Episode 22:  Pushing for Results? Move the Needle with iPUSH

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A fresh new year is well underway and we are into an intense time known as “Q1”. Are things unfolding as you had planned during strategy sessions at the end of 2016? If so, great and congratulations. If not, what actions should be taken and how should they be communicated? In other words, how hard should leadership push for results and how should they go about it? This is a question that all leaders face at different times. The answer to it often determines how culturally engaged the workforce is. Are leaders “pushing” on the right things? Are these things fully understood before actions are taken? Are the right actions being taken at the right time vs prematurely? What are the leadership skills necessary to rally the troops during these trying times? If you have been there, or are there now, you will not want to miss our next Voltcast as we explore the use of an excellent management tool called iPUSH® to hit the finish line strong and move the needle. iPUSH®, how about you?

Lee Hubert is a Leadership Coach, Trainer, Facilitator and Keynote Speaker with Voltage Leadership in Roanoke, Virginia. He brings energy and enthusiasm to grow leaders at all levels, help managers reduce conflict and build teams that produce results.

Lee has served in various human resources and leadership development roles at Fortune 500 companies including: MCI, Wisconsin Energy, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, Wake Forest University Hospital, and the Hospital Corporation of America. As a public speaker, he has presented leadership development topics at management retreats and strategic planning sessions throughout the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern USA.

Lee brings over 20 years’ experience in Management Training, Employee Engagement, Performance Management, Succession Planning, Employee Relations and Conflict Resolution to bear for clients of Voltage Leadership.

A native of Syracuse New York, Lee holds an MBA in HR Management from Upper Iowa University Fayette.


Jeff: Welcome. So glad you could join us today. It is a beautiful day isn’t it?

Lee: Yeah.

Jeff: Oh my gosh in Virginia I got Lee Hubert I’ll introduce Lee in a second, but it’s 70 and sunny in February. This is just crazy.

Lee: Whoever ordered the weather, good morning?

Jeff: Well maybe they’re trying to send this weather to Atlanta Falcons fans and make them feel a little better about what happened in the Super Bowl.

Lee: Ouch, yeah.

Jeff: The Ouch guy is Lee Hubert. And Lee is joining us today. We’re going to be talking a lot about how do you get your results? How do you really move the needle? How are you able to achieve the things that you’re trying to achieve? What’s sort of the format? Are you driving people? Are you inviting them? How are you engaging them?

That will be the topic of our conversation today. We greatly appreciate everyone reaching out to us across the course of the week. Folks have written in, lots of good questions last week from Jay Markiewicz on The Entrepreneurship Journey. If you’re still interested in entrepreneurship, go back a week and listen to that.

If you’d like to email us, I’ll check the emails throughout the show it’s jeff@voltageleadership.com. You can go to our website during the week at www.voltageleadership.com.

You can like us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership, you can connect with me at LinkedIn at Jeff Smith Voltage Leadership Consulting, or Lee Hubert Voltage Leadership Consulting. And then you can follow us on Twitter @JMUJeff. Lee has been here, there and everywhere. He’s been giving speeches.

Wooing crowds and getting them fired up as well as working with clients and helping them to really layout where are their goals and plans for 2017. Lee has created a model and I invited him to the show to say, “Hey let’s go over this model, how is it working, what are people seeing? We’ll get to the model in just a moment. But Lee thanks for being here again today.

Lee: Great, wonderful to be here.

Jeff: Absolutely. Let’s kind of push off here, this pushing for results. We’re at the start of the year, it seems like we can go.

I know what the model is right got you. Yeah it seems like when we start the year we’re full of energy and enthusiasm. Results won’t be that hard. There should be a stretch but it doesn’t seem like it’s that hard. As you are looking, what are some of the best practices? What do you see for companies and leaders as they sort of keep an eye on their results? What are the best practices?

Lee: Interesting question. New Year, get things off the ground, people look back to the planning sessions from Q4 of 2016. There’s all these wonderful things we want to do, how are we going to make those happen? That’s what part of today’s show is about. We’ll get to the iPUSH model in just a second, but some of the best practices are as you know some of these things are knowing your people.

Who is on your team? Remember you’re working through people. I mean I’ve heard CEO say this a CEO in a big healthcare organization where I was an HR person for a long time, used to say this. He would stand up in front of a firm full of people and say, “Who gets the results here? You or me? There’s 100 of you and of me I can’t do the work of 100 people.

I’m working through people. And part of the motif for today is okay know people. And then if you’re driving or pushing for results, how do you go about doing that? Are leaders pushing on the right things? Are your plans from Q4 valid? Do you know how to push the right person right and do you know your people? And are you doing it at the right time?

Jeff: Why don’t we jump into the model first and we’ll use it as a backdrop for the rest of the conversations? Okay so this iPUSH, what does it stand for and what made create this model?

Lee: Sounds kind of pushy, doesn’t it?

Jeff: It does yeah a little pushy.

Lee: It is proprietary so Voltage, it’s good. Envision this with me in your minds I know, we’re doing it in the theatre of the mind. It’s like iPUSH small ‘i’ and then capital P, capital U, capital S capital H. The I stands for Intention. Some people substitute the word issue but I like the word intention because at Voltage Leadership as you know we talk a lot about doing things with intentionality.

So yes, we are going to do this. The P stands for the Problems to resolve. And I say problems plural because if you only have one problem God bless you it’s a great thing.

What are the problems that we to resolve together as a team? Remember I am pushing working through people. The U stands for Understanding the problem fully. Do we understand it fully and as we drill down you’ll see people often act on half a story. The S stands for setting the right things in motion at the right time.

Setting the right actions in motion at the right time, not too late, not too soon. The H stands for Hitting the finish line strong. And for a couple of runner dudes like us okay you’re talking about doing 10 miles and I’m doing six or 10K or something. There’s something to that in your i. when you get near that finish line you go, “I’m hitting the finish line,” okay.

That means maintain momentum right. The iPUSH model has great application. I got several examples to share because we just this, this week.

Jeff: Yeah that’s great. Let me just recap. Little i Intention, P is problems to resolve, U is understanding problems before fully acting. The S is setting the right actions in motion at the right time. Kind of right time right place right actions. And the H is hitting the finish line strong so iPUSH. What made you think about this model and tell us about how have you used it so far?

Lee: Well a couple of clients in Lynchburg and other places, parts of Virginia actually one in Carolina too in one on one coaching mode for people who are managers and executives. The marching orders right from the outset like we’re saying is Q1 intense time, set the tone for the year. Ready, go, get out of the gate let’s make things happen. Set up a successful year.

Are people doing it? You’ve seen other things in coaching mode, maybe more personal growth or professional growth as the iGROW model, those kinds of things right. And that’s not been and nothing against iGROW, but we’re at a point where iPUSH is kind of iGROW’s big brother. And maybe big brother on steroids because it is what it sounds like right.

I’m going to push you guys so we talked about this on a previous show is the true show model right it’s like I’m going to push you guys. I’m going to talk about the problems you need to resolve, I’m going to make sure you fully understand it. That you do set the right, we talk about setting the right actions in motion and I want to talk about hitting the finish line.

Then we direct into iPUSH right. For example was a manager down in Carolina grade guy, very high D on the disc as a driver for all the disc fans, technically excellent. Was struggling somewhat with limiting behaviors which may have limited his upward mobility. He could move up in the management ranks and his leadership was wise and wanted to engage people like us to see okay how do we get rid of some of those limiting behaviors?

Okay enter iPUSH, we’re going to talk about this with intentionality. There were three top problems to resolve. I labeled the first one P1 and I practiced the art of asking great questions. It wasn’t about me, I can talk all day you know that.

Yeah well this one’s a shocker. I wanted to get my client, my manager to say, “Okay tell me about the problem,” and he verbalized it. And he did his zing, bada-bing. And I said, “Do we fully understand it? Do you fully understand it? Does your next level up; your leader, your manager understand it?” and he said, “we thought so.”

Then I said, “Okay what are the right actions that you need to set in place at the right time?” and he paused, it was like nobody had asked him that question before. We dwell on the problem. It’s kind of like getting out of the- worrying about what we don’t want, but into what we do want and getting into solution mode. What are the actions? And he verbalized them and said, “We’re writing them down.” And this was the basis for some of our coaching.

We got to hitting the finish line which is going to come a little bit later because our coaching engagement is going to be over several months maybe the better part of the year.

There are some way markers and accountability steps along that line that are going to go under that H step. Then we went on P to Problem just recycled them right through the iPUSH. And you could see in the look in his eyes and the light bulbs that went on over his head, he’s like, “Oh I got this now.”

Jeff: Well I think two things. One is intentionality. So many of us are just going through our day so fast. What I like about this model is that it helps you to slow down and say, “What is it we’re trying to solve or so what’s my intent?” I’ve got a person today that is leading a reduction in force. And I really got clear with him about what is your intent?

What are you going to do when you’re in there? What role are you playing et cetera? Next is this problem to solve. Sometimes I’ve had some coaching sessions and sometimes with our clients just trying to boil it down. They just come in with a mess.

Lee: Yes.

Jeff: A hot mess. And it’s just like hot mess, hot, hot.

Throwing things against the wall. Well now the scenarios are down. And I really like the U the understanding of problems before acting. What I talk about that, it goes back a little bit to our change the culture change the game conversation we had previously. It’s where there’s core release, what’s really going on? What’s the rest of the story- as Paul Harvey used to say. Not just…

Lee: The rest of the story.

Jeff: And not just sort of presenting the problem. And then it’s getting the right actions in motion at the right time. I know later in the show we’re going to talk a little bit about some accountability partners and things like that. Then with hitting the finish line strong, what I like about that is there’s the opportunity for us to be part of the recognition.

To be breaking down what are the actions that we need to be taking. And quite honestly not deviating too far. Right so sometimes what happens is that we delegate it all off and you’re just kind of hoping that it goes well.

For me this is a nice way to break it down into manageable bite-size chunks, to make sure that it’s not all of 2017. This is what are we doing in the next 30 days? What’s happening in the next 90 days? And let’s have good reasonable check-ins. And that’s what I like about the model as well.

Lee: That’s an excellent point really like the models it does work. It works individually in one on one mode, works for teams or even a larger organization to an extent. You think about it, you said the words, people who come in what are the problems that we need to solve? Okay does everybody agree on this and is it fully understood?

A lot of times the answer to that question is no. so you get people who’re off engaged in activities at the wrong time, acting on the wrong thing.

And all of a sudden make it messy and then somebody has to clean it up and then sometimes you pop into politics okay recriminations and a lot of wasted energy. It sucks the energy out of the team. It’s better in the team mode and I’ve seen this with leaders. In fact the person I’m alluding to in Carolina has a situation where they need to do something with a customer facing team their role is underneath him. And we’re going to play the same model.

They go, “Well, how are you going to do that?” and I said, “Okay it’s an interesting question, what’s the problem you need to solve with your team?” “Well they need more people skills.” “Oh really? Well okay do you fully understand what they have and they don’t? And then what are the actions that you are going to set in motion at the right time? Now part of that might be disc analysis, might be meeting with me as a team which we do routinely”.

We set the stage for that and then I’ll take a page from The Water Line that we’ve before because he’s the person that’s owning roles, responsibilities and expectations. We can drill more on that in the next segment but the iPUSH model is really good stuff if I say so myself.

Jeff: This is creative that’s great. So great kickoff to the show here. Where we’re going to pick up post-break is we’ll start to drill down a little bit further into some case studies. And then what are some of the common situations where we get off track and how do we get people back on track? Again I’m with Lee Hubert here today. And thanks for joining us and we’ll be back in just two minutes. Thanks.


Jeff: Hi it is Jeff Smith and welcome back thanks for being here I’m here with Lee Hubert today and we are really talking about how to push results, how do we get the most out of our team as well as ourselves. I did mean to give a shout out. We had a large contingent of people last week Sweden, so why don’t I give a shout out?

I will be vacationing in Sweden and Denmark and Norway in of June time period. Love to connect with some of my folks from Sweden so thanks for joining the show. Lee I appreciate the iPUSH, model; Intention, Problem, Understanding, Setting, Hitting the finish line strongly. We covered that in the first part of the show.

One thing that I was struck by is often we get so locked in our own goals we forget to understand sort of the challenges and perspectives of others. I like this intentionality, I like sort of what you’re talking about. One of the things I think sometimes happens is when we set these goals we don’t always consider with the leader needs from us.

The leader is a customer, as well as sometimes the leader gets so focused on the results they miss out on what the employees’ needs are. What’s sort of the right balance, making sure that you’re pushing- as you like to use – on the right thing, and making sure we fully understand each other’s goals, objectives, resources et cetera?

Lee: Right well one of the components of iPUSH and the underpinnings is knowing your people and communicating. We’ve got other tools as well just like one on one and group meetings that kind of thing. But follow me here on this, if people are pushing on the wrong things, why is that? I’ve been in diagnostic meetings in healthcare and technology and finance and distribution and manufacturing.

We employ stop, start, continue, we employ all these things. And to your point if the leader is not understanding what the team has to offer on the front line and more importantly if you’re managing up to your boss so you don’t know what the boss’ marching orders are, are you pushing on the right things?

Or here’s another variant of that, somebody on the team absolutely has energy and is just about pushing on something they believe to be right and correct, beneficial for everybody they’re not heard.

Then you build this kind of resistance into the team and it germinates and goes bad later. One of the things at outset is, are you pushing on the right things. And understanding the problem fully before you take action.

Jeff: I got an example of that. I was leaning off-site about two weeks ago up in Philly, in fact Trump ended up speaking right across the street the next day. We got Secret Service.

Lee: You got Trumped is what you say.

Jeff: Exactly we got a little bit of everything there. And what was happening was there were issues that felt like in some ways they may be a bit interpersonal. And as we started to dig back into it, and I’d really put this into the understanding the problem fully before acting. There may have been some acting already going.

But our intent at the meeting was how do we hit our 2017 goals? What are our revenue goals, what are new lines of business you want to go into? We realized we had to take a step back and we had to process that. And what I mean by that is that we’re getting a little hung up in some interpersonal challenges, when really it wasn’t that.

When we really sort of mapped out we were like, “Oh wait, we’re missing a key resource person, that had certification and something.” We had an IT need that until we got that IT thing fixed, why are we even out in the market trying to talk about it? What started as how do we hit our goal; and maybe it was a little interpersonal, we could have put a Band-Aid on the interpersonal and worked on interpersonal problems.

But once we process mapping, we came down to like oh my gosh there were two big things that had nothing to do with interpersonal skills. To go back to the model, we really start to understand what our challenge was. We set up right actions.

And we’ll follow up in about a month, they decided to say, “Let’s continue to meet on our strategic plan once a quarter to really pull up.” We’re going to pull back up in April and then review it. SI thought it was a great example for don’t take the top symptom here. We had to dig down and really understand it.

Lee: Interesting, you see we’re going to be revisiting in April then quarterly, so the right actions at the right time.

And you mentioned accountability and we’ll get into that a little bit later. But I want to add onto that, there’s an example of a manufacturing company in Lynchburg, global in nature they’re just a fabulous business working with the executive team. And we had some of the things kind of like the minutia and when you really drill down in there are you fully understanding?

I’ll use sales and service as an example, you can do in laboratory, it’s a similar thing we have lots of laboratory clients. The sales guys run out there and promise a bunch of things. Do the operations people have a capability to deliver on that? Now enter the order and here’s the money part, okay I got an order in here.

I got a purchase order for X number of dollars my hand, now is leadership going to make this happen. Now okay I understand it, would you rather ask for forgiveness give the order back? No. okay so reality is the dynamic in place or the economics in place.

Understanding the problems fully and then going in the right sequence is so paramount. They may have hit a great order and hit it out of the park, they’re killing the team and they’re killing them around like really in the very mechanism, that need to be excellent to fulfill that order.

Jeff: That’s good. I think if I’m the listener I just keep wanting to come back. Let’s if you can be thinking about a case, let me just be talking about a couple of things that I’m seeing in a few of my clients just to help drive this point home. I think you’ve got a good one there in sales and operation and are they connecting well.

For me one of them was just clear goals. One of the challenges we had, we just weren’t very clear. If you really go back to the model, we have some intentionality, we kind of knew what we wanted. The problem to resolve though I don’t think was clear to the rest of the organization. It was one of those vague things.

We just generally needed to go into a new market, but it wasn’t clear to everyone why. And once we were able to take a step back and say, “Here’s the problem that we’re going to have to solve.” We are dominating the market that we’re in, but the market’s only got about well 380, 390 people that we could connect with.

This is selling software. That market is limited and while they’re dominating, but they were like saying, “Oh well we want to go to this other place because it was almost sexy, and it was interesting. No, we have a limited finite amount of time that we can dominate this market. We’ve got to go pick another segment, one or two segments and really get there.

That changed it from a wish kind of hoping that we got there, to like okay so what are the next steps? Let’s really understand, what’s the depth of that next market that we’re looking into? Who is already in there? Who do we need to hire? Do we need to go in by ourselves? Do we want to resell it like what are we trying to do? But I got to tell you, probably got for nine to 12 months of this conversation it was kind of wishing and hoping.

Lee: Wishing and hoping. You could see it here guys okay do it with us now.

Jeff: But they weren’t really aiming towards it. What I’d say is that getting a layer under it, really saying what was the problem that we needed solved, we needed adjacent markets because we were going to max out our current market. Allow the rest of the organization to get focused and take the right set of actions.

Finally what they did a really good job of at this organization was they met monthly to say how are we doing and checking in. previously it was one of those things that they did in one time strategically planning off-site. They left it with somebody on the side of the desk. So that first year that it was on there almost no progress got made.

Lee: What was shocking?

Jeff: Right, the second year having a monthly discussion, quarterly really pull out and say how strategies going, they were able in a year to fully be in market and landing customers. They hit it at the end doing the right thing. Have they dominated that next market? No, but are they set up to dominate probably in 18, 19? Yes.

Lee: They understood the problem and they set the right actions in motion at the right time. And then they’re hitting the finish line strong some of the accountability steps. Another team executive and sub team that we were working with doing exactly that, I’m facilitating some conference calls. We’re getting to the depth of understanding you talked about one layer underneath the dermis.

We’re going to get under the skin a little bit and say, “Okay we’re understanding this now. Let’s scan any of the things that are counterproductive and let’s get on with it. I wanted to add one thought to what you were just talking about made me think of this. And it’s the term IR, like capital I capital R. we’re great for acronyms here.

Jeff: It’s our talent.

Lee: The IR, the I stands for inquisitive right, the R stands for rationale. It could almost make a mathematical equation, I/R. so when people drilling on fully understanding like a sub step to iPUSH, are you fully understanding it? The more inquisitive you are, the more engaged people around you will be at whatever level, executive or underneath.

You mentioned it’s not about we have our marching orders I’m a D driver let’s ready go I’m dictating right. Command and control has its place and it’s when it’s to launch and but if you really want to hit the finish line strongly you need to be able to be inquisitive. And then okay people aren’t robots they’re going to want to know why.

Okay, it’s not do as I say not as I do just do this right, command and control it’s sharing the rationale, that’s the R. Jeff this is important because if we hit our safety metrics, we don’t have any regulatory exposure, there’s less of a revenue hit on our top or bottom lines.

And here are the reasons why we’re doing this, we’re setting ourselves up for 18. Okay why didn’t you say do at the beginning? Now some people don’t do that, and they walk away from that discussion, that transaction like, “Okay I get it they want to do something but I don’t agree with it.”

Jeff: Let’s push off a little bit this way for a minute or two and then we’ll move to break. But people are busy Lee.

Lee: Push off.

Jeff: Yeah exactly playing basketball here. But people are busy right. These are nice strategic conversations but I can hear some people rolling their eyes and they’re like, “Okay that’s good we went to the meeting, we were in the conference room for a half-day or we were in there for two hours. Guys I got to get back to producing something or I got a software code to write for our healthcare folks, we got patients to see.

How do you keep this sort of top of mind and really drive that change because this is good but I also have 72 other results I got to get. And we’re proposing that this is for the one two three key strategies that you really need to do. But Lee, I’m busy.

Lee: We’re getting ready to talk after the break about the accountability steps and the H is hitting the finish line strong. Where’s the finish line; is it at the end of the year? Is it the end of the three to five-year strategic plan? Define your finish line okay. Is it the next quarter? Is it the next six months? A lot of people don’t do that.

I see people doing strategic planning that automatically default to five years like really? Tell me where you’re going to be five years from now? I mean if you think back five years ago, would anybody fathom we are where we are right now? I look at that and there’s certain factors or components of the H, hitting the finish line accountability steps cultural booster shots, things of that we do at Voltage.

Jeff: Okay. Yeah for me I think that a big piece of this is just rhythm. You got to commit time and energy to it. Right so that goes back to the intentionality. I’m working with on organization right now that literally has 17 different priorities okay.

And they’re not that big of an organization. So maybe 17 for Google. But even then, I’d say you probably need to boil it down to top three or four.

Lee: Is that the short list, 17?

What does the big list look like?

Jeff: Exactly. I think one of the pieces of feedback I’d have in this part is also making sure that it’s really clear. What are the top things you’re focused on? How are we going to do it? How do we separate sort of business as usual and then where are we going? What I want to do is when we come back from break we’ll pick up on this topic.

We’ll also start to move into how we hold ourselves accountable and others accountable. Again you’ve been listening to Voltcast Illuminating Leadership, Lee Hubert’s here with me. And we will be back with you in two minutes.


Jeff: Welcome back. I’m here today with Lee Hubert. Lee and I have been talking about how do we get the results that we’re aiming for? How do we push towards the results? How do we make sure our teams are aligned with us and all that? And a song that was in my head, it wasn’t what I came back was a little Bon Jovi, We’re Halfway There. We’re halfway through this show.

Lee: Living on a prayer.

Jeff: We’re living on a prayer. So [Singing] Lee is someone that plays guitar and sings, so I should be letting him do that. We’re halfway through the show and what I’d say is good, we know how to set it up. We know how to have some of the conversations, we might do a process map to figure this out. We set clear goals, we’re doing off-site.

We’re doing all that kind of stuff. People are decent and understanding that. What gets in the way is what I call this interference. It just gets noisy, it gets loud and we get busy, so we lose track of it. As we were starting the conversation before the break, we were talking a little bit about how do you set the right actions in motion at the right time and how do we hit the finish line strong.

I guess I turned it back over to you Lee and saying, what are some of the practices that we can do to keep this stuff top of mind, and for us to be able to keep the momentum and energy going? Because sometimes when you’re halfway there like the song you do get lost a little and you lose track of it.

Lee: Well I’ll tell you what, and it doesn’t happen in isolation. It’s an excellent point. You really need to do recurring things to keep things top of mind. It is the theater of the mind. One organization I worked with we had an internal marketing plan, we had internal impressions, paintings whatever you want to call it.

Of these top things of the problems to solve and the goals to achieve that were clearly understood. I use healthcare as an example too, some organizations huddle in the morning. Let’s all get together, check in with each other, make sure who’s got what energy about what, who’s got what momentum, who’s halfway there, who’s been listening to Bon Jovi on the way in.

And then make sure that we make eye contact and all that resonates. Just that simple little act breaks down isolation. A lot of times other clients we hear bunker silos, people function in isolation. This is that symptomatic of the opposite of iPUSH, I mean it just is. What happens a lot of times is people will be going off in 17 different directions.

Are they taking the right actions at the time? And the answer is no. It means you coordinate that. Another thing is the team charters I’m a big advocate for doing things with at the team level. I think lasting change or lasting rollouts, or implementations happen at the team level. Around your team’s dinner table there’s is the team charter.

That leader who’s ever sitting in that leader chair gets to own this and they get to reinforce it. To your point, how do you keep it top of mind? With intentionality. We’re going to talk about the problems that need to be resolved and I’ll keep reminding you because that’s my role. And I don’t want to act on them till they’re fully understood.

If the people on my team are going in opposite directions based on half a story, I’m going to reel that in. I may reel that in publicly at the team meeting, I may reel it in behind the manager’s closed door to one on one. And there’s a whole another deeper dive if you want to listen to the other Voltcast about Behind the Manager’s Closed Door. But that’s a good thing.

These are all good things, the ways to keep it the top of mind. It’s not going to happen in one-time event. You should have with intentionality, a plan. Sometimes referred to it as Booster Shots. We’ll go to a client or organization and say, “You know, and I know this sounds good. But nature is to revert, so we need to inoculate you.”

We’re going to give you your booster shot every 90 days or every 60 days. Now some of this stuff is virulent okay. We may have to give you a double booster shot. Some of it’s resistant, some of it’s culturally drug-resistant okay. If there’s any of this drama, confusion and anxiety in your culture and they’re just not grasping this, your role is to inoculate that culture, so you have a healthy outcome.

Jeff: I’m just going to take you back to outcome here for just a moment. We had our strategic planning like everyone else in December. Good session, made a lot of progress, signed up for commitments. We met for an hour and a half last week, last Friday. And it was interesting I would’ve liked to maybe get a little further on a couple of the strategy conversations.

But we did this sort of using Lee’s language here, a booster shot on how are we doing against X, Y, and Z projects? And it was amazing how far we’d made it in really about five or six weeks and minus sometime in the holidays, really about three weeks of actual work time. How much just staying focused and saying, “Here’s the two or three things that we needed to do.”

Each person on the team sort of had one thing that they needed to report out on. And we were able to get through a lot of the topics really quickly and making progress. More importantly though is that the next time is on the calendar already. And we also said, “Okay we’re probably going to need quarterly more time than we initially thought.”

One of the things I wrote down was something called After Action Review. As you’re working on your own results, looking and saying, “How are we doing?” so that after-action review can be simple, it can big, whatever you want. But when you are at a point where it makes sense, so it can be at the end of the meeting, it can be the end of a project, it can be end of a program, it can be at the midpoint.

Lee: And you did that at the meeting.

Jeff: Right.

Lee: How was it?

And we all tried doing it, it was really good.

Jeff: Yeah so good job by Jennifer for facilitating.

Lee: It was great. Everyone walked away from that experience going, we feel like we really accomplished a lot.

Jeff: What I’d just encourage you as leader is don’t wait for the end. You can make these adjustments and doing the right actions at the right time. Asking the question, did we hit our desired outcome, what went well, what could we’ve done better?

And is there one thing that will make us get closer to the result that we’re aiming for? Just one thing. Don’t try to come up with seven. What’s the one next thing that we need to do? The clearer you get on that, the better chance you really have of hitting the goal that you’re aiming for in 17.

Lee: Well and hit the finish line strong right, keep the momentum. You made me think of a couple of things. I can think of a client site where we had people in fancy jobs, they were locked into their agenda. They have their meetings, and it almost becomes habit-forming.

We’ve got five minutes for this and three minutes for that okay I get that you must have structures, so it doesn’t turn into a food fight. But a lot of people in that meeting felt like they weren’t heard. You go to these meetings they sit there and smile at you and somebody drinks coffee, somebody eats a donut.

Okay this is great; right did we do anything. Minus if they did your after-action review right let them there, this person would say, “We didn’t talk about anything that’s important to me and I’m an important part of the system here.”

Another thing that’s important you do a particularly good job at this is I’m going to call it recognition okay. Remember this about iPUSH. Now this is what you think you’re people right. The key is, are you pushing them, do you know your people, do you know how to push them without scuttling their morale or their esprit de corps?

Are you pushing on the right things at the right time? Are you taking the actions at the right time? And how do you keep their momentum? How do you keep them hitting the finish line strong and jazzed right? Part of this is recognition okay. I’ll share an experience study this is from healthcare, I was at an HR role I was in.

And we got a letter from somebody, gushing letter and I milk this for all it was worth, it was great. It was a challenging time, it was early in the year, we had aggressive goals. And all these things like your goals right, measures and metrics and safety all the stuff that’s important. Your funding and your reimbursements are tight it was just super important stuff right.

This person knocked it out of the park, went over and above. I called him up and I said, “Hey this is HR calling need to come down to your department.” I waited till Friday at 3 o’clock. And I said, “I’m going to come down the hall and I want your whole team there. It’s really important you better be there.” I showed up and I only tipped one manager so they were freaking out themselves.

And I read this gushing glowing letter out loud and just embarrassed the daylights out of this person. And it was great. And that person floated out of that department that day and the afterglow lasted for quite a while. So if you’re pushing people don’t forget you’re pushing people and to my point if you know your people okay, recognize them.

And go out of your way to do so. If you’re sitting in that leader chair, it’s not just about you taking off boxes on your own To Do list.

Jeff: Yeah in fact that’s a good transition over here. I want to talk a little bit about without accountability for your own performance or you as a leader. So how do you make sure that you get the feedback that you need? Who holds the leader accountable? How do you hold yourself accountable? One of the concepts that we use at Voltage, I’ll kick us off, is an accountability partner.

I was just with Carilion about two, three weeks ago, and it was one of the things that we did we shared feedback with each other and then we said, they get to meet for a couple hours a month, maybe eight hours and then a one-hour coaching session. And I’m like, “but you guys work together all the time, so who can give you feedback about how are you doing against your set of results, what you’re aiming for?

They’ve picked out people, so we taught them a model about how do you share feedback with each other. But then they go, and they pick two accountability partners. After they’ve been in a meeting together he gives them feedback. But there’s also this willingness to say, “Lee I’m working on X and Y, could you notice how I’m doing in a meeting and give me some feedback?”

Lee: That’s beautiful.

People don’t do that a lot of times. They’re running and gunning, it’s a fast Q1 situation get the year off, go, go, go, push, push, push. Again the other thing there’s people who’re habitually late to meetings or unprepared for meetings. So that is a further upstream kind of thing. Get your people whoever the owner is, and we use that other acronym, AOB-Actions, Ownership and Behaviors.

Part of holding people accountable is knowing what actions they’re engaged in right now. I can observe that right, and who is the owner of that; well it’s my action. And behaviors are sometimes people run to corrective actions to correct behaviors instead of an accountability partner.

Think of how different that is. If you say, “Look I want you all to be mentoring each other basically, be lateral peers and lateral mentors and say how do you think I did, was I too snotty, was I cocky, was I too shy, did I talk too much or too fast? I’m waiting.” All that kind of stuff. So that’s a good thing and that’s different because there’s organizations that won’t do that.

Jeff: Well and let me just take it a whole different place, where Lee and I both like running. I know that Lee had a buddy that they went and ran a five-mile race back in.

Lee: September.

Jeff: September Milwaukee was it?

Lee: I also run Milwaukee Wisconsin Market University end up at Lake Michigan be there.

Jeff: Right. What was interesting about though is there some Saturdays that I’m not sure that Lee really wanted to run, but knowing he had a buddy that needed to meet him at the start line and he wanted to get to the finish line successfully allows you. I had the same thing this week, I have a buddy that’s running a half marathon.

And he needed to do a 10-mile run, it was 21° at seven in the morning here. And it wasn’t what I necessarily wanted to do in my Saturday morning. But he’s a friend and I wanted to be there. There’s part of trying to push for results is who can also hold you accountable so that you want to show up, just like that running partner.

Lee: Absolutely.

Jeff: Just like that person that’s on your team and being able to say, we’re in this together. Think about accountability partners, who can be the accountability partner for you, so that you can really make sure that they’re holding you accountable to the results?

What we’re going to do it we’re going to come back and give you a few tips or tools about the model, best practices that we’ve learned. We’ll be back in two minutes to wrap up the show for you.


Jeff: Welcome back. I am here today with Lee Hubert and I’m just chuckling to myself. We’ve been having a great time around Lee’s model iPUSH and if I’d really been thinking about it I would ask Kevin our sound engineer to bring us back with Push It Real Good.

Lee: Push, Push, Push.

Jeff: Push it Real Good. This has been a model about how to set up the results for the year. We’re trying to take that strategic plan that we developed in December and bring it into reality. We get busy so what are some of the tools and tips to make sure this comes to life. We’ve talked a lot about hey here’s a good model, here’s we go about doing it.

Last segment we talked about making sure you have a good accountability partner. I want to build on that for one second and then we’re going to move over to some tools and tips and Lee’s got some questions. The question I would have just build off your accountability partner is who is your advisory board?

What I mean by that is who needs to be giving you feedback, maybe it’s in something that you’re not so strong and I was meeting with a woman earlier today who is fantastic in marketing. Former IBM executive, so I’ve got a couple of my clients that could really use her as part of their advisory board, saying what do we need in marketing?

I’m often brought in to say, “We’re having some struggles on our team or maybe it’s a human resource concern, or it’s a cultural challenge. I wanted you to be thinking about as for each of our listeners, what are the results you’re trying to get to this year, and what type of advisors do you need? So not just accountability partner but who could help you throughout the course of the year?

It could be someone from finance, it might be someone from the operations unit. But who’s going to help you achieve your results? And think of them as your advisory board and try to take them out for lunch or coffee or one on one probably three to four times over the course of the year here just to go seek them out.

Sometimes it can be a full-blown meeting. A lot of time it’s just informal. But this is another way of looking at it. To really push yourself to the results, you’re trying to get, making sure you’ve identified a couple of advisory board members, that have your best interest at heart, that can help push you to the results, so that you can push your team to the results.

Lee: That’s beautiful, it’s wisdom in a multitude of counselors because if you think about it, I want to push for results, how do you do that without scuttling esprit de corps, how do you that without disengaging people?

Jeff: Right.

Lee: You were asking about tips, how to do things. Well I want to give a shout out to my buddy Stevie in Wisconsin because he understands that completely. And when I do my runs on Saturday whatever it is 10k, five miles the first thing I do when I come in is I text him. And my daughter Elizabeth in Milwaukee is that I put 6.2 smiley face. They get it and they’ll look outside it’s like January, okay yeah that’s right February it’s right because February in Virginia is beautiful too.

Jeff: Yeah.

Lee: If you want to keep it simple here’s the number one tip or tool that I would put in the toolbox and just as a couple of questions. And it works at the individual level, team level or global. First question is what are you potentially struggling with right now that needs attention? Meaning immediacy. Don’t be too future in yourself because you can go nuts doing that.

Focus on the now, what’s on your place right now. Second.

Jeff: Let me hit that again so what are you potentially struggling with that needs attention right now? I think that’s great. Sometimes we get so hang-up in the strategic plan and it’s like we had we have all year or 18 months or three years. But if we don’t act right now, it starts to deviate.

It’s a lot easier to keep it fixed when it’s just one standard deviation than when we take our eye off the ball for six months and the next thing we know we’ve missed it by a wide mile and now we’re like, “Holy crap we’re not going to hit our 18 goals maybe because we took our eye off it.

Lee: Couldn’t agree more.

Jeff: I think it’s keeping your attention on it and making sure you deal with some of these issues when they’re small.

Lee: Let me share a football story, Barry Alvarez when they took the Doorman’s of the Big 10 Wisconsin Badgers I mean this was a horror show okay- said publicly beckoned or whatever it was the 90’s, “We’re going to the Rose Bowl and we’re going to win it.”

And people looked at him like he had lobsters growing out of his ears. His mantra was what’s important now. You need to do what’s important now. In running terms, okay you’re hitting s little bit of a wall, breathe through it. All you got to do is worry about the next step.

You don’t have to worry about what’s going on next year. If you focus on the acronym WIN-What’s Important Now; that’s how you answer this first question. Second question is what are the right developmental goals to work on in the near-term, in next three to six months or some near-term? Not getting out into the ether, not your five-year plan. What’s important now, what’s on the horizon?

Jeff: I’ve got a CEO and a COO that I’m working with right now, and organization could look up and see that their relationship was a challenge. Our first three sessions, what we really just focused on is they actually like each other, but they didn’t realize just.

Lee: Didn’t realize they liked each other.

Jeff: Yeah, no it was just a matter of they didn’t realized how much people were pulling at them and trying to get them into a story. The thing that was the most important for the next three months for them, was for them to spend time and realizing they’re trying to pull in the same direction of these goals and results they needed to present a united front with the organization.

Instead what was happening was they were kind of passing ships at night and they weren’t investing in their own relationship and everyone was pulling at them. It was as simple as let’s get on the same page and now they have each other’s back. They speak kindly about each other.

Lee: I love it that’s beautiful.

Jeff: They say I was in touch with XYZ person they are supportive of this and now the whole organization is holy cow!

Lee: They made allies.

They made allies of each or in iPUSH terms they weren’t reacting to part of the story. So very often you see people causing trauma and problems and you well know right it’s like okay don’t misunderstand we’re glad people have a lot of the imperfection it gives consultants something to do. We don’t want that to go away completely.

But understand some of this is wasted energy. The third question is what are the best ways to interface with your accountability partner? When you do that, if you focus on what’s important now, you look at the near term get on the same page as you’re talking about, and then focus about having an accountability partner you will move the needle.

Jeff: What’s important about accountability partner and I deal with a lot with my folks is you’re asking to receive, be willing to give too. What is it about the other person that you can offer? And maybe they’re not in a spot where they need a lot from you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do something for their part of the organization.

Or it’s a matter of be willing to fully listen. Sometimes I see some of these accountability partnerships where the person comes in and they’re only about halfway paid attention. And it’s like wow that other person is giving you their time let’s fully connect. I’d also just say, what is it that you can give to that other person, help them to grow and develop?

And if it’s not them, if they’re in a spot in their career where they may never need that, then give it to somebody else, and say, “I’ve learned some wisdom from the previous person.” It might just be that you’re sharing credit.

Lee: That’s beautiful. Or say expressed in another way remember the IR the I/R. If I’m with that person and I want to be inquisitive I’m going to listen first. Now that’s learned behavior for me in a lot of different ways now and I also want to share the rationale. If I engage that person, if I’m inquisitive they will be engaged with me.

Jeff: We’re at the two-minute warning here, so I’ve always got to wind down the show.

Lee: Oh no I’m having a Super Bowl flashback.

Jeff: Exactly the Falcons couldn’t quite finish it out. Congratulations to the Patriots fans. Next week what we’re going to do is I’m going to have Jenifer Owen O’Quill on the show, and we’re going to bring in one of her customers. And we’re going to do a case study about what has happened at this organization. Stay tuned it will be a real life case study, how did we work with them, how did they go back changing their culture.

How did they reset their results? And they changed a lot from who is the CEO to how do they interact, how they communicate with the management team. And real practical tools and tips of what did they put in place. This particular speaker is also in the near future going to be doing a TED talk. So we’ll get some best some best practices from that.

Lee: Awesome.

Jeff: You have been listening to Illuminating Leadership and if you want to contact us throughout the course of the week, here are a few ways, you can follow me on twitter @JMUJeff, you can link with Lee or I on LinkedIn adjustment at Jeff Smith or Lee Hubert at Voltage Leadership Consulting. You can like us on Facebook at Voltage Leadership.

Our website is voltageleadership.com. You can email me at jeff@voltageleadership.com. During the week you can also give us a call at 540-798-1963. So if you have any challenges, issues if you need a great speaker like Lee please reach out to us we’d love to do some work with you. It has been so great for all folks reaching out across the world to listen to us each and every week, really appreciate that.