Team Development

Management Principle Harmony

Management Principle: Harmony

The cost of a well-functioning team is high. It requires transparency, a commitment to other’s success (versus having a focus solely on our own success), and the kind of vulnerability that leads to risk-taking, which, for sure, ensures mistakes will be made. Without these qualities, our teams will be mediocre at best-with them, we will develop lasting relationships that will extend deep into our future. I hope you like this week’s principle.

DNA Behavior for Businesses

Harmony. It’s inspiring to see a team of people working together in harmony-those laboring for an outcome that is bigger than each of their parts, where alignment is real and relationships are strong. It’s this bigger-than-life image that draws people into companies, only to have their dreams shattered by the reality of corporate politics and the bad behavior of others. The question is: what would it take to build a team that has genuine harmony? It starts when we make a commitment to say the hard things in a soft way-to deal with the “who” of our teammates, versus the “what;” that is, speaking to other’s motivations, creating clarity, versus the cheap and easy approach of dealing with actions alone. Maintaining harmony is an active process, where we commit to being transparent, employing the principle of “finding solutions to problems versus identifying culprits,” recognizing that people don’t intentionally make mistakes. And, when mistakes are made, teams with harmony unpack the processes leading to the failure and learn, learn, learn from the experience. United we stand, divided we fall.

Coaching questions: Has your team achieved harmony? What are the missing ingredients? Write your answers in your journal.

Read more coaching principles from Dean Harbry on the Internal Innovations website.

A Behavioral Driven Performance Model

While it is a trend to create a diverse team in a workplace, I have found that companies are still using a standard performance model across the board to measure their behaviorally diverse teams performance.

Several months ago I started evaluating consulting company’s performance evaluations. With much dismay I have found that most are using a similar model to the one I was critiqued on, 20+ years ago as an accountant.

A recent development in the DNA line is a behavioral driven performance model. There are two aspects to addressing workplace performance The DNA Way. First: is the natural behavior of an individual. This establishes the natural strengths, struggles and development keys of this an employee. The second element is the Workplace Engagement 360 Report. The 360 Report is generated on an evaluation process where the employee first critiques them self on 75 workplace engagement items, the results are then compared to the perception that others have on his or her engagement, through a confidential data collection process.

Ask yourself this: Would you like your performance measured on your own strengths, struggles and development keys or someone elses?

Managers need to realize that some of their employees will be better at sales, networking or better at analytics than others. Understanding your employees natural behavior first, and then comparing it to their yearly progress with a Workplace Engagement 360 Report is the fair, honest and simple way of measuring your teams success and enhancing your business performance.

Confidence Sustains Performance

In all areas of life, people talk about how they can improve and sustain performance. How do we get better results and keep good results regularly coming? This is true for people in their personal lives and careers, businesses, sporting teams and so on.

Foundational to building performance to a high level is knowing your DNA Behavioral style, openly communicating with others and then keeping to a purpose based plan. This is the core DNA Performance Model.

However, the key to sustaining performance is “confidence”. Building performance and starting a “winning streak” is one thing but keeping it going is another. Have you noticed how some people get it together early in their life or career and then lose it later seemingly going into a downward spiral. Some then come back, some do not. Others start slow and then get in the groove and grow. This is also true of businesses and also sporting teams. When you take a look into all of these situations of fluctuating performance the common element is confidence.

When confidence is increasing and is high it can propel you forward further to achieve even better results. However, competency and arrogance can creep in with a failure to remember what got you there. Then a bad event comes or someone does something great out of the blue and you do not know what to do. This can be the start of a loss of confidence, which can build up. At the same time, for another person who has been on a losing streak they string together some wins and successes. Suddenly, they start the climb upwards.

I would encourage all of you to think about what makes you confident and what makes you lose confidence. If you like, we can help you with looking at your confidence attributes.

I would also encourage you to read the book “Confidence” by Rosabeth Moss Kanter. This book uses plenty of great personal, business and sporting stories to show how winning streaks and losing streaks begin and end.

Business Transformation

In recent weeks we have strongly focused our messaging around “business transformation”. In particular, the need to address the client experience that is being provided in order to transform. So often, leaders regularly talk about getting the right people on board, developing the team and the leadership, having the right product, focusing the business plan, improving execution etc. These are all important dimensions; however, they are not all of it.

The key to business transformation is increasing the level of engagement of both your clients and employees. This is regardless of what business you are in or the nature of the service being provided. In 2009, there was some very compelling Gallup Research supporting this approach. This is illustrated by the graph below and the following key points:

(Click Graph to Expand)

When we interview businesses, so many readily admit they know less than 20% about their client. What would happen if they knew more than 50% about their clients? So, from an implementation perspective we believe it is key to know more about your clients. Then deliver a client centered experience by aligning your products and services to the client and then having employees who are client focused. This transformation in the alignment of your clients, employees and products can be achieved through predictive DNA behavioral insights. This is the fundamental purpose of our DNA Behavior Marketing system and Business DNA programs.

Effective Board Behavior

In recent months I have written a few blogs about corporate governance and business risk management. I have expressed the view that many of the corporate problems we have today are related to ineffective board governance. It has been interesting being in Europe for the past 2 weeks where this subject has come up in many discussions with business leaders and in the press. Clearly, the topic of corporate governance is high on the agenda. It needs to be because this is the source of so much corporate damage.

The 2 business problems related to corporate governance getting mentioned the most are executive remuneration and then acquisitions. In both of these areas, executives have allowed their own greed to take over at the expense of the company. This is where the business leaders have really lost sight. The key point then is that the Boards have been too weak to stop them. This gets back to the structure of the board, in particular separation of chairman and CEO/President, majority of non-executives, minimal conflicts of interest and then importantly the right mix of non-executives who have the right behavioral styles to oversee the executives.

Remuneration is a hot topic because it is visible and generally reported in some way by public companies. However, acquisitions are a major issue because of the high potential for destruction. Of course, there are executive remuneration motivations by expanding the company. How many acquisitions really work? Not many and there are plenty of stats to show that. Although, some do. The business integration and financing issues are very difficult. From a governance perspective how much are the boards really looking through these transactions? To what degree has management pushed them through? What is the DNA of the leaders? What is motivating them?

As we move through these turbulent times I hope that more companies will start to look at their board behavior and make changes. This is the first step to true leadership development. Investors also need to look at these issues when making long-term investment decisions.

Fix Corporate Behavior… Fix the Board

I have had some interesting discussions in the past few weeks with business leaders from many different industries and backgrounds in the United States. One of the areas that consistently comes up is poor corporate governance. As mentioned in my last blog most of the economic problems we have right now are due to the behavior of our leaders.

Being direct, alot of leadership behavior is not properly monitored. So, a key step towards fixing the problems we have today would be to change the corporate governance structures in publicly traded companies. In particular, I believe that the roles of Chairman and Chief Executive/President must be separated. You cannot have the Chief Executive of a company also its Chairman. This places far too much power in the hands of one person. Decisions for the company will largely be made by that person ? and while that leader may have many great strengths, he or she may also have alot of blind-spots and biases which will go unchecked. Further, that leader may be tempted to make decisions out of self-interest – whether it be remuneration, selling the company or make any decision which benefits him or her.

You only need to look at the evidence out there to see how many great companies have been destroyed in the last 10 years because there has been a leader who is too dominant and acted out of self interest which has gone unchecked through proper board governance. I do not believe investors should invest in companies who do not have the right corporate governance structure. Having the Chairman and CEO being the same person is very risky and at some point could mean the company is seriously endangered. So, as businesses restructure and investors start looking for good opportunities sound corporate governance should be one of the main factors considered. Taking this point further, the remuneration levels of the CEO’s should be reviewed. Frankly, in many companies they are way out of line compared to the value brought to the table by that person.