Archives For Organizational Health

“The American workforce has more than 100 million full-time employees. One-third of those employees are what Gallup calls engaged at work. They love their jobs and make their organization and America better every day. At the other end, 16% of employees are actively disengaged—they are miserable in the workplace and destroy what the most engaged employees build. The remaining 51% of employees are not engaged—they’re just there.

“These figures indicate an American leadership philosophy that simply doesn’t work anymore.” (Clifton)

“After two decades of working with CEOs and their teams of senior executives, I’ve become absolutely convinced that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre or unsuccessful ones has little, if anything, to do with what they know or how smart they are; it has everything to do with how healthy they are.” (Lencioni)

“The most important decisions that executives make are people decisions.” (Drucker)

We have an organizational health problem in this country that is undermining the effectiveness of our organizations in both the for-profit and nonprofit worlds. The implications are far reaching in that it affects the overall health of this country economically, it affects the communities where organizations operate, and it affects the health of individual employees and their families.

The cause of the problem, and the solution, rests with those leading those organizations at the C-Suite and Board levels.

Many leaders of organizations have come through the business education system and are well schooled in the “hard science” aspects of running organizations. They know how to produce and read financial reports, develop strategic plans, manage supply chains, produce sales forecasts, ensure they are complying with human resources regulations, and all the other aspects of running an organization that are so important.

As important as good systems and processes are to a well-run organization, we have to embrace the fact that the health of the people in our organizations is more important than our strategies and systems. I once worked for an incredibly successful businessman who made the statement that there was no need for customer satisfaction surveys – what was needed was employee satisfaction surveys. His position was that if you have satisfied employees, you have satisfied customers. Put another way – if you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.

Leaders have to learn to think differently about the people of their organizations realizing they are individuals with fears and hopes. It is up to us to take a deep look at our organizational culture and to start making the needed changes. Often it starts with looking in the mirror. It is up to us to first change our mindset.

It’s not really that complicated, but it is hard work. It begins with truly caring about the people in your organization. Do you see them as obstacles, means to an end, or as persons? Start with how you view others and go from there.

In summary is a quote attributed to Peter Drucker—“Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

BG Allen
Executive Coach
Coachwell Inc.

Sources:
Clifton, Jim “State of the American Workplace Report” (p. 2). Gallup (2017)
Lencioni, Patrick M. The Advantage, Enhanced Edition: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business (pp. 8-9). Jossey-Bass. Kindle Edition
Peter Drucker, http://creativefollowership.com/the-most-important-decisions/

Often, when I hear people talk of leading others it is about the perks of being a leader. However, there are a few things about leadership to remember:

  1. It’s not about you
  2. Others are more important than your comfort
  3. It is about sacrifice
  4. It is about courage in the face of adversity
  5. It is about humility in the face of success
  6. It is about serving others, seeking their good before you seek your own

One thing bears repeating – It is not about you!

BG

Do you have a leader development plan in place in your organization? If not, you need to and soon.

First of all – it works. See the graph below from the Chief Learning Officer magazine. It is in an article by William C. Byham

One of the biggest findings of the study was, contrary to the negativity, leadership development really does work: 82 percent of managers, peers and direct reports of people trained cited higher frequency of observed positive leadership behaviors among leaders after they had completed development courses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time and again, the research shows that investing into the people of our organizations pays dividends from happier employees, stronger organizational culture, happier customers, to higher profits, and long-term sustainability. Yet, either we don’t ever get around to investing in the people we lead or it is the first thing that is cut if we get busy or try to cut costs.

Why do we do this? Doesn’t make sense to me.

BG

leader versus manager?

August 30, 2017

Managers are receiving a bad rap in my opinion. I enjoy learning and sharing about leadership, so I keep up fairly well with the current literature. Additionally, I have been an adjunct professor at the graduate level for about 14 years often teaching on leadership using various texts.

I have seen a bit of a disturbing trend in the literature in that it sends, or implies, the message of “Leaders = Good, Managers = Bad“.  People are encouraged “don’t be a manager, be a leader!” as if managers are not leaders. That is the wrong message!

The contrast is actually about being a good boss (leader) versus a bad boss (leader).

Managers are leaders, supervisors are leaders! Without managers and supervisors we would never get anything done! They are the team leaders of the people actually getting the work done.

What we really have are:

Strategic Leaders (Executives) – setting vision, direction, and strategy

Operational Leaders (Directors & Senior Managers)- coordinating the work of multiple tactical level teams in order to execute the strategy set by the strategic leaders.

Tactical Leaders (Managers & Supervisors) – tactical level leaders that are leading the teams of people actually doing the work of the organization.

So, please do not diminish the critical role of managers by contrasting them negatively to the term leader. Managers are leaders!

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

“7 Critical Skills That Predict Success” – Inc.com

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