Clarity Breaks!

Clarity Breaks!

#confidence #clarity #focus #gettingbacktoourbestself

I recently had a conversation with a visionary, and I ended it with the question, What else can I do to support you? His response – Anything you could do to encourage our team to continue their clarity breaks™ would be really helpful. He went on to say that they had all started doing them, and while the team was enjoying the new habit and experiencing the value, he worried they would stop.

Instead of getting preachy with you, let me share some feedback from two EOS® leaders I work with.

  1. In his blog post, The Power of the Clarity Break, Mike Kren (Operations – Bizstream) shares his journey from thinking Who has time for that?! to the realization that In the extremely fast-paced and busy world we live in, it is important to take time to relax and refocus no matter what you do for a living. Here is Mike’s full post.
  2. After just starting the clarity break habit as the assignment from our discussion on the LMA tool, Kelly Plawinski (Integrator – Adamy Valuation) shared: Yesterday’s clarity break lead to a breakthrough on something I have been pondering for a while no. Love it!!!

It has been called lots of different things, and if you have investigated mindfulness, been a regular at the practice of yoga or meditation, or read extensively in the self-help section of a bookstore, this is not a new topic. It is also a topic that was recommended by the likes of Stephen Covey and Peter Drucker.

The pushback I get from you most often is that your clarity break is in a pool or on a run. My response is always the same – it only counts if you document some sort of actions after so your thinking time results in increased clarity, confidence, and focus that you feel and the people around you see/experience in your actions. Keep exercising, taking breaks during the day, and days you unplug from the office, but those are not clarity breaks.

As things go fast, and the uncertainty results in you spending lots of time doing the things you don’t like to do (scrounging for cash, being ignored by customers, furloughing or firing team members, etc.) it is easy to get stuck. My passionate plea is to take care of yourself and stay focused, and clarity breaks are designed and endorsed for doing just that. If you need a reminder, take a look at page 25 in your Leadership Team manual or page 73 in How To Be A Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene Boer. If you don’t have either of these email me and I will send you copies.

Let me leave you with a great quote to ponder:

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably why so few engage in it.

Henry Ford


Stay healthy! . . .  and lead from that healthy place. ~ Scott

A few of extra links for continued learning:

  1. A video I made describing my clarity break. Don’t copy me, make it yours!
  2. Blog post: 5 Tips for Building Resilience (and we are all going to need more of it)
  3. NEW: A video from some of my experienced peers – some great tips and learnings! It is called Clarity Breaks in a Crisis, so it is very focused on the conditions you are leading in today.
4 Tips to Boost Courage in Your Leader

4 Tips to Boost Courage in Your Leader

I have a soft spot in my heart for military leaders. I am just beginning General Mattis’ book, Call Sign Chaos, and already I wish he was involved in this whole COVID-19 response. I admire people who seem to carry the weight of leadership around and make it look like a feather. I also know that’s not reality, because each leader also serves in such roles as father, mother, spouse, friend, mentor, aunt, uncle, son, daughter, and neighbor. They are just people, and as people, they have the same fears and need the same support as the rest of us.

We all need to remember that leadership is lonely. It can get especially lonely in a crisis that causes us to have to lead day after day without much of a break. While breaks might come from the work, the real difficult crisis’ don’t give you an emotional break.

Jim Collins introduced us to the Stockdale Paradox in his business classic Good to Great. A survivor of brutal conditions as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Admiral Stockdale shared his secret:

You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end – which you can never afford to lose – with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

Admiral James Stockdale (Good to Great, p. 85)

Remember your leaders, every day, are summoning the energy to face the brutal facts and retain that deep down hope that allows them to stand in front of you to tell the truth, admit failures, communicate the plans, and tell you what you need to do – all the time trying to show courage and confidence. Some do it better than others, and yet know that are all exhausted by it and have to find a place to recharge.

Here are four things you can do to help provide some much needed support to your leader:

  1. Send them a note: Encouragement and gratitude are two things that nobody ever gets tired of. In working with leaders I often hear stories about the one person that took the time to offer this, because it matters! It is also an emotional boost that they can revisit often because people rarely throw these away.
  2. Focus your faith practice on the them: I had a friend recently ask how he should be praying for me. Admittedly, I stumbled over an answer because I was surprised, and yet it made me dig a little deeper into something that was weighing on me. Whatever your faith practice, focus it on your leaders.
  3. How can I help?: A simple question, and yet it opens the door for a conversation that will make them think and ask for something that leaders in crisis sometimes forget. The other question I love is How can I help you?
  4. Tell them a success story: Being close to leaders in a crisis I hear the issues they are struggling with and the challenges of solving them. One of the questions I often use as an EOS Implementer is What is working?. It requires everyone to stop and think, because our crisis glasses too often just see the problems. By sharing a story of something that is working you help them see progress or give them a measure of the impact their plains are having.
  5. Remind them they are not alone: A handshake, a hand on the shoulder, a pause to look in their eyes and show that soft, empathetic face and simply share, “Remember you have a great team around you that loves you and wants to help you. Together we can do this.”

The truth – we all have a place in helping them recharge, so pick one of the actions above and do it for your leaders.

The Case for Doing a Reverse Accountability Chart

The Case for Doing a Reverse Accountability Chart

I am blessed to be part of a community where people help each other. Over the past couple of weeks, my fellow EOSi’s (our name for other EOS® Implementers) have shared countless bits of wisdom that have helped me in the conversations I have been having with the leaders of companies that have been affected by the coronavirus and in my own business.

The Accountability Chart is designed as a key growth tool to cast a vision for the roles in your organization going forward (i.e., creating the right seats) and leveraging that and your values to make sure you have the right people in all those seats. In a dramatic downturn, this core tool of EOS can also be used to project needed changes, and we call that doing a reverse accountability chart. Here is a link to our lead coach, Mark O’Donnell, explaining how to do that activity. As we come up to our quarterlies, I will be putting that on all the issues lists and we will have a conversation about when or if we do it for your leadership team. In a recent conversation with a leader, they questioned the ‘humaneness’ and ‘awkwardness’ of doing such an activity with their leaders. Their question – What if a seat is eliminated? My return question is always – What if it isn’t and it should be?

This post is not about explaining how to do a reverse accountability chart because Mark does that in his post. I want to focus on the why, to make the case that being open and honest up front is actually less painful than hiding it. Let this be my Johari Window moment, and I will share a piece of my story that is actually at the root of my passion for the accountability chart, because I personally experienced a transition where it was not done in an open and honest way.

My role was leading people and strategy for a financial institution that made most of its income through mortgage products and the income off a nine-figure portfolio of loans. When the mortgage crisis started to unwind in 2008, our CEO reacted by coming in one day and making the declaration to the leadership team that we needed to stop offering our core loan product at our 3 non-Michigan sales offices, switch everyone to selling conventional mortgages, and stop opening new offices. It became clear to me almost instantly that my seat and accountabilities changed dramatically, and the part of the role that I really GWC’d was gone. Remember my role was to direct strategy and help achieve RP/RS, so almost immediately I knew the organization really did not need my role anymore. There was very little conversation around the change and we all quickly jumped into action mode of doing it.

As a father of four young children, and with my wife taking a break from her career as a nurse to stay at home with the kids, I kept my thoughts to myself and threw myself into helping the organization through the changes ahead. We retrained our salesforce to sell a new product and with a new customer experience, and later, through a similar decision directly from our CEO, implemented a 10% reduction in our staff. Finally, 7 months after that initial announcement, I set up a time to go talk to our CEO and shared with him that my job was really no longer needed and I needed to leave the organization. The first conversation was him trying to convince me that I had value and my assignment was to think about it. We set up a time to talk right after Christmas. The second conversation was short, because my mind did not change, and we picked a date of March 31 that I would leave the organization.

There’s more to this story, and in the end I look back and realize it was a necessary step for me ending up here, being an EOS partner with a handful of great companies and dozens of great leaders. But there was a personal and professional cost to this path, and it was one of the toughest things I ever did. It would take pages to share the personal pain and anguish it caused within me to take the road of silence and hidden realities. To reference a Robert Frost poem, my passionate plea is that in these situations the road less travelled is the open, honest, and vulnerable road of the reverse Accountability Chart. Speaking from experience, that road can make all the difference and when it comes to hard conversations, I work hard to make the road less travelled the one I take.

Take a look at Mark’s post, and I encourage all of you to think about how this tool could help you face some of the uncertainties that could hit us over the months ahead. Also know that when I am talking about it, it is not just a tool, but an option I wish I had in 2008 because I would have gladly chosen that option vs the road I travelled.

Several tips for navigating your work:

  1. Remember, this is a time when your values and culture can come alive despite the remote nature of our work – or even for those of you having to do temporary layoffs. Here is a post from me that will give you some actions to take: Leadership and Social Distancing: 5 Tips To Increase Trust and Team Health Despite Our Current Reality
  2. Wisdom from an EOS peer of mine, Ken DeWitt, about An EOS Company’s Guide To Surviving The Coronovirus
  3. There are opportunities in this situation, and part of seeing them as leaders is just stepping back and shifting our perspective. The two questions I have in front of me every day are: Why is this a gift to me? What is it offering that I don’t see?
  4. Finally, here is the post from Mark about the Reverse Accountability Chart. Keep it handy, and watch it when it is time. If you don’t get the blog posts from EOS worldwide, it would be a good time to sign up as they are particularly helpful right now.

Final Tip: Sometimes kids have the answer for all of us. Here is a timeless YouTube video that reminds me of that and always makes me smile. Jessica’s Daily Affirmation

Stay healthy and lead well!

Leadership Books & Courage

Leadership Books & Courage

One of the best leadership books I read last year was Dare to Lead by Brené Brown.

As I work with leaders through the EOS® process and as part of the LeaderWork program, I am constantly in situations where I see people display courage and speak/hear truth, and where not enough courage is there – yet. The irony is, I am like my clients – sometimes I have it and sometimes I don’t.

This book will help you rethink courage and vulnerability in such a way that, as adults, we can have more impact and let go of some of the things that are taking up too much of our brain/thought space. In EOS we call it headtrash, and the author refers to it often as the stories we tell ourselves.

This book review is simple: here are a dozen quotes I love. If you want more, there is a link at the end to the note I wrote myself to help me return to the forty-four pages that contain the nuggets of wisdom I will come back to often this year.

If you want a free copy, here is a simple way to potentially earn it. Share this on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook in the next week and tag me. From those names, I will draw 5 and send you a free copy!

Make 2020 about Courage, Vulnerability, and leading in your life!
~ Scott

P.S. Here is a link if you want to buy a copy right now.

My Favorite Quotes

All from Brené Brown:

  • Calm: Creating perspective and mindfulness while managing emotional reactivity. 
  • We asked a thousand leaders to list marble-earning behaviors – what do your team members do that earns your trust? The most common answer: ask for help. 
  • In the absence of data, we will always make up stories. 
  • The 3 most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our lovability, divinity, and creativity.
  • Vulnerability is not winning or losing. It’s having the courage to show up when you can’t control the outcome. 
  • Just remember, we can’t do our jobs when we own other people’s emotions or take responsibility for them as a way to control the related behaviors for one simple reason: other people’s emotions are not our jobs. We can’t both serve people and try to control their feelings.
  • The Vulnerability Armory: As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor; we used our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors as weapons; and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear. Now as adults we realize that to live with courage, purpose, and connection – to be the person we long to be – we must again be vulnerable. We must take off the armor, put down the weapons, show up, and let ourselves be seen. 
  • Perfectionism is not self-improvement. Perfectionism is, at its core, about trying to earn approval. 
  • Perfectionism is not the key to success. In fact, research shows that perfectionism hampers Achievement. 
  • Perfectionism is not the same thing as striving for excellence. Perfectionism is not about healthy achievement and growth. Perfectionism is a defensive move.
  • Confabulation: A lie told honestly.

And one from Joseph Campbell (for Star Wars fans, he consulted with George Lucas on the films):

  • The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek. ~ Do you remember the scene that uses this?

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Learn how to use the Team Member Fact Sheet

"Trust is a gift. 

Great leaders learn it, give it,

and earn it each day."

~ Scott Patchin


Read tips for using it below.


EOS® for Everyone: “Once you stop learning, you start dying.”

Albert Einstein famously said this, and it is particularly meaningful for the message I want to pass on to EOS leaders. Your #1 goal is learning.

The target market leader that thrives in EOS is entrepreneurial, growth minded, and open minded. Growth minded is simply someone who wants to be their best, and becoming their best means they are hungry for learning. A key part of this is demonstrating vulnerability-based trust by acknowledging when you don’t know something.

To be open and honest with you – I have not been great about pushing the reading list as part of implementing EOS. My mental excuse is that I see you being so busy that I have held back. But reflecting on this decision, I have let some of you who are not hungry enough to ‘be your best’ off the hook and for those of you who are hungry to learn, I have not helped you with key books that will deepen your knowledge of and skill in using the key EOS tools. As I take on new clients, that is no longer the case!

Here are the books that allow you to take a deeper dive into key EOS topic areas:

I also have some resources specifically around delegation, career development, overcoming loss, managing negative talk (in your head), managing conflict, effective communication, and lean thinking. Please contact me if you have a learning need.

I have watched with great joy the hunger for learning how to lead to growth which has allowed leaders to increase their own capacity (GWC) in their role to meet the needs of a growing organization.

I have also seen the effects of just working hard and not focusing on increasing knowledge and skills through learning. The impact of that is more subtle, but the result is leadership in a seat that becomes less proactive and more reactive.

One of the EOS values is Grow or Die, and I am constantly challenged by an amazing group of people to do this – you. My ability to be effective in my role requires me to get smarter faster so that I can effectively assist in handling some difficult situations. It is why I get on a call with 24-36 implementers every Monday to gather/share wisdom, why I read, and why I continue to do some non-EOS work to gather experience that makes me more effective for you.

Are you purposefully growing or stagnating?

Here are three things you can do today to start growing:

  1. Read How To Be A Great Boss again and commit to getting to all Yes answers.
  2. Start reading one list from the book and commit to completing the reading list this year.
  3. Set up a 30-60 minute call with me and let’s customize a plan based on where you are and where you want to go.
EOS® for Sales: Your Sales Process

EOS® for Sales: Your Sales Process

This is a note especially for those in the Sales seat.

My rock this quarter was to implement Pipedrive – a CRM tool – so I have been thinking a lot about the Sales seat I sit in on my own accountability chart.

EOS tries to keep this simple for you as the Sales leader by giving you two basic tools to help you focus your energy and build a more sales-focused ‘organization’ to support your work:

  • Tool #1 – Sales Department Check-up (p. 36 of your leadership team manual): This one-page checklist defines all of the most critical pieces of a healthy and effective sales organization. It is simple – read the statement and check the box if that is in place and SBA or FBA. A more effective way to use this is to get input from your Integrator and/or sales team on each item. Any non-checked boxes or disagreements are issues that need to be resolved.
  • Tool #2: Defining your sales process and measurables that need to be tracked to help you see what needs to happen. My story on this was a recent period of time where Emily (my admin lead) and I had not had an L10 in 4 weeks. During an L10 we did an IDS on the pipeline by opening my CRM and reviewing all the companies in the pipeline that were new and all of my clients that were in Mastery Journey pipeline (where all of you are that have completed the VB2 session). This helped us look at every client and decide what needed to happen to keep the experience on track and/or move them in/out of the pipeline. It took 20 minutes, but the result was a new closed deal and 2 scheduled 90-Minute Meetings. It also highlighted that my measurables need to be more defined so I can see the health of the process without having to take a deep dive on it.

I see too many sales leaders trying to keep the sales process hidden or vague, whether on purpose or because you don’t GWC that part of your role. I have only met a few sales leaders who possessed the unique ability to define and implement a sales process. If this is not your unique ability, get some help! When this critical work gets done, it provides the opportunity to build a sales organization where everyone is working on sales. This allows you to focus your unique abilities on the pieces you do well and delegate much of the other work.

Tips for building your sales process: I have designed and delivered a workshop that takes 45-60 minutes per process to arrive at a draft definition, and another 30 minutes to draft measurables. I would be glad to demonstrate it to you if it would help you strengthen this key component in your organization. Get in touch if you would be interested in exploring this option.

EOS® for Visionaries & Integrators: The Big 3 – Core Processes / Measurables / Same Page Meeting

EOS® for Visionaries & Integrators: The Big 3 – Core Processes / Measurables / Same Page Meeting

Managing chaos is hard.

In working with entrepreneurial leaders and leadership teams, the word ‘chaos’ is often touted as ‘whatever it takes’ or ‘do the right thing’ or ‘act like a superhero’. If you think these sound like values, you are correct. My reason for sharing it is NOT to encourage you to disregard your values.

Let me take you back to your 90-Minute Meeting and repeat what I said about strengthening your Process component: “Your handful of core processes define your business model. These are the key things that need to be executed on every day, and if that is done your business will become more profitable, more manageable, and honestly more FUN to lead.”

For Visionaries:
A defined process tells you where the organization needs you to contribute and also tells you what to expect the organization to do when you move on to the next thing. It also gives you measurables that allow you to watch the progress and health of the organization without having to dive in the details.

For Integrators:
Processes help all of your leaders see what they are accountable for and allows you to delegate and focus your energy on helping them get unstuck when things stop working. They also help you manage the tension between groups that might see a process differently. Have you ever heard sales pushing for closing a deal and operations arguing about design or deliverables as not being realistic?

Defining core processes and measurables are part of the big 3 because strengthening these will provide a host of benefits to your organization. I have seen six-figure cost (and profit) impacts as well as leaders saying “I finally understand what my job is.” I have also seen RP/RS issues when a leader cannot demonstrate the GWC of their role by defining and implementing a core process. When an organization fixes that, things like growth and diversification start happening.

Finally, don’t forget the same page meeting. Maybe a good topic for your next one is to spend some time thinking about your process component.

Tips to get started: I have designed and delivered a workshop that takes 45-60 minutes per process to arrive at a draft definition, and another 30 minutes to draft measurables. I would be glad to demonstrate it to you if it would help you strengthen this key component in your organization. Get in touch if you would like to explore this option.


Resources launched for you

If you need extra support, take a look at these three guided journeys I’ve developed to help coach leaders to success in some of the fundamentals:

  • Onboarding
  • Implementing a clarity break
  • Getting to know your team (I call it People-Centered 101)
EOS® for Human Resources: Development & Onboarding

EOS® for Human Resources: Development & Onboarding

This is a note especially for those in the HR Seat.

The two things I see the team needing you to own are: the development of new leaders and helping to onboard new leaders.

Here are a couple of tips for how to do this:

  1. Leadership + Management = Accountability (LMA): The book How To Be A Great Boss outlines the 10 key things people need to do to become a great leader AND a great manager. There are lots of things you could do to equip your leaders, but using these 10 is what we recommend. If you are looking for someone to help you think through how to translate these into a series of learning events in your organization or more of a program, I would be glad to help.** At a minimum, make this book required reading for all leaders.
  2. Onboarding: Studies have shown that 58% of new leaders hired into an organization fail within 18 months. In my experience, the simple act of creating an onboarding program for new leaders for the first 6 to 12 months can greatly increase your odds of success. Here is a recent post I created to outline what great onboarding looks like, and a guided experience you can sign up for that will give you weekly reminders of what to do and my offer to help you put a plan together. The good news – EOS provides many of the foundational elements that help new leaders succeed.

**I am also available to do an LMA workshop as a stand alone management training or one that could serve as a kick-off to a series of management training events. If that is of interest, just email me directly and we can talk about it.

Responsibility or Accountability?

Responsibility or Accountability?

The short answer for any leader working in an EOS® company is – Yes.

But these two words are not equal, and two leadership gurus I respect have pulled me both ways.

Patrick Lencioni included Accountability as layer number four in the pyramid made famous in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Seth Godin muddied the waters for me with a recent post:

Accountability is done to you. It’s done by the industrial system, by those that want to create blame.

Responsibility is done by you. It’s voluntary. You can take as much of it as you want.

Seth Godin – seths.blog.com

First, let’s look at the definition of these words (courtesy of Merriam-Webster):

Responsible (adj) – liable to be called on to answer. Able to answer for one’s conduct and obligations. [Responsibility is the corresponding noun]

Accountable (adj) – subject to giving an account: answerable. Capable of being explained: explainable. [Accountability is the corresponding noun]

merriam-webster.com

The definitions make responsible an individual thing, and accountable being imposed on us. Seth Godin’s point is that the stronger word is responsible because it triggers action inside of us and we take on responsibility for our work. That is what we all want in our kids, our team, our friends . . . right?

In working with dozens of leadership teams as an EOS Implementer®, I don’t agree — especially when we apply this to leadership teams. A culture of accountability will have a greater impact on a team and a company.

In EOS® we stick with the word Lencioni presents us because in the context of a healthy team, accountability becomes the culture of the TEAM. It’s critical to have individual ownership, but having an accountability culture within the team will help get individuals back on track when they start to fail at responsibility. We all get tripped up and fail.

Leaders, imagine how it changes your job when the team drives and supports each other to be accountable!

In the end, we want individuals to be responsible for their work — to have something happen inside of them where they are able and ready to answer to and own their work (responsible). The bigger goal is to have a culture of accountability, starting at the leadership level. The trick is to do that and still have it feel kind, supportive, loving, and trusting, not like the industrial system Godin describes.

Lead well, and look for evidence of responsibility and accountability this week — and recognize it!