How to Attract Top Talent at Your Company

7 Ways an InSPIRED Culture Keeps the Best People

Lack of direction, definition, and subsequent re-work exhausts the team, leads to missed deadlines, and lowers productivity. 

About $1 million is wasted every twenty seconds due to poorly executed business strategies. You might as well light your revenue on fire, because poor execution will send whatever you earn up in smoke. 

When you hamper productivity, blow through finances, and destroy relationships—even unintentionally, you create the unholy trinity of culture gone wild. 

In the end, when you fail to execute, you’re not only hurting the bottom line, but also betraying the trust of your people. Who puts faith in someone who can’t be trusted to complete the plan? When trust leaves, commitment isn’t far behind. 

If you promise an inspirational culture but don’t deliver execution, inspiration turns to exasperation, especially for the top talent you need to stay engaged on your team. Remember, talent always has a choice. 

The best people want to get things done, not stagger in and out like zombies. 

On the other hand, a team that drips Inspired Culture can plan to catch—and keep—top talent that keeps them on the rise. 

You Can’t Afford to Miss This

If you’ve had the privilege of working in an InSPIRED culture, you’ve already experienced some of its benefits. But you may not have realized how deeply this kind of culture can impact the entire organization. 

In my years of working with companies and helping them build InSPIRED cultures, here are some of the benefits I’ve discovered. 

InSPIRED culture…

  • Attracts the top talent. Talent always has a choice. Especially in today’s highly mobile work environment, the best people can go anywhere to work for anyone. So why would they choose you? A healthy culture produces all the intangible quality-of-life benefits that top talent demands. Even if they may be able to make more money elsewhere, they’re more likely to join a team where they like the leader, are treated fairly, and feel connected to a sense of purpose.
  • Maximizes top talent. A healthy culture is a pro-growth culture that seeks to empower everyone on the team to deliver his or her best in the areas of their greatest strengths. If you think it’s too much trouble to maximize your current talent, try not doing it. You’ll soon be left with only the employees who lack both the skills needed at present and the ambition to grow in the future. Not good. 
  • Retains top talent. According to the Qualtrics Global Employee Pulse 2017 study, “employees with a high confidence level in their company’s senior leadership are five times as likely to remain with their employer for more than two years compared to employees with no confidence.” It’s that simple. If your people believe in you as a leader, they’ll stay. If not, they’re five times as likely to leave.
  • Increases productivity. When your employees are engaged, you’ll get more done with fewer people because you won’t be carrying the weight of disengaged employees. At the end of the day, a healthy culture grows the bottom line (and possibly, your own performance bonus).
  • Frees you to focus on the future. It’s amazing how proactive you can be about tomorrow when you’re not having to put out fires today.

Is Your Team INspired or Exasperated?

What are the marks of inspired culture? 

1. INtentional. An InSPIRED culture begins to form when you get intentional. Some companies and leaders try to succeed without ever understanding why. But how can you replicate what you don’t understand?. Excellence is never an accident.

2. Service. More than ever, service matters. An InSPIRED culture serves both external and internal customers. How people experience your team or organization over time becomes their expectation. Their expectation of you becomes your brand. 

Is your brand one that serves others well, or is it a self-serving brand? Do you even know? 

3. Passion. What fires you up? What passions fuel your best performance? Inspiration may influence you, but passion moves you and motivates the people you lead. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what your product or service is—if you’re in leadership, you’re in the people business. And people run on passion.

4. Integration. Everything is connected in your organization. But how well do all the parts and pieces work together? The gears and sprockets that make up the inner workings will determine whether you produce inspired results or the clock expires on your results. 

If you’ve ever found yourself thinking, “It really shouldn’t be this hard,” then you know the pain of disintegration. 

5. Real. As much as business leaders focus on hard data like production numbers and the bottom line, real people touch everything and determine long-term success. Everyone is wired for greatness, but not everyone is wired for greatness in the same areas. 

Consequently, the best leaders develop a team of people who lead where they’re strong and team where they’re weak. To do that, you must first get to know the people you lead in a real way. 

6. Execution. Why do you need to inspire? Results. And to get results, your team has to execute. If you don’t actually get things done with an accountability cadence, all your work becomes merely a relational exercise. 

The reason you need to be intentional, service-focused, passionate, integrated, and real is so you can execute with excellence to achieve optimal results.

7. Develop. Once you achieve excellence, the question becomes: can you sustain it tomorrow, next week, and next year? The best leaders know they can’t stand still—they must continue to develop. So how do you and your team do that? By choosing to get better every day. Leaders must choose to develop continually. 

Top Talent Always Has a Choice

If you promise an inspirational culture but don’t deliver execution, inspiration turns to exasperation, especially for the top talent you need to stay engaged on your team. 

Remember, talent always has a choice. The best people want to get things done, not stagger in and out like zombies. 

BUT—Imagine for a moment that in your particular sphere of influence you create a thriving culture where people are happy to come to work.

They love their jobs and are proud of the work they do. They push each other to greatness and, as a result, they execute with excellence. People are real with each other, because they are living with authenticity. 

They follow their passions, because you’ve put them in the right seat on the bus. 

They serve one another because they know a rising tide lifts all boats. And they aren’t stagnant, because you’ve created a plan to help them develop and grow. 

Do you think a team like that would get noticed in your organization? You bet.

Why Your Winning Team Should Act Like Sled Dogs

Build a Thriving and Efficient Force for Productivity and Support

Part of what makes the great Iditarod race such an inspirational feat is the level of teamwork necessary at every step. 

What looks like a bunch of dogs all doing the same job is actually a multi-faceted team—trained, orchestrated, and equipped by their musher. 

A full team is made up of 16 dogs, running in 4 different positions. Every dog has a particular strength, and every musher knows exactly which dogs will play each position best. 

It takes the same analysis and social understanding to create a winning team in the workplace! 

Let’s look at each pack member in detail and how their strengths translate to your team. Keep in mind which of your own members would thrive in each position. 

Who Are Your Lead Dogs?

Lead dogs know their way on the trail without being watched and you can trust them to make decisions guiding others on the team. 

Lead dogs are smart, possess initiative, common sense, and the ability to perform even in less than ideal conditions. 

How can you tell which of your team members will execute well as a Lead? 

Some will take that initiative pretty early. But sometimes you take a leap of faith on an untested pack member— and they surprise you

Let the Leads get to know your heart, and keep them close. Learn to develop a mutual intuition and give them access where the rest of the team might not have. 

Watch for their health, so you don’t have to replace them. Make sure their “paws” are in good shape—in other words, make sure they are free to run without anything hindering their running with all of their potential. 

Stay Prepared with Swing Dogs

The best teams have members who can operate in other positions. The Lead can be a burdensome place that wears, wearies, and stresses.

So it’s natural for mushers to have their ‘leaders in waiting’ to run in the next position—which is Swing. These dogs have to be leaders in their own right, and for many, becoming that Lead dog is the next natural step. 

Swing dogs are directly behind the leader, understanding their moves and translating that to the rest of the team. 

They ‘swing’ the rest of the team behind them in turns or curves on the trail. They protect the Lead dogs from attempting a turn—only to find the rest of the team choosing not to follow! 

They are crucial to making sure everyone makes the journey and stays in sync. 

Pro tip: When Swing dogs are able to rotate with the Leads, both sets will remain fresh and the results will show. 

The Powerhouses: Your Team Dogs

Not everyone on your team will be a Lead dog. In fact, if you had a pack full of them, your mission would probably fail. Chaos would ensue with everyone trying to lead.

That’s why, settled in the middle, are Team dogs. 

They don’t have to be concerned with the stress of leading and the sled is a comfortable distance behind them. They are free to simply pull with power and run. 

These pack members make up the momentum and pull you need to get the race done. To get the project finished. To keep going towards the prize. 

Most of your Team dogs will never be Lead, and they are fine with that. But you know what? If we didn’t have them, we couldn’t do what we do. They are vital to every pack—and every business. 

We should accept that the race is not their life—and let them run from 8 to 5 as hard as they can, then clock out and leave it all. 

Steady the Sled with Wheel Dogs

Wheel dogs run at the back of the pack, but are important for the steadying element they bring the entire team.

It takes a calm and even temperament to run close to the jolting, unpredictable sled.

These dogs know how to pull with power and steadiness to maneuver the sled around turns and rough bumps. (Not all dogs can handle it, nor should they.) 

The sled is not always pretty—things like cash flow and layoffs and contingency planning. There are things in your business that not every pack member needs to see and some will be scared off by. 

Which people do you allow close to the sled of business? 

Team dogs need to run unhindered from the burdens of the sled. But remember, even Wheel dogs that are closest to the sled are still not on the sled itself.

Though Wheel dogs are seasoned confidantes, people you count on to help you turn the business, they’re not meant to be pack mules for your emotional burdens. 

Keep an eye on those boundaries, establish outside sources of emotional care and support, and you’ll keep the Wheel runners—as well as the team as a whole—healthy.

Create Your Racing Team

Of course, your people aren’t actual racing dogs. And you probably don’t wake up every morning, tie on your fur hat, and climb into a wooden sled. 

But it’s still true that how well your team performs is in direct proportion to how well you know your people and put them in the right spot on the team. 

All positions are necessary. Knowing which ones your team members naturally play and allowing them to run there not only increases their satisfaction, but can lead to better team performance in the long run. 

Building the perfect team is rarely a sprint—more like an adventure of endurance that is wildly rewarding to those who take the time to learn and truly prepare. 

As always, if I can help you maximize your team’s unique talent, drop me a note using the form below.

I have the best clients! THANK YOU!

This past week, I was received the letter of induction into the CSPTM. Earlier in the month, I received a call that said my clients, you guys, had awarded me the highest rating since they have had the new scoring. I am, truly, honored to serve the best clients on the planet and will continue to take the Leadership and Culture message to as many as we can reach!

THANK YOU!

Chris

Advice to New Hires

In the podcast on the first 100 days, we started the business discussion around new hires. The question was, “If you are new to a position, what should your first 100 days look like?”

The first 100 days is that learning time frame. It’s a time to know and to become known. This boils down into two questions:

  • What creates Influence?
  • How do I influence here?

What creates Influence?

I’ve used the B.A.R.K.S. acronym for years to help individual contributors and leaders to work on building their influence, building the trust of others.

B – Be Consistent.

A key component is to become a known commodity. Being consistent allows everyone to know and count on you. Early on, you are an unknown. It is important to become know is a consistent, go-to player. People trust what they can count on.

A – Attitude

Of all the areas to be consistent in it’s attitude. Even while you are learning the organization and moving toward making a business impact, you can, immediately, make a difference by modeling the best attitude. Be that positive voice that can-do attitude!

R – Real

While being that voice of positivity is important, authenticity is just a key. There will, almost always, still be the ‘feeling out’ period. The period of time when we put our best foot forward and insure that others only experience the best we have to offer. In the midst of that, if your actions and attitude seem fake or over-the-top, it will hurt not help. Being Real, being authentic allows people to trust your character, your intentions, and your motives.

K – Knowledge

Knowledge is a key influence factor. We need to trust your character AND your competence. Where you have knowledge, share that knowledge. The experiences and insights that you have gained can be offered in a way that demonstrates that you have a level of subject matter expertise. As an additional point, when you are new to an organization, it is a great time to offer your knowledge in a way that says, I know ‘x’ but how does that apply here? Is there something different here that might change the context of what I know to be true? or true in this situation?

S – Serve first

Having a serving attitude and being one of the first to jump in, go the extra mile goes a long way to earning respect becoming known as a value-added contributor.

The B.A.R.K.S. methodology is a great basis for building that trust bank account and developing an internal brand that says I’m the real deal and delivers results while contributing to a positive culture!

Learn the Organization

When you are new to an organization, it’s important to learn how to succeed in that organization. Every leader and every organization has a little different approach. Each leader and each organization values things just a little different. This is termed, “Lens Theory.” We all have different views and we see things through our ‘Lens’. When you apply this organizationally, it means that there are things that matter to your leader and what is means to be a valued contributor in THIS organization.

  • Learn your Organization
  • Learn your Leader
  • Learn your Team
  • Learn your Role

Key points in learning the Organization are around people and process. Who are the influencers? And How do things get done around here?

Results are key to influencing within an organization but what that means and how it is accomplished can be interesting between different business units. In addition to learning how to get things done, you may discover who has influence. When you take the time to learn who has influence, who has formal and informal power, it can go a long way toward your success!

Obviously, one of the first influencers you want to learn is your immediate up-line. Learning what your leader values, their personality, their priorities, their methodologies are key in adding value the right way.

I know it’s a blinding flash of the obvious, but here’s a good 1-liner to remember:

“Adding value in a way that the leader doesn’t value – doesn’t add value!”

We have to learn to lift our leader – to add value to our leader – in ways that the leader prefers.

Wrapping up for today, it’s key to be very intentional during your first 100 days. This can be a critical time to build your reputation inside an organization. In quick, ‘Fullerism’ fashion:

Learn how to ‘Bark’ and how to “bark’ here!

Have a great week!

The First 100 Days…

In 1933, then President, Franklin D. Roosevelt coined a phrase discussing the actions during the first 100 days of a congressional session. It stuck as a ‘yard stick’ of effectiveness.

The beginning of any new venture is when there is a lot of passion, energy, and enthusiasm. Belief is high, optimism is high, and people are expecting change. Sadly, for a President, it is reported to be the highest favorable rating period. SO – if the next 100 days is when I have the greatest opportunity to make my mark, the time when I have the most grace, the most belief, energy, etc. – then I should leverage THAT to accomplish as much as possible.

A conversation around this became week’s podcast and, although Brett and I were remote for the first time, there is a wealth of leadership insights in this quick 20 minutes or so.

**Disclaimer ** None of the podcast or blog contains anything around politics – just concept and leadership lessons.

Brett pointed the conversation into 3 different groups: Individual Contributors, Leaders, and Senior Leaders.

For all 3 groups a key is to learn the organization: “You can’t lead in an organization that you don’t know.”

For our time on the blog, I’d ask you to consider your present scenario. What are 3-5 items that, if they were complete in the next 100 days, would create significant impact in your 2017?

I want to encourage you to take a fresh look at the next 100 days of your life and/or business.

With a renewed energy of someone coming into your scenario for the first time:

  • What needs to change?
  • Where should you focus?
  • How and where should you channel effort and energy?
  • What are the next 3-5 steps for each?
  • What resources are needed?
  • How can I get my team to a greater level of understanding, buy-in, commitment, and effort?

Let’s call a sprint! A 100 day, focused effort, renewed energy, bust through the barriers sprint! It will pay amazing dividends for the 2nd half of the year.

There is so much more about this on the podcast. In listening to it, again, I captured 3 pages of take-aways!

This morning, I am committing to focused energy by attending a local event on how to grow your speaking/consulting business, as I did a few weeks back when I attended a week-end conference.

Do I want to give up my Saturday morning? NO! Would I like to chill, rest, hang out? YES! But I am dedicated to paying the price that others won’t, to attain what other’s don’t!

For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!