Corporate misery, Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Visionary leadership, Vapourware & Boomtimes and Job Vacancies
18th April 2021 Evolution Partners Newsletter
“Humility is the cornerstone of critical thinking.” – Daniel Levitin
Hope you’re Thriving!
I’ve had a great week with some solid time spent on my new book about onboarding as well as an intensive strategy workshop refining and building a strategy for a 50-year-old business, but most of all, this week after 400 days, I went to see a live concert for the first time. It’s not that I always used to go to live shows. It was reasonably rare, but with the extended COVID-19 lockdown and restrictions, going to a live concert again and seeing a performance was remarkable. Who did I see? Missy Higgins at the Fremantle jail, which in itself comes with a little bit of irony. Here is a YouTube playlist of her most popular songs for those who aren’t familiar, and of which my favourite is probably NYE.
Combatting corporate misery
After talking about going to a concert for the first time in a long time, it seems funny to lead on to misery. One of the things that quite interesting is how in an organisation, people can foster misery. One person might be upset at something and then need to complain to another person. Then, that person loves to complain to another person. Suddenly, you’ve got a problem on your hands with a group of people who are making each other miserable. This week I saw that replicated again in an organisation that I work with where the leader had decided to bring in a new initiative that was standard for the industry. It was technology and was a change but wasn’t unexpected by anybody. One person took offence to that or got upset at that and then decided that they would complain to other people, and then those people were going to complain to yet other people. Ultimately one person resigned and decided they’d instead go and work somewhere else. In next week’s Growth Whispers podcast, Kevin and I discuss the seven hidden reasons people leave their job, which is a fantastic episode, and we probably know that was only one part of that person’s real reason to go. Instead, it’s worth considering when misery is loving company within your company what you can do about it.
In my book Made to Thrive, I introduced the concept of the Ambassador role and why it’s so essential for leaders to unlock the pride in their teams.
The ambassador role is a strategic role for the CEO. It covers five areas
- The CEO has a system to build a public profile such as industry forums, industry leadership blogging, or speaking
- The CEO attends all major customer contract signings or product launches
- All employees learn core values and core purpose stories monthly from the CEO
- All new employees are welcomed by the CEO either physically or virtually within their first week of employment
- Every quarter, the CEO launches the company plan and priorities to all employees
Now it’s fair to say that if you’re telling values and purpose stories and you’re shaking the hand of new employees, and you’re telling your team these are the top five priorities for the company for the next 90 days that there is a good chance you may not avoid misery.
But there is a broader intent with the ambassador role, and that is one of servant leadership, one of being able to consider how I can best serve my employees to help them achieve their job better?
That doesn’t mean that you’re subservient to them. It still means that you’re the boss, but what it does mean is that you’re thinking about how I can serve them as an ambassador better, especially when unlocking their pride. Because if your boss is an Ambassador for the business and is performing the Ambassador’s role well and invoking pride within the team, it will be much harder for misery to take hold and for misery to find the company misery so desperately seeks.
What Destroys Teams
There’s no doubt that misery can take hold in a team, and because misery loves company, one unhappy person can make another person unhappy and then others and so on. I’m sure we’ve all seen it before in a work or social situation. In the work that I do with teams, I’m always using a model by Patrick Lencioni called The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. And this week, I came across a fantastic nine-minute video by Patrick Lencioni, where he explains what destroys teams and the critical leadership mistakes that you should avoid.
It’s a summary in part of his book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, but it’s worth 9 minutes of your time if in any way you’re involved as a leader or a participant in a leadership team.
Why Visionary Leadership Fails
As we escalate the org chart this week from one miserable employee to a dysfunctional team; next we go to failing leadership!
This week I came across an interesting article from HBR, which analyses why visionary leadership fails.
From the article
“Visionary leadership is widely seen as key to strategic change. That’s because visionary leadership does not just set the strategic direction — it tells a story about why the change is worth pursuing and inspires people to embrace the change. Not surprisingly, science and practice have a very positive view of visionary leadership as a critical leadership competency.
But our research finds that the positive impact of visionary leadership breaks down when middle managers aren’t aligned with top management’s strategic vision. This can cause strategic change efforts to slow down or even fail. When we think of visionary leaders, our first blush response is to think of CEOs. Widely celebrated people like Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and Oprah Winfrey come to mind. But visionary leadership is not just important for senior managers; it also matters for middle and lower-level managers, who play a key role in carrying out strategic change. Their ability to inspire their own teams and create strategic alignment — a shared understanding of and commitment to the company’s strategy — within them is a core element in successful strategy execution. This is why company leadership frameworks typically list visionary leadership as a key leadership competency for managers. For example, Google’s data-driven Project Oxygen identified visionary leadership as one of the eight traits of stellar middle managers. However, this emphasis on visionary leadership relies on an untenable assumption: that managers outside the C-suite are always aligned with company strategy. What if they are not?”
Read the article here Why Visionary Leadership Fails
Selling the Vapourware Strategy
This week I came across the interesting chart below, probably from the Vapourware 101 slide deck. As you can see, the objective is not to build a strategy for the company it’s to find a way to populate the axis that will endeavour to show to the viewer that one is different to the competition, small or large. Of course, strategy isn’t easy, and if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Instead, a strategy should be viewed as effective when it delivers a unique and valuable position in the market.
Boomtimes and Job Vacancies
I keep hearing time and time again that people are finding it hard to hire new staff. I found a commentator mention this week that Western Australian unemployment is now at 4.8% and has a shortage of 40,000 workers, and it’s only getting worse.
In fact, I came across this from a report about Australia’s leading job board Seek this week.
“Overview of March 2021: Highest number of job ads posted in a month in SEEK’s 23+ year history. Applications per ad at lowest level since 2012.”
If you’re trying to find staff, and that’s becoming more of a burden, then this week, Kevin and I released a podcast episode about the Topgrading Job Scorecard that helps you to define the role that you’re trying to fill. It’s a highly detailed role description that you probably haven’t seen before and digs into describing the position and all of the critical competencies required—more about that Job Scorecard podcast below.
This week on The Growth Whisperers podcast
This week on The Growth Whisperers we talk about one of the most important parts of hiring a new employee. It’s called the Job Scorecard from Brad Smart at Topgrading and it’s so important to successfully hire.
What we found over many years working with companies and seeing great hires and bad hires, is that often leaders are not clear enough upfront about what great looks like in a role.
The Job Scorecard determines what great looks like in a role and is a tool to use not only during hiring and onboarding but all the time people are employed in that role.
What is a Topgrading Job Scorecard and how do you use it?
Listen to The Growth Whisperers
From the vault
The Virtual Bench
Each significant role has a virtual bench of 2 people, contacted quarterly.
We’ve got a real problem when it comes to recruitment. The problem is that business owners and managers have a dream, and that dream looks a little something like this.
There’s a vacancy because of growth or a person has resigned.
The leader puts a job advert on an online job board.
The very next day, the perfect applicant applies, is able to come in straight away, is over-qualified for the role and can start the very next day. But because the salary wasn’t discussed in the interview, the leader finds out that in actual fact, they’re able to pay that person less than what they expected.
And I put it to ya that this dream has never happened once in the history of the world.
Patrick Lencioni event
In partnership with The Growth Faculty, Evolution Partners is delighted to offer you $100 discount to see Patrick Lencioni in a live virtual event this April: Patrick Lencioni: 4 Pillars of High-Performance Cultures.
New York Times best-selling author of The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team (plus 11 others), Patrick Lencioni is the global pioneer of the organisational health movement.
McKinsey research shows a healthy organisation delivers roughly 3x the returns to stakeholders than less healthy companies. And, companies that institute initiatives to improve health see tangible performance increases in as little as six months.
Named “one of the most in demand speakers in America” by the Wall Street Journal, Patrick Lencioni will deliver a fast-paced, highly practical event teaching business leaders and their teams how to create a healthy organisation and high-performing culture that takes advantage of the talent within their teams.
YOU WILL LEARN:
Practical and highly entertaining, over 2.5 hours you’ll learn:
• The 4 Disciplines Model of organisational health
• The 5 Essential Behaviours required to build a cohesive and high performing team
• The Ideal Team Player framework for identifying, hiring and developing ideal team players
• The 6 Types of Geniuses – Identify your areas of working genius that allow you to thrive at and enjoy work
• PLUS, interactive Q&A with Patrick
You will leave with immediately actionable frameworks and tools that have transformed thousands of businesses globally.
2021 Agile Leadership Summit event
I invite you (and your leadership team) to join me at the April 2021 Agile Leadership Summit.
This virtual summit is going to be a high-value event with concrete, actionable takeaways.
The three featured Keynote speakers are;
Michael Bungay Stanier
Easy Change vs Hard Change“Easy Change” is likely something you’ve already mastered. But “Hard Change” … well, that thing you find difficult to make progress on.
In this practical session, we’ll dig into:
• the difference between Easy Change and Hard Change, and why it matters
• the most common mistake made in trying to “crack” Hard Change
• the hidden force that’s most likely stopping you make progress on Hard Change
What’s Next?! How to Navigate Customer and Employee Interactions in a Pandemic (and Post-Pandemic) EraAs the pandemic continues to shape the world, businesses face new challenges on a daily basis. Smart organisations recognize that the “old way of doing business” doesn’t work anymore and that waiting and hoping for things to “get back to normal” isn’t a viable strategy. In this practical session, we’ll discover: “what’s next” in order to acknowledge the new reality, adapt to a shifting landscape, and thrive in this new environment
Radical Alignment to a Core Strategy
What are the symptoms of a lack of Core Strategy in a company? What struggles do companies face when they aren’t radically aligned around their BHAG? What strategies and tools will this monograph cover (high-level) that will allow you to address these issues and form a Core Strategy for your company to align divisional strategy around?
Building atop highly-rated North American Summits, the first Australia/Asia Agile Leadership is an opportunity for you and your leadership team to come together for a premium learning experience via a half-day series of keynotes and practical, interactive breakout sessions. You’ll learn in three key areas: how to become a highly-skilled coach CEO for your teams, how to build vision through abundance, and how to implement practical tools that create award-winning companies.
Join us for this half-day of learning on April 29, 2021, from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm AEST for only: $325 AUD.
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