Tag: entrepreneur

Set Boundaries – Not Bars

July 27th, 2016   •   no comments   

We have lived through the age of process improvement as Nirvana.  We have discovered that checklists are great but they are not the whole answer.  Efficiency and productivity are very important, but not  to the point where they totally stifle innovation and the individual desire to search for ways to do things differently because they are better, not just different.

July_27_2016_prisonA culture is not- or at least should not be – a cage. It should be a set of values with behaviors attached to them, that create space for employees to do what they do best, feel good about what they are doing and to develop their skills and abilities so that they can continue to improve themselves and add value to the company. Cultures do have boundaries, as does any larger culture within which we may reside.  But employees need room to make decisions, to experiment, to try out new ideas in the right places in the right way and at the right time.  If those opportunities are built into the culture, then employees will have an allowed way to stretch themselves, to bring new ideas out that can help the company in ways that are beneficial.

July27_2016_ boundariesNobody wants to feel as if they are just checking boxes. It might be easy, but it is not fulfilling. People do want to make a difference. A culture should give everyone room to be a hero in some way.  Has your company put up obstacles to this type of success? If so, how can you remove them and still remain productive and efficient?

Change Happens – Will You Build Walls or Windmills?

August 6th, 2014   •   no comments   

Aug4_2014_change_walls_windmills

Whether one likes it or not, change happens. The change itself is not good or bad, in reality it’s quite neutral.  It becomes good or bad based on these two major factors – resistance or engagement. Interestingly enough, experience and research seems to bear out that more walls are built by individuals and organizations around change than windmills.With the economic and social climates in constant flux there is a feeling of instability which causes strong actions and emotions.

Walls are built because…

  • The business structure is so fixed and elaborate that it becomes a maze to work around and through. Impacting change and making suggestions has to go through so many hoops that people become frustrated at every turn and decide it’s easier, and safer, to do what has been dictated by performance and job standards.  As a result, rather than attempt change and challenge, they will continue on a path that doesn’t make sense but keeps them employed or in business.
  • The vision, mission and values have become buried under the two “B‘s” – bureaucracy and baloney.  The culture has become inundated with agendas, rumors,  intimidation and rhetoric. Consider the recent layoff from Microsoft as published in the article published in New York News and Politics,Microsoft Just Laid Off Thousands of Employees With a Hilariously Bad Memo .  This change not only affected the employees that were laid off, but also built walls of resistance not just for the current employees, but for future employees and the world-at-large’s perception of how Microsoft will deal with change.
  • The market niche’ fits perfectly.  Stay small and safe. Keep delivering the same reliable, tested product and service over and over again and business will hum along at a predictable pace. In the meantime,  competitors streak past.

Windmills are built because…

  • There is flexibility built into the culture so that new ideas, innovation and creativity are continually generated, acknowledged and tested. Chief Change Officer is the new coveted title.
  • As a fundamental core values of the business, change is not just given lip service. From the boardroom to the basement, clear actions and behaviors are defined and described for all to appreciate and embrace.
  • Change is viewed as an opportunity.  In 2013, The Guardian published, Campbell Soup CEO: “You can lead the change or be victim of change.’   Denise Morrison, CEO since 2011 realized that change was a leading factor in sustainability and embraces change to set Campbell apart as a “tastemaster” not a “trendsetter.

Change Happens

Change happens as sure as the sun rises and sets.  As 720thinkers, we prefer to build windmills. How about you, will you built walls or windmills?

 

A Juggling Act- To Lead and Manage

May 15th, 2014   •   no comments   

Business requires a lot of juggling- juggling thoughts, time, people, resources, ideas, dollars… All this juggling can make anyMay_13_2014jugglinglotsone crazy.  In business, the owner, the executive, the solopreneur are generally the individuals with the most balls in the air. In fact, the very reason certain people are in charge is because they don’t just survive, they thrive on chaos and complexity.

How do they do it?  How do they not only maintain control but move forward?

People get so wrapped up in the blur and excitement of being in overdrive that they can never gain clarity. Decision making becomes a nightmare and yet they continue to add to the pandemonium, putting more balls in the air, instead of truly focusing on the business at hand.

Leaders need to develop an understanding of what it means to to lead and to manage at the same time.  Leadership generates strategy and planning which can be messy and mind-blowing. Management involves tactics, attention to detail and task-lists which are exacting and sometimes mind-numbing. They involve two separate mindsets, two different sets of skills.  Those in the position of having responsibilities for both are juggling two different roles, needing to be successful at both.  Keeping in mind, people are effective and things (machines, dollars, etc)  are efficient.

In a recent interview, I asked a middle manager how well they believed their international, Fortune 1000 company shared their vision and plan.  His response, “I’m not sure what the vision is any more. One minute it’s customer service, the next it’s profitability, the next it’s whatever flavor of the day, not the week, crops up.”

I next asked him what his company’s tagline was.  “I couldn’t really tell you that either.  I used to know it, but I don’t talk to marketing much. My vice president is busy maneuvering to be sure we have the resources we need.  He’s a great guy but, honestly, that’s why I never wanted to move up. I can’t be that political, I just want to do a great job,  provide a great service, hit my financial targets and unfortunately, that leaves me little time to help my company grow.”

Quite a sad testimonial, wouldn’t you say? It is simpler to focus on one aspect or the other. But it is almost impossible to create a situation where that luxury exists. There are business owners who seek to just lead, who delegate all managing to others. A few may succeed at this. But most lose touch with the business, its culture, and ultimately wake up to a business they don’t recognize or to a dire situation.

May13_2014_two ballsTo be truly successful, we will need to juggle by learning to lead and manage at the same time.

Please note this picture. It’s  is so much clearer.  Only two balls to juggle.

When the executive, owner, boss  focuses on leadership and guides, coaches, facilitates and mentors; as well as manages and controls tangible things  life will become much more positive and business would be much more successful.

As 720thinkers, we are continually striving to gain fresh ideas and insights to provide the best plans, strategies, tools and tactics possible to help people lead and manage at extraordinary levels.  We support:

  • cultures becoming  greenhouses for creativity and innovation
  • decision making to have high impact and relevant
  • communication to be open and collaborative
  • teams to be engaged and motivated

We would like to hear from you regarding your thoughts on how to master this juggling act – to lead and to manage.

 

 

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