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How do you improve communication 110.8%?

No tricks, no fads, just what a robust conversation can do.


We hear it all the time – the need for a ‘Brave’ conversation, tough love or getting the real issues on the table. These days this can be high risk and dangerous. A robust conversation can easily turn into a bullying claim.


But time and time again, creating a safe environment where we need to have the conversations we REALLY want to have is an art we have worked on for many years.


Recently Bridgeworks was referred to a food processing business of around 700 staff.


The task was to work with the CEO and Management team – the whole business was suffering due to the weight of poor communication and collaboration at the leadership end of business. This was made clear using Bridgeworks Team Health check. The one page summary below outlines the dire straights this business was in.



With the help of the highly insightful “How Others See Me” profile, it was clear that most relationships in the Leadership team were poor. This high quality data, prompted with well-tailored experiential challenges was used to generate targeted discussion about barriers in the team.


The results speak for themselves. 2 months following the Bridgeworks program, the Team Health check results were remeasured. (see below)


  • 110% improvement in communication,
  • 79.7% in vision and
  • 52.9% improvement in trust.


This was a massive weight off the shoulders of the CEO who felt the battle was being lost.


Now the coast and the future are much clearer.


The lesson is to make sure that you regularly measure the quality of your team’s health together with the quality of your leadership. Such insights can help bullet proof your business.


Helping Farmers get the Edge

 


Last month Wayne was asked to work with some of the top performing dairy and beef farmers in South Australia. Some of these farms have up to 25 staff and herds of over 1,000 cattle.


For 3 days we worked together exploring how their leadership can turn their respective workers into ‘Professional Teams’. The most significant highlight for them was understanding the difference between managing people and leading them.


There were a lot of laughs but equally a lot of learning. Even the greatest technicians are not necessarily the greatest coaches. For many of these farmers, this was the missing link in taking their farms to the next level of performance and production.


The fact they all wanted to develop themselves as leaders, highlights why they are at the top of their industry.


We Can Do That! (The Payoff When Collaboration Becomes the Priority)


We often hear the joke about council workers ‘leaning on their shovels’.


You could not get further from the truth with an inner suburban Council’s Works Depot team.


Nearly 10 years ago I received a call from their manager who wanted to take action to improve the collaboration of his crew of around 30. The team regularly partners with Bridgeworks to build this ‘working together’ attitude.


It’s amazing what happens when you invite the ‘brains from out of the car park’ and into the workplace.


Their commitment to learning, including getting along with others and building trust amongst their team has led to stellar results including:


  • Saving council over $1,000,000 in the first 15 months alone by making and installing signs in-house.
  • Saving over $200 per tonne treating drainage waste in-house at their own purpose built facility.
  • Scoring a perfect 100% twice in their CMP road management plan audits, thus reducing council’s insurance premiums… to name a few wins

All these ideas generated by team members (not leaning on their shovels!)


This caught the eye of their new CEO who was invited to attend the morning session:


“The depot is really leading the way in this as a department, and you and your coordinators deserve to be commended for the culture you inspire in your team.

Well done to you all – it was a delightful, inspiring, thoughtful and fun morning – thank you for inviting me!” 


Do people really trust you as a Leader?


Logical Engineering


I’m not saying engineers can’t lead people, but the bottom line is engineering is logical, people are not. Management is also more about logic, i.e. budgets, resources, ROI, where leadership is more about emotions, trust and respect – you don’t think trust, you feel trust.


So what do YOU need to do to be more successful as a leader not just a manager?


Consider the following:

You might be your team’s manager, but would your team vote for you as their leader? Titles mean nothing when it comes to leadership.


When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror? Do you really know the impact you are having on your team?


Note: At the risk of over generalising and offending a whole group of engineers, I will point out before I start that these observations are not meant as judgements and are based on all the wonderful engineers and asset management professionals I’ve worked with over the past 20 years.


Engineers and Asset Management professionals are generally very process oriented, data driven and logical. They are usually confident of their decisions because they are backed up by quality data. While these are all great characteristics, they’re not necessarily characteristics that develop good relationships.


I often see highly technically proficient people being singled out for their excellent work and suddenly given a team to manage. The organisation will say, “Actually, you’re very competent at this process, so therefore we are promoting you to be the team leader.” Immediately the skillset required changes completely. Those highly technical skills honed over many years have to be shifted towards people skills – understanding a group of people who each have different motivations, personalities and egos.


  • The real challenge is that people no longer want to be ‘managed’
  • People want good leadership.  Do you know the difference between ‘managing’ & ‘leading’?
  • You might be your team’s manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?


Here are four questions that will dictate your personal, leadership and team effectiveness.


1. Why does your leadership style work with some people but not with others?

  • When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror?
  • Do you understand the impact you have on your team members and colleagues.?
  • Are you a bridge ‘burner’ or a bridge ‘builder’? This is where the name of our organisation, Bridgeworks, originated. Exploring how well you build bridges with people.

It takes courage to look in the leadership mirror, but then again leadership is about courage. Those that need to look in the mirror the most, resist the most.

One process we use is called ‘How Others See Me’. It’s not like the classic 360 feedback tool, which measures what you do.  How Others See Me measures more who you are – your behaviour, your attitudes, how you build trust and your interpersonal effectiveness.


2. Have you thought about what motivates you, compared to what motivates your staff, family, others?

  • Do you understand that you can only motivate yourself, but you can influence others – positively or negatively?
  • We are not talking about ‘rah-rah’ extrinsic motivation more intrinsic motivation – what gets you out of bed in the morning.
  • What drives you, what drives your team, what drives your teenage kids!!

Dr William Marston back in the 1920s wrote a book called Emotions of Normal People. He was fascinated at how people behave differently, and in particular how the Greeks 2,000 years ago went about classifying behaviour. If you were a direct, confident, strong-willed person, you were called ‘choleric’, whereas if you were someone that’s more laid-back and ‘She’ll be right mate’ you were seen as more ‘phlegmatic’.

In the 1960s Dr John Geier, developed the ‘DISC profile’ based on Dr Marston’s principles. Since then over 50 million people globally have used DISC to help them understand why people do what they do. We will be exploring this tool during my session at Mainstream Conference.


3. Do you understand the real difference between management and leadership?

You manage ‘things’ but you lead ‘people’. Both are important – a job or project has to be done, but people need to be engaged in the process.

How well do you engage others?

As mentioned earlier management is more about logic, where as leadership is more about emotions. In your past have you worked in what you considered was a good job but with a poor leader? Their technical skills and process was excellent but people skills lacking. I’m sure this environment didn’t get the best out of you.


4. Do you understand why being trustworthy does not always build trust?

Do understand that people build trust differently? What are your strengths and weaknesses in building trust?

Many people in senior management roles assume their role makes them a leader.


Leadership has nothing to do with your management title, the size of your office or even your MBA.


IQ does not correlate with emotional intelligence (EQ).  Leadership is an EQ skill and it should be seen as a ‘special gift’ from your ‘followers’ based on trust and respect, not position power or formal appointments.


You may believe that you are ‘trustworthy’, but why is it that some may NOT trust you?


To simplify ‘How to build trust’ we will be working through a powerful model – ‘The 4 Elements of Trust’. This provides a logical system in understanding how best to build trust with others. Elements include; straightforwardness, openness, reliability and acceptance. We all have a preference for certain elements.


Ask yourself these simple 4 questions above. Quality leaders continually do this. They are prepared to learn, be more open to change and be able to build a climate of trust and respect with their teams. Their leadership harnesses the best from their teams and stakeholders.


Isn’t that what we all want?


You can hear more from Wayne Dyson at Mainstream Conference in March 2017 (in Melbourne and Perth). Join him for a 2.5 hour interactive workshop “Engineering is Logical, People Are Illogical” – People Skills for Engineering Managers” to discover a logical, practical, easy to use system to understand yourself and others you work with.

 


The Business Culture Trust Matrix: What Builds a Great Business?

Profit and productivity are directly linked to business culture. It follows that culture is directly linked to leadership. Leadership can either destroy or restore culture. The Bridgeworks process puts a ‘hard edge’ on the ’soft’ people skills by measuring organisational and leadership health.




Destruction of Organisational or Team Culture
- How Culture is Destroyed


Everyone wants to work in a ‘Win-Win’ environment. This includes open, honest conversations and working together for the greater business cause. But first, let’s explore how a good culture turns bad…


 


However poor leadership breaks down this productive, engaged culture.


As culture deteriorates, employees will take one of two ‘downward’ routes. These are based on whether the company puts them first or they put themselves first (self-centered) or whether ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’ trust the business.


You may have a high performing, self starter who provides exceptional results. For them the team may come second as they put themselves first. Eventually that ‘self-centred’ approach leads to a lose-lose work environment as fewer people choose to work with that person.


People loyal and honourable to the business tend to continue to put the business first. These people become disillusioned if they feel the loyalty and support is not returned. Disillusionment turns into self-preservation. The end result is again ‘lose-lose’.



Restoration of Organisational or Team Culture
– Bridgeworks Restoration Process


What are the issues holding us back from being a high performing leadership and organisational team? What are the honest conversations avoided because of political correctness or wanting to keep the peace? What is the vision we have for our business? Do we have one? If so, is it communicated?  Does it excite and engage staff & stakeholders? 


We may have good managers, but what we need in a thriving culture are good leaders. 


The real challenge is that people no longer want to be “managed”. People want good leadership.  You might be your team’s manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?


The first step may be to have the courage to ‘face the facts’. To admit that there are issues or challenges. An even bigger step of courage is to admit that you may have been responsible! Those managers that need to look in the mirror the most, resist the most.



Bridgeworks uses a process called “How Others See Me”. It’s not like the classic 360 feedback tool, which measures what you do.  “How Others See Me” measures more who you are – your behaviour, your attitudes, how you build trust and your interpersonal effectiveness.


If you want maverick performers in your business or team, you need to keep them accountable to the team’s agreed acceptable and non-acceptable behaviours. For your more loyal and honourable employees to be at full potential, you need to prove that any leadership attitudes and behavioural changes are real.


Acting on the data and feedback in the way you are now leading your team, your business, your behaviour proovides the best insurance for restoring culture. 


Thorugh a combination of personal and team action plans a positive road map is established taking the business forward.




Contact us to discuss how we can help your team move forward!



Engineering is Logical, People are Not

  

I’m not saying engineers can’t lead people, but the bottom line is engineering is logical, people are not. Management is also more about logic, i.e. budgets, resources, ROI, where leadership is more about emotions, trust and respect – you don’t think trust, you feel trust.


So what do YOU need to do to be more successful as a leader not just a manager?


Consider the following:

  • You might be your team’s manager, but would your team vote for you as their leader? Titles mean nothing when it comes to leadership.
  • When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror? Do you really know the impact you are having on your team?

Note: At the risk of over generalising and offending a whole group of engineers, I will point out before I start that these observations are not meant as judgements and are based on all the wonderful engineers and asset management professionals I’ve worked with over the past 20 years.


Engineers and Asset Management professionals are generally very process oriented, data driven and logical. They are usually confident of their decisions because they are backed up by quality data. While these are all great characteristics, they’re not necessarily characteristics that develop good relationships.


I often see highly technically proficient people being singled out for their excellent work and suddenly given a team to manage. The organisation will say, “Actually, you’re very competent at this process, so therefore we are promoting you to be the team leader.” Immediately the skillset required changes completely.


Those highly technical skills honed over many years have to be shifted towards people skills – understanding a group of people who each have different motivations, personalities and egos.


  • The real challenge is that people no longer want to be ‘managed’
  • People want good leadership.  Do you know the difference between ‘managing’ & ‘leading’?
  • You might be your team’s manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?

Here are four questions that will dictate your personal, leadership and team effectiveness:


1. Why does your leadership style work with some people but not with others?

  • When was the last time you looked in your leadership mirror?
  • Do you understand the impact you have on your team members and colleagues.?
  • Are you a bridge ‘burner’ or a bridge ‘builder’? This is where the name of our organisation, Bridgeworks, originated. Exploring how well you build bridges with people.
 

It takes courage to look in the leadership mirror, but then again leadership is about courage. Those that need to look in the mirror the most, resist the most.


One process we use is called ‘How Others See Me’. It’s not like the classic 360 feedback tool, which measures what you do.  How Others See Me measures more who you are – your behaviour, your attitudes, how you build trust and your interpersonal effectiveness.


2. Have you thought about what motivates you, compared to what motivates your staff, family, others?

  • Do you understand that you can only motivate yourself, but you can influence others – positively or negatively?
  • We are not talking about ‘rah-rah’ extrinsic motivation more intrinsic motivation – what gets you out of bed in the morning.
  • What drives you, what drives your team, what drives your teenage kids!
 

Dr William Marston back in the 1920s wrote a book called Emotions of Normal People. He was fascinated at how people behave differently, and in particular how the Greeks 2,000 years ago went about classifying behaviour. If you were a direct, confident, strong-willed person, you were called ‘choleric’, whereas if you were someone that’s more laid-back and ‘She’ll be right mate’ you were seen as more ‘phlegmatic’.


In the 1960s Dr John Geier, developed the ‘DISC profile’ based on Dr Marston’s principles. Since then over 50 million people globally have used DISC to help them understand why people do what they do. We will be exploring this tool during my session at Mainstream Conference.


3. Do you understand the real difference between management and leadership?

You manage ‘things’ but you lead ‘people’. Both are important – a job or project has to be done, but people need to be engaged in the process.


How well do you engage others?


As mentioned earlier management is more about logic, where as leadership is more about emotions. In your past have you worked in what you considered was a good job but with a poor leader? Their technical skills and process was excellent but people skills lacking. I’m sure this environment didn’t get the best out of you.


4. Do you understand why being trustworthy does not always build trust?

Do understand that people build trust differently? What are your strengths and weaknesses in building trust?

Many people in senior management roles assume their role makes them a leader.


Leadership has nothing to do with your management title, the size of your office or even your MBA.


IQ does not correlate with emotional intelligence (EQ).  Leadership is an EQ skill and it should be seen as a ‘special gift’ from your ‘followers’ based on trust and respect, not position power or formal appointments.

You may believe that you are ‘trustworthy’, but why is it that some may NOT trust you?


To simplify ‘How to build trust’ we will be working through a powerful model – ‘The 4 Elements of Trust’. T


his provides a logical system in understanding how best to build trust with others. Elements include; straightforwardness, openness, reliability and acceptance. We all have a preference for certain elements.


Ask yourself these simple 4 questions above. Quality leaders continually do this. They are prepared to learn, be more open to change and be able to build a climate of trust and respect with their teams. Their leadership harnesses the best from their teams and stakeholders.


Isn’t that what we all want?

 

===

You can hear more from Wayne Dyson at Mainstream Conference in March 2017 (in Melbourne and Perth). Join him for a 2 hour interactive workshop ““Engineering is Logical, People Are Illogical” – People Skills for Engineering Managers” to discover a logical, practical, easy to use system to understand yourself and others you work with. 


Christmas Message 2016: Reflect, Reset & Reconnect


OK we all love Santa. But really it’s what comes with Santa we like. We end one year and start another – there’s a clear start and clear finish. A new year provides the clean fresh palate to paint a new or better image for you, your business, your relationships.


Thinking about the above make sure you have that ‘shower moment’; that time of reflection – what do I really want to make work in 2017? Remember to Chinese proverb “The journey of a 1000 miles, begins with one step”. 


Commit to doing just one thing differently in 2017. It might make a 1% difference or 100%.


Enjoy Christmas with family & friends – see you in 2017!



Wayne
PS: I recorded a special Christmas message for you and it may include some singing with the loyal Mentone Iceberger family!


Bonuses & the Brain

Want a bonus? Rather than check your IQ, check your EQ (Emotional Intelligence).


The other day, Beyond Blue Chairman, Jeff Kennett addressed a forum of senior business executives calling for performance bonuses of Chief Executives to be partially tied to the mental wellbeing for their employees.


Neuroscientists, studying the impact of stress on the brain, have built a clear case for a new approach to leadership: one that involves a nuanced approach that adapts to the needs of individuals.


Forget ‘feel good’, this is about productivity and results


According to PwC, Mental stress costs Australian businesses more than $10.9 Billion each year, according to Safe Work Australia. This staggering figure includes time lost from low performance, absenteeism and compensation payments.*


Here’s one way to get over 100% return in your dollar spent. PwC research also highlights that for every dollar spent on mental health a minimum of $2.30 is returned (up to $5.70 in some industries).


Having a clearer insight into your leaders’ and organisations’ health is the starting point – an effective platform to start with is Bridgeworks’ Organisational & Team Health check. and exploring your DISC profile or effectiveness as a leader.


Call 03 9585 7990 today if you would like a free trial of this powerful workplace health diagnostic.


You don’t need the best people. You need the best team.


There are now more books on leadership than ever, many highly researched as to what works and what doesn’t work.


Are we better for it? I’m tempted to say “No”.


In some cases, due to people’s fixation on Social media, we’ve slipped back a number of pegs in my view. The focus tends to be more about self than overall business.


Enter Western Bulldogs and their gutsy AFL (Australian Football League) Grand Final win on the weekend. Their first in 62 years.


Even if you are not into sport, look no further to see:


  • the power of collaboration,
  • the power of commitment to each other,
  • the power of commitment to the customer (loyal supporters of a club that took 60 years to reach their pinnacle)
  • the energy and result when people truly work and lead together

 

The 22 players were not the best 22 in the league, but they were the best ‘Professional Team’ in the league. Guts, determination, never say die attitude.


Many businesses I work with I would describe as  “Teams of Professionals” –  a ‘collection’ of people very good at what they do (in fact, many at the top of their field), but not focussed on the passion and result of collaboration. Wanting passionately to work as a “Professional Team”.


Managers are often more concerned about their Division or their personal ‘Branding’ rather than showing passion for overall business performance.


Many Executive teams need to take note of how the Western Bulldogs beat all the odds:


  • Only team to win the Grand Final from 7th on the league ladder
  • Were plagued with injuries all year
  • Lost their Captain for the season in the 3rd game of the competition
  • Had a virtual replacement of key staff in the last 3 years – Captain, coach and significant on ground players.

What can we learn as a business?

  • Personal egos need to be put aside for the team
  • In everything we do, learn & practice – team is first, personal focus is second
  • Leaders need to be humble – Bulldogs coach, Luke Beverage was a quiet, unassuming man who when presented with his Grand Final medal, immediately gave it away to injured Captain Bob Murphy.
  • Think long term, rather than short term gains. For Beverage, he is already looking at how the team and club can sustain their success for many years. That dictates his thinking and attitude. Does it dictate yours or are you forced by shareholders to deliver the best short term return?
  • The critical nature of language. Words easily build people up or tear them down. Virgin Airlines, even behind closed doors, refers to passengers as “guests” not as a “pax”. I like that.

If your “Why?” is strong enough, you will find the will and energy to build your ‘team of professionals’ into a ‘Team of Professionals’. It’s only an attitude away!





Do Accountants Make Good Leaders?


Not usually when it comes to motivating or inspiring people – but there are exceptions. I know some great leaders who have finance background.


You would think accountants and finance professionals have an edge over other professions when it comes to leadership in business.


The language of business matters now. If you can’t speak finance, it’s very hard for you to be a CEO or senior leader. The catch is accountants and finance professionals might have to unlearn some of the things that made them experts in the first place to make successful transitions to leaders.


In fact, my experience is that unless they have a high level of emotional intelligence, they can be ‘interpersonally inflexible’ and too controlling or tendency to micromanage.


As an accountant you are not meant to make mistakes, take risks and always focus on detail. Good leaders tend to make more mistakes, take several risks and see the big picture rather than the micro detail.


According to research from Dr Byron Hanson from Curtin Graduate School of Business in Perth there are 5 critical changes or transitions that will accelerate the journey to successful leadership:


  • 1. Moving from being the expert to leveraging expertise - Accountants pride their expertise, but despite what some people think you don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be a good leader.
  • 2. Moving from the apprenticeship model to a coaching model - its good to help hone a learners technical skills – a leader is more a coach, less doing, more motivating and influencing
  • 3. Moving from being a reporter to a translator - providing the numbers is no longer how they add value – leaders need to ‘create meaning’
  • 4. From having the right answer to navigating multiple answers - Finance professionals are taught to see problems as complicated but having a correct answer – they need to unleash their thinking a bit!
  • 5. Moving from being a value protector to a value creator - learn how to create wealth, rather than to think in terms of being risk-averse and a protector of wealth

I have worked with many very powerful leaders with finance backgrounds. Not only do they have the critical financial insights but a high level of knowing when to lead, when to manage. All of this comes back to their ability to stop and look in their leadership mirror.

(Some references made from Tony Malkovic’s article in Acuity “Five changes that will make you an exceptional leader”)

 

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