Rip the band aid off

Rip The Band Aid Off

By Craig Johns

It’s time that you rip the band aid off. When dealing with an issue or a crisis, we see so many people trying to fix the obvious on the surface, rather than digging deeper to see what is the actual root cause.

Symptoms stand out like a sore thumb, like a runny nose when we have the flu. But the real questions, that are hardly ever asked, should be what were the underlying factors that led our immune system to be susceptible to the flu and why weren’t we more proactive in preventing these factors?

NRG Band-aid 13072018

This is no different to the workplace, where issues and crisis’s are all preventable with effective strategies, planning and systems to monitor our projects, people, competitors and performance.

In saying that, it is impossible to prevent every issue and crisis, therefore we need to have really good systems to ensure that we fix the problem right the first time.

When dealing with an issue, people find it much easier to apply a band-aid and give a little bit of tender loving care, rather than spending some extra time to understand why it actually happened, ask the tough questions and identify whether it can be prevented in the future.

Why are humans prone to the ‘path of least resistance’?

Why are we so susceptible to the easy way out or way of doing things?

I find it really frustrated when I hear ‘let’s put that decision or project on hold until we have more time, more money, the perfect design or most frustratingly, a new hire arrives’.

Hesitation is the difference between winning and losing in most sports, and it is exactly the same in business. If you wait, someone else will get to the market first and therefore be in the prime position to control the market, or more importantly you risk becoming irrelevant.

Solutions can sometimes be the most simple and obvious that are right there in front of us, whereas other times there is no clarity or even a potential path to get us started.

As leaders we need to be able to step back and take a birds eye perspective, then firstly, allow our teams the space to see the obvious (if the root cause and solution are right there in front of us) and secondly, dig deeper until they can get to the bottom of their nagging pain in the butt.

People have a habit of dancing around the tough questions, as though they are afraid to offend someone or unravel a large mistake they or the team may have caused.

How can you create an environment where your team is encouraged to ask the right questions?

It is commonplace for issues to be lingering in the workplace, partnership and with our products or services.

Why is it so hard to put your pride, integrity, record and relationships on the line and front the big elephant in the room?

Nine times out of ten it comes down to ‘trust’. One hundred present of time, the level of trust is a direct result of the environment established by the leader.

Trust, that our team feel they are allowed to make mistakes and learn from them, and that people can ask the right questions when they don’t understand, believe there might be a better way or there are some barriers preventing a greater performance.

Let’s ‘rip the band-aid off’ and create an environment of learning, growth and most importantly trust in our teams

READ MORE ARTICLES

It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link

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Are You Seeing The big Picture Craig Johns

ARE YOU SEEING THE BIG PICTURE?

Do you know what helps you navigate the clutter, complexity and commotion on a daily basis that allows you to take a birds eye view and see the big picture?

It is a challenge when you have your head down, in the zone and focused on the task at hand to understand where you are at and even sometimes to clarify what the big picture really is. The big picture is about:

  • Knowing not just how and what to do, but knowing why
  • Viewing the whole and not just its parts
  • Seeing a vision, a sense of the bigger picture
  • Having the ability to see significance in work, beyond the obvious
  • Understanding that a legacy will live on, whether in the bricks and morter or in the impact made on other people

You have to know what naturally helps you to clear the mind and find the space to step outside your body and mind so you can focus on what is really important. For me, it is going for a long ride by myself or running on a trail. I find it’s my form of meditation and reality check.

Some people find travel helps them to find a clearer perspective, as 10,000 feet up provides a pretty good birds eye view of situations. Another common time is when listening to podcasts that challenge our ways of thinking, leadership strategies or are industry related.

Sometimes we find it difficult to see the big picture by ourselves. You may find it easier through conversations with a friend, colleague or even a group of like-minded people in a “circle of trust’ monthly catch-up over a coffee.

When it comes to financial analysis, you may find manually writing out your budget or financial reviews with pen and paper allows you think of the numbers in a different way than on a computer screen where formulas are producing numbers for you.

A lot of people will work continuously without breaks during a day. Research shows that our ability to perform tasks diminishes after approximately 90minutes of concerted effort and focus. It is important to take a 5-15min break every 90minutes allowing your mind a chance to recharge and your body a chance to move around rather than sitting in one place.

Going long periods of time without a break may also result in you heading down a rabbit hole of time-consuming focus on the unimportant things, without realizing you are on a path of less value.

Organising a dedicated brainstorm or review session with team members of what you are currently doing and where you can go, while ensuring that everything is aligned to the overall mission, strategies and goals is crucial. You will find it invaluable as not only does it provide a big picture check for you, but it also enables the team to develop greater cohesion in what the big picture looks like to everyone.

I have witnessed a few people using apps, such as rescue time, to monitor and track their use of time. It allows them to see how much time is spent on each daily activity and most importantly on the tasks that are making forward progress.

We are often caught up in our own assumptions, ways of thinking and complexity. Try challenge some of your assumptions to see what would happen if you removed one or more of them. Remember complexity is the enemy, so sometimes the most simple and obvious thing maybe blurred or hidden from our ability to see the big picture.

Identify whether you team have a connection to the big picture. Share the big picture regularly by providing the details first and then the context later. Ask them what they see and make sure that you connect the big picture to their work. Most importantly connect the big picture to meaning as people want to know that their working has a purpose.

Make sure that you include the activities that allow you to see clarity from a big picture point-of-view, in your daily or weekly routines. It is crucial that you are on the right road and haven’t taken the wrong left turn. To take it to the next level, it is even more valuable to ensure that you have time following your big picture activities, to find time to analyse and translate your insights into specific actions.

Life is all about choice. We may feel we are snowed under, constrained by deadlines and under the pump from either your boss or a client, but remember you are the one in control. Prioritise what is important, what you need to gain clarity and disregard the meaningless activities that halt your progress. What you do is only as good as the clarity of your big picture.

READ MORE ARTICLES

It’s All About Trust Link
Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link

LEARN MORE

active CEO COACHING
active CEO CORPORATE
active CEO PODCAST
Craig Johns SPEAKER
Craig Johns BLOG
Contact CRAIG JOHNS
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Trust Craig Johns It Is All About Trust

It Is All About Trust

An article in the New Zealand Herald (Donaldson, 2018) brought up a great discussion between ‘Command and Control’ versus ‘Self-Determination Theory’ in sport. It raised some great questions that relate to both the business world as well as the coach-athlete relationship. Has the traditional ‘hierarchical’ systems, which lead to command and control, become outdated or is there still a place for this type of leadership behaviour?

Let’s take a look at what the central currency to any community or relationship is. Trust is essential to any relationship and is, according to Mayer et al., made up of three key elements: ability; benevolence; integrity.

Ability is built on the skills, competencies and characteristics that enable a person to perform tasks in a specific domain. As a relationship is building those involved will be ascertaining whether the other party can do what they say, have a track record of performance in that particular area and is their any evidence supporting their claim to competency. It is usually situation specific as we cannot be highly skilled in everything we do.

Benevolence is based on the foundation of how much do they actually care about the relationship versus aspects such as money, power or self-fulfilment. Early in the relationship you are trying to understand each others situation, how much do you want to help each other and are the actions being taken beneficial for each other.

Integrity refers to our acceptance of a set of principles and whether they are being adhered to. Are the actions taken from and adhered to against a set of principles? We want to know whether they will guide or motivate our performance, are we accepting of each others performance principles, and do both sets of principles align or can they coexist.

I would also add a fourth dimension to trust, and that is enjoyment. Enjoyment is the number one retention factor for any type of community or relationship. It helps to love what you are doing and have fun why you are doing it. If the environment is enjoyable, then you are more likely to stay connected.

Command and control is based on an aggressive, micro-managing and dictatorial approach, which sometimes maybe referred to as ‘it is my way or the highway’ approach. It is a common approach that leaders fall into when the pressure for success in business or sport is enormous and a win-at-all-costs mentality is allowed to fester. In certain circumstances this mentality may result in bullying behaviours and a ‘culture of fear’, which are not appropriate our society.

We are seeing the command and control hierarchial approach being replaced in the work place and on the sports fields over time, but there are still many instances of this type of behaviour occurring in society. As people’s awareness, rights, confidence in ability to speak up and community acceptance that you should bring issues to the forefront, acts of bullying are being raised and stamped out. However it is still prevalent in politics, sport and the workplace.

Over the past two decades or so, we have started to see leaders evolve their approach as they understand that their are more effective ways to reach higher levels of performance and productivity. The Self-Determination Theory provides a great platform to understand how we can perform at our best and bring out the best in the people we work with.

Self-Determination Theory is built on 3 core elements; autonomy; relatedness; and competence.

Autonomy is feeling you have a choice, that what you’re doing is of your own volition. Relatedness is to care for and be cared about by others, to feel you are contributing to something greater than yourself, to have your values align with the goals of the team or programme. Competence is about skill levels but athletes also need to feel they are learning and growing, not just reaching a set level.” (Donaldson, 2018)

If we are building a high performance environment, we need to allow our people to feel valued, be able to speak, have a sense of purpose and be true to themselves. We need to provide an environment where people feel highly motivated, feel like they belong and are happy, which the components of the Self-Determination Theory provides.

To build a feeling of autonomy in our people and ensure they are highly motivated and engaged, it is important that we reduce and refrain from approaches that involve dictating, incentivizing and applying heigh levels of pressure. We need to trust the abilities of our people and work on alleviating the fear inside our heads that we won’t achieve the desired results.

One of the most powerful skills a leader can possess is listening. To bring out the best in people, they need to have a voice and be involved in a collaborative way. That doesn’t mean as leaders that we can’t make the tough decisions, it eludes to ensuring that the feelings, values and thoughts of our people are taken into consideration to ensure they are closely aligned to the goals.

HOW MUCH TRUST DO YOU HAVE WITH YOUR PEOPLE?

RESOURCES

Donaldson. M. (2018). New Zealand Sport Model ‘Outdated’. New Zealand Herald, 24 June 2018. link

Roger C. Mayer, James H Davis, and F. David Schoorman (1995). An Integrative Model of Organizational Trust. The Academy of Management Review, 20 (3), July 1995, 709-734.