Why Don’t our People get it? The Answer Revealed.
by Kevin D. Crone
“Why don’t our people get it?” asked my client a couple weeks ago. “The sales team doesn’t coordinate well with the operations team. They never seem to know how we want things done and why. Yet we have done extensive strategic planning, have a wonderful family-like culture and we do whatever to take care of our people.”
Here is what we discussed and I hope some of these insights help you.
- Getting excited about new ideas and laying them on your people is a tough way to go. Finding out how you are all aligned is easier – what they want that somewhat matches what you want – engaging them in conversations around that is the best way.
- Disengagement is a management problem. Everyone getting along takes care of the heart but not the mind. If things aren’t seen as alignment, they don’t exist regardless of all the things management has learned, decided on and laid on their people. Operations, sales/ marketing/ back office needs to understand and see clearly how you make money. This is called a business strategy. What is the system of turning your idea into a business strategy into a commercial success? They need to see the contextual context of who you are as a business, the actual and desired state of what they do and how it is connected to the business strategy. This may sound very simple, but then it takes discipline to design the context, strategy, desired state, actual state, then organize, hire, train, plan and act from it. At least three to five percent of your time should be spent on this discipline – anything that doesn’t come naturally. Anything that doesn’t come naturally takes study, practice and application until you are more comfortable. Ultimately, the disciplined leaders make sure all the above happens.
- People need to be okay with the truth or a vision is flakey with nothing under it. A design with no tension to go from where you are at to where you want to go is weak. You can create the business you want. The creation model is one where you see clearly what you want. You describe how it is and you determine the actions you need to take to get from reality to the desired state. Let your people help you figure out, plan, innovate and execute, to go from reality to what it is you want.
- Visions, dreams, value statements etc. are just a snapshot of some of your thoughts about what you want to be or how you want to act. They are nice, but it just trivializes who you are and doesn’t lead to creating what you want. They could be fuzzy but a great background of relatedness. It is easier to work together with everyone knowing what we want to act like. Unless people know how to take a stand for the vision, they can’t bring it in to existence to meet business needs. Good stuff, but behaviour can’t really be dictated. You can structure the business from this good stuff as background thinking but strategic consultants or meeting facilitators don’t go far enough. What then? Put in the creative structure and it will pull the behaviour to where you want the business to go. SWAT analysis is a beginning also, but then what do you do? It just doesn’t go far enough. I need to give refunds to all those clients I did this for in the late eighties and early nineties. (That’s humour and don’t have enough money to do so.)
- Family businesses are tough. Often there is little communication, lack of clarity, discipline and accountability – and little structure. Everyone decides every day how things will go. It can be nice but messy. Good people like it there, (who wouldn’t) but mindless work goes on. Most companies are family businesses. They can work and survive if the customer becomes the common commitment and everyone just supports what has to be done. The family culture can wreak havoc on succession planning. Employees never know what the family wants. Usually the family doesn’t know what they want and can’t explain where the business is going. Too often the kids aren’t ready, don’t have the work ethic and think it is easy. You must prepare your future leaders now and find out what they are made of and transition to becoming a growth-oriented business with clarity.
- Leaders need to see how they come across in conversations on behalf of where the business is going or momentum will slow down. Most managers don’t realize how they cause blockages and loose momentum with their criticizing and demanding, arrogant ways. They need to occasionally be coached. They are all legends in their own minds and they need to man-up and stay focused on what they are creating. All leaders have a lot of mental models in their heads that aren’t real. Too many books, disappointments and accolades. They are distanced from reality. Too much success is their enemy when dealing with people and reality. They need to see how to use their fabulous talent and drive to keep creating the business they want. They will get the life they create – all of it. They too often live a fantasy that they can manipulate and control success instead of creating it with and through others.
- Training and learning, without the business design attached to it is great but it can be better if it advances the organization. Make sure your development connects. You are not the Girl Guides. We all get better and the world gets better. Well, yes but…
- Put a team together to figure out how the business works. Make it visible to a team that can become future leaders of it. Make sure you support what the managers/owners want. They created this baby. It works and it gives momentum to how you have to compete within a constant changing marketplace. You can’t change things unless you change – period. It takes a keen, engaged, connected group of high potential people to make the changes or you will be too far ahead of them, always wondering why they don’t get it . . .
- What else resonated with you this morning?
- What can you do?
As another option, why not check out our How to Lead Change and Build Momentum workshop. Today, everyone must step up to lead, be an innovator and a momentum builder in order for our businesses to grow and compete. These skills and mindsets are at the core of what makes the best employees the most valuable in any organization.
In this two-hour workshop, we’ll examine the subtle but impactful differences between traditional management skills and what it takes to be a momentum builder and leader to create a huge business impact. If you’re a leader or a manager that wants to make things happen, ignite enthusiasm and momentum in your business, then this workshop is for you!
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Dale Carnegie Business Group
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