SECRET TO SUCCESS – PEOPLE ARE OUR GREATEST ASSET

PEOPLE ARE OUR GREATEST ASSETS – SECRET TO LEADERSHIP

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People Are Our Greatest Assets

By Craig Johns

There is nothing more beautiful than teaching and coaching people. The immense pride and enjoyment you get out of seeing someone grow is supported by the benefits you receive by teaching and coaching. You learn more about yourself, you tend to reflect on your own habits and routines, and you provide an opportunity to learn new ways of doing things.

“People learn the most when teaching others.”

PETER DRUCKER

As a CEO or leader you have a huge responsibility to not only prepare your people for their work, but also prepare them for life. More than just teaching skills, you have an obligation to teach them to find and understand their purpose. Once people understand their purpose, you then have to work with them to connect it with the purpose of the company and the work they are completing.

People Are Our Greatest Assets

People are the only sustainable thing in an organization or a team. The New Zealand All Black Rugby Team’s win-rate over the last 100 years is over 75 per cent. It’s a phenomenal record, and an achievement matched by no other elite team, in any code, around the globe. However, in 2004 the All Blacks weren’t in a great place with team culture issues, low morale, disjointed purpose and declining performance.

“Better people make better All Blacks – but they also make better doctors and lawyers, bankers and businessmen, fathers, brothers, and friends.”

JAMES KERR

The team management and senior players came together and decided that they needed a fresh culture, where individual character and personal leadership were emphasized. They developed a new mantra, ‘Better People Make Better All Blacks’. This resulted in a remarkable turnaround with the team achieving a win-rate of just over 90%, and two Rugby World Cup’s, since 2004. They literally ‘swept the sheds’ and turned the focus to ‘leaving the jersey in a better place’.

There is nothing more rewarding than teaching people to become better than ourselves. Many CEO’s and leaders are afraid of the people they work with becoming better skilled, better leaders and better people than they are. It’s all about ego, and they need to realize that way of thinking is hindering the progress of both the company and themselves. As a CEO and leader, you need to learn how to create a mindset where you are proud of people growing above you, rather than being afraid of it.

“Understanding this responsibility creates a compelling sense of higher purpose. It’s a good lesson for us all: if we play a bigger game, we play a more effective game.”

JAMES KERR

When people are buying a product, they are looking for an emotional connection, rather than a material connection. Your people are at the heart of creating the emotional connection the buyers crave. It is important that you create an environment where your people are passionate about selling an experience, a new way of doing something, a feeling or a dream. As they say, ‘people sell, not products’.

People Are Our Greatest Assets

People are more interested in the ‘why you are doing’ rather than ‘what you are doing’ when it comes to joining your community, purchasing a product or doing a deal with you. Why did the company begin, why does it act and interact in the way it does, and why do your people turn up every day? Your people need to be aligned in the collective purpose of the company, be passionate about the purpose, and live and breathe it every day.

“Give a man a fish; feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish; feed him for a lifetime.”

LAO TZU

Enjoyment and happiness are the number one retention tools in the world. For people to enjoy their work and be happy in the workplace, they need positive relationships, purposeful work, opportunities to learn and grow, and have some ‘skin in the game’. Forget a tunnel-vision focus on the bottom line and profit aligned productivity, and begin focusing on creating an enjoyable and happy place, that people love turning up to every day.

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Appreciation and recognition drive the human spirit. Confidence and self-esteem are some of the most vulnerable human characteristics. We often look for the negative things, those that aren’t going right and focus on them, rather than emphasizing the great things people are doing. If you are always focusing on the negative aspects of your companies or peoples work, you are not going to develop trust and the loyalty of your people.

“Tell me and I forget,
teach me and I will remember,
involve me and I will learn.”

BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Look at ways you can reward and recognize the efforts of your people, more often. This helps to build confidence and self-esteem, especially if you can create an environment where people feel appreciated for their work, while also learning how to improve in areas that need attention. Remember, without confidence it is impossible for people to perform at their best. Just watch a tennis tournament.

Your people are your greatest asset. Take the time to communicate with your people, listen to them, and ask questions that improve their understanding, and bring them closer to the purpose of the company and what they want to achieve in life. Find ways to reflect on how you interact with your people and seek new ways to communicate more effectively. You have a great responsibility!

“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed;
If in terms of ten years, plant trees;
If in terms of 100 years, teach the people.”

CONFUSCIOUS

Remember, people are our greatest assets.

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

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What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO IMPROVE YOUR CULTURE?

What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture

Culture

The culture of a company, organisation or team is the make or break between growth and decline, retention and turnover, and success and failure. Too often we hear comments such as “toxic culture”, “team unrest”, “trouble in the boardroom” and “disorder in the trenches” that disrupt team cohesion, productivity and performance. If you are facing a storm in a teacup, what steps can you take to re-right the ship and ensure that your culture breeds success?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

PETER DRUCKER

WHAT IS CULTURE?

First of all, let’s take a look at what culture is. Culture is our:

  1. Shared behaviours and the way we treat each other;
  2. Voices and our actions;
  3. Products and services;
  4. Capacity to learn and transmit knowledge to succeeding generations;
  5. Customers and consumers;
  6. Way of acting and interacting with others;
  7. Combined way of life;
  8. Attitudes, beliefs and philosophies; and
  9. Community and ourselves.

What we do as a leader is ultimately more important than what we say when it comes to culture. In essence, culture is the personality and DNA of the company, organisation or team.

There are, in general, four types of organisational or team culture:

  1. We do things 1st – Our focus is making breakthroughs and creating the future through adhocracy.
  2. We do things fast – We love to compete and want to be the fastest to go to market with a short-term performance focus.
  3. We do things right – Our culture is to make incremental checks, do our homework and control the process through a hierarchical approach.
  4. We do things together – We collaborate and are focused on long-term development in a tribe type environment

“The most important thing about culture is that it is the only sustainable difference for any organisation. Anyone can copy a company’s strategy, but nobody can copy their culture.”

TORBEN RICK

THE CHANGE PROCESS

It is important to understand your current culture and what it will look like in the future is the first part of the process to support successful change. Once you understand what the future looks like, from a culture point-of-view, you then need to utilise your collaboration skills to engage your team to commence the implementation phase and begin establishing the cultural behaviours. Finally, you need to coach and mange your team so that it is embedded in the way things are done in your organisation or team.

UNDERSTAND what you want to look like and establish the expectations that are required to get there:

  1. Complete a cultural audit by evaluating your current culture and performance.
  2. Clearly define your initial vision
  3. Develop a new set of expectations by clarifying your values and behaviours

COLLABORATE through teamwork and align your team so a common vision can be achieved.

  1. Identify and clearly articulate your strategic priorities
  2. Bring your team together and engage them in developing and defining your team goals
  3. Focus on your results and build accountability through clarifying and tracking key measures

COACH and manage your team to ensure that culture is cohesively developed and ingrained.

  1. Build a management system that incorporates the cultural drivers, priorities and goals
  2. Guide, manage and communicate your new habits and routines
  3. Celebrate the small wins and build team motivation throughout the process

“A culture of discipline is a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.”

JIM COLLINS

REQUIREMENTS FOR CHANGE

Changing an organisational or team culture is one of the biggest challenges a leader will face. This is due to a culture comprising an interlocking set of attitudes, processes, roles, goals, values, attitudes, communication and assumptions. It is unique for every organisation and team, and therefore every change requires a unique approach. A leader will need to be prepared to disrupt the organisation or teams deepest values, beliefs and what it holds closest to its heart.

Culture is deeply embedded into every layer of an organisation and requires the leader to question everything to fully understand what aspects are absolutely crucial to extract or mould for a better future. It is constantly evolving over time, although the culture is deeply linked to its history and development.

Important elements to consider when preparing for change:

  1. LISTEN to employees, by giving them a voice
  2. COMMUNICATE through 2-way communication and feedback channels
  3. LEAD by example by seeking, speaking and acting with truth
  4. FEEDBACK on a regular basis to and from employees
  5. COLLABORATE openly rather than in isolation, through encouraging sharing and healthy debates
  6. TRANSPARENCY by leveraging tools to stay on the same page
  7. APPRECIATION with a sustainable reward and recognition program
  8. CHALLENGE and encourage employees to take risks
  9. TEAM approach by creating a supportive environment that cultivates strong co-worker relationships
  10. CARE by showing that people matter
  11. ENJOYMENT in a light-hearted and fun environment
  12. PURPOSE with passion
  13. COMMON language, values and standards
  14. PERSISTANCE and consistency in your approach
  15. FLEXIBILITY by adapting and evolving throughout the process
  16. WORK-LIFE integration and/or balance
  17. EMPOWER employees by providing a sense of freedom and ownership, as well as embracing and inspiring employee autonomy
  18. BOUNDARIES that have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
  19. LEARNING environment through continuous training and development
  20. RECOGNISE and solve, both individual and organisation,  problems  and issues

CASE STUDY: A few real life examples of how I have implemented some of the requirements for change:

LISTEN – We implemented a “pebble in my shoe” segment during our monthly team meeting, which allowed people to openly express things that were living rent-free in their mind.

COLLABORATE – In one organization, we established a 3hour period on Wednesday afternoons for employees to work on creative team projects that were focussed on innovation .

APPRECIATION – Working in hospitality, we had a company-wide manager meeting just before lunch every day, where we recognised at least one employee or team achievement.

ENJOYMENT – Every month we had a staff party, which had a different theme, where each team worked together to create a skit, performance or show.

CARE – At a recent coaching course, the attending coaches wrote a handwritten thank you card that was individualized for every presenter.

PURPOSE – To bring out the passion from our employees we changed our values to philosophies and asked the employees to develop the meaning of each philosophy.

WORK-LIFE – I find I am most effective when I exercise before starting work and then go for a ride or run during lunch time as it provides clarity and reflection to the projects I am working on.  I have encouraged staff to do the same.

The cultural change process will test your full range of leadership skills. You cannot afford to take your attention away from the change process as a drop in momentum can have a negative effect on the cultural change. If you aren’t in the driver’s seat, you have no control over the final destination.

Tune in to next week’s article, which will discuss the leadership attributes of successful change, what a positive workplace looks like and developing a High Performance culture.

“Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organisation is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”

FRANCES HESSELBEIN

READ MORE ARTICLES

Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Art Of Communication – Change Series Part 4 Link
Achieving Successful Change – Changes Series Part 3 Link
Change Tantrums – Change Series Part 2 Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link

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