In this blog post, I’m going to reveal the 3 leadership secrets of a high performing company. Have you ever wondered why some leaders have all the luck? You know the one that always gets the best clients, somehow attracts the best employees, and are in the media for their overall exceptionality.
The 1st leadership secret of a high performing company is having a shared purpose and shared goals
So what does that mean?
Purpose is the reason for your being in business.
What is the overarching purpose your organization fulfills. Why are you in business?
Simon Sinek talked about this topic in his famous Ted Talk back in 2009 and has since written several spinoff books about it. I’ll link to the video below. If you haven’t watched it, please do so as soon as you’re done here.
In my years of observing high performing companies and what their leaders do differently, I’ve found this:
The company and its employees have a shared purpose AND goals
These leaders do an incredible job of getting clear on the main purpose and goals of the company and that every single person in the company works towards that goal.
These leaders share this purpose, mission and WHY with their employees.
Consider Starbucks purpose: Our mission: to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time. If you’ve ever been inside a Starbucks, you can see this in every single thing you encounter in one of their restaurants. From the menu selection, to the baristas, to the layout of the place.
This doesn’t happen organically. This is systematic effort of the leaders in the company to continuously talk about and instill this purpose and mission in everything. This purpose gives way to a shared goal that every employee is aware of and working towards.
Consider Southwest’s purpose: Connect people to what’s important in their lives through friendly, reliable, and low-cost air travel. If you’ve flown Southwest, you see this in every interaction with their ground staff to flight staff and everything in between.
So, here are 3 takeaways for you:
- Go watch or rewatch Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk
- Share your purpose with your employees
- Re-examine your business operations (from people processes) to embed that purpose
The 2nd leadership secret of a high performing company is permitting creativity and innovation
Now, creativity might seem like a very subjective term and heaven knows that the subject of innovation has been beaten to death, but hear me out. I’m not here to define creativity and innovation. I am here to tell you how I’ve seen these two things play out in a high performing company.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to see creativity and innovation in an organization is to have a collective mindset of “CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT”
That’s right, creativity and innovation don’t have to be some fancy, illusive thing that you have to throw millions of dollars and years of time to. Innovation and creativity can simply be seen when there’s a culture of continuous improvement. Let me explain
I’ve coached many, many leaders over the years and so many of them put immense pressure on themselves to solve problems for their people. For example, when an employee gives an update and says that they’re stuck on something, most leaders immediately jump in and give the employee the answer. The employee goes away and executes and things are balanced again.
Here’s why solving problems and giving your employees the answers is the worst thing you can do:
- You’re not allowing the employee to exercise their creative brains to brainstorm and solve the problem themselves. You’re training them to come to you to get direction when they’re stuck
- You’re constantly being pulled back into the day to day and not freeing up your time to focus on strategy and the big picture. This leads to your time being wasted on “can I have a minute” type conversations
- You’re not spending your 1:1 time with your employees on coaching, but on advising. There’s a really good book called the Advice Trap by Michael Stanier that talks about this in greater detail. Btw, it’s free if you have an Amazon Kindle Unlimited subscription
- You giving your advice and solutions actually limits the growth of your company because your answers might not actually be the best answers
So what do you do instead?
When employees come to you with questions, put it back to them to come back to you with a solution. Then help them make decisions in a logical way by tying the solution back to your shared goals and objectives
This helps them:
- get creative with their problem solving
- Find innovative solutions that perhaps even you might not have thought of
- Have an eye to continuously improving the business
The 3rd leadership secret is fostering a sense of collaboration and cooperation on your team
The most high performing companies’ leaders create a culture of cooperation among their teams. Because of their shared goals, everyone is on the same page and it becomes easy for teams to work together to solve problems and come up with innovative ways of doing business.
Here are some tips for fostering collaboration and cooperation in your company:
- Ask them to come up with solutions that involve others in the company. Instead of senior leadership working together to solve problems, put the onus on employees to pull together and find solutions
- Position yourself as the last point of contact when coming up with a solution or end result for a project. The team should come to you with a singular recommendation and not involve you in discussing or brainstorming solutions. When you are involved in brainstorming solutions, it should only be for high level, strategic initiatives.
- Compensate employees for working together as a team. When you compensate people for their own performance and goals only, there’s a “me first” mentality. When you compensate them for team results, people work together
Ok, question time… drop a comment and tell me what you think the difference is between collaboration and cooperation. And let me know if you’d like me to do a blog post about this in the future.
If you’re ready to take your organization to the next level by maximizing the performance and potential of your people, let’s chat.
And be sure to comment below on what your biggest challenge is as you build your high performance culture. I promise to do a blog post just for you.