If you want to achieve greater results, you need to challenge your perspective.
When was the last time you heard, “Common sense isn’t so common anymore”? It probably wasn’t long ago. Was it you that said it? It’s a favorite quip of those in management. Oddly enough, when you are in a position of leadership the most common temptation is to follow the status quo by maintaining practices and platitudes regardless of their effectiveness.
Asking the right questions as a leader
While leadership may question what their employees are doing at times, the same is true in the reverse. Those further down the ladder may fall prey to following poor examples of work ethic and quality. Conversely, those in leadership are sheep of a higher standing, doing things as they have always been done. The question we should be asking at any level is, “It may be common, but is it successful?”
Challenging your perspective as a leader
In a recent interview with Joe Rogan, Firas Zahabi (see video link below) shares his insights on fighting the standard perspective of working out. Zahabi believes that by focusing on consistency rather than intensity, athletes and health conscious individuals can produce better long term. Firas asks the question, what if your work out could energize you rather than exhaust you? It seems like a wild idea but he reviews several examples of positive results including his own journey as an athlete and trainer.
Firas Zahabi interview with Joe Rogan
Firas Zahabi's accomplishments as a leader
As a mixed martial arts (MMA) grappling coach, Firas Zahabi is know for his work as the leader of the TriStar Gym in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Perhaps his most well known student is also one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time, George Saint Pierre also know as GSP. According to MMA Fighting GSP’s accomplishments as a fighter place him firmly in the discussion as one of the greatest fighters of all time (GOAT),
“St-Pierre is currently the consensus best welterweight in history, sporting a 25-2 record in the division and having avenged both of his career losses. He currently holds the record for most title bouts (15) and is tied for the record of most wins in UFC history (20). He is also one of only four men to win belts in two separate weight classes.”
Refusing to follow along with the status quo
Zahabi found professionals who were achieving high results by approaching their profession more strategically then their competition. He talks about the importance of having fun while training and redefining what it means to go hard. Firas continues to enjoy what he does and has worked with some of the most successful practitioners in his field. If you invest the twenty minutes in listening to what this coach has to say you may find some inspiration for your personal workouts as well as some nuggets that will help you professionally as well.
Having fun while grinding is key to success
If you are having fun while you train than you will want to train more. By creating an atmosphere that is structured but loose, a mundane and grueling part of training can become something that adds energy rather than drains it. Author and CEO coach Lex Sisney reminds us to understand from the basic laws of physics that we have a finite amount of energy both as individuals and organizations. It is to our advantage to find ways to maximize this energy rather than deplete it. Those in positions of leadership should seek means to develop an atmosphere that brings energy to the team.
Working your grind rather than being ground out
In the MMA world it is seen as a badge of honor to train hard, Firas challenges the thought process and definition of training hard. Emphasizing that intensity is not the key but consistency. We know it is wise to work smarter not harder and yet we often chose to apply this principle in reverse. Zahabi advocates for maintaining 100% effort while thinking through the approach to the distribution of the work load consistently and strategically over time. If an athlete can get more out of their training using these methods in high intensity sports, perhaps organizations can learn from this approach to maximize their output in highly competitive industries.
Playing it safe is not a recipe for success
Firas Zahabi’s approach is definitely different than most in his sport and he discusses that. It would be much safer for him to take the same approach and yet had he done so we may not have witnessed the greatness of a fighter like George Saint Pierre. We think that the safest thing to do is not to take risks. In competitive markets from pro sports to the industry that you are in, playing it safe feels much safer than rocking the boat. You may not be a huge success but you also won’t be the nail that sticks out the furthest when the hammer comes down from higher up. When we fail to ask the why, we live without purpose. When we fail to take measured risks, we lead without conviction.
Business leaders need to clarify their values to enable their teams to achieve success.
While there are many things that make Gordon Ramsey unique and successful, his keys to helping businesses succeed have a few key principles.
Gordon Ramsey is back in the saddle, taking nightmare kitchens and working his magic to help them down the road to success. This newest version is called 24 Hours to Hell and Back, Wednesday nights at 9 PM on FOX. They say cleanliness is next to godliness, but many people don’t care about godliness anymore so cleanliness must be rapidly approaching the top spot. It is not coincidence that the first principle of success, and antithetically to failure, is that of the simple commitment to cleanliness.
If you have rats in your kitchen, you may have given up.
How much skill and effort does it take to keep rats, cockroaches, ants and other rodents out of a commercial kitchen? While there may be a cute Disney movie about the potential skills of certain rodents, the restrauntuers that Gordon works with have not discovered Remy. “Disgusting.” In episode 1 of 24 Hours to Hell and Back, the kitchen staff are caught on tape cracking jokes about the rats running through the kitchen. Success, like cleanliness, requires elbow grease. You have to be willing to see what is wrong and consistently work to keep the commitment to a sanitary kitchen on lock.
If your cold storage is full of rotten meat, you may have given up.
Whomever does the scouting for the businesses for Chef Ramsey to transform must make the walk-in one of their first stops. Prior to this undercover version, Gordon would arrive at a restaurant and order nearly everything on the menu. It was surprising how many business owners didn’t shut down their own operation and just start clearing out their gross cold-storage. Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the disgusting kitchen is just how many people are oblivious of these conditions or that it’s a problem.
If your team doesn’t follow basic sanitary principles, you may have given up.
If you are new to the Gordon Ramsey Kitchen Nightmare scenario, you will soon learn that no one is safe from Gordon’s ire. As he burrows into the issues he demonstrates a skill for sniffing out the issues that are often obvious but that those in a position of leadership have been unwilling to address. Regardless of the pile up, Chef Ramsey will get around to the owner and remind them that if this transformation is going to last they have to get their will and their skill back into their business. The culture and results of the restaurant are measures of the applied influence of the owner. When the owner has given up that standard filters through all operations.
There is a great video of a speech by Navy Seal Admiral William McRaven who remarks, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” He elaborates that by making your bed every day you build discipline while starting your day off with a simple accomplishment to set the tone. Build your pursuit of success one habit at a time. Growth is often the result of several small steps rather than giant leaps.
Similarly, Gordon Ramsey brings a giant spotlight into failing businesses and points to aspects such as cleanliness that should be very obvious. Whether your train has fallen off the rails and you need to right your course or you building your team towards the goal of consistently making progress, the simple discipline of cleanliness should not be lost. These principles are keys for leading yourself as well as leading others and building teams.
IZ Ventures - more than business coaching and consulting, we help you connect, collaborate and conquer.
If an organization wants to be able to expect consistent results their managing must be consistent with their messaging.
In a recent research project reviewing organization psychology studies as they specifically applied to criminal justice, I was pleasantly surprised to find applications to my work experience. These multi discipline studies held many important observations relevant to any organization with regards to the impacts of supervisory interactions. Managerial input, supervisory qualities and team performance are key components impacting the health of the organization. What can we learn from these studies that helps our efforts as supervisors?
In a study published with the Journal of Organizational Behavior, the authors observe how managers can have a positive impact on employees working in what are considered dirty work industries. For those, like myself, working in water damage mitigation, carpet cleaning and property restoration, dirty work is an understatement. A key finding of the report was that the recruitment should be geared towards finding those employees that would be a good fit for the organization as much as they would be a fit for the duties they will be performing. Managers provide a critical communication of, “You can fit, you are fitting and you still fit,” as it related to motivating team members to engage in their responsibilities and develop a strong organization.
Incivility in the workplace, according to Harold and Holtz, is experienced both as behavioral as well as perceived. It is known that incivility in the workplace impacts employee-supervisor as well as employee-coworker interactions. The question posed by this study was how much of an impact that passive leadership has in mitigating the effects of incivility. From the research it has been determined that employees who work under a passive manager are more likely to experience incivility in the workplace and reciprocate by acting out in an uncivil manner towards others. Across both studies, only passive leadership yielded significant effects on experienced and behavioral incivility as well as intent and intensity of the incivility. The findings involving passive leadership are consistent with previous research that suggests negative social interactions are more harmful than the helpfulness of socially supportive interactions. It’s not enough to simply be nice or supportive, those in management and supervisory roles need to be active in creating an environment that reduces incivility.
A study published with Crime & Delinquency sought to answer where supervisor feedback and perceived organizational support had a relationship with organizational commitment. For those slow on the draw, this is another means to discuss cultural buy-in. Johnson identified that supervisor feedback, perceived organizational support, peer cohesion, organizational size, job variety, and job autonomy each had positive correlations with organizational commitment. Persons in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) understand that these things are important but often organizations don’t know how to implement them consistently. Previous studies had led to conclusions that officer demographics and job characteristics were related to attitudes leading to commitment, but this study has revealed that the overall environment has a much greater impact. These findings indicate that the culture or environment have a much broader collective impact than any specific feature.
Equality is an issue that affects our nation but it also affects our organizations. Results of a study published in Sage Journals share lessons being learned by law enforcement as a public service entity that are directly applicable to many industries. When officers act in an inequitable fashion it creates questions whether their organization is promoting, passively or actively, these attitudes. Turnover, buy in, compliance and job satisfaction can be improved with an emphasis on organizational procedural justice. The inner workings of justice impact the external workings of justice, “Justice received and given.” Officers who have good relationships with their supervisors will have a direct relationship with increased job satisfaction, organizational commitment and in turn affect their interaction with the public. Supervisory behavior has an impact on officer behavior on the streets, an indirect effect on officer compliance. Police departments, and by extension all organizations, that place an emphasis on procedural justice with training for supervisors will see a positive impact in the extension of that justice to employee and customer interactions.
Organizations that are able to create a positive environment have accomplished this by investing in recruiting people that embrace and enhance their values. The key to consistency in performance in these character areas is that the messaging is consistent with the managing. Organizations who set an example from top down, show by their actions that they are serious about their values and thereby reap the benefits of accountability to those values from the bottom up.
1. Ashforth, B.E., Kreiner, G.E., Clark, M.A., Fugate, M. (16 April 2017) Congruence work in stigmatized occupations: A managerial lens on employee fit with dirty work. Journal of Organizational Behavior. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259165/View 2. Harold, C.M., Holtz, B.C. (24 March 2014) The effects of passive leadership on workplace incivility. Journal of Organizational Behavior. 36, 16-38. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259156/View 3. Johnson, R.R. (2015) Police organizational commitment: The influence of supervisor feedback and support. Crime & Delinquency. Vol. 61 (9), 1155-1180. Retrieved from https://d2l.pdx.edu/d2l/le/content/677304/viewContent/3259159/View 4. Wu, Y., Sun, I.Y., Chang, C.K. & Hsu, K.K. (2017) Procedural justice received and given: Supervisory treatment, emotional states, and behavioral compliance among Taiwanese police officers. Sage Journals, Vol 44, Issue 7. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com.proxy.lib.pdx.edu/doi/abs/10.1177/0093854817702407
IZ Ventures more than business coaching & consulting - we help you Connect, Collaborate & Conquer.
Another key area that managers have direct impact upon is the annual review, which is traditionally terrible and irrelevant, let our video on this topic help you optimize this tool for your team.
How many times do you hear, “Someone needs to hold so-and-so accountable for their actions”? And the peanut gallery nods their head vehemently in agreement, “That’s right, it’s about time that so-and-so was held accountable for such-and-such.” People in a position of leadership (PIAPOL) are often fond of the peanut gallery, those that cheer them on in the execution of the leadership duties. Funny enough, the history of the peanut gallery comes from days past and referred to the cheapest tickets where the rowdiest vaudeville consumers heckled the performers. Needless to say, those in a position of leadership who only seek “yes men” to affirm their ever action seek the praise of those who are not fueled by vision or invested in progress.
Magnified Plaid, or MxPx as they have come to be known, is a indie punk rock band from Bremerton, Washington and they have a fitting song entitled Responsibility, the chorus of which belts out,
Responsibility? What's that?
Responsibility? Not quite yet.
Responsibility? What's that?
I don't want to think about it; we'd be better off without it.
If you like rock music with a splash of humor then you may find some enjoyment is viewing the video for MxPx Responsibility - see at end of article. It may also help serve as a sensory cue to invest in your accountability measures for your team, a rally cry of sorts.
For many organizations, the attitude is the same with regards to a practical or effective approach to accountability. Leaders talk about accountability as though the only measure of such is a good tongue lashing, preferably in front of as large a group of people as possible. So, let’s see if we can answer the what, when and how of establishing accountability.
Accountability? What’s that?
“If you are building a culture where honest expectations are communicated and peer accountability is the norm, then the group will address poor performance and attitudes,” says speaker and author of Necessary Endings, Dr. Henry Cloud. There is a progression in accountability, it does not appear out of thin air or materialize on its own. Accountability for a person and an organization comes from consistency in executing clearly established values. Effective accountability traces itself back to clarity in vision, communication of values and consistent effort from all levels within the team to live out those principles. As we have discussed many times, there are causes and there are effects or there are symptoms and there are sources, leaders are concerned with finding sources so that they can eliminate symptoms.
Accountability is the natural consequence of consistency rooted in clarity and conversely a lack of accountability is the natural consequence of inconsistency that stems from a void in institutional clarity. For an organization to build accountability they must clarify their vision and consistently communicate, train and discipline around their values. If an organization says they value A and B and yet they hire candidates that value C or have leaders who believe in D then that organization cannot expect A and B to be communicated clearly, executed consistently or accountability measures to be effective. As Dr. Cloud notes above, there is a beauty to developing a culture because one of the fruits of a clear culture is that those invested in the vision will enhance accountability by setting a standard and holding people to it.
Accountability? Not quite yet.
Consistency means doing what you have said regardless of the obstacles or the opposition. How many positive efforts die before they ever grow legs, before they are ever put in motion and how many more die the minute there is opposition. Those in a position of leadership are tasked with the responsibility to identify and implement programs, systems and changes that will grow their team. The best ideas don’t have to be complex or innovative to move a vision forward but they will have to be combined with commitment and endurance. Changes, especially those that net long term results, require energy and resources, they will cost money, time and will have to adapt to the path that unfolds but they should not die because someone decides they aren’t comfortable with change or don’t want to put the work in to see something through.
The peanut gallery cheers as long as they are not challenged, they heckle like petulant children when they don’t like something but they are not of the character to get in the trenches and move a team forward so their opinions should not be given value by those who are leading an organization from vision to action. When those in a position of leadership allow obstacles to deter them or fold under the pressure of internal opposition to change they send a clear message that their resolve isn’t set to defend their values. “A person who refuses to say ‘the buck stops here’ really isn’t a leader at all,” notes Dr. Travis Bradberry, author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0, “Being a leader requires being confident enough in your own decisions and those of your team to own them when they fail.” Leaders must be open to input where those engaged in the mission are sharing insights of repute but complaining by those who want to defend the status quo should be quelled.
A quick test to determine whether someone is complaining or providing constructive criticism is to simply ask, “Before you finish your statement – 1) if you are bringing me a problem are you also bringing me a solution and 2) if you believe you have a solution are you willing to put your skin in the game to see it through?” If the answer to either of these questions is no then it is a complaint and the person in a position of leadership should move on, quickly. No further discussion. (More on accountability – Conflict)
Accountability? What’s that?
Many organizations have vision and value statements but how many actually follow those words from top to bottom and from bottom to top? When an organization is clear on their vision and those in a position of leadership are consistent in their values and together they recruit, hire, train, discipline and build around those core items then there is a foundation for accountability (Video on discipline). Discipline is a key component of accountability. Yet, discipline is not just about yelling at people who aren’t doing their job or sending people home, or like one organization we worked with having a naughty board posted prominently in their employee center so that the record of team members failures could be observed by all, rather accountability flows from consistency and clarity.
Patrick Lencioni, the author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, shares, “The best kind of accountability on a team is peer-to-peer. Peer pressure is more efficient and effective than going to the leader, anonymously complaining, and having them stop what they are doing to intervene.” The kind of accountability that Cloud and Lencioni talk about is of the type that we hear about in championship sports teams where captains from within the team, as well as the team as a whole, buy into the vision and hold each other accountable. When an organization brings people in that enhance the culture, people of value are inspired. When a person in a position of leadership stands up to opposition and silences complainers, people of value are invigorated. When the team is clear about the vision and consistently executes the values the key ingredients are in the soil for a culture of accountability to flourish (More on culture).
I don’t want to think about it. We’d be better of without it.
It’s so much easier to maintain the status quo. Yet, with the rate of change and the demands in the market, status quo is the most rapid path to total failure. Change is painful but death is permanent. Doing the hard thing of turning something around requires commitment to work through obstacle after obstacle and to consistently progress through opposition after opposition only to wake up and do it again. No more so-and-so needs to do such-and-such. Clarity. Consistency. Accountability.
Jon Isaacson / IZ Ventures - Creative business solutions. We help you connect, collaborate & conquer. #MTWSL
All Accountability Adaptation Advice Analysis Authenticity Awkward Best Practices Blame Branding Business Business Solutions Care Career Change Character Claims Clarity Coaching Collaboration Commitment Communication Community Conflict Conflict Resolution Connect Connection Consistency Construction Consulting Controversy Creative Creative Solutions Criminal Justice Culture Culuture Customer Service Delusion Development Discipline Disgruntled Disruption Diversity Do Good Dysfunction Education Efficiency Emotional Intelligence Empathy Employee Development Employee Engagement Encouragement Endurance Engagement Entrepreneur Environment Equality Equipment Estimating Events Example Experiments Failure Family Fear Feedback Fitness Food Fun Funny Goals Good Cause Growth Happiness Health High Horse Hiring Honesty Humanity Identity Incentives Inclusion Influence Infographic Innovation Inspiration Insurance Intelligence Inter Interview Introspective Investing Issues Leadership Lean Listening Loyalty Management Marketing Mentorship Millennials Momentum Money Motivation Music Networking Non Profit Opportunity Opposition Optimization Organization Parenting Podcast Preparation Presentation Prioritization Process Improvement Production Productivity Profitability Progress Project Management Promotion Property Restoration Psychology Publication Published Purpose Quality Racism Reform Relationships Respect Review Risk Safety Scheduling Self Improvement Service Simple Social-media Society Speaking Status Quo Structure Success Symptoms Systems Team Building Tips Tools Training Transparency Trauma Trust Truth Unity Values Video Vision Volunteer Water Damage Website Youth Sports