Visions and Attitudes
Welcome to October and the fastest 45 days of the year. The first six weeks of the 4th quarter are a doer’s dream, no matter the setting the players are playing. If it is going to get done in 2017 action is required. A challenge that arises with all this activity is what to do first, and how to work with others when accomplishing larger tasks. These choices fall right in line with the conversations we have been having with leaders for the last five years and sharing with you in Branches & Roots. A lot of it comes down to this question: who is going to do what by when, and whom are they going to tell about it?
Our most recent conversations have been centered on visions, budgets, attitudes, and energy. We hope these summaries are helpful for you as you lead yourself and others through this short six week season.
Does Your 2018 Start With a Budget or a Vision?
We have found the answer to this question changes depending on the location and altitude of the person you are asking. What about in your own life? Do you start with a set of numbers, or with a dream? Your financial position is a vital component of your decision making process, money has rules and realities that are as consistent as the law of gravity. What you can afford to do and how to allocate your resources is a vital constraint you should have a handle on for 2018.
In the context of business, we have had a similar conversation several times in September. What does the budget look like for 2018? Who is getting more, who is getting less? It keeps your eyes down and it kills creativity. In this scenario you grab as big a budget as you can, and then justify how you are using it during the year to help the unit, and your compensation for overseeing the projects. We have come to call the people adept at this tactic BUDGET HOUNDS because they can smell the scent of a budget a mile away and think of little else once on the trail.
Our observation is that being a budget hound maybe good in a crisis when you are just trying to get to the next year, but if you want to get somewhere different and better, you need to learn how to dream. We all need to practice dreaming, and then writing those visions down and turning them into action.
Jeff Foley is a retired Brigadier General and a friend. In 2015 he gave a Ted-X talk in Augusta, Georgia where he walked the audience through how to script out a vision for the next five years.
Your budget will help you get there as a constraint for financial discipline, but without a vision and a written out target your chances of meeting those goals are slim. Enjoy Jeff’s video where he talks about Character, Attitude, Vision, Excellence, and Relationships and how they can all fit nicely on a yellow pad of paper.
Attitudes and Energy
These are the mantras I heard growing up and have continued to share into adulthood. Few people would contest the fact that attitudes matter; it’s just such a pain to changing them in others. Most of the time we just move on.
Recently, we encountered a situation where a leader couldn’t move on. They had a team that was mostly bulletproof from a job standpoint, and it was the manager’s job to improve the productivity for the company. Blowing off the attitude was no longer an option. What to do?
Through research and interviews we started to tease out how attitude and energy (or what some might call productivity) are highly correlated. From a science perspective this is not a ground breaking discovery, most parents have come to the same conclusion. The learning came from just how quickly we could turn attitudes around, and tap into the hidden energy reserves with some well-timed listening and consistent leadership behavior.
The simple science: Miserable people do not outperform optimistic people. Optimistic people are distracted less and stay on task. They are optimistic because they know the answer to the question: why am I here, and why does this task matter to me and others?
The learning: To get a group of miserable workers to become optimistic when you don’t have the ability to pay them more, or even make their work day that much different comes down to understanding how to use gratitude as a trigger for changing attitudes. You then identify the influencers and listen. Mark when and where they are either leading the team higher or lower from an attitude standpoint. Do some careful study work with the influencers, away from the group, and find the key intrinsic motivators (see image below) that matter to them and the group. You should be able to meet some of the intrinsic needs of choice, autonomy, progress and competency within the construct of the required tasks. That combined with gratitude as an agreed upon foundational value of the group, has proven to turn a group of miserable adults with a boss into an optimistic team with a humble leader.
Banyan is working on its own 2018 to 2022 vision and we will be testing out a few new micro-brands. “The Team Leader Club” and “Leadership Hub” are both concepts we will be sharing as we create content and learning offerings for people in the five theaters of self, family, work, community, and your network. Our current thinking is to offer our expanded network of 3100 followers a series of member benefits for being under the canopy of Banyan Tree Strategies. You are a member, you belong. Several questions we have been noodling on are:
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