No Quick Fixes

No Quick Fixes

Turmoil creates a cry for change, always with a sense of urgency. Get sales up fast. Change how we process orders. Fix a problem right now. Unfortunately, it’s easier to call for change than it is to make it happen and/or to lead it. The best leaders are both patient and urgent when fostering change. Not an easy combination. Systemic change requires patience and a relentless commitment to make it happen. That’s why repetition is built into the EOS® system. Resistance to change has many sources: Biases. We see the world not as it is; we see the world as we areEntrenched processes. “This is how we’ve always done it”Embedded cultural norms. “This is just the way we are” To be an effective leader for change: Challenge and clarify your own vision and biases on a regular basis: ask questions, demand feedback, ask for insight about your potential blind spotsHire, fire, and reward people on their values as well as their capabilitiesMake decisions based on data, not subjective criteria, or worse, politicsDemonstrate confidence by recognizing issues and resolving the most important onesCreate a culture of accountability driven by documented processesHave the fortitude to set priorities and meet regularly, week in and week out, year after year And remember, change isn’t always initiated by leaders, but it’s always achieved with...
A Bridge for Crisis

A Bridge for Crisis

“Crisis creates leverage to change” — Bruce Rauner (American businessman, philanthropist, and 42nd governor of Illinois) Today the best leadership teams are on high alert. They are paying close attention, learning some hard lessons, and making changes — some large and some small. Shorter deadlines, more trial and error, and daily huddles are some of the more common ones. Some of those changes will remain in place, others will not. Patrick Lencioni just wrote an insightful article in Chief Executive. It highlights four positive aspects of where we are and which lessons to remember as we lead people into a “new normal.” It’s a quick read with good nuggets. On the topic of “Over-Engineering,” Lencioni says, “Our goals become clearer and the stakes become higher during a crisis, allowing us to ignore silos and find ways to create and implement solutions without overthinking, nitpicking and fear of failure. We’re not insisting on perfection but focusing on the essential elements of a product or program and moving quickly.”Focus, clarity, discipline, and “less is more” – all are hallmarks of EOS® . The current reality provides a constant reminder of their...
Hanging On

Hanging On

A crisis like the current pandemic requires we assess, respond, and adapt. Sometimes we have to simply hang on. No one can predict what the new normal will be. Getting to the other side will take a lot of creativity, discipline, and probably new ways of conducting business. Equally important and often overlooked are the fundamentals. Whether your company has to reinvent itself, regroup, pivot, or adapt in some other way, the time-tested tenets of good business don’t go away. Twenty years ago, Jim Collins wrote his classic Good to Great. Chapter Four is a primer in leadership and management during a time of chaos and change. It’s a short, powerful read. Collins’ four basic practices: Lead with questions, not answersEngage in dialogue and debate, not coercionSearch for understanding and learning — without blameBuild red flag mechanisms that turn information into information that cannot be ignored Fellow EOS® Implementer Mark O’Donnell recently suggested I re-read the famous Chapter Four. I’m glad I did and suggest you do the...
Weathering the Storm of Chaos

Weathering the Storm of Chaos

Turbulent times require that leaders stay grounded. Most of us have help to do that – from a spouse, a friend, a peer group, prayer or our disciplined routines. There are many sources. I just read a book that helped me – I know I’ll read it again more than once. The book is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch. Pausch was a professor of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University until retiring to fight his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. The book is a collection of his thoughts before and after his famous last lecture.In his book and lecture, Pausch shares an inspirational perspective on achieving your childhood dreams, living life to the fullest and reevaluating what is important. In EOS we ask leaders to be clear about three things: their company values (the “who”), the purpose of what they do (the “why”), and what they do better than anyone else (the “what”). The same three questions apply to us as individuals. Pausch opens the door for us to reflect on all three. It might be a revelation for you or just a reminder. Regardless, it’s a terrific read. Treat...
Reframing

Reframing

One of the Foundational tools of EOS® includes a process to solve issues once and for all. It’s called IDS™: Identify, Discuss, and Solve. In the Identify stage, the universal challenge is to be disciplined. To repeatedly peel the onion, uncovering the exact root of the problem. To get there, we typically do a root cause analysis, such as asking “why” five times. Here are some common reframes: Another option is to reframe an issue. “Reframing” is simply stating the problem in a different way. By looking at an issue from a different perspective, we can be more creative addressing it. What is the issue from another person’s perspective? Look at the issue through a different lens.What is my role in creating the issue? We tend to think of the problem as something being done to us, but we also play a role.What data is available to confirm the issue? When you examine the data (vs. the conclusion), new insights evolve. Reframing takes additional time and effort – and it’s worth it. Here’s a great article with suggestions and insight: Harvard Business Review:  Are You Solving the Right...