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Chris LoCurto

By

June 7, 2012

Can Other Leaders Teach You Anything?

Yesterday we held a leaders conference call with the EntreLeadership Master Series (EMS) alumni from the Tucson event that took place a month ago. After they leave the event with the immense amount of information, and questions about what to do next, we give them a nine week plan to implement a new portion of the event each week.

Week four happens to be a conference call with me bringing the leaders up to speed on the process, interviewing some past event alumni who have been winning with the principles, and opening it up for Q & A. And while the time I spend teaching, as well as answering questions is awesome, my favorite part is interviewing the folks who have taken our information and transformed their own businesses.

On this call I had two champion leaders, Stephen Scoggins and Glenn Ford. Stephen, President and Owner of Custom Home Exteriors, attended one of our EntreLeadership 1 Day events, our San Antonio EMS, and brought team members to our Tucson EMS. Glenn, President of B & E Precision Aircraft Components, attended our San Antonio EMS.

I started by asking Stephen to share with us some of the ways he has implemented the EntreLeadership principles to win. Here are just a few things he shared with the recent graduates:

The importance of KRA’s – Stephen spent eight months making sure he got every team members Key Results Areas correct. I asked him to explain the difference of before and after implementing KRA’s. Before was chaos, after has been considerably more productive.

Discover where you’re failing – All of Stephen’s leaders have begun asking their team members to be blunt with them about how they have failed as leaders. One of the most difficult things for a leader to do. First the team has to trust you enough to share their feelings. Second, you as a leader have to be mature enough to take what they say, as well as actually do something about it if they’re right.

I then asked Glenn to share what they have done:

Forcing culture – Glenn has made it a point to create the culture that they want in their business. Which has been difficult, since they don’t all work at the same location. That didn’t matter though, he and his leaders have taken the steps necessary to make it happen.

Personality styles – They have also had every team member take the DISC personality profile and have made it mandatory for the teams to understand what they mean. This has dramatically improved their communication company wide.

These are just a couple of the things discussed from our alumni leaders who are winning on a daily basis after learning these principles.

Question: How can the steps that they’ve taken to win in their business, help you in yours? 

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  • http://www.BaptistEducation.org/ JoshuaWRivers

    Sounds like a great phone call to be a part of. I can appreciate the need to change culture. I’ve worked in several places in several industries and I have only experienced pockets of good culture. A good culture makes a tremendous difference!

  • http://LouiseThaxton.Net/ LouiseThaxton

    Forcing culture- it is absolutely essential!  Unfortunately, establishing the culture is not a one-time event – it is up to me to be consistent with setting the standards – the vision – the culture.  

  • http://www.smirknewmedia.com/ mkokc

    Great post. This re-enforces the idea to me of how important the idea of definition is – both in terms of expectation and culture. I too often commit the sin of being too laid back and avoiding conflict. Instead, I should be proactive about telling people what I expect of them and how it fits into the larger vision of the company. Can’t wait to make that step to be part of the Entreleadership Master Series. 

  • http://www.ricardoequips.com RicardoEquips

    I’ve actually implemented the 12 Step hiring process and it has work wonders of weeding out the wolves in sheep clothing. lol!

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @RicardoEquips
       Got any awesome, amazing, or entertaining stories to share that we can learn from? :)

  • cabinart

    What’s with all the burnt rice today??

    • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

      It’s a great story actually… it ‘s a new term that refers to the times you’re so inspired and involved in thinking about how to lead your business and your life, that you forget about other mundane things… like the rice you left on the stove.  :D  So if it’s really good advice, worth reading, others may burn their rice…

  • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

    I think there’s a high percentage of leaders who are unaware or have never heard of KRAs or anything similar.  In many organizations, “performance evaluation” happens once or twice a year and that’s when people get their hands slapped because they’re not doing things right.
     
    When there is clarity about “responsibilites”,  task delegation is eliminated. You delegate results instead.   Now KRA = key areas, not job description line items.   This approach tackles accountability and eliminates the “it’s not my job mentality”.
     
    I’m on page 39 of The Advantage by Pat Lencioni.  What he states is brilliant, simple concepts are so obvious that leaders overlook them but they’re key to a healthy organization.
     
    I can’t imagine a healthy organization where leaders are not transparent, teachable and flexible.
     
    And that’s my burnt rice for today. :D

    • http://lcdublin-myprivateuniverse.blogspot.com/ CarolDublin

       @lilykreitinger I so agree about leaders needing to be transparent. It’s so difficult to measure up when the expectations aren’t made clear, and then you don’t even know if you are doing a good job or not. So much easier to be accountable when you know exactly what results you need to achieve.
       
      I loved The Advantage by Lencioni – lots of good information in there that is so important to implement. The next 2 chapters on creating clarity and overcommunicating clarity are really key.

    • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

       @lilykreitinger Transparency is definitely the best way to go. If the team is not happy, they feel comfortable telling you so.  And if they choose to complain only to those who CAN’T fix the problem (the definition of gossip), they cannot blame their leader for unresolved issues.

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @lilykreitinger
       Ooh ooh ooh–you used one of my favorite words:  transparent.
      Too many “leaders” think if they’re transparent, and risk showing their weaknesses, then they’re not being a “strong” leader.

  • tkstaxlady

    Main thing I’m taking away from this:  creating the culture you want to see in your company.  I am currently growing my company to the point that I will need to hire my first team member and I realize if I don’t create the culture right now while it’s a one-woman show, things will run amuck as the team grows and personalities/work ethics intermingle.

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @tkstaxlady GREAT point. I know I’m guilty of that, I’m just starting my company and it’s easy to think culture is only for bigger companies with employees. Thanks for reminding me!

  • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

    I think what can be learned from Stephen and Glenn is the boldness to make changes as needed.  Particularly in asking your team how you fare as their leader.  That can be a scary situation for all involved.
    The positive change that can be made in that situation would be amazing–particularly by NOT saving the conversations for the ‘yearly evaluation’, and being surprised by the comments.
     
     

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @skottydog It definitely takes boldness and courage! I know I struggle with accepting constructive criticism! You’ve gotta be very sure of yourself, your goals, and your motivation to do that!

    • http://www.jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

       @skottydog I’m not a parent, but when I got to see Dan Heath and Chris speak a few weeks ago, Dan made a good point about the whole “yearly evaluation” deal by drawing a parallel to parenting. When a kid does something good or bad, it is usually not a good idea to wait 12 months to recognize their behavior.
       
      Carry the parenting deal out too. When a parent (as a leader) makes a mistake, it doesn’t disqualify the parent from their role as a leader in the future… so being open to and taking ownership of mistakes as a leader is definitely important too.

      • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

        @Jon Henry @skottydog That is a fantastic parallel! Thanks Jon! I’ll always remember that when I’m having to discipline my three year old (which, surprisingly is a fair amount, haha). The leadership lessons I was taught by a 3 year old…that could be a blog post title, haha

      • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

         @Jon Henry I love that analogy!  Pointing things out (publicly if positive, privately if negative) as they happen has proven to be the better way to go for everyone involved!

    • http://www.jonahenry.com/ Jon Henry

       @skottydog And congrats on not nearing the character limit with your comment! :)

      • http://www.lilykreitinger.com lilykreitinger

         @Jon Henry  @skottydog  Ooohhh that’s mean!

      • http://www.indueseason.net skottydog

         @Jon Henry Believe me, it was a struggle!  I try to never exceed 500 words on my own blog, but when I comment here…all bets are off!  :^}

    • http://lcdublin-myprivateuniverse.blogspot.com/ CarolDublin

       @skottydog I agree – you can’t wait a whole year – feedback along the way is so much more effective. And it’s so important to have an idea what kind of personalities are on your team. As Chris says, if you give information like you want to get it – you may not be effective as a leader but your team may not know how to tell you.

    • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

       @skottydog
       Yearly evaluations…..there’s just too much time in between!!

  • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

    From these two stories, the one that I think I can learn the most from is about developing better KRA’s for our leadership team, myself, and our team of teachers. What I caught from this: taking enough time to make those KRA’s really what you need them to be, and not relenting until you get them that way. That’s my burnt rice for today. ;) 
     
     

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @Aaron Nelson That’s some pretty tasty burnt rice Aaron! Until I started listening to the podcast and reading the blog I didn’t even know what KRA’s were! Now that I have, I can’t wait I implement them when I have a team! It’s great to hear so many people talk about how beneficial creating them is!

      • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

         @Skropp  @Aaron I’m with you there man. I had no idea what they were before here either. But I totally experienced life without them. It sucks. It’s total chaos and frustration. It’s ‘I’m payin ya for X, but why am I the one who always ends up coming after you to do it??’ Yep. Learning how to do KRA’s right is part of my current learning curve. 

        • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

          @Aaron Nelson how blessed you are to have a team to develop KRA’s with though! That puts you ahead of me :) …for now, I warn you, I’m on your heels!! Haha

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @Skropp  @Aaron Bring it bro! I’m glad to be running with you!

  • http://lcdublin-myprivateuniverse.blogspot.com/ CarolDublin

    This is so inspiring and such a good reminder. I think we have the tendency to go to training, get all fired up, and then come back to work as usual. It takes persistence to practice the principles learned until they become new habits. I love the tenacity of taking 8 months to get KRA’s right! Wow – that shows me that it does take time, but is worth it if you keep with it. And to spend the time creating the right culture – so huge. Thanks Chris. Just the push I needed today.

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

       @CarolDublin So true. I was also impressed with that 8 month KRA rollout. Just goes to show: if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing right the first time. I’ve found that the same is true for hiring. If you take your time to do it right on the front end, everything else is made so much easier. 

      • http://lcdublin-myprivateuniverse.blogspot.com/ CarolDublin

         @Aaron Nelson  @CarolDublin Yes – taking time is so important, especially hiring. I’ve seen way too many mistakes made because we hired in a hurry.

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @CarolDublin Me too – hiring, in the past, has been one of our greatest liabilities. Your people make you or break you. 

        • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

           @Aaron Nelson
           It’s sad when people don’t realize other people can be their biggest asset… :/

    • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

      @CarolDublin The best training is useless if it isn’t applied! And application is the hardest part! Daily struggle for me!!!

      • http://specializingintheimpossible.wordpress.com/ Laura Johnson

         @Skropp  @CarolDublin
         You reminded me of a comment I heard about the phrase “wisdom is power”….. Wisdom isn’t power if it isn’t applied.

  • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

    Man Chris! That is some good stuff! First off, their insights, but also the proof of how well the EMS prepares you to win!
    I think the biggest thing I learned from Stephen and Glenn is being willing to be teachable. Understanding they could benefit from EntreLeadership, going, learning, and then doing.
    For me to be successful, I’ve got to do the same. Seek out those I can learn from, take the steps to be around them so I can learn and be influenced by them, and most importantly DO what I learn!
    Thanks Chris! This is some serious burnt rice!

    • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

       @Skropp Stang! You beat me to it Mark!! (Burnt rice.) I love what you have to say about seeking out people to learn from. That is soo true. You can’t lead well in a vacuum. 

      • http://hardandsimple.blogspot.com/ Skropp

        @Aaron Nelson Haha. Yup I win. 10 points! (what are the points worth anyway? Haha).
        The more I learn the more I realize I don’t know what the heck in doing!! I hope I never lose that perspective!!

        • http://epicenterlanguages.com.mx/our-blog Aaron Nelson

           @Skropp  @Aaron Me either – open to learn and actually learning and applying what I learn is how I always want to be. :) And points: well….I guess you just get the satisfaction of being the first one. :)