Archives For Culture

Dave Kraft is a wise man and was my former leadership coach. In an excellent post he talks about the application of ACTS in a particular situation and this post is a worthwhile read in my opinion.

So, let’s look at ACTS in a general sense and how a leader might apply it to their life.

A – ACCOUNTABLE: Are you truly accountable to someone(s) in your life? Truly accountable? Is someone willing to ask you the hard questions and pursue you until you deal with those questions? Are they willing to challenge questionable behaviors in your life?

C – CONFESSIONAL: Do you confess and own your sin or do you try to shift the blame? Mature leaders accept rebuke, confess their sin, and own their sin.

T – TEACHABLE: Are you teachable as a leader? Are you willing to receive honest inquiries from those you lead? And others? Do you realize that there are many people smarter than you and some of them are on the team you lead?

S – SUSTAINABLE: Is the pace you are setting for your team sustainable? Are your expectations realistic? Are you providing the resources to your team that they need to meet your expectations? What about your team’s work-life balance?

Here is how Dave applies ACTS:

1. Good and genuine accountability, coupled with vulnerability and transparency.
2. A clear value in keeping short accounts, with sin being quickly confessed and owned.
3. An attitude of being teachable and open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
4. A culture of pacing that is realistic and sustainable, resulting in good morale and joy.

Now, how can you apply ACTS in your life?

BG

Candor quote

“Collaboration: being fully assertive and fully cooperative – at the same time” – Ambassador Enterprises, LLC

One thing I learned at AE was the value of collaboration and that it was often fiery and unpleasant; full of conflict with strong and intelligent people going at it over an idea. But the beautiful thing was that they weren’t trying to win an argument – they were trying to find the best solution for the problem at hand. It had nothing to do with their relationships / friendships – it was about doing their very best – as a team – to arrive at the best solution.

Following is part of an article from Harvard Business Review on how managers mistake cooperativeness for collaboration:

Having worked with hundreds of managers over the years, I’ve seen that very few admit to being poor collaborators, mostly because they mistake their cooperativeness for being collaborative. And indeed, most managers are cooperative, friendly, and willing to share information — but what they lack is the ability and flexibility to align their goals and resources with others in real time. Sometimes this starts at the top of the organization when senior leaders don’t fully synchronize their strategies and performance measures with each other. More often, however, the collaboration challenge resides with department heads, product leaders, and major initiative managers who need to get everyone on the same page – and shouldn’t wait for senior executives to force the issue for them.

Collaboration is hard work, but necessary if you want your organization to rise above being mediocre.

BG

a time of transition

September 8, 2014

Fall 2013Good Monday morning! You can feel fall in the air here in the Midwest.

Transitions – they are filled with excitement and anxiety. Looking forward to the new and sad about what you are leaving. Transitions provoke a wide range of emotions. I know – we are in the midst of one right now.

This week marks a major transition for our family and for me professionally. This week will be my last days in the office at Ambassador Enterprises, LLC. We are headed back South so that we can be closer to family and to be able to see my parents more and to be able to help with them. As I told the leaders of Ambassador, I am not “leaving” Ambassador (AE), but rather moving toward a family responsibility.

I have learned much about myself, good processes, and leadership during my time here at AE. I have seen up close how to run a business with excellence and all done with Scripture as the guide and the major purpose being bringing glory to God. You can be in business and do well in business by running the business in accordance with God’s Word. Unfortunately, too many people think you can’t, but AE has proven them wrong.

AE has given me the opportunity to go in and help non-profits, ministries, and Christian colleges to get better as they serve the Lord and others. That is indeed a privilege. I have seen first-hand that one of the most effective ways to give is to give yourself – your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience – to help others.

I am so grateful for the investment into my life by the leaders and team at AE and it shows that if a leader truly desires to run a business by God’s Word and to create a healthy culture where excellence is the standard, it is possible – but not easy. The leaders at AE determined what type of culture they wanted to create and have been relentless in their pursuit of that goal. It is not perfect, by any means, but it is one of the best cultures I have encountered.

If you, as a leader, want a healthy culture where people thrive, it is up to you. It can be done, but it won’t be easy and it is an ongoing effort – but it is worth it as you will change the lives of the people you touch.

So, we are about to turn a page in our lives as we head South to another great organization where we again will have the opportunity to serve others.

Have a great week! 

BG

Good morning!

Organizational mission and culture are important. Having your team onboard and bought into the mission and culture is a key component to your organization’s success.

However, while we (as leaders) think everyone is on board, we keep running into issues that confound us and go against the grain of who we are as an organization. Why?

One reason I have observed is that because the people immediately surrounding the leader(s) do seem to catch it, but it often does not go beyond that one or two inner rings of the circle of people around the senior leaders.oSOmehow, the message, the mission, the values, the culture does not make it to the people on the front lines or in the key support roles as they are too far removed from the inner circle.

So, if you are a leader, you need to get out of your office and meet with the people actually doing the work. Make it safe for them to talk with you. Communicate your mission, values, and the culture to them in straightforward language. Get to know them.

Get out of your office and go talk to your people. Live your mission and values in front of them. Ask them what is wrong with the culture and then fix those issues.

But begin by simply getting out of your office.

BG

Sinek on culture

Lauren's FLowers JULY 2014Good morning!

Does that sound a bit odd saying to not be nice? Actually, I am not sure yet if it is the best word yet for what I am trying to communicate.

In the nonprofit world especially, but often in business settings, I have found that people avoid saying what others need to hear or that we avoid dealing with difficult subjects as we don’t want to cause waves or disrupt the harmony (supposedly) of the team. What it actually means is that we try to avoid things that are emotionally uncomfortable for us. Get that last point – “for us”? Being nice, usually means not placing ourselves in a place of emotional discomfort – it’s all about us – not the other person.

Being kind on the other hand, is about doing what is best for the other person, even if it is emotionally uncomfortable, because you place their well-being above your own emotional comfort. Sometimes being kind doesn’t feel kind, especially when you are challenging a friend or co-worker to a higher standard that you know they could and should meet. It’s about challenging a family member to a higher standard. It’s about confronting someone you care about who has habits/behaviors that are detrimental to their well-being.

So, stop being nice (concerned about your own emotional comfort) and start being kind (being concerned for the well-being of others). Do what is right today.

BG

summer sunlight June 2014Good Friday morning to you! A rainy and cool day here in the Midwest.

An issue that is important to me and that has been rekindled in me by Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism is how we equate busyness and the accomplishment of our to-do list as productivity. As I have noted before, our US culture rewards and values the busy person who is skilled at multitasking (which is a lie as well) and whose calendar is filled with one meeting after another with no room to even breathe much less think. For some reason, we define this as being “productive”.

As I noted in an earlier blog, this could be one form of laziness, for some people it is all they know, and for many of us, it is the behavior that is functionally valued and rewarded in our organizations. However, often the greatest value to the organization are the people who take time to think deeply and to wrestle with the core issues or challenges facing the organization. Those people who are digging to find the root cause(s) and to develop long-term solutions to those problems. People who are concerned  that they are working on the “one thing” that will tip the scales in whatever endeavor they are working on. These people are the ones that often bring the most value to an organization, but unfortunately, in most of our organizations they are seen as “unproductive” as they are not rushing around and attending many meetings. They are often just thinking. Yet, given the chance, they are the ones that solve the biggest problems or develop game-changing innovations.

So, maybe, just maybe, we have a wrong definition of productivity. And just maybe it’s time to change the definition,

Have a great weekend!

BG

TurnTheShipAround-cvr-thumb (1)Guiding principles are wonderful things – if you have them. Too many of us as individuals and organizations have not fully articulated our guiding principles.

In his book Turn This Ship Around!, author L. David Marquet lists the guiding principles he and his team developed while he was commander of the attack submarine the Santa Fe.

The principles were as follows:

1. Initiative

2. Innovation

3. Intimate Technical Knowledge

4. Courage

5. Commitment

6. Continuous Improvement

7. Integrity

8. Empowerment

9. Teamwork

10. Openness

11. Timeliness

You need to get the book and read the full explanation of each of these to appreciate their power.

The key point is that establishing a set of clearly, and often, communicated guiding principles was one of the ways he took one of the poorest performing submarines in the fleet to one of the best, if not the best, in the fleet.

So what are your guiding principles for your organization? At the end of the week, Lauren will be sharing how you develop your own personal set of guiding principles.

Have a great week!

BG