It’s early in the baseball season and hopes are running high. The Red Sox have a lot of great talent on the team. There should be a lot of wins this year. What can the Sox teach us about winning?
I hear what you’re saying. We’re not the Red Sox. Sports teams aren’t like most organizations… or are they? Talent is everything for them, right? But how many times have we seen teams spend big money on great talent only to have a dismal season because of bad morale, poor coaching, or unexpected changes drive them off course?
A few weeks ago, Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated, wrote about how the Red Sox have ‘Culture Culture’ meetings during spring training. The article reinforces what we believe. A winning culture doesn’t just happen. Being intentional and sweating the small stuff – the right small stuff – is what creates it.
Building a great team starts with being intentional about hiring great talent but it doesn’t stop there. Without the right culture, even great talent will underperform much of the time.
The talent in the majors is of course the best baseball talent around. They all have spring training to get ready for the season. Think of it as onboarding. All teams work on the fundamentals during spring training but the Sox and some other teams, intentionally focus on culture – and the details that build it. For example, the idea of each person contributing to the team is paramount to Red Sox culture. So, in spring training when reviewing game films, they don’t just call out the highlight reel moments. They call out moments like running out a play to make it to first or an at bat that sets up the next batter to drive in a crucial run. They’ve taken the concept of team and defined the behaviors that represent it. Has your organization done the same?
They also make culture building a habit. They’ve created a short-hand language that allows them to talk about the successes and failures on the field in real-time. Everyone on the team knows what a right-handed fist pump means vs a left-handed one. What key words or phrases are you using as “short-hand”? Is using them a habit? What other culture building habits do you have?
In winning cultures, everyone has the opportunity to reach their potential. The Red Sox have one of the youngest teams in baseball. Back in the day, young ball players
When it’s the wrong type of loyalty.
We’ve talked in the past about the importance of building trust in leading change efforts. Change creates discomfort and disruption to the way people do things and how they interact with others – sometimes in profound ways. In short, it puts a strain on relationships, and therefore, on loyalty. And what does a leader under pressure to manage a significant change often do, almost reflexively? They try to leverage the loyalty of others.
There’s good news and bad news in this. Here’s the good news. The right kind of loyalty provides a solid foundation for the trust and leadership people are looking for from others during challenging situations. It makes it easier for a leader to convey the value of the change and enlist others in making it happen.
The bad news? It’s all too easy to misunderstand the nature of loyalty or to disregard the consequences of “fake loyalty.” You risk building a house of cards that falls apart under the high stakes and duress that change often brings.
You want to build the kind of solid relationships that allow you and your management team to build long-term change agility into your organization’s DNA. You want to avoid:
- Blind loyalty. This is based on the premise that an idea or argument is right simply because it comes from someone who is in a position of leadership or iinfluence. But great ideas come from robust conversation and differing perspectives. Blind loyalty doesn’t question. And blind loyalists simply execute the plan. Don’t count on them to take a lot of initiative to uncover or find solutions to problems that inevitably pop up.
- Forced loyalty. If someone is demanding loyalty, it is given out of compliance and fear. Forced loyalty may look like engagement to an outsider but it’s not. Underneath the surface is resentment and anxiety.
- Favor-seeking loyalty. This individual laughs at even your worst jokes and is often way too eager to support your ideas – even the ones you’re not too sure of yourself. It isn’t about the team or the larger vision. It’s about being rewarded for being a favorite. This type of loyalty is toxic to the team. People recognize what’s happening. It often creates distrust, jealousy and behaviors that undermine rather than elevate.
- Conflict-avoidant loyalty. Some people go along to get along. They always do what’s asked (i.e., they’re loyal) because even modest amounts of conflict make them very uncomfortable.
When you are a leader implementing change, ask yourself: how do I create buy-in and enhance loyalty? Have you and the organization helped people move through the change curve or have you tried to go from awareness to commitment in one giant step? We work with leaders every day to create loyalty and move people through the change curve. Read about one of our client’s results.
We’re pleased to announce that Factor In Talent is now
Just as we’ve helped clients evolve and even, transform their business we’re evolving, too. Our new name represents our next chapter.
What’s in a name?
Why did we name it NextBridge?
We believe that growth is imperative, change is constant and talent executes strategy. Over the past 18 years, we’ve always focused on more than just the current challenge. In addition to today’s needs we help you to think and prepare for what’s next. Our partnerships with clients create bridges between ideas and performance; between strategy and results; between today and the future through pragmatic solutions, in real time. We thought it was time that our name better reflect our values and the value we bring to our clients.
What can you expect from NextBridge Consulting?
What’s changing? What’s staying the same?
The value that we’ve always provided – strategic design, pragmatic planning and collaborative execution – is not changing. We’re continuing to focus on our core consulting services for innovation sector clients experiencing rapid change.
What’s new besides our name?
- We’re providing a more complete suite of services and next generation thinking on the strategies, processes and tools that have proven so successful for our clients over the past 18 years. Our solutions will continue to be tailored to our clients’ needs and will leverage proven tools and expertise. Find out more about our suite of services at www.NextBridgeConsulting.com
- We are also re-emphasizing the deep change agility expertise we bring to our engagements. People often talk about change management. We like to think of it differently. It’s not just about managing change but about creating a culture where thinking about how to initiate and implement successful change is second nature. It’s a difference between adapting to change and developing the skills to be great at using change as an asset, a way to excel, the way to stay ahead of the curve and perform well in the marketplace.
- Finally, we’re introducing Jim Harvey, NextBridge’s partner for product and business development. He brings deep professional and senior management experience across multiple industries, from tech-start ups to large global firms. He has been Senior Director of Learning and Development at PNC Bank and Head of Talent Development for a global business unit of BNYMellon.
Jim has extensive background as a talent development leader and innovator. He’s developed multiple groundbreaking programs at all levels including high potential and executive development programs that utilized action learning, virtual learning communities and web-based approaches to development. He has a passion for developing innovative products and services, where the focus is on integrating talent development into the actual work people do
Our website has been redesigned to reflect our new brand, latest thinking and updated offerings. Check it out at www.NextBridgeConsulting.com.
We’ll be reaching out again soon to bring you updates how we can help you, on our thinking, our offerings and our own growth. In the meantime, follow me on twitter @eonderickharvey or, if we’re not already, connect with me on LinkedIn.
The events of the past few months have put bias or potential bias front and center in the American consciousness. In its extreme, bias becomes an -ism. Absolutism. Sexism. Racism. Agism. Name your -ism. These extremes can lead to discrimination, fear and, at times, tragedy. We have seen this with our own eyes too many times.
Before we say, I’m not a biased person, stop. The truth is we all have biases. It’s part of being human. They can be biases we are conscious of or biases that are subconscious. We aren’t really aware of them until someone points it out.
For most of us, most of our biases never rise to a level of -ism. Still, they impact our perceptions and decision-making. You may have a bias for action. What impact does that create? You are probably great at getting things done. However, does that bias also cause you, at times, to not spend enough time planning and then you or someone else ends up having to do a lot of rework? Or maybe, you have a bias for only hiring people who have a certain degree from a certain school. That bias is probably the result of having very positive experiences with people you hired with that profile. However, could it also be causing you to miss out on some other great hires? Do you have a bias for experience when listening to ideas or suggestions from others? Rightly so, wisdom can come with experience. However, those who are new to the situation see it with fresh eyes and their insights can be just what you need to hear.
Bias in the extreme is an ugly part of our human existence. However, its more benign forms impact us every day.
I woke up the other morning and the calendar said it was December. December!
How can it already by the end of the year? This realization made me think about the goals I had set at the beginning of the year and where I stood against those goals. I asked myself, ‘How can I take my performance to the next level?” At this time of year, especially in companies that have end-year check-ins as part of their performance management process, you and your people may have this same question.
What do I need to do to get to the next level?
When our people ask this question, they are usually looking for us to help them navigate the performance of career development waters and give them the answer for where they should be taking their performance or career. When asked this question, use the GOAL Development Conversation Framework to guide the conversation.
First, determine the individual’s Goals. Review where the individual is in his or her current role. Are they ready for a move? What are the individual’s personal and career goals?
Second, gain the individual’s Observations on what he or she does well, areas of interest and development needs. Ask for examples.
Third, add your Assessment and the assessment of others, if you know them for a fact. If your team member is interested in moving to another role, what skills and competencies does someone need to be successful in that role? How does this person compare to that profile right now? What do they need to develop? How does it align (or not align) with their interests?
Finally, create a Learning plan. What more do you or your team member need to learn about the role in which he or she is interested? What skills or competencies do they need to develop? How do they need to better showcase strengths?
As we move toward Thanksgiving, my thoughts are turning to gratitude. I question whether we show enough of it in the workplace. We often think that because someone is ‘doing his job’ he doesn’t need or want to know that we appreciate the value he is providing, the results achieved, or the extra effort given. That’s not to say that we should be showing appreciation or praise for everything someone does. Work is not an 8 year old’s soccer team where “everyone is a winner.” However, a simple thank you can garner immense returns.
Think about the last time someone gave you a genuine thank you or compliment on your work when you were not expecting or asking for it. How did you feel? What did it do to your relationship with that person? If you had two competing demands from the person who said “thank you” and someone else, who were you more likely to move to the top of you list (assuming that all things are equal, like the other person is not your boss or the CEO or someone else who trumps everyone else)?
Effective leaders recognize the contributions others make. They recognize that others achieve the results for which the leader may receive credit. They know that without others they are unable to achieve many goals.
Let me publicly thank a few people who have supported my success this year:
* Thank you to my assistant Diane who has helped me make order out of chaos, helped me put process in place and given me the time to focus on those areas where I add value to my clients.
*Thank you to my husband and family who, even when I doubt myself, have no doubt in the value of the work that I do.
* Thank you to my clients who put the trust in me to help them achieve their goals and to move performance forward in their organizations.
* Thank you to all of you who have so generously let me know that you find value in the words I put on this page every week and that you appreciate finding it in your email.