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The Peloton Principal (#72)

I am a huge fan of my Peloton Cycle bike and have been incredibly impressed at the company’s amazing growth over the past few years. They came out of nowhere to dominate a brand-new market with sales estimated at $200M this year. The Co-founder and CEO of Pelton Cycle, John Foley, attributes the company’s success to its two core philosophies, which he outlines in this short video.

The word “peloton” comes from road bicycle racing and is derived from the French word “ball.” As many of us have seen when watching the Tour de France, the peloton is the group of riders who ride/partner together in a formation.

In this formation, riders who are positioned up front allow for those riders in the middle of the formation to “draft,” thus reducing their drag (effort) by as much as 40 percent. The peloton rotates throughout the journey, giving everyone in the group the opportunity to take turns pushing and resting. This concept is actually modeled after the formation of a flock of birds who fly in the same way.

The peloton is a successful strategy as it allows each team member to perform at their best while also efficiently conserving energy. Teams also often use this strategy to help support and protect the rider who has the strongest chance of winning the race.

The concept of a peloton is also an instructive metaphor for those times in our personal and professional lives where we need to step up to the front and take the headwind for others, allowing them to catch up and perform better over the long haul.

Yet, just like it wouldn’t be a good use of a rider’s energy to be at the head of the pack for an entire ride, it also doesn’t work for us to always be at the front. What’s needed is self-awareness for when we need to fall back, regain our energy, and let others take the lead.

As their core philosophies reflect, Peloton Cycle’s success has come by making steady progress each day. This serves as a good reminder that achieving success and reaching our goals requires that we continue moving forward while also being mindful about how we’re performing along the way and being aware when we need to step forward or drop back.

Quote of the Week

“Decide how badly you want it; proceed accordingly.”

Robin Arzón, Vice President of Fitness Programming and Head Instructor at Peloton Cycle

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Acting on Feedback (#70)

Giving and taking feedback is a popular topic these days. Companies are going to great lengths to solicit more feedback from employees and customers – especially those regularly turning to social media.

In my many discussions with high-achieving individuals and companies, one thing that consistently sets them apart is their willingness to not only receive candid feedback, but to then act on it.

Acting on feedback is harder than it seems. It means that we need to first accept what people are telling us about how we can improve and overcome our inherent cognitive dissonance. It also means admitting that we don’t always have the best ideas and be comfortable giving credit to others. These are hallmark signs of a great leader. Individuals who want to do and be better don’t care where the best ideas or suggestions come from.

Here are two examples of CEO’s who have recently accepted and acted upon customer feedback:

If you want to be an effective leader, it’s vital that you demonstrate a willingness to act on feedback. Doing so conveys that you are approachable, solution-oriented, and are looking for the best ideas—regardless of where they came from and irrespective of credit.

When people see and experience this positive feedback loop, they will be even more open and honest with you or your company; it’s that open, honest communication that leads to major breakthroughs within an organization, and it costs you nothing.

To do for next week: Act on someone else’s suggestion, let them know, and see what happens.

Quote of The Week

“I think it’s very important to have a feedback loop, where you’re constantly thinking about what you’ve done and how you could be doing it better. I think that’s the single best piece of advice: constantly think about how you could be doing things better and questioning yourself.”

Elon Musk

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Showing Some Love (#67)

It’s hard to turn on the news these days. Between partisan politics, random acts of violence, and company scandals, we’re inundated with stories about people and businesses treating each other poorly.

Nowhere was this more evident than when United Airlines visibly dragged a passenger off an airplane this week because he refused to be bumped from an overbooked flight. The man was a doctor and had surgeries scheduled for the next morning. Apparently, United couldn’t get anyone to accept their final offer to give up their seat, so front-line employees decided it would be better to resort to brute force and physically remove a paying passenger from the plane.

Companies spend millions of dollars a year on advertising to attract customers, yet, when they have the chance to embrace relationships with their current customers, they repeatedly fail.

Contrast the actions of these United employees with those of Southwest Airlines. In 2015, they forever changed the lives of Peggy Uhle and her son. Peggy’s Southwest flight from Raleigh-Durham to Chicago was getting ready to take off when the pilot suddenly turned around and headed back to the gate. Peggy was asked to get off the plane, which led her to assume that she had boarded the wrong flight. What she discovered, however, was that her son had been in a terrible accident in Denver and was in a coma.

Not only had the gate attendant re-booked her on the next direct flight to Denver, Southwest employees offered her a private waiting area, rerouted her luggage, let her board first, and gave her a boxed lunch when she got off the plane. They also delivered her luggage to where she was staying, never asked for payment, and an employee even called to ask how her son was doing.

While the press and goodwill Southwest Airlines received from this incident was significant, it was not the driving force behind their actions. The employees were simply demonstrating Southwest’s core purpose to “Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, low-cost air travel.”

These values empowered key stakeholders (the employees) to do what was right for the customer, without question or hesitation. Contrast this with United who, very generically, aspires to be the “airline of choice.” In fact, the only other reference to core values I could find online was a very legally worded “code of ethics and conduct overview

There are a few key takeaways from these contrasting stories. The first is that the culture and values we create in our business and homes will lead to specific behaviors by our employees and family – for better or for worse. Therefore, it’s imperative that we be very clear and explicit about what we stand for in terms of each.

The other major lesson is that we need to focus more on seeing people as human beings, not simply as a client, partner, or competitor. If we treat them with respect and/or help them selflessly in a time of need, we will create more positive outcomes all around. United employees decided it was better to drag a passenger off a plane than to up their $800 offer and own their mistake. Southwest just decided to do the right thing. Karma took care of the rest.

Quote of The Week

“A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.”

Herb Kelleher (founder of Southwest)

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Management Principle: True Leaders

What are the beliefs and the behaviors of true leaders? With so many people articulating different views, it’s hard to decipher a universal model upon which everyone would agree.

Some people believe in the “end-justifies-the-means” approach suggested by the likes of Niccolo Machiavelli, author of “The Prince,” while others relate to the more servant-leader approach articulated by Jim Collins’ in his book, “Good to Great.” We could easily move to a debate about what’s ethical versus effective, and totally miss the fact that all leaders work with human beings who possess the facilities of mind, will and emotions, rather than the hoped-for robots that respond to commands with precise execution and blind obedience.

The bottom line is this: those leaders who focus on winning the active support of those they lead, utilizing wholesome influence skills, historically have better results than those who use the coercive, stern discipline approach, supported by shame and humiliation, to get people to act. Anyone I know, if asked to choose between William Wallace and Adolph Hitler to be their leader, would align with William Wallace based on his ability to lead from the front and inspire his people, and, whose dedication and love for his men were clearly known and demonstrated. So what guidance does this provide for us in our quest to become true leaders?

True and good leaders are those who have the ability and energy to sacrifice for a cause greater than themselves, while focusing on the welfare of those under their charge, leaving their own personal concerns and desires for last. This choice and lifestyle is professional behavior, and not something one arrives at easily–anything less than this is something other than true leadership. If our motive for becoming a leader is rooted in a desire for power and/or money (cast as “career growth”), we will likely harm our people and the overall cause, doing ourselves no good in the end. The proper motivation for leadership is rooted in the discipline of service. And, while we may fool ourselves regarding our true motives and desires, they will be crystal clear to everyone else.

Here is a good prescription to follow, to make sure we are walking down the right path.

1- Do justice. Do right by the company and its clients, as well as your staff. When there are tensions between any of these constituencies, ask yourself the question: What creates a fair, win-win for all concerned? Don’t be satisfied with anything less. If someone is misbehaving in some way, violating the principle of justice, move toward them in a spirit of wholesome conflict and stand strong. Follow the principles of justice and fairness.True Leaders

2- Love mercy. The way to get people to act as a volunteers, and serve with a whole heart, is to adopt a development mindset and avoid being accusational or judgmental. Being judgmental harms people, regardless of your intention. Most people are eager to learn when given a true opportunity in a safe environment. Just because someone can’t read your mind doesn’t mean they are intentionally trying to make your life hard.

3- Walk humbly. The egotistical leader is a total turnoff to almost all followers. For those who embrace the narcissistic model, people will bemoan their leadership. Don’t assume that you are exempt from this pitfall. We can’t see pride in the mirror. If you’ve made it about you (put yourself in the center) and fail to truly serve your people with whatever degree of power you have, you’ll never have the respect and therefore the sacrificial volunteerism of your people. If you make it about them, versus making it about you, they’ll follow you forever.

Coaching questions: Where might you need to grow in your own motivations and therefore in your leadership skill? Who can help you to manage that growth and provide accountabilities for your success? Write your answers in your journal.

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

???Off the Court

Being an avid sports fan for many years, I have recently become even more intrigued with the inner game that allows successful sports icons and teams continue their winning ways. There is much to be learned through the amazing parallels between the sports and business world.

I have been a fan(before Facebook!) of Roger Federer since I first saw him in his big break-through year at Wimbledon in 2003.? He has had an historic career and I am always fascinated by how he manages both the external and internal game of tennis.

A recent Wall Street Journal article, Federers Best Shot, discussed some of his secrets to success.? As I read this article, one overall theme stood out: Rogers ability to know himself.? His personal trainer describes Roger as a rare combination of creative and disciplined.? Roger is a champ because hes the boss of his talent. This is a core strategy for anyone in sports or in business.? You absolutely must know how to focus on your strengths and manage your struggles.? It will require you to surround yourself with a good team, both on the personal and business side of life.

So, how does Roger manage to rarely get hurt, tired or grumpy?? And, what can we learn from his game of tennis?

Think long-term, dont overplay
RF:? I tried to look at the long-term.? I didnt want to chase everything possible in the short term.? He made a conscious decision early on in his career to plan his attack on time:? to not just be great but to do it longer than anyone else has done it.

Business Translation: Your DNA Behavior will show you if you tend to make everything a priority or if you are more patient in your approach.? Valuable information to know!? How many of us try to accomplish everything at once?? Or, get as many clients as possible?? You dont need it all right now.? Just do what is next to be done in your overall strategy.

No sports superstitions
RF: I dont care if I practice at 9 in the morning or 10 p.m.? Roger has always been flexible.? He knows what he has to accomplish and can fit it in his schedule as needed.

DNA Business Performance, advisor business performance, know your client, predict client behavior, behavioral finance

Business Translation:? So, maybe you dont have any superstitions, but what about the old tapes that may be playing in your head about what it takes to be successful? Checking on your DNA Behavior will show you how much structure you need. Is it too little or is it taking over your life?? Be creative and try operating outside of your comfort zone.? You only need to vary your routine a little to get different results.

Pay attention to your body
RF:? Im able to say, it doesnt hurt me today, but it could hurt me tomorrow. Roger has only retired from a match once in his life.? He knows when he can play through it and when he cant.

Business Translation:? If you are fatigued physically or mentally, let your body be your guide and take some time off.? Not to get out of work, but to come back stronger.? Make sure you allocate time for proactively taking care of you.? Walk, run, exercise at the gym, take a yoga class; there are endless possibilities and it will strengthen both the inner and outer body.

Travel can be fun ? enjoy it
RF:? The tour is not supposed to be brutal and annoying.? Some players come to see globetrotting as soul crushing but Roger has a love for travel and soaks up the local culture with his wife and children.

Business Translation:? We all have a part of our job that is routine, the process to the end result (e.g., getting a new client).? Do we find a way to enjoy it or does it become a necessary evil that drains our energy? Knowing your strengths in your DNA Behavior will allow you to structure your day so that you are operating from that place 80% of the time.? Or, minimally, you will be able to reframe your mindset to gain more energy to do the necessary tasks with more positive energy.

Take two- to four- week training periods for:
RF:

  1. Rest and recovery
  2. Strength and endurance (not tennis-related)
  3. Tennis exercise like court footwork (but with medicine balls, not rackets and balls)
  4. Tennis practice

When Roger had lingering back pain, he put extra emphasis on his abdominal muscles.? After two years, the strategy is finally paying off.

Business Translation:? There was a popular phrase, Work Hard and Play Hard. But lately, that phrase has gotten lost in the 10 to 12 hour workday and shortened to just Work Hard. What rest and relaxation do we allow ourselves?? Is it just the standard vacation time?? Could there be parts of a day where you relax and read?? Or, do you consider that to be non-productive?? Your Business DNA will help you discover whether balance is part of your natural game or if you need to be more aware of your tendency to overwork with no recovery time.? And, keep in mind that your change in strategy can take a few years before it really pays off.

Finally, the attitude with which Roger Federer approaches both practice and the game is the ultimate lesson for us all.? His personal trainer says, He still trains with the enthusiasm of a junior.? Sometimes I think, damn it, hes doing these exercises now 2,756 times, but he does it as if it was the first time.? Roger still has the energy of a 23-year-old.? Hes relentlessly optimistic.

Business Translation:? Are you approaching each day with an open attitude that there is still a lot to learn about you and your game of business?? Get your own personal performance index now, click here.

For additional information on increasing engagement of others, visit our DNA Behavior Website.

Contact us for additional information: inquiries@dnabehavior.com

Engaging Your Employees

Mary Lorenz of? CareerBuilder.com recently published an article focusing on management of employees, “How not to motivate employees: 10 management habits to break now“.

The ten habits that are pointed out in the article are great and include – Don’t assume people understand your reasoning behind decisions; Don’t forget that praise is about them, not you; and, Don’t speak negatively about other team members, their peers or senior management and leaders.

It is important to remember that everybody wants to be recognized for their strengths and in an environment where they can use them. This means leaders need to manage people based on their unique strengths. Further, they need to be emotionally engaged with communication customized to who they are. In the end this will build confidence which is the key to performance and realizing human potential.

Click here to read the article.

What are your thoughts?