5 Focus Areas for REACHing Higher Performance

RESPECTED LEADERSHIP How often are we challenged by what we perceive as respected leadership, there are so many variables. As a leader in an organisation your ability to take everyone on the Journey toward success and building momentum is critical. We recognise that in Higher Performing organisations ‘inclusive’ leadership creates an environment that allows people to feel they can bring their skills and talents to life in their role. Respected leaders have a clear plan and a vision for the organisation. They are humble and show great care for their people and balance this with expectations to deliver results. They walk the talk and do what they say they will. They don’t blame others for failures and take full accountability for their impact and actions. These leaders recognise people are central to the success of the organisation and find ways to connect, engage, challenge and stretch their people for success and growth. They operate with a GROWTH mindset and work hard on their character (Who they are – Intent and Integrity) and their competence to deliver (Capability and Results). The key insight here is that Respected leadership takes more than the leader working toward being respected. We have found sometimes teams don’t give their leader a chance to rise and succeed because they judge the leader based on perspective or gossip. These teams fail to take mutual accountability for their impact in the leader’s success. Leaders we charge you to rise and own who you are and how you work with your people. Teams we charge you to have courage to work with your leader and find a way to provide insight, wisdom, boundaries and success together. We all have an opportunity to make a difference. If you don’t have respected leadership what can you do to make things better? What can you own?

ENGAGEMENT In a High Performing organisation people are engaged and actively contribute to the success of the work they ‘do’ because they LOVE WHAT THEY DO. Once again ‘inclusive’ leadership as well as self -leadership become two critical foundations to enable engagement. Being able to contribute to the success of the organisation means I feel I can use my skills and talents for the team and organisation to succeed. This means I need clarity in my ‘role’ which will help me focus on the right activities that deliver outcomes. Leading yourself (self-leadership) is a critical component to Engagement because often we can be as responsible for our own disengagement as much as the organisations culture or the leader leading us. We like to challenge teams we work with to considering their ‘lens’ of perspective and their ability to have a GROWTH mindset and how they respond when they are uncomfortable. Being open to coaching, feedback, direction and alignment is critical to feeling engaged. So, if you feel disengaged start with your own perspective first and consider if you have resisted growth (or even change) because of your own fear of failure or relevance. What we know is when you work on your partnership with your leader (and team), understand what they need from you, connect with them on how you can be successful together and have frequent dialog you will most likely find you are more engaged. Sometimes we just don’t fit the ‘culture’, or the culture has changed. In this situation recognising this truth without shame will help you move onto what you were destined to do, possibly outside of the organisation or team. Trust is also without doubt critical to engagement. Trust is a two-way street. Trust is hard to achieve when we are not open and connected to each other. It’s not necessarily the allowance from your leader and peers to let you do what you want to do. Trust is a mutual connection and really challenges our willingness to be vulnerable and open with each other. Patrick Lencioni calls out three behaviours that help create engagement and teaming (and trust): Humble, Hungry and Smart. Humble because it’s not always about me and what I want, it’s about how we win together and connect to the greater purpose or picture. Hungry means I want us to succeed as a team and organisation, when that takes place I personally succeed. Smart is when I have the ability to work with and through others to be successful. Once again, self-leadership features as key to engagement. Leaders this is as much your responsibility as your peoples. Work on engagement, it will fluctuate depending on the challenges in people, their lives, the business environment and organisational change.

ALIGNMENT is one of the toughest elements to harness in organisations and team’s REACHing for High Performance. I have met a leader who stated that if their people were not 100% aligned it was sabotage. I must say I have to agree with them. Alignment starts with the simplicity of the role and your ability to connect or be successful in it. This means aligning to your leaders’ goals and strategy. Are you clear on your role, your measures of success, your leader and teams’ goals and expectations? Leader be clear on what you expect, what success looks like and consider the HOW. Once again connection and vulnerability feature and challenge us to have courage and lean into discomfort. This means honest uncomfortable conversations from a place of love (Care). Leaders your feedback should be uncomfortable because you are mutually accountable for your team and their success. Set goals and make sure the work you do aligns to expectations and delivers organisational success. Finally, take mutual accountability with your team. We know that in order to be accountable we need to: 1. Understand mutual perspective 2. Stay out of judgment 3. Recognise the emotion in others and communicate it 4. Take full accountability for your part. If we are not working well together and achieving team success’ we are not aligned.  BLAME culture and workplace DRAMA is a clear indication that we are mis-aligned and lacking accountability. Finally, I cannot stress the importance of aligning goals and performance indicators to the team goal and the organisation goal. When these are mis-aligned there will be over-lap, frustration and team fracture. Is alignment the sole responsibility of the leader to create? I must stress that the leader sets the tone, yet we all contribute to an aligned culture and it always starts with personal accountability and the willingness to find alignment no matter how uncomfortable.

COMMUNICATION How we communicate with our people in our team and organisation is critical. If we use fear based “language” and actions, we will create fear and spark off protection behaviours in our people. This means our people will be less connected and will disconnect (disengage) from the organisation, team and Leader. In our research into Higher Performance we need to acknowledge that communication needs to come from a place of love and care. We recognise that ‘inclusive’ leadership ensures that people feel safe to bring who they are to work (their skills, talents, ideas etc) because they feel excepted and connected vs judged which creates disconnection. Clarity is also important we need to communicate honestly; we need to create vision and we need to help our people grow. Consider GROWTH mindset, we know that feedback allows ‘growth’, yet the challenge is we need to be open to feedback. Additionally, feedback needs to be delivered with empathy and mutual accountability. Kindness is always critical in communication. Honesty is key, it’s providing clarity to your people on where they are currently tracking to goals, this is crucially important. The openness to brainstorm solutions together to achieve mutual success is the winning formula. This means listening to each other and not taking problem solving personally yet finding ways to work through challenges and build solutions. Another crucial component to success is to avoid a shame culture where people are publicly humiliated and “shamed”. Calling poor behaviour out is critical yet respecting people through this process is vital. We know from research that when shame and fear overwhelm us, we can no longer hear or understand, we focus on protecting our selves and we fail to see perspective. Again, self-leadership is important for each person in the team. If you are a leader invest in growing your people and yourself. Finally, presenting new ideas is critical in high performance. The magic to new ideas and innovation is of course the ability to be vulnerable and peaceful (Open and connected). The other key is to make sure you are aligning new ideas and innovation to the goals of the team and organisation. If your ideas are focused on your success alone your team will disconnect from you as they will feel this is about ‘you’ vs about the greater picture and the team.

HIGH PERFORMANCE Working together to achieve a High-Performance culture is the only way. We need to take ownership for our success and be empowered to execute our role. Empowerment is critical because it means I am trusted to make decisions, work autonomously and take full responsibility for my outcomes and how it aligns to the team success.  Leaders and teams need to practice working outside of their comfort zone and recognise this as a vulnerable process for growth. High performing individuals and teams work with passion and purpose to grow and learn. We are encouraged to try new things knowing that we could possibly fail. We work at failing fast and don’t see our failure as the end of our career. We keep trying and pivot (change direction quickly) to deliver success. We openly communicate on what is working and what hasn’t worked well and own our impact. We don’t blame others for failures, we acknowledge our part and find ways to brainstorm new approaches and try again. Coaching is a culture in High Performing teams, and we seek out coaching as well as robustly coach when we are leaders. We recognise the discomfort required in coaching, yet we know that when it comes from a palace of connection and care we are able to create GROWTH. In High Performance accountability is clear and we all own it. We take accountability for the success of our customers and team. We take accountability for the success of the team we are part of and care for each other. We take accountability for our own success. We are keenly accountable for our leader’s success and work long and hard to help them deliver their commitments. In a High-Performance culture we don’t operate in excuses we are passionate, purpose driven and focused on success.

SUMMARY Confronting reality and diagnosing where we could focus is important as it allows us to pivot and sharpen our approach in REACHing High Performance. Why not take our REACHing for High Performance Assessment and see where you and your team can shift and lift to higher performance?

REACHing for High Performance is a constant journey and it takes the entire team. When a High-Performance Culture is created people are passionate, leaders are visionary, and problems and challenges are robustly solved together. People will always be central to business success and we believe based on our experience and research that your success can be unlocked. It will take disciple, effort and vulnerability yet it will be worth it.

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