Last week, we shared some key takeaways from Robert Magee following his speech at our 2021 Leadership & Planning Retreat. During the retreat, our managers and executive teams came together to map out all of our plans for quarter 4 of 2021 into 2022. Each of our teams spent time planning our budgets, setting goals, and strategizing for the future. We were able to fine-tune our approach to the current challenges and find new ways of trying to achieve our ultimate goal - helping our customers’ businesses grow and thrive while making our products the very best they can be.
We were privileged to have another speaker with us for this event who added more inspiration and insight to our wonderfully collaborative environment. Tim Stevens (Executive Consultant at Wordai; EVP Strategic Initiatives and Business Development at QuinStreet) empowered us with his insight into what we need to do to shift our mindset to meet our current growth goals and its challenges. Here are a few key takeaways from Tim's speech. Enjoy!
1. There are No Bad Teams - Just Bad Leaders.
It's up to you. As a leader, if your team is not performing the way you’d like them to, take an honest look at yourself and how you’ve led them thus far. If what you’re doing isn’t working, take a hard look at the data, the process, and the strategy. Find the areas that need improvement, and consider a new way to address them with your team. Find new ways to inspire your team members, refocus them, and help them stay motivated based on their individual motivations and the agreed-upon goals.
2. Support Team Members Where There are Weaknesses.
We’re all human, which means we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. Weaknesses should not necessarily be seen as negative traits, but instead as areas where there is an opportunity to grow and learn. When you find a weakness in a team member, always highlight their strengths first so they first understand what they're doing right. Then highlight areas where growth is needed with concrete ideas for a path to improvement. When someone understands what is appreciated about them and their performance they're much more likely to receive feedback in a constructive way. Offering examples of how to improve upon their weaker areas can help remove the resistance people sometimes feel when taking on the challenge to grow.
3. Believe in Your Mission.
Your company’s mission statement should be known throughout your entire organization. Creating a culture of understanding that mission and why it’s essential should be integral to your onboarding process. From there, inspiring belief in that mission comes from helping others catch hold of the vision and then empowering them to see that the goals surrounding it are both attainable and realistic. Belief is what will power a long-term commitment and daily actions.
4. Check your Ego.
The ego is a construct made up of beliefs about our personality, skills, and abilities. We all have an ego, but that ego can get us into trouble from time to time when it convinces us that we know all, or when we fear that others are dismissing our opinions. Your perspective is important, but others are equally important. Keeping your ego in check is about listening to your colleagues before chiming in, asking for permission before giving advice, and helping people arrive at their own solutions rather than telling them what to do.
5. Keep it Simple.
People tend to make things more complicated than they need to be. Keep it simple. When setting goals, choose your three biggest goals and focus on them. Break things down into smaller steps that can be understood and executed without too much explanation. Take concepts that may be challenging to understand and simplify them enough to be understood with little effort.
6. Prioritize and Execute.
Planning is crucial, but nothing happens unless you act. Take your goals and your plans and prioritize them accordingly. Then, take massive action. It’s OK to fail, as long as you learn from the mistakes you make and apply that knowledge to your next attempt. It’s about failing fast and continuing to grow despite your failures. Keep learning and doing what needs to be done until you succeed.
7. Decentralize Command.
Decentralizing command is a form of delegating that allows leaders to focus on leading their team in pursuit of the larger goals. It’s important to allow team members to use their unique talents and skills to do their job in a way that aligns with the larger goal. This kind of delegation enables team members to rise to their true potential while instilling a sense of accountability and purpose at the same time.
8. Exercise Extreme Ownership.
Extreme ownership is all about taking ownership of everything your job entails. It includes the strategies and tasks you are directly responsible for and those things that impact whether or not you succeed. This kind of ownership tends to push against the ego because no one likes to take the blame or be held accountable for things they don’t feel directly responsible for. Here's a quick video by former Navy Seal and Extreme Ownership author, Jocko Willink, on the topic:
With this attitude comes empowerment. If your boss isn’t giving you what you want or need, that’s not on your boss - it’s on you. Have you (or how have you) asked for what you need? Is there another way to get there? Did you follow up? If your team is not performing the way you’d like them to, you are their leader, so it is up to you to change something to get the results you’re looking for. This idea is infectious and when done right, it can spread throughout your organization.
These key points from Tim's speech continue to be embraced and are still being discussed in our office every day. We continue to talk about each of our team members taking 'extreme ownership' of their work and collaborating across teams to achieve all of our goals. Which key point did you like the most? We'd love to hear from you in the comments below.
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