Recognizing that You’re Part of Something Bigger

“Your strength will not come from your place on some org chart, but from building trust and earning respect.” – Sheryl Sandberg, COO Facebook

“I’m an employee of Costco that just HAPPENS to oversee the wine category” – Annette Alvarez-Peters

I would guess that many of you have heard of or are members of Costco.  My wife and I are members of Costco, and I would venture to say that we spend more money at Costco than at any other single retailer we frequent.  We purchase everything from electronics and appliances, to groceries and other staples, to clothing, and even some large purchases like furniture.  For those of you who are members, you’ll smile fondly when I describe the experience of wandering through a Costco, nibbling on their samples, and seeing what new products they have to offer this week.  But my favorite thing to buy at Costco is wine…they have a fairly good selection of wine at some of the best prices I’ve ever seen.  And I do so love my wine! Continue reading

Managing by Objective

“It is direction that determines destination, not intention”

[Andy Andrews]

Since we are at the beginning of the calendar year, and for many organizations, the beginning of their fiscal year, I thought I would focus on the importance of organizational vision, alignment and a plan to win as this posting’s leadership message.

One of the cultural leadership traits I have always tried to develop in organizations I manage is the concept of “Manage By Objective.”  This cultural principle essentially highlights the importance of knowing your destination, developing a plan to get there, and creating the focus that ensures you reach those objectives.

But as this week’s leadership quote notes, “it is direction that determines the destination, not intention.”  In order to achieve that destination, you must ensure the proper direction and have the right focus to ensure continued to progress toward that destination.

Most organizations have not figured this out.  Surprisingly, many slumber along thinking that the same old approach will work year in and year out.  They think to themselves, “as long as we keep doing what we do the future will happen as it should”.  They don’t have a plan.  And when they do, its ill-conceived and much more aspirational than practical.

For an organization to succeed, it must build a culture of direction.  It must be aligned.  It must know where it is going, and it must have a plan to get there.  And I’m not talking about a financial plan, I’m talking about a plan that lays out very specifically what the key objectives and priorities are, and what will constitute success.

How do you lead your organization?  Have you created a vision, a strategy, and a plan of how to get there?  Or do you simply hope that through motivation and encouragement the organization will somehow find its way?

The Power of a Team

For this week’s leadership quote, I thought I would feature a couple of quotes that carried the same theme:

 “None of us is as smart as all of us.”   – [Ken Blanchard]

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships!”   – [Michael Jordan]

The power of a team is amazing.  Individually, we can only do so much.  But collectively, a team can multiply its impact.  Its strengths can be magnified, and its weaknesses minimized.  A team that understands itself, recognizes its potential, relies on its team members, and focuses on the collective over the individual is truly a powerful thing.

Think of some of the greatest teams in sports history, and you will see one common theme – they acted and performed TOGETHER as a team, trusting that each member will do its part.  Yes, there were superstars on those teams, but they alone could not be successful without the help of the team.  On the other hand, think of how many teams have assembled tremendous talent only to have those same players act as individuals.  In the end, they fell miserably short of their expectations.

Many of my past organizations have always featured teamwork as a cultural attribute.  Their culture was built largely with teamwork at its core.  Our delivery depended on it.  Our organization required it in its very design.  Everything about those organization, and their collective successes and failures was based on the team.  And as a result, those organizations achieved significant success.  Not the individuals in the organizations, but the collective “team” of that business.

Do you foster a culture of teamwork?  Or does your organization focus so much on the success of the individual that the team can never succeed.  Think about it, because it’s quite simple – teamwork wins championships!