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How To Set Goals: 3 Practices for Leaders

SUMMARY:  (5 min read) Our team has created three strategic objectives for 2021 to support your workplace. The following article is about a leadership practice for how to set goals based on our observations.

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I am going to say something hard…so get ready. 

Buckle up. 

If we want to talk about productivity on our teams and about excelling and even exceeding what we have done in the past…then we have to talk, first and foremost, about…you. 

It is tempting and can even be addicting to talk about our teams or people as the loci for the challenges and setbacks we have. But, as Ron Heifetz and Marty Linsky put it, “when you belong to the organization or community that you are trying to lead, you are part of the problem.” Leadership on the Line, (p. 90). 

OUCH. And, this is deeply good news—because if you are part of the problem then you are also part of the answer. 

As leaders we would love to keep people accountable until all problems melt away and there is ease at work. But all too often we are reluctant to see ourselves on the playing field and acknowledge that we are not only members of the team but also contributors to the problem. If you want accountable teams the bucks starts, and stops, with you. 

We must first get accountable with ourselves, secondly, model it, and finally encourage/enact it. 

Getting Accountable with Ourselves 

In Dr. Cloud’s work he makes a pretty radical and profound statement about leaders, “You are ridiculously in charge.” Boundaries for Leaders, (p. 15).

 So, think about what your greatest concern or challenge is in your department…and then ask this hard but important question:        

How am I contributing to this? 

If you are willing to ask this question of yourself, and then of members of your team, you will begin where all leaders need to, with yourself. 

Try saying something like this: 

“I noticed that our communication could be stronger, can you tell me ways that I communicate that team members may think is weak and what you would do differently to make it stronger? 

Then, just listen. 

Don’t argue or make excuses. 

Take notes. 

And then, as quickly as possible, put that feedback into practice. 

Model it

Once you have taken the step to practice “Getting Accountable,” you have developed a real strength in your leadership. Model it well. 

One simple but effective way to do this well is to narrate it. This is a powerful tool for helping people hear the new story you are telling, or new culture you are creating, with your team and your business. Don’t assume they are just picking it up. Narrate it. It could like this: 

Let’s break this down.  Notice these 7 elements to Narrating Accountable Change:

  1. State your intentions
  2. Action Taken
  3. Ownership
  4. Clarify
  5. Intention
  6. Their Responsibility 
  7. Gratitude 

(Find a helpful worksheet here)

Encourage/Enact it 

Are people refusing to communicate? What are you/have you done to fix the miscommunication? You must address it promptly and hold them to the change. How do you communicate effectively with your people? Are you modeling good behavior? If so, then you can ask the team to rise to this occasion. Are you stopping poor behavior? If a team member continues to communicate ineffectively you must take action for their sake and for the sake of the team. 

Cloud points out that, as the leader, you create the memory from which your team operates. 

Looking at this example around communication, think about it this way:

 If you communicate well, you tell them:

  1. What is allowed, and 
  2. What is not allowed,  if you refuse to allow poor communication from yourself or between others. 
  3. This creates Memory. They have experienced you communicating effectively and experienced you supporting anyone whose communication is not strong to strengthen it so, they can relax and do the work, we call this productivity.

It then becomes simple/memory for your team to see your actions and follow your lead. It also becomes simple/memory for you to illustrate that you live out the same expectations you have for them—so you expect nothing more and you will not tolerate anything less. 

We look forward to having more coaching conversations with leaders this year that lead to accountability and productivity. 


SquarePatch Objectives 2021

This year, our chaplaincy team has three strategic objectives birthed from what we observe in the workplace during the pandemic:

  1. Coaching conversations with leaders that lead to practices that directly impact their leadership and performance.
  2. Create practices that help workers and the workplace have more purpose, meaning, and joy.
  3. Deepen the quality of our care with employees that directly impacts their personhood and performance.

These objectives came out of a time of observing and listening to the losses and longings employees and leaders have shared with us.  They will function as a means to see transformation in lives as well as the workplace.  We want to impact both the person and their performance at work, believing that the personal and professional are somehow tied together.

Under each objective, we’ve outlined some actionable items and themes we’d like to focus on with leaders…again based on what we observe and hear from the worker and and the workplace system.  

We believe the workplace deserves purpose, meaning, and joy by nurturing a humanizing environment through care, coaching, and counseling.

3 Key Practices For Improving Communication and Trust

What 50 years of Business Leadership Taught Mike…

First, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the strength, wisdom, and commitment you’ve got to lead your co-workers, especially in a company that leads your industry! Second, let’s acknowledge the frequent changes that you have to face and adapt to, while maintaining the course towards your company’s vision and goals. It’s not easy and can be exhausting. Stay the course!

In this month’s article, you’ll learn from a business leader on how to strengthen lines of communication between executives and managers, and what accountability and mico-management “sounds like”.

Meet Mike Druce

Last Fall, I had the privilege of spending a weekend with extended family and connect with Mike Druce. Over the past 50 years, Mike had various leadership and executive positions in some major industries:

  • Former VP of a national logistics company that currently serves Home Depot, Lowes, and Costco.
  • Consultant for a global logistics company for mineral mines
  • Consultant to municipal power for the State of Arizona, and Fukushima Power Plant, Japan.
  • Currently a consultant for a small business developing advanced machinery.

Waiting for dinner to be served, I realized that Mike was a “goldmine” of business knowledge! So I sat with him and asked him about leadership in the workplace:

Q. What is the most important piece of advice you could give from your experience to a leader or executive?

A“The biggest obstacles to a successful organization/company is mismanagement of the people and miscommunication.”

Out of all the things he could’ve said that are big obstacles (money, competitive industry, economic downturn, regulations, a pandemic!), he saw “mismanagement” and “miscommunication” as the biggest factors in seeing the success and failure of companies he worked for/with.

There’s a saying, “the problem is also the solution.” In leadership life, it’s very easy to see people as the problem in a company, but Mike sees the people we lead and work with as the key solution to problems in our company. Rarely is a product or service the answer.

Mike briefly shared about leaders that shut down morale, dignity, or team feedback and caused long-term harm, even if short-term results appeared successful. Employee training & performance naturally rise when competent leaders are in place.

This led me to the next question. I was looking for a simple but reliable practice that any leader could do….

Q. What is the top need for Executives/Directors on a weekly basis?

A. Mike said the #1 thing that made a difference for his success was: “One-One meetings (30 min-1hr) with 2 levels of leaders – managers and supervisors they oversee.”

  1. Why 2 levels? Because the leader can get the best picture of how things are going in that department/team. This was preventative practice against miscommunication because some managers may not willingly share important info to their directors/executives. It created a way to improve the organization with better results.
  2. Motivation for weekly meetings may not be easy for some leaders. However, it’s a powerful tool that affects employee morale. And, according to research, morale directly influences a company’s goals and results.

Q. What happens in those one-one meetings?

  1. He communicates company updates to the manager, which helps keep the big picture in mind.
  2. He discusses what’s working well for the team/dept, strengths he observes about the manager’s recent work, and opportunities for improvement.
  3. For the remainder of the meeting, the manager is invited to discuss anything personal or work related. The manager can share any feedback, complaints, concerns, and even personal life updates. If the employee had nothing to discuss, the meeting was over.

One time Mike had one of those weekly meetings. When he was done giving updates and discussing business, it was the team leader’s turn to share anything important. The team leader said no, but he did want to announce that his baby was born recently! It was a time of strengthening connections. Those weekly meetings with managers and supervisors strengthened the relationships and common bonds he had in the company.

One important thing leaders can remember to do is to ask for feedback from people they oversee. Naturally, giving constructive feedback to a leader or executive can be intimidating, so it’s up to a leader to keep communication lines open.

A company-wide expectation that yielded huge results:

Mike also pointed out a key company expectation from all employees that made a huge difference in focus, organization, and productivity: All new employees on day 1 were taught, encouraged, and reminded that they have freedom to ask questions about why a task/procedure was done a particular way. If a supervisor/manager in the next 2 levels above the employee couldn’t answer it, then the director/executive must fully re-evaluate the task or process.

It was PAINFUL, but it was worth it.

This standard practice prevented a lot of wasted time, energy, and money.

Another piece of advice Mike mentioned was, “the job of a manager / executive is obstacle removal and accountability of the work- not micromanagement.”

But what do those words really mean? What do they sound like in a workplace? This graphic describes what it may sound like…

You’ll notice that if more people speak the language of accountability and obstacle removal, not micro-management, there would be an increase in trust in one another. A company with strong ties of trust can do great things.

Summary

Mismanagement and miscommunication are obstacles to company success. Here are 3 important ways to reduce them:

1) Have weekly one-one meetings with managers and supervisors, preferably two levels of leadership.

  • In leadership meetings, point out what is working well, what you admire about the leader’s work lately, and opportunities for improvement. 
  • Make time to hear what concerns or obstacles the manager/supervisor needs to discuss (Use the “Asking for Feedback” questions as needed).

2) Set a company expectation: Asking why a task is important or necessary is welcome. It may be painful for leadership, but it will yield great results.

3) What does your workday sound like? Micromanagement undermines trust in your leaders and teams; Accountability and obstacle removal are important practices that build trust.

Leadership Practices: Setting Goals

SUMMARY:  (6 min read) Our team has created three strategic objectives for 2021 to support your workplace. The following article is about a leadership practice for how to set goals based on our observations.

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And for leaders, everything in the workplace is about change.  

Story From The Road

I recently read a story that a leader was trying to implement some new procedures for his department.  Some were on board.  Others were good either way.  And some were fighting him every step of the way.  The story goes on to say that he couldn’t understand why, after he had explained the benefits of the changes, some associates were pushing back.  

After being asked to observe from the balcony (take a step back), he realized that, for the most part, those who were accepting the new changes were newer to the department and those fighting the policy changes had been with the company for years.  It was only one observation.  

More observing needed to be made so he went to the “balcony” again.  The department as a whole wasn’t kept accountable in times past.  He interpreted this symptom as a reason for why some were pushing back.  One member said, “why change things when the way we’ve been doing them has worked for us”.  The manager went back to his office after hearing this feedback, put his hands in his face, and released a slow sigh.  But he didn’t give up there….

The last observation he made was that he was new to the department and was still establishing a relationship of trust and rapport with the members.  

He told the team, “I understand that I’m making some policy changes that are different.  Why change things if they’ve worked in the past, right?  I’m coming in new to the company and some have been here for two decades.  I respect what this team has done.  I’d like to see our department break records this year.  That might require all of us to make some changes we’re not too comfortable with at first.  But I promise to listen as we move towards our new goals.”


Discovering The Real Goals

Goals are intrinsically about change and transformation.  As leaders, we set up goals because we have a vision for what can be.  The challenging task is working with others to achieve the stated goals.  While I don’t like pithy “bumper sticker” statements, it is true that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK- but not when a leader isn’t observing and listening to their team.

Before you start to set goals for the year, it might be a good idea for you to slow down.   Here are some practical steps of what it looks like to be a “listening leader”:  

Figure 1: Leadership Adaptive Models (see worksheet for more details)


Leaders Look and Listen

The work of the leader is to listen.  A professor at my school starts his leadership course by writing on the whiteboard, “Leadership begins in listening”.  Pay attention to the longings and losses to those we’ve been entrusted to care for. 

“Listening turns the attention of a leader to other people’s pain points instead of our own institutional survival or grand projects. Listening helps us focus our energy, build momentum, and strive to make a genuine difference.

Tod Bolsinger, Leadership for a Time of Pandemic

We look forward to having more coaching conversations with leaders this year that lead to a clarity of GOAL setting with the use of adaptive leadership skills.  


SquarePatch Objectives 2021

This year, our chaplaincy team has three strategic objectives birthed from what we observe in the workplace during the pandemic:

  1. Coaching conversations with leaders that lead to practices that directly impact their leadership and performance.
  2. Create practices that help workers and the workplace have more purpose, meaning, and joy.
  3. Deepen the quality of our care with employees that directly impacts their personhood and performance.

These objectives came out of a time of observing and listening to the losses and longings employees and leaders have shared with us.  They will function as a means to see transformation in lives as well as the workplace.  We want to impact both the person and their performance at work, believing that the personal and professional are somehow tied together.

Under each objective, we’ve outlined some actionable items and themes we’d like to focus on with leaders…again based on what we observe and hear from the worker and and the workplace system.  

We believe the workplace deserves purpose, meaning, and joy by nurturing a humanizing environment through care, coaching, and counseling.

brown and green grass field during sunset

Covid Care

Given the recent wave of Covid cases, I have received calls for spiritual and emotional care. There are so many thoughts and emotions one may feel:

  • How did this happen?
  • How is my body going to react?
  • When will I get back to feeling normal?
  • Will my friend or family member recover soon?

In some cases, the symptoms have increased to the point of requiring hospital care and long term recovery. Mostly, others experience symptoms that the CDC has already described as mild, but still requiring rest and recovery.

For those who find themselves in either case, it may be helpful to talk with a chaplain. Sometimes friends and family members want to listen and support but don’t have the words or experience to truly understand what you’re going through.

Some of the benefits of speaking with a chaplain include:

  • A safe place to process what you’re experiencing and make sense of what you’re going through
  • Identify spiritual, emotional, or daily needs and have a plan to receive support
  • Receive prayer or short term counseling care
  • Receiving spiritual/emotional care has shown to be a vital aspect of recovery

If you’ve been exposed to Covid and would like spiritual/emotional care, the following options are available for support:

Call or text the corporate chaplain at your worksite (HR will have the contact info as well)
We can utilize online platforms such as ZOOM, Facetime, or Facebook Messenger to do a live video chat.

As chaplains, our hearts grieve for those who lost loved ones due to Covid. We have seen an increase in calls due to hospitalization or the death of a loved one. We are available to provide grief care for you and the family.

Your health and recovery matter. Honoring the loss matters.

Peace,

Chaplain Roy

Personal Pain and Purpose // Professional Pain and Purpose

Personal Pain and Purpose // Professional Pain and Purpose

Much of what we do centers around these four realities.  

  • Personal pain.
  • Personal purpose.
  • Professional pain.
  • Professional purpose.  

As chaplains, we’re navigating these worlds and realities with spiritual intelligence (SQ).  We’re pulling from our faith tradition, social science disciplines, business leadership, and even the arts.  We’re encouraging change and growth in these four quadrants.  

That’s why it’s so vital to have a great working partnership with the CEO, the president, the owner.  The company has the capacity to be in the business of helping people grow and change, personally and professionally.  As Phil Knight (co founder of Nike) once said after visiting one of his signed athletes at the hospital, “It’s never just business. It never will be. If it ever does become just business, that will mean that business is very bad.”  Knight understood that business was about people, purpose, coping with pain.  It was all encompassing.  

In some ways, we function as corporate chaplains (to address personal pain and a seeking of purpose and meaning), but also as corporate consultants (to address professional pain and a seeking of purpose and meaningful work).  We long to journey with an employee as we enter into their “inner culture” and learn more about their pain and need for purpose.  We also long to journey with the employer as we enter their “work culture” and learn about the company’s pain and drive for purpose.  

As chaplains/consultants, we can’t separate these two realities:  personal and professional.  In the workplace, they’re so intertwined.  We’ve tried.  It just doesn’t work.  

The aim is to be a service that engages the team member where they are and assist in helping them flourish.  

Short Term Steps, Long Term Vision

I was recently speaking with a few people about some hard circumstances they were facing.  After they shared some details about their situation, they asked me, “What advice might you have?”  What immediately came to mind was “short term steps, long term vision”.

Sometimes we find ourselves in tough spots and need some short term steps to get out of the jam we may find ourselves in.  What I have discovered is that it can feel overwhelming to face the dilemma.  We avoid it and not think about how it makes us feel.  We might experience fear, hopelessness, or anxiety if we think about the issue. 

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