SMART rules & reward goals

Topic 4 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Here we are at topic 4 already – the title is “SMART rules and reward goals”…

In this 3 pack episode (meaning this blog, plus the original video and the podcast), we talk about an old favorite of many – the SMART goal setting tool. Still, we incorporate a more modern flavor, leveraging off the gaming world and what has made this phenomenon so popular with the millennials and iGen groups.

And remember that we are using this approach in the context of delegation – i.e., how to get buy-in and positive, sustainable action towards the achievement of those delegated tasks or projects.

There is much debate today about whether the SMART approach to setting goals still works with our younger generations.

So during this episode, we’ll explore that concept a little deeper and identify how we can utilize the SMART structure while modernizing the method to still be useful in today’s business.

Let’s start with a review of our target…

The aim here is to delegate our Priority 3 and 2 tasks to a motivated, capable and engaged team in a way where the effort is sustainable – every leader’s dream, right?

If you have been with us since the beginning of this series, you should be starting to realize that there isn’t one single, fast cure-all in this equation.

Rather it’s a combination of carefully coupled actions (i.e., basic leadership skills) that enables the leader to excel. And a large portion of that success revolves around your team’s performance.

So in topic 2, “Motivating your future team,” we spent time exploring 7 key triggers for motivating each individual.

In topic 3, Creative Delegation Techniques, we took one step further and spoke about assessing each task’s complexity and the teams’ skills before deciding which tasks were best suited for which team member.

And do you also recall in topic 3 that we were careful to add those “activities of choice”?

We wish to take this journey one step further by establishing the requirements for each and every delegated activity.

Typically this is where we introduce our SMART acronym, and we still do, but understand that it’s just the starting point.

So let’s move onto this traditional tool and take a closer look at the pros and cons.

SMART is made up of 5 words…

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timebound – although in peak performance, we talk about the need to stretch and challenge the individual. Therefore, we prefer to use the word Ambitious instead of attainable. In itself, SMART forms a great guide to work through with employees as you assign their tasks..

Note, however, that we need clear determinability (meaning we must identify if the “objective is achieved or not achieved”). This is really of central importance.

There must be a criterion that allows everyone involved to clearly and unmistakably make that determination.

Remember, throughout this process, the secret lies in communicating your expectations concisely and allowing the team member to speak and express their thoughts. ” Based on the employee’s personal behavior motivators and skills, you would also include discussing the level of support and review that should take place throughout the activity.

At this moment the leader should…

Take the time to make clear that some additional rules apply as well as those just mentioned above;

  • If the achievement of the objective is endangered, the employee must provide early timely feedback to the leader.
  • The agreed objectives are documented.
  • The leader helps the employee to help themselves.

If you remember our earlier discussions, you will recall that we said all 4 of today’s working generations appreciate communications, clarity, and feedback, so no real issue so far. If this part is done correctly, it should be a positive and exciting experience for everyone involved.

However, the outcome is still somewhat predictable.

Now we want you to cast your mind back to Topic 3…

Yes, we introduced delegation, but in particular, something a little extra – the weekly meeting to discuss your project and progress.

This was an important step as recent studies have confirmed that the psychological effect of “making progress” is critical to sustained motivation. It encourages even higher levels of effort and opens the window to innovation.

When coupled with the team or peer collaboration, you have the chance of unlocking epic and creative performance improvement. A simple yet effective trigger is to ensure we are showcasing the various projects and discussing each person’s progress while obtaining support and feedback from the team.

So why do we bring this up now? Simply because you have the opportunity right here and now at this stage of setting the goals, setting the rules, and setting the periods for feedback, to tap into this powerful realization – your ability to design the work to be inherently motivating

You have the foundations laid. They are solid, based on everything we have covered to date. Now it’s time to look at your progress and development of SMART rules and reward goals.

Ask yourself if you have created that environment that enables and sustains great work. Have we bridged the gap between the old ways and the future needs? The gap which academics refer to as Constructive Discontent

Have we enabled the employee to do their work and therefore make the all-important progress? Have we designed the work to be inherently motivating?

To explore this, we will examine closely the way that game designers are thinking. How have they attracted an estimated 2.35 billion online video gamers worldwide collaborating by choice with each other?

It’s worth noting here that more than half of those are based in the Asia Pacific. In business, we know that today the rules of engagement and buy-in of our employees have changed. Therefore, we will explore what makes this gaming revolution so attractive to the millennial and iGen workforce.

How can we learn from and tap into this phenomenon to make our workplace activities equally enticing across all 4 generations?

Essentially game designers work on three elements – goal-driven, challenge intense, immediate feedback, all to provide a rich experience.  

Sounds somehow familiar, right – so are we really that far from a solution. The great realization is that we are very well positioned for this next quantum leap if we have already acted on the previous steps from topics 1, 2 & 3.

The gamer’s rewards are inherent from their success, based on their own skill and performance – the potential carrot and stick are there. Still, it’s much more intrinsic in the background, driven by a personal desire to do well and receive instant gratification and feedback based on ability and performance.

Have you picked up on that one missing element in most businesses today – it’s the removal of latency. Gamers receive instant feedback on their performance.

By contrast, many employees have no idea how their performance is seen until the annual performance review.

Did the light bulb just come on – do you now see the connection between the weekly progress and team collaboration meetings?

So let’s summarize what we have introduced in this topic 4 episode…

  • You must already action the learnings from Topics 1, 2 & 3. These form the basis for building a strong and successful team and turning your leadership from good to great.
  • We now add to that repertoire by establishing the task framework, expectations, and ground rules – using the traditional tool called SMART – ensuring that the targets are a stretch and challenge. This is an opportunity for you to sit with each of your team and discuss the project in detail, identifying support and resource requirements.
  • AND then, the extra element – we introduce as part of this planning an agreement to participate in weekly meetings to “establish that clear sense of progress.” This is done in collaboration with the team as each project is reviewed – for anyone familiar with the project management technique called Agile, you will see similarities here with sprints and regular update meetings
  • This then enables the “piece de resistance,” the icing of the cake, the “game-changer” from the past, incorporating the missing item – through that weekly meeting, employees receive that almost instant gratification and feedback as experienced and wanted through the gaming world.

And you probably expect it by now; there are secrets to how we need to offer this feedback. For gamers, it’s very black and white. Succeed and win, fail you lose!

Do we or should we take a similar harsh approach with our employees and their projects when they aren’t going so well – typically not! In fact, that goes against what we have already introduced. Instead, we offer feedback that doesn’t become stuck on the problem and reasons why not by turning our attention to what needs to be done to get the project back on track and completed.

More on this in our next topic, “Feedback strategies,” where we look forward to having you join us again for this vital and final step in establishing a high-performance team through genuine leadership.

These are basics skills but are coupled with the latest best practice learnings and studies in neuroscience. If you can put them in place, then you will truly separate yourself from the pack.

Remember to subscribe if you haven’t already and ;

Watch this video on our YouTube channel Mentors Rant

Listen to this podcast episode on Stitcher or iTunes or

Right-click here and “Save As” to download a copy of this podcast.

https://jamesclear.com/eisenhower-box

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aH2Ppjpcho – various random experiments

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lhVUedc1a4 – connection

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YPW5QGErSs – self leadership

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lisaquast/2015/11/01/new-managers-6-tips-for-holding-employee-progress-review-meetings/#2bfee7e1502b – progress blog Forbes

https://www.wikihow.com/Monitor-Your-Employees

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SMART_criteria

https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/smart-goals.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delegation

https://getlighthouse.com/blog/generational-differences-workplace/

https://www.radicalcandor.com/blog/immediate-feedback/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQPShOARgAY – dr Jason fox – epic change

https://www.vgvids.com/join-online-gaming-revolution/ – blog article

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aTACQSsKhdk – the rise of fortnite

Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics

10 skills at the heart of every leader’s arsenal.

“Topic 6 – Achievement reviews.”

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Hello and welcome back to our series; constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics.

Today we continue our discussion about team and employee feedback by looking closer at turning the traditional approach of the annual performance appraisal on its head and offering achievement reviews instead.

It’s a logical step if you have already adopted the learnings from the previous five leadership basics. And by now, your team would be motivated and heavily engaged while working on their assigned and chosen tasks. They will be able to see and share their progress & at the same time receive ongoing & immediate feedback.

Hence, the need to conduct that one-off annual performance review is greatly diminished. Instead, we turn this event into an opportunity to celebrate the success each employee is experiencing. Given that we’re at the halfway juncture of this series, however, and before plunging headlong into this topic, let’s quickly recap what we have covered in the first five episodes.

Topic 1: Understanding your place in the team – looking at nine key stakeholders and managing and setting expectations.

Topic 2: Motivating your future team – turning our focus to one of the key stakeholders and learning about seven primary considerations to achieving positive and sustainable motivation.

Topic 3: Creative delegation techniques – introducing task prioritization & the correct assignment of those tasks, but incorporating Activities of choice, showcasing progress & team collaboration.

Topic 4: SMART rules and reward goals – modernizing the traditional SMART goal setting tool by adopting an online gamers mindset to enable immediate gratitude and feedback (at least weekly)

And last topic 5: Feedback strategies – where we looked at the importance of everyone soliciting feedback, whether informal and formal and for the leaders, we offered several tools to improve their ability to prepare and deliver.

And one last item before we start our discussion on replacing the traditional performance review with our Topic 6 alternative, called Achievement reviews.

First, the technology uses web and mobile-based applications that offer instant real-time feedback to employees and leaders alike. In addition, many of these applications provide a modern version of the 360-degree employee assessment.

More and more organizations are adopting this approach from start-ups thru to Fortune 500 companies. Awareness of this practice was recently showcased by Tony Robbins and his interview with Ray Dalio (one of the greatest Hedge Fund managers of our time). Dalio explains the process adopted within his company Bridgewater and the tremendous value the use of this feedback application has bought to the employees and company alike. Essentially during any given period (meeting or at any time when the system is open), an employee or leader can provide feedback to other team members. The receiving team member can receive this feedback immediately and react or adjust accordingly.

So, we’re now ready to tackle our feature topic by throwing out tradition and the annual performance review process and replacing it with our approach, which focuses on the successes rather than the improvement gaps or failures.

To kick start this, we begin with a long-standing motivational theory. How many of you recall in topic two that we spoke about several motivational theories? One of these was the Needs theory or Acquired Needs theory from David McClelland.

From his research, he concluded that people have motivating drivers that are directly linked to needs, regardless of age, gender, culture, or race. He identified 4 of these needs as achievement, affiliation, power & avoidance.

McClelland also developed his version of the iceberg model, using the same Needs Theory. The Iceberg model looks at a person’s visible behavior, knowledge, and skills plus the underlying, unexpressed and unconscious HIDDEN deeper layers.

It provides an insight into the (learned) needs of someone based on his Acquired Needs Theory and links this to what the person does (i.e., what’s visible above water level) and what they think and want (which are hidden and below the water level).

In short, we want to utilize the learnings from this theory and model to understand how we can maintain our employee’s motivation during this dreaded once or twice a year event. Ensuring that we focus on achievement, affiliation, and power while being careful not to trigger any hidden (below the water) reaction in the minds of our team.

Rather than go cold turkey and turn off the performance evaluation mentality all at once, we’re going to provide here a soft transition. By offering an interim step, we hope to make everyone feel more comfortable doing this gradually. Therefore we discuss first a practice that has become quite popular in recent years, and that is the use of 360-degree feedback.

The traditional method of 360-degree assessment has always been quite costly to perform, particularly with a large volume of participants. Therefore these assessments are conducted less frequently and for special occasions, such as Leadership or talent development, and perhaps with some coaching scenarios.

Fortunately, the evolution in technology has also impacted many of these HR assessment platforms, and with it, we can find relatively lower-cost 360-degree assessment options for businesses.

The concept, however, remains similar. The person seeking feedback will request input via a questionnaire related to their performance. Typically, in addition to rating themselves, they seek this input from peers, direct reports, and their immediate boss. Still, from time to time, the clustering may be broader and involve customers or suppliers, depending on the circumstance.

There’s considerable advantage in this approach over and above the one-on-one performance review. The cross-section of respondents provides a balanced means of comparative feedback, which is easier for the employee to accept and often offers insights which the leader may not have known existed. 

However, the real challenge is to ensure that the results are interrupted correctly and the feedback coupled with concrete actions as an outcome.

The downside to the 360-degree assessment process is that it is seldom specific to the individual’s role or tasks and, more so, around personalities.

Therefore, the final method addresses that issue and is our preferred concept for all semi-annual or annual reviews – we call it the Achievement Review (remember the McClelland Needs Theory).

As the name implies, leaders will meet with the employee to acknowledge their successes during the past 6 or 12 months. If this leader has adopted our methods from topics 1- 5, this will be a consolidation activity. All the tasks or projects having already been discussed weekly throughout the year.

The initial acknowledgment meeting will still be in private one on one.

And then, continuing from our earlier online gaming phenomenon, each employee’s project results will already be known. The consolidated results can be made visible to the other team members, thus creating a form of competition,

But they are also offering the opportunity for continued, immediate gratitude and feedback from all. (again, remember McClelland’s theory and the need for Affiliation and Power).

Through this method, you skillfully satisfy all three motivational needs based on visible behaviors (i.e., above water actions) while also shaping the deeper & hidden thoughts and wants.

The outcome is a reinforcement of great performance, which becomes somewhat self-perpetuating for the employee and a sustainable, results-driven team.

Hopefully, you’re able to see how each of these six topics feeds into and supports each other. It’s not a linear approach but a truly powerful combination of parallel skills and activities. In short, an excellent way to the end of topic six and our focus on feedback. Well, almost – in topic 7, we acknowledge that even the best leaders and their teams have their moments, where not everything goes as scripted. There are those times when individuals express or demonstrate their disapproval about a situation. It’s human nature and a part of our DNA.

Suppose you remember the learnings from the SCARF model. In that case, you’ll recall that we each have our own unique personal behavior preferences, which ensures we can perceive situations as a threat just as easily as we can a reward.

It’s therefore not likely that every member of the team will always agree with everything the leader wants or needs to do.

So, in the next episode, we look at this reality and explore ways to deal with it – from handling conflict to turning the situation into a problem-solving exercise where everyone can learn and grow. 

We hope you are enjoying this series so far and have already subscribed to our video channel Mentors Rant and our podcast channel couchTALK. If not, we’d love to have you join us and receive your feedback and thoughts about these episodes, so please take a moment and leave a comment below. Here’s hoping that your day as an elevator-escalator tribe executive is productive, fruitful, and safe. Bye for now.

The necessity for Change

“Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics.”

10 team skills at the heart of every leader’s arsenal.

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Welcome to CHANGE or at least the “Necessity for Change.” As you can see from my appearance, we leave no stone unturned to re-enforce this message – visually and informatively.

We plan to paint a convincing picture of why your relationship with change is such a formative part of your Leadership credentials during this video. And how you can help others understand and follow your lead during what can be a highly dynamic and, therefore, challenging process to fulfill at work.

We have already aligned your chances for success in advance through the earlier topics introduced, so this exercise is just an extension of those learnings. While you may not realize it, we are living a life of constant daily change.

The only difference between change at work and change in your private life is that we may not always be in control of making the change at work, and therefore we become concerned by the uncertainty & potential impact. Let’s take a closer look at this concept as we launch into the topic. 

What age are you now? – in my case, I’m nearing 60, and as I cast my mind back to the earliest times I can recall – maybe around 3 or 4 years of age, I can see that things were quite different then compared to just five years later when I started playing competitive sport.

During those five years, of course, there was constant change as I developed and learned exponentially. Then the next ten years, moving from primary to high school (freedom!) These first 15 or so years were so formative, influencing my thoughts, my values and offering experiences that created my beliefs and shaped my behaviors. Ah, the memories …. But of course, it didn’t stop there; change continued during the next ten years – experiencing girls, cars, the beach, sport and introducing this thing called a job. And then a further ten years – the feeling of responsibility kicks in, with the addition of family, on top of work pressures.

Whatever your age or images, I’m sure you can see that until today your life has been in a constant flux of change – some of it planned and intentional, some forced and some unexpected. During this time, we reacted and responded, but we survived and most likely are stronger in our minds as a result.

On a personal level, technology has had a significant influence on the changes in my world – the use of calculators only came into practice towards the end of my high school years—computers a few years after that. I purchased my first desktop in 1986 with a DOS operating system and 20MB hard drive for AUD 5000. Ten years later, I read a book written by Bill Gates called Crossroads. He predicted that in five years, we would all be walking around with our world in our back pocket  – while his prediction was a little ambitious, it was an image that certainly painted a picture of significant change ahead. Today as we shoot this video, we are entering another significant moment in history where change is reshaping our lives – the technical convergence of AI, IoT, Internet 3.0, 5G, Quantum computing, autonomous vehicles, and the list goes on. I look at my five-year-old daughter, and I can’t help but wonder what her teenage life will be like ten years from now.

So, as we shift that image of constant change occurring everywhere in our personal lives across into the workplace, we need to ask why it becomes such an emotional process.

We know that all business, profit or non-profit, exists to provide a product and service to the customer which addresses their pain.

These pains (needs) change, and therefore a company’s solution also needs to change right. And we have witnessed countless examples over the decades where once-dominant companies in their field have disappeared entirely.

Why for the simple reason that they didn’t understand or ignored those changing needs. So the message is that a company that fails to keep pace with the changes happening all around it will soon be extinct.

Naturally, there is a range of considerations for all companies during any change process. What is the impact on employees? To the customer and with the systems and procedures? And importantly, the company culture?

We’ll be exploring a number of these elements as we delve deeper into this video.

For now, see if you can recall some industry titans from the past couple of decades that no longer exist or forced into a different direction? And by contrast, who are the current day titans (those dominating the landscape).

Past companies such as Kodak, compared to the Amazons, Microsoft, Apple, and Google who are presently shaping much of our current and future lives – history will tell the story, whether all of these will survive 20 years from now.

And then we have fewer examples of those mega-companies such as Disney that have been able to weather the changing storm and continue to dominate decade after decade. What is the secret to their success? I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s a fascinating topic.

Where to start in unraveling some of the reasons? We have decided to introduce first the neurological aspect, as we’ve touched on this already with the Motivational discussion. It’s the fundamentals of what drives our emotions and subsequent behaviors.

We can explain this simplest by showing either the 5 stage Kubler-Ross Change Curve depicting morale & competence or using a more vivid example through the Claes Jansen Change House model.

The Kubler-Ross model illustrates five stages along a curve. Kubler-Ross places denial, frustration, depression, experiment & decision at different locations on the curve, measured across a time axis. In our graphic illustration, we have overlaid the curve onto the house to give you some resemblance of how this might work.

Typically, we start from the status quo (from contentment where everything is proceeding as normal, and we feel relaxed, comfortable there’s no sign of any storm looming – you might say the sun is shining and the birds are singing.

Suddenly, the environment encounters a change. I’m shocked and in denial of the need for such a change. As time progresses, we move to frustration and anger.

If not dealt with correctly, people may get stuck here. The best practice is to allow those involved to express their annoyance as part of the healing process.

After which, the realization starts to set in, and we often see depression or general apathy towards the situation. The good news is this is the turning point, and if you, as the leader, are present and supportive, we begin to climb out of the negative situation.

However, the next phase is that enter a state of confusion which is often the greatest challenge. Something may feel wrong, but we’re not sure what to do to make things right.

We could be tense with feelings of inferiority and doubts – this is where we will start to experiment with the new changes. To develop our understanding further and grow in our confidence about accommodating and using them.

We need to be conscious here that the new environment might not suit everyone. There is a risk that people may not accept the situation instead opting to leave and seek a different setting rather than stay. Finally, with more time, experience, and guidance, we reach the final stage or room – we make the decision to accept the changes and start to embrace them: they rebuild their ways of working. Only when people get to this stage can the organization begin to reap the rewards of the change initiative.

As you may imagine, there is a large degree of preparation and careful planning required to have any chance of success during any change initiative. Clearly understanding where you are today and what the future state looks like through both mindset and behaviors.

Give due consideration to your stakeholder’s reactions (whether it’s your team, customers, suppliers, etc.) and make this based on their motivation, attitude, and abilities.

And then finally, being able to think through the entire implementation process and communicating with clarity. By demonstrating your belief in the changes and leading from the front, ensuring that the necessary supporting systems, tools, or procedures are available and working. And exploring the need for additional stakeholder development, coaching, and guidance to enable implementation. You can see illustrated on the screen the four broad steps mentioned in this entire change process. We are now going to explore the requirements of the last two steps, starting with WHAT & HOW.

We focus on Mindset and Behavior Change using the “from-to” tool before introducing the implementation guideline technique called BCM or Behavior Change Model. And how to incorporate the Change Story for more powerful communications. 

With every Change initiative, clarity of purpose is extremely important. Starting therefore with the exercise to define “What is the current status and what is it we desire for the future” 

This definition then enables us to explore the stakeholders’ current related mindset. Changing the mindset to align with that defined future state is perhaps the most critical factor in achieving success within the change process.

It’s foundational in being able to reshape behavior, and so we introduce here a simple 3 part tool, which Leaders can utilize together with their stakeholders, and we start by identifying where they are today – i.e.

What is the current status? How do current behaviors and their underlying mindset support this status – which we list in the “From” column.

The tool provides us with powerful insights, as we have already defined our desired future state, and therefore we can now determine what our mindset and behavior need to look like to achieve that state.

Hence in the “To” column, we list these new thoughts, beliefs and rules, and necessary activities as a consequence. Based on this realization, we can then develop the necessary actions to drive that change in mindset and behavior from today to the future vision.

And therefore, the time has arrived to start making the change a reality. We consider the actions needed to implement this Change initiative and to be successful.

For those familiar with John Kotter’s famous 8 step Change model, you will notice some similarities in the model we are about to introduce. There are numerous models available to you, so feel free to utilize what works best for you.

In our case, we are going with a simple and visually easy four-quadrant model, referred to as the Behavior Change Model. Our four quadrants cover the actions required “Creating understanding,” Being a role model, aligning systems, and Building capabilities.

To create understanding, we need to focus on our Communications skills mentioned a little earlier. Ensuring that every stakeholder has clarity around the change reason. It’s the starting point where we provide the rationale – introducing the big picture and zooming in to the local level, outlining timing, approach, systems, training, etc.

Then address what I’m required to do as a result and what’s the impact. Later we introduce the “Change Story” technique to support you here.

From this, we move to quadrant 2. We explore the required actions for leaders to demonstrate their belief in this change.

You essentially want to illustrate that you champion the initiative and will lead the way with adoption. Don’t underestimate this step – the stakeholders will be watching you closely to gauge your buy-in.

Quadrant 3 & 4 help us consider the supporting systems, tools, processes, and training associated with this change. Are they available? It is part of the change involving new technology that replaces existing legacy systems and will generate extra workload to introduce resistance. Whatever the case, you need to have considered carefully the actions required and the resulting reactions. Rigorously, working through each of the four implementation stages will greatly increase your chances of success which in itself a significant achievement considering that 70% of all Change Initiatives fail.

And finally, to put the icing on the cake – let’s ensure that you can celebrate that success by providing all of your communication throughout the process are effective and engaging. To do so, we introduce easy to remember five key elements in developing our Change Story.

  1. Have the right parts and structure – i.e., make it personable, stating the BIG REASON WHY change is necessary. Paint the vision, the goals, what will they be doing differently in the future? What is expected of them, and what are the next steps?
  • Tie your story to a strong analogy – introduce a theme or fable which can be easily associated back to this change initiative and is enticing and motivating.
  • Grab the stakeholders’ attention with a teaser. – create some buzz and excitement within the story around the change process using something relevant and enforceable.
  • Spark emotions – the story should stir up emotions. Remember the motivational methods covered in Topic 2

And finally, as made famous by Stephen Covey in his 7 Habits – always have the end in mind. Make the ending of your story positive, and the recipients wanting to know more.

Something to keep firmly in mind throughout this entire Change process, and I’ll quote John Kotter again here – “Do not declare victory too soon.”

The secret is to remember the Change Curve and the reality that change is a process that takes time. People need the opportunity to work through their emotions, and while they can be supported and guided, not forced! So this brings us to the end of this topic, “Necessity for Change.” We hope you have gained a brief insight into the “Why What and How of Change?”

Our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world today requires that we not only understand this change need but that we leaders must also champion the process.

As we move into our next and second last topic, “Pitching your value-based strategies,” we’ll take a peek into the need for balance between performance and values and the impact of strong culture based on diversity and inclusion.  How does this guide your approach in the pursuit of strategic objectives? Until then, stay safe and keep learning. Bye for now!

Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics

10 skills at the heart of every leader’s arsenal.

“Topic 2 – Motivating your future team.”

transcript written by Wayne Brown

WOW, you have reached a truly vital stage in the overall Leadership basics series. 

Today our attention is squarely focused on how to motivate your team members.

There is so much great information in this podcast that we debated splitting it in half, but as we’re already committed to having one episode for each of the 10 skills, we’ve found a way to package it. 

Are you ready? Sit back, stay tuned in and remember the transcript and any links will be contained in the accompanying blog.  Here we go…

We’ll cover in the next 20 minutes broadly deals with seven key considerations when understanding and addressing the topic of motivation. We can split these 7 into 3 clusters.

The first cluster of 3 considerations we call our “Motivational Enablers”. This cluster are like the pre-requisites to motivating and cover Leadership behaviors, workspace & environment plus a healthy mind.

The second cluster – a group of 2 considerations, we call our “Motivational platform” – where we look closer at our workforce generational mix and the various motivational theories available to us. 

The final and 3rd cluster we call “Motivational techniques”. Where we dig into using rational and emotion when triggering action.

Under emotion, we explore both extrinsic and intrinsic motivators to satisfy the inner needs. The final area looks into the latest neuro-science model, called SCARF, which assists us in determining the right intrinsic motivators to use based on behavioral preferences.   

Before we go further, however, I want to pause here and add that to be successful in motivating the team requires effort and focus on your part. 

Seldom have we witnessed a motivated team where the leader hasn’t been fully engaged and leading the way. 

Hence all of the following 7 considerations require you to be in the center of the action. 

With that said, let’s move into our first cluster, the “Motivational Enablers”- these are a pre-cursor before attempting to motivate and, if addressed properly, will improve your chance of success dramatically. 

#1 in cluster 1 is you as the leader and the leadership behaviors you display and operate from. Your team wants a leader that embodies all 5 of the following behaviors.  Trust, Listen, Share, Accept and Enable;

  • Trust – the team wants to trust that you have their back and will stand by your word. In turn, you need to demonstrate that you trust the team and that they are working with you, not against you.  
  • Listen – remember the concept of having 2 ears and one mouth. Practice active listening and encourage dialogue. Give your team a chance to have their say.
  • Share – communicate openly, transparently, and frequently. Remove the potential for hidden agendas and rumors with regular townhalls, Q&A, and feedback sessions.
  • Accept – that the team is competent and capable. Seek opportunities to engage them in the decision-making process and learn how to delegate meaningfully.
  • And finally, Enable – building on the first 4 traits, ensure that you provide a way for your team members to develop and grow. Provide sufficiently challenging tasks which encourage their input and shared learnings. 

One last consideration here – as leaders today, we must accommodate diversity and virtual teams. This brings with it different cultures, work environments, and potential for communication challenges, which may hinder our ability to successfully demonstrate all 5 of these behavior traits. 

Leaders today, therefore, need not only to be effective in F2F situations and with their own local teams they must be clear of how to build that trust and relationships in all circumstances to effectively connect in our global operations.

The 2nd “Motivational Enabler” looks at our workspace & environment – not always something which is fully within our immediate control, given budget constraints and fixed facilities. 

As was just mentioned, we must also give due consideration to the reality of today’s virtual teams. These can be as simple as employees working from home or out of their vehicles, to more challenging scenarios in dealing with team members scattered regionally or globally.

But suppose you are creative and engage your team to participate in open dialogue and the decision-making process. In that case, you can and should develop ways to improve the working environment and meet the current day less formal, modern, and healthy workspace expectations – it’s something that nearly all employees we speak with want and appreciate.

Whether this is a fixed or mobile space, remote or local location, taking steps to transform your team’s surroundings, the ambiance, and creating an overall healthier atmosphere can generate a mindset change and positive impact on working attitudes.

The 3rd and final “motivational enabler” and pre-requisite to motivating are a little more challenging to ensure than the first two. It looks at enabling a healthy mind through 7 key foundational life and work practices. 

A detailed review of these 7 practices can be found in an article titled “The Healthy Mind Platter,” published by the NeuroLeadership journal issue 4, back in 2012. 

We’ve placed a link to the article in the blog notes.

To avoid becoming too technical with the explanation, we’ll leave you to read through and understand more deeply about each. You should notice, however, that it supports many previously held beliefs in similar areas of research. 

Here’s the list of seven daily practices required for creating a healthy mind;

  • Sufficient sleep each night (but also considers the use of 10-15 min daily power naps)
  • Get regular physical exercise
  • The ability to engage in playful activities during the day
  • Ensuring sufficient rest time (which is different from sleep)
  • Opportunities for socializing with colleagues, friends & family  
  • Importantly work-related focus time – doing this in chunks is highly effective 
  • And the last is the practice of mindfulness – the newest perhaps in the group and is the subject of considerable research – we see the practice becoming quite common and popular nowadays.

So, there you have it – start with your own mind – challenge yourself to see which of these you are or are not fulfilling, and then look to your team. 

Question your team’s current working & lifestyle – what might be changed to enhance or enable these 7 practices? 

Remember, any of the 3 motivational enablers may work as a motivator, but they serve to open the team to increased performance possibilities. 

Right, so we have addressed the Motivational Enablers and are ready to tackle the two topics in Cluster 2, which we call our “Motivational Platform.”

And the first is a major one. Today, our workforce spans 4 different generations – from baby boomers through Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z or iGen as they are regularly referred to. 

There is nothing new with the age spread – young employees have traditionally entered the scene around 18-20 years of age and worked beside veterans 60 years or more, thus offering a breadth of working knowledge and expertise spanning 40 – 50 years. – i.e., someone that entered the workforce in 1970-1975 is retiring as we approach 2020. 

The clan’s newest member is Generation Z and will soon form the second largest of the 4 groups mentioned. By 2020 it is estimated that the iGen’s will make up 20% of the workforce.

The difference, however, comes when we explore the era that these generations have grown up in and, therefore, the expectations that accompany them. 

In some instances, those expectations have compounded from generation to generation, while particularly in the Millennials and Gen Z case, they have been born into different eras – be it wealthy parents, the threat from terrorism, global financial crisis, or technology explosion and digitalization.

In the latter case, digitalization, we see the technology on every level continually reinventing itself at increasing speed. 

So much so that we’re now entering one of the most transformational periods in our history and certainly for this current workforce demographic. 

We are seeing a convergence of multiple technologies, each one singularly changing how we live, but collectively the impact is probably beyond most of our imaginations – and this in the space of just a few years.  

Your role as a leader is to come to terms with the varying needs and expectations as you look to employ the right motivational techniques.  

We provide links to several articles which discuss Gen Y and Gen Z.

OK, so we’re almost ready to start motivating, but “what should we focus on” and “how to do it” – these 2 questions need to be considered first & therefore forms the 2nd topic of this cluster. 

For more than a century, researchers have been asking these questions and the results are quite interesting. Here, we list many better-known motivational theories that have evolved from more than a century of studies. Theories from legends such as Freud, Maslow, Herzberg, Vrooms, and Adams, through to the more modern and less known neuro-science studies and people such as David Rock.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, that over time, as our workforce evolved, so to have the research findings. 

Of course, technology has played a significant role, enabling us to perform our studies in different ways – particularly in recent decades with the developments in neuroscience. 

With each new theory comes a new level of sophistication in our understanding. 

And as each theory gets accepted by the experts and adopted, we begin to glean a common thread linking past findings and while also identifying elements that bring something new to the table. 

Note that to move forward and onto our 3rd and final cluster, we will work mostly with modern-day theories – those originating during the 1970s through to the last decade. 

And so now to Cluster 3 and the last two of our topics, we’ll discuss the use of “rational & emotional strategies” and how to leverage these to motivate. In particular, we zoom in and explore our extrinsic and intrinsic inner needs.

We have learned that leaders need to address the rationale (i.e., provide a logical, well-structured, wholistic, and simplified communication) when introducing any change topic to the team.

To do this, the leader must provide the meaning related to the topic and enable the team to see the big picture and where they fit into this process. 

This helps individuals, when receiving the information, to digest and associate with it on a personal level. It offers the chance for clarity on the reasoning behind the action. By itself, however, is unlikely to be sufficient.

That’s because we often need a little emotional stimulus to kick start us into action. Here we identify two methods to generate this emotional tie – firstly, we have the traditional power play at our disposal. However, this is no longer the accepted approach in most cultures. 

It may be necessary for certain circumstances, but we try to avoid this method of leading through authority as a general rule. 

The preferred way to trigger buy-in and action is via motivation, and this is what we will focus on for the remainder of this discussion.

Starting with the understanding of two words, “extrinsic” and “intrinsic.” Extrinsic, meaning to provide a short to medium-term stimulus for individuals – through things such as incentives, pay increases, or bonuses. 

We often refer to this as the carrot used to derive an outcome, and while this may be necessary for some circumstances to bring balance and fairness, it not always possible, nor is it seen as a lasting solution. 

The most preferred approach is to address those inner needs by focusing on those intrinsic motivators – and depending on the individual, these will differ. Fortunately, there are various options available – recognition, empowerment, autonomy, challenging tasks, etc., each of these falling into this intrinsic category.  

We now know that we need to lead change through the use of both rational and emotional stimuli. 

For the emotional component, we do so through motivating, perhaps using a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic motivators but leaning mostly on the inherent needs. 

And now for the final piece of the puzzle – an understanding of how to determine the best motivators for each individual in your team?

To assist us in the task, we turn to neuroscience and the latest study published in 2008 on motivation thru determining what triggers social behavior. 

There are two aspects – the first being the principle of threat and reward. The second being 5 domains of social experience, which depending on how each is triggered, can activate a negative, threat response or a positive reward response with our brains’ neuron circuitry.

The actual model uses an acronym called SCARF – and each letter relates to one of the 5 domains. They are Status, Certainty, Autonomy, Relatedness, and Fairness. 

In the blog, we’ll include a link to the site where you can complete a free online assessment to determine your own domain mixture and which of the 5 are most dominant. 

Understanding yourself first helps you understand the tool and the theory better. It would then be useful to have your team perform this same assessment to have a clear picture about which domains you need to focus on when trying to motivate an individual through reward and which areas you need to be careful not to trigger as a threat. The good news is that this model works across our generations – naturally with differing dominant domains but still with the 5 in play.     

And that’s it – we’ve covered a lot of territory with this podcast, examining 3 clusters of 7 different considerations to achieve highly motivated current and future teams.

The more of clusters 1 & 2 you can incorporate into your preparation and planning, the higher the chance you will have great success motivating your team. 

Provided, of course, that you then incorporate the “how-to” actions – i.e. 

  • combining both the rational and emotive strategies 
  • blended with a mix of extrinsic and intrinsic needs
  • and coupled with what we have learned from the SCARF model on treating each individual based on their social, behavioral preferences. 

We’re planning an Advanced Leadership series to follow this 10-episode Basics series and a promo opportunity here. One topic will be Peak Performance – this is a continuation of this motivation topic and the next topic on delegation – with these two locked in place, the discussion around peak performance makes a lot more sense.

Right so we have finished with our 2nd of the basics

Basic 1 was about Understanding your place in the team

and this one

Basic 2, about Motivating your current and future team.

Next up we look at how to take our motivated employees and find creative ways for you the leader to engage and delegate tasks or projects.

Looking forward to you joining us as we explore what our 4 generations require and answer 3 questions related to delegation – “WHY WHAT & HOW.”

BTW, if you haven’t done so already, don’t forget to subscribe on our website to receive automatic notifications as each new podcast, video, and blog is released. 

Looking forward to chatting again shortly. Cheers for now.

Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics

10 skills at the heart of every leader’s arsenal.

“Topic 1 – Understanding your place in the team.”

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Welcome back… Hopefully, youve watched the intro video, read the blog, or listened to the podcast for this new series and have a general understanding of the 10 topics we are now starting to work through. 

The overall program is called Constant Change requires Leaders to Excel in the Basics and in this video, we cover the first of those basics, Understanding your place in the team.” 

As with all of our modules, we provide you three ways to access this content. In addition to the podcast, which you’re able to download, the full transcript (complete with pictures and additional links) can be found through our Coaches blog section of our website “amentorscouch.com.” or you can watch the original video on our YouTube channel “Mentors Rant.” Three ways to better lock in the knowledge.

So lets get started with topic 1.    

In our role as a leader, we are surrounded by key stakeholder groups. 

At home with family members and the broader community or social networks – i.e., friends, church, clubs, etc. as well as with our working environment – be it from our team or peers, our customers, our boss or even more senior management, the company itself and even our suppliers. 

People or organizations that with varying expectations and needs from us and our limited capacity are limited by time, resources, competence and so on. 

Perhaps these limitations are known by some stakeholders, but this typically only heightens their concerns about our ability or willingness to satisfy those expectations.

It helps, therefore, that you as the leader are able to realize your shortcomings in order to communicate with and manage these stakeholders successfully.

A useful starting point in managing stakeholders is incorporating a method referred to as the “Circle of Influence.” This tool enables us to sort and cluster our stakeholders, thereby making sense of the chaos. 

We can develop strategies and actions necessary to manage or support these groups or individuals. 

It’s a particularly useful approach for less experienced leaders who feel overwhelmed by the events and the volume of demand. 

Once clustered, we review each group to determine if they are supporters or perhaps detractors. This is powerful knowledge that we can utilize to determine the best strategy for working together successfully in the future. 

Our aim should be to expand this Circle of Influence & encompass as many of those in the Circle of Concern as possible– particularly those “critical of us.”

We’ll include several links with the transcript notes for people interested in researching this stakeholder concept and tools. 

Let’s now look closer at each of the stakeholder groups and touch on those important considerations. 

There is no right or wrong order for presenting each stakeholder here. It’s definitely not my purpose to trigger heated debate about which of the groups or individuals are the more important – family versus work, customers versus team, management versus suppliers, and so forth – hopefully, if you have performed the Circle of Influence exercise, you will have assessed how this works for you. 

And without wanting to alienate anyone, I’m starting with two of my key groups, “Teams and Customers,” as they impact all leaders and mostly from within our inner circle. 

Plus, they generally have very real and immediate expectations or needs. 

Each group can be treated as equal in this regard to avoid the chicken and egg question – there’s currently good social media discussion fueling this debate without my added involvement.

The “team” is critical in that collectively, they determine your business`es success.

Therefore they need your full commitment through professional leadership and supporting, encouraging, coaching and developing them.

The 1+1 equals more than 2 principle, which definitely applies here.

Create the right environment and enable each team member to perform consistently at their peak, and the business becomes unstoppable.

Therefore, no real surprise is that in the following videos in this series, we place heavy emphasis on specifics for developing this key stakeholder group.

Similarly, with the other group, understand your customer’s needs and drive your business processes, systems, and team actions towards true focused customer centricity and success become sustainable & profitable.

There’s a wealth of evidence from successful companies to reinforce this message AND any number of ways to move in this direction, but it starts within and the commitment to realize it. 

Check out the link on our site to the “Net Promoter Score” – this is a very in-depth analysis of how you and your business can determine if your customers are promoters or detractors. It’s well worth the investment of your time to review

Moving now to the topic of work-life balance, or perhaps more specifically, work-family balance. 

Today, most leaders understand this concept and requirement, but we are not always so good at implementing it.

We know it’s critical to ensure that the family needs are addressed. All the stakeholder groups this one sticks with us through the toughest of times, encouraging, supporting, and keeping the home front together while we are often away, traveling, entertaining, or working long days.

Some cultures, countries, and companies seem to have found the right mix while others not. At the end of the day, you need to determine the right balance – and this does not only apply to you but also to your team.

Please give your team members an equal opportunity to strike this harmony.

Check out the link to the Jeff Bezos interview speaking about “Work-Life Harmony”. He provides an interesting take on this topic..

On the other side of the spectrum, perhaps (depending on their philosophy) is your immediate boss.

As one of the key stakeholders for you and your team, this person (or persons as is the case in many matrix organizations today), plays a major part in the success of your career through their role modeling, support, coaching, and guidance.

Most likely, they were influential in you being in the role you are in today, so it makes a lot of sense that you establish the ground rules early with this stakeholder  –

  • What are they expecting
  • How would they prefer to receive communication
  • At what frequency?
  • Are there any do’s and don’ts?

One of the worst outcomes we see is from the leader who chooses to ignore this step. 

They believe that their boss will see their level of commitment, effort, and determination through their actions (which might be true). Still, in the end, they fail because they didn’t establish that clarity, connection, and trust through rigorous dialogue first. 

So, the opportunity for you now is to go knock on your boss’s door and set up a one-on-one chat – it’s never too late.

Onto our 3rd grouping of stakeholders – Peers and Suppliers, an interesting duo. 

We clustered them on the same portion of this video intentionally because there are many common dynamics which play out here through you as the leader and your interaction with them. 

And with this duo, we want you to do a little experiment. 

For this experiment, we could just as easily have chosen the final coupling of our stakeholder groups – that is, the Company and Social Networks, given your interaction frequency is normally not as regular as it is with the first 2 groupings covered. 

Less familiarity means the results will be less predictable and, therefore, easier to determine.

Many studies maintain that verbal, non-verbal, and emotional actions become “contagious.”

We’ve attached a link to a very interesting video on this subject from a Harvard researcher, ….  so please take the time to watch it. 

In short, the studies suggest that your body language, the questions you ask, and the emotions you express during that communication have a tremendous impact on how others react and interact with you. 

For me, this strikes an accord, as my own experience is that we react to someone based on how we perceive them. 

Therefore, we would like you to try the following yourself and monitor your peers’ and your suppliers’ reactions.

The first test is through body language using your hands and face to support your expression

  • . When greeting someone, ensure that your hands are visible and open at all times and use hand gestures while speaking. 
  • Also, make sure you are smiling authentically (watch the video to understand that in greater detail). 

Now try the reverse with a different colleague – hide the hands and don’t smile. 

Which of the two methods created the warmest and most charming atmosphere? How was the conversation and body language of your colleague?

For the second experiment, repeat the non-verbal gestures

  • visible, open hands, and warm, friendly smile.

but this time, choose your conversation questions more carefully and do this twice, 

  • the 1st time using topics related to enjoyable events or situations – “do you planned any vacations?” 
  • the 2nd time using mundane questions tends to be more work-related – such as “been busy lately?” 

Gauge the difference in response. We’re pretty sure the results will be quite clear. Reinforces our series opening comments about the importance of being an effective communicator, doesn’t it?  

And now to our final 2 stakeholder groups – those that are not directly related to me as a leader but often have a significant impact – and sometimes when we least expect it. 

They typically sit across our Circles of Influence and Concern. 

Let’s start with the Company. This relates to those people – perhaps in our regions or HQ’s, most often they are located in a different city and maybe even another country.

Identifying and understanding how and why your role may impact them or appear on their radar enables you to maintain an awareness and be conscious of any issues which might trigger that unexpected or unforeseen reaction.

It’s also great in helping you identify how you can contribute to the company’s success by considering and seeing the bigger and broader picture.

If you struggle to identify those persons or determine which actions might have an impact, we suggest that you seek guidance from your immediate boss.

Most likely, they will be happy to help you work through this as there’s a good chance that the impact will also have some consequence for them.

As stated at the very beginning, we didn’t group the stakeholders in order of priority.

Therefore, this final stakeholder – our social network, should be seen as no less important than any others.

In fact, many times in my career, the broader community has had a tremendous influence on supporting and assisting my career.

Here’s something you could do your own research on – Have you ever heard of the term “6 degrees of separation?”

Since it was first introduced, many attempts to test and prove its viability without ever being proven emphatically.

More recently, however, through the explosion of online social media, a new dynamic has evolved.

This dynamic supported by machine learning technology is starting to illustrate that the size of your network is greatly enhanced by the inclusion of a few random acquaintances. 

And that their impact on you is often much higher than the impact through your friends.

We’ve included a couple of links in case you want to research a little deeper yourself. 

However, it does makes you stop and think, doesn’t it? 

Should I have accepted the “friend request” from that stranger the other day? What opportunity did I just miss out on as a result?  

And before closing, let’s take a moment to reflect one last time at our stakeholder groups – can you identify the one stakeholder we haven’t covered thus far – if any of you guessed “our future robotic partners,” then you are very in tune with our thinking. 

It is a reality that today and to a much larger extent very soon, we will have to work more closely with robotics utilizing the latest AI development and driving our IoT world. 

How and in exactly what capacity is becoming gradually clearer. It is certain already that this will be a factor in our lifetimes and perhaps even within the coming few years. 

Taking time to think through the connections we are making today with machines such as Siri, Alexa, household appliances and security systems, autonomous cars, and any multitude of technologies soon, and you should start to understand the point I’m making  – we are in our infancy in this field. Still, the coming explosion of interconnectedness through IoT and convergence of all technologies means our interaction and reliance on robots is almost guaranteed.

So, this provides a very brief insight into our 9 stakeholder groups. 

Each group is individually important, and collectively, they are crucial to your performance and career progression.

Please find some time to review the additional links on our site amentorscouch.com and read through the transcript blog again for greater learnings. 

As we progress into the next 5-6 topics, we turn most of our attention towards the “TEAM” stakeholder group.

The reason why is simple. If you can lock in these core learnings on these basic skills with your team and empower them by applying the knowledge and methods we’ll cover, then your foundation for success is laid and solid.

This concludes the first of our topics called “Understanding your place in the team.” In this series, “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics,” we will present 10 topics.

The next topic covers “Motivating your future team.” We look forward to having you join us again. 

Remember, you can also watch this video series or topic by topic on our channel Mentors Rant. We aim to release our trio on each topic (i.e., a video, podcast, and blog) every two weeks.

Looking forward to chatting again shortly.

Excel in the basics: Pitching Value Based Strategies

Topic 9 from the “Constant change requires leaders to excel in the basics” series – Pitching Value based strategies

transcript written by Wayne Brown

Hello again and welcome back to this the penultimate episode in our Basics series. Today’s topic is called “Pitching value based strategies”.

In the last couple of episodes we have started to focus more closely on our own Leadership and self awareness and we continue in this direction now.

Shortly we’ll be asking you to identify your values – it won’t be a complete value exploration, but it’s important for this topic that you start with an understanding of these inner unconscious guidelines, before looking to those company values for alignment.

After establishing this, we broaden our perspectives and explore how well we as Leaders can run our business by following both personal and company values whilst striving for constant growth and sustainable performance.

This journey will lead us through discussions on the role of diversity, inclusion and culture in our teams and the business as a whole.

In the end we must find a solution which enables us to couple our values with the need to achieve results.

Have you heard of the term “servant leadership”…?

It’s been around a long time, but has re-surfaced in recent times, as has the discussion around emotional intelligence – both subjects are very closely interwoven and very much on point with our topic today about Values Based leadership.

The traditional approach of top-down leadership, where we only focus on control and achieving targets is outdated and counterproductive, as explained by Dan Gable in his book “Alive at Work”.

As an alternative, he says that we need to look for leaders to demonstrate humility, courage and insights, which they should utilize in helping their teams to explore and grow.

Through servant leadership we emphasize the need for leaders to increase ownership, autonomy and the responsibility of the team. AND it can be as easy as starting with the question “How can I help you deliver excellence in your role?”

Sounds familiar with some of the feedback questions we highlighted way back in topic 5 doesn’t it.

Now, whilst this approach is appealing at least on the surface, does it really fit to everyone’s values base?

We’re guessing that the answer will be influenced by country and company cultures and for the largest percentage of leaders, it will require a shift in personal values, including perhaps their beliefs and perspectives and behaviors.

Identifying your values …

So, let’s begin with an exercise to identify your current values. Note that your values can and do change over time and at the very least the priority will fluctuate, based on the current environment you are situated in.

In addition, you will most likely be able to identify both positive and negative values.

For example,

  • if you’re training for a marathon or trying for a baby, your value of “health” may be at the top of the list.
  • But if you’re going back to school then “learning” or “curiosity” might be up top somewhere!

Your values are always moving with you. Something you loved and valued in your twenties, most likely won’t appeal in the same way in your forties and so on.

This is why we sometimes ‘outgrow’ a job, activity or role which initially suited us.

Therefore, please realize that this exercise will only provide you with your “now” values. As such, this is an exercise which you perform on a regular basis – in my case I like to review every 6 months.

Let’s start and please follow the prompts as we work through the exercise…

You will need to have pen and paper handy, and be ready to pause the recording, as we work through these 4 steps. The whole exercise will take around 30-45 mins. Are you ready….?

Step 1: Take 5 minutes and brainstorm a list of as many things as possible in answer to this question…

What’s most important to me in life?

  • Aim for a list of at least 20 items.
  • And for now, don’t worry too much about whether a word is really a “value” or not. Pause the audio now whilst you do this exercise.

For anyone interested in this whole process, we have provided below two free workbooks – one for Personal Values and the other for Career values. Please download and work through either or both of them if you want to delve deeper into this topic.

Step 2: Now look at your list and see whether you can group similar words – from each group choose the most meaningful word. Pause the audio again until you complete this step.

Step 3: Once you have completed the grouping and narrowed down your list, select the top 8 values most important to you – those ones which you feel most strongly about. Stop the audio again until you are finished.

So by now you should have your list of the top 8 values.

Step 4: Our next and final step is to put these 8 values in priority order.    

Pitching Value Based Strategies

And to do this we’ll use a diagram which you’re about to draw on a clean blank sheet of paper.

  • The diagram will consist of 4 circles starting with the smallest circle in the centre of your page – make this circle about 25mm or 1 inch diameter.
  • Draw a second larger circle, evenly spaced around the first circle. This second circle should be about 100mm or 4 inches in diameter and that will mean 35mm or 1 ½ inch clearance between the two circles.
  • Same approach now with the next two larger circles – each one evenly spaced around the previous circle – with a gap of approx. 10mm or ½ inch all around the inner circle. Meaning the 3rd circle has a 10mm gap around the 2nd circle and the 4th circle with a 10mm gap around the 3rd circle.

Whew – it’s sooo much easier to demonstrate this on video!!!!

Don’t worry if the circles don’t look perfect just at the moment, you can always re-draw this later when you have more time.

  • Now the final part of the diagram – dividing the circle into 8 equal sections. Start by drawing a vertical line from the top of the most outer circle through the centre of the smallest circle all the way down to the bottom of the outer circle.
  • The repeat the process, but this time drawing a horizontal line that cuts through the middle of the circles. In other words, if I was talking about the hours on a clock – I would say a draw line vertically from 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock and horizontally from 9 o’clock to 3 o’clock.
  • You should now have 4 equal quadrants. Choose the top right-hand quadrant and on the outer circle find the hallway point of the quadrant – i.e. the 1 ½ hours past the 12 o’clock position. Then draw a line from that point through the centre of the smallest circle and continue down through the middle of bottom left quadrant – or 7 ½ hours past 12 o’clock.
  • Repeat the exercise for the remaining two quadrants.

OK so hopefully you now have 8 equal sections inside the 4 circles.

If so then we are almost ready to start Step 4 and prioritizing your 8 values.

One final item before commencing. Make a large dot on the outer circle line at the 12 o’clock point.

  • Start with the largest circle – the second inner circle and write one of your 8 top values in each of the 8 sections – the order of these values isn’t important. Pause now until you complete this part.
  • Then in the smallest inner circle – state as a % (using a minimum of 0% and a highest value of 100%), the extent that you are living this value today? Whether that value relates to work or socially – how much are you experiencing and fulfilling it today. Again pause the audio whilst you do this.

So now you should have the two inner circle completed showing the 8 values in no particular order, and today’s % of fulfillment for each. And now we start to compare and prioritize those values, starting with the value in the top section to the right side of the dot (at 12 o’clock)

  • Work your way clockwise around the circle, comparing each value against the other 7 values. 
  • That means consider Value 1 against value 2, then 1 against 3, value 1 against 4 & so on. 
    • As you complete each comparison and select which is the stronger and preferred value then place a 1 in the 3rd circle above that value.
  • After completing one full round for the first value against all other 7 values, repeat the exercise for values 2 thru value 7 – each time the number of values you are comparing reduces by 1 – for instance you have already completed the comparison between value 1 and value 2 in the first round.
    • so when you move onto value 2 comparisons you do not repeat the comparison with value 1, only the remaining 6 values.
    • For value 3 only compare with the remaining 5 values.

Try not to over think the comparison in making you decision – choose your preferred value and move to the next one. Pause the audio now and complete this activity.

  • You should now determine which value scored the most votes.
  • Tally the votes and record the answer total in the most outer circle.
  • Then rank the values from the one with highest score being the #1 priority and so on until all 8 values are ranked.
  • If you have a tie between tallies on 2 or more values then decide which is the more important.

You will now have a clear picture of the priority order for your top 8 at this moment in your life or career?

  • Are there any real surprises which jump out?
  • How does the result look when you compare it to the % fulfillment you recorded earlier for those values.

Any that are high priority but low fulfillment, might warrant further thought or action to understand what can be addressed to change the situation.

If you are unsure of what might be done, then speaking with a Coach would be a great place to start.  

As mentioned earlier, this is only a brief journey into discovering your values and if you would like to do a deeper level exploration, please go to the show notes and download those two 5 step Values workbooks.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

However, for the purpose of this exercise you are now armed with the necessary knowledge to address the next portion of this Value-based leadership topic and that is to look at the alignment equation – i.e. to compare your personal or career values against those of the company.

Be aware that as you do this comparison, it’s not necessary to have an exact match – in fact this would be most unlikely as we are all individuals with our own independent thoughts and values.

Instead we are looking to see how far we are apart and whether there are any surprising similarities or conflicting values.

Most importantly therefore is whether there is anything which jumps out at you as unexpected or confronting to you. In reality, it’s more likely that the company values will compliment your own.

Understanding this process, enables you to guide your own team through a similar exercise. And whilst helping each individual get more clarity around their values, it also aids you to have a deeper level of connection with your team members, which of course is important if your looking to demonstrate empathy and become the servant leader.

During this team exercise you would also take the opportunity to explore diversity and inclusion with-in the team and company – discussing the benefits each brings to the group as a whole.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

Things such as the celebration;

  • that everyone is unique with their own strengths,
  • that diversity and inclusive teams are more efficient, competitive and innovative whilst being drivers towards a strong value-based company culture.

At the same time highlighting that with diversity comes differences inherent to a diverse mix of people – age gender, race, culture, religious and political beliefs, etc. And therefore there is a need to acknowledge these differences and to remain respectful towards each others’ differences.

And on the other hand leveraging off this diverse and inclusive working environment often leads to innovation and creative ideas which might otherwise be missed.

Current studies with the Millennial generation in particular are highlighting that they expect and look for this awareness and behavior in the company they work for whereas the Gen X and Baby Boomers seem to have a different understanding about the meaning of diversity and inclusion.

Let’s go deeper now on the importance of value-based Leadership in the formation of company culture…

Work culture is an intangible ecosystem that makes some places great to work and other places toxic. No matter how talented and smart you are, you will work to the best of your capabilities and creative skills when you are surrounded by an encouraging environment that values human resource.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

As we have highlighted in previous episodes the Leader influences this culture through their direct actions and from the structure they build for the company.

Here’s 4 outcomes of a Leadership led values-based company culture.

  • 1st – it increases loyalty at your workplace – An organization whose employees have a deep sense of loyalty and ownership towards their workplace is an organization viewed favorably and with a bright future.
  • 2nd it’s a key to retention – Whether the employee feels happy and satisfied in his/her work-space is another crucial determinant.
  • 3rd – it prompts employees to watch each others’ back – For a new employee who enters an organization and watches a culture of cohesion among workers, where all employees help each other, will automatically embody these values in his/her daily life.
  • 4th – it attracts talent – A good work culture not only helps retain organization’s human resource, it also helps attract new talent as word spreads quickly. An employee who loves his/her organization will spread the goodwill and will be instrumental in attracting good human resource to the organization.

And here’s the secret to leading the company towards success through a value-based culture – it starts with Leaders internalizing the guiding structures.

Pitching Value Based Strategies

For example a leader could ;

  • Take external guidelines such as following the procedures for feedback and formally conduct and dutifully record the session, versus the alternative  
  • A leader who implicitly and spontaneously offers genuine empathetic coaching or informal feedback to employees.

In addition, leaders need to ensure that their communications and language in general are clear, understandable and simplified so that everyone can interpret and digest accurately.

  • Remember to leave the door open for unsolicited drop ins and off the cuff questions.
  • Celebrate employee efforts and successes regularly and above all else remain consistent in your approach.

People need and want to feel that their structure is solid and they can rely on it week on week.

Make these actions a reality and reap the benefits of a strong culture organization.

And last but not least, the topic of performance versus values and culture. The simplest response to this query is that you need both.

Pitching Value Based Strategies
  • Leaders that focus purely on performance without values and culture, run the risk of triggering unacceptable behavior!
  • Leaders that focus purely on values and culture without consideration towards performance, jeopardize the company’s economic future!
  • Leaders need to strike a balance between performance, values and culture to create sustainable profitable success.

And so that’s a wrap on this topic “Pitching Value based strategies”. We hope you have enjoyed the exercises and discussion around what is an increasingly important topic, particularly among the younger generations in our workforce.

The final episode of the Basics series…

With that we now turn to the final episode in this Basics series – “Running with your game plan”. If you joined us from the beginning the intro episode and found the challenge of sticking with us as we have moved towards the 10th episode, congratulations.

Even better if you can truly identify with any of our discussions and found them useful, perhaps even feeling compelled to bring some of the suggested actions to reality with-in your business. If so well done!

Pitching Value Based Strategies

We know if you have, that you are among a rare group of people seeking out ways to enhance your skills and become better leaders.

Be sure to stayed with us until the end as we will be offering our listeners a special take-away for episode 10 – a summarized checklist covering all 10 of the topics with a step by step approach to implementing your Leadership game plan.

This is something we have developed especially for our Mastermind participants and whilst they receive deeper insight, this will contain the same information which they receive when attending our F2F session.

So episode 10, looks at of bundling everything we’ve spoken about in a structured, practical way, that you can utilize for a hugely positive impact with your stakeholders and business alike.

We’re extremely excited about the release of this next episode and hope that you will be able to join us.

Until then, keep pushing towards excellence, stay safe and we will see you again soon. Bye for now.

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