Can you imagine if you didn’t have access to a mirror? Those who are not so concerned with their appearance might be thinking, “That might not be so bad!” But consider how you might feel if you were a model of some kind and your livelihood depended on making sure your appearance was just so. If you needed to make sure that your hair, clothing, make-up, etc. were just right, all in order to make a living, you wouldn’t ever want to be without some way of knowing how you looked and what adjustments you needed to make, right? That would be unacceptable. Now imagine having that same lack of awareness of how well you were doing and what adjustments you needed to make when it came to developing mastery in a certain field or learning to lead other people. What if you never received any feedback on your effectiveness, your performance, strengths, or areas of opportunity you needed to address? For a leader, that situation would be no less acceptable, and yet it is a reality for many of us.
The defining moments of the culture transformation journey are those moments when someone decides to sign up, go beyond compliance, and truly commit to a cause greater than themselves. These moments can come about when someone reads something, hears something, engages in a conversation, or has a certain experience, and suddenly feels a connection to the movement. These defining moments have the possibility of occurring all around us every day, but we can only seize those opportunities by keeping ourselves open to them by keeping ourselves in the right conversations and frame of mind, connecting with the person or groups we are speaking to, and by being on the lookout for reasons to choose to offer up our own genuine commitment to the cause. To convince others to join the cause, they need to know that we are not just interested in going through the motions of implementing programs and checking boxes while skirting the real issues and avoiding the real conversations. Unfortunately, most of these opportunities are squandered while we are too busy talking about them but not really saying and doing anything that makes a real difference. More often than not, it is the corporate leadership that has difficulty conveying and cultivating these defining moments, if for no other reason than the fact that they often take bird’s eye view, while frontline leaders are in the trenches and can quickly tell what works and what doesn’t.
If you have never worked with friends and family, either at a conventional job or in your own business, you might imagine it to be one of two things, depending on your relationship to your kith and kin. If you have a great relationship, it can be so much more fun and rewarding than working with strangers, and if you have a so-so relationship, it can be more difficult than working with strangers. But if you have a bad relationship, it can be a catastrophic nightmare that you feel you will never escape from unscathed! That last reason is why you have heard so many people probably tell you, “Never go into business with your family/friends!” Of course, at The Ghannad Group, we did just that and things have worked wonderfully. As such, I’d like to present a few tips for those thinking of doing the same, in hopes that their experience will be just as rewarding as ours. (And just as a side note, I will be focusing more on working with family than friends, but most of this advice is applicable to both situations).
In this episode of The Transformative Leader Podcast, I am delighted to bring you a conversation with a fellow kindred spirit and leadership development professional, Scott Eblin of the Eblin Group. Using his decades of experience in the corporate world, Scott brings unique insight and holistic perspective to bear in his practice, providing powerful and actionable ways for executive level leaders to consistently perform at the next level. While both Scott and I have similar philosophies when it comes to leadership development and training, as well as making our writing style accessible to the masses, he has been in the game for considerably longer than myself, so you won’t want to miss this interview to see where we agree or differ. (Spoiler alert: We agree on everything!)
Before I continue with this post, allow me to pre-emptively address some criticism: I know to some people I’m already “cussing in church” when it comes to the title! I am well aware that I’ve already offended those of you who invest so much in the hallowed tradition of making sure that just one of your employees feel special every month. You maybe have clicked on this post just to object! If that is you, then I’d ask you to bear with me. I realize I have a strong opinion about this topic and I’d like to make a case for my opinion. I also respect your strong opinion to the contrary and if you write a post or comment in support of your position, I promise to read and consider it. With that said, let me tell you why your “Employee of the Month” program—and a few other things you do in the name of recognizing your people—may be doing you more harm than good.