Sprint: Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky, and Braden Kowitz

What it’s about: These Google Ventures partners give us a practical guide to answering critical business questions, whether you’re a small startup, part of the Fortune 100, a solopreneur, or a nonprofit.

Why pick it up: This book is for anyone with a big opportunity, problem, or idea who needs to get answers today.

 

 

 

 

7. Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sally Krawcheck

What it’s about: Success for professional women is no longer about trying to compete at the men’s version of the game. And it will no longer be about contorting themselves to men’s expectations of how powerful people behave.

Why pick it up: Learn how women can embrace and invest in their innate strengths — and bring them proudly and unapologetically, to work.

 

 

 

8. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

What it’s about: A manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation — into the meetings, postmortems, and “Braintrust” sessions where some of the most successful films in history are made.

Why pick it up: To learn leadership and management philosophies that protect the creative process and defy convention.

Some of the principles shared in these books you may already know but need reminding of. Others can give you the insight you need to tackle your greatest challenges of 2017.

Question: What books have helped you along your leadership journey?

Do You Use this 4-Letter Word in Your Organization?

Someone used a 4-letter word at our April 27th Re:Imagine Leadership Summit that made a few audience members squirm in their seats. The word slipped out during the panel discussion when Joe Lara, a former Naval Special Warfare Command Officer, was asked, “What is the ingredient that holds service members together during the chaos of battle?”

“Love,” was his answer. “When someone cares enough for you to give their life to protect yours, that’s love in action,” Lara said.

Our panel moderator, Dr. Tony Baron, noted that love is not a word that’s often brought up at leadership conferences. But, when he asked other members of the panel about love in action at their organizations, they quickly agreed.

Rachelle Snook, Global Talent Manager of WD-40, said that the employees at WD-40 think of themselves as members of a tribe. “Tribal love,” said Snook, “is what keeps our culture strong. One of our mantras is ‘we’ve got your back.’” Damian McKinney, Founder of McKinney Advisory Group agreed. “When you think about the commercial real estate industry,” McKinney said, “love isn’t the first word that comes to mind, but it’s what we practice to ensure that we are truly serving our clients and that we have faith that we’re in this together.”

Dean Carter, VP of Shared Services at Patagonia, told the audience that employees at Patagonia think of one another as family. With a child care center located on Patagonia’s Ventura, CA, campus, the lines between employee and family are blurred. “Some of the children whose parents worked at Patagonia 30 years ago are now employees,” Carter said. “We are much more than co-workers. We are family members who look after one another. We know each other’s children by name and we’re there for each other through all stages of each other’s lives.”

In her 2015 leadership book, Dare To Serve, former Popeye’s CEO, Cheryl Bachelder, writes that turning around the flagging company in 2007 required a decision to serve its franchise owners. The problem was, Bachelder writes, “This decision [to serve] is not typical in our industry. Franchisors and franchisees are constantly in conflict – arguing about the contract, the business strategy, the restaurant design, the promotion pricing, or the cost of food.”

Bachelder continues, “Here’s a tough question. Do you love the people you’ve decided to serve? It helps. One Popeye’s leader says it this way: ‘If you’re in the franchising business, you should love the franchisees.’ To love franchisees, you have to love entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are passionate. They take risks. They invest for the future. They are ambitious. They are definitely not corporate bureaucrats. They do not have much patience with people holding MBA degrees or offering up expensive harebrained ideas. What if the most important people in your business are entrepreneurs? You must decide to love them.”

What Joe Lara, Rachelle Snook, Damian McKinney, Dean Carter, and Cheryl Bachelder have in common is that in order to truly serve the people you work with and are in the business to serve, you must set aside your differences, and look for ways to develop a love for who they are. Doing so requires you to set aside your ego, be aware of your biases, and have the courage to make love part of your organizational culture.

Question: Is there someone that you are in conflict with at work now? What would happen if you dared to love them?

Strengths: Connecting all 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

What does it mean to operate from a place of your strengths? I’m not talking about how strong you are or if you are able to leap tall buildings in a single bound… I am talking about helping your employees recognize the talents that naturally exist within them. Each of your employees serves a special purpose within your organization based on their strengths. When we tap into them as a strengths-based team, we can build a vibrant, healthy work environment.

I recently heard a fascinating radio program about Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist. In a study on collaboration among trees, Simard discovered that trees work together through a network of forest floor communication. Simard states that trees need a complex and diverse community to thrive in.

In her June 2016 TED Talk, Simard explained the symbiotic needs of trees in a forest. Trees are connected to their forest community in a kind of “underground super-highway”, Simard explains. They need other plants that can cycle nutrients more quickly or that can access nutrients in different niches. They need neighbors that are resistant to insects and diseases. So, instead of competition for resources, trees are actually communicating and cooperating with their neighbors. They make sure their neighbors — their diverse community — is vibrant because that feeds back to them and impacts their health.

Simard equates the forest community to the way our communities work. We live in communities of doctors and teachers and people who run coffee shops and bakeries. A thriving community requires a whole range of skills and resources. We need each other. If you take away the baker, we’ve got no bread. If you remove the banker, financial stability is shaken.

Just as the trees in the forest share resources to remain vibrant and healthy, so must managers identify individual strengths of team members for maximum collaboration and engagement. Don’t hire people for their strengths then ask them to work on their weaknesses. Instead, unlock their natural talents, give them the tools and support that best suits their individual style and you’ll build a team that thrives!

 

Click here to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and reserve your seat for our June 6 workshop!

Interested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Are You Ready to Hand Over Your Leadership Keys?

Picture this. A father had three children. When his oldest child, a daughter, turned 12, he took her with him to the auto dealership. He told her, “I want you to pick out the car that you think I should buy.” Puzzled, his daughter looked at her father and asked, “Why me, Dad?” “Because, this is the car that I’ll be driving for the next four years. When you turn 16 and get your driver’s license, I’m going to hand the keys over to you.”

He repeated this offer with his other two children, and over the next 16 years drove a bright red Volkswagen Beetle, a yellow Honda Civic (for his second daughter), and a red Jeep Wrangler (for his son.)

“I have to admit,” the father said, “when my son asked for a Wrangler, I hesitated.” It was outside of my comfort zone. I had always driven cars, we’d always lived in the city, and I couldn’t see myself driving a Wrangler for the next four years. But, I had made a commitment, and couldn’t break it now.”

“What’s funny,” the father said, “is that I actually started enjoying the Wrangler. By the time my son got old enough to drive it, I found myself thinking about buying another one for myself. If my son hadn’t convinced me to change what I’d gotten used to driving all of my life, I never would have gotten out of my comfort zone.”

What this father knew intuitively serves as a model for passing on the leadership keys in the 21st century. Three themes emerge.

1. Trust. Any worthwhile transition is based on mutual trust. Future leaders need to trust the wisdom and experience of current leaders. Current leaders need to trust the potential of the next generation, their innovative approach, and the ability to handle the responsibility for the future. When there is an absence of trust, the process of a healthy and fruitful transition breaks down, and the passing on of the leadership keys stalls. Breaking down the trust barriers starts with building mutual respect and appreciation for what we each bring to the table. Here’s a short, compelling video that shows how quickly we can start to break down the barriers and build trust.

2. Teamwork. Once we establish trust for one another, we can begin to work together as a team toward the future success of our organization. The father in the example above didn’t arbitrarily decide what cars would be best for each of his children. He included them in the process and let them voice their opinions. When we include future leaders in the decision-making process, they move from obliged to empowered. That empowerment – knowing that the keys to the future are in their hands – gives them a greater sense of responsibility for making good choices to show that your trust was well placed.

3. Transition. One of the most significant lessons from car-buying father is how he adapted to the Wrangler chosen by his youngest child. Most of today’s leaders grew up in a time when decisions and influence came from the top and rippled down. But, the rapid pace of technological change is having an impact on generational influence. Research by the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) finds that influence is rippling up, rather than down. “The greatest predictor of older generations,” says James Dorsey, CGK’s Chief Strategy Officer in this TEDx talk, “is what the younger generations are doing today.” They influence how every other generation uses technology. Need more convincing? Think Facebook.

Are you holding onto the leadership keys with a white-knuckled grip? It may be time to shift your view about future generations. When you can break down the trust barriers, give them true ownership and responsibility, and be open to their influence, you’ll be inspired by some of the most hard-working, eager-to-learn, and motivated people in the world today.

Question: What is your view about handing over the leadership keys? 

What’s Your ROP (Return On Purpose)?

Organizational success doesn’t happen by luck. It’s intentional. As author and noted TED Speaker Simon Sinek tells us, those that succeed in the long-term are clear not only about what they do, and how they do it — they’re also crystal clear about their why.

Next week, I will be co-facilitating The Re:Imagine Leadership Summit with Dr. Tony Baron. It’s a day that will include candid conversations with executives from a variety of purpose-driven organizations. They’ll share their why, along with stories about how they lead high-performance organizations grounded in purpose.

It is my honor to introduce you to our Purpose Panel executives, and to invite you to join us to hear them in person at the Summit.

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JOE MUSSELMAN

In 2012, just 13% of Navy SEALs had job offers when they got out of the service. By comparison, 98% of Wharton MBA graduates received 2-3 job offers at graduation. That was an injustice that Joe Musselman set out to correct in 2013 that led to the launch of The Honor Foundation. THF is a world-class, 120-hour, MBA-style nonprofit program that helps Navy SEALs and other Special Operations forces successfully transition from military service and back into the corporate world. To date, THF has graduated 200 Fellows, including 1 of only 5 women SEALs in the world. Their goal is to impact 65,000 members of the Special Ops community by 2020. The program begins with 4 weeks of purpose training to help the students get grounded in their why before they move on to what’s next.

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RACHELLE SNOOK

You may know WD-40 as the blue and yellow can that sits under the sink, in the garage, and in the toolboxes of every household in the America. What you may not know, is that the WD-40 “tribe” is a purpose-driven, high-performing culture. Rachelle Snook, WD-40’s Global Talent Acquisition Manager has played an integral role in that dedication to culture. She carefully recruits candidates for culture fit, and she helps new members transition into the tribe. From Day One, she makes sure every tribe members knows their potential career path, including salary ranges, for any position they are interested in applying for. With an annual employee engagement index of over 90%, Rachelle knows first-hand how purpose maximization is connected to profit maximization.

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DAMIAN MCKINNEY

When Damian McKinney began his career in commercial real estate over 35 years ago, he noticed two framed posters in a senior executive’s office: one said “Poverty Sucks” and the other said “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Against that backdrop, Damian has insisted on reclaiming leadership and redefining success. He used his parents for inspiration and worked to model what they had instilled in him – that leaders have a responsibility to use their power to benefit others. To use their position to be of service to their team, to their organizations, and to the community at large. As Founder and CEO of McKinney Advisory Group, Damian uses his global platform to teach others about his purpose driven approach to leadership.

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DEAN CARTER

Although he looks like he walked off the pages of a Patagonia catalogue, Dean Carter took an unlikely path to end up there two years ago. He started his career at well-known retail brands like Pearle Vision, Pier 1 Imports, and Fossil. Just before joining Patagonia, he was the Chief HR Officer for Sears Holdings Corporation. Suffice it to say, Dean has worked for organizations where operating efficiency and return on shareholder value far outweighed social and environmental responsibility. His background gives him a unique, behind-the-scenes perspective on the impact of culture on performance. Today, he uses his insight to help Patagonia live out its mission statement: to build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire, and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.

 

Question: How would you calculate the ROP (return on purpose) at your organization?

The Power Puzzle: Unlocking the Code to True Engagement

A few years ago, my family and I went to Cancun to celebrate my husband’s birthday. While we were there, we took a trip to Chichen Itza, one of the greatest Mayan centers of the Yucatán peninsula.

Today, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes a stepped pyramid dedicated to Kukulcan, the feathered serpent god. The pyramid is a feat of Mayan engineering and an astronomical marvel.

Each of the four sides has stairs with 91 steps. The platform at the top serves as the last step, for a total of 365 steps in all.

During the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun’s shadow forms an enormous snake’s body, which lines up with the carved stone snake head at the bottom of the pyramid. You can stand about 30 meters in front of the main face of the pyramid, clap your hands, and the sound travels up the face and bounces back out like the sound of a sacred bird worshipped by the Mayans.

When you visit Chichen Itza, you can’t help thinking about the pyramids left by other ancient civilizations around the world. The Mayan and Egyptian pyramids are best known, but pyramids can also be found in places like China, Iraq, France, and the Canary Islands.

We know that Chichen Itza’s stepped pyramid served as a temple to Kukulcan. He was the god of laws, fishing, healing, the calendar, and agriculture. We know that the Egyptian pyramids served as tombs to preserve the bodies of pharaohs and help their souls cross over to the afterworld. We also know that the pyramid archetype has been passed down for thousands of years, and is still embedded in our organizations.

Where does the power flow in your organizational pyramid? Does it flow up to the person at the top to preserve his or her legacy in perpetuity? Or, does it flow down to benefit the larger community?

In his book, On Moral Business, Max L. Stackhouse wrote that “Business leaders are increasingly the stewards of civilization.” Stackhouse argued that many of our institutions – government, families, universities and churches – are failing. What if the responsibility for future civilization depends on business leaders?

When you work as though society depends on the decisions you make as a business leader, it makes you think about which way the power is flowing in your organization. Is society better off because your organizational pyramid exists?

Question: What are you doing to test the flow of power in your organization? Do you track employee and customer satisfaction? Does your organization give time, talent or treasure to the community?

Aligned Goals: Connecting all 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

Years ago I was on an archery league. One of the first things I learned was the importance of proper body alignment. Although it was important to have a proper bow, arrows, and sight/scope the most important aspect of hitting the target was proper alignment: the foot facing forward must be parallel to the shooting line, as well as the arms and hips. A person could have all of the best and most expensive equipment but if the alignment is off the bullseye will never be hit. An interesting aspect of this was that many times I felt that my stance was perfect but then someone would come along and point out what I could be doing differently. As soon as I made the tiniest adjustment my shooting would improve exponentially.

So it goes in the business world. Organizations can have all the bells and whistles for their employees (great benefits, employee activities, snack, bring your pet to work, etc.) but if they never teach their employees the proper technique for alignment with goals and growth the rest of that “stuff” is pointless.

Employees want to do well in their jobs. They want to feel a sense of purpose and engagement in the workplace. No one wants to come to work each day and be oblivious to how what they do accomplishes a larger task.

You must empower your team members to fully understand how what they do each day is connected to the goals of the company and how they are an integral part of those goals.

Helping your employees tweak their “stance” is the surest way to adjust alignment to hit the bullseye every time!

Click here to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and reserve your seat for our June 6 workshop!

 


Interested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Purpose: Connecting All 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

In my last blog, I discussed how for the first time in history we have five generations working side by side. This can lead to challenges and divisions, even for the best of leaders. To engage and ignite all five generations, we recommend deploying the Transformative Leadership Model. It’s a model with four distinct quadrants: Purpose, Alignment, Strengths, and Learning & Growth.

Today, I will dive deeper into Quadrant 1: Purpose. I’d like to start by observing some fascinating facts about butterflies and their purpose as published in the Journal of Entomology and Zoology Studies.

  • Butterflies lay their eggs only on milkweed because milkweed is poisonous to some animals therefore their eggs remain safe.
  • There are over 28,000 species of butterflies and they all serve a specific purpose that accomplishes the end result of the metamorphosis cycle.
  • Butterflies are not only delightful to see fluttering around but their existence is crucial to the wellbeing of our ecosystem by supplying pollination, reducing air pollution, and enhancing environmental beauty.

The butterfly understands its purpose. It knows what it needs to do, how to do it, and how it contributes to a greater purpose. Purpose is hardwired into its DNA.

Do you know what your company’s purpose is? Do your employees know the role they play in achieving that purpose?

If your employees do not understand that they are part of the bigger picture of your organization, you are missing out on a crucial aspect of employee engagement. According to a 2014 study by Gallup, only about four in ten employees (41%) know what their company stands for and what makes its brand different from its competitors’. This lack of brand awareness is not a marketing problem; it is a mission-driven leadership and management problem.

Since it is counterproductive to design five distinct programs or strategies to manage each generation, the Transformative Leadership Model empowers management teams to encourage a meaningful work experience by leading everyone together. Connecting your employees to your higher purpose will take your organization to the next level.

Question: Do your employees know that they are part of the bigger picture of your organization?

Click here to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and reserve your seat for our March 28th workshop!

3 Ways Humble Leaders Keep their Egos in Check

Feedback is the breakfast of champions.

That’s a statement that author Ken Blanchard explains in sports terms. “Can you imagine,” asks Blanchard, “training for the Olympics with no one telling you how fast you ran or how high you jumped?”

The leadership application, of course, is that without feedback we cannot accurately assess reality. If we don’t know what we’re doing wrong, or what’s going wrong, we can’t fix it. This makes sense intellectually, but in reality, feedback can go down like a bowl of cold, lumpy oatmeal.

Today’s leaders face increasingly complex problems. No one person can have all of the answers. That’s why leaders of the 21st century must have the humility to encourage feedback. To step back and create space for others to show you your blind spots and help you make improvements that count.

Harvard Business Review contributors John Dame and Jeffrey Gedmin called this intellectual humility. “Without humility,” the authors argue, “you’re not able to learn.” Here are three principles of humility that will help put you in a feedback frame of mind:

1. Know what you don’t know. The higher you climb up the proverbial corporate ladder, the greater the temptation it is to believe that you are the smartest person in the room. But deep down, you know that you don’t have all of the answers. You may not even have all of the questions. Know when to defer and be open to learning from others.

2. Resist falling for your own publicity. Part of the leadership role is to maintain a positive outlook. Your confidence boosts that of your team and your customers. While it’s important to have a positive outlook, it’s just as important to correctly assess reality. Keep your spirits high, but your judgment at an even keel.

3. Never underestimate the competition. No matter how smart you are, how many hours you are willing to put in, or how creative you get, do not allow a residue of hubris to set into your culture. There is always competition for your customer’s attention.

The first task of any leader is to assess reality correctly. You can’t do that without having the feedback you need to make necessary adjustments. Open yourself to feedback by having the humility to know your own limits, keep your ego in check, and resist the false comfort of complacency.

Question: What specific actions are you taking to remain humble as a leader?

The 100-Yard Dash Leadership Theory

One evening, author and leadership consultant John Maxwell was having dinner with Olympic athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Until last year, Joyner-Kersee was the most decorated U.S. woman in Olympic track and field history.

As they were chatting, Maxwell decided to have a little fun with the athlete. He sat his fork down on his plate, looked Joyner-Kersee straight in the eye, leaned forward and said, “I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Joyner-Kersee stopped in mid-bite, and searched John’s face for any hint of whether he was joking or serious. This was the first woman ever to break 7,000 points in the heptathlon, a 2-day, 7-event contest consisting of the 100 meter hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 meter dash, long jump, javelin throw and the 800 meter run.

Maxwell let a moment or two pass, then said, “Actually, now that I think about it, if you give me a 10-yard head start, I bet that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash.” Over the course of the next few minutes, Maxwell continued to stretch his need for a head start until he settled on, “Yes! If you give me a 90-yard head start, I’m 100% confident that I can beat you in a 100-yard dash!”

Maxwell’s 100-yard dash dinner story serves as a reminder to leaders. Whether you’re trying to implement a new process, orchestrate innovation, or mold a culture, you have to meet your team where they are before you can get them to where you want them to go.

If you’re leading a team, chances are, you’re far ahead of the rest of the group from Day 1. You may have more years of experience, and less fear of calculated risk. You probably have more data and background information that led to the decision that change is necessary. You have a better grasp of the ideal outcome. That’s the equivalent of a 90-yard advantage, and a major team de-motivator. Think about the last time you gave your team a new project, and ask yourself these three questions:

1. Did I take the time to lay the proper groundwork, or did I jump straight to the end?

2. Did I give the team time to ask questions, or did I do most of the talking?

3. Did I help the team understand what “there” looks like, or did talk mostly about what’s not working today?

In a Harvard Business Review series on The Secret of Great Teams, an effective team was defined as “a group of people who do collective work and are mutually committed to a common team purpose and challenging goals related to that purpose.” As a leader, it’s your responsibility to give your team what they need to truly succeed.

Another truism of Maxwell’s is this: leaders who complain that “it’s lonely at the top” aren’t really leading people anywhere – they’re just taking a hike. Make sure you give them context, allow plenty of time for their questions, and give them a roadmap to success.

Question: What tools do you use to make sure you’re not leaving your team in the dust?

 

Interested in getting more content like this? Subscribe to CEE News!

CEE News is designed to help you with the challenges you face every day by sharing infographics, white papers, best practices, and spotlighting businesses that are getting it right. I hope you’ll subscribe to CEE News and it becomes a resource that continually adds value to your walk as a leader. If I can be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Uncertainty? Not if You Ground Yourself in Purpose

Yesterday, I had the honor of speaking at the American Public Transit Authority Annual CEOs Summit in San Diego. The Summit was attended by about 150 public transit executives from across the country.

Like many other industries in the U.S., public transit faces an uncertain future. Regulatory uncertainty – where does public transit fit in the new Administration’s infrastructure plan? Macroeconomic uncertainty – when the economy is up, gas and cars are affordable, so transit ridership is down. Disruptive uncertainty – will ride sharing services like Uber and Lyft complement or erode public transit services?

No industry is immune. Uncertainty will remain high for the foreseeable future. Forecasts are likely to be wrong. The world is no longer predictable or stable.

During times of uncertainty, it is the leader’s role to bring order to chaos, calm nerves, and manifest a non-anxious presence. One of the most effective ways to do this, is to reground people around organizational purpose. Now is the time to clarify and renew your commitment to the bigger impact – collectively – that your organization is making in the world.

To that end, I challenge you to honestly assess where your organization falls in the 5 Levels of Purpose:

Level 1: Our organization has not clarified or codified its purpose.

Level 2: I couldn’t tell you what our purpose is without looking on the website – and that’s probably true for most of our employees as well.

Level 3: Our organization has a purpose, but we don’t actively use it to inspire employees.

Level 4: Our organization has a purpose that inspires our employees, but we don’t take purpose into account when making business decisions.

Level 5: Our organization has a clearly defined purpose that is hardwired into our DNA. It inspires our employees and guides our business decisions.

If your answer fell between Levels 1 through 3, you have an untapped resource that will help you stabilize your team, and inspire them to work together to make a collective impact. If you answered Level 4, work to hardwire purpose into your business decisions. Think about what you measure, what you reward, and what you ignore. Are they in line with your organizational purpose?

Level 5 companies like Patagonia call purpose “Our Reason for Being”. At Level 5, you’re not immune from uncertainty, but you are clear about why the world is better off because your organization exists. Having clarity of purpose is like having a North Star. It will keep you on your path, and help you make decisions that will sustain you through the chaos.

Question: Have you worked for an organization with a clear sense of purpose? How did that impact you as an employee? 

 


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How to Engage 5 Generations. Side by Side.

As our Employee Engagement Specialist, Jenny Jacobs brings an infectious humor and midwestern sensibility to everything she does. Jenny is a lifelong learner and a natural teacher who guides our clients through a structured employee engagement method that improves bottom lines and results in changes that last. Jenny holds a B.A. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and is a 2017 Masters candidate for Organizational/Industrial Psychology from Azusa Pacific University. And don’t forget to check out the short video below where Jenny introduces herself and our new program.

By: Jenny Jacobs

Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it. – George Orwell

I recently received an email with the subject line: Transform your bedroom into a master retreat. The thought of this prospect filled my heart with delight. However, I soon realized it would only happen if I were the one who did all the work! I then decided to focus my energy elsewhere…

Everyone loves the result of a transformation, but doing the work to bring that transformation about can seem daunting. Where do I begin? How do I do it? What if it fails? It’s enough to make you resign to the status quo, even though you know the status quo is not as good as it could be.

Are you ready to ditch the old, ineffective ways of trying to engage your diverse workforce? Are you prepared to implement new, transformative concepts that inspire and equip your entire team? If so, I’m excited to introduce our new program called 5 Generations. Side by Side.

For the first time in history, five generations are together in the workplace. Why 5? Here are some converging trends:

  • Traditionalists – not ready to retire
  • Baby Boomers –’sandwich’ generation supporting millennials and traditionalists
  • Generation X – rising executives
  • Millennials – the new managers
  • Generation Z – college graduates

Today’s managers may have both a 22 year old and a 75 year old on their teams. When things go wrong, generational differences can soon turn into blame:

“They don’t have the proper work ethic!”

“They don’t understand technology.”

“If they would only pay attention I wouldn’t get so frustrated.”

It’s important to appreciate the differences that each generation brings to (and expects from) work, but just as important not to use these differences to reinforce generational divisions. When we focus on the differences of people – whether in terms of age, race, or gender – there is only division.

The 5 Generations. Side by Side. program focuses on setting aside generational differences and bringing people together. By tapping into the power of the Transformative Leadership Model© this program focuses on what every generation wants in their work environment:

  • Meaningful Work
  • Aligned Goals
  • Strengths-Focused
  • Learning & Growth

Over the next few months I will be unpacking each quadrant of the Transformative Leadership Model©. If you’re ready to ditch the old and make the changes that truly engage every generation, I invite you to join me to learn more about 5 Generations. Side by Side. and the Transformative Leadership Model©.

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