Building dynasties from the inside out - the Saban Way
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Saban recognizes that training the “entire” individual produces a cohesive organism propelled toward exceptionalism. In your organization how many ‘trainings’ are sponsored by HR as one off events, or as one - or two- day information download-type programs?

How many on going “live and interactive” development programs are happening, with follow-ups and on-going tracking of progress?

At Purpose&Co we believe in the long game, building integrity, both in the architecture of the organism and in the fibre of the parts that make up that organism. Nick Saban clearly understands the importance of recruiting and nurturing the attributes that build the winning structure he’s developed. He has a team of coaches, trainers, experts, counselors headed in the same direction. 

In the end, and he says this often, “if we can simply execute what we know how to do, we’ll be alright.” That is not possible each and every day, but to know that the weak link is not a fragmented plan going in disparate directions dramatically raises the opportunity for success.

For the original article, click here

Scott Miller
Team building is BS – Individual and team Purpose is the key
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I had one of my best team buildings with the management team of my former company many years ago. We went rafting - it was amazing. Beautiful nature and great company. It was also one of the most ineffective leadership teams I have ever been part of. Nothing changed when we came back.

So you soaked stark naked with your entire department in a Japanese bath, you’ve done the original zombie survival training with your team members to learn survival skills, and you even took them to pet depressed dolphins at a water park – all in the name of creating strong relationships and bolstering team spirit to improve collaboration and unity. Well, at least you’ve had some days out, because team building is just a waste of time and money. Events like these may get people to feel closer temporarily, since shared emotions can help bonding. But those situational bonds will cave in under the day-to-day pressures of an organization where people have to deliver results.

In 2011, senior HR leaders at Mars decided that they would try to crack the code of how to maximize team effectiveness. The resulting research – which drew on data from 125 teams – revealed that most of what we thought about team building was wrong. Quality collaboration does not begin with relationships and trust: it starts with a focus on individual motivation and team purpose. The questionnaires revealed that team members felt the most clarity about their own individual objectives, and felt a strong sense of ownership for the work they were accountable for. Collaboration turned out to be an idealized and vague goal which diluted accountability. Results also showed that leaders had to let people figure out how they wanted to work together in a way that helped individual progress and objectives. A year after the research and the training that followed, their growth had rocketed up 33%.

Strong relationships and trust do matter to collaboration, but they are not the starting point. They are the outcomes of dedicated people striving together. Connecting collaboration to the motives and purposes of success-minded team members is the key to productive teamwork.

So if you are going team building cancel it, unless you are planning to work on the purpose of the team and agreeing on simple behaviors that will propel your team to fulfill its purpose.

If you want to read the original article, click here

mickey feher

It has been my tradition for the last 15 years – whenever engaged as a leader in a team dynamic focused on generative change – to call forth and intermittently employ the magical attributes of the “Talking Circle”.

My initial exposure to this ancient tradition was over 20 years ago, during a period under the tutelage of a Native American man and his wife up in the Catskill Mountains in New York.

During those Talking Circles, a group of us would sit around, trying to find a comfortable position on the crusted soil to endure what sometimes lasted for four to six hours. The instructions were simple and few. Each person had a turn with the talking stick. Once possessed, your charge was simply to share what was in your heart; which we all understood as a code for, “whatever you want to speak about”. There was to be no cross-talk, as well-meaning as it might have been, so one could speak without fear of interruption. Finally, the speaker could go on for as long as they needed to.

This setup exercised two fundamental skills. For the speaker, the ability to verbally express themselves and the ability to listen to one’s own thoughts in real time; for the non-speaker, the ability to listen for long stretches of time while allowing thoughts to come and go without the need to act, verbally in this case, on one’s impulses, or hold onto thoughts or ideas considered precious.

As I began to transport the construct from the rural ruggedness of the Catskill Mountains to the linear worlds of academia and corporations, I was struck by its adaptability. Let me explain.

In the academic setting, one of the most pervasive challenges for the instructor (leader) is to eliminate the authority students project onto them. Unconsciously, they will tend to see the leader authority figure as the parent – which is problematic, as it serves as a buffer between real and non-real information. The leader is not the parent, they are simply a human being assuming a role in a team setting that holds no higher value, intrinsically, then any other role.

The colossal communication challenge facing our species is to overcome the inability to discern between present and non-present information.

When I see my parent in a leader, and act through that filter, I am no longer able to respond adequately to what is happening right in front of me. The inefficacies and waste that occur in the corporate world due to these missed connections can be mammoth. Equally so when I, as a leader, see the members of my team as my children.

Behaviours and habits shift due to a shift in action, not a shift in thought alone. If thought does not manifest into action, the isolated information in one’s own head will not provide enough energy to shift behaviour ritualistically. One of the reasons why action tends to be a more powerful change agent than thought is that manifested thought takes a large outflow of energy and commitment. The other reason is that action instantly creates a relationship with the outside world, and with it comes all the information and power that creates the power of momentum, the momentum of thought, others’ actions and eventually your own reaction, etc.

Back to the circle talk…

To efficiently use the circle talk in academic and professional settings, I’ve had to adjust some of the parameters from the original Catskill version.

1) We all have a specific time to talk (as opposed to unlimited). This could be 5, 10 or 15 minutes, or any time period you feel makes sense for the given circumstances.

2) There is a timekeeper who raises their hand one minute before the end of the allotted time. The speaker acknowledges that they’ve seen the hand and begin to wrap up what they are saying. Who the timekeeper is should shift a few times.

3) The no cross-talk rule still applies.

4) As a leader, I am usually the first person to talk, in order to model the spirit of the talking. In business, generally, there is a cost/benefit relationship – it is no different in circle talk. It is valuable if it costs you something.

5) There can be no referencing or referring back to what was said by others in the group before you spoke – which helps maintain the “I” perspective and also preserves the power of your words. So often in our verbal interactions, I utter something, then you utter something which changes my words. It is not often that I get to verbally express myself and it can live in the space without anyone else’s influence quickly dripping all over it.

5) Often I start the talk by posing a question such as, “What am I presently working on in my life?” or “Ways I am seeking to evolve/improve and the challenges that come with it.”

6) You may choose to leave it free-form, though – especially if circle talk becomes a daily, weekly or monthly ritualistic way of checking in with the team.

There are many hypotheses on why this circle is so effective:

1)    The removal of status. Remember, actions rather than thoughts are the agents of change. The action of the allotted time (which is a synonym for space) being equal for everyone – regardless of their role outside the circle – starts to dilute the biases and inefficiencies that come from status.

2)    Being listened to and heard (a synonym for seen) without fear of interruption is something usually enjoyed only by those with perceived power. It is helpful to train everyone in an organization to embody their power, which is usually conditioned out of us as children in most upbringings. (More on that in a later blog.)

3)    If I can actually accomplish the task of listening to others without forming an agenda, “what I’ll do/say when it is my turn to speak and when I have the power,” I will soon understand the incredible power of the verb to listen. With this power, the ability to listen not just with your ears, but also with your eyes, and all your senses and intuition, begins to develop. What also becomes illuminated as a possibility is that we may actually have most of the answers to the present questions in real time, when we need them. Anxiety nosedives.

If you have any questions about this approach, feel free to reach out – I am happy to share.

Scott Miller
Forget Higher Purpose!

You can forget your Higher Purpose if you are not ready to walk the talk. Just think about it… a very touching paradigm shift has started to transpire in recent years: organizations have finally started to embrace the concept of a higher purpose. Purpose beats mission, vision and values. The latter ones have the organization as their focus and are all about the organization and its inhabitants: mission (what business are we in?), vision (where do we see ourselves in a few years’ time?) and values (what do we stand for?). Purpose, however, looks at the organization from the outside to consider the difference it makes in people’s lives. Purpose adds an additional dimension to an organization: it personalizes products and services, and instead of being a purely transactional system it becomes a relationship.

This paradigm shift can lead to more engaged and passionate employees and higher profits, but employees are all too often cynical about the lofty concept of a higher purpose, and for good reason. Just to name a few recent incidents: Australia’s 7-Eleven and Domino’s Pizza have been underpaying staff while executives have been lining their own pockets; Australia’s biggest banks were cheating customers and viewing their dealings with them as purely transactional.

These above examples clearly illustrate why it’s so hard for organizations to walk the talk, and why it would sound hypocritical even to begin a discussion about creating a higher purpose while the existing transactional culture persists. So the challenge before launching a purpose campaign is to fairness-check senior-executive pay, employee wages and working conditions. Otherwise your efforts might just be met with collective eye-rolling.

To read the full article, click here.

mickey feher
What will you do today to rethink and encourage creativity?

You want to foster creativity at your organization to fuel big ideas, spark innovations and open new doors to success. You put your teams through empathy and creativity trainings and try to enhance brainstorming sessions by planting more whiteboards in the office. Meanwhile, your employees feel that they are stuck and lack a creative outlet. In fact, 87 per cent of the global workforce feels the same. Employees feel that the leadership doesn’t support or encourage people to come up with creative ideas. So what are you going to do to eliminate the discrepancy between what you want and how your employees feel?

First of all, you have to rethink creativity. To get started on it, ask yourself the following questions. What is your own definition of creativity? Can you really expect your team to think and do things differently if they are being limited to your own definition of creativity? Are you limiting creativity at your organization by using it interchangeably for design thinking, improv or product development? How do you respond when your team brings up fresh and novel ideas that fall outside of what's considered normal?

Creating and communicating clear boundaries within which your team can feel safe to experiment will also enhance employees’ willingness to be creative, and you also have to think about how you can add clear incentives and rewards to make your people feel they have more space and time to be creative. You have to celebrate your team members who step up to share creative ideas or lead such efforts.

If you want your people to dare to be creative and explore unknown terrains, you have to stop using ‘creativity’ as a buzzword and should integrate it into your organization’s culture.

If you want to read the full article, click here.

Scott Miller
If your top talent is leaving - your strategy is a waste of time...

What is your biggest concern for the coming years as a manager or executive? Global recession? Climate change? Political instability? Or rather, developing ‘Next Gen’ leaders and attracting and retaining top talent? If it is the latter, you’re definitely not alone as you fall into that 64 or 60 per cent of leaders, respectively, who when surveyed in the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, said that their biggest concerns for the future were developing effective leaders and attracting and keeping them so that they can successfully tackle the countless challenges ahead.

Only 41 per cent of those responding to the survey believed that their organization’s leadership development program was of high or very high quality, and more than third of the leaders asked said that they were moderately or even less skilled in identifying and developing future talent, while 58 per cent of the respondents had never been mentored so they had little knowledge of how to mentor others.

Even HR professionals are convinced that identifying and developing future talent is the most crucial skill leaders will need in the coming years. So are your leadership-development and leadership-management skills up to scratch? If not, here are a few pointers on how to start. First of all, make a genuine assessment of all leadership development programs and processes at all levels. Then create a plan with the goals of supporting leaders’ success in the present and building a solid pipeline of successful future leaders. Make sure that this plan is embraced by your current leadership and aligned with your strategic goals. Then you have to train your leaders to have the skills to identify and develop talent.

If you want to know all the main findings of the Global Leadership Forecast 2018, and to know more details about how to develop your leadership-development and leadership-management skills, click here.

If you are interested in how to use Purpose in recruitment and nurturing top talent or you want work out a fully-fledged training program to develop leadership talent, then have a look at the unique method we can offer you.

mickey feher