Are You Looking For “An ASS To Kick”…” Throat to Choke” or a Solution to a Problem?… (There is a difference)

When things go wrong, (or not according to plan) how do you and other leaders in your organization react? (go ahead, be honest…it’s just the two of us…) Do you and other leaders look for “What ASS to Kick” or “What Throat to Choke”? Or do you focus on determining and defining the problem and setting out to develop a creative solution?

Your answer will determine if you are on a “market leading” team, or a “market Losing” team.

Predictably our President Obama used some hard talk, harsh rhetoric in a recent interview. I am not going to debate if he was too cool and calm to this point, and if he should have or shouldn’t have said he was looking for “What ASS to Kick”. What I want is for you to watch this You tube clip of the interview and ask yourself how it makes you feel if this was someone you reported to.

Go ahead click this link…I will wait…

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wQ3nSUdsOeU .

Ok, so how did it make you feel?

 

Before we judge the president too harshly… do you or your organization allow and practice this behavior of blame storming? You sure? When I saw this interview I first thought his language was predictable in the sense that the news media was challenging his calm demeanor during this crisis. So I expected some much stronger language. However when someone in a position of leadership takes this bully approach it quickly makes me feel like they are not a part of the problem or solution. It as if they are a leader trying to distance themselves from the problem as opposed to owning it and being a part of the solution.

When a business leader speaks like this to his or her team ( or me) , they are basically saying…” I don’t know what to do…I am frustrated…my assumption is you know the problem …the perfect solution, and you are choosing not to work,…you are not motivated( accountable)  to execute what needs to be done for one reason or another…and I am tired of looking bad” It’s ok to admit a problem frustrates you. However it is not ok to take your frustration out on others.

Leaders who jump into blame storming mode are more concerned about how the current situation makes them look…”politically”. They are actually fear motivated as they are fearful of how the current situation may somehow attach and tarnish their personal reputation. Blame storming is about reducing their exposure, their fear, by becoming “above” the situation. The trouble is when you enter fear mode, your creatvity needed to solve the problem shuts down.

Do you feel you would be loyal to a leader so quick to look for someone to “Throw under the bus?”

 

Market leaders gather data and perform triage not to find a “Throat to Choke” ( hold people more accountable) but to establish truths versus relying on their gut and intuition.

Market leaders clearly define the problem and humbly seek the advice of experts that have solved problems like this in the past. They seek out advice and develop a plan, a roadmap to a solution based on the data gathered and they manage the process not the people.

Market leaders use problems and challenges to strengthen their teams, and their teams loyalty to them and the organization.

So again I ask….What kind of organization do you work for?

 

Is there ever a time “ASS Kicking” or Throat Choking” is the solution? (I don’t think so but hey…I may be wrong. so please share)

 

Should we seek out “who to blame”?

 

Or

 

Should we clearly define the problem and set out to solve it?

 

Or do you believe ( as one CEO said to his senior leadership team before a  board meeting) : “We need to identify a fall guy for —– as I do not want it on my head”

Again, feel free to argue with me…but I believe people come to work with the desire to add value, the desire to make a difference. If you truly have an accountability problem then shame on you as the leader for allowing it to result in a problem ( disaster) like you are now facing.  Accountability problems do not just show up one day, they fester over time.

As the leader, your job is to create a culture that focuses on the problem and not the person. 

Your role is to  rally your team to break through problems and roadblocks. ( not look for someone to  run over)

Advertisements

Entrepreneur Best Practices: #19 Interview those who Exit and identify Roadblocks to Achieving Your Strategic Objectives…

exit sign

Market leading entrepreneurs value data and feedback. They seek and are constantly sensing the changing needs of their internal and external customers. When an account or employee exits your team, make the time for an exit interview with the mission of identifying roadblocks that are standing in the way of your team’s performance execution and success.

I shouldn’t be surprised, as it happens so often… a key account leaves an organization and very quickly the team moves into “good ridden mode” with comments like; well they were slow pay anyway. Or “they were a pain since the day we signed them” …or “they were not all that profitable anyway”…and so on. Team members assume they know why the customer left and often quickly close the file, and or arrogantly say …” they will be back, our competitor sucks and is not as good as us…”

Market leading organizations understand the value in interviewing customers who chose to leave to improve the overall experience of the customers that stay and future targeted new clients.

When you contact a client that has chosen to leave your organization the key thing to remember is the goal of your call; gain insights into why they left and not try to sell them or win them back. I have often been the one to make those calls as the salesperson who served the account can not help but try to win them back. Your mission is to understand, from the client’s perspective why they chose to leave, take detailed notes without “defending the fort” and reflect on that information. As you review what you learn look for roadblocks and “no-see-ums” in the overall customer service experience. Your team will be “assuming” it was price. However I have found price is rarely the true wedge that drove the relationship apart.

road block

Just as you interview clients that leave, you must also conduct exit interviews with your team members that voluntarily or involuntarily leave. In this interview you are trying to gain insights into roadblocks and or disconnects in initiatives in relation to your teams flight plan or roadmap. You will need the emotional intelligence to handle the often harsh criticism particularly if the separation was not voluntary. However the leaving team member has no incentive to play politics and their raw feedback is actually something market leaders value as it is can be acted upon once verified. For example you may learn you have dysfunctional “kingdoms”, silos within your organization that are more about the silo than achieving the strategic plan. You may learn that a perception senior management has is a significant disconnect with the market reality of today.

Team members who leave have information that others who may be busy blame storming are not articulating.

Interview team members who are leaving before they leave and you may be shocked that a key assumption or two the senior management team has is a significant disconnect with the reality of the market today.

 

How about your organization…..

 

 

Does your team have a procedure to interview clients who chose to leave you?

 

Do you interview employees who are leaving your team?

 

When you conduct those interviews do you have the emotional intelligence to listen and later validate or do you defend the fort?

 

 

Market leaders value feedback. Market losers believe the only view that matters are theirs…what kind of a team do you serve?

 

Entrepreneur Best Practices; #2 Dismiss or Distribute “Yafo’s” quickly …

flight plan

 

 

Entrepreneurs are an amazing breed. There is nothing like the thrill of launching a new product, service, and or business that perfectly solves a market need. Entrepreneurs are wired differently. It’s as if we have radar for problems and an inner passion to connect and solve them…we can’t turn it off. I share this in my recent pod cast on the struggling entrepreneur.(Episode 101A)

Market leading entrepreneurs understand how to harness and focus this gift, this blessing.

 

As the biblical prophet Jimmy Buffet says…” a blessing becomes a curse if you keep it to yourself”. So it literally drives us nuts to see problems and solutions so crystal clear that it interrupts our drives home at night, our work outs at the gym, and worst of all time with our loved ones. We just can’t seem to shake it.

However this blessing left unchecked can also become a curse with out a filter. Since entrepreneurs see market needs and create solutions, they often can not turn off the opportunity identification gene. At a recent Tie meeting the entrepreneur who had the vision and launched Kaboodle, said it best;

“One area entrepreneurs must learn to manage is YAFO’S”.

 

Yet

 

Another

 

Frickin (edited)

 

Opportunity 

 

One way entrepreneurs can build that ever so needed filter is ;” Buy a Map” as I discussed in a previous post. When you create your road map, or your “flight plan” as I have always called it, it helps you identify opportunities that are along your flight plan and accelerate your sales velocity to your desired destination. Your flight plan also helps you see that the YAFO you have just identified is too far off the current flight plan (would delay your arrival at your goal location) and helps pull your focus back to the current opportunity.

So what do you do with YAFO’s?

 

 

 

  1. learn to dismiss them…quickly
  2. create a new company to serve the opportunity if its large enough
  3. Distribute (sell) your idea to a current leader in that space and get back to your flight plan quickly.

 

 

As I said, entrepreneurs are wired, deep in our DNA, differently. We see problems and opportunities everywhere we go. We just can’t help it. For example my wife and I were out on date night and we went to see a great date night movie; The Ugly Truth. As we were driving home, and having many discussions about the movie, it hit me; someone ought to share the “Ugly Truths “about starting and owning your own business.

 

4 hour work week

 

Far too often the people that come to me have been sold a false, get rich quick, a four hour work week , expectation. Some accomplish this but for most of the entrepreneurs I have worked with over the past 25 years it is hard work and long hours. So I wrote the eBook you can download on my blog; 50 Ugly Truths About Owning and Running Your Own Business, and why you should do it anyway. (I literally could not sleep until I set this idea free)

Market leading Entrepreneurs implement clear flight plans, and they quickly identify YAFO’s for what they are.

 

 

 

 

 

How about your organization…..

 

Do you need a filter? Are you chasing multiple opportunities and not getting anywhere fast?

Are your efforts building sales velocity? Or chasing YAFO’s that are taking you off course?

What do you do when you find a YAFO?

 

A blessing can become a curse if we keep it to ourselves. However we must develop a filter, a flight plan that helps us quickly dismiss or distribute opportunities that are not in alignment with our flight plan.

A lack of focus stalls or decimates sales velocity….if you let it.

 

Not dealing with YAFO’s correctly delays and often derails your flight plan to your goal.

 

 

2009 Health Care Reform Initiative Lesson #6: Without a Road Map Your “Administration” Will Attempt Too Much, Too Fast and Not Achieve Any of Your Goals

 philly map

 

It is an all too common problem;leaders trying to execute to many  things and not doing any of them effectively and thus missing their goals. Our current 2009 Health Care Reform is providing another lesson for business leaders throughout the world;

“Buy a Map!”

It was the late 1990’s and my independent sales representative Randy and I were working downtown Philadelphia looking for a new video game distributor. As we drove in what felt like circles we were obviously lost and frustrated. We must have passed the same hot pretzel street vendor three times, so I asked Randy to pull over in the next gas station so I can ask directions. As we pulled into parking lot and parked, I got out to ask directions, (Randy quickly locked the doors.) I thought …after all I am in the “city of brotherly love”…surely someone will be happy to give me directions… As I walked up to the bullet proof window the clerk said: “What?” I explained I was looking for the following address and I will never forget what he said…

map

Buy a Map!”          

 …little did I know then how profound that advice was when you feel lost.

A Road Map helps your organization (administration) understand where you are, where you want to be, and maps the 2-3 key initiatives  (from an overview standpoint) you plan to execute. In addition to identifying 2-3 key initiatives versus 23 or more, it also shows where you do not plan to go. Will your road map change? Sure, you may encounter a roadblock in your marketplace and you will adjust your trip plan, however you will recalculate the course to get to your desired destination.

A Mistake businesses leaders make is trying to do too much, too fast, and not execute any of your initiatives and miss your goals. When this occurs, your market loses trust in you, and you lose their votes. ( orders)

The current administration in the white house came in after a poorly executed stimulus plan. The market was already Leary of Washington’s ability to execute.

The past launch failure caused a lack of credibility and trust in the market.

Very quickly they announced the following plans;

American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.”

Close Guantánamo

Education Stimulus

Auto industry bail out

Tax Cuts

Increase Efforts in Afghanistan

Stop the Iraq war.

North Korea

New Energy

Plan for Immigration

Normalize relations with Cuba.

Auto higher mileage standards

Estate-Tax Plan

Confront Iran

Gun control

Climate plan

Plans for Israel

Is it any wonder the current administration will miss its budget projection by $2 TRILLION DOLLARS?

“Buy a Map!”

Again, this was not meant to me a political commentary but an example for us all to learn from. When you list all the initiatives your team is working on I think it would surprise most business leaders.

An exercise I often do with new clients is I meet with all middle and senior leaders and ask what they are working on. Very quickly I determine if I am helping a team that has a road map and is aligned.

When I polled CEO’s not long ago asking what concerns them the most;

Finding out six months into a launching a strategic plan that my team members are not executing to the plan.

The leading cause of teams taking on too much and team members acting on their own initiatives not in alignment with the overall corporate strategy is the lack of a road map. So…

“Buy a Map!”

Once you develop your map you must prioritize the initiatives that made the cut. You must assess what your team has the capability, financial resources and skill sets to execute. You will identify 2-3 key initiatives…not 23…54…or 76 .

Market leaders assess their capabilities and create a road map for their organization and share it with all team members.

Market losers lack self control and alignment that results in many initiatives and they fail to execute any of their objectives.

Market losers resort to name calling and blame-storming.

Less is more with a Market leading Road Map.

How about your …administration?

Have you added initiatives to your plan to hit your numbers or identified 2-3 you plan to do well?

Do you have a way to filter new opportunities?

What causes your team to be distracted from the road map?

Do you know your companies road map?

Do you and your leadership team need to …”Buy a Map!”?