Attending the Fortune Sponsored Growth Summit in Dallas is my opportunity learn, reconnect with my coaching peers, recharge my batteries, and gain valuable insights into our coaching principles from other experienced coaches and Best Practice leaders.
Verne Harnish shared his insights into the economy, and what’s new on the horizon for Gazelles internationally. He also shared last week’s Newsletter story on his painful lesson of losing $400K in a banking scam.
Jack Stack author of the Great Game of Business provided his story and how SCR has grown to become a holding company for 60 business units based on their incentive laden program of rewarding employees for consistently hitting financial targets. One quick insight he shared is how in his forty some years of owning the country goes through a recession every 9-10 years. Since we’ve not had one since 2009 he’s building up cash reserves (aiming to raise $100M) to not only survive the downturn, but also have the cash to make shrewd investments when the next downturn hits.
In addition to certification training on Sunday (Gazelles coaches are required to have 60 hours of training each year – BTW this training number is only surpassed by pilots and doctors), we had two breakout sessions to help gain insights and additional experience with many of our Gazelles tools and resources.
Greg Crabtree, author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! Shared his insights into LER (Labor Efficiency Ratio) a number that is calculated by dividing your gross margin by your direct labor costs. It’s a revealing number that helps you understand what you need to do to achieve an acceptable profit. In Greg’s opinion, every business should target 10% and 15% is the realm where great business lives.
Several of my customers have gone through Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team exercise with my coaching. One of our experienced coaches led a group of about 20 of us through his insights and ideas for helping businesses achieve more cohesion, harmony, communication, and most important better results.
Jeff focused on two particularly important aspects of Lencioni’s 5 Dysfunctions of a Team Triangle: Trust and Mastering Conflict. Since Trust is at the base of the triangle and serves as the foundation for the rest of the model it is especially important.
Jeff shared two stories of leadership teams where one of the members was disliked and not respected by the other members. In one case the CEO decided to eliminate the COO who failed to be vulnerable and have empathy with other team members. In another case, Jeff shared by the afternoon he could tell the session wasn’t going well. He shared this with the group, and asked why no one was being truthful in revealing their real feelings. One of the leaders finally shared their feelings about their new leader. She and her peers where afraid how the new leader would respond to hearing the truth. When she finally could reveal to him how he’d been managing and leading the group, walls were removed and the team shared their feelings, the leader apologized and the team made real progress.
I’m not one to fear conflict. My feeling on conflict is it often reveals the truth, when done in a healthy manner. It results in real progress.
In the trust exercise, one of the tools used is a behavioral test like DISC or Myers Briggs. As an example, a leader who possesses a high S on the DISC is defined as Steadiness – desire to stay in one physical location. This type of dominant personality often has difficulty with conflict. They will often be reluctant to offer their feelings and opinions. If the leadership has several members sharing this dominant trait he may have what would be considered artificial harmony. On the other hand, a high D defined as Dominance – relating to control, power and assertiveness; may end up on the opposite end of the scale. They tend to be direct and if stressed can even be as this picture points out – mean spirited, making personal attacks to influence and get their way in a conflict.
Ideal Conflict Point
The intention of the Conflict exercise in the Five Dysfunctions of a Team is to discover an Ideal Conflict point. It allows the leadership team to share their feelings, even dissenting views without being in the place of artificially agreeing or being mean spirited by making persona attacks on other members of the team.
If a leadership team member is constantly suppressing their feelings due to a dominant leader or members of the team who are overly assertive, not only does it limit the team growth, it also will mean that leader will eventually leave the group to find a place where they insights and opinions are not diminished, their feelings are respected and listened to. Losing someone who has valuable insights, experience and industry knowledge simply because other members of the team are too dominant can be a great loss to any leadership team and organization.
The first Trust building exercise in the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team can have an incredible impact on the performance of a team. Going through the process of building trust in a leadership team provides a stable foundation for sharing, trusting and building the rest of the pyramid which ultimately leads to better results and company performance.
Tomorrow the Growth Summit begins, and headlining the speakers will be Patrick Lencioni, author of the Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I plan to share all the speakers, their insights and best practices in my blogs ahead.