Ideas for Improving Your Team Culture in the New Year

Managers who create positive, respectful team cultures are tremendous assets to their organizations: they help protect it from the legal, financial and reputation risk; they  create large productivity gains; they are guides along the path.

As you look ahead to the new year, here are three steps you can take to make your team culture even stronger:

  1. Model the behavior you expect. Employees are professional “boss watchers.” What they see you do, they will tend to do also (both the bad and the good).
  2. Spend time talking with your team very candidly and directly about your company’s values, the behaviors expected and the workplace culture desired. Don’t assume people “just get it.” They don’t. Converation about values and what they mean, with practical examples, makes the culture come together.
  3. Take time to talk about what success it looks like when it’s achieved the right way. And talk how achieving success the wrong way destroys a team and a company; it very much will.

A company I once worked for had a simple statement about it’s values: We will do the right thing. This simple statement held tremendous power. It drove behavior based in the highest ethical standards. It triggered great conversations.

What’s your simple statement that encapsulates your values and the culture you’re seeking to create? Perhaps this is a topic for the next discussion with your team.

[Photo By Viktor Hanacek]

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Excellent Leaders Proactively Seek Greater Self-awareness

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. -AristotleExcellent leaders are self-aware, they know how they impact others, they understand their own “hot buttons,” and they continually strive for even greater awareness. I would argue that one can’t achieve excellence as a leader without great self-awareness.

What do these excellent leaders do differently?

They consistently do these four things: Continue reading

Leadership Behaviors Make or Break Companies

your actionsMy work with four different organizations over this past year have reinforced my conviction that leadership behaviors make or break organization success.

In three situations, the top leader was unaware that his behavior was directly contributing to the dysfunction in his company. In none of these situations was the top leader able to discover and fix these challenges on his own. Two required intervention by the board.

Here are key lessons for leaders from these four engagements: Continue reading

Leading Through Change

change-300Do you manage change or do you lead through change?

For me, change has always been a leadership issue. As business owners or other leaders in our organization, it’s up to us to lead our organizations, our teams and our peers through change to our desired outcomes.

My years of moving people and organizations through change have convinced me of 4 Rules: Continue reading

The Conversation That Retains Your Best Talent

Retention strategyIn March of 2014, over 4.4 million people changed jobs.

Years of economic lethargy built a deep well of interest in moving to new opportunities. Many companies are not ready for the coming employee turnover as the economy continues to improve.

So what are you actively doing NOW to retain your best talent? The best strategy is proactive and simple: have a conversation. Do it this week with your most productive and highest contributing employees, those whom you would hate to lose. And here’s an easy template to help you with that conversation…

Continue reading

I Promoted Tom – Now I May Have to Fire Him

60% of all new manager failWhat went wrong? We promote great people because they’re really good at what they do. Then far too often we watch as they crash and burn. Here are three examples where we failed our newly promoted manager by not providing the training and coaching needed for success…

Tom was fantastic with customers, he always asked the right questions, explored the right issues, delivered great results for both the company and our customers. He was a star in our customer service department. So, when it came time to name a new manager for the department, we turned to Tom. He was thrilled with the promotion! And filled with ideas about how the department could be better than ever.

Four months later, we’re having a serious conversation about firing him. 

  1. Two women in his department have raised sexual harassment complaints.
  2. Another person has complained that Tom is overbearing, can’t be satisfied, and micro-manages.
  3. We’ve received a letter from the attorney of a fourth employee in his department claiming retaliation taking time off due to a medical condition.

What happened to our star employee?  Continue reading

Government Contractors: Are you risking your business?

This past month I’ve received several requests for help creating Affirmative Action Plans (AAP). I’ve been glad to get the requests because I can help. But what’s happening here? I’m convinced it’s one of two issues:

  1. The owner didn’t know they needed an AAP, or
  2. The owner believes no one will ever know or check, so why bother.

But folks, here’s the deal… Continue reading

Firing Henry: The Hardest Decision You Have to Make

firedFiring someone is the among the hardest decisions a business owner needs to make. And the most necessary.

A long time CEO and I were talking recently about the work of a leader and our conversation turned to the challenge of having the right people on one’s team and taking action when someone is not a good fit and needs to move on.

And here’s the reality: everyone in the organization is watching you.

I’ve found over the years three critical times to take action: Continue reading

Get aligned

When teams are not alignedWhen teams aren’t productive, check to see if they’re aligned…

High performing teams are, unfortunately, rare. Dysfunctional teams are distressingly common. And, even when not dysfunctional, many teams simply are not working together effectively to accomplish results.

Over the years, I’ve found several common threads to this lack of effectiveness: Continue reading

CEOs running at 200mph in a cloud of dust…, but where are your people?

Bus drivingAs the CEO, you have a lot on your plate. You set the vision, define the strategy, ensure you’ve got the right people. You’re moving 200 miles per hour in a cloud of dust because this stuff has just got to happen! A lot is riding on your skills, foresight and energy.

I have just one question. Are your people right there with you? Or have you left some of them behind? Continue reading