Mission

THE WILD, THE INNOCENT AND THE C-SUITE SHUFFLE: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN STYLE

Wild- adjective, something or someone that is untamed, uncontrolled or unrestrained

Innocent- adjective, not responsible for or directly involved yet suffering its consequences

Shuffle- adjective, a dance done every day and every night with no clear steps, just to get by

On my way in to work last week, I noticed that the highway was jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. It made me wonder, why were they on this power drive? The power drive can loosely be interpreted as turf protecting, aka the accumulation of political “power” with an end goal of spending it on the perceived need for self-preservation.

The power drive is often symptomatic of the “C-Suite Shuffle” (ie, senior leadership or systems that are more concerned with “looking good” vs ensuring that roles, responsibilities and expectations are 100% crystal clear for all downstream stakeholders). The result may be a disconnect from middle management and the front-line job doers (the very people needed to deliver the desired results).

Lack of clarity about roles, responsibilities and expectations results in Confusion, Drama and Frustration or “CDF.” Once a culture is afflicted with CDF, it is very hard to de-toxify. It can lead to circumstances that cause some people to do something Wild. This may be the long-term contributor who has been a great employee but has become so frustrated, one day they do their best “George Bailey” and exit in flames of glory.

Lack of clarity may also impact the Innocent super star and rising star employees who may feel they have not been “heard.” Weary from the drama of living with the power drive and being very marketable, they defect, further exacerbating Confusion, Drama and Frustration.

Fortunately, we have an excellent tool to keep us from walking into a Tenth Avenue Freezeout. And it works with every level applied to. It’s called Ownership: 5 Steps to breakdown Confusion, Drama and Frustration.

Step 1: Each Team has its own Mission - Vision and Values that drives its behaviors & code of conduct.  This is not the same as the organization’s MVV and applies to every Team from the C-Suite on down.

Step 2: Each Team’s leader, regardless of their title, is responsible for ensuring that roles, responsibilities and expectations are 100% crystal clear for all stakeholders.

Step 3:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that any issues resulting from Group Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for the Group.

Step 4:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that issues resulting from Interpersonal Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for them.

Step 5:  Each Team’s leader is responsible for ensuring that issues resulting from Individual Dynamics are handled by confirming that Step 2 took place. Absent that, it’s a performance issue for the person.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. You can send us a comment or even your favorite Bruce Springsteen song if you want to!

THE X FACTOR

Relationships have value.  They add value and they cost us, depending on the quality and the character of the relationship.  It is true in both our personal lives and at work.  The quality and character of our relationships can make the difference between wanting to come to work and dreading getting up in the morning.

When we genuinely like the people we work with, we bring something extra to the table.  The extra might be extra time, or an extra measure of zeal for a project, or an extra idea, or going the extra mile.  These extras come more easily and frequently when we are engaged with and actively care about the people we work with.

As William H. Lever, the founder of Lever Brothers observed, “If we leave the human factor out of our business calculations we shall be wrong every time.”  My colleague Mary learned this lesson early in her career, and her story brightly illuminates this point:

 “It was early in my career and I was still learning about leadership and executing business expectations with ease, but it wasn’t long before I discovered that I had something that many of my colleagues did not have.  I had the X Factor:  people who cared about each other and who cared about me.

One of my strongest leadership memories comes from this time.  I was a young leader and it was the week of my first corporate visit.  We had been working hard that week getting ready for this visit, but there was more to do.  One by one these people who had families and responsibilities and lives outside our workplace came to me and said,

‘I am coming back after dinner to get this done.’  

‘I will stay tonight so we can have this just right.’ 

‘Why don’t we order pizza so we don’t have to leave to eat?’

‘I will call my husband and let him know it will be a late night.’

Hours later, I looked at my watch as we got ready to walk out the door.  It was 2 AM.  I looked around at this incredible group of people that was gathered.  None of them had been asked to stay, but each one had offered to go the extra mile.  I remember the feeling of both gratitude and joy.  We were laughing and tired and we were something more:  we were a team.  Not in name, but in spirit.”

What does it take to build a great team?

T            time,

E            effort,

A           appreciation and something more,

M          a sense of mission.

When people gather around a common purpose; when they care about getting the same result, having the same outcome; amazing things happen.  Mission is a great motivator.

So how is your team?  Here are some questions to ask that will help you build a winning team:

·       When do you give your team your time?

·       What effort do you make to cultivate their relationships with one another?

·       Do you regularly appreciate and acknowledge your people and their work?

·       Is your team on a mission that matters?

Teams do not happen by accident. They are shaped and formed over time, with effort, appreciation and a common mission.  Asking yourself these questions regularly will ensure that you have a team, not just a group of people, when the stakes are high and the outcomes matter.