According to Julie Winkle Giulioni of DesignArounds, strategic alignment is a driving force for successful organizations. One thing exceptional leaders do is use ongoing performance dialogue to ensure that everyone is rowing in the same direction. Julie shares ways to supplement (or replace) the traditional performance appraisal process to keep your team aligned and executing your strategy well. Follow Julie
Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without the strategy.
Welcome to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival Best of 2017 Edition. We asked thought leaders from around the world to share their very best post of the year. We strategically didn’t define “best of,” but instead let contributors choose their own criteria. Some submitted their most popular post in terms of page views or social sharing, while others submitted the post that had the most personal meaning for them.
It was interesting to see the themes that emerged. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors!
Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about strategy and alignment. New contributors are always welcome. Submit your relevant blog posts here!
“Not only are bloggers suckers for the remarkable, so are the people who read blogs.”-Seth Godin
Inspirational and Reflection
New to the Festival, Wendy Dailey of My Dailey Journey shares that 2017 has been eye-opening for her. Building her HR Tribe allowed her to be open to a new definition of success. Follow Wendy.
What we loved: First off, meeting Wendy at the SHRM conference, and experiencing her amazing energy and enthusiasm. I remember feeling that excited when starting my blog and seeing how quickly it attracted wonderful people to connect with. She’s doing a great job engaging her tribe. I loved how she takes her tribe with her to experience events.
Tanveer Naseer of Tanveer Naseer Leadership shares, “Some of the most popular pieces on my leadership blog revolve around stories I share that reveal a timely lesson on how to be better at leading others. It’s for this reason that my top post of 2017 revolves around a story – in this case, a story of one of my failures as a leader and the powerful lesson it gave rise to on the importance of effective listening.” Follow Tanveer.
What we loved:Tanveer’s vulnerability and sharing. No leader is perfect. Real growth comes from knowing that and working to improve.
What we loved: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” —J.K. Rowling, author
What we loved: Heroic Courage. “Bushidos never waver in the face of fear or the face of compromise. They hold fast to Principles. Heroic courage is not a bravery to bend or break rules, but courage to stand for them…”
What we love: His reminder that the crises we’re seeing with sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior are not just with the rich and famous. “Incivility and disrespect play out every day in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, politics, and social media networks around the globe.”
What we loved: #5 of her 9 Actions to Build Trust, “honor your promises.”
“I use the word “honor” instead of “keep” your promises deliberately, because no one keeps all of their promises. Stuff happens and we are, after all, human. So this means EITHER do what you said you would do OR tell someone in advance of the due date that you can’t deliver. When you can’t deliver and you tell someone in advance, you can figure out together how to deal with the potential breakdown. That doesn’t count as keeping your promise, but it does honor your commitment and your relationship.”
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about overcoming setbacks, resiliancy, and lessons learned. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about employee engagement in relation to customer service. Submit your relevant blog posts here!
Resiliency and Overcoming Setbacks
According to Chip Bell of Chip Bell Group, customers love service providers with a “never say die” attitude. When that resilience is part of their manner, customers feel they have an advocates working on their behalf. He shares a guest post he wrote for Eileen McDargh with more on the topic of “Service Resiliance.”Follow Chip
On the best books I’ve read on resiliency is Option B by Sheryl Sanburg and Adam Grant. What concept I found particularly useful was the 3 traps that sabotage resliency: Permanance, pervasiveness, and personalization. You can read more about the 3 Ps In Eileen McDargh’s post as well.
John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement thinks the key is to actively seek to learn and create robust systems. The best way to be resilient and overcome setbacks is to actively seek knowledge and improve. Don’t try to explain why failures were unavoidable or blame others (which are both common) or ignore them. Instead seek out the reasons why the causes of the result (systems in the organization, your thought process, the actions you took…) led to the problem and seek to change so the future will have better results. Follow John.
Jon Mertz of Thin Difference gives a charge: Leaders, take note. There is enough chaos in the world. We do not need to create more. Good leaders know how to find the center in chaos and focus on what matters most. That’s how we can make positive change. Follow Jon.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about team building. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all lessons learned, overcoming setbacks and resiliency. Submit your relevant blog posts here!
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about building brand awareness. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about team building. What’s your favorite team building experience? What are your best practices for building teams? Submit your relevant blog posts here!
Our Reflections on the Festival Contributions and Insights on Building an Army of Brand Ambassadors
Brand is just a perception, and perception will match reality over time. Sometimes it will be ahead, other times it will be behind. But brand is simply a collective impression some have about a product. – Elon Musk
The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. – Simon Mainwaring
A Few of My Thoughts on Brand Awareness
So many companies have strict social media policies for employees. I’m always struck by the impact social media can have in progressive companies who embrace these powerful tools and encourage their employees to blog and tweet about the brand. Encouraging employees to have a voice and not just be a “bot.”
I’m often asked to speak on how to turn your employees into brand ambassadors. I really enjoyed my work with senior HR leaders at the HR Asia Summit C-Suite Symposium forum this spring on the topic, where we discussed the importance of building empathetic connections between employees and your companies purpose– and connecting what you’re asking employees to do, with why you’re asking them to do it at every level of the business.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is about handling conflict in your team. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about building brand awareness. What approaches are you and your team using to build your organization’s brand? Submit your relevant blog posts here!
Difficulties are meant to rouse, not discourage. The human spirit is to grow strong by conflict. William Ellery Channing
From Paula Kiger of Weaving Influence: In this post, Paula shares the story of a father who sends his children to learn teamwork via a “challenge course.” The situation deteriorates when there is conflict over who will lead and who will follow. Gambling on LeadershipFollow Paula.
Chip Bell of Chip Bell.com challenges us to get a child to hear your positions and make recommendations. There is nothing more sobering than hearing an eight-year old comment on your positions and practices. Their innate humility and innocence can be a boon to seeing through the minutia and sometimes silly things that trigger conflicts. Follow Chip.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is a celebratory finish line of the Winning Well International Symposium with themes of confidence, humility, results, and relationships. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about handling conflict in your team. Submit your relevant blog posts by June 9 here!
If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life. Marcus Garvey
The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual. Vince Lombardi
David Grossman of The Grossman Group tells his story of self-discovery and stresses the value of leaders living authentically so you can be your best self, motivate your teams, and get results by showing leaders how to bring your best to work and bring out the best in others. Respectful AuthenticityFollow David.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about growth and change. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival corresponds to the Winning Well International Symposium. We will run the Frontline Festival as our closing post for the symposium, the week of May 22. Please share your best blog post that correlates with one of the four Winning Well principles: Confidence, Humility, Results, or Relationships. Submit your item here by May 15.
Chip Bell of ChipBell.com comments: After watching Will Smith in the new movie Collateral Beauty I want to pay more attention to and value the details of my experiences and be more in the moment. I am an overachiever (a trait I like) and try to maximize productivity (a trait I also like). But I too often miss the beauty of the cardinal outside my office window or the amaryllis starting to bloom or the pain on the face of the guy who picks up my garbage each week. I need to remember to ask him a question about his life and thank him for his work. Follow Chip.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about team time. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival follows up on this month’s with a theme all about growth and change. The question for the month is: What is an area of growth you are focusing on, either professionally or personally?Submit your growth and change related blog posts and answers to that question here!
This month’s question was: What tips do you have for working well with a team?
Part of developing a team that works well together is developing the individual skills of people. A bigger part of it is developing an understanding of the system within which those people must operate and adjusting that system to the people on the team. Too much time is devoted to changing people to fit into the constraints of the existing system and too little to changing the existing system to take advantage of individuals on the team now. Thanks, John Hunter of Curious Cat Management ImprovementFollow John.
Building product is not about having a large team to manage. It is about having a small team with the right people on it. ~ Fred Wilson
Robyn McLeod of Thoughtful Leaders Blog notes that at times, the way a team is set up and work gets done, can cause a team to be more at odds than pulling together. But with four simple tips – as simple as reducing conflicting goals – you can help your team work as one rather than against each other. Follow Robyn.
Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about preparing for 2017. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about goal setting. Please submit your very best links to your goal setting posts. The question for the month is: “What your best practice for helping teams set meaningful goals?”Submit your answers and blog posts related to this question: here!
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
From David Dye: In Winning Well we emphasize the importance of Committing with Clarity: mutually shared, clear commitments are the backbone of breakthrough results and healthy relationships. To that end, one way we’re preparing our team for 2017 is to create a playbook – a one-stop guide to the critical goals, messages, and activities of each strategic theme. It creates alignment, ensures we’re all focused on the same goals, and helps us to move faster. Follow David.
Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture says: I’m a solopreneur – but I have some fine players in my “band.” (Bear with me – I’m a working musician on the side.) My publicity pro is amazing. My virtual assistant is brilliant. I’m doing more proactive strategic planning with my publicity pro with monthly calls so we can stay on top of trends and news-jacking opportunities that arise quickly. My goal for 1Q 2017 is to decide what my extremely capable VA can do more of – so I can do less of that and more content creation, writing, and marketing. Only if I trust these players more – and delegate more – can we do more for leaders, companies, and communities in the months to come. Follow Chris.
Eileen McDargh of The Energizer shares: There are three people on my team: me, myself, and I. If I can get those three people in sync, then I can manage the other people who support me. I take myself away for three days on a silent retreat. I hike, write, and journal ideas. I meditate. I listen deeply. In the stillness that surrounds me, I come away refreshed. I don’t always have great breakthroughs and that’s ok too. The silence centers me because the rest of the year, I will be surrounded by the spoken word. Follow Eileen
Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.
Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence is preparing her team for 2017 by reflecting about and sharing wins from 2016 while setting goals and priorities for 2017. We’re all excited to launch a new website in the first quarter of 2017, which will more clearly reflect our company’s unique offer in the market while showcasing our authors/speakers. As we work on the website, we’re setting the stage for our best year ever. Follow Becky.
William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts says his team is cleaning up all contact files so our communications can be cleaner and more strategically targeted. They are also going to have a nice party in January to celebrate the publishing of his new book, which was a collaborative, group effort. Follow William.
Every day brings new choices.
~ Martha Beck
John Thurlbeck of Wear Consulting is reviewing how he did on goals in 2016 and setting goals for 2017 using Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever model. Follow John.
Dr. Artika Tyner of the Planting People. Growing Justice Institute is preparing her team for 2017 by focusing on their brand. She feels this will serve as the foundation for developing new products and services while also holding the team accountable for clearly conveying their brand purpose and consistently delivering their best. Follow Artika.
Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimitedhas a unique arrangement — she has a small team of colleagues that help her provide virtual assistance, and she is ON more than team, providing virtual assistance. One of her hopes for the new year is that she cultivate herself and her own colleagues in such a way that the clients HOPE serves feel like the only team HOPE is on–is theirs.Follow Beth.
Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
Unsticking your team is one of the biggest challenges of a leader. When inertia sets in, there’s almost always a breakdown in belief at some level. When teams stop believing they stop doing. If your team has lost that magic feeling, look for signs of lost believing.
6 Ways Teams Stop Believing
1. They Stop Believing in You
This can take a variety of forms, but it almost always comes down to a matter of trust. They’ve stopped believing you have their backs. Or, they’ve stopped believing you have the guts to speak the truth up, down or sideways. Or perhaps, they’ve stopped believing your guidance is sound.
This is the hardest one to fix, but you won’t be successful until you address the issue. Look for ways to open the conversation one-on-one to get to root cause. Know that your words will only go so far. They’ll be scrutinizing every behavior for signs of what to really believe.
2. They Stop Believing in the Organization
The trust in you may run deep, but if the team has started to question the ethics or the future of the organization, they may be distracted and lose steam. They’re watching you for clues. They’re unlikely to believe if you’ve stopped believing. If you suspect the team has concerns in this arena, it’s best to give them an opportunity to express and discuss their concerns. It’s likely that the story they’re telling themselves is much worse than the truth.
3. They Stop Believing in the Cause
Teams and people are motivated by WHY far more than how. Ensure your team understands the greater good and how they fit in. It’s a good time to ensure you have a strong team vision and that each team member knows where they fit in.
4. They Stop Believing in One Another
No employee engagement strategy is going to work if your team’s stop believing in one another. Take a close look at what you’re doing to encourage teamwork.
5. They Stop Believing in Themselves
You can a clear role and vision, and a team that gets along like peanut butter and jelly, but if the individuals on the team lack confidence in their ability to execute, they won’t succeed. It’s good to gauge confidence levels at an individual and a team level from time to time. If they think your goal is impossible, they’ll talk themselves out of trying.
6. They Stop Believing They Can Make a Difference
Perhaps they’ve worked on a big project, only to see a change in direction make their work obsolete. Or perhaps the downstream processes are so screwed up, any work they do is inadvertently sabotaged by later incompetence. If people don’t think their work really matters, they stop doing work that really matters.
Great leaders inspire belief in the vision, the cause, themselves and one another.
No one “forgets” their cancer diagnosis, their sick mother, their midterm exams, their custody battle, their abusive relationship. And yet, one of the most frequently uttered phrases in call centers is to instruct reps to “leave their home burdens at home, they won’t help you serve our customers.”
I get it, but I refuse to say it. The truth is, I don’t believe life works that way. Asking employees to “forget” that they’re a human being with burdens and fears does not help them to be more productive.
Sure, no one calls into a call center to hear someone else’s troubles, and we certainly don’t want suffering translating to bad moods and nasty service. But real connection between leaders and employees (burdens and all) creates richer relationships and yes, better productivity.
I don’t know anyone who’s successfully shoved their burdens down indefinitely and showed up brilliant, energized, and ready to connect full-on.
What If You Could See Their Burdens?
“Be kind, everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
(maybe… see other options)
My sister, a Speech Pathologist and Director of Rehab in a hospital, uses this short video to reinforce empathy with staff, Empathy, The Human Connection to Patient Care. Anyone who’s ever walked down a hospital hallway with their burdens can relate.
The truth is, this story exists across every organization, in every hallway and in every meeting. If your team members wore their burdens on their sleeves what would they say?
What’s the cost of not knowing your team members burdens?
How can you understand your employees, without understanding what weighs most heavy in their hearts?
What opportunities do you have for a bit more connection and kindness?
Team members may push their concerns down for a minute, but human beings need connection. Sure there’s HR and great Employee Assistance Programs (EAP),” those are necessary, but not sufficient. I’m not suggesting creating co-dependency or assuming parenting roles, just a bit deeper level of listening, empathy, and connected-solutions.
The best opportunity for real connection starts at the team leader level. Begin with connection and understanding, then bring in reinforcements as needed.