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A couple of years ago, I wrote an article regarding the impact on an organization of making a great people move every quarter.
I was reminded of the article this week during a session with a client. After a year and a half of effort, they finally got the right person in the right seat heading up their Operations. Operational issues consumed our sessions for the year and a half. They went through three different people until they finally found the right one. Now that they finally have the right person in place, operational issues only took up about 10 percent of the session. The pendulum has swung the other way, to where operations is now pushing other departments and applying pressure to deliver now that they are able to handle the capacity. For example, sales is now being pushed to bring in more.
After over 1,400 full-day sessions with over 125 companies and over 11,000 hours of working with leadership teams, I’m convinced that the number one impact on an organization’s growth, once the vision is clear and the structure is right, comes from getting the right people in the right seats.
Have you made your great people move this quarter? That might mean making a great hire to fill a much-needed empty seat, firing someone who no longer is the right person for a seat, or moving someone into the right seat or out of the wrong seat.
Which wheel is squeaking the most right now? A great people move might be your solution.
During this year’s busy Annual Planning season, one of my clients was moved to tears while reflecting on the past year. He was recounting a “personal great”, and filled with pride for his daughter while sharing a few of her significant accomplishments. He struggled to finish the story, and ultimately needed to take a short break to compose himself. Throughout this touching, heartfelt moment, he kept apologizing to his team for being so emotional.
For many people, showing too much emotion at work is a “no-no”. They suppress joy, frustration, anger – in the hopes they’ll maintain their composure, concentrate more fully on the facts, and make better decisions (or simply avoid being embarrassed about an “outburst”). And while frequent temper tantrums and serial instability can be destructive, I’ve repeatedly seen a genuine expression of real, raw emotion lead to HUGE breakthroughs for entrepreneurial leadership teams.
Truth be told, I regularly witness crying, yelling, and various other forms of passion in a session room. Running an entrepreneurial company can be hard . Most of my clients spend far more hours at work than they do at home with their families. They pour themselves into their businesses as if their lives depend on its success or failure. They worry deeply about the well being of every employee and most customers. And they often have to make tough decisions that adversely affect someone that matters to them very much.
So please, don’t be afraid to lead more often with your heart. When something brings you joy or sadness – at home or at work – share it with your leadership team. Celebrate success and suffer failure acutely – and together. When you are angry – let the people who can help you solve the Issue that’s causing your anger know about it – in no uncertain terms. Explain yourself in one sentence, with passion if necessary, even if it hurts. As long as you attack the Issue (and not the person), a great team working together can solve even the most frustrating Issue.
And if every once in a while you cry, or raise your voice, or even get up and stomp around a bit – I’m guessing your fellow leaders will remember you’re a human being. Like the team whose leader was moved to tears, they’ll appreciate it – and they may even join in!
It’s common for eager leadership teams to take on too much in the early years of the business. By trying to get everything done at once and making everything important, they run the risk of getting nothing done. When you make everything a big issue, then there’s never enough time to give each goal the attention that it needs. The EOS® approach teaches leadership teams that by focusing on a few goals instead of too many, you will actually accomplish more. It’s called the Power of Focus, and it’s something that you need to be successful.
Business coaches, or EOS Implementers™, show leadership teams how to narrow down their goals into a smaller set of attainable, realistic milestones. Entrepreneurs often fall into the trap of setting unrealistic goals that can never be accomplished. If teams start out feeling frustrated at seemingly unattainable goals, they’ll never believe that it’s possible to meet those goals. If every goal is something that you are supposed to strive for but that is impossible to meet, then how do you measure what success is? Goals should start out as something you can actually achieve. They should not consist of unrealistic sales numbers you never really expect to see, but hope to accomplish one day.
When you learn the power of focus, you can pour all of your energy into the top goals that mean the most to your business. In doing so, you will accomplish much more in the long run and will have a stronger, more trusting team who will be eager to help the business grow.
Does your organization or company have a number one goal, a BHAG (big, hairy and audacious), a 10 YEAR TARGET? If you have one, is it audacious; does it inspire and motivate you? Or have you limited yourself by what you think is possible instead of the possibilities of daring greatly.
About 30 years ago my brother presented me with a pencil drawing of my favorite president, Teddy Roosevelt. Teddy is laughing through teeth that look like a trimmed white picket fence. He’s exuberant, triumphant. I had my brother’s drawing framed with a famous Roosevelt quote from a speech he made at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”
In a great little book by Price Pritchett, “You²”, he shares that experts agree that we typically use only ten percent of our full potential. Whether we agree with the experts or not, it’s hard to argue that we’re really living up to our full potential. And, we should ask ourselves, is my organization or company living up to its full potential? Think about what your company or organization would be like if it was performing at 10 times or 5 times or even 2 times where it is today. Whether it is doubt, fear or as Brene’ Brown would argue, an inability to be vulnerable, we fail to trust ourselves enough to take that giant leap.
We limit ourselves by taking tiny steps when we should be taking a big leap. Don’t focus on the midpoint, focus on the end point. So, take that leap of faith in yourself. You’ll taste either victory or defeat. Don’t be timid and don’t be left in the cold.
Many small business owners are so confident in their vision and so passionate about what they are doing in the business that they are shocked to learn that not everyone in the company shares their vision. This should be a wake up call for business owners who assume that everyone is working towards the same goals. Business coaches, or EOS Implementers™, teach leadership teams that it’s their responsibility to share their V/TO™ and inspire their people with a compelling vision. You may find that when you are sharing your vision, not everyone on the team feels the same way, and that’s ok! Those who understand your vision and who are fully committed to it will be working towards the shared goals of the business every day and their actions will speak for themselves.
It’s not uncommon to have a few people who don’t agree with the direction you are pursuing and who don’t value the same goals. Those who don’t share your vision will stick out like a sore thumb, and they will often leave before you have to let them go because they are unhappy in their jobs and aren’t suited for them. For those who don’t leave and yet who are clearly not in the right seats, leadership teams should free them up to pursue their passions elsewhere. It’s the only way to move forward with the business and it is mutually beneficial to you and to those who are asked to leave.
Leadership teams reach their full potential when everyone is on the same page and when everyone in the organization shares the same vision, genuinely wants to be a part of it and puts that passion for the business into action on a daily basis. Once you have achieved this, you will start to gain traction on your business.
Have you ever shown up for a meeting and no one knows its purpose? And then you spend the first 15 minutes finding your way or trying to figure out what the objective is? Ever been to one where you’re wondering who is running the meeting?
This happens far too often in most companies, and it’s a terrible waste of valuable time. Here’s a way to solve it.
Please consider this simple solution to this very common problem in business. It will cut the time of your meeting in half or double the output.
It’s important to know that this doesn’t apply to your regular weekly standing meetings. For those meetings, always use the very effective Level 10 Meeting Agenda. It’s time-tested for more than a decade.
For every off-line meeting, follow the following five steps:
Step 1. Establish the objective. Whoever is calling the meeting, have him or her decide the objective of the meeting in advance. What must be accomplished by the end of this meeting?
Step 2. Determine the agenda. What are the steps and topics you are going to follow and cover to achieve the objective?
Step 3. Decide what prep work needs to be done. Be clear with everyone in advance as to what work needs to be done prior to the meeting so that everyone comes fully prepared. This will create much more efficient and productive meetings.
Step 4. Send out, in advance, to all participants the objective, agenda, and prep work. Give plenty of prep time.
Step 5. Begin the meeting by stating the objective and the agenda. Make sure everyone is clear about why you are together and what needs to be accomplished.
Again, the above five steps for any ad hoc, off-line or special meetings will cut the typical meeting time in half or double the productivity. Try it; it works.
In EOS terminology, GWC stands for Gets It, Wants It, and has the Capacity to do the job. It’s half of what we mean when we say you should follow the EOS analog to Jim Collin’s dictum and Get All the Right People in All the Right Seats. Besides sharing your values, each employee should be perfect for the position, or seat, being filled. I provide additional detail in an earlier post entitled How Do You Decide Who You Should Hire?
Gino Wickman recently wrote a post about what Gets It means. You can read the post here. The defining statement he offers is “Get it is aptitude; or the natural ability for something. An intuitive feel or grasp of what the job is, how it works and how to do it. Natural feel; biochemistry.”
One of our certified EOS implemeters in Chicago, Dan Wallace, offered the following story (joke?) as an unconventional way of explaining the G in GWC.
Four doctors go out duck hunting, a family doctor, a gynecologist, a surgeon and a pathologist. A bird flies overhead. The family doctor starts to shoot it, but stops because he isn’t absolutely sure it’s a duck. The gynecologist starts to shoot it, but he stops, too, because even though he’s pretty sure it’s a duck, he can’t tell if it’s male or female. The surgeon blows the bird out of the sky, turns to the pathologist and says, “Go see if that’s a duck.”
Does that help clear it up for you? Perhaps that explains the natural tension between sales people and finance people? What do you think?
In the past several years, I have been regularly impressed by leadership teams that have achieved “big” things. At the front end looking forward, it was logical for each team, based upon their history, to conclude, “There’s no way we’ll do this.”
So what made the difference? How did these teams of ordinary people succeed?
Certainly there are many contributing factors, but I think three things were necessary in all cases:
1) Belief. A majority of the team believed they could do it. Just because they hadn’t done it in the past didn’t mean they couldn’t in the future. That core belief was essential at the start. Initial unbelievers either became believers later or exited as the rest of the team moved forward.
2) Desire. Wanting to change and get to a better place was also essential. Leaders didn’t all share the same level of desire, but most of the initial team members wanted to advance from where they were to something better and they were willing to experience discomfort to get there.
3) The Way. All of these teams followed a systematic process (EOS), taking the specified steps to progress incrementally from where they were to where they wanted to be. Having the path clearly marked made it much easier for the teams to do what initially seemed unthinkable.
Just because you haven’t, doesn’t mean you can’t.
Believe it, want it and use EOS to get it.
In each EOS session, I ask clients if there are any “people issues”. To create clarity around any discussion about people we use the Accountability Chart™ and the People Analyzer™. It’s amazing how quickly these two tools focus the discussion and take egos, opinions and emotions about people issues out of the debate.
The Accountability Chart™ ensures that the organization has the Right Seats (clearly defined functions and who’s accountable for what) and the People Analyzer ensures that the Right People are in those seats based on alignment with core values and whether or not they “get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it” – GWC™. It’s interesting how often “want it” is the underlying people issue.
Here’s a case in point. In a recent session, the leadership team was discussing an issue with a particular department manager. The Accountability Chart™ clearly spelled out the 5 major roles for the function (seat) – no debate there. The People Analyzer™ revealed that the person in question was aligned with the company’s core values and had the aptitude, ability and time to do the job but, the person wasn’t fully engaged. He lacked the initiative and persistence to get things done. His behavior led everyone to question if he “wanted it.”
At this point one of the owners weighed in and said, “Reflecting back over my career and how I got to where I am today, I never received great training. I didn’t have a mentor or the benefit of great coaching. I just wanted it more. I was self-motivated and willing to put in the effort necessary to become the best.”
You can’t make someone “want it”. If they get it and have the capacity to do it but they really don’t want it, it’s never going to happen. So if you have a “people issue” in your organization ask that person, “do you really want it? Do you want it enough to be the best?” Challenge people to demonstrate through behavior and results that they truly want it.
A key to gaining traction in your business is to put together a leadership team consisting of people who share the company’s vision with you. Creating a team of people who each have clear accountabilities and who are prepared to take initiative when it comes to leading their people is a critical part of developing a successful business. Your leadership team must also be willing to be open and honest about all issues. When you have the right people in the right seats for your leadership team, everything else you build within the company will be based upon that structure.
According to business coaches, or EOS Implementers™, this type of healthy leadership approach is based on the concept that you can’t build something and have it grow if you are the one doing all the work. Simply put, a dictatorship is one way to lead your business… for a while. If you are the one doing everything in the business, what happens if you take a break? Business coaches or EOS Implementers teach that if the business would come crashing to a halt if you took a vacation, then there is no way that it could grow and thrive in the long term. In a thriving business, there’s no way for one person to solve every issue that comes along and you can’t be successful if the walls fall down as soon as you leave the building.
While it’s true that most small business owners start out by taking care of everything inside the business, including the sales, service, accounting and dealing with customer feedback or complaints, there comes a point where if you want to grow, you have to give up control. If you’ve been spending time building a strong leadership team where everyone has clear expectations and accountabilities, it’s time to let those individuals do what they do best – manage their departments and be positive contributors to your leadership team.
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