Make People feel like Super-heroes: MondayMOVE Idea


superhero move

The Monday MOVE Idea

Each Monday until the launch of my upcoming book MOVE, I’ll be sharing an important idea from the book. This week: Make People Feel Like Super Heroes

“Patty, When I worked for you, I thought I was Superman.”

I got that message recently from a former employee. It was wonderful to get that message. But additionally, those 10 words sum up for me, in a pretty profound way, what I believe being a good leader of a high performing team is about.

He continued… “I have occasionally reflected on why that was. Not sure I know all the answers, but the things I do know are that the environment was real, the energy was high and the crap was low.”

If you set out with the goal to create an environment where your people can feel amazing, you’ll be on a really good track.

A great measure for your own leadership is: How many of my people feel like super-heroes?

The simple approach is this:

Share power. Hire top people, give them big work, support them, step back and let them be amazing. Don’t just delegate work. Delegate power. Let people make decisions and solve problems. Let them do great work they can be proud of, and help them get recognized for it. If you hire top performers, show them trust and respect, and make sure they get the credit, they will move mountains for you. Get out of their way!

People like to be amazing. Let them.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share important ideas about genuine employee engagement and all the tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team (at any level in the organization) to execute your strategy more decisively.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now or pre-order your copy now.
Click to download
Click to Pre-order
Move thumb

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Who else would like to see this?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

An important business lesson to learn from dogs: Do you have the right team?


dogsled

It’s great when it happens

As a business leader I can remember the feeling of being overwhelmed and struggling, and feeling like the job was totally impossible, or that I was totally unqualified because it felt too hard.

Each time this happened I had a mentor or a boss say to me, “Patty, you need to build the right team”.

I can also remember so clearly how much better it felt at the moment when I got the right team in place.

It was amazing. My level of worry was greatly reduced, the quality of what my team could do skyrocketed, and the impact of what I could do with my time personally also went through the roof.

The misery was gone. It was replaced with a combination of relief and excitement.

Now, we could move forward.
Actually it was more like..we couldn’t NOT move forward. The team was ready and raring to go.

I’ll admit, making changes to the team was never easy to do. There was always angst and controversy and risk in getting there. But it was always worth it.

Accommodating

Many leaders make the mistake of thinking that the job is to make do with the team they have — too accommodate. But the real job of a leader is to build the team you need.

You can tell yourself that accommodating weakness in your team is less messy and difficult than making a change, but the problem is that it wastes time forever.

While making a change is difficult and messy for a short time — then it’s over — and you get a HUGE benefit forever after.

The Dogsled Analogy: All the Ropes are Tight

Several years ago I had the opportunity to go dogsledding.

At the beginning of the day there were 17 sled-dog teams lined up on the sides of the path and the dogs were mostly lying and lounging in the snow.

The sleds were all braked. To brake a sled there is basically just a stake that is driven from the sled into the snow so the sled can’t move.

When the dogs perceived that the 30 minute briefing was ending (the had heard this briefing before!), without any cue from the guides, they all jumped up and pointed forward.

They were like loaded springs, ready to run, and pulling strongly on the ropes. The only reason the sleds didn’t fly forward is because the brakes were on.

So…ALL the ropes were tight.

You could sense the energy. It was not subtle. It was wonderful.

I had this strong feeling about how great that was.

Every team member was pointing forward and ready, willing, and anxious to GO.

Since then, I keep thinking… 

That’s the team you want in business. Every person pulling their weight in the same direction — ready, willing, and eager to GO. All you need to do is release the brake.

Think about your team. Are all the ropes tight?

1. Are all your team members facing forward?

This may seem like a simple question, but more often than not, there is at least one person who is simply not facing forward along with the rest of the team. They may be facing sideways (confused about where you are going) or backwards (in disagreement with where you are going). They may be sticking to an old way of doing things, or refusing to change their point of view on something important.

2. Is everyone on your team truly in alignment about what the course is and what their role is?

Can everyone on the team run forward without getting tangled up? Or are there points of disagreement or confusion that need to be resolved? If people’s roles aren’t clear, or if you have competing, or conflicting or duplicate efforts within your organization, the ropes will get tangled up. When you say “go”, everyone may start running, but not in the same direction.

3. Is each person capable and up to the task required of their role?

Can every person on your team pull their share of the weight – truly? Do they fully have the ability, the judgement, the communication and leadership skills to do the job that needs to be done? And are they willing and motivated to do their part?
When there is a team member who cannot pull their share of the weight, if they remain on the team, the manager and other team members are forced to compensate. And every time someone needs to compensate for a weak team member, there is a person not doing what they should be doing.

4. Are they all motivated to go where they need to go?

This is as important as any of the other questions. Do all the members of your team personally care about where you need to go? Are they engaged? Are they invested? There are some people who go through the motion of facing forward, and they have enough capability to run just fast enough so that their rope doesn’t visibly droop. They put on a great show of their effort, but they are only just barely pulling their share of the load.

Do you need to make a change?

When you look at your team — all the ropes should be tight.

If not, you need to make a change. There is no effective antidote for the wrong team. Transforming the wrong team into the right team is something I’ve written a lot about in my upcoming book MOVE.

Read MOVE

I’m really excited to share all the importnat ideas and tools I put in my upcoming book MOVE to help you get your team (at any level in any kind of organizaion) to execute your strategy more decisively.

MOVE will be available in February, but you can download a free preview now or pre-order your copy now.
Click to download
Click to Pre-order
Move thumb

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook

Working and Managing Remotely



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Working and Managing Remotely.

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.

working managing remote

How to show up when you can’t be there

Learn how to exert your presence, build your brand, and influence others, whether or not you are there!

Managing effectively when your team is spread around the world (or you are the one who is away from headquarters) is a topic that comes up frequently on our member Coaching Hour Calls.

I have come up with a really useful model for assessing and improving your ability to work or manage effectively from afar, so I created a webinar to share it with you.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you need to:

  • Build your brand as a remote employee
  • Motivate and engage a virtual, remote team
  • Communicate more effectively across sites, or globally
  • Improve performance planning and management at a distance
  • Get your virtual team operating better as a team

In this webinar: Working and Managing Remotely I gave you structured approaches and practical ideas for how to exert a strong presence when you are not there, build motivation, improve performance, and deal with distance, language and culture issues.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.

If you are not a member, you can learn about membership and join, or you can purchase this individual webinar below.

The webinar

In this webinar you’ll learn how to increase effectiveness and motivation for everyone on your team, where ever they are.

We’re all global

In business today, it’s important to recognize that it’s not just our companies that are global. We each, as individuals are global employees.

Think more about your remote colleagues

We need to invest extra time and energy on sharing information, communicating, and including them in our day to day conversations, decisions and work processes.

In the webinar I covered the following scenarios:

1. When you are the remote employee
2. When you are managing a remote employee
3. When you are managing a geographically dispersed team
4. When you are managing an intact, outsourced team

Here is the model I shared: There are 4 big items on your checklist to see if you are doing everything you can to improve communicating, team building, and performance management

1. Presence

Just because you are not physically present, does not mean you can’t exert your presence.

We talked about ways to replicate physical presence by optimizing limited face time, using video, photos, and better managing conference call behaviors.

Remote team building is possible.

We also talked about the fact that you can still do team building activities even when people are not in the same room. We covered some great techniques and best practices to do this.

You must find ways to exert your presence whether you are the remote employee or the remote manager. I talked about ways to make this a habit and to think of exerting presence as a fundamental part of your job.

2. People

Sadly, “out of sight, out of mind” often takes hold in remote working relationships.

It is vitally important to treat people like people in business, even if you can’t see them — especially if you can’t see them!

We talked about how to increase the personal connection so that the distance, and the lack of physical presence does not make remote people and teams feel like they count less.

Managers need to reach out personally.

Making the effort to connect the dot’s for people about why their work matters increases motivation and performance.

We talked about ways to get inputs and include people in different locations, and how to participate personally in outsourced or remote team events and celebrations.

Individuals need to build a network of support.

We also talked about different ways that remote relationships go bad and make people feel powerless and cut off. We shared ideas for remote employees to take initiative to connect with their peers and manager in a personal way to build more visibility and support.

3. Communication

Clear, regular communication is important in any organization. But when dealing with dispersed teams, time zones, languages and cultures it becomes even more critical. So you need to put extra effort into an on-purpose communication program.

Augment your communications to reinforce connection and progress.

We talked about how workflow can stall, slow, or go in the wrong direction with time-zone and language issues, and how to create a highly effective and inclusive communication plan for remote colleagues to keep everyone in the loop.

4. Performance Management

While individuals can be more productive working remotely, teams can’t.

It’s vital in remote working relationships, that you get very clear and outcome-oriented with performance objectives and expectations for individuals and teams.

Distance is not the problem. Fuzziness in expectations and lack of follow-through is the problem.

You can’t really get away with sloppy performance management in person either, but it’s even worse if you let performance expectations get fuzzy at a distance. You won’t stand a chance keeping on track.

We covered a few different examples of the problems that crop up and how to deal with them at a distance.

Taking action and improving

We covered a lot of stuff in this webinar!

If you are leading or participating in a remote team, this webinar will help you think through your strategy to improve team performance and motivation. It’s also loaded with ideas and practical techniques you can use.

Want some help?

To get some help with this and learn the specific ideas and techniques that we talked about, download the webinar: Working and Managing Remotely, now.

Members: Download the webinar for free.
Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

Here are some additional, useful webinars related to building your personal brand and increasing the effectiveness of your team when geography is an issue.

Members get these additional webinars for free:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Let me be your mentor

Members of Azzarello Group basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

Join Now
Join Now.

TODAY ONLY
USE CODE: REMOTE
AT CHECKOUT TO SAVE $30 ON YOUR MEMBERSHIP

Other Options:

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)


ABOUT PATTY:

patty blog image
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download

Building a Stronger Team



This month’s Professional Development webinar was on the topic of Building a Stronger Team.

If you missed it you can download the recording.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.

Building a Stronger Team

Is your team capable of doing what the business needs?

Your job as a leader is to build the team you need, not to make due with the team you have.

It’s vitally important that you match your strategic business commitments to what your team can actually deliver.

Building the right team on purpose

In this webinar we talked about how to assess (and change) your team if necessary, so that you can confidently succeed on your business goals.

This is a very useful webinar to download if you want to:

  • Make sure your team can take on a new business challenge
  • Build the best team for what the business truly needs
  • Increase motivation and performance of individuals
  • Optimize the performance of your whole team
  • Kindly deal with team members who can’t scale

In this webinar: Building a Stronger team I share personal experience and practical techniques to make sure that your team is not only fit for purpose today, but is capable to scale in the future as the business changes and grows.

Members of Azzarello group can download this webinar for free.

If you are not a member, you can learn about membership or Join Now.

Join Now

What the webinar covered:

In this webinar I talked about specific, practical techniques to:

  • Create your ideal organization structure
  • Get the right people in the right roles
  • Recruit the best people
  • Create an environment where your team will thrive
  • Develop your team to become stronger over time

The Right Team

There is nothing like the right team.

That moment when you realize that you have built the right team, and that every person is strong and capable to do their part, and every person wants to move forward — That is a great moment.

You can get there. It’s not always easy to make necessary changes, but it’s always worth it.

When you have a team that is not able to change or scale, you end up trying to make up for it yourself. It’s exhausting and ineffective.

But the right team can work wonders. And it can free you up to do the next piece of strategic thinking and planning necessary to deal with always-changing challenges and targets.

In the webinar we talked about specific techniques to assess your current team, build your ideal, blank-sheet org chart, and up level the roles to meet future demand. There are also excellent worksheets and templates included to help you do this.

Motivate and Engage

As a leader it is also your job to make sure that you create an environment which fosters motivation and engagement.

I told a story during the webinar about a former employee who told me, “When I worked in your organization I felt like a superhero!”

Wow. That has become the measure for me as a manager. Make sure the people on my team feel like super-heros.

We talked about how to recruit and hire talented people, get them in the right roles, give them big important work, and let them do it — Support them and get the crap out of their way.

Improving Team Performance

Just like we do individual performance plans, I always like to do team performance plans too.

As a leader your team should be getting better at something each year. At least twice a year I would engage my staff in a team performance discussion. We would pick an area to improve and it would be part of all of our performance objectives.

In the webinar talked about how to develop team performance goals, along with individual ones.

It’s your job

One of the reasons I did this webinar is that very often managers don’t realize that this is actually a fundamental part of the job. They are not asked or directed to do this. Their company has not set expectations or given them training or support about this particular aspect of management.

As you go up each level, this skill and practice of building and developing the right team becomes more and more important.

The leaders that build the best teams, get the most valuable stuff done, and create the most success for the business and themselves.

Don’t wait to be asked or given permission. You should be figuring out how to build the strongest team possible — all the time.

Want some help?

To get some help with this and learn the specific ideas and techniques that we talked about, download the webinar: Building a Stronger Team, now.

Members: Download the webinar for free.
Non Members: You can purchase this individual webinar or podcast (links below).

Here are some additional, useful webinars related to this topic

Members get these additional webinars for free:

So if you are not yet a member, you might as well join and get them all for free!

Let me be your mentor

Members of Azzarello Group basically get me as their mentor.

Every month you get new insights and tools in the form of these webinars, as well as the chance to call into a monthly members-only coaching hour where you can get direct personal coaching from me.

People tell me that membership gives them a totally new way of thinking about their career, getting promotions, solving difficult problems with bosses, peers, employees, and other annoying people, communicating better, being more influential, becoming a stronger leader, and enjoying their work more. I love to hear this, and I love to help!

If you join now, you’ll not only get this webinar, but all the other webinars in the Member Library.

AND you’ll get the opportunity to participate in monthly Coaching Hour conference calls with me.
Check out what we talk about.

AND as a member you’ll get to download your copy of the Career Year of action Guide (a $30 value) for free.

Membership is a great resource (and a steal at $179 for a whole year) to help you advance your career.

Join Now
Join Now.

Other Options:

Purchase just this webinar ($19.99)
Purchase just this podcast ($9.99)


ABOUT PATTY:

patty blog image
Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor.
She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download

I need my team to be more strategic


strategic

People don’t become more strategic

I frequently talk to executives who are concerned about particular individuals on their team, saying, “I need them to be more strategic”.

Reality check: I have never seen anyone become more strategic.

OK, there are a few closeted-strategic people out there who do not yet realize that they are allowed to be more strategic. They might be junior or inexperienced, but when they are told “you should be more strategic” and given a little support, they get a boost of confidence and they transform – pretty quickly.

So it is definitely worth giving people a chance to develop.

But when leaders have tried and tried, and trained and supported, and waited and waited, it’s time for a reality check.

Don’t keep waiting…

If you have been wishing someone on your team would become more strategic, have been coaching and waiting for more than a year (or years) — just recognize (and you probably already know this in your heart) — this person is not going to become strategic.

My experience is that people either have the strategic gene or they don’t.

Where leaders get stuck

This is the uncomfortable part — this is a great person. A hard worker, loyal employee, gets-things-done-kind-of-guy-or-gal — but they are just not thinking and working strategically enough.

They may have found themselves in a new position in the organization — one that has evolved as the organization has grown. A position, in which you now need someone to lead and do new stuff at a different level or scale, or to just do dramatically different, new stuff.

You don’t need someone in the job who just gets things done.

In fact that is part of the problem. They are so busy getting old and current things done that they spend no time on thinking about whether or not they should still be doing these things.

Some people just can’t let go of running the machinery, to decide if they could improve or reinvent the machinery, or if different machinery entirely is what is needed.

Conceiving and Leading Change

You need someone in the role who will help you with the new thinking. Someone who will personally conceive of and lead the change, then motivate and develop the people in their own organization to move the business forward.

If you stick with the non-strategic person, you will block growth. The business can’t grow because you need do all the strategic thinking and inventing, not just at your level, but at the level below too.

Then you need to spend time defining and describing to this non-strategic person who is not stepping up enough, why and how to construct and execute specifically what is needed for the new world.

You don’t have time for this!

You become a bottleneck.

But if you face up to the fact that you need different (strategic) people on your team, and get the right people in the strategic roles, who are naturally capable and motivated to drive change, suddenly you are able to scale.

Because you then have a team of people below you who can think, decide and drive change. They will be pulling the organization up and forward without using so much of your own time.

You get to step up even more to lead strategic growth because your team is pulling their weight.

Lessons

I have restructured every management team I have ever led. Every team always ended up saying, “this was the best team I have ever been on”. We always drove change. We always executed. Each person strategically led their area with competence and motivation.

This is what I learned:

Get really clear on this in your own mind: If your desired outcome is to grow the business, your job is to get a team of people who are able to do the work you need, not to make due with the people you have.

What to do

1. make a honest assessment:

What roles do I need to drive the transformation or growth that the business requires?
Do I have all the right roles defined?
Do I have the right people in them?

2. Create your ideal, blank-sheet, org chart.

Once you have done this you will have a realistic picture of the team you need, and the gaps you have.

3. Then decide if you are going to act.

Your choices and options

Grow the business: If your desired outcome is to grow the business, then you need to get the right people in the right jobs and eliminate the people who are not stepping up.

Keep jobs: If your desired outcome is to help people keep their jobs you have two choices.

1. Move them to different, lower or sideways jobs, and free up strategic jobs to be filled by strategic people.

2. If you can’t or won’t do this, then accept the fact that your organization will not drive strategic change, and find a business model you can execute with the team you have.

Key thought: Don’t waste a lot of time and energy signing your business up for strategic growth, then trying to do it with the wrong people, and wondering why you are not able to execute more strategically.

What do you think?

Join the conversation about this on my facebook page.

Was this useful?

If you found this article useful, please help me share it with others and encourage them to subscribe to this Blog for free.


About Patty
patty blog image crop

Patty Azzarello is an executive, best-selling author, speaker and CEO/Business Advisor. She became the youngest general manager at HP at the age of 33, ran a billion dollar software business at 35 and became a CEO for the first time at 38 (all without turning into a self-centered, miserable jerk)

You can find Patty at www.AzzarelloGroup.com, follow her on twitter or facebook, or read her book RISE…3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, AND Liking Your Life.

Rise_CVR_3D_300

Free eBook Download