A Leadership Series
Number Nine of Twelve, a 95% + probability
Approximate reading time: 2 minutes
In This issue:
- Managing Involvement - Giving the Decision to the Team
- Rob's Corner: Leadership 101
- More FSTD Content: Current Blog Posts
- Upcoming Public Workshops
Last week we looked at the Goal Agreement guideline. The Goal Agreement guideline kicks in if there is lack of goal agreement between the team and the organization around a specific course of action and overtly rules out GII.
This time we’ll look at Commitment as the Most Important Consideration, which says that the only appropriate behavior is GII.
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The Commitment as THE Most Important Consideration guideline goes like this. If finding the “one best” course of action is essential, and the team’s active support and commitment to the course of action is extremely important, and the team will not commit to the course of action without being actively involved and there is goal agreement between the team and the organization around this issue, then use GII. GII, if you recall, is a group oriented decision in which the team (rather than the leader) makes the final choice.
For example, recently there had been several minor, but dangerous, explosions at a chemical plant. One resulted in a small fire. To date no one was injured. The issue was obvious, “Select best way to eliminate the explosions and fires.” The plant Manager (the team leader) and his direct reports (the team) all had some relevant information. No one “had it all”. The cause of these explosions needed to be found quickly and eliminated. This really important issue demanded the maximum commitment from all, thus GII.
Many leaders, however, are reluctant to accept this guideline for “really important” issues. Why is this the case? Part of the answer lies in the fact that the issue is “really important”. Another part of the answer relates accountability. A team leader is held accountable for the actions of his or her team. Because the leader knows he or she will be held accountable he or she will not relinquish control of the “really important” issues to the team. It is a CYA thing.
However, stand back and look at the facts:
- Point one. What is the best way for the team leader to look good? To have the team be successful.
- Point two. There is a direct correlation to the success of any endeavor and the team’s commitment to it. Increase the team’s commitment to the course of action and you improve the probability of success!
- Point three. As a team leader the best CYA strategy is to use GII for the “really important” issues when the Commitment as the Most Important Consideration guideline applies!
Today’s quite obvious tip: when Commitment as THE most important consideration and there is goal agreement between the team and the organization around this issue, use GII.
George posts regularly to the blog at TroubleShootingLogic.com.
Science is good, but it ain't everything
If you've been following George's articles over the last seven weeks, you have found clear science that explained how to engage others in decision making to maximize commitment with minimal wasted time. You've seen a series of research-based, proven guidelines on how to engage your people. You're "smarter" about leadership.
In our work with various organizations, we've met a number of Ivy-school-degreed CEOs. They are the "smartest of the smart." I've had the pleasure of working with leaders who, on an intellectual level, make me feel like the scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz (ah, "if I only had a brain ...").
And we know, from 20+ years of research on Emotional Intelligence and from our own experience, that "smarts" isn't enough. The BEST leaders are the ones who take notice of those with whom they work, who realize that their success is dependant upon others, who take seriously their role to lead by example.
When I was in college, I worked summers in a steel yard. It was hot, dirty work for low wages. Our foreman never had a good word to say and drove us day in and day out. We started early, and if there wasn't a rush order, we were off (thankfully) by 3:00 PM.
When there wasn't a rush order. When a customer needed a shipment out the next morning, we had to stay, with no break, until 11:00 or midnight. We often didn't learn about a rush order until they started bringing floodlights out into the yard. Argh.
It was then that I remember one of my first examples of leadership. Jack was one of the two owners. He had worked for a larger steel company, had operated every one of the cutting and bending machines in the yard at one time and had, when that larger company decided to move out of New Orleans, decided to purchase the company. Jack spent most of his time doing administration in the trailer office or meeting with company clients.
Whenever we had to stay an extra shift, Jack would appear. About 4:00, he'd step out of the trailer in his slacks, white pressed shirt, and dress shoes. He'd take off his tie, roll up his sleeves, put on his hard hat and work gloves, walk up to the first machine and ask "How can I help?" Then he would invest the next couple of hours doing some of the dirtiest work, hustling, until we were on top of the job. In the process, he always had a good word for those with whom he was working.
Would we have completed the orders without Jack's help? Yes, absolutely. What Jack provided was inspiration. When he was in the yard, I worked harder, not because I feared being disciplined, but because I saw Jack working hard. He was there when he (as owner) didn't have to be there.
Jack understood that he created the culture by what he demonstrated personally. He knew that his example mattered. He helped all of us be more productive.
We at FSTD are going to continue to share what we know on the science of leadership. Today's leaders can be much more effective when they understand, for example, the conditions that call for a team decision (GII). And we must remember that some of the "simpler" behaviors - like leading by example - can yield huge rewards.
Leaders create the culture by what they demonstrate personally and by what they reward and tolerate. So day to day, what are you demonstrating personally?
Winner in You,
- Trouble Shooting Logic
- August 24-26, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- September 20-22, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- October 25-27, 2010, Atlanta, G
- The Sales CODE, September 14-15, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Performance Coaching, September 23-24, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Mastering Involvement, October 28, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Trouble Shooting Logic Train-the-Trainer (T3), November 8-19, 2010, Atlanta, GA
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Openers, Initiatives and Low Elements - November 30-December 1, 2010, Utica, MS
- Experiential Expertise Train-the-Trainer (T3) - Trust, Low Ropes, High Ropes and AlpineTower - December 2-3, 2010, Utica, MS