July 10, 2016

5 Keys to Building Great Organizations

There are a few keys to building great organizations. They aren’t gained through business seminars or workshops hosted in a tropical setting, or from a popular author’s cult-following methodology. These tips are tried and tested, salt-of-the earth, but transformative. They will help you lead your teams with empowering strategies that actually work to motivate and inspire people.

In coaching organizations for over 16 years a few key strategies have emerged that I’d love to share with you. So let’s jump in!

1. Promote self-directed leadership

Self-directed leadership is the empowering of people to be effective. As leaders, it’s essential to help people understand that they possess the ability to exert positive influence and reach their individual and team goals. Actively promote a culture of positivity within your workplace that allows people to dream and innovate.

2. Empower team members to resolve conflicts

Our first instinct as a leader is to jump in and help resolve conflict. It’s in our nature to do so. But as all good leaders know, the better long-term solution is to teach conflict resolution skills and encourage team members to resolve their own challenges. People should already have the permission they need to address the outcome of a situation. Remind your team members that you trust them and support their use of good judgement. This inspires confidence and instills a sense of ownership in your people. It might sound like a big risk, but try it and you’ll see that most of the time, it works brilliantly.

3. Communicate your vision and core strategy

One of the easiest mistakes leaders make is their failure to articulate the vision and core strategy of the organization. I see it all the time, in new church startups, family businesses, big corporations. The problem is endemic and starts from within. When people are confused on the message a company delivers, how it delivers it, and what the end goal is, people will not produce good work. Why? Because good work is the result of clear vision and strategy.

As often as you are blasting word out to your consumers and competitors about a product or service, you need to be sitting your people down to review talking points of your company’s core message.

What do you deliver better than anyone else? Why do you do it? How is this best communicated to others?

This will revolutionize the way your company delivers services in the future. Your people will have conviction to motivate their work, and it’s something they deeply crave. Don’t rob them of this motivational source. Repeat the vision to your internal team, and do it more often than you think is necessary. Chances are, you’ll see a huge boost in the self-confidence of your sales people, your marketing team, your operations staff and upper-level management. Because with the right vision, the people flourish!

4. Groom the next-in-line

As leaders, we have the special privilege of helping to appoint our successors. Life is unpredictable and seems to bring the greatest challenges when we are most unprepared for them to strike.

The goal is to not be ‘indispensable’ to the functioning of your organization. That statement may shock you, but if you’ve done it right, you should be able to step away at any moment without a major meltdown happening. This is the mark of the best leaders.

Ensure your teams have the right tools they need to successfully lead. If they feel blocked in a certain area of work, help them address it. Give attention to their specific areas of strength and seek to exercise those muscles through learning opportunities or training. People appreciate a good challenge! Never stop seeking new ways to shape and strengthen your existing teams. The best leaders never rest in this area. They are endlessly using the active listening skill to get a temperature on their organization.

5. Create an environment where inspiration exists

Every office needs a space where employees can clear out the mental clutter and create. Maybe you don’t have the money or the time for an office remodel and the moment, and that’s ok! Simple things like providing comfortable couches and seating in break rooms, being aware of the need for natural light, and providing a splash of tasteful artwork on the walls can make a world of difference for how it feels to come into work.

In a world of increasing noise and distractions plaguing us from every angle, it’s important to try and remove as much distraction from the workplace as possible to help people do their best work. If this means purchasing noise-cancelling headphones for your people, do it! If you can provide other small spaces for people to escape and create, do it! Just start by bringing some real plants into the office. The work your team creates will speak for itself.

To excellence in your organization,

Coach Greg