7 important things to develop your mid-managers, The Level 5 Leader University , Why mid managers are stuck in the middle & Lessons from the Trek culture book
21 August 2022 Newsletter
“You can accomplish anything in life provided you don’t mind who gets the credit.” – Harry Truman
Hope you’re Thriving!
You know when you’ve been working on a project for years, and then in a single week, several things all come together? Well, that’s happened this week for my new Onboarded book!
We’ve set a tentative launch date in October (we can’t share just yet), and several things have happened simultaneously. Ironically, it looks like we might end up with a publishing date exactly three years after my first book Made to Thrive
The Level 5 Leader University
This week I enjoyed the event from Jim Collins that we brought to you in conjunction with The Growth Faculty. There were over 3,000 delegates, and Jim spoke about his concept of Level 5 leadership, briefly defined as a humble leader who wants to build a business greater than themselves, with an indomitable will to achieve that.
In the event, Jim described a company that has taken the concept of Level 5 leadership to a whole new level. John Burke, the President of Trek Bicycles from Waterloo, Wisconsin, explained to Jim how they “have 450 leaders, and 42 are level 5. There’s a lot of work to do”, he went on to tell Jim. Trek has built an entire company university dedicated to building level 5 leaders, and at any time, John can tell you how many there are and how they are progressing. Instead of managing the business as you traditionally would, he is focused on building the leaders. The rest will take care of itself.
See below for this week’s podcast, “Seven important things to develop your mid-managers”, where we talk about how to grow mid-managers until you can afford your own internal university.
Here’s an image describing Jim Collin’s Level 5 leadership model:
Trek Culture Book
Over time, I’ve seen many culture books from companies trying to capture their culture in a series of stories and values. However, the Trek bicycle culture book is the best example I have ever seen.
Here are some of the highlights I’ve found:
- Our President’s email address is…One page is dedicated to providing this transparency alone. It’s a great example of the Ambassador role from Made to Thrive.
- The Core Values stories are amazing. For example, for their Core Value, “Make others’ problems your problems”, the story is entitled “Why we learned to reprogram garage door openers” (The number for Trek’s customer service line is a single digit off from the customer service line of a garage door opener company).
- They dedicate a page to the top 20 book club books.
- A good listener vs a bad listener.
- Every employee’s name is listed across several pages in tiny font. All are thanked.
- The stories are abundant, authentic and unforgettable.
- Sixty phrases you will hear at Trek, their meaning and their takeaway.
Again, at 212-pages, this is the most impressive culture book I have ever seen.
Check it out here: Trek Bicycle
Mid Managers Stuck in the Middle
This week I met with a CEO who, during our conversation, must have mentioned the challenge of empowering or growing his mid-managers at least ten times during our conversation. As I regularly highlight to many leaders, and he already knew, having the right mid-managers who can predict and delegate is one of the keys to effectively scaling.
This week I came across an interesting article from Fast Company that explains how life has changed for mid-managers since the pandemic, and not for the better.
From the article:
“Employee morale isn’t great these days. Job satisfaction is low. Burnout rates are high. Workers are feeling overwhelmed and undervalued.
But if you look closely, it’s not the lowest-ranking employees reporting the greatest levels of stress and anxiety. Nor is it the leaders tasked with running companies during an unprecedented period of workplace transformation.
It’s the poor souls stuck in the middle.
These middle managers—the butt of the joke in so many office comedies for their outsize ambition, assumed mediocrity, or embrace of the status quo—actually play a crucial role in most workplaces.
They get stuff done.
They motivate others to get stuff done.
They provide the vital link between the C-suite and the rest of the company—two groups that often have vastly different desires and motivations. Serving as this go-between has become harder recently, as the strategic priorities of executives diverge even further from the needs of their workers.
Two-plus years into the pandemic, with a recession on the horizon, many corporate leaders want employees back in the office (at least part time), believing that this workplace cohesion will help them better navigate an uncertain economy and lingering supply chain issues, on top of the regular pressures of increasing the bottom line.
Employees, for their part, want flexibility, career development, meaningful work, and a supportive corporate culture. When these priorities clash, it’s these managers who are stuck doing the, well, managing.”
Read the article here: This is why no one wants to be a middle manager anymore
Air transport jobs
Have you been wondering why there are so many issues with air travel? The number of jobs in accommodation is basically back to where it was before the pandemic. The number of paying passengers is also back to Feb 2020 levels. The number of jobs in air travel? Down 31%.
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
Seven important things to develop your mid-managers
How do you develop your mid-managers?
As companies grow, the gap tends to be in the middle management and, as they are so busy working, they rarely get the development time, resources and attention needed for the growth that is required to develop talent from within. As a result, we end up having to hire many external team members to strengthen the team – more than many companies would like. And the existing team gets stagnant.
In the end, every team ends up with its own university. An internal learning centre to help people grow. But what do you do until you get to 1,000+ employees when that happens?
In this episode, Brad and Kevin talk about the seven important things you can do to develop your mid-managers.
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
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