This third video is a 4-min. learning summary of what Millennials are looking for and the implications for organizations – what are some essential things we need to put into place to attract and retain this informed generation with outstanding potential.
This second of three videos – covers what millennials are looking for from the organizations they want to join and to stay with:
Linking to goals/objectives, feedback frequency, & people being compared to others or to what their role requires.
This first of three videos – covers what millennials are looking for from the organizations they want to join and to stay with:
from the entire work team and what type of guidance they expect.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ success is due, in part, to his ‘Do Your Job’ philosophy. Third of three quick videos about how we can apply ‘Do Your Job’.
This video covers the ‘Accountability’ element.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ success is due, in part, to his ‘Do Your Job’ philosophy. Second of three quick videos about how we can apply ‘Do Your Job’.
This video covers the ‘Actions & Behaviors’ element.
Bill Belichick and the Patriots’ success is due, in part, to his ‘Do Your Job’ philosophy. First of three quick videos about how we can apply ‘Do Your Job’. This video covers the ‘Time’ element.
Besides breaking the ‘loveable’ Chicago Cubs’ 108 year-long drought and giving fans lasting memories from exciting, gut-wrenching games, the 2016 World Series was also a showcase of leadership.
Chicago’s Joe Maddon steered his team to baseball’s best record but found themselves down three games to one due to Terry Francona’s deft handling of a beaten up, but now, white-hot Cleveland team.
The post-game new conferences revealed both skippers’ unshakeable faith in their teams, their confidence in moving forward, but also their sincere respect for their opponents. This was an honor for each team, their managers said, and despite each teams’ flat-out commitment to ‘leave everything on the field’, this once-in-a-lifetime, competitive ‘battle’ never became personal.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines sportsmanship as “conduct (as fairness, respect for one’s opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport.”
While electric pitching and defence were clearly evident, what was notably absent was individual grandstanding, vindictive retaliations, or over-aggressive contact. The 2016 World Series was a clarion demonstration of the absolute best possible play without the poor sportsmanship and trash talk for which we have all become too familiar.
Both Maddon and Francona modeled both excellent management and sportsmanship in front of their players and fans. During pauses in play, opponents chatted light-heartedly as they stood at their bases. Cleveland’s Francisco Lindor grinned and patted Chicago’s Kyle Schwarber’s injured and braced knee after Kyle surprised many with a steal of second base. Schwarber’s only response, a wry smile.
The 2016 World Series should be remembered, not only for its history, but also for its purity.
The 2016 World Series should be remembered, not only for its history, but also for its purity. The two best work cultures in baseball showed us anew that it is still possible to compete ferociously, while still smiling, caring, and enjoying a game. When I coached, the highest compliment was when our opponents said that our team fought hard, but we were also good sports.
Thank you Joe Maddon, Terry Francona, and both your organizations, because we really need examples like you today.
Most organizations neglect elements which, if included, could maximize a strategy update.
Five strategy-rollout optimizers to discuss in your next management team meeting:
One – Broaden the description to show respect
- Describe to staff what needs to change but go beyond a minimal description of underlying reasons and summarize industry, competitive, and organizational issues.
- The expanded description demonstrates respect for the intellectual resources at all levels and will encourage people to broaden their decision-making and embrace your strategy.
Two – Break down expectations so they’re relevant.
- Describe what the organization as a whole must achieve but go beyond to give examples, for major departments, of things each must accomplish to activate the strategy.
- It is often surprising how focused people can be on their own areas (also the reason for #1 above), so provide departmental examples to make your intent easier for everyone to grasp.
Three – Bring down timelines so it’s daily
- Describe the timeline for overall goals but also go beyond to give examples, for major departments, of things each can do daily, weekly to activate your revised strategy.
- Work-related timelines shrink, from months to days, as you move from administration to service delivery. Translate your strategy into a few daily examples to maximize engagement.
Four – Back them up so it’s team
- Describe what you expect from your organization and its departments but go beyond to tell them one or two personal activities which you, yourself, will change to contribute in some way.
- This worthwhile step may surprise a few. Elite leaders inspire by their actions and don’t miss an opportunity to demonstrate that they, too, are part of the team.
Five – Base it on facts so it’s active
- New strategies keep organizations viable and agile, but any rollout is futile unless lower level departments go beyond words and respond with concrete changes in what they do.
- Too many middle managers falsely believe verbal suggestions are all that’s required to adjust direct reports’ activities. Leaders know this and find ways to verify actions have been revised.
Please add a comment if you and your team found this helpful.
Three Practical Ways
The previous article ended with an interview quote* from Southwest Airlines’ co-founder, Herb Kelleher. His comments lead into the three things we’ve found helpful in moving work cultures forward.
Kelleher commented, “We used to have a corporate day. Companies would come in from around the world and they were interested in how we hired, trained, that sort of thing. Then we’d say, ‘Treat your people well and they’ll treat you well,’ and then they’d go home disappointed. It was too simple … Or too hard — because it’s a vast mosaic with thousands of little pieces that you have to keep putting in place every day. It’s not a programmatic thing. It can’t be. It has to come from the heart, not the head. If it’s programmatic, everybody will know that and say, “Hell, they’re not sincere; they don’t really care, they’re just telling us that they care.”*
One – It’s About Behavior
Kelleher refers to organizations being composed of a ‘mosaic with thousands of little pieces you have to keep putting in place every day’. Those little pieces are behaviors – how people interact while working. While virtually none of them show up on a spreadsheet – they define a work culture. We find that introducing a small set of expected behaviors and adding them to the list of things for which people are accountable and assessed is very effective.
The few, new accountable behaviors affect culture like ‘salt’ affects food – the taste is largely the same, but better!
The few, new accountable behaviors affect culture like ‘salt’ affects food – the taste is largely the same, but better (not that I’m not promoting excess salt usage).
Two – It’s About Leaders’ Behavior
Leadership behavior is the bedrock of culture. Senior leaders must move beyond voicing support to being supportive. For example, to promote collaboration between different functional areas they must demonstrate and reinforce collaborative behavior. Kelleher reminds us, however, that forcing a ‘script’ (e.g. say this phrase every time) onto sceptical folk is a recipe for cynicism, not change. Leaders need to believe it themselves. So are we stuck – limited by the leaders we have? Thankfully no.
Social science found only a few percentage of people can listen to a new idea and then immediate integrate it into their daily interactions. Most of us are more set in our ways, and must try behaviors, and once experienced, we realign our thinking to re-establish a sense of internal consistency. Research found many people believe after trying new behaviors. [e.g. Chapter 3-Commitment and Consistency in Robert B. Cialdini’s book Influence.]
Being accountable for a few, new behaviors is often enough to jar leaders out of repetitive behavior patterns and, once performed, they begin to believe, thus avoiding the cynicism which results from ‘scripting’ behavior.
Three – It’s About Behaviors NOT Scripts
Kelleher reminds us that effective behaviors involve not just spoken words but authentic words. It is almost impossible to force people to use someone else’s words and appear sincere. So how can we hold behaviors accountable so they remain sincere? We ask leaders to make each common-sense behavior their own.
For example, we make leaders accountable for asking for their direct reports’ thoughts on a matter before they share their own views and give directives. Socrates dreamed up this effective device over 2,000 years ago. The practice reveals the state of direct reports’ thinking, affirms their value when their suggestions are invited and heard, and increases engagement. We make leaders accountable to ‘ask before sharing’ but let each find their own way to integrate the behavior into their daily leadership.
We’ve employed these practical techniques in many organizations with surprising and sustained impact.
One leader came to us six months after we ‘salted’ their leadership work culture with a set of behaviors designed to improve business performance, client satisfaction, and inter-departmental collaboration. She said, “Our culture used to be so negative and discouraging, but now it’s positive and encouraging and it’s been like that for the last six months. But I’m worried it’s going to go back to the way it was before?”
I told her that our assistance and presence with them hadn’t changed their culture, but the sets of accountable behaviors we established had.
I told her “It can’t.” I told her that our assistance and presence with them hadn’t changed their culture, but the sets of accountable behaviors we established had. What changed their work culture was leaders being accountable, so they tried new behaviors, and everyone noticed the encouraging change. So whether we stopped assisting them or not – the work culture would remain positive as long as their leaders remained accountable for similar behaviors.
Engineering a culture is really about continually improving and making leadership behaviors a priority to optimize an organizational performance and employee engagement and to ensure its continued success.
Here are 3 reasons organizations should take a step-by-step, engineered approach to strengthen work culture.
Available Energy Untapped – Employee Engagement
North American employee engagement has remained around 30% for 20 years according to Gallup. They found the primary predictor/ influencer to be the relationship between employees and supervising managers and whether each employee understood what was expected. Imagine how much available workforce energy hinges not on budget but on every leader’s behavior – whether managers communicate what’s expected and act in an objective and respectful manner.
Organizations have established and follow generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) but perhaps there should be an equivalent, a basic guide to generally acceptable manager-employee practices. The reality is that too few businesses even make an attempt to guide/coach managers to even a minimum standard of behavior. Organizations mistakenly assume leadership skills to be innate, instinctual and successively hire and fire until they find enough ‘natural’ leaders. In contrast, organizations like 3M continue to successfully grow their own leaders.
Too many organizations are good at tracking what’s measurable but poor at guiding what’s observable – e.g. behaviors. Enforcing a basic, positive level of managerial interaction would raise involvement and engagement levels and undoubtedly impact business results.
Available Options Unexplored – Internal Entrepreneurship
The new expectation of employees is that they must do their jobs while at the same time actively help to look for new products, services, savings, or alternatives. Static organizations that assume industry forces remain constant do not last.
Long-surviving organizations expect employees to think and help make frequent changes to stay relevant. Walgreens Pharmacy, from 1984 to 2000 opened 2.3 stores a week, but their focus changed during the next sixteen years. From 2000 to 2016 Walgreens acquired other chains, became multi-national, and established worldwide contracts to protect its cost structure (Walgreens.com timeline).
The search for, experimentation around, and evaluation of new ideas and methods is behavioral rather than overtly measureable. Measuring the number of meeting hours devoted to brainstorming isn’t the point – it’s the development and protection of new ideas in the hope of developing contributing initiatives.
Protecting new ideas and fostering new approaches is behavioral and, therefore, cultural. These behaviors need to be ‘baked in’ if the organization is to adapt, thrive, and survive.
Available Spirit Unexploited – Defendable Market Position
Many organizations have strategic plans but those with good plans and a positive culture can respond more effectively to competitive pressures. One CEO called a positive culture “powerful”.
Herb Kelleher, ex-CEO of Southwest said, “… we’re interested in intangibles — a spiritual infusion — because they are the hardest things for your competitors to replicate. The tangible things your competitors can go out and buy. But they can’t buy your spirit. So it’s the most powerful thing of all.”*
Building a Culture
Herb Kelleher from the same interview commented, “We used to have a corporate day. Companies would come in from around the world and they were interested in how we hired, trained, that sort of thing. Then we’d say, ‘Treat your people well and they’ll treat you well,’ and then they’d go home disappointed. It was too simple … Or too hard — because it’s a vast mosaic with thousands of little pieces that you have to keep putting in place every day. It’s not a programmatic thing. It can’t be. It has to come from the heart, not the head. If it’s programmatic, everybody will know that and say, “Hell, they’re not sincere; they don’t really care, they’re just telling us that they care.”*
Kelleher referred to culture as a “mosaic,” composed of ‘thousands of little pieces’ or behaviors or interactions based upon a sincere, tangible, demonstrable belief system. To strengthen a culture, leaders must believe and incrementally, daily act in concert with their belief system and set a basic standard of behavior for all their leaders.
The path to belief, however, is not the same for everyone. There are two main routes and both must be employed to move forward. The next post will explain this further along with three practical ways we’ve found helpful in efforts to strengthen culture.