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Mission, Vision, Values…Rubbish Or Reality?

Mission, Vision, Values… many organisations have a document defining those big words, often after much effort. In many cases it is filed or hung on a wall … and promptly forgotten.


Words are cheap! In our present political climate we see much effort going into the words that politicians use to ‘spin’ their way into parliament. We all know however that actions speak louder than words. And sometimes those actions lead to a very public destruction, instead of the construction of the “Vision”.


Are You Living & Breathing Your Organisation’s Mission, Vision?


Currently I am working with a client in education where the mantra is “We are passionate about our students”, “We want the best education for our students and school”. These are encouraging, positive words and mission, however what they practice as school citizens to each other as peers is a very different story.


The students are watching their teachers’ behaviour not just in the classroom; they also observe how they deal with other teachers in their school “team”.


A message a teacher wishes to convey may be “it is important to work together – in particular with people who are different to you”. However their actions with other teachers, with whom they are in conflict, show the opposite. There is bullying, egos and conflict between people that gets in the way of showing the best example of their mission (and passion) to students.

Many workplaces are no different.


My Challenge To You


Let’s just say someone spends a couple of days working in your business and observing workplace actions, attitudes and behaviours. At the end of their stay, they are to answer the following 3 questions:


  1. What are the values that this organisation holds deeply – the good, the bad, the ugly?
  2. What would they write about your business? Would they feel the team lives the organisation’s mission and vision
  3. What confirming behaviours do you think they articulate?

Many organisations have values around “Teamwork” “Collaboration” “Working Together achieves more”. Sadly for many this mantra is built on sand and quickly washes away through conflict, poor communication or a lack of open, honest conversation.


Is It OK To Have A Difficult Conversation?


Consider these 2 points honestly:


  • What process do you have in your organisation to encourage difficult or open conversations?
  • Do your leaders practice such important habits?

These critical habits are symptomatic of highly productive teams.


Yes, we have different views of the world, but because we choose to understand the others point of view rather than get ‘offended’ – a whole new world can open up. This is why high performing teams decide not to get offended by opposing views but to see to understand.


Handled the right way, conflicting views can be seeds to new opportunities, new gateways. Welcome them and ask yourself:


  1. Do you want to encourage more open, honest conversations?
  2. Are you taking full advantage of diversity in your workplace?
  3. Would you love to see a high level of respect and trust running in your business veins?

Start with “Why?”


I love Simon Sinek’s You Tube ’Start with Why?’. Until we can connect to our deeper questions of why we do what we do, we are only dancing around the edges.

Just like this education team with whom I am working, we may talk about being passionate about students’ welfare, but our actions say that “protecting self” is a greater priority.


It Is Time To Act


At Bridgeworks, we are passionate about helping leaders and teams understand the true impact they are having on their clients and each other. Nothing in team dynamics is stable for ever. Even previously effective teams can stop generating inspired outcomes. So it may be time to review what is really happening.


Should any of the above hit a nerve for you, let’s discuss your challenge and consider some of the many solutions we have delivered for the past 20 years. I would love to take your organisation on the exciting journey towards positively engaged and effective teams.

Give me a call on 0402 30099.


The Challenge Of Having To Rebuild Unity And Trust

Most business leaders face the challenge of managing tough transitions at some stage. Like having to rebuild unity and trust within their organisation. The Canberra dramas that played out under the media spotlight are a reminder of the risk that any organisation faces.
We can all draw lessons from the recent political events and their aftermath.


Key Learnings From Recent Political Events


ScoMo has his work cut out for himself!
The two key ingredients that boost a team’s impact in any organisation are Unity and Trust. These are the 2 mountains that ScoMo needs to climb. His end goal is winning an election. A goal that requires him to make the government and the party functional again, and credible with the Australian voters. He does not have much time to press the restart button and rebuild unity and trust. Survival is at stake!


Symptoms Of Lack of Unity and Trust


Many leaders face tough internal contexts for one reason or another. Even healthy businesses can suddenly have to recover from some significant disruptive event, like a merger, acquisition or a restructure … And still win a raging battle in the market place.


If we look into the mirror and observe our organisation as an unbiased outsider would, what do we see?

  • Do you see passionate people doing everything possible to make the business number 1 and to achieve your vision?
  • Is it happening fast and smoothly?

OR is the picture less rosy?

  • Are you sensing passive resistance to your plans?
  • Do you get apparent approval but no real commitment to making things happen?
  • Are communication silos breaking down your efforts at building effectiveness?
  • Does your team environment look like a WAR ZONE with factions, and manoeuvring behind closed door?

Be Aware Of The Risks


An early diagnostic can prevent long term or irreparable damage. Consider these six possible consequences of not acting promptly to rebuild unity and trust:

  1. Does that internal conflict affect customer satisfaction with your product or service?
  2. Does it undermine your credibility with your ideal customers and/or your business partners?
  3. How much advantage are you giving away to your competitors who watch your team disintegrate from business strength
    to weakness?
  4. Are you missing out on profitable business?
  5. How much energy is your team wasting on fighting itself instead of your competition?
  6. Are you losing good, invaluable, people out of their frustration with the lack of unity?
  7. Are you losing their trust in your ability as a leader? In your organisation’s ability to thrive, and help them thrive?
  8. Are you wasting your own energy putting out spot fires all the time? Worse, are you fighting an increasingly out of control fire about to destroy you and your dreams?

Rebuild Unity And Trust NOW


Brand harmony, consistency and unity is essential to the success of any brand. It only happens when the team behind the brand acts as one and as smoothly as a well-oiled machine. It is a critical characteristic of any high performing team, wherever it operates, in government or business.


When the unity and trust break, it is impossible to achieve goals. Additionally the organisation, and its people find themselves spiralling backwards very fast.


Rebuilding can be a long and winding road! The power in the hands of any leader, whether it be in politics, a corporation, SME or the local football club, is the ability to build unity: A common sense of purpose and direction.


How good are you at engaging and uniting your people?
You maybe their manager, but would they vote for you as their leader?


When was the last time you looked in the leadership mirror anyway?


Turn-Around With Real Life Feedback


Recently I ran into a long term client of mine and he often reflects on how he once was an arrogant, ego driven boss. When the Bridgeworks feedback confirmed that, he was left with a choice; continue to work long hours making up for the “incompetence of others”? Or start engaging those around him, valuing their contribution, uniting them as a team and rebuilding trust lost from his lack of self awareness.


Fortunately he took the latter option and now is bearing the fruit of coaching and mentoring others.


Time To Act And Rebuild


You are a leader, so you are keen to lead your business out of crisis mode and to optimise results. So TALK TO US about first reviewing your leadership effectiveness with our Interpersonal Flexibility measures.


My clients say that it is a great start to building a winning team.


Aligning Multiple Sites towards One Culture

For organisations with multiple offices or Branches, aligning them to the one goal and one culture uniting them all can be a battle.


Recently I had feedback from a client in the mining sector with branches up the East Coast of Queensland.


I clearly recall the mess our branches were prior to the course, and how the relationships between the staff improved and remained strong long after the course completion.

The skills learnt drove our business in North Queensland.

I regret the lost opportunities within the product business, largely due to egos and lack of cooperation between business managers. DISC would have contributed to a more successful outcome, sadly some people “know best”.


Creating an emotionally safe learning environment


First of all, it it is important to create a learning environment away from work; a context where people can clear their head, have permission to speak openly – all backed up with quality feedback as to how the world sees them is key.


Accountability is the key to Alignment
We are all good at setting goals, KPI’s and targets. The cards all fall over when there is a lack of accountability, a lack of buy-in to the overall “acceptable” and “unacceptable behaviours”.


As leaders across varied sites, it is critical that there is a clear sense of common purpose.


Taking time to Reflect On “One Culture”


With the world changing so rapidly, lead teams need to take time out to remind themselves of 4 key points around the One Culture they want to foster:

  • Why are we in leadership?
  • What is our purpose as a business (beyond making our shareholders happy) and
  • Are we living and breathing the values we espouse to our business?
  • Do we trust each other enough to fearlessly keep each other accountable to agreed behaviours?

The smart successful companies do refresh and nurture the alignment of their people. Many have been clients of Bridgeworks for nearly 20 years now.


So you are wise to measure what is happening and identify any clear or hidden issue around

  • A lack of common purpose and authentic collaboration
  • Too much “grey” around what are “acceptable” and “non-acceptable” behaviours
  • Diversity leading to conflict between sites
  • A need to engender a culture of “proactive leadership” rather than “reactive management”

Give me a call at Bridgeworks to discuss. An open conversation can make a big difference in moving forward and working towards ONE CULTURE!


The Power of Learning By Doing

Are you wondering what a blue flag has got to do with learning methodology?


Well, the Naval ‘Blue Peter’ flag (above) carries many excellent parallels to leadership and life.


This flag is displayed anytime a Naval ship leaves the safety of harbour and heads into the unknowns of the wide ocean. A bit like a young person heading into the unknown of a big, wide world. How well will they cope with the unknown? So it was chosen as the symbol of a global, personal development program called “Outward Bound”, building resilience for young adults.

Outward Bound, is designed around these “learning by doing” principles.


Adult Learning that Sticks


Adult learning is at its best when it is hands-on, real and relevant. That is one of the many reasons I include it in the design of team and leadership programs with my clients.


Good leaders know the value of ‘learning by doing’. Isn’t life just one big classroom anyway?!


In my past life I was an instructor and program manager for Outward Bound Australia. “Learning by Doing” was the motto for the Outward Bound school. It is powerful as you learn what leadership works, and what doesn’t, in real time.


Are your people hungry and lost?


When you are hungry and lost, its amazing how quickly people want to then learn how to use their map and compass!! People’s natural strengths and weaknesses are exposed quickly.


This, combined with high quality feedback around leadership style and effectiveness, makes for a high quality, relevant learning experience such as Bridgeworks’ Leadership NOW program.


I have always believed that if you can make the learning practical, fun and relevant, people remember the experience for many years. Isn’t that what learning should be like any way?

Any barriers or ‘push back’ give way to greater openness, a safer emotional environment and increased personal learning.


How to Maximise Leadership Learning


So, how do we achieve the best results from our learning? Ensure the following:

  1. The learning environment is outdoors, practical & hands on
  2. Critical measures around leadership & behaviours are foundational to the process
  3. Create a ‘place apart’ from the usual business environment setting; a challenging yet safe space such as our next Leadership NOW program at the wild Cape Liptrap (29-31 August)

Finally, when assessing your next training or leadership program, ask yourself:

  • Will the learning be lasting?
  • Does the process bring to life the realities of leading others – beyond techniques and theories?
  • Will it fully engage participants in the learning?

If you are after a powerful, long lasting leadership process, check out our Leadership NOW program. Limited places are still available on our August program (29th-31st).


Ten Ways To Have A Better Business Conversation

As texting and smart phones take over our lives, the art of a healthy conversation fades more into the background. And that affects a business conversation as much as personal conversations.


According to Celeste Headlee we are becoming more polarized, more divided that at any other time in history – as we lose the art of conversation.

Conversational Competence and Interpersonal Flexibility

These divisions and fear of political correctness mean that conversational competence and interpersonal flexibility have taken a hit.


Celeste has suggested 10 ways to have a better conversation. If we could master just one of these, we would save a lot of energy, learn more and uncover more gems of wisdom.

  1. Don’t multitask – Be present, be in that moment
  2. Don’t pontificate. Know that every conversation you have you are going to learn something from them. Everyone you ever meet will ever meet know something you don’t know.
  3. Ask open questions question – Start your conversation with a question: Who? Want? When? How?
  4. Go with the flow – let thoughts come and go
  5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. Their experience will most likely be very different
  7. Try not repeat yourself. It is condescending and is really boring
  8. Stay out of the weeds. People care about you and what you are like (not the details)
  9. Listen – if your mouth is open, we are not learning. It takes energy. most of us don’t listen with intent to understand, we listen with an intent to reply
  10. Be brief – A good conversation is like a miniskirt, short enough to retain interest, but long enough to cover the subject!

Actually, all 10 principles are simple and easy to implement in any personal or business conversation. When you are conversing, you just need to ask yourself:

  • am I fully present?
  • am I being genuine?
  • Have I made this person my priority at this point in time?

If you want to know more, check out Celeste’s TED presentation: https://www.facebook.com/TED/videos/10159622445610652/


Creating a safe environment for a real conversation


Bridgeworks’ programs are about creating the safe environments in which participants are encouraged to have the difficult conversations that our busy lives don’t allow the time for.


If you sense more open and honest conversations are needed to move your team forward, I’d love to share our experiences and ideas.


Email us or Call the Bridgeworks office on 03-9585 7990.


10 Truths About Leadership

Leadership can be so complex. Occasionally I come across people who are able to distil leadership back to the raw truth.

 

Authors and prolific leadership educators, Barry Posner and James Kouzes, spent 30 years pouring over their research data from over a million respondents to discover what has been consistently true about leadership over the years.


These truths are accessible to all of us…. as long as we are willing to take action and take responsibility.


The 10 truths about leadership:

 

1.  You believe in yourself. It all starts with the fundamental belief that you can make a difference and you will have a positive impact on others.

 

2. You have credibility. Your people have to believe in you, too. If people don’t believe in you, they won’t willingly follow you.

 

3. Your values drive commitment. Your people want to know what you stand for and believe in, and that your values align with theirs.

 

4. You have vision. Focusing on the future and having a long-term perspective sets leaders apart. You imagine and articulate exciting possibilities for your followers.

 

5. You know you can’t do it alone. Being surrounded with support and talent, and engaging the team in pursuing the cause sets you apart. While that sounds obvious enough, the difference in the research is that great leaders are obsessed with what is best for others, not what is best for themselves.

 

6. You give trust before you get trust. If you have to rely on a team, trust is the social glue that holds the team together. And the level of trust your people have in you will determine the amount of influence you have. The key? Earn their trust before they’ll be willing to trust you.

 

7. You welcome challenges. Great accomplishments don’t happen when you keep things the same. Change involves challenge, and challenge tests you. Great leaders step up to the challenge, and come face-to-face with their level of commitment. A great challenge will reveal your grittiness and mindset about change.

 

8. You either lead by example or you don’t lead at all. Leaders have to keep their promises and become role models for the values and actions they espouse. You can’t ask others to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. And, you admit mistakes and learn from them.

 

9. You are a great learner. You have to believe that you can become a better leader tomorrow than you are today. This takes constant improvement, practice, feedback, good coaching, and a willingness on your part to ask for support.

 

10. You are motivated by love. You love your employees, customers, and the mission you are serving. Since leadership is an affair of the heart, the best leaders have been shown to be motivated by the love that energizes them to give much to others. You just won’t work hard enough to become great if you aren’t doing what you love

Content courtesy James Kouses & Barry Posner

“The Truth About Leadership”


How do you remain relevant? Important advice from a Futurist.

At times I feel inadequate around my 4yo granddaughter. Especially when I pull my iPhone out. She just glides her way around the phone finding stuff I didn’t know existed!

OK, I just turned 60. Does that mean that I am like a rusty old sedan that has come to the end of the road?

Thank goodness to heroes like Craig Rispin of the Future Trends group. When I heard about his background as a futurist, consulting to BHP Billiton, Canon, IBM and Toyota – he had my attention.

His research is about studying future trends and translating this into constructive advice for us in business. Personally, I would rather be on the wave of change rather than chasing it. How about you?

Craig has generously accepted my offer to speak at the Leadership Breakfast at Crown on Friday, July 13th.

If you want to know what the future has in store for you, your business, your industry.


Lessons in Happiness – From the Third World

In my team, I have some exciting people. Peter Jensen and I have worked together for over 10 years and recently have developed an excellent program around Mental Wellbeing – “It’s all about me. It’s all about us”


Much of the program is built on a book Pete has written, “Lessons in Happiness – From the Third World”. It’s a powerful reflection from his childhood experiences living in a South African village and coming to the land of ‘milk and honey’ – Australia.


Depression, anxiety or stress

Did you know that the cost of mental ill-health in Australia is around 4 per cent of GDP or about $4,000 from every taxpayer? It costs the nation more than $60 billion.


Everybody seems to know somebody who has been impacted by depression, anxiety or stress. Have you ever felt helpless, not known what to do next or overwhelmed by self-help programs that seem like too much hard work?


Healthy and productive workplaces 

As Pete and myself are passionate about building engaged, healthy and productive workplaces we have been overwhelmed with the feedback from this program.


What are you doing to build mental wellbeing in your life or your business? Reach out if you need us!


Leadership – It’s not about techniques.

Wayne, it’s just about being nice.
Wayne, it’s just about being reliable.
Wayne, it’s just about being straightforward.


This is advice I have received from well-meaning senior executives. Techniques to win people over. Strategies to better engage your team.


Authenticity

How about it’s just about being authentic? Being the real you. In my view, leadership is about being real, being clear about why you are in leadership and bringing a real sense of purpose to those you influence.


I am passionate about these leadership conversations.


Why not contribute to the leadership conversation and join us at Cape Liptrap?


Kokoda – 4 Powerful Lessons in Leadership

I have just survived walking the tough Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea with my son Zac.


In amongst the mud, jungle, rain and constantly wet feet – there were some magic Leadership learning experiences.

Why were the lessons in walking Kokoda powerful?


Here’s 4 powerful leadership lessons based on 4 values that clearly articulate the ANZAC spirit in warfare.

Each value a powerful and relevant lesson even in today’s society.


1. Courage – Having the guts to think differently. Even the untrained Aussies that faced the highly trained Japanese essentially stopped the raiders onslaught due to their courage and ability to fight against the odds. Today’s business needs the same courage. Courage to think differently. Courage to take risks. Courage to take people into unknown territory.


2. Endurance – Being there for the long haul. The 39th Battalion were outnumbered at times 6 to 1. They could have given up earlier in the battle but they passionately believed that hanging in there to get the job done was the only way. It took them nearly 9 months – but they stuck to the task of defeating the Japanese. In business, there is strength to be gained if we have an attitude of overcoming. As a leader, do we remind our people the reason why we appreciate their contribution and loyalty. 


3. Sacrifice – It was the heroes of Kokoda, like Sam Templeton or Bruce Kingsbury that inspired the often tired and despondent soldiers. Those that put their own lives on the line. How powerful would that be if workers in your business could turn their behaviours from self-serving into other-serving. In fact, the real function of a leader is ‘to serve others’


4. Mateship – Without mateship so many more Aussies would have died at Kokoda. There was a fearless mateship that ensured soldiers were always looking after each other. This in fact is the common factor in high performing teams – those in which collaboration becomes the glue that powers teams to success. Mateship is also about being honest with each other – no BS!


Imagine if you could instil these 4 basic but powerful values into your workplace.


Values can be a very powerful way to build strong fibre in any team. It starts with a discussion.


I challenge you as a leader to start a discussion with your team about business values. What do they mean to your team? What are the acceptable or unacceptable behaviours?


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