Walk into my office and you may be be surprised to see a couple of oxygen masks hanging on the wall behind my desk.
Clients and guests come in, look around and nervously ask, “Are you expecting something that you haven’t told me about?”
The masks remind me of the importance of the oxygen mask rule, particularly as it relates to leadership teams.
One of my “ongoing surprises”, as I shift more and more of my attention to advising and consulting executive and strategic leadership teams, is how few leadership teams are aware and make use of the oxygen mask rule.
Itis the message shared by every airline, from every country, on every flight beforethe plane takes off. In the event of an emergency, place the oxygen mask over your face first, and then help others do the same. When you are part of a leadership team, it is critical that you and your team members decide how you are going to help yourselves before you jump in to help others.
Executives are confronted with a multitude of problems to solve and opportunities to address. Everyone wants something from senior leaders; and many executive teams make the mistake of jumping into the company’s business issues too deeply at the beginning of their team’s evolution.
This fast start often means a fractional start because leadership teams do not spend enough time, nor create the right structures for their team to perform at their best. Moreover, once they surround themselves with company issues, they have little time, patience or energy to address the practices required to become a high performance executive team.
Developing resilient relationships, creating principled practices & results driven structures as well as crafting a senseful strategy are but a few of the tipping point initiatives that leadership teams invest in when they cannot afford to play at less than their best.
When leadership teams take ownership for their improvement and growth, they set an engaging and compelling example for the rest of their organization.
Enjoy your news2use and lead the change you expect in others.
“Relevant & pragmatic ideas, tools and insights to play at your best.”
When our relationships suffer, so does our business.
When a machine on the production line breaks, everyone’s attention is on how to fix it. When a business process does not work efficiently, energy and effort is invested to see that things run smoothly again. Yet when business relationships do not work well, how often and how effectively do we address them?
Poor relationship skills cost companies billions each year and the only thing more amazing about these losses is the lack of attention, urgency and effort to address them.
Resilient relationships do not break when disagreements occur or conflicts blaze between people. In a vibrant and dynamic business environment, these are natural occurrences. The difference between high performing organizations and mediocre ones are how fast relationships come back into a healthy sphere again. If it takes weeks of brooding for two professionals to get back on track, it is not healthy for them or those around them. What price does your customer pay for this brooding?
Fundamentals for creating and maintaining resilient relationships include:
- Listen intently, don’t insist on always being right
- Separate the people from the problem
- Ask, “What can I do to help you and your group to be more successful?”
- Actively seek out constructive feedback and make sure your feedback is fresh, meaning do not sit on it for months and then surprise someone with it
- Express your vulnerabilities to others and ask for help
- Look to give generously, rather than take
- Be prepared to apologize. An honest and heartfelt apology can help return a relationship to its resilient state
Resilient relationships stimulate engagement, purpose and clarity. Mutual respect, characterized by dynamic exchange and heartfelt listening are the status quo.
Disagreements and constructive conflict is desirable and encouraged. Openness and expressed intention leave little room for rumors, grudges and hidden agendas to manifest.
Why not bring more resilience into your relationships?
For You & Your Team
What is the risk in your vision?
When you and your colleagues discuss your team vision, what emotions does it evoke? Excitement, concern, happiness, fear?
All are natural expressions of a future vision that contain some risk. Without risk, there is not much reward. Where there is little risk, little reward, there is little engagement and certainly no ownership.
Take time with your team to review and revitalize your team vision. Does it contain phrases like, be the best at, stand out in the market as, or be the market leader at something?
Corporate buzzwords are no replacement for a compelling vision, where you and your team have declared and promised to take on something meaningful for your business and customers.
Create a vision statement for your team that evokes emotion. It is a sign of risk and some uncertainty. This is a good thing. If it is only a passing statement, it does not have much value as a vision statement.
For You, Your Team & Your Business
Use more F words in your team and your meetings.
Facetime, Focus and Follow Up.
Facetime must not mean sitting in the same room, physically together. It could simply mean taking the extra step to ensure that everyone is stationary, in a quiet place, somewhere in the world, and together for the team call. I support several global teams that make the effort to create facetime with each other, leading to more meaningful conversations and outcomes as compared to having half the team on their car phones, in the airport and all the distractions that go with it.
Focus means being clear about the outcomes of your projects, meetings, initiatives and strategy. Teams fall from the high performance line when they run down rabbit holes or do not focus on the priorities they have identified that make a difference. Take an informal audit at your next leadership gathering. Compare the amount of time spent talking about effort and activity versus decisions, outcomes and mistakes made. Discuss the implications, and refocus.
Follow Up is another word for discipline. Good teams use follow up to ensure that the things that should get done do get done. Beyond that, they use follow up to provide constructive feedback and praise for work well done. I do not care how high you are in the organization or how much money you make, I am yet to meet a professional that does not appreciate praise for work done well.
People, Places & Technology
Paul Rulken, former chemical engineer and now a mastermind at helping professionals raise their performance without doing more, rather through doing things differently has published his most recent book “How Successful Engineers Become Great Business Leaders”.
I know Paul personally; we worked closely together on a yearlong growth program and I can tell you, he is the real thing. If you are looking for innovative ideas and practices to help you create bold outcomes with the least amount of effort, reach out to Paul and get a copy of his most recent book.
Thought for the Day
Meaning is not creating a cool place to work with free food,
ping-pong, volleyball, and dogs.
Meaning is making the world a better place.