Ok, so the title may sound a bit hyperbolic. But it is not hyperbole at all; a lack of coordination can destroy a team’s effectiveness. A lack of coordination across multiple areas can greatly harm a leader’s credibility. I have thought about this a lot lately. Some background: I recently blogged about how execution suffers. According to Donald Sull, Charles Sull, and Rebecca Homkes in their Harvard Business Review article entitled, “Why Strategy Execution Unravels,” execution suffers because people fail to collaborate horizontally. After interviewing and researching thousands of employees, researchers found that execution suffers not because teams are not aligned vertically but because they fail to work together horizontally…. [Read More]
Passion trumps professionalism. Always. Every single time. Can we be both professional and passionate? Absolutely.
For alignment to be driven into a culture, values must be seen more than on a wall. They must show up in regular conversations and in training.
Just as a healthy garden will not exist without careful gardening and constant attention, a healthy culture does not happen by accident. Culture is the shared beliefs and values that guide a group of people. Left alone, culture deteriorates. Wise and loving leaders cultivate the culture in which they are leading. If leaders fail to cultivate the culture, they are ignoring the environment that the people they serve alongside must live in, and of course, this greatly and adversely impacts the people the organization or ministry is designed to serve. Here are eleven actions for culture cultivation: 1. Don’t underestimate the power of culture. Culture is more powerful than most… [Read More]
If you are responsible for leading a group of people, you know how important building a team is. The people on the team form the culture and fulfill the mission you have embraced. Just as the flavor of soup changes with each ingredient, each new team member changes the collective flavor of a team. If a wrong player is added to the team, the collective culture and effectiveness of the team is harmed. For this reason, many have heralded the maxim, “Hire slowly, fire quickly.” I remember hearing the maxim and thinking it sounded cruel. The longer I have led, the more I have found it to be true. I… [Read More]
Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, famously gathered his Green Bay Packer team together as training camp opened in 1961, held a football, and declared, “Gentlemen, this is a football.” He was not speaking to scrubs who just entered the league but to a team who had made it to the NFL Championship the previous season. Lombardi symbolically started with a football, but his commitment to mastering the basics was evident as his team excelled in the essentials of blocking and tackling. He was committed to deep discipline around the basics, around things that some are tempted to move away from. The story is only well known because they won… [Read More]
Insecurity can plague leaders because leaders are constantly evaluated and continually carry the burden of responsibilities. While it is natural for leaders to struggle with insecurity, leaders who live in insecurity bring great damage to the people they are supposed to be serving. While there are varying degrees of damage, insecurity leaves a wake of pain in its path. 1. People are not developed. An insecure leader is hesitant to hand responsibility over to someone else. A leader’s fear of shrinking influence sidelines others from being developed. 2. People are neglected. Insecure leaders long for applause, and thus, they lead for their approval and not the good of those they… [Read More]
Zappos famously guards their culture. Because they know each person brought on the team will either contribute to or corrode a healthy culture, they pay people not to accept a job after going through orientation. Even if a person is talented, they don’t want the person to stay if the person does not believe in the values they espouse. So how do you evaluate fit or chemistry during an interview? Here are three essentials: 1. Know your team’s actual values. In 2008, Mike Krzyzewski, the basketball coach of Duke, was given the task to restore USA Men’s Olympic basketball to the prominence it once enjoyed. The team was given the… [Read More]
Dee Hock is the founder and former CEO of Visa International and has been an advocate of leaders investing significant time and energy in self-leadership. He has advised: If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time leading yourself—your own purpose, ethics, principles, motivation, conduct. Invest at least 20% leading those with authority over you and 15% leading your peers. Dee Hock has essentially advocated that leaders should spend a disproportionate amount of time developing and leading themselves. With similar sentiment, Plato said, “The first and best victory is to conquer self.” Leaders should care for their own self-leadership but should also care that those they lead… [Read More]
Healthy teams are both aligned and attuned. Alignment refers to the commitment to the mission and identity of the organization. Attunement refers to the relational care and concern that the team exhibits for one another. Both are essential. Last week I wrote about warning signs your team is aligned but not attuned. Today I want to offer three warning signs your team is attuned but not aligned: 1. Fuzzy mission Without alignment around mission, people begin to only exist for each other and not those the team is designed to serve. When a team is not aligned, the mission is unclear or buried on a document somewhere. When alignment is… [Read More]