One of my favorite quotes from Seth Godin (Tribes) is:
Leaders have followers. Managers have employees.
Managers make widgets. Leaders make change.
Leading effectively through the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) requires you to become good at implementing changes until they become part of the day-to-day work of the organization. How many of you have committed to a rock and the end point was sending the email to everyone? That might get you to SBA (Shared By All), but it will not even get you close to FBA (Followed By All).
I sent each of my EOS partner companies a copy of Bottom-Line Change by Ari Weinszweig. I am sharing this with you because I believe each EOS team needs one person that is great at helping the team think through changes so that the plan to get to FBA (Followed By All) is clear. It does not have to be the Integrator, so maybe it should be you? If you have a passion to be that person for your team, know that some of you have a copy of that book floating around your organization which is likely generating guilt or some other kind of burden for one of your teammates. 🙂
This pamphlet (named that because it is less than 80 pages) outlines a proven process Zingerman’s uses at all levels of their organization to manage change. Also, if you like food, most of the examples in the book are related to food so it will be easy reading. Here is a link to purchase your own if you do not have one.
Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often!
Note: I also shared some guidelines with your Integrator about some specific things I do, or could do, to provide ongoing support for my EOS clients. Here is a link to that document if you are interested.
I have a weird tradition (at least according to my children) – I like to run in the middle of blizzards. I have learned to love it because of the silence I experience. Although I live in Michigan, sometimes it does not snow enough.
Most leaders I meet with display a real skill for driving action and results. Through one of the assessments I use, the Birkman Method, some of those leaders realize they have internal needs for time to rejuvenate. Silence helps them recover.
Unfortunately, leaders don’t get rewarded for silence, only action and results. The problem is without the former, focusing solely on the latter becomes a habit that can be destructive to ourselves and others.
Making a personal change requires focus and awareness, which requires some level of silence. A mentor of mine, Doug Silsbee, teaches a technique that gives the body a moment of silence. He calls it centering. Here is a link to his demonstration. Our ability to adopt new ways of doing things or to deal with an unexpected event depends on our ability to center, to find silence.
If you don’t think you need it, at least allow others around you to create it.
I participated in a panel discussion around the ‘new normal’ in Michigan business that was sponsored by CORP! Magazine. If there is one message everyone is sure of it is that the economic recovery will be slow and the main thing individuals look for to measure improvement (jobs / income) might not get back to normal depending on your profession. Regardless of the speed of the rebound, there are things leaders can do to create more energy in the workplace. This also applies to followers. We need to create more JOY.
What is joy? Joy is not a superficial adjective, it goes deeper than that. The Joy I am talking about is a noun, and the Merriam-Webster dictionary says it is a source or cause of delight. Words are important, and the word source jumps out at me because it makes me think of a deep flowing spring that fills a lake or starts a river. Something that we know is down there because we see it emerge and create something powerful and beautiful. Thinking of that, as leaders we need to be a source for more joy in our workplace. Here are three ways to make that happen.
1. You first! Joy is a choice. Being able to look at what we do, at whatever the situation is, and commit to being hopeful is the first step. Jim Collins presented what he called the Stockdale Paradox in his book Good to Great, which was to “Confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be AND retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties.” A first step, make it a habit to smile and greet people. Another move is starting each speech by recognizing a couple of people for their attitude as well as a specific accomplishment in the past week.
2. Ask others to join: It has been a tough few years for workers. At one point I saw a statistic that 69% of people had either taken a pay cut or lost their job. A simple first move for leaders, start every meeting with your executive team by asking people to share what they see is going right this week. Cover the tough stuff, but start with the positive stuff. For any name mentioned make a point to have people email them or call them after the meeting to congratulate them.
3. Allow space for the opposite – but get back to joy: I worked with someone who used to ask for what he called a “Carnegie free zone” every now and then. It was a break from the great Dale Carnegie’s mantra to never engage in the 3 C’s (criticizing, condemning, complaining). This zone was 5 minutes of unloading the thoughts and frustrations of the day. At the end, the goal was to ask a simple question – “So what can I do about it?” Choose a positive step, a potential solution to some nagging problem, and then get after it. A second move is to purposefully create this space in your one on one time with each team member. Accomplish this by inserting the following questions into the one on one agenda (that you should be doing at least monthly).
What is your biggest frustration right now?
What can I do to help make it go away?
What move can you do to help make it go away?
Remember that joy is not ignorance. We need to face realities, both personally as leaders and in the presence of our teams. Joy is more about attitude. So Leader – you first!
People from outside of Michigan may not recognize the name Dave Bing, so let me share some highlights of his career.
7 time NBA All-Star
In 1996 named one of the 50 Greatest NBA Players of All-time
Entrepreneur – Founder/Owner of Bing Steel
Current Mayor of Detroit, Michigan
So it can be said that at many levels he is a successful person. I had the opportunity to hear Mayor Bing talk today at the Grand Rapids Economic Club, and in thirty short minutes he had a lot to say. The first thing I heard that stuck with me was his introduction. He has been called “The right man for one of the most thankless jobs in America.”(Time Magazine) Some statistics that illustrate what he faces in his job:
He assumed ownership of a city that was $330M in debt
There are 50,000 empty homes in Detroit
Detroit has a recently installed $100M computer system that does not work
Illiteracy is running between 40-50% for the residents of Detroit
All that being said, Dave Bing shared some great advice that all leaders need to hear.
Be prepared . . . and be prepared to be overwhelmed – He shared that he went into office thinking that he was ready for this job because of his business and sports background. He quickly realized that the problems he faced (see list above) were beyond what he was ready for at the time.
Leaders are Reslient – see #1
Lead with Questions – One of the first things he did was to spend time asking this question of the people in his city, What is the role of government?
Focus on Building Trust – He found many people did not trust the city government. He realized he could not get the change that was needed without that trust from residents, corporations, and other key allies. It became his #1 priority.
Focus on Setting Priorities – The priorities he has set for fixing Detroit are Fiscal Health, Crime, Blight, and Education. His agenda is clear and he is focusing resources and people on fixing these things.
Focus on Accountability – Set performance expectations, work with people to help them achieve these goals, and be ready to make a change if the performance goals are not met. An example, he has replaced his Police Chief twice because crime is a focus of his agenda and the performance goals were not being met.
Leadership is about making tough decisions – He has to ask/urge people to move from their homes in areas of the city that are largely made up of abandoned homes and into areas where there is a concentration of people so the city can focus their services and resources. You think your job is hard?
I agree with Time Magazine. I would add that he is a man/leader worth following. If you don’t know Dave Bing you should get to know him. Read more
I had a moment where I was reminded how my perspective on things is not the only perspective. I was at Art Prize 2010 in Grand Rapids, Michigan and I was looking at the picture shown here. It is made out of 520 tiny cups that are 12 different shades of grey and the artist is James Freeman. So here is the trick with this picture – when you stand close to it all you see is grey cups, with just a faint image that there is a face in these cups. The farther you move away, the clearer the face becomes. For me, even moving away the image was never really all that clear.
How did I figure out this was a face? Well, my 7-year-old took a picture of it and announced to me “Daddy look – it is a face!” It turns out when take a picture from any distance the face appears. Apparently the artist created an image that exposes some of the limits to our minds ability to process the different shades of grey and be able to see the REAL image.
So where is the leadership lesson here? First, a gentle reminder that we often need help in seeing the real truth in anything – whether it is developing personal awareness of strengths/weaknesses/passions, finding the best solution to a problem, or becoming better leaders by knowing and dealing with our own constraints. Looking through our own eyes have some natural limitations.
Sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have a 7-year-old along to look at things a little differently. Or having a friend take a picture of us (have you taped one of your speeches lately?). Art reminds us that there are different ways of seeing the same thing, and having the courage to first ask the question “What do you see when you look at this?” is the first step. The second is waiting to hear the answer or answers, then giving time to consider the possibilities that differ from your own.
I initially just saw a bunch of grey cups. Thankfully someone else saw the art. Kudos to James Freeman for the leadership lesson in art. –www.jamesfreemanstudio.com