Moving From Good to Great

Moving From Good to Great

Believe it or not, every team has a set of Rules of Engagement; guidelines that define what is acceptable and unacceptable. Unfortunately, very few teams have been intentional in creating these rules. In most cases, leaders have simply let them develop on their own; essentially, leaving team culture up to chance. With any luck you might end up with a good culture using this roll of the dice approach, but if your goal is to have a great culture, you have to be intentional.

The creation of Rules of Engagement is a critical first step in transforming your culture from good to great. Check out the latest installment from The Culture Architect Video Series for more information on this foundational, building block of a great culture.

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Agents of Change

Agents of Change

Imagine the heights to which your organization could soar if every employee served as an agent of change. Imagine the solutions that would surface if your culture encouraged every employee to speak the truth. Imagine the impact on your bottom-line if your organization went from responding when the cheese was moved to moving the cheese. In this video, we take a brief look at the core competencies of an agent of change. The descriptions come from a wonderful resource called FYI: For Your Improvement, found here.

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Law #4 – The 4 Laws of Culture

Law #4 – The 4 Laws of Culture

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Law #3 – The 4 Laws of Culture

Law #3 – The 4 Laws of Culture

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Law #2 – The 4 Laws of Culture

Law #2 – The 4 Laws of Culture

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Law #1 – Culture is the Soil in Which Everything In Your Organization Lives or Dies

Law #1 – Culture is the Soil in Which Everything In Your Organization Lives or Dies

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Introduction to the 4 Laws of Culture

Introduction to the 4 Laws of Culture

The launch of our video series marks another milestone in the evolution of our company and none of it would be possible without you! Thank you for your ongoing support of me and Tony Moore Speaks. I made these videos with you in mind. Click below to watch our Introduction to the Four Laws of Culture.

MEET TONY MOORE

Tony hits the stage with three fundamental goals in mind: present disruptive ideas that challenge your thinking, share solutions born out of experience, and provide inspiration that moves your audience to action. This vlog is designed to provide actionable steps for you and your organization, as well as glimpse into Tonys core mission.

Featured Keynotes

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

A few months ago my 15 year old daughter received her Learner’s Permit. According to the State of Florida, she can now drive the car as long as a licensed adult is in the car with her.

To be quite honest, this is a milestone of which I am not yet ready to accept. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding her in my arms, singing My Cherie Amour, and crying as I pondered the tremendous responsibility that came with her arrival. Now this bundle of joy that was once completely dependent on me and my wife is driving a car.

Interestingly enough, there is a fundamental difference between my daughter behind the wheel at fifteen and me behind the wheel at fifteen; a difference of which I am very pleased. She is cautious, respectful of the road, and seems to understand that driving brings with it a certain amount of danger. I, on the other hand, being blindly confident, took to the streets like a mad man; believing from the very beginning that I had it all under control.

I remember being out driving one day with my mother in the passenger seat. Although she never said so, her death grip on the arm rest seemed to indicate she was more than a little nervous. Of course, I was cooler than the other side of the pillow; completely oblivious to the fact that this 4000 pound hunk of steel (yes steel, it was the 1970s) could do great damage if I crashed.

At some point during our drive, my mother turned to me and the following conversation took place:

My Mother: Are you doing ok?

Me: Yes.

My Mother: Are you sure?

Me: Yes. Stop worrying, I got this!

My Mother: Ok, but be sure to check your mirrors periodically.

Me: Mirrors? What mirrors?

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Loosely quoted, the philosopher Kierkegaard wrote, “Life must be lived forward and understood backwards.”  Yet oftentimes we are so focused on the next achievement,  we fail to stop, look in the rearview mirror, and celebrate what was been accomplished.

As you wind down 2013 and before you get too focused on 2014, take a moment to look back and evaluate your impact this past year. Here are a few questions to consider.

Who is in the wake of your influence and how are they doing?

Whether you are a mother, father, teacher, coach, pastor, or CEO, if you have been leading this past year, your influence has been felt by those who follow you. How have they faired under your leadership? Have you created an environment in which they were able to flourish? Did you remove obstacles from their pathway, or were you a hindrance to their success?

Rather than hazard a guess, I suggest you go straight to the source by setting up individual meetings with those you lead. Prior to the meeting, ask them to come prepared with answers to the following three questions.

  1. What is one thing I have not done this year that you would like me to start doing?
  2. What is one thing I have done this year that you would like me to stop doing?
  3. What is one thing I have done this year that you would like me to continue doing?

What has the team accomplished?

The end of the year is usually accompanied by a deep exhale, in some cases figuratively, but often literally. So while everyone is catching their breath, take time to reflect on the accomplishments of the team and celebrate success. Did the team set goals this past year and reach them? Perhaps your goal was to increase teamwork; is there evidence that this occurred?

Do not feel pressure to come up with the list yourself. Ask the team to make a list of accomplishments, and then post them on the wall for everyone to see.

What have been the individual contributions to the team’s success?

It is highly likely that everyone on your team made an individual contribution that led to the team’s success; think individual action, collective power. Send a hand-written note to each member of the team thanking them for their contribution. Try to avoid making blanket statements like, “Thank you for your contribution this year.” The most meaningful recognition is individualized, deserved, and specific.

What individual character traits have you seen exemplified?

Has anyone on the team displayed honesty, integrity, or empathy? How about a drive for results, attention to detail, or holding oneself accountable? Make note of what you have seen and take time to tell your people that you noticed. This is great way to encourage them to continue. Admittedly, character qualities can be more challenging to identify. If you need some ideas to get you started, check out the Character First website at http://characterfirst.com/qualities for a great list of character qualities.

So here’s the Four One OneIf you want to increase your team’s desire to follow you in 2014, take the time to recognize them for what they did in 2013?

Communication

Clearly, one of the more difficult conversations in which we engage as leaders is classified as a Crucial Conversation.  Anecdotally I know this is a topic of great interest to leaders as “Engaging in Difficult Dialogue” was my most requested workshop for years… my apology for the shameless self-promotion.

Before I share with you a tip that has benefitted me over the years, let’s start by defining a “Crucial Conversation.” In their book “Crucial Conversations,” the authors identify four factors that elevate a regular conversation to a “Crucial Conversation.”

  1. It’s emotionally charged
  2. There are high stakes
  3. The topic is sensitive in nature
  4. There is more than one opinion present

Even for the skilled communicator, a conversation with all four of those factors present is a conversation that will be challenging to navigate. However, I am convinced that with the right tools (the book is full of them) you can certainly increase your effectiveness during these conversations.

So how about that tip…if you are engaging in a conversation and you find yourself ready to immediately disagree with something that has been said…you know that point where your forehead tightens, your palms get sweaty, and your heart starts racing…take these two preemptive steps.

Step One: Clarify

As simple as this may seem, oftentimes disagreements and debates are directly linked to the fact that we did not hear exactly what was said. At some point while the person was still speaking, our brains started processing information and formulating a response. As a result, we unknowingly missed part of the conversation.

Clarifying is simply taking a step to make sure the words we believe we heard are the words that were actually spoken. It goes something like this, “Just to clarify, did I hear you say that I don’t give people the benefit of the doubt?”

The beauty in clarifying is two-fold. If we missed part of the conversation, the speaker will be given an opportunity to repeat herself. If we heard the words correctly, then we are free to move on to step two.

Step Two: Confirm

The purpose of confirming is to ensure the meaning we have ascribed to the words is the meaning the speaker has in mind. Words often serve as triggers; eliciting a deep emotional response that may or may not be appropriate to the situation.

Confirming goes something like this, “So when you say that I don’t give people the benefit of the doubt, are you saying that I simply jump to conclusions and act without thinking?” Much like clarifying above, if we have misunderstood what was meant the speaker now has an opportunity to clarify himself. If however, the speaker confirms our understanding, we can proceed with discussing my tendency to jump to conclusions…something I rarely do by the way…just ask my family…Well…maybe you shouldn’t ask them.

Do you have any communication tips to share, anything that seems to work well for you? I would love to hear from you.

 

Interested in purchasing a copy Crucial Conversations, follow this link to do so. http://www.amazon.com/Crucial-Conversations-Talking-Stakes-Edition/dp/0071771328

Dead Horses

In his classic song, The Gambler, Kenny Rogers wrote “You have to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, no when to run.” Truthfully, I am not much of a gambler. I prefer spending money as opposed to losing it on a wager. Nevertheless, gambler or not, there seems to be great wisdom in these words.

Have you ever been in a situation in which the evidence indicates you need to move on, nevertheless you continue to plow ahead as if somehow you are going to get a different result? Ever found yourself stubbornly leading your team down the road only to learn that everyone knew you should have stopped a long time ago?

Don’t feel like you are alone. Anyone who has led for any period of time has at some point found themselves at this crossroad; wondering whether they continue on or change direction. Whether the issue is an underperforming team member, or a pet project that is draining resources, making the decision to “fold ‘em” and “walk away” is often the most difficult, yet best decision you will ever make.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.”

                                                                                                                                                                                 Peter Drucker

As a leader, I pride myself in managing to outcomes. I set a very high standard for myself, as well as those on my team. In my experience, when the target is realistic, and what’s required plays to their strengths, people tend to rise to the challenge they are given.

There are, however, times when they don’t rise to the occasion; times when it is crystal clear that they are not in the right seat on the bus…or worse, they are on the wrong bus! During these times, I preach the same message to every leader, “Take swift action!”

A True Confession

I once had someone on my team who had underperformed for more than a year. Every time they failed to meet an agreed upon outcome, I devised a new excuse for the shortcoming and implemented a new strategy. I sent him to training, introduced him to a new way to organize his work, had him complete a 360, and even had a respected manager serve as his coach. I did everything I could think of; never once considering he was on the wrong bus.

      “If the solution you applied doesn’t get you the results you really want, you may be addressing the wrong problem”                                                                                                                                                                              Crucial Conversations

One day a high performing member of my team confronted me. With complete confidence she stated, “You would never let me get away with that level of performance.”

Wow! Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. And she was absolutely right. As hard as it was to hear, her words served as a wakeup call; providing the necessary clarity to apply the right solution.

So here’s the Four One One…

Executing change often requires both wisdom and courage; wisdom to listen to the people around you and courage to take action. Applying the discipline to resist our natural inclination to press ahead is rarely easy, but the positive impact on your team will be worth it.

For Your Enjoyment

The November 2000 issue of the Austin, Texas ASTD Newsletter contained an excerpt titled, “Dead Horses.” Over the years it has served as a reminder of the many times the wrong solution has been applied to the problem. I have included it for your enjoyment.

Dead Horses

Dakota Sioux tribal wisdom says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. However, in managing any business we often try other strategies with dead horses, including the following:

  1. Buying a stronger whip.
  2. Changing riders.
  3. Saying things like “This is the way we always have ridden this horse.”
  4. Appointing a committee to study the horse.
  5. Arranging to visit other sites to see how they ride dead horses.
  6. Increasing the standard to ride dead horses.
  7. Appointing a team to revive the dead horse.
  8. Creating a training session to increase our riding ability.
  9. Comparing the state of dead horses in today’s environment.
  10. Change the requirements declaring that ‘This horse is not dead.”
  11. Hire contractors to ride the dead horse.
  12. Harnessing several dead horses together for increased speed.
  13. Declaring that “No horse is too dead to beat.”
  14. Providing additional funding to increase the horse’s performance.
  15. Do a case study to see if contractors can ride it cheaper.
  16. Purchase a product to make dead horses run faster.
  17. Declare the horse is “better, faster and cheaper” dead.
  18. Form a quality circle to find uses for dead horses.
  19. Revisit the performance requirements for horses.
  20. Say this horse was procured with cost as an independent variable.
  21. Promote the dead horse to a supervisory position.

(Source Unknown)