Friday, 20 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part seven - culture

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the final in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring culture.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

Here's the Execution post and podcast.

Here's the Progress post and podcast.

I’ve been referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Culture

Corporate anthropologist Michael Henderson says "Culture is; “What it means to be human here.” (‘Here’ being wherever you are referring to when talking about a culture.) I have always loved Michael’s definition.

Typically culture is described as "the way we do things around here." I believe this is only part of the story. Who we are as human beings precedes what we do, hence my mantra ‘who before do.’ 

My friend and colleague Steve Simpson created a concept called UGR’s i.e unwritten ground rules.

I very much align with Steve and refer him to my clients where appropriate.

I believe that the key to culture is agreeing to a set of behaviours that demonstrate how we live our values.

Lately I notice conversations about so-called 'traditional values' have entered the mainstream, particularly through religious and political leaders, yet also by citizens in reference to them. I find this all ironic given both religious and political leaders as a generalisation have a lot to answer for when it comes to not living their values!

Most organisations have values described in single words. Only the most remarkable have agreed behaviours about how their words are lived.

Action 

Over time and involving every member of your team turn your values (those single words) into virtues ("behaviours showing high moral standards”).

Below are two examples from Netflix and a small Australian organisation The Physio Co that was voted 7 years in a row as a top 50 best place to work.

At The Physio Co one of their values is Be memorable Behaviour wise this means:


At Netflix one of their values is Communication. Behaviourally for them this means:

You listen well instead of reacting first, so you can better understand

You are concise and articulate in speech and writing

You treat people with respect independent of their status or disagreement with you

You maintain calm poise in stressful situations.

Your turn. Your work will lead you to what Dov Seidman calls sustainable values which will set you apart from most organisations who only have situational values.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Real leadership is childlike, never childish

You can download this post as PDF here.

“Four year olds speak the truth.” This is one of many great reminders about how to be in the world from the wonderful television series on ABC TV Old People’s Home For 4 Year Olds. You can watch the show here.

We need more childlike leaders.

What we’ve got is a lot of leaders, particularly political, religious and business figures whose behaviour is often childish. You know who these people are of course because you scratch your head, raise your eyebrows and/or just sit there with your mouth open like I do!

God forbid you may even have some of these clowns in your workplace.

The TV show demonstrates delightfully that four year olds don’t just speak the truth, they are also candid, curious and caring all at once.

We need leaders living these characteristics out loud, and desperately. There’s a planet to save and peace to be made for goodness sake.

Behaviour is so childish across the political spectrum that I’ve gone on a quest on Twitter to help bring in #grownuppolitics. This is a work in progress.

In business for over 30 years I’ve been helping leaders see and bring the best out in themselves and other people. Truth, candour, curiosity and caring are all essential to see and bring out the best in people.

And then there’s love.

One of my favourite authors Steven Farber has just released his book 'Love is just damn good business'.

His title is a fact in my experience that more and more people are embracing. You?

I find people need to feel valued, then fulfilled, before they can feel loved.

People feeling valued

In remarkable organisation’s there’s a strong, unbreakable bond between people feeling valued, living values, and delivering value. Remarkable is rare.

Most organisations have stated values. Very few are lived. Rarely is there a shared-view around the behaviours that demonstrate your values. Of course if you are the exception rather than the rule you have competitive advantage.

To help your people feel more valued, your first step is to agree with them about what your values are.

There must be alignment between personal and organisational values. Any disconnect means trouble. The good news is that there are many universal values. The second step is crucial, it’s about reaching a shared view with your people about what behaviours mean you live your values. Learn more about shared-view here.

With the above as a foundation you can accurately determine and agree on what value must be delivered to all the stakeholders of your organisation. Delivering value to others that they demand, desire and feel that they deserve is fundamental to helping people to feel valued.

Living values and delivering value pave the way for appreciating people which is also fundamental in helping them to feel valued.

The eminent psychologist and philosopher William James famously observed:

"The deepest principle of human nature is the craving to be appreciated."

There are many simple and common sense actions for expressing your appreciation to your employees. All of them contribute to them feeling more valued.

Here are just a few
Catch people doing things right and doing the right thing.
Give people genuine compliments.
Informally and formally celebrate with people what is going well for them.
Always say please and thank you and mean it.
Be courteous and kind.
Share stories about the successes of your people.
Be compassionate.

A further simple yet profound way to help people feel valued is to find out what is really important to them and then help them to achieve whatever it is.

The more people feel valued, the more they will deliver value to others, and the more they will live the behaviours of your values. You can see why I say that there ought to be a strong, unbreakable bond between values, value and valued.

People feeling fulfilled

I love the word fulfilled because of what it means “satisfied or happy because of fully developing one's abilities or character.”

There are some great synonyms for fulfilled as well like “realized, carry through, accomplish, execute, carry out.”

The number of employees you have who you could say the above about I guarantee that your business results are a direct reflection.

Often when I begin change initiatives with organisations I interview the leadership team and the people that report to them to get a sense of who is willing and able to change. I end up with a rule of thumb assessment of where people are at in the following four categories:

I then dig deeper checking the vital signs of employees feeling fulfilled or not.

I am particularly interested in employee turnover and why people are leaving and staying. I also want to know the amount of time leaders are spending trying to sought out so-called people problems. Low employee turnover is a sign employees feel fulfilled. The less time leaders are spending trying to solve people issues is also a sign.

I then dig deeper still. I want to know what the majority of people feel and think about the following three statements:

We understand the defining moments in people’s lives and help them to bring the lessons learned in these moments to their work.

We are aware of and have continual conversations with people about what really matters to them.

We help people identify what is special about them, their unique gifts/talents, and then make it simple for these gifts/talents to be enhanced.

If I find that less than 90% of the time people feel these statements are true, then I know that the organisation has got work to do.

Once I have done my investigative work as described above I design a program with my client to close performance gaps.

The outcomes of such programs are directly and indirectly connected to increasing the number of employees who are fully alive.

Fulfilled human beings are spiritually alive, emotionally healthy, mentally alert, physically active, and universally aware.

The above diagram is from book Remarkable Workplaces. You can download it along with my other books and resources, all from the one PDF file here. 

Imagine even just a small increase in the number of your employees feeling more alive!

People feeling loved

Most people live in fear.

Most people are frightened of being hurt. 

Most people fear they won’t be liked if they take a certain action. 

Most people fear losing. 

Most people fear the possible consequences of naming the elephant in the room - the obvious truth that is being ignored or going unaddressed.

I drew a laugh one time when someone in a meeting asked me for my thoughts. Without referring to anyone in particular I said “I can’t speak at the moment because the elephant in the room has got her foot on my throat.”

After the laughter died down and a long silence, the person we probably all least expected had the courage to finally name the elephant. Everyone felt better straight away.

I notice over and over that when fear is named it vanishes or at very least we feel able to confront it.

If you want to help people enhance their gifts/talents and to bring their best to their work then we must help them, support them, encourage them to face their fears.

The opposite of fear is love.

The Ancient Greeks had four words for love. You no doubt know two - eros (romantic love) and agape (love in a spiritual sense). The third is storge, meaning natural affection like parents feel for their children.
The fourth, philia, is the one I find the most insightful for our workplaces. 

Philia is often translated as affectionate regard or friendship. We need more philia in our workplaces.

I find it simple (not always easy) to have affectionate regard for people because I know everyone of us is a one-of-a-kind human being. Only the hardest of heart can’t not love a one-off.

When there is affectionate regard or friendship in our workplaces better performance follows. 

Usually in my experience very, very quickly.

In Q & A sessions that follow a lot of my presentations I often break the ice by asking people what they are passionate about. The most common answer is family. I then go on and ask the following four questions:

1. What makes great families great?
2. What do great parents do?
3. What do great life-partners do?
4. What do you notice about siblings who really get along?

Whatever the answers I then ask: What would happen in your organisation tomorrow if you began to apply the principles behind your answers?

I leave you to answer these questions and then apply the principles behind your answers in your workplace. 

Improved performance will follow your actions I promise.

“Love drives out fear” say many of the ancient texts in all sorts of ways.

“A life lived in fear is a life half-lived.” 
From the film ‘Strictly Ballroom’.

Helping people to feel valued, then fulfilled, and ultimately loved is grown-up work. The great paradox though is that being grown-up still requires us to tap into the key characteristics of our being a four year old, speaking the truth, and being candid, curious and caring.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 16 September 2019

Forging partnerships to create a tipping point in sustainability

This is a wonderful interview by David Lancefield and Jeremy Grant from strategy+business with Paul Polman the former Chief Executive of Unilever.


In this are a great deal of insights about how to lead a 21st century purpose driven company that is good for all stakeholders including our planet.

Some of Paul's words that I particularly like:

The average life span of a publicly traded company in the U.S. has dropped during my lifetime from 67 years to 17 years. I think one of the main reasons for that has been the myopic focus on shareholders and the increasing short-termism that has crept in.

Some companies have tried to compensate for their own successes by moving somewhat into corporate social responsibility or philanthropy and other things, but ultimately this all falls into the “less bad” category, and clearly we are beyond the point that the world can afford that. So companies need to think hard about having a positive impact.

If they do think about these models, then their development agenda is one of opportunity, and there is probably a bigger market out there waiting for them. And, actually, a very profitable market. Getting companies into this shift in mind-set from moving from CSR to what I call RSC — the “responsible social corporation” — is perhaps a big step, but very rewarding.

... keep it simple, in human language, from being a net taker to a net giver. Some people think greed is good, and some in the financial markets even more so. But generosity always wins long term.

Companies are a mere reflection of the human beings that make up that company. There is no reason companies can’t be more human either, and we somehow forgot that. Bringing companies back to humanity is what business leadership is all about: making positive contributions, trying to do that little bit more every day. This guarantees not only your company’s long-term reason for being, but also your financial success.

If you were coaching a new CEO in a large organization, what would you tell her or him to focus on first?


POLMAN: Fortunately, I come from a part of the country in the Netherlands where we keep both feet on the ground. So my first advice would be: Be a human being.

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian

Friday, 13 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part six - progress

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the sixth in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring execution.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

Here's the Execution post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Progress

For most of my 48 years working life I’ve observed that in the very best workplaces progress towards shared objectives has been visible via scorecards and/or scoreboards of some kind.

In the 1990’s one of my clients was a train builder. I remember the whiteboards in the factory where about 300 people worked. Each whiteboard showed each team where they where at with their piece of the build.

When ‘The Balanced Scorecard’ concept began to be adopted from 1996 not only did the pictures get better, so did what was being pictured.

This was taken to a whole new level in 2011 when Teresa Amabile and her husband Steven Kramer published their book ‘The Progress Principle’, which was rated by Harvard Business Review as the breakthrough idea of 2010’s.

The key for me about ‘The Progress Principle’ is the insight "making progress in meaningful work visible.”

I’ve never thought much of the idea that what gets measured gets done. I’m much more aligned with the following statement by William Bruce Cameron in 'Informal Sociology' published 1963:

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.”

Making progress in meaningful work visible takes the old ideas of lead measures and KPI’s to a whole new level.

As an 18 year old my boss came to me one day complaining my sales were down on expectations. I complained I didn’t have enough prospects. He spun on his heels and left my office only to return 5 minutes later with a phone book.

Slamming it down on my desk he said “There are plenty of prospects in there!” He then went on to explain to me that all the prospects in the world matters little unless they are qualified.

He further explained that qualified prospects was a lead measure meaning if I had a certain number at any given time I would almost be guaranteed the number of sales I needed. I could increase the likelihood of sales even more he told me if I kept appointments (another lead measure) with a certain number of qualified prospects every week.

My boss was right, and understanding lead measures matter more than lag measures has stood me in good stead all my life. It means I am never worried about or in fear of the future providing I am doing what I know works for me in the now.

The world right now is attached to outcomes or lag measures. The economy is an outcome. Profit is an outcome. What really matters is progress that is meaningful.

‘Technology vs. Humanity The coming clash between man and machine’ by Gerd Leonhard and ‘Everybody Matters The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family’ by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia, are two of the books on my top 21 recommended business books.

Of the many great take aways from ‘Technology vs. Humanity’ the concept of "key human indicators" as a far better way forward than the traditional and tired KPI's (Key Performance Indicators) got me very excited and led to a lot of thinking about how I can best integrate the concept in ways that benefit my clients.

Of the many great take aways from ‘Everybody Matters’ " ... process must serve the people not the other way around ..." was a favourite and also resulted in a lot of thinking about ways my clients could benefit.

An appreciation of both “key human indicators” and “process must serve the people” are keys to making progress in meaningful work visible.

Action

What are you currently doing in making progress in meaningful work visible?

What improvements will you make?

Please considering the following:

“Post-industrial business is about doing meaningful things with meaningful people in a meaningful way.” 
Esko Kilpi

Machines will soon do most of the algorithmic work, the simple, routine, and repetitive.

This means you have a great opportunity to be remarkable and to do work that is meaningful for you and highly valuable for others.


Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Before you consume, create

This is a great conversation between Bernadette Jiwa and Seth Godin.

Seth Godin : What we need to do now from Bernadette Jiwa on Vimeo.

Seth's comment towards the end is a great insight into being in the world today - "Before you consume, create."

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 9 September 2019

Dealing with distraction in this digital, data dominated age

“Whenever a new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counterbalancing human response…We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human nature.”
John Naisbitt

The above is quoted in this excellent piece 'Distracted: A Manual for Living a Creative, Productive, and Happy Life In the Digital Age', by Brian Solis.


I highly recommend diving deep into his article and taking action in your own best way.

"What we also need is a manual for living a modern lifestyle, one that sheds dated concepts and shares what it’s like to be mindful, aware, analytical and creative, what getting back to the best parts of an analog life combined with new digital capabilities looks like."
Brian Solis

Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian


Friday, 6 September 2019

Sustaining shared-view in seven areas of significance - part five - execution

Listen directly to the podcast version of this post here.

This is the fifth in a series of seven about arguably the most powerful philosophy that I work with my clients on. I call it shared-view.


In the workplace to be remarkable we need a shared-view in what I call seven areas of significance:  reality, possibility, purpose, strategy, execution, progress, and culture.

Today we're exploring execution.

Here's the Reality post and podcast.

Here's the Possibility post and podcast.

Here's the Purpose post and podcast.

Here's the Strategy post and podcast.

I’ll be referencing throughout this series a short paper that I published recently about shared-view which you can download here. There's also a designated page at my website where there's short videos on each of the seven.

Execution

I observe 3 major reasons why most strategies don’t get executed according to plan.

Number 1: The people responsible for executing strategy haven’t been involved in the creation of the strategy and therefore don’t understand it and/or don’t own it.

Number 2. Each employee doesn’t their own piece of the execution plan documented. 

Number 3. Once plans are documented they are not referenced frequently in ongoing conversations about performance.

I gave you an immediately implementable solution to number 1 in last Friday's podcast and blog post. Today our focus is on number 2 and 3.

Strategy is your compass. Execution is your map. And every employee needs their own piece of your map.

When I was a boy I was always fascinated to watch my Grandmother Ruby Sherriff making quilts.

She would have individual pieces all over her house and then one day she would magically stitch them all together.

Each piece individually crafted yet only in all it’s glory when stitched together.

When everyone's piece is stitched together you have your execution plan. Not a strategic plan, an execution plan. This is where many organisation suffer. They have a strategic plan not an execution plan.

The best way that I know of for employees to create their piece of your map is one page plans. I call them performance possibility plans. At the bottom of this page you can download a template, my own plan and a blank for you to get started.


The best format I’ve co-developed with my clients over the past 30 years is to use the seven areas of shared-view as headings for your one page plans.

Reality, Possibility, Purpose, Strategy, Execution, Progress and Culture all on just one page

Imagine all of your employees owning their piece of the execution plan that is a part of your giant quilt map.

You can begin today. Check out my plan and the template at the link and get started.

Then the key to success is to use people’s performance possibility plans (PPP's) to focus conversations about performance. Once you are in the habit of doing this you will soon see performance improvement regardless of how good your current performance may be.

Do Your Work.

Be remarkable.
Ian

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Human capitalism

I love the article 'Humanity is more important than money — it’s time for capitalism to get an upgrade' by Andrew Yang.

Andrew proposes the following:

Human capitalism would have a few core tenets:
1. Humanity is more important than money.
2. The unit of an economy is each person, not each dollar.
3. Markets exist to serve our common goals and values.

In your business how well are you valuing humans? How could you do better?

In what ways could you help your market to better serve our common goals and values?

Please craft your actions from the above and also with my previous post about tomorrow's capitalism and my 12th August post 'Three female Prime Minister's leading the way in prioritising well-being.'

Be remarkable.
Ian

Monday, 2 September 2019

Tomorrow's capitalism

Today's capitalism isn't working.

The folk at Volans, led by one of my heroes and creator of the triple bottom line John Elkington, are doing something about this. Read all about their tomorrow's capitalism inquiry.


Who will you become?

What will you do next?

Be remarkable.
Ian