by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc.®

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration,” Thomas Edison, serial inventor. 

 


Edison may well be right. Like Edison with his light bulb invention: Henry Ford built a major enterprise out of an inspirational idea – everyman’s automobile. Elon Musk is about to build major space and electric-auto businesses out of two inspirational ideas. Sergey Brin and Larry Page built a major social media company out of inspirational ideas with Google and its affiliates. Bill Gates and Paul Allen at Microsoft launched a major software house through some inspirational ideas. Sam Walton did the same at Wal-Mart – low prices.

 

In each case, they had to apply extraordinary perspiration to bring those ideas to fruition. Clearly they are all people with great imaginations. Coupled with that, they obviously made more good decisions than bad ones, although they would probably be the first to admit that they benefitted enormously from the latter: where the bad ones taught them a lot.

 

One of the things that likely helped them in their decision-making, was not being put-off by obstacles, or not taking “No” for an answer, or not being afraid to make mistakes. They came to learn that there were always other options, if only they could find them. Having that ability to park ideas at the back of their minds and let their imaginations run wild on them, until new options emerged, are other attributes that were at their disposal. Such attributes are abilities we all have, although some make use of them better than others. We can train ourselves or our people to do it; although it does take perspiration, which many of us are reluctant to splash-out on.

 

Coupled with this, they had to learn how to shrug-off snickers from friends, or ridicule from a boss or colleague, or parental scolding, or setbacks when trying to make their latest idea viable. They also had to learn how to scratch-around for resources, or assistance, or advice. Such activities require a lot of humility, which is why many inventors are rather humble, behind-the-scene types. Some turned their product fame into fortunes, which enabled them to develop a flamboyant veneer over their initial humility. That new found behavior is often termed by many as: (s)he’s eccentric.

 

And so, all the indications are that our imaginations are capable of being extremely valuable. However, we should accept that some people’s notions are more valuable than others, although, all too often, we go to tremendous lengths to shut them down. Maybe we don’t like it when others have better ideas than we do, so we tend to pooh-pooh them or shut them out; thereby enabling us to feel better about ourselves.

 

Within our organizations we’re inclined to put our people into mental straight-jackets, so they will remain on our designated path rather than release their imaginations. We rely on pages of policies and procedures to shut-off their ideas and keep them on a straight-and-narrow pathway and today’s business. Then we have the audacity to complain that our people aren’t creative enough…Is this our human wish to turn things on and off when it’s convenient for us?

 

What can we do to distance ourselves from this habitual bind? As executives or people leaders we need to think about the following imagination-releasing principles:

» Don’t encourage your people to leave their brains and ideas behind at home every day.

    » Set aside time on a fairly frequent basis for your “thinkers” to brainstorm or release those ideas.

    » Don’t fall into your time-short mindset because you’re overly focused on turning out widgets                every day.

    » Welcome odd-ball ideas because sometimes odd-ball ideas become brain-shattering ones.

    » Give people due credit for their imaginative ideas and don’t try to take them on-board as your                own…that shuts imaginations down quicker than anything.

 

Let’s suppose a person at your firm comes up with a half-baked business expansion idea, while your intuition tells to you that there may just be something there. Maybe you can develop it into a winning or whole-baked idea by using a decision making concept called option solving. Option solving is a means of stretching your number of possibilities around a half-baked idea, within the framework of an important question like: “What is our best option for expanding on idea XYZ …,” coupled with key considerations that expand or likely reduce your possibilities, such as, “…considering, 1) we have limited space, 2) we have ambitious staff, 3) our budgets are tight, and 4) the market seems ready for something else?”  Keeping it to four considerations is probably a wise idea, so you don’t make your final deliberations too complex…see the adjacent “pictogram.” (NOTE: It is best for a “think-team” of 2-6 people from within your firm to put this question together.)

 

 

 

Now your “think-team” is in a position to establish ‘Yin and Yang’ bookends (B-E), which will not only prod their thinking but also realistically place reasonable boundaries around this team of imaginations.  With these so-called bookends, you can now ask your chosen team to produce at least five alternative, realistic options (A-E) – outside that half-baked idea – to potentially produce a whole-baked idea. One of these options could well be the half-baked idea used as a bookend or option.

 

Once your “pictogram” of options is ready, encourage your think-team  to set it aside for 20, 30, 60 minutes; or even a few hours. This allows for some objectivity created by emotional distancing.

 

When they return to it, their intuition, in combination with their rational mind, will be ready to make an optimal choice…not necessarily the perfect one. Once that choice is made, the team can go through another round of option solving – known as “Peeling the Onion” – as a means of adding weight or more meat onto the whole-baked decision-bone. You can follow-through with as many Peel-the-Onion rounds of sub-options as you wish to add more clarity to your decision and strategy.

 

Now that your think-team’s optimal option and sub-options are clear, it is well positioned to lay-out a gameplan; while the whole-baked idea is still fresh in their minds. Team members should then immerse themselves in Phase 2 – Enlightened Pathfinding.

 

    Why don’t you get started with Phase I today and, since your organization is full of imaginative minds that need to be encouraged, consider setting-up “option-storming” sessions on a regular basis to turn half-baked ideas into whole-baked ones. Don’t become so obsessed with today’s business that you forget about tomorrow’s imaginative ideas, which could give your operation a bigger lift than it just keep plugging away at the same-old, same-old.

To learn more about decision-making, talk with:



Arnie Friedland -Long Island – (516) 446-6447 or arnie@ileadershipsolutions.com;
Chris Garratt –Europe- (+352) 2631 3384 or chris@lse.lu
Denise Lalonde – New York- (212) 974 1438 or denise@ileadershipsolutions.com
Esther Celosse – Europe – (+33) 658 867 350 or esther@lse.lu
Ed Frontera – Florida – (561) 715 0447 or ed@ileadershipsolutions.com
Jim Leonhard –California – (916) 550 7075 or jimhl@ileadershipsolutions.com
Olger Draijer –Europe-(+352) 45 88 35 or olger@lse.lu
Paul Schonenberg – Europe – (+352) 621 23 3131 or paul@lse.lu
Peter A. Arthur-Smith – New York- (212) 332-8907 or peter@ileadershipsolutions.com
© 1994-2017 Leadership Solutions, Inc (MALRC) All rights reserved

  by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc.®

“We have become one of the most bureaucratic, confusing, litigious societies on the planet…We have to get our act together” Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Wall Street Journal Business article, July 2017.

 

 

 Although CEO Dimon was referring to the US society as a whole, could his views also mirror the state of our individual businesses, institutions or associations? He clearly felt it applied to government of all stripes. Judging from the way the management discipline has shaped the mechanisms of our organizational life, our answer to the opening question has to be “Yes.” Management is primarily about policies, procedures and systems, in its quest to automate, delineate and regulate everything we do within our immediate enterprise. Has it therefore unwittingly hoodwinked us into a boondoggle in our desire for success?

 

One way to find out is to switch into some leadership modes to gauge the difference we experience in organization momentum. If we suddenly find that our enterprise  jolts into life and progress without having to crack the whip as much, or drive our people as

much, or that gaining ground is not so much of a slog anymore; just maybe we’ll have found a better alternative. Then we’ll know we’ve been caught-up in the management cycle for way too long. So how does one make the shift?

 

To be realistic, it’s virtually impossible to go from a crawl to 100 mph in one-fell-swoop. More realistically you make progress in meaningful but challenging phases, rather than unrealistically expecting to hit high gear before you can even run. It’s suggested, therefore, that you consider breaking-out in at least three phases:

»Initial Priority Phase

»Priority Streaming Phase

»Strategic Priority Phase (Framing rather than Planning)

 

»Initial Priority Phase (First Gear) – A key advantage of starting with a Priority Session is its potential to kick-off in a TEAM mode. Consequently, if you have the opportunity to combine this session with an exercise that promotes team thinking, you should do so. (NOTE: Consider using LSI’s Communication Preference Survey [CPS], since it will enhance team connection possibilities.)

      Once you have participants thinking more like a team, you can then initially break them into groupings of 3-6 players to contemplate your organization’s priorities over the next 6-12 months. Give these break-out groups 20-30 minutes to clarify their thoughts on what they believe are your enterprise’s three most important priorities, right now.

After due time, bring those groupings back together and quietly challenge them to reach an across-the-board consensus on the most important priorities relative to their aggregated listing. Those top priorities will equate to the number of people-pairs that are present: e.g. 6 people =3 pairs, 10 people =5 pairs, 15 people = 6 pairs and one threesome. (NOTE: If you have the advantage of LSI’s CPS – mentioned earlier – then aim to pair people according their differing primary communication colors rather than have the same ones. This enables them to draw upon each other’s strengths; where pairing is the most effective way of getting something accomplished.)

Put the pairs (or threesome) to work over the next 30-60 minutes to contemplate – WHAT, HOW, WHO, WHEN & WHERE to go for allies – so that they produce specific action initiatives. These can subsequently be accomplished with your pairings co-opting an additional 2-4 people, drawn from across the enterprise, as a means of widening exposure and building more advocates within your organization for the desired outcomes.

Once complete, these should be shared with your other meeting teams; so as to increase commitment, gain valuable input, and aid encouragement. The implementation clock starts ticking from there. Don’t forget to celebrate their successes along the way, as a way of whetting the appetite of others to engage in future “pairing.”

 

  »Priority Streaming Phase (Second Gear) – Once your key team is properly functioning in First Gear – probably after a 3-6 month stint working their way through their initial set of priorities – you can then introduce them to Priority Streaming.

As indicated with the adjacent pictogram, which is taken from an earlier article entitled – “How a Football Coach can win the Superbowl Next Year, again?” – you can envisage taking your team through the streaming cycle of Thinking, Preparing, and Implementing. However, experience shows us that it is better to start in reverse order, so that your team becomes comfortable with the flow. To that end:

 

 

 

 

»Implementing Bubble – It equates pretty well to the earlier Initial Priority Phase your team will now be trained in. For this reason, participants should be more than ready to articulate and list the priority items that need to be focused on over the next 1-3 months. Again, split your team into pairs and assign them to their-your listed items for devising and implementing appropriate action initiatives.

»Preparing Bubble – Now they can list items to spend a certain amount of preparatory time on, even while implementing their prior listing. Again different pairs can take these preparatory items on, within appropriate time periods, even while they’re executing their earlier items. Pairings will be

decided by their natural interest, team orientation and expertise, and then take chosen items under their wings. People are capable of taking on more than one task, providing they time-sequence them appropriately. These items will then be ready for moving to their implementation phase.

»Thinking Bubble – Here your team will again list items – for eventual execution 3-9 months down the road, relative to their role; i.e. operational team 3 months: strategic team 9 months – that are important to think about prior to the Preparation or Implementation Phases. Again, you can pair people in different arrangements for doing this, relative to their interest, team orientation and expertise.

»Once all these phases are mapped out in your Priority Streaming chart, you can then orchestrate the ongoing cycle with them to create a continuous stream of  implementation, preparation and thought activities. Now your enterprise will be in second gear.

 

» Strategic Priority Phase (Top gear) – Almost a year out you will be nicely moving along in second gear without having to push and shove everything. Your key team will be taking the same approach with their teams, hence will have more time to think strategically.

      In order to move into top gear, you and your key people have to be as clear as possible about a four-sided framework: compelling Vision, key Know-how, vital Resources and inspiring Objectives-Human Outcomes. This means educating them in all four areas. Your author’s prior article, “2016 Plan Using Strategic Positioning  and Frameworks” describes these quite explicitly. If need be, contact him at peter@ileadershipsolutions.com for a re-run.

Once their Strategic Framework – fundamentally different from a strategic plan, which is a management tool – is in place, your top team will have a really clear idea where it is going. Such clarity needs to be vibrantly comm-unicated at all levels within your organization, so that everyone else knows where the ship is going. When people know where they’re going, the following is likely to happen:

  • They will start dreaming, anticipating and desiring the future that’s mapped out.
  • They will start offering additional ideas on how the vision can be accomplished.
  • Some will volunteer time to participate in extra enterprise-wide initiatives to help move the ball forward.
  • Your people, across-the-board, will start cheering as milestones are accomplished.
  • Many people will make themselves available for future initiative participation.
  • And more?

 

Just imagine what your organization starts to feel and look like with all this intrinsic momentum and activity? The bureaucracy will rapidly start to fall away, the confusion will quickly disappear, and the litigious mindset will evaporate. What joy and relief will descend on your organization during every work-day. If enough of this happens within various organizations, it will begin to have an impact on society as a whole. Why not get started today?

 

To learn more about “the three levels of building momentum,” talk with:



Arnie Friedland -Long Island – (516) 446-6447 or arnie@ileadershipsolutions.com;
Chris Garratt –Europe- (+352) 2631 3384 or chris@lse.lu
Denise Lalonde – New York- (212) 974 1438 or denise@ileadershipsolutions.com
Esther Celosse – Europe – (+33) 658 867 350 or esther@lse.lu
Ed Frontera – Florida – (561) 715 0447 or ed@ileadershipsolutions.com
Jim Leonhard –California – (916) 550 7075 or jimhl@ileadershipsolutions.com
Olger Draijer –Europe-(+352) 45 88 35 or olger@lse.lu
Paul Schonenberg – Europe – (+352) 621 23 3131 or paul@lse.lu
Peter A. Arthur-Smith – New York- (212) 332-8907 or peter@ileadershipsolutions.com
© 1994-2017 Leadership Solutions, Inc (MALRC) All rights reserved

by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc

“We are not good to each other. Our tribalism is an extremely narrow group of people: our children, our spouse, maybe our parents. Our society is alienating, technical, cold and mystifying. Our fundamental desire, as human beings, is to be close to others, and our society does not allow for that.” Quote by Sebastian Junger in his book ‘Tribe’, where he shares this view by anthropologist Sharon Abramowitz.

 

Junger led us to this quote, while pointing out the current difficulties US war veterans have experienced in reintegrating back into civilian life. He compared US war veteran difficulties with the apparent ease with which Israeli soldiers have been reintegrated; which have been considerably less for many reasons. Also, the rates of reported PTSD are far higher in the US; albeit that he documents – a fair amount of ‘fakery’ in order to qualify for benefit claims, compared with warriors from other nations. A lot of such behavior he suggests is brought about by significant challenges in reintegrating back into their civilian world.

 

In particular, he argues, in a convincing way, how returning soldiers miss the teamwork they experienced in Afghanistan or Iraq, which they don’t find back home – see our opening

quote. It’s also apparently true for returning Peace Corps participants, who have also endured challenging overseas assignments. In both instances, these warriors-operatives were drawn together overseas by adverse circumstances in their demanding assignments. Back home it wasn’t the same.

 

This author has also been part of past similar overseas military and operative assignments and, one thing that doesn’t help, is that close relatives and friends treat them in exactly the same fashion as they did before they left. They don’t take into account the rapid maturation and capability upgrade that has occurred in Vets.-Peace Corps volunteers, due to the dire circumstances they often found themselves in.(NOTE: Is there a strong case for families and friends to be thoroughly educated as to what to expect  and how to behave when their loved ones return home?)

 

Potential employers often treat them like neophytes, even though the level of commitment, professionalism and teamwork they would bring to many civilian roles would be superior to many of the people they already employ. Only employers who have gone through similar experiences would be more open to draw upon their hidden service talents.

 

Conclusions like this remind this writer of one of his most enlightening people leadership experiences. This happened many years back when he was visiting a V-belt and gearbox manufacturer in Hull, England. Our group of master’s level students were briefed and dispatched to tour both operational units. When we returned to the canteen (dining facility), we were asked, “Where do you feel we have the greatest employee relations difficulties in the V-Belt or gear-box facility?”

 

Pretty much everyone felt the company’s greatest people difficulties would be in the V-belt section; with its dirty, grimy, dust-ridden, hot, smelly and hectic environment. It was like peering into a black hole. The gear-box-facility, on the other hand, was relatively clean, airy and quiet – other than lathes milling metal. Machinists were mainly content to stand around in their white coats letting their lathes do the work.

 

It turned out that our group’s conclusions were dead wrong. There was virtually no trouble from the black-hole. People volunteered to go there because morale was invariably high. On the other hand, in the gear-box facility, there were plenty of people complaints, militancy and overall morale issues. One reason being: the lathe operators had plenty of time to stand or sit around thinking about their lot and how life could be better.

 

Could this ironically mean that, the better we make our work environment, the more our people are likely to pursue wishful thinking? Could it be that returning Vets. and Peace Corps members find our advanced society conditions relatively sterile, non-welcoming and lacking in empathy (not sympathy)? Junger’s book again and again provides examples on how so many different tribes pull together in adverse circumstances. Also, he declares the paradox: where people become more selfish during peacetime and more drawn together in times of adversity.

 

What can we learn from this paradox when it comes to teamwork? Nobody’s suggesting that we should throw people into a black-hole every day, or put them into battle-lines, or into harm’s way. Maybe we have to find a substitute that is more civilized than war conditions, although at the same time inspires cohesiveness and produces worthy results. Let’s take a look at what may help:

» Opening gambit – The opposite of threat is opportunity. The bigger the threat the more it pulls people together. That holds for opportunity, too. This writer has been involved in so many scenarios where it has proven to be true. Jim Collins and Jerry Porras’s book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies”, call it a Big Hairy Audacious Goal – a “BHAG” as they called it. While the idea has great merit, the book didn’t go far enough, in this writer’s opinion, in clarifying an important ingredient to complement it.

       That ingredient being the share of benefit that a particular organization’s workplace people will also gain out of accomplishing the BHAG objective: be that including greater personal opportunity, rewards and recognition, as well as being part of a highly successful enterprise. In the past, executives or owners have generally reaped all the praise and rewards and used a big management stick with minimal rewards for the producers…no more.

     Among the most fruitful and passionate discussions this writer has ever witnessed with groups of executives, have been when they were charged with the question: “What headline would you like to see about your organization, in a prominent business journal (name it), inside 1, 2 or 3 years from now?”

Once defined: “What things would you reinforce in your organization to accomplish that headline; and what key issues would you address or blockers would you remove to facilitate the same?” Thinking and conversation around such questions draws people together no end.

Work these questions through until your team is ready to pinpoint key priorities and link arms over them because, not only will the organization benefit from the outcome, these principal team members and their people should also reap considerable benefits of accomplishing the designated BHAG…definitely not only money.

» Second gambit – “Pair-up” your key participants to pursue these key priorities. Those pairs will preferably be comprised of people with complementary dispositions and skill sets rather than be strongly similar in outlook. The latter are unlikely to be especially creative, while the former will likely enrich their outcomes. There are ways you can figure this out: including use of the Mercury Communication Preference Survey.*

»Third gambit – Encourage those pairs to enlist – if they so wish – from 2-4 more people from across the enterprise; to collaborate with them on initiatives comprised of WHAT? HOW? WHO? WHEN? WHERE (to go for allies or help)? They should also give themselves a creative team name to encourage team action.

»Fourth gambit – Your follow-through. So many leading executives don’t do this. They throw teams an interesting bone and then trundle off to take care of business-as-usual. After your BHAG session, you need to stay involved weekly initially and then extend that into two-weekly and monthly sessions as momentum builds. Without this follow-through, the least inspired teams forget about their intentions and then other teams get tempted to do the same. If you just stay focused, their initiatives will be accomplished…you don’t have to shout, push or shove.

»Final gambit – Don’t forget the celebration when each team completes. An inexpensive group lunch, a long weekend, a letter of commendation, a pizza party, or combination thereof, goes a long way to reinforce tasks well done and encourages other volunteers to step forward next time around.

 

Assuming these suggestions all fall into place, team members will share how much they had a great team experience. They may even inform you that they would be happy to do it again; just for the camaraderie or tribe exposure. So, coming back to Junger’s book, it’s worthwhile quoting him once more:

“Soldiers experience this tribal way of thinking at war, but when they come home they realize the tribe they were actually fighting for wasn’t for their country, it was for their unit. It makes absolutely no sense to make sacrifices for a group that, itself, isn’t willing to make sacrifices for you.”

Can you find a way to draw upon these tribal instincts within your organization?

________________________________________________________________________

Footnote: This writer is concluding this article on July 4th at Groton Long Point, Connecticut. The GLP community celebrated the occasion with a 5km run and an all-hands parade. Hundreds of tribal runners took part in the run and hundreds more tribalists were out to participate and cheer along a pretty sizeable parade; consisting of kids, cyclists, antique vehicles, snazzy vehicles and fire trucks of all ages and sizes. And so, tribalism still exists somewhere!

______________________________________________________________________

 

To learn more about enlightened leadership, please contact:



Arnie Friedland -Long Island – (516) 446-6447 or arnie@ileadershipsolutions.com;
Chris Garratt –Europe- (+352) 2631 3384 or chris@lse.lu
Denise Lalonde – New York- (212) 974 1438 or denise@ileadershipsolutions.com
Esther Celosse – Europe – (+33) 658 867 350 or esther@lse.lu
Ed Frontera – Florida – (561) 715 0447 or ed@ileadershipsolutions.com
Jim Leonhard –California – (916) 550 7075 or jimhl@ileadershipsolutions.com
Olger Draijer –Europe-(+352) 45 88 35 or olger@lse.lu
Paul Schonenberg – Europe – (+352) 621 23 3131 or paul@lse.lu
Peter A. Arthur-Smith – New York- (212) 332-8907 or peter@ileadershipsolutions.com
© 1994-2017 Leadership Solutions, Inc (MALRC) All rights reserved

by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc.®

“I had an hour scheduled for each of them, and by the end I was really clear about the company’s DNA, and the values that were really important to everyone who works here.” Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Strauss & Company, NY Times, Sunday Business, June 2017, Corner Office by Adam Bryant.

 

   

   Chip Bergh was sharing the approach he took when he first joined Levi Strauss. In fact, he interviewed the top 60 people for one hour each – that’s 60 hours of work that he considered was so important for gaining a good feel of the company’s culture. For a company that started in San Francisco in 1853 and is still privately owned by the family, he had a lot to find out.

 

He sent out a listing of four questions in advance for those 60 people to answer.  These questions were:

» What are the three things you think we need to change?

» What are the three we have to keep?

» What do you want me to do?

» What are you most afraid I might do?

 

Four great questions that open up to many possibilities. Similar to ones this writer has used during advisory assign-ments over the years, as a means of coming close to understanding the pulse of an organization. Bergh used them as his orientation to Levi Strauss; although, when you think about it, they are questions for CEOs or Presidents to ask at least every couple of years. Such questions, asked of the right groups of people, can definitely help put key executives in greater touch with their people’s mindset.

 

Without a doubt, there’s a strong case for asking such questions at two levels: 1) from a good sample across the entire leadership levels – that is, including first and mid-level leaders, where they exist. 2) From an appropriate sized, random group of frontline people. The second group provides a way of tapping into an organization’s thoughts beyond the leader levels. For small leader clusters, at least 50 % of them being interviewed should do the trick: likely by an out-of- the-hat’ drawing. When it comes to frontline staff, at least 30% random drawing would be a good start for a smaller entity. With a larger entity, maybe a 10% drawing of frontline people from across the board should be sufficient.

 

Quite apart from what the CEO or President would learn; just think of the likely accolades resonating from all organization levels: “Our leadership really cares to listen!”

 

To make such an exercise welcome on future occasions – bearing in mind the recommendation of doing it at least every two years, rather than just as a one-off – two things need to occur:

  • Provide prompt, fair and balanced feedback to your organization after the initial question-interview phase, to confirm your understanding as President/CEO/ leader about what was heard.
  • Establish initiative teams to act upon the information received, so as to reinforce ‘what’s going right’ and upgrade ‘what’s not going so well,’ especially with regard to people engagement.

 

Despite the potential number of issues being raised that need attention; don’t make the mistake of trying to address them all at the outset. Instead, pull your top echelons of leaders together, split them into groupings of no more than six in each group, and ask them to rank their top three: in terms of ‘what’s going right’ and ‘what’s not going so well,’ especially in terms of people engagement. Then reconcile from the total numbers of participant-groupings, the overall top three listings for both factors. An exercise like this will help induce buy-in.

 

Pair-up either six of your most trusted leaders or six pairs of people with the most future leadership potential. Then charge each pair to pick 2-6 members from across the organization to work with them on one of the top three ‘what’s going right’ and ‘what’s not going so well.’ Each team can come-up with two initiatives to cover both factors by indicating: WHAT? HOW? WHO? WHEN? WHERE (to go for advice or help)? Wherever relevant, these initiatives should be linked to people engagement. It helps, as the initiative teams are working through their strategies, for them to give themselves an interesting team name for the duration… it adds some spice to the team effort, particularly if the names are somewhat unusual.

 

By pairing-up certain people to move these initiatives forward; not only does it avoid everyone waiting for the CEO to act, but it also encourages others to get involved and help lead the way. It also enlists them to contemplate issues affecting the entire organization, rather than thinking only about their own smokestack. Furthermore, by drawing-in people from across the enterprise, it expands buy-in, enriches thinking, and exposes potential people talent to making important contributions.

 

Done well, everyone will be looking forward to the next round within the next 6 -18 months. This will be especially true, assuming the CEO goes out of his/her way to sincerely acknowledge all initiatives that have concluded on a positive note. You know: we tend to be rather quick to criticize or complain about our organizations, although are much slower to acknowledge a good job done. Why is that?

 

Whatever acknowledgements are made: they don’t have to be elaborate, expensive or time-consuming – as long as they appropriately relate to the merits of what has been accomplished. Be that from a token gift, a book voucher, a day-off, a personal thank-you note, an inexpensive lunch, etc…or a combination of these ideas. With such acknowledgements, not only will participants feel good about their participation, they will send the right positive signals for future teams to do the same. Hopefully, volunteers will be queuing up to participate in the future.

 

 And so: in terms of getting your people more engaged; you learning more about the pulse of your organization; and in knowing more about its DNA: when do you propose to get started? It could be the most valuable organization investment you’ve ever made. Of course, it requires a degree of commitment and work on your behalf, but what could be more valuable than knowing that your organization will ‘watch your back’ and give its-all?

 

To learn more about workplace people engagement, talk with:



Arnie Friedland -Long Island – (516) 446-6447 or arnie@ileadershipsolutions.com;
Chris Garratt –Europe- (+352) 2631 3384 or chris@lse.lu
Denise Lalonde – New York- (212) 974 1438 or denise@ileadershipsolutions.com
Esther Celosse – Europe – (+33) 658 867 350 or esther@lse.lu
Ed Frontera – Florida – (561) 715 0447 or ed@ileadershipsolutions.com
Jim Leonhard –California – (916) 550 7075 or jimhl@ileadershipsolutions.com
Olger Draijer –Europe-(+352) 45 88 35 or olger@lse.lu
Paul Schonenberg – Europe – (+352) 621 23 3131 or paul@lse.lu
Peter A. Arthur-Smith – New York- (212) 332-8907 or peter@ileadershipsolutions.com
© 1994-2017 Leadership Solutions, Inc (MALRC) All rights reserved

by Peter A. Arthur-Smith, Leadership Solutions, Inc.®

“Bolstered by Durant, Captivating Warriors win second title in Three Years,” sub-title of article by Scott Cacciola, NY Times sports section, June 2017.

 

 

 June 2017 brought about the Golden State Warriors’ vision to win another NBA Championship.  It was finally grasped with a 4-1 series win over arch rivals the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Warriors first two wins on home court in Oakland were quite decisive. Their third game in Cleveland was a close call in the Warriors favor, whereas the fourth was a decisive victory for Cleveland when it hit back hard. The two teams’ fifth and final game back in Oakland see-sawed at times, although the Warriors hung on for a nine point victory.

 

What a contrast from a year ago, when the championship series went for the whole seven games and Cleveland ended up winning the last two. Warriors’ fans were stunned. Their team had just completed a record breaking season of 73 wins and was on a run during their 2016 post-season

games. Many reporters gave them high marks for team leadership, strategy and their quality team members. Stephen Curry was their star player with a strong supporting cast of players. Their coach, Steve Kerr, was also given strong endorsements by commentators. It would be unforgiveable for them to lose out on the 2016/17 season, again.

 

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love came together, as Cleveland’s most talented players, during those final 2016 games to cause the tremendous upset. Warriors’ fans will point out how they lost Draymond Green in the crucial fifth game, due to a suspension, and Curry wasn’t playing at his best because he was recovering from an ankle injury. So with such an upset, the question was: ‘What were the Warriors going to do differently going forward into the 2016/17 season, if they were going to return as champions once more?’ Clearly they had some soul-searching to do by way of our pathfinding – Simple Success Strategy – model depicted above – Vision-Strategy, People-team, and Leadership. The Warriors’ thinking in each area dribbled out into view over time.

 

Their Vision-Strategy: to be the best basketball team for years to come, was still very much in place: as confirmed in the same New York Times article quoted above. Its author also wrote: ‘The Golden State Warriors will forever be known as one of the most talented teams in the history of the NBA…’ However, in June 2016, it was quickly announced, after their record breaking 73 wins during the regular season, that their strategy wouldn’t be to top that number in their 2016/17 run. As a team, it realized that by aiming for that 73 number again, it would just exhaust players before the playoffs.

 

When it came to their People-Team: they had a stroke of luck. Although the Warriors were comfortable with Curry’s talent and that of many of its other players, it realized that it wasn’t practical for him to take Cleveland’s full defensive as a lone star player. He had to miss games in the 2016 playoffs due to an ankle injury, but those playoffs also showed his weariness after their tremendous regular season record run.

 

To the Warriors extreme good fortune, Kevin Durant, a star player of the Oklahoma Thunder, was becoming a free agent at the end of the 2016 season. Durant was approached by Golden State which had a great team culture and the potential to win another title. He had never been part of a champion team or the holder of a highly-prized championship ring, even though he was in the finals against Miami a few years previously.

 

Although there were concerns about having two gifted stars on one team – he and Curry – its selfless team approach appealed to him. So he jumped ship and neither he nor the Warriors have regretted it one bit. Durant has now earned his first championship ring with his winners cap. He’ll also get a trip to meet the US President, as all winning teams do. All the things he had been denied during his days at Oklahoma, despite his considerable talent.

 

Durant put up some outstanding, consistent point numbers during the playoffs, especially during the final series. His cool demeanor and clever talent has been a boon for Curry, who has been able play under less overall pressure; even though the Cavaliers did double team him during game four in Cleveland.

When it comes to leadership: it would appear that the ownership board and Warriors coach, Steve Kerr, have all remained in place to provide leadership stability. Game followers were made aware that Kerr has had a tough time since late 2015 when he underwent back surgery. That surgery apparently didn’t go well, to the point where he had to be absent from court sidelines in recent weeks. To cover an associate head coach, Mike Brown, was brought in to bolster coaching efforts and lead courtside efforts when Kerr was unable to be there.

 

Ironically, Brown was the former coach at Cleveland Cavaliers for two stints in recent years. He was the primary courtside coach for the Warriors during Game 1 of the final series, while Kerr sat it out in the players’ locker-room. There must have been undoubted irony in Brown’s mind with coaching against his former team. Who knows whether LeBron James helped spike Brown’s departure at Cleveland, since it’s more than likely James plays a prominent part in off-court player calls; which, Winston Lue, the relative rookie Cavalier coach, probably goes along with? That wouldn’t have happened with Brown, who seemed to perform well in his cameo finals appearance for the Warriors. His team won that game by a large margin.

 

Having won its second championship inside three years, Golden State now has to start preparing for the 2017/18 season and the possibility of another championship run. In fact, it will likely only have a matter of days to enjoy its current 2017 victory before starting to seriously think about next season. It will have to go through re-examining and integrating its whole cycle again: Vision-Strategy, People-Team, and Leadership.

 

Successful teams like the Warriors have to operate in the same way as successful businesses and institutions. If they seek ongoing success, they must regularly review their pathway. Too often they don’t because they become too immersed in the here and now. They take care of today’s games and let tomorrow’s games take care of themselves. One of the chief reasons that teams like Golden State can win two championships inside three years, with the promise of more to come, is because they devote sufficient time to thinking about “tomorrow,” too.

 

To find out more about building a strategic pathway, talk with:



Arnie Friedland -Long Island – (516) 446-6447 or arnie@ileadershipsolutions.com;
Chris Garratt –Europe- (+352) 2631 3384 or chris@lse.lu
Denise Lalonde – New York- (212) 974 1438 or denise@ileadershipsolutions.com
Esther Celosse – Europe – (+33) 658 867 350 or esther@lse.lu
Ed Frontera – Florida – (561) 715 0447 or ed@ileadershipsolutions.com
Jim Leonhard –California – (916) 550 7075 or jimhl@ileadershipsolutions.com
Olger Draijer –Europe-(+352) 45 88 35 or olger@lse.lu
Paul Schonenberg – Europe – (+352) 621 23 3131 or paul@lse.lu
Peter A. Arthur-Smith – New York- (212) 332-8907 or peter@ileadershipsolutions.com
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