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Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 22)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words That Work: Hunger

In this post on building a high performance culture I’m adding the word “hunger” to the “words that work” category. Hungry cultures are those that regularly change, risk, and stretch—even while things are going well and all the seas appear calm.

I’ll dig deeper into hunger below; but first, quickly review the strong and weak cultural words below so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move your organization towards, as well as what you must weed out of your culture in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Diligent: giving constant effort to accomplish something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

Micromanage: to control with excessive attention to minor details.

Hunger is defined as an intense desire, a compelling craving. 

Note that the definition isn’t limited to merely a “desire or a craving;” intense and compelling are the keys. If something is intense and compelling it moves you, which brings up the key point to this post: you can’t have a hungry culture without hungry people at all levels moving it forward. The challenge is that while you can motivate people—stoke embers that already exist—you cannot make someone hungry by putting the embers of desire within them. Thus, your team members must bring hunger to the table; they must give you something to work with. Hungry people normally have the following traits that make them easier to identify during an interview, or to evaluate the people already within your culture:

  1. Hungry people have compelling reasons—their “why”—that drives them to excel. Their why may include a range of motivations from buying a nicer car, moving into a bigger home, sending their kids to a private school, helping a sick parent, making a difference in the lives of others, to supporting orphans. People tend to lose their way when they lose their why, and wind up going through the motions as they miss their potential by a mile.

One purpose of an interview is determine just how specific and compelling a job candidate’s why is. This will give keen insight into how self-motivated you can expect them to be.

  1. Hungry people are rarely stuck in their ways. They change before they have to, enjoy learning and sharing new things, and would rather take a mature risk than defend a safe status quo.
  1. Hungry people want new responsibilities. They want an opportunity to learn and grow and to expand their skills. They also want increased latitude and discretion to make decisions without having to always check with a higher-up.
  1. Hungry people are more prone to seek out feedback. They know they need fast, honest, specific feedback to grow.
  1. Hungry people don’t need as many pep talks. Of course like anyone they appreciate pats on the back, but aren’t dependent on them in order to stay motivated and work hard to reach their goals.

Final note: A culture is in big trouble when the leaders have let complacency nudge out their hunger and begin leading more from the rear, than from the trenches; maintaining, presiding and administering but not having a stretch impact on the team. Frankly, lethargic leaders create lethargic cultures. Hungry leaders build hungry cultures, and more naturally attract those with the like levels of internal motivation necessary to build a great organization.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-22/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 21)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words That Hurt: Micromanage

In this post on building a high performance culture, I’m assigning the word “micromanage” to the Words that Hurt column. Micromanagement is an often-misunderstood word, so in this piece I’ll explain what it is and is not, as well as the danger it poses to your culture, people and results.

I’ll dig deeper into micromanage momentarily. But first, quickly review the strong and weak cultural words below so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move your organization towards, as well as what you must weed out of your culture in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Diligent: giving constant effort to accomplish something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about. (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

Micromanage is defined as “to control with excessive attention to minor details.” Here are seven thoughts on micromanagement and how it will influence your culture.

1. Holding people accountable for tough standards is not micromanagement.

It’s important to note that there are a handful of things within a culture that are not up for debate, must be held in a iron grip, and thus may be wrongly perceived as micromanagement. Managers who are diligent in holding others accountable for living company values and following prescribed processes are often erroneously accused of being micromanagers. This reflects a failure to understand that micromanagement involves “minor” details, and values and processes are major matters and must be vigorously enforced and upheld.

2. Making every decision, solving every problem and having all the ideas are signs of micromanagement.

You’ve conditioned people to count on you so heavily they cannot think for themselves. Micromanaged people lack passion and tend to play not to lose.

3. Over-involving yourself in others’ jobs, especially in areas where you have little expertise, may constitute micromanagement.

While your authority allows you to set clear expectations and deadlines for results for the various aspects under your charge, you err when you then nitpick and continually second-guess those responsible for producing the results throughout the process.

4. If you hire the wrong people you’ll have to micromanage them.

This is a sad truth, because it’s foolish to empower incapable or corrupt people with latitude and discretion and expect anything positive to come from it.

5. Micromanagement is a primary de-motivator for top performers.

High achievers resent having to check with you for everything. They feel that their past performance should earn them the trust to move faster and with less supervision than less-proven team members.

6. Micromanagement works in the short-term.

It’s always easier to personally make a decision or perform a task than to teach someone else how to do it. But this strategy causes you to plateau, and stunts the growth of others over the long haul; you become overwhelmed doing too much personally, and others never get to try new things or venture beyond their comfort zone.

7. Micromanagement is rooted in pride and to a large degree, insecurity.

Micromanagers feel that if someone else performs tasks or makes decisions without their involvement it makes them less important. They may also feel that “if they want it done right they have to do it themselves”, overestimating their own abilities while they sell short the potential of their teammates.

In summary, micromanagement overwhelms you, demotivates others, and creates an oppressive culture.

Face it: if you’ve hired people who must be micromanaged that’s your fault; if you don’t train people to do their jobs more independently, that’s your fault; if your ego doesn’t allow you to empower others, that’s your fault. Are you seeing a pattern here? The good news is that you can fix what is your fault. The bad news is that most micromanagers are too full of themselves, or busy doing everything themselves, to even bother trying.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-21/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 20)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words that Work: Diligent

In this post on building a high performance culture I’m adding the word diligent to the words that work column, although diligence can hurt you if you’re investing it in the wrong habits or activities.

I’ll expand on diligent in a moment, but first do a quick review of the strong and weak cultural words so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move towards, as well as what you must move away from culturally in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about. (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

The word diligent is defined as “giving constant effort to accomplish something.”

High performing cultures are those where the right things are done consistently, and where the team members diligently persist to see those right activities come to completion.

In order to maximize results, discipline must precede diligence. In other words, one must be disciplined enough to choose and execute the highest leverage tasks from the outset, and to say “no” to the distractions that arise in the process, before diligence is beneficial. Frankly, giving constant effort to stick with, or accomplish, the wrong something, or a low-return something, hurts an organization and stifles results.

The word “consistent” is a cousin of “diligent.” To be consistent means to “constantly adhere to the same principles”. Thus discipline chooses the right activity or principle; consistency ensures those same things are done repeatedly, and diligence ensures the actions are not only initiated but followed through to a successful completion.

Discipline, consistent and diligent are critical success traits demonstrated by highly successful people, and are a trait of highly performing cultures overall. Without discipline you’ll consistently put second things first, as you diligently move forward majoring in minor things.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-20/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 19)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words that Work: Wise

Words that Hurt: Foolish

In this post on building a high performance culture, I’m adding the word “wise” to the “words that work” column, and “foolish” to the list of cultural “words that hurt”.

I’ll expand on traits of both wise and foolish people, as well as strategies for dealing with both below. First, let’s do a quick review of the strong and weak cultural words so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move towards, as well as what you must move away from culturally in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

Wise is defined as: having or showing good judgment.

Foolish is defined as: lacking good sense of judgment.

Keep in mind that wise doesn’t necessarily mean book-smart, and a fool isn’t necessarily an untalented dullard. In fact, sometimes the “fool” is the brightest person in the room. And while most people show signs of both wise and foolish behavior from time to time, the trait that dominates should best foretell their future with your organization.

What can accurately help you determine how to categorize one as wise or foolish is in how they respond to the feedback you give them on their behaviors. Author Dr. Henry Cloud specifically mentions the following differences. Pay close attention, because in order to build or sustain a strong culture it’s essential you have wise people throughout; those who respond as follows when receiving feedback on their behaviors and performance:

  • They thank you for it.
  • They own it; take responsibility for it.
  • They show remorse for unhealthy behaviors when you bring it to their attention.
  • Your relationship with them strengthens as a result of the feedback.
  • They change their behavior as a result of getting feedback.

You can take wise people far in an organization. Your investments in time, dollars, training, coaching and mentoring return to you exponentially over time as they grow and increase their capacity to contribute to the organization.

Unlike a wise person, the fool does the following when you give him feedback:

  • Externalizes it: He will blame others, conditions, and even you for their behavior or results: “You do the same thing!” etc.
  • Minimizes it: He will try to convince you his behavior or result isn’t that big of a deal: “I was only ten minutes late. What’s the big deal?”
  • Rationalize it: He will excuse it; say he had no choice based on the situation he was in, the options available: “Given the hand I was dealt, I didn’t have a choice,” etc.
  • The relationship weakens as a result of your giving feedback; the person withdraws, pouts, resents and tells others how unfair you are.

Your future with foolish people within your organization should be brief, at best. They demonstrate character flaws you cannot fix or change. They can fix or change them, but don’t seem to see the need for it.

 


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/04/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-19/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 18)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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A word that works: “Prune”

In this eighteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word normally associated with gardening, but whose applications for improving an organization’s culture abound: prune.

I’ll expand on how pruning benefits culture momentarily, but to review the portrait of high performing cultures this series has presented take a moment to review both what must be woven into, and weeded out of, a culture to create optimal performance:

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

To prune is defined as: to remove what is undesirable.

When pruning a bush, less than optimal branches and buds are removed so they no longer zap vital resources from those with the potential to become great. If left on a bush, the dying or dead branches create a visual blight, and cause the healthy branches to go over, under, and around their interference in order to reach their peak form.

In business, a candidate for pruning—what is undesirable and needing to be removed somewhat, or altogether—may range from ineffective or underperforming:

  • Policies
  • Processes
  • Strategies
  • Vendors
  • People
  • Products
  • Services
  • Investment dollars
  • And more

Unlike a sick branch, you don’t automatically remove the listed underperforming entities in organizational culture. Rather, there are three categories of pruning each may fit into. Understanding these three options creates a useful decision-making filter that allows you to make the right choices to build a high performing culture.

Category one: the entities that are good, but have little chance of becoming great. These are normally areas where, regardless of what you put into someone or something, you reap a diminishing return. Since it is good you don’t remove it, but realign time or resources into the aspects of your culture that have a chance to become great. The key word here is: realign.

Example: A solid performer you want on the team; but regardless how much time or training you give them they still produce around the same amount. You’ll need to realign some of what you’re investing in this person into someone who has higher upward potential.

Category two: entities that are struggling and not getting better. These are policies, people, strategies and the like where business as usual is not an option; something must change. You’re not ready to remove it yet, but you need to revitalize it.

Example: A marketing strategy that used to bring results but seems to have run its course. You’re close to abandoning it, but will try one new angle, a new medium, a new something to attempt to revive it. It could also involve a poor performer whom you’re close to terminating, but will try one last time to revitalize through training, or by transferring to a position they’re better suited for.

Category three: entities for which there are no hope. On a bush, this would be the branch that has died and is taking up space. In business this is someone or something you’ve tried to realign and revitalize, but you’re still not getting the desired results. This aspect of pruning mandates that it’s time to remove it.

Example: The performer that, despite your efforts to coach, motivate, and train continues to miss your standards. It could also be a product or product line that has outlived its usefulness; no marketing campaign has been able to save it. It’s time for it to go.

By realigning, revitalizing or removing what isn’t desirable, you are able to efficiently execute the disciplines within your culture that increase your success. Pruning is a key ally to leaders who understand that mediocrity is a dangerously seductive cultural infection; and unless they act on it their culture will become a host and carrier of its disease.

 


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-18/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 16)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words that Work: Discipline

In this sixteenth post on building a high performance culture, I want to put in the “words that work” column a word that fuels the consistency that separates good performers and organizations from great ones: discipline.

I’ll expand on discipline momentarily, but to improve your perspective on this culture series, please review the following “words that work” from past posts.

  • These concepts must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it.
  • The “words that hurt” and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of your culture.
  • These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something. 

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Discipline is defined as: an activity, regimen or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

To help grasp the importance of disciplined people working within a disciplined culture, consider the following points on discipline:

  1. Discipline serves as fuel for consistency. It powers the development of healthy habits and routines instrumental for reducing the wide up and down swings of business performance.
  2. A narrower focus on who and what matters most stimulates discipline. The marriage of narrowed focus and more discipline makes decision making easier; it helps you know what to say “yes” or “no” to so you can stay on track and do more of what matters most.
  3. Discipline without direction is drudgery. Discipline simply for the sake of discipline does not inspire. But when discipline is developed because it leads you towards a compelling purpose it can help make you unstoppable.
  4. Discipline isn’t about doing a lot of things every day; it’s about executing the handful of daily activities most necessary to move towards your goals.
  5. Disciplined people have more, not fewer, options as they progress through business and life. Discipline isn’t a jailer, it is a liberator.
  6. Disciplined people, pulled forward by a compelling purpose, consistently do what is right day-in and day-out; not just when it’s easy, cheap, popular or convenient.
  7. Discipline isn’t “punishment,” it’s a morale builder. You always feel better about yourself when you do what is right, what you’ve committed to do; whether it’s saying “no” to the cheesecake when dieting, or making the ten calls you said you’d make before leaving for home.

As a final thought on discipline, I’d like to suggest that the alternative to discipline is disaster. Evidence of this principle abounds in the lives of businesses and individuals who waste time and resources chasing silver bullets, quick fixes, and implementing successions of failed flavors of the month, while their disciplined counterparts steadily plod along to new performance levels.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/01/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-16/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 15)

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This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Words that Hurt: Apathy

In this fifteenth post on building a high performance culture, I want to put in the “words that hurt” column a word that creates barren cultures, performances and customer experiences: apathy.

More about apathy in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words that work from past posts. These must consistently be woven into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something. 

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy is defined as: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Apathetic followers are often the result of numerous leadership failures:

  1. The leaders fail to create a vision that inspires followers to higher performance.
  2. The leaders fail to create and live a mission that unites followers behind a common cause.
  3. The leaders pledge allegiance to the status quo, learning to live with what is average rather than improve or remove it.
  4. The leaders spend so much time with “stuff,” they have no time to build relationships with followers.
  5. The leaders spend so much time with “stuff,” they have no time to motivate, impact, train, coach or mentor followers.
  6. The leaders fail to engage followers by holding them accountable for their actions and results.
  7. The leaders fail to remove dead weight, lowering the morale of all who must work with the incompetent, corrupt, or inadequate.
  8. The leaders fail to live core values, or lead by example, disconnecting from followers and breaking trust in the process.
  9. The leaders stop learning, and so have nothing new to bring to the table to challenge or inspire followers, or to help them grow.
  10. The leaders routinely start and quit new programs, creating a credibility crisis as followers become drained by the latest management “flavor” (failure) of the month.
  11. The leaders fail to respect and take care of customers, fanning the flames of cultural apathy far and wide.

The list could go on, but this is a good start.

It is also entirely possible that the leader is doing everything right and still has an apathetic follower simply because he hired and is keeping the wrong person; but that in itself is another blatant leadership failure. As you can see, cultural and corporate apathy starts and stops with the leaders and their many potential failures. The good news is that leaders can also fix cultural apathy by caring enough to put their coffee down, get off their backsides, and do their jobs with consistent excellence.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/12/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-15/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 14)

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This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Words that Hurt: Maintain

In this fourteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that hurt” column a word that stifles the potential of both individuals and organizations: maintain.

More about maintain in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words that work from past posts. These must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something. 

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain is defined as: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Managers who maintain create a culture where:

  1. The goals set for the organization are incredibly safe.
  2. People are conditioned to think incrementally.
  3. The status quo is defended, rather than attacked.
  4. Those who question the status quo are seen as trouble makers, or as being negative.
  5. Nothing is changed until something bad happens.
  6. People aren’t held accountable.
  7. People aren’t stretched and don’t grow.
  8. Tenure becomes a substitute for performance.
  9. There is a play-not-to-lose mentality that pervades the culture.
  10. There is a strong aversion to risk or anything new.
  11. Meetings are held where much is debated, but little is decided.
  12. People expect to be rewarded or promoted more for showing up than for stepping up.
  13. There is a large mass of average or below average people, but very few, if any, superstars.
  14. People are prone to pace themselves, and very little urgency is seen until there’s a crisis, or time is running out on a month.
  15. Doing what’s in a job description is seen as acceptable; even heroic, rather than as baseline.

Frankly, in any industry, maintainers in leadership positions are common; they’re easy to find and cheap to keep. But leaders who can stretch others and their organization, but who understand the importance of stretching themselves first are worth their weight in gold.

collisioncenter

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/12/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-14/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 13)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®. thumbs up

Words that Work: Passion

In this thirteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word that is found within high achievers in any endeavor: passion.

More about passion in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words that work from past posts; these must consistently be woven into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Passion is defined as: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

The following are five thoughts on passion:

1. High performing cultures have passionate people, driven to excel by a meaningful mission, compelling vision and the desire to make a difference.

2. Passion is different than both drive and energy. One can have both these essential traits, but without an enthusiasm for the work at hand, see their drive and energy go largely wasted. The quality of the culture plays a big part in drawing passion out.

3. Passionate people aren’t necessarily loud or giddy; their enthusiasm is more likely to show up in their attitude, work ethic, team play and results.

4. Passionate people are normally lower maintenance employees as they don’t require the coddling or continual pep talks the indifferent demand just to get moving. This reduces distractions within your culture, and helps preserve morale.

5. Customers feel an employee’s passion, and it greatly elevates the customer’s experience and earns their loyalty.

6. A poor leader can temper or extinguish a passionate person’s zeal with micromanagement, by surrounding him or her with laggards, or by failing to give the recognition one has earned and deserves. This demonstrates again the importance of a leader taking his or her role as chief architect and primary influencer of the culture very seriously.

 


See Dave Anderson’s presentation at the Best Training Day Ever. Click here for details.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/11/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-13/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 12)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Complacent

Words that Hurt: Complacent

In this twelfth post on building a high performance culture, I want to put in the “words that hurt” column a word that destroys not only organizations, but lives. The word is complacent.

More about complacent in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words from past posts that work and consistently weave them, and their ensuing mindsets, into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like, so you can evaluate your own,and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent is an often misunderstood word.

Many assume it means “lazy”, but that is not the case. Complacent is defined as calmly content, smugly self-satisfied; quite different than being lazy as you’ll see in point #2 below. Here are five thoughts concerning this word that hurts cultures and inhibits personal potential:

  1. No one ever thinks they’re complacent until they understand the true definition. However, they are often prone to point out perceived complacency in other people, departments, and competitors. In other words, they spot it in others but don’t recognize it in themselves.
  2. Once you grasp the true definition, it’s far easier to spot in yourself. For starters, you’ll realize that complacency isn’t so much about the hours you put in on the job, but about what you put into the hours while you’re on the job. You can work eighty hours per week, yet still be so calmly content with your results that you’ve stopped training, recruiting, holding people accountable and more.
  3. Successful people and organizations are the most vulnerable targets for complacency. After all, if a business is drowning and gasping for air, it’s safe to say they’re not smugly self-satisfied at the moment. On the other hand, when business is great, and all the seas appear calm, it’s easy to become calmly content and abandon many of the vital disciplines that made you successful in the first place.
  4. Complacency is a threat that never goes away, and as imperfect human beings we can expect to fall off track in various areas of our life from time to time and become complacent. However, as our awareness of complacency improves, we should aspire to get off track less often; and when we do become complacent, to recognize it faster, and make faster course corrections. These two actions will help us shape a culture that greatly outperforms the clueless souls who don’t even know what the word complacent means, and believe it is someone else’s problem.
  5. Since our biggest vulnerabilities are those we’re unaware of, by increasing your own and your team’s awareness of what complacency is, you can protect your culture and improve results both personally and as an organization.

See Dave Anderson’s presentation at the Best Training Day Ever. Click here for details.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/11/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-12/

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