"Branches & Roots": A Look at Strategy and Competition Through the Lens of Business and Sport
A Banyan Tree Strategies Communication
Not A Time For Quiet Historians
We are fourteen months out from electing our next President, and the United States along with the ever connected world we live in are processing significant challenges to the status-quo. Long standing issues that have been simmering on the back burner are forcing their way to the front page, and the images can leave us stuck with a dilemma. Let the image of a face down child on the beach sink in, or not. Imagine being on a train in France or a community college in Oregon and what you would do if fate put you in the line of fire, or not. Picture being shot or beheaded because of your religion, or not. Try to process what appears to be a 7th century problem that you can do little to solve, or skim over it and complete your daily tasks in the fast changing 21st century present. All of this leads us to believe that now is not a time for quiet historians. Our historians typically pick up their craft as the living die off. Historians exist in the background weaving the fabric or our past together into a coherent narrative in the hopes that we might learn from our mistakes and fail forward in the future. It is at times like this that I hope our story tellers will emerge and work with our leaders to craft solutions that spread our infectious positive American energy both near and far.
Back at the Banyan workshop we have been fortunate enough to come across three quick performance enablers for you and your teams. In this edition of Branches & Roots we will explore:
• If you are looking to hire a young president, your odds improved in 2015.
• When working with a medium to large group of entry level employees we came across what we call the L3 solution for getting the troops to perform their best.
• Finally we are happy to pass on some wisdom from Nick Saban on how you can control your future with two little words, AND or BUT.
• Book Review is here and we have a look at the book "Team of Teams" by Stanley McChrystal.
Hail to the Chief
Article ll of the U.S. Constitution states that in order to be President of the United States you must be 35 years old. The closest the country has ever come to having a President this young was Teddy Roosevelt when he assumed the office in 1901 at the age of 42, and John Kennedy was elected at the age of 43. The age of 35 sits in the back of people’s minds in the modern day work landscape. It stands to reason if you are old enough to be President of the United States, surely a true star performer of that age can lead your company, or a large division. With that thought arrives 2015 bringing with it the largest crop of men and women turning 35 since 1999. You guessed it - the oldest members of the millennial generation are turning 35, and turns out they are finally buying homes and cars in droves. However, this story isn’t about consumer demand or that having children typically turns even the most ardent non-conformist into a safety freak. We want to add one more statistic to the mix. The millennial generation now makes up 45% of the entire workforce, and if the rumors are true that only a millennial can talk to millennial, then you had better hire the oldest one you can find to lead the rest of their lot.
We have spent the last 3 years working and leading this generation and find the future to be bright, if not different. Institutions will be questioned and doubted, self service will be preferred to full service, and sharing a car or a house with a stranger will not just become markets, they already are. So strap on for a wild next 10 years while the Millennials are given more and more responsibility and if you are looking to pick up a new language, we suggest it's emoji.
Winning the Troops Over Without a Hammer
Keeping with the theme that 45% of our workforce is not into autocratic leadership, we came across a solution while working with a few clients for getting your lowest paid employees to help set your company culture on the correct path. We started by identifying everyone into three categories, the Leaders, the Followers, and those that were Adrift. We then coached the supervisors that when they had the opportunity to individually encourage a specific worker, they give them category appropriate coaching while suggesting they show a certain type of leadership trait. We believe that until the team isn’t saying what the coach is saying before he says it, you haven’t said it enough. Doing this with a smile on your face makes everyone realize that you care, and that it really is quite simple, which makes it safe for them to try it.
Here is what we learned. You stick to three types of leadership traits, Effort Leadership, Inspirational Leadership, and Performance Leadership. You typically encourage the Adrift employee to be a leader by their effort and to engage in the team by following the leaders on the team. You encourage the Followers to be a leader by learning how to inspire their fellow team mates with their communication in attitude and respectful communication. Finally you encourage your current Leaders to be performance leaders and to keep recruiting the Adrift teammates to engage in the team effort. This cycle of 3’s has really worked and helps the supervisors offer customized encouragement and coaching for the employees to self-direct.
How to Get the Roles Right on Your Team, From the Beginning
Nick Saban has won more football games in the last 10 years than any other coach in America and sits atop one of the most active volcanoes in the country, the alumni of the University of Alabama. He was recently interviewed by David Feherty on The Golf Channel and he delivered an insight that we can’t stop repeating in our meetings. He referenced his time in the NFL when they would look at potential players and the one page player information sheets would all look the same, everyone was big fast and strong. He remarked that the coaches ended up looking for two small words at the end of each page, AND, or BUT. Clearly this was where the scout was sharing the character traits of the player and as we all know character counts, even in the NFL.
The insight we would like to add is that if you find yourself putting in a lot of effort into a group, or a company, or even a hobby and you aren’t getting much help or having the success you seek, it could be that you have an extra BUT that is keeping you from making progress. Take a look at the role you are playing, how it fits your strengths and then see if you need to make a change or two to get the added benefit of a reputation AND in that situation. Most of the BUT’s in your life are not eternal and heck even the Snickers candy bar company has run TV ads showing people getting a little cranky and then being their normal self after a little chocolate refreshment. Nick’s advice to his players is sage perspective for all of us, and the good news is you can pivot quickly and keep improving.
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement For A Complex World by Stanley McChrystal
We began this newsletter with some sober thoughts around human safety and are greatly encouraged by the work that General Stanley McChrystal recently completed in Iraq. He weaves in the realities of our war with Al Qaeda and how they adapted their teams’ efforts to survive against an enemy that appeared to have no center. The correlation between the life and death consequences of our troops and our more sanguine business efforts is artfully composed and one main point rings through. To compete in the future, decisions must be pushed to the very edge of the structure and they must be trusted and be able to adapt with as little friction as possible. Without spoiling the ending, he even encourages us as leaders to think like a gardener…
Complete Annual Newsletter Volumes