Thank you for inspiring me to document musings and learnings from the field of leadership, team performance and conscious change. I trust you'll find the exercises, resources and insights useful whether you are a leader, team player, coach/consultant or change agent.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Coaching Pays Off

If you watched the US Open Tennis final my bet is you were in awe. I was rooting for Murray because he was close to the top but never quite there. He had the talent and drive but something was missing. Then he hired a new coach (Ivan Lendl) and it payed off. He won his first major!

It makes me wonder why in business we don't invest more in coaching. I've had a coach for years and without her I wouldn't be able to do the work I do in the way I do it (or have the life I have).

Is it because coaching in business seems less tangible?  Is it that the ROI isn't as obvious? Is the need for coaching perceived as a weakness or a "performance problem"? Is it because not all coaches are good? Is it scary to go for mastery? It seems to be the first thing cut when budgets tighten, yet is it the very thing that can build capacity and passion for work during tough times.

Leadership and team effectiveness have a direct correlation to business success. Whatever game you are playing, find a good coach. It will payoff if you are willing to practice!

If you need some inspiration, Click here for US Open Final Highlights 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Paying Attention To Culture

If culture is the glue that holds people together and can generate or thwart performance, we need to pay more attention to its often invisible power.

Culture is the essence or spirit of a team, department or organization. It is a specific collection of values, norms, fears, beliefs, assumptions, rules & meanings (spoken/unspoken, written/unwritten, formal/informal) that intentionally or unintentionally influence behavior and results delivery.

Katzenbach provides some insight in his HBR article “Culture Change That Sticks” http://hbr.org/2012/07/cultural-change-that-sticks/ar/1 He recommends we:
  1. Match Strategy and Culture – Does the DNA of your organization align with your current value proposition?
  2. Focus on a few critical behavior shifts – What three (not 25) behaviors most reflect your mission, vision and values?
  3. Honor (and validate) the strengths of your existing culture- What makes you unique and differentiates the way employees believe, feel, think, act?
  4. Utilize and integrate formal and informal interventions – Are formal mechanisms (reporting structures, decision rules, comp/benefits and company events, etc.) aligned with informal practices (leadership modeling, cross-functional networks, manager/employee connections, storytelling, etc.)
  5. Measure and monitor cultural evolution. Make it easy to notice when culture is helping or hindering performance by checking in on it. What do you feel in the office, hear on the phone (underneath the words), observe in interactions and sense in communications? 
Thanks Natarsha for the resource!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Craftsmanship on Teams

If you strive for excellence on your team consider the craftsmanship of Sushi Shokunin, Sukiyabashi Jiro. A Shokunin is a master of a profession-an artisan.

In the docu-movie, Jiro Dreams of Sushi you’ll note a care, commitment, focus and passion for the art of making Sushi. There is a grace, beauty, elegance and taste to Jiro’s work that generates buzz and a month’s wait to dine at his Sushi restaurant in Tokyo.

All Jiro, wants to do is “make better Sushi.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2L5IrkQTV0

To instill more craftsmanship on your team, apply Jiro’s insights by answering the following questions with your team:

·      Where is the artistry in your team’s work?
·      How do you inspire and deliver originality?
·      Where would a consistent practice, process or focus optimize results?
·      How do you define and monitor quality?
·      What motivates you?
·      What do you make better?

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thought for the day

"We dance AROUND in a ring and suppose,
 But the Secret sits in the middle and knows. " --Robert Frost