Culture Evolves

Culture alignment is the single best predictor of career success. When a human is aligned with the culture of their employer, team or tribe, they care more, they feel at home, they are family, and they perform at high levels. As circumstances in healthy growing companies change, culture evolves. Family businesses, small companies, startups may begin as a loyalty culture to a culture of owed-respect. When a company is growing, has more resources and puts a premium on growth, culture evolves from owed-respect to earned-respect, from a loyalty culture to a performance culture. In living, breathing, healthy companies, culture evolves. I was reminded of this during the ConnectPreneur Conference last week where I had the opportunity to sit down for a fireside chat with Dan Berger, the dynamic founder and CEO of Social Tables, one of DC's most healthy growing companies. I first met Don in 2011 and I was one of the first Angel Investors to stroke him a check. I sat on his board and for a while, he was a member of my peer advisory group. In one of our coaching sessions Dan, and I discussed a methodology to define and get team buy-in to a well-defined, intentional corporate culture. Dan was wrestling with...

Competitive Strategy: Value Discipline

Imagine you were building a football team from the ground up. Would you just go about willy-nilly picking the best available players?  Do you think after you filled your roster and realized you had 10 quarterbacks, and no running backs or receivers you’d ever win a game? What is your value discipline? No, when you build a team, you build a team around the best talent available to execute a particular style of play.  You choose a style of play, build a team around that style. You build a strategy around the optimal path to exploit your resources and compete against the other teams. If there are no great throwing quarterbacks available and there are a ton of mobile quarterbacks and running backs, you build a running team. To build on that you would look for linemen that can help you support that running strategy. You declare to the team, "we are a ball control team." You better make sure everyone on the offense now understands we are a run oriented-offense. The coach declares to win we keep the ball on the ground, control the clock, and dominate the ground game. Everyone knows we are built to run. If the coach misses...

The Power of Culture

Strong Culture Rarely Exists In The Wild [caption id="attachment_78719" align="alignright" width="189"] Ghost Orchid[/caption] The ghost orchid is one of the worlds rarest flowers. Since its first sighting in 1954, it has been found in the wild less than two dozen times. Yet it can be cultivated and grown in greenhouses in large quantities. Like the ghost orchid, a powerful culture of high-performance is rarely found organically grown in the wild. The best leaders build a powerful culture by bringing together the proper conditions for their teams to thrive. Potential leaders who randomly gather groups of individuals in the hope that someday, like a rare, naturally growing ghost orchid, they will find themselves the leaders of high-performance teams are likely to be disappointed. Yet if they intentionally built a cultural greenhouse, planted the right seeds, applied the exact amounts of moisture, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and sunlight to ensure a strong culture thrives, they would have a significantly greater probability of success. To lead a great team with a strong culture it is best to be a great leader and to be a great leader, one must be like horticulturists who presides over a successful greenhouse. Great leaders must be scientific, deliberate...

Design Thinking For CEOs

What do I mean by Design Thinking for CEOs? Let's break that down. What is Design Thinking? According to Wikipedia: Design thinking is a method for the practical, creative resolution of problems using the strategies designers use during the process of designing. Design thinking has also been developed as an approach to resolve issues outside of professional design practice, such as in business and social contexts. The reason I add the CEO qualifier as in Design Thinking for CEOs is many people who run businesses believe Design Thinking is for Software Developers or Product Managers or Interior Decorators and not for them. Design Thinking for CEOs or anyone is a way of thinking. It's constantly asking, "Why am I doing it this way?" It's constantly asking, "Is there a better way?" Everyone benefits from design thinking. Look at something as simple as a water fountain. Water fountains have changed very little in the last 100 years. Yet culture and habits have changed. Due to the emerging emphasis on health (drinking more water) and the environment protection have changed human habits so that many of us walk around with water bottles. In fact, some of us don't walk around with water bottles because 3 years ago...

Critical Leadership Traits

What can I say about Leadership Traits? I've worked for leaders, been a leader and coached leaders for over 40 years. In that time, I've recognized certain leadership traits are common to the majority of great leaders. That's my subjective observation. In my coaching practice, I use personality assessment tools to help me, coach, understand my clients, and to help them understand themselves and their teams. I compiled a list of all company leaders/ CEOs with whom I've administered a personality assessment in order to objectively determine which leadership traits are most common. The leaders in this survey all run companies ranging from $1 million in revenue to $40 million. Most Personality Assesment tools measure Dominance, Extraversion, Patience, and Formality. Good tools, like Predictive Index, and Ngenio's MPO realize that these traits fall on a spectrum. For instance, in the case of formality, which measures things like precision, attention to detail and rules following. Some people are extremely rigid and precise while others are extremely flexible, and others still may just be slightly precise. For instance, in the case of the Predictive Index the spectrum looks like this: Low -3 -2 -1 Trait +1 +2 +3 High Agreeable Agreeable Humble Unselfish A Independent Resolute Forceful Assertive Amenable Accepting Peaceable Dominance Competitive Autonomous Aggressive Acquiescent Collaborative Caring Self—starting Venturesome Controlling Compliant Pleasing Attentive Resourceful Innovative Self-reliant Accommodating Modest Supportive Inventive Directing Confrontational Obliging Willing Cooperative Determined Challenging Unyielding Reserved Private Imaginative Quiet B Sociable Simulating Expressive Outgoing Standoffish Reserved Sincere Extraversion Persuasive Enthusiastic Gregarious Separate Unpretentious Introspective Talkative Socially poised Enticing Reticent Ruminant Contemplative Open Compelling Outspoken Isolated Insightful Candid Encouraging Eloquent Influential Reclusive Pensive Reflective Eager Animated Convincing Impatient Zealous High-strung Tense C Relaxed Deliberate Extremely steady Steady Volatile Hurried Quick Patience Stable Measured Placid Edgy Intense Hasty Calm Unhurried Habitual Impulsive Fast-paced Prompt Cool Peaceful Easygoing Urgent Abrupt Ready Composed Serene Even-tempered Rushed Rapid Restless Collected Unruffled Mellow Flexibility Spontaneous Familiar Casual D Conservative Precise Dutiful Conforming Unstructured Unworried Uninhibited Formality Thorough Careful Inflexible Extemporaneous Undaunted Easy Respectful Cautious Structured Instinctive Unconcerned Facile Loyal Exacting Strict Impulsive Carefree Flexible Diligent Proper Vigilant Improvising Unfussy Pliable Serious Rigorous Correct What patterns emerge from evaluating my database. Most of the leaders I work with are...

Leadership Versus Management

I had the good fortune to sit down with Jonathon Abermen, Managing Director of Amplifier Ventures, to discuss leadership versus management. Below is the audio of the interview which was broadcast April 27, 2018, on WFED, Fed Radio 1500. Press the little play button to hear the interview: [sc_embed_player fileurl="https://drivenforward.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WFED_Leadership_versus_management.mp3"] Transcript of Leadership Versus Management Interview ABERMAN: Glen, thanks for joining us. HELLMAN: Thank you for having me. ABERMAN: Leadership. I think a lot of people think they know what it is, but what is leadership? HELLMAN: So, probably the best way to sum it up is the difference between leadership and management. Management is how you take care of two-year-old children or less. You put up gates, you give them systems, you protect them, but you don’t do anything that’s not under your control. Leadership is, if you haven’t taken your 17-year-old and led them, when they’re out in the car alone, on a Friday night, at ten o’clock, you have failed. You can’t manage 17-year-old when they’re not in your view. Leadership is creating an environment around your team where they behave the way you would want them to if you were there. Leadership scales, management fails. Subscribe to the What’s Working in Washington podcast on...

Leaf Branch Root Coaching

Leaf Branch Root, it's a method to coach, empower, and learn to trust your team. Lately, in my coaching, I encounter the micromanager who say they don't want to micromanage and inevitably this is a trust issue. It's part hero issue, I must save the day...

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

According to Harvard Business Review, Emotional Intelligence or EQ is an essential ingredient for success as a leader. In a study of one company, leaders with high Emotional Intelligence outperformed the average manager by 20% while low EQ leaders performed nearly 20% lower than average. What are the elements of Emotional Intelligence? There are five major factors: Self-awareness - defined as an awareness of who you are and your effect on others. People who believe they have no room for improvement are not self-aware. People who recognize, admit and work to overcome their shortcomings make better leaders. Self-aware people are: Realistic about their self-assessment Display a self-deprecating sense of humor Are confident Self-regulation - defined as controlling one's impulses and thinking before acting. Leaders with strong self-regulation tendencies create an atmosphere of trust resulting in higher productivity. They display: Thoughtfulness Comfort with ambiguity Integrity Motivation - motivated people are driven to perform beyond expectations. Their drive to exceed goals is contagious. They are motivated by greater things than just money. Motivation is displayed by: Passion for the work Desire to continuously improve - Daniel Pink Calls this Mastery Optimistism - everything is an opportunity Empathy - is essential to coaching, motivating individuals and creating cohesive...

The Acquired Taste

I'm an acquired taste. Many people try me once and gag. Some come back again, give it another try and eventually, I become a habit. Huh? Mr. Cranky...