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The Four Discipline Model;

Discipline 1: Build a Cohesive Leadership Team

An organization simply cannot be healthy if the people who are chartered with running it are not behavioral cohesive in the five fundamental ways. In any kind of organization, from a corporation to a department within the corporation, from the small, entrepreneurial company to a church or a school, dysfunction nd lack of cohesion at the top inevitably lead to a lack of health.

Discipline 2: Create Clarity;

In addition to being behaviorally cohesive, the leadership team of a healthy organization must be intellectually aligned and committed to the same answers to six simple but critical questions. There can be no daylight between leaders around these fundamental issues.

Discipline 3: Overcommunicate Clarity

Once a leadership team has established behavioral cohesion and created clarity around the answers to those questions, it must hone communicate those answers to those questions, it must then communicate those answers to employees clearly, repeatedly, enthusiastically, and repeatedly (that’s not a typo). When it comes to reinforcing clarity, there is no such thing as too much communication.

Discipline 4: Reinforce Clarity

Finally, in order for an organization to remain healthy over time, its leader must establish a few critical non bureaucratic systems to reinforce clarity in every process that involved people. Every policy, every program, every activity should be designed to remind employees what is really most important.

When everyone on a team nows that everyone else is vulnerable enough to say and mean those things, and that no one is going to hide his or her weaknesses or mistakes, they develop a deep and uncommon sense of trust. They speak more freely and fearlessly with one another and don’t waste team and energy putting on airs or pretending to be someone they’re not. Over time, this creates a bod that exceed what many people every experience inter lives and sometimes, unfortunately, even in their families. At the heart of vulnerability lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear, to sacrifice their egos fo the collective good of the team. While the scan b a little threatening and uncomfortable at first, ultimately It becomes liberating for people who are tired of spending time and energy overthinking their actions and managing interpersonal politics at work.

If this is starting to sound at all touch-redly, rest assured that it’s nothing of the sort. It’s not about holding hands and singing songs and getting in touch with your inner child. It’s ultimately about the practical goal of maximizing the performance of a group of people. And it’s entirely achievable for both teams that are just coming together for the first time and those that have been working in a less-than-trusting environment for years.

Building trust; Member of a truly cohesive team must trust one another. I realize that sounds like the most patently obvious statement over made, shooting that every organization understand and values. As a result, you’d think that most leadership teams would b pretty good at building trust. As it turns out, they aren’t and I think a big part of it is that they have the wrong idea about what trust is.

Many people think of trust in a predictive sense; if you can come to know how a person will behave in a given situation, you can trust her. I’ve known Sarah for years any do, and even, “Id I can trust that when she says she’s going to do something, then follow through. As laudable as that might be, it’s not the kind of trust that lies at the foundation of building a great team.

The kind of trust that tis necessary to build a great team is what I call vulnerability-based trust. This is what happens when members get to a point where they are completely conformable being transparent, honest, and naked with one another, three they say and genuinely mean things like “I screwed up,” “I need help,” “Your idea is better than mind,” I wish I could learn to do that as well as you.” When everyone on a team knows that everyone is vulnerable enough to say and mean those things, and that no one is going to hide his or her weaknesses or mistakes, they develop a deep and uncommon sense of trust. They speak more freely and fearlessly with one another and don’t waste time and energy putting on airs or pretending to be someone they’re not. Over time, this creates a bond that exceeds what many people ever experience in their lives and, something, unfortunately, even in their families.

At the heart of vulnerability lies the willingness of people to abandon their pride and their fear, to sacrifice their egos for the collective good of the team. While this can be a little threatening and uncomfortable at first, ultimately it becomes liberating for people who are tired of spending time and energy overthink about their actions and managing interpersonal politics at work.

If this is starting to sound at all touchy-feely, rest assured that it’s nothing of the sort. It’s not about holding hands and singing songs and getting in touch with your inner child. It’s ultimately about the practical goal of maximizing the performance of a group of people. And It’s entirely achievable for both teams that are just coming together for the first time and those that have been working in a less-than-trusting environment for years.

Personal Histories;

While truly vulnerable team members eventually have to get comfortable revealing who they are, they need to start in a nonthreatening way. That’s why, during an off-site session, we take teams through a quick exercise where we ask them to tell everyone, briefly a few things about their lives. In particular, we have them say there they were born, how many siblings they have where they fall in the order of children, and finally, what the most interesting or difficult challenge was for them as a kid. Again, we’re not interested in their inner childhoods, just what was uniquely challenging fo them growing up. This conversation takes about 20 minutes, and always works. No matter how many times I’ve done it with a group of leaders, I expect them to say, “Come on, Pat, we already know all about one another.” And yet that has never happened. Some people may know one or tow on the team week. But every time I ‘ve don’t this with a leadership team, people sitting around the table tare genuinely surprised at what they didn’t know about their colleagues’ backgrounds.

This inevitably leads to a newly found sense o f respect because of the admiration that comes when someone realized that one of their peers endured and overcome a hardship or accomplished something remarkable. More important, team member begin the process of getting comfortable with vulnerability when they realize that it is okay, even gratifying, to tell they’re peers something about themselves that they had never mentioned or been asked about before.

In addition to making people feel more comfortable being vulnerable, this discussion serves to level the playing field on the team. There is something powerful and disarming about hearing the CEO of a company talk abut being bullied because he was s chubby kid or that his family struggled with a grave poverty. As a consultant, I always find it amazing to witness how quickly the dynamic of a team can change after a simple twenty minute exec sas people who thought they knew one another develop a whole new level of respect, admiration and understanding, regardless of their job title, age, or experience.

(The Advantage, Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business by Patrick Lencioni, pg. 27-28)

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