Destiny Driven” Team Ideology and Series
A Destiny Driven Team Solves, Not Just Sells
Stop selling your employees about why they need to perform better. Explain why their contributions help solve problems and contribute to the company’s/clients advancement. Employees are more inclined to step up their game when they know their work can add-value to the healthier whole of the organization.
People tend to do three things when faced with a problem: they get afraid or uncomfortable and wish it would go away; they feel that they have to come up with an answer and it has to be the right answer; and they look for someone to blame. Being faced with a problem becomes a problem. And that’s a problem because, in fact, there are always going to be problems!
One of the key components of a successful team originates from their ability to solve problems as they arise, and do so in a collaborative, non-judgemental way. This can be more difficult than it sounds, but it’s important to remember that it’s a TEAM problem, so what’s needed is a TEAM solution.
To begin with, a leader who is focused on results and has their finger on the pulse of the team is going to be able to determine where the gap is in service or quality. It might take some time and a little investigation to ascertain where the bottleneck is, but it is always the responsibility of the team lead to find the issue and then determine the best way to solve it. Additionally, how a leader sets the tone for dealing with an issue is key to how your team members will not only react, but how effectively they will work to fix it.
Because people are born problem solvers, the biggest challenge is to overcome the tendency to immediately come up with a solution. Let me say that again. The most common mistake in problem solving is trying to find a solution right away. That’s a mistake because it tries to put the solution at the beginning of the process, when what we need is a solution at the end of the process.
When a client has called me with an issue, I might try to ascertain if there is one specific individual on my team who is at the root of the issue, but I tend to keep that as personal intel I don’t share with my team. It’s information that I keep in a mental file, but I don’t necessarily jump to the assumption that the entire issue rests solely in their hands. Instead, I gather the client team together to address the issue together for a problem solving session.
Why? Because years of managing people has taught me that approaching a problem as a puzzle the team needs to solve together is going to generate much better ideas – and results – than pulling one person into my office and asking them why they’re messing up. All that typically generates is defensiveness, excuses, and resentment. Conversely, if people feel that they have a team behind them to support them and work with them on fixing an issue they are much more likely to react positively and want to find an answer.
It’s a proven fact that people who feel they are part of a cohesive unit working toward one goal are much more likely to step up to the plate. Think of the most successful sports teams in history along with the most revered coaches. Both have been born from a shared sense of work ethic, working collaboratively to solve an issue. While there may be a standout player here and there, the best of the best always know that the team wins together and fails together. And when you solve problems collaboratively, you increase the amount of stakeholders and the people who want to make sure the solution works. The more people who care, the more likely you’ll find success.
Here is the seven-steps I use for an effective problem-solving process.
- Identify the issues.
Be clear about what the problem is.
Remember that different people might have different views of what the issues are.
Separate the listing of issues from judgment and blame. Too often, team problem solving sessions can become a witch hunt of who to blame or who gets the passed buck passed to their desk last. All this ends up creating is a culture of suspicion and mistrust, and it is the quickest enemy to a cohesive, collaborative team. Instill from the start that the issue is the PROBLEM, not the person. If it seems like the issues do seem to consistently involve one team member, start by finding out if there are tools or training they need that could easily solve the problem.
- Understand everyone’s interests.
This is a critical step that is usually missing.
Interests are the needs that you want satisfied by any given solution. We often ignore our true interests as we become attached to one particular solution.
The best solution is the one that satisfies everyone’s interests but that might not be possible. Find the one that satisfies the most.
This is the time for active listening. Put down your differences for awhile and listen to each other with the intention to understand.
Separate the naming of interests from the listing of solutions.
- List the possible solutions (options)
This is the time to do some brainstorming. There may be lots of room for creativity.
Separate the listing of options from the evaluation of the options.
- Evaluate the options as a team.
What are the pluses and minuses? What is the “all-around” answer. Remember that perfect is often the enemy of the good here. You’re looking for the best all-around solution to the problem. You’ll never find one that works from all angles and makes everyone absolutely happy, but you can find one that will be accessible and actionable.
Separate the evaluation of options from the selection of options.
- Select an option or options.
What’s the best option, in the balance?
Is there a way to “bundle” a number of options together for a more satisfactory solution? Share the work among team members? The possible issue could be a result of one person doing too many things.
- Document the approach you’re going to take to solve the problem.
Don’t rely on memory.
Writing it down will help you think through all the details and implications.
- Agree on contingencies, monitoring, evaluation, and accountability.
Conditions may change. Make contingency agreements about foreseeable future circumstances
How will you monitor compliance and follow-through?
Create opportunities to evaluate the agreements and their implementation. (“Let’s try it this way for three months and then look at it.”)
Effective problem solving does take some time and attention more of the latter than the former. But less time and attention than is required by a problem is not well solved. What it really takes is a willingness to slow down. A problem is like a curve in the road. Take it right and you’ll find yourself in good shape for the straightaway that follows. Take it too fast and you may not be in as good shape. *Add in accountability.
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Purpose, Not Just Profits
Employees are inspired by knowing that their hard work makes a difference beyond profitability. Destiny driven employees want leaders who see beyond the bottom line and look to create wider reaching impact that extends into the community and influences social causes.
We are all on this earth for a purpose. To teach, to learn, to grow, to help, to experience. I once read a story about a very successful millionaire who happened upon a monastery during a trip abroad whose focus was working with the poorest among us. Within weeks, the man changed his life around: donated his money and his possessions, sold his business, and joined the monastery as a monk* Needless to say, people in his life were shocked by this choice; many thought he had lost his mind. What did he have to say on the matter? He hadn’t lost his mind; he’d found his purpose. What he was put on this earth to do. Being a monk and working with the poor, taking the focus off of him and putting it on others, giving of himself every day rather than taking fulfilled him like nothing else had, even making money.
Now, this might be an extreme case, and certainly not all of us will find our purpose in such a selfless call. Conversely, your life’s purpose isn’t all about what you do when you’re at work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find the right role in your job that will best inspire and stimulate you and where you can feel your talents are being used in their best way.
When I bring new people onto my team, I always have them take a personality inventory test before extending an offer. I’m not judging them solely on the results of the test, but I am trying to find insight into how they work, what makes them tick, how they interact with others, and where they are going to feel the most inspired. Someone who is an introvert, for example, is very unlikely to be a superstar in your sales department. Someone who is highly creative is not going to find their happy place working with analytics all day. Having this type of knowledge about a new hire has proven to be invaluable to me. I start out knowing where I can best plug them into my team to not just get the best out of them, but also where I can help them to feel the most fulfilled and purpose driven.
I once hired a talented woman in my marketing department who was working as an account manager and dealing directly with clients on a regular basis. Her role was to oversee all aspects of the clients’ account with us and ensure that all of the tasks they’d hired us to manage for them were being accomplished. She was performing well, but it became clear to me through our weekly check-in meetings that something was missing for her. She was getting the job done, but there was a decided lack of enthusiasm and joy in her spirit and her commitment to the team.
When I approached her about this, she shared with me that the constant interaction with the client that is required of an account manager made her feel like she wasn’t getting much accomplished, that instead, she was just making sure OTHER team members were getting the job done, and that wasn’t fulfilling for her. SHe felt more like a gatekeeper than someone who actually contributing in a meaningful way.
It became clear to me during this conversation that this woman was an executor, not a manager. For her to feel like she had put in a productive day at work she needed that task-oriented, crossed that off the list, here is what I produced that is making our work product better feeling. And while she was professional enough and talented enough to make sure her job got done, I knew she would never truly find her purpose working as an account manager. She would eventually come to this realization on her own and likely leave in a year or two.
Rather than lose a talented and valued team member, I realized it was time to pivot. Through a few more meetings, we found what kind of client work was inspiring to her. A highly analytical and strategic person, she enjoyed looking at metrics, key performance indicators, and performance analytics, finding the patterns and discovering where efforts where falling short, and then problem solving with the team to rectify them. Once we discovered this, I was able to work with my Marketing Director to transition her account management role to one where she became an analyst. Once she stepped into this role, the change in her spirit was almost immediate. She not was visibly happier, she became a shining asset on our marketing team as a analyst who could quickly see problem areas and correct them.
The lesson? Find a team members true purpose and you find the way to unlock their true potential. Additionally, if a team member feels that you value them enough to help them find that purpose at your company, you foster true loyalty and connection.
*Unlock people’s potential
*Spiritual teacher – there are spiritual principles that do work in a work situation.
A Destiny Driven Team Leader Knows the Ingredients, Not Just the Recipe
When you spend time with your employees, make it matter. Don’t just expect your time and title and the fact that you sign their paychecks to be enough to inspire them. Employees want a leader that pays attention and genuinely cares about them.
Great leaders take the time to know the ingredients before they can create the best recipe for success. Employees are most inspired when a leader takes the time to know them and show that they have their best interests at heart.
Make Yourself a Leader Who Conveys Humble Confidence
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that the way you arrive at your destiny is at least as important as the place where you end up. As a Destiny-Driven leader who is focused on steering your team through rocky waters, there’s going to always be a lot of information and pressures that you’re privy to that your team is not, nor should they be. It’s crucial that as a leader, you always remember that you are the grounding rod for the team.
Teams that succeed do so because they trust in both the vision and the resiliency of the person in charge. After all, for a team to believe in your mutual destiny, they have to have absolute faith in you being the person to navigate that journey. That doesn’t mean that you handle all the pressures and deal with all the worries alone, and you certainly can’t do it without ensuring that you’re ready and able for the challenge. A true destiny-driven leader has to be up to the challenge, which requires you doing a lot of personal work on yourself, and you have a trusted team helping you execute and deliver.
We have all heard the phrase “Never let them see you sweat.” It’s typically a saying we associate with “competition”; never let THE OTHER GUY know you’re rattled or not prepared. But it’s also a sentiment that pertains to how you allow yourself to be viewed by your team as well. A CEO who appears to be frightened or flapable doesn’t inspire confidence or a sense of security in anyone. Consider some of our more revered and successful Presidents in history, like FDR or JFK; both of them were excellent leaders in part because they demonstrated and communicated a sense of authority and control in times of real crisis.
This is also true for a leader of a team of ten or a leader of thousands. In fact, a leader’s inability to maintain an appearance of confident control can result in making whatever difficulty you’re currently facing become twice as big as it was before. Consider this: If your team picks up a sense of panic from you, what will they likely do? You’re the person they are going to look during a stressful time, and if you appear to be worried, they’re not only going to worry themselves; many are going to interpret your concern as a sign that they should jump ship and find another job. The last thing you need during a professional setback is to lose some of your best team members. This is why it is crucial that a leader has cultivated the talent of always maintaining their “game face” and conveys a sense of stability and authority. How do you make that happen?
It’s crucial that you continually invest in “me time” and self care. This can be counterintuitive to some leaders, who believe that working around the clock is always the answer. But consider this; if you’re continually stressed and have not cared for your physical and mental well-being, how can you possibly meet new challenges and setbacks when they arise? Think about a time in your personal or professional life where you weren’t taking care of yourself. Maybe it was when you were in college, cramming for exams and not getting enough sleep or proper nourishment. Maybe it was when you were working several jobs in your youth to be able to get a downpayment on a car or a house. If a setback had come along at that time, – like your car breaking down or an illness in your family – would you have been able to meet that challenge with all of your power and focus? Of course not. And being a leader is no different.
When coaching leaders, I always stress the importance of taking personal time for rest, reflection, and growth. Meditation, retreats, moments with family and friends, and vacation time are all worthy of your attention and are absolutely needed in order for you to be at your fullest potential to be a leader who has the focus and personal resources to see a team through a crisis. You need to be at your best; clear-headed, rested, balanced and strong. Find a routine that works for you and adopt it as your new normal and you will notice the difference.
Building a Team that Can Weather the Storm
There’s a lot of sayings we have all learned over our lives that speak to the importance of having the right parts of the puzzle in place: The whole is only as good as the sum of its parts.
A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Innovation, Not Just Ideation
When given the right role and resources, the best employees will instinctively challenge themselves to be more innovative in their work – and will perform better. Provide your employees the resources and inspiration to be innovative in their work. Stay close enough to your employees’ activities to know the 2 or 3 skills and/or resources that each would require to take their performance to the next level.
A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Significance, Not Just Success
Helping your employees to be successful is important, but not inspiring enough in itself. People want more out of their leaders and if you can activate the natural talents of your employees in ways that make them feel more responsible about their jobs, you will be inspiring something that is more significant; true pride and joy in their work. This has longer lasting impact.
A Destiny Driven Team is Focused on Personal Growth, Not Just Responsibility
when a leader can help foster the professional growth and development of their employees that performance most flourishes. Leaders must take more time to mentor their employee’s development and growth outside the office as well as inside.
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Empowerment, Not Just Accountability
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Respect, Not Just Recognition
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Collaboration, Not Just Execution
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Excellence, Not Just Status Quo
A Destiny Driven Team Focuses on Trust, Not Just Transparency