This blog is all about my latest insights into growth, strategy, and execution.
Have you tried “multiplying” the staff you have?
No, I’m not talking about cloning your staff. That would be a pretty good trick if you could pull it off, though.
I’m talking about the book Multipliers and the ideas and techniques outlined in it.
Multilpliers, by Liz Wiseman will transform the way you lead your team. The author has extensively studied those leaders who get better results than their peers even though they have equally talented and equally sized teams. They “multiply” the output of their teams, and it happens willingly.
The key to Multipliers is first recognizing that your staff is smart enough to figure things out. Then after acknowledging it, change the way you all go about solving problems.
For instance, present the problem to your people.
Instead of trying to provide solutions to their teams and asking for input or approval, they approach their teams with the problem. At this point, they use dialogue and ask about solving it.
This way, the problem (or opportunity) is owned by the team.
Then, they are committed to it.
Leaders then listen and make sure the dialogue is strong and all aspects of the situation are covered, maybe even asking people to dig deeper. They will then lead the team towards the solution but not providing the solution.
When you first start “multiplying” it goes slow.
As you continue doing it, the team gets smarter and smarter. That’s when the “multiplication” takes place and the “multiplier’s” team starts getting “multiplied” outcomes.
Do you think your team is smart enough to figure things out? Do you have to provide all the solutions, therefore diminishing your team?
I hope it’s the first, and you can expand your team without adding anyone.
Get the book if you haven’t already. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about it in the future.
What game should we play to move your ROCK?
This is the new question I’ll be asking my clients when we identify new rocks for the quarter. Or when we peg initiatives for the year or swim lanes for the future.
I learned this question recently while attending a learning session at The Great Game of Business (GGOB). It’s a better question than asking, “What are we going to do to move the rock?”.
That question, “What are we going to do to move the rock?” invites some baggage into the conversation.
It invites the idea that something is wrong, someone didn’t do something, that someone has to do something about it. In doing so, it assigns blame whether you intend to or not.
Why not bypass this line of questioning altogether by alternatively asking, “What’s the game we need to play to move the rock?” This question focuses the participants on what can be done to succeed, without any blame/shaming. The focus is on playing a game and winning. Then the team will figure out how to win the game to move the rock. It’s a great connection between GGOB and ROCK & SAND™.
Remember, a rock is a project, a priority, or an initiative that improves your organization’s ability to push more sand, more profitably and grow. It’s usually something complex and cross functional requiring a number of people to work together as a team to move it.
Teams play games.
The question turns the rock into a game. In GGOB parlance, every rock is a mini-game. Mini-games engage the team in winning.
Isn’t that what you want?
What’s the game you need to play to move your most important rock this quarter?
Do you have entrepreneurial units or business units?
How do you see your employees?
Recently, I witnessed a “Great Game of Business” (GGOB) weekly, all-company huddle at SRC Electrical. It was an enlightening experience seeing an entire plant full of employees who were fully engaged. They were all invested in improving the financial performance of their organization. This ties directly to creating growth.
Later in the day, there was a presentation for the guests. The speaker said something during that time. It has stuck in my mind ever since. It is part of their company culture of ownership.
“We don’t have business units. We have entrepreneurial units.”
Do you think of your organization’s people as having entrepreneurial mindsets?
It was clear that all units of their business have an entrepreneurial spirit to them. They all know how their work impacts the bottom line. Some of their units are profit centers. Some are cost centers. However, all of them understand their contributions. They affect, positively or negatively, the bottom line. They’re all working to contribute to improving the bottom line, even if it’s indirectly.
It’s SRC Electrical’s expectation that their people understand the impact that they have on the success and bottom line of the business. The leadership is actively involved in teaching each and every department and employee HOW they make money for the company. This results in an extremely high level of engagement. They expect them to learn it, and they anticipate that they are smart enough to figure it out and act accordingly.
This is another argument for getting the right people in the right positions.
Shouldn’t all of your business units, whether they are profit centers or cost centers, be entrepreneurial units?
Maybe the opportunity for growth is obvious but you just can’t get moving on it.
Perhaps the growth opportunity isn’t obvious. You just know you are slogging it out harder than ever before for the exact same results or maybe even worse results.
Maybe you are growing like wildfire, and you’re worried about the ability to handle it and keep up with it.
The real question is whether you are ready for growth.
Each of the scenarios described above are all good examples of why you should question your status. Are you ready to tackle the obvious opportunity? What about finding that opportunity that will get you out of your rut? Is your business ready to keep your growth going strong and make it sustainable?
It’s not something a self help book will help you figure out. You have to figure out if you’re ready. You may need to figure out what’s keeping you from figuring it out. It may take figuring out what wheels are going to come off before they actually do fall off and cause havoc.
You need an assessment that can help you figure out all of this. A common sense, simple assessment will give you a starting point for getting ready for growth, regardless of your scenario.
Try this one. It’s the Four Decisions Assessment from my coaching organization Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches. Invest 15 minutes and gain valuable insight. It’s practical, effective, and easy to complete. It includes a free coaching session from me. When I get your report, I’ll arrange a phone call and review what it’s telling you about your readiness for growth.
There are two books I want you to consider for the the year, but they aren’t new ones. You may have heard of them or even read them. Maybe, you should read them again.
One is a real golden oldie from 1993.
The first is The Great Game of Business by Jack Stack.
When I first picked up The Great Game of Business (GGOB) back in 1993, I was living in Boston. The morning’s Boston Globe reviewed the book. Between meetings that day, I found a bookstore and purchased the book. I find myself regularly coming back to it every couple of years. This past November, at a Gravitas Impact summit, I had the opportunity hear Jack Stack, the author, along with Rich Armstrong, president of The Great Game of Business, refresh the content for me. Immediately I was re-energized by their presentation and empowerment the GGOB unleashes in the frontline and middle management of companies practicing GGOB. I have just spent an afternoon with Rich brushing up on the GGOB so I can use its principles with my clients.
The other book is a golden, not so oldie, one from 2010.
The second book I recommend for the year is Multipliers by Liz Wiseman.
Multipliers is another book that never gets dusty on my bookshelf. It’s a leadership book that details how the very best leaders “multiply” the contributions of the teams. The resulting effect gets twice as much engagement and twice as many results. It’s leadership 201. As you can see with this short description, a “multiplier” empowers his or her team.
There’s a strong connection between these books.
Although it may appear that the books are totally unrelated to each other, they work well together.
The deeper connection between the books is that they both ascribe to a core belief that leaders should have about their people. “My teammates are smart enough to figure this out.” The Great Game of Business and Multipliers both acknowledge the power of teams and their abilities to solve any problem or tackle any opportunity in front of them. That’s the main connection.
I’m going to be doing some more blogs about both books in the near future so stay tuned.
The passing of Wei Chen, founder of Sunshine Enterprise, and three of his top leaders (John Chen, Bruce Pelynio, and Danielle Robinson) is a tragedy shocking so many people, both here in Memphis and around the world. There is not much to say about it that is comforting, except to share good stories about them. So many stories were told over and over again at the wakes, services, and receptions.
I’m a better person for having listened to all the stories about this influential man.
One particular interchange I had with Wei, some time ago, came when he was a member of a peer group I was leading. When another member asked for advice from the group about his upcoming vacation, we all listened. This guy was worried about leaving his business alone for two weeks and was thinking about canceling at least part of his trip because of recent challenging developments. Almost to a tee, the rest of the members advised him to shorten or cancel his vacation. Most cited the risk of being away from things. Not Wei. He looked at the situation differently.
“Pack and go. All two weeks of it. Go, no matter what.”
Everyone was puzzled by his advice and looked at Wei with quizzical faces.
“You win no matter what happens. If things go wrong, you will know what you have to fix. Then your business will get better and grow. If things go well, you will know you have a good team and can take more vacations.”
“Pack and Go. All two weeks of it. Go, no matter what.”
I can proudly tell you that every member of that peer group and their leader enjoyed full, two week vacations that year.
Hopefully, this little bit of Wei Chen helps you with any grief you may have and inspires you to think as positively about the future as Wei did. He is missed.
What’s your story? Post it please.
Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve had participants in a presentation and a retreat use the word “equipped” to describe how they felt about what they learned that day. Never had anyone use that word before now. So, I had to dig deeper and ask what exactly they meant.
What does it mean to be equipped for business or business growth?
Both participants were feeling “uncertain” about the future of their organizations. Neither expressed their uncertainty in a negative way. There are good opportunities and good futures in front of both of them. Yet, they felt uncertain about how things would play out. They wanted to feel more in control about acting on the opportunities. In the retreat, we were working on the “Road Map to Growth,” and the “Four Decisions Model” and the connections between the two. During the presentation, which was really more of an educational event for entrepreneurs/business owners, I was leading the participants through the “Road Map to Growth” and relating how it will help them make better, faster, and more effective decisions about their growth opportunities.
After the sessions, the participants said they now felt “equipped” to deal with what is in front of them. Some uncertainty remained. However, as a result of the presentation, they found themselves with increased confidence about finding their way through it and beyond it. The tools we worked on and reviewed gave them context for creating success. It also gave them a plan for acting on it.
Therefore, they felt equipped to go forward.
That’s one of the outcomes of working with a Gravitas Impact Premium Coach like me. Confidence and actionable plans are tools and “equipment” to build growth in your organization.
Interested? Schedule a Discovery Meeting with me to learn more about our substantive methods for helping you grow your organization
By the way, I close just about every coaching session or workshop with this question,”Tell me a word that describes how you feel, as a result of our time together.” It’s a great temperature checking question that I recommend you use at the end of all your important meetings. Reveals a lot about how things are going and what you can do about it.
It’s October. The beginning of the end of the year is upon us. It’s almost time to turn the page.
It’s the start of the last quarter.
There’s an expression, “Springtime is when little boys’ minds turn to baseball and batting averages.” This is often used toward the end of the school year, when it’s necessary to keep a student’s attention on studies while there are many opportunities for distraction. For business, while this time of the year is World Series time, it’s also time for CEOs and entrepreneurs to turn their minds to strategic thinking and execution planning for the new year while keeping a focus on the remaining activities currently at hand.
Information from this year can greatly impact next year’s strategic plan.
If you have a strategic plan, it’s time to pull the team together and refresh it. Breath some life back into it. Have them pull it apart, challenge its assumptions, and make adjustments accordingly.
If you don’t have a strategic plan, it’s time to pull a team together and create one.
Do it yourself or do it with help (that might be someone like me). Schedule the time on the calendar. Plan your work, then work the plan. It makes sense. Get it done.
How should you plan for next year by using what you know from this year?
Here are a couple of my options for you to consider.
A Pre-Planning Accelerator Session – The best strategic plans include input from middle management and the front line. This is a session with the middle managers and or frontline that engages them in your process and makes sure you get things right. Learn more about pre-planning sessions here.
Scaling Up Accelerator Sessions – Three options are offered.
Option 1. Take the First Step – Introduce your team to some new strategic planning tools,”The Four Decisions Assessment” and the “Road Map to Growth.” Then pound out next year’s plan. This is a half day session.
Option 2. Meet the Challenges – Add more expertise and tools that will help them break through to the next level of growth with Talent Assessment, Cash Accelerator Tool, Key Discipline Habits, and Master Quarterly Planning. This is a full day session.
Option 3. Make the Leap from Good to Great – Complete a Four Decisions® Assessment Report and Analysis, pound out a Four Decisions® Growth RoadmapTM for the next 3 years. Receive training and education on the core tools for the Four Decisions: People, Strategy, Execution and Cash.
Learn more about these three options here.
Or set up a discovery meeting with me.
Do you compete to be better or compete to be different?
Which is the best for you and your business?
Yes, I know I’m a flower child from the sixties (not really, but I did march in protest at the University of Michigan on the President’s lawn during the 70s, but that’s another story) but I’m not talking about the “me” generation. I’m not talking about finding individuality and my own uniqueness or any of that other rubbish. I’m talking about how to stand out among your competitors to land more business with your target market than they do.
You can try to be the best at what you do for your core customers. That will work for a short period of time until someone else copies you. Then, they get better. And everyone says they are the best, so claiming that usually doesn’t work. That kind of claim can lead to a “race to the bottom” and you certainly don’t want that. So I say, compete to be different.
Compete to be unique.
At what? You want to figure out what attributes in your market place are meaningful to your core customers that you can be significantly different at than your competitors. It means figuring out what you are already different at that your customers want and also figuring out what you can be different at with a bit of effort. For some things, you will choose to be different because it’s just not important to your core customers. When you nail all of this down, you will be able to be unique in order to compete.
It’s the essence of strategy.
Been learning a lot about how to help clients get all this figured out. Being different in a way that is meaningful to your customers is strategic.
I’ve been learning a lot about this because of my commitment to Gravitas Impact Premium Coaches (GIPC, formerly Gazelles International Coaches). Our new coach’s organization is focused on more than just one person as a thought leader. We’re forming partnerships with more thought leaders, so we can bring more value to our clients. One of these is Shannon Susko, and her latest book is The 3HAG Way. She’s taken the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up to new and higher levels in very practical ways, to unleash your growth. I’m learning the methods and tools. It’s how I will continue to be a premium coach to the markets I serve (within 400 miles of Memphis).
Want to learn how to be unique and to compete and unleash some growth? Set up a discovery meeting with me.
It’s that time of year.
Yes, we’re at the annual planning season.How will you be making sure you get frontline feedback or input in your upcoming annual planning process? Although strategy is usually created at the top of the organization, it’s implemented by the middle managers and the front line. They have a lot to add, especially about how things actually get done. It’s imperative that you include them in the process somehow; you learn things that you aren’t aware of and it creates buy-in when you act on their input. At the same time, including frontline feedback in the annual planning session is usually impossible. It’s just too many people.
So, how do you make the most of this time of the year?
I have two solutions for you. One solution gets the job done. Another one is riskier but delivers much better results.
My first suggestion isn’t difficult to do.
Do a “start, stop, keep” survey of every person in the company. Use something like Survey Monkey or Google forms sent to everyone, asking four questions.
- To continue the success of our organization, what are one or two things that we need to start doing that we aren’t already doing? Please explain.
- To continue the success of our organization, what are one or two things we need to stop doing? Please explain.
- To continue the success of our organization, what are one or two things that we do well that we need to keep doing? Please explain.
- What else to you want to tell us?
Do the survey confidentially. No tracking answers back to names. Don’t even spend time trying to figure out who said what. Compile the information, and then during your planning sessions analyse the data. You’ll certainly get some quick hits on some simple things to do to improve the company. Additionally, you gain insight into your company culture, teamwork, and execution. You’ll certainly get a lot of feedback on what the team needs to succeed.
After your sessions are over, make sure you formally thank the organization for the input, and tell them what you learned from them. Let them know what you are committing to as a result of the survey. This is important. If you don’t do this last step, you can forget getting honest answers in any future surveys.
The second suggestion delivers even better results.
My second suggestion is to have, what we call at Gravitas Impact, a Pre Annual-Planning Accelerator session with the front line and middle managers. It’s a half-day session, without the senior leadership of the company, that delivers the necessary frontline feedback. It’s specifically designed to capture direct input from the participants. You have an outside facilitator (a Gravitas Impact Premium Coach or equivalent) work the participants through a series of exercises: Victories or Bright Spots, SWOT, and Five Highest Priorities. Then the participants prepare a briefing for the senior leadership team. When this is completed, the senior leadership comes in and reviews what has been documented and then listens to the briefings. Senior leaders get to only ask up to two questions each, providing no commentary.
The conversations are rich, the insights are phenomenal, and they result in a better annual-planning session afterwards. The team building and leadership development is beneficial, as well.
Click here to get more information about my Pre Annual-Planning Accelerator session.
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