Unlocking Value for Entrepreneurs

Month: September 2012

Leading Others for Results

How do you grow as a leader where more of your ‘results’ come through others, rather than the work you do? Specifically, how do you lead people versus supervise or manage. (I framed some of the personal challenges of going from doing the work,to leading others in the post: The Entrepreneurial Journey to Leadership.)

I had the chance to spend a day with Jeff Silverman, who is a leadership coach. Jeff has been the CEO of a national fitness company and a Divisional VP at YUM Brands/Pizza Hut. He also was a consultant at Bain & Co and MBA from Harvard Business School. It was in his 20 years+ of leading, particularly at YUM Brands that he developed a very simple concept called Leading for Results. There is ‘Macro Leadership’ (at an organizational or team level) and Micro Leadership (leading 1-on-1). Here’s the concept of the Micro Leadership:

Motivation + Ability = Capability

In order to lead a person, you first must understand their Motivation and Ability on a per project basis. Knowing this will help you appropriately lead them in a way that best serves them and sets them up for success.

Motivation: Awareness, Desire & Willingness
Ability: Aptitude, Training, Experience & Resources

Once you know these things, you can appropriately lead a person in the way that will get the best results. Here are the different styles of leadership based on a person’s motivation and ability:

What I’ve found is often my default style/desire is to delegate things, but when they didn’t work out I moved into a more directive style. If someone is motivated, there is probably nothing more frustrating then being ‘micro-managed’ with this type of directive style. So with people who have a high motivation, but maybe low ability in an area because of lack of experience, coming alongside in a supportive role works best. Or if someone has the ability but has a low motivation because of awareness, helping facilitate would serve things much better.

As an example of this, Jeff shared a story of knowing that several gym franchisees were getting low scores on the cleanliness. Instead of just telling them the problem, he picked them up in a van and took them to competitors sites, asking them to score their view of how clean the location was. It was easy to spot all the problems. At the end of the day, Jeff took them to their own locations. Quickly they became greatly aware of how messy their gym was without Jeff having to say a thing. Subsequently, each manager took to great lengths to improve the gym in this way. All this happened without Jeff having to say a thing. Jeff said if you were unclear of the person’s motivation and ability, facilitation is always the best place to start. At the end of the day, the goal is for greater clarity and clearer leadership that leads to better results.

I hope this simple but powerful approach is helpful for you.

Peer Coaching, Our Personal Blind Spots and Looking through the Johari Window

I am a believer in the value of peer coaching. I’m grateful to serve on the Board of three non-profit organizations where this is a central part of why they exist. In my experience, I’ve had tremendous growth personally when others know me better and I’m open to learn from them. One tool that describes the value of this process is the Johari Window. Now before you think, “Johari window, is Drew getting all new-age mystical on me?” The Johari window was created by two guys, named Joe & Harry [Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham] to help others better understand their relationship with themselves and others.

The basic premise is this. The more I share of myself and other get to know me, the smaller my blind spots, hidden (or facade) areas and the unknown are. Without these type of open relationships, Leaders are in a dangerous place because so few people have access to these windows. Their own perceptions of how things are become less able to be questioned, because they don’t see their blind spots. The facade or hidden areas become slippery slopes because they are able to live life with impunity to their personal preferences. Further, from my experience, the more we live in a facade, the closer we are to personal insanity. When who we are doesn’t line up with how we show ourselves, it is a dangerous place to be. And the other quadrant, the unknown stays large and unchecked when we don’t lean into these personal growth opportunities. All of us have experienced these pitfalls to one degree or another.

The principle I want to communicate regarding the Johari Window is the value of peers in our life. When we communicate with others, we increase our ‘open’ areas, decreasing the hidden quadrant. This allows us to grow in being vulnerable and authentic, which others through their reciprocation share with us, which decreases our blind spots. We all benefit from a larger open window.

Ready to learn from others? To be iron, sharpening iron?

If you are interested in leading missional movements in your city, I suggest you check out: GCM Collective
If you are a church communicator, look at: Conclave Sessions and the Center for Church Communicators: Local Labs.

Peer Coaching, Group Sharing & the danger of Advice

I’m trying to share a few of the things I’m learning along the way as I seek to grow as a leader. One group I participate in is EO, a peer group of CEO’s/Entrepreneurs who use a protocol called Gestalt to share learning and speak into each other’s business practices & life from a place of their experience versus giving advice. Advice-giving can be dangerous. For example, when I interacted with other church planters, often (in retrospect) I can think of several people I tended to give my advice/opinions more than I ought and it created tension in the relationship. Enter the Gestalt Language Protocol.

To begin, what I want to communicate isn’t so much a promotion of Gestalt (as you can research) which includes forms of psychology and worldviews. Phil Kristianson, an EO Trainer writes about Gestlat:

Gestalt is a German word for form or shape – and in English has come to mean ‘wholeness’. Built upon earlier theories by Hume, Goethe and Kant; gestalt theory emerged in the early 1920’s as a psychological belief system, in contrast to the behaviouralist & structuralistic approaches of the time that sought to explain complex ‘things’ by breaking them down to simple elements. Gestalt focuses on the selforganizing and intuitive mind that perceives wholes from incomplete elements. Gestaltists believe that context is key to perception.

I’ll share the part of Gestalt that I believe is valuable, particularly if you are meeting with other peers, such as Church Planters/Missional Leaders (such as through GCM Collective) or church communicators (Center for Church Communication) and want to discuss, learn and improve your context. While in Gestalt, I’ve found it supports a vulnerability in sharing and a deeper sense of owning the experience of the group collectively. Here’s the benefits of why I think this practice is valuable:

1. The group value of the shared experiences far outweighs the one-directionaly nature of the specificity of advice. If we were going to give a person advice on how to improve the engagement of their volunteers, that person would potentially walk away with a handful of specific tools/tips to try to implement. Instead, if we all shared our experiences of times when they saw volunteers be engaged and really ‘own’ the project they were leading, we all may walk away with aha’s that we could apply to our own context.

2. Advice is arrogant; the implication of advise is that I know what is best for you. It doesn’t build trust in the situation, because the subtle message is I trust myself because I have the answers and understand your context rather than your ability to take these shared experiences and apply them in your context.

3. Advice creates division and hurt feelings. As I said before, advice is dangerous, in that if a person takes it and it doesn’t work they can blame the advisor and if they don’t take it, the one giving advice stands in judgement of them.

Ultimately, these create a place where people withhold sharing because they don’t feel safe in a vulnerable place. What are the advice danger signs? Avoid opinion, “you” statements, future tense and words like “should”, “would” or “could”

So how do you adhere to the Gestalt Protocol?
1. Speak only from experience.
2. Use “I” statements.
3. Speak in Past tense.
4. Use Questions to better understand the problem, not give veiled advice that is leading to problem solving.
5. When sharing experiences, do so for the benefit of everyone. Posture should be group-centered, not toward the own who shared the problem.

This ‘experience’ sharing is helpful in many contexts. I’m not suggesting that it should be used for all conversations, for example if you are speaking about theological definitions. But, when you are doing peer coaching and want to share learnings or if you are stuck, it is a powerful tool.

The Entrepreneurial Journey to Leadership

How do you go from starting a business, church or other organization to transitioning to leading the staff or volunteers looking to you? I believe this is one of the more difficult work transitions people have; from doing the work, to managing others. This requires a paradigm shift. I believe this can be because what we do is wrongly tied to our identity and how we ‘value’ ourselves. I went to a training and wanted to share a concept I learned that goes through the steps that often take place. I’m generalizing, so of course this may not be everyone’s experience.

Often people start out as the Worker. In this role they do 90% technical work and 10% people interaction. If all goes well, soon things are growing and as a Supervisor they take on a person and work alongside them, 75% technical and 25% people interaction. The next phase is manager, where with a bigger team the Manager requires 50% technical skill and 50% people. This is where the barrier to moving from Manager to Leader emerges in the form of the drama triangle. Why? Managers and below find half or more of their energy being defined by what they do (technical) rather than their people leadership. Moving into the Leader role is a significant leap, one where 90% of your time is with people and 10% is on technical things. (see triangle with percentages of technical/people skills here.)

The Drama Triangle evolves when a person struggles to move from Manager to Leader. As they struggle with not ‘doing the work’ they take on a role of Hero or Village. The Hero often withholds information or put people in positions to ‘save them’ when they provide this info or do the work. On the flip side, the Villain plays a ‘Devil’s Advocate’ role or uses seagull management to fly by and do their business on others work. Both of these put the people that work for them in the role of Victim.

Where do you go from here? As a Leader you should be the holder of the vision and guider of the group dynamics as you pursue a common purpose. The Leader should shift from Hero to Coach that has no illusion that they can save anyone. The Villain role changes to one of Challenger that suspends judgement (a Villain often is motivated by being right and/or looks for someone to blame ie the Victim). And finally, the Victim needs to take ownership and recognize when they blame others, they give away their power.

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