331 | The Bottleneck That Keeps Leaders From Correcting Culture

Hey, remember that one time… you had this colossal issue on your team, you sat back and did nothing and the problem got magically better? OH, you don’t? *sarcasm*

Probably because that hasn’t happened in the history of leadership.

Discover the “culture” bottleneck keeping you and your team from growing: 

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Chris LoCurto:           Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show where we discuss leadership and life and discover that business is what you do, not who you are.

I imagine that no listener leading wants to limit what their team or business could become… More on how not to do that coming up next.

Hey, uh, you remember that one time you had this colossal issue on your team and you sat back and did nothing and the problem got magically better? That’s sarcasm by the way. Oh, you don’t? Probably because that has never happened in the history of all leadership period. There’s never been a time that this big colossal issue by doing nothing just got fixed. You can’t name one famous president general or business leader who was incredibly successful by being passive over taking initiative or by leading from reaction instead of having a bias for action. This is the second bottleneck that keeps your leadership and therefore your team and or your business from growing. What is it? Correcting culture. Here’s why this matters. Bottlenecks, slow down productivity. So I want you to visualize this. Take a glass upside down. You know, take a regular water glass or something like that, and turn it upside down.

All the liquid comes out, no problems, you know, no, no issues. It all comes out pretty quickly and depending upon where you are, maybe not in the best place. Now consider it being a soda bottle or a wine bottle or a beer bottle or something like that and flip that upside down. What happens? Considerable difference. It takes a heck of a lot longer. Obviously there’s now a problem going from the volume it was in through the small neck and coming out. Everybody understands it. Everybody knows it. So we’re in this series of bottlenecks to your leadership. So I want you to take a look at this and consider. The first bottleneck we talked about was the habit of preparation and shooting from the hip. Today we’re talking about correcting culture. What does that look like if you’re the bottleneck, what does it look like if you’re the one who was not correcting your culture?

Now you cannot correct what you’re unwilling to confront in your culture. Plain and simple. You can’t correct what you’re unwilling to confront in your culture. Now we can’t talk about bottlenecks without talking about culture. Now, more on that coming up right after we talk about one of my favorite things that we do that’s life changing. A huge part of changing your leadership and business is starting with you. Next level Life is our two day personal discovery experience. It’s a one on one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life and to discover what’s holding you back from freedom and peace. Imagine this, what if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in a few months, a year, five years if you had clarity, purpose and peace?

Probably a big difference from where you stand today. Now I know it’s possible because I’ve been where you are asking myself is there more? There is and there is a better way and it starts with next level life. You can go to ChrisLoCurto.com/Discover to take the next step. Now, if you’re struggling with discontentment, regret, or not feeling good enough, which most of you are, if you’re filled with anxiety or your relationships are lacking, don’t keep going through the same motions every single day. Learn how to move past the things robbing you of peace. We are back and we are talking about correcting culture. Now to correct culture, we need to know what the crap we’re talking about, right? By the way. I’mactually back up in Tahoe right now. So I’m recording this in Tahoe.

I’m a writing my book. I’m working on that right now. So it’s going to be awhile. But I will accept your prayers. So if you’ll pray for me, that would be great. But you may hear in the background some birds or like right now a plane just flew over. So here’s what culture is and isn’t. So for us, culture is not just creeds. It is not memorized acronyms, it’s not optional. Culture is actions and attitudes. Actions and attitudes that drive the business forward. Actions and attitudes that create incredible productivity in your team actions and attitudes that help align the tasks of a team to the mission or what we would say is your purpose. So for example, we talk about, uh, one of our next level mastermind clients, Chris camp, who in the early days before joining us and going through strat plan and everything that he’s done with us did not want to go into his office.

It was a bad culture that they had years ago that kept the leadership from wanting to even go into the office and being around that culture. And because of that, that kept them from having the most productive culture. Once they stopped and focused on their culture as a leadership team and creating that inside of the business and focused on generating results, guess what crazy thing happened? The revenue increased. People liked working with each other. The leadership actually liked coming into their office instead of being out all day, you know, working on, on jobs and things actually liked being around the people in their office. But that took the intentional correcting of their culture that took the intentional look at themselves, Chris at himself and his leadership team and say, what are we doing? What are we allowing? What do we need to do to fix this? How do we fix this?

How do we, how do we change this? How do we correct this? How do we not be the bottleneck in this? And by doing so, it had an incredible increase on their business, on their, again, their culture. Their revenues, everything, everything involved. The two biggest areas of culture where problems arise, communication and accountability. Now here are some cultural issues that in my experience, slow down productivity and hurt revenue, unresolved conflict. Folks, I cannot say this enough. If you have unresolved conflict in your business, there’s a really good chance that you as a leader may not even know it exists. You may not know it’s there. I’ll never forget years ago, I mean, a long time ago, I had a team member on my team and, and for me, uh, if you guys have heard me talk about the meetings that I do of sitting down with each team member and asking what’s going on, you know, how can leadership be better?

All that kind of fun stuff, especially those of you that just came out to the next level leadership live event, then you understand, I am very intentional about finding out, I want to know problems. I want to know conflicts. I know on no issues. I want to know where I as a leader am failing, where the leaders under me are failing. I want to know these things. And I had a team member years ago that really was super loyal to me, really loved me as a person. And so when I would sit down and ask how was that person’s leader doing, everything was okay. It wasn’t until after that person left that they let me know, hey, there’s this problem with that leader. I’m like, why in the world did you not tell me? Well by this point, I already knew it. By this point

It was, you know, I had found out through another way of discovering that there was a problem with one of the leaders that I had under me. And she said that she just loved me and she didn’t want to put that strain on me and mess me up to, which I had to explain, hey look what it’s doing now. If I could have actually known that, you know, I think it was like six months, eight months earlier, had I known that back then, I could have actually stopped problems earlier. So folks, here’s what you have to understand. You may not even know that you have unresolved conflict on your team. It is sometimes incredibly difficult to discover. That’s why I put in specific meetings. And again, while I didn’t get it through this person, I eventually got it through somebody else to discover this thing because I didn’t, everything was looking right.

Everything appeared to be okay. And later on I discovered that this person was having a problem in their leadership to which I fixed it very quickly. So unresolved conflict is going to slow down your productivity immensely depending upon you know, how bad it is, right? So here, I know that I had a team member that was not putting in full productivity for the leader that was over her. I also happened to know that there were other team members under her leadership that were not putting in full productivity because of the conflict they were having with this leader specifically. I had to fix that and solve that. And by not knowing it, even if I did know what, if you know that you actually have the unresolved conflict and you’re not doing anything about it, then you are literally playing a part in your lack of productivity on your team.

So by discovering that and putting fixes in place, I was able to get productivity back in place and solve that, right? So you have to make sure that you are not leaving or allowing unresolved conflict. Another thing is poor quality communication. Guys, I will tell you this over and over and over again. Number one, business problem that people have is low levels of quality communication. Number two, lack of accountability. Every single company that comes into Stratplan. Every single one discovers that communication is their biggest issue and accountability is their second, every company that comes through next level mastermind learns how to look for this stuff and to find these issues. They get the teaching on how to increase their communication and their accountability. Why? When you have poor quality communication, think about it like in the example of, what does that game called? Telephone… Where you line up a bunch of people and you have one person that has a story and they tell it to the person next to them and whispered in their ear and it goes through person, person, person, person, and by the time it gets to the last person it is definitely not looking the same as it did with the first person.

Now, obviously we shouldn’t have our communication going through 20 people. But the point that I’m making here is that if you have low quality communication, that means that the communication from the first person, even if it’s to just one other person, if they don’t have the same picture, if they don’t have the same story, if they don’t have the same information and we’re asking them to do something with that information, how well can they possibly execute on it? Think about this. How well can I as a team member do my job, have quality productivity, have quality execution if I’m not getting communicated to well, if I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing, if I don’t understand, what something is supposed to look like if I don’t understand the outcome that we’re looking for, what is the result that we’re looking for?

Wherever it is. If we have poor quality communication, I guarantee you your productivity is nowhere near what it should be. How could it possibly be? You hear me talk all the time about how important it is for you as a company. Not as just as an individual, but as a company to do your DISCs and your Values, how important it is to watch the video and talk about understanding how to communicate with each other. If you just think about it in that one example, this shows you why it’s so important. It’s such a big part of what we do. If I don’t have enough information or I have the wrong information, or I don’t understand the information and you’re asking me to create a result, how can I possibly create the result that you want? Now take a look around your whole business. How well is your communication?

It’s funny, I say this on the podcast now and and folks coming into StratPlan, they hear this and so they, they automatically lower the number, but on the opening night of StratPlan, I always ask, hey guys, how you rank your communication inside of your company? Zero to 10 10 being phenomenal. Couldn’t be any better. And in the past, now I’ve said this too many times on the show, so I’ve ruined it, but in the past, you know, I would always get seven or eight. Every now and then I’d get a nine, right? And then the next afternoon, so we’d go through three quarters of the first day. I would ask again, hey guys, remember when I asked you last night to rank your communication? What would you rank it now? Every single time it’s like, oh gosh, it’s a two or three at best. We had no clue. We had no clue.

Or we might have somebody on the leadership team, uh, from the company that goes, I still think it’s a five. And everybody jumps on him. It’s like, are you kidding me? Take a look at what, look at how, how much we struggle here. Take a look around your company. Be as honest as you possibly can with you. What would you rank the communication of the company? If it is not high…and I know I’m asking you to do something where you haven’t been through a, you know, a half day or a day with me on communication, learning about it. But if you’re being honest with yourself, then chances are you’re going to see that your communication inside of your company is nowhere near where you think it is and it’s definitely nowhere near where it should be. That lack of communication is causing a great lack of productivity, which means you’re paying more for people to do the job that you’re paying for.

In other words, if people are doing half of the productivity that they could be doing, or even three quarters of the productivity, that means you’re still paying more to get the same job done that’ll come to you in a few minutes. Next thing that is a cultural issue that slows down productivity and hurts revenue is poor execution, not actually executing on the things that we need to do well, whether that’s tasks, whether that’s projects, no matter what it is, whether it’s aligning tasks correctly with the ability, the capacity of the team or the capacity of an individual, whatever it is, not being able to execute properly, not being able to execute well is slowing down your productivity. While no duh Chris, no, no, no. You need to think deeper than just the obviousness of that statement. Take a look around your team. Where do you see that people are having to execute something twice or even three times or even four times?

Because we’re not doing it well the first time. Usually the reason why is the cultural issue I just talked about. Usually we’re going into it with bad communication. Therefore we’re not executing well, but what if it’s your leadership? What if it is you as, as leaders are not teaching people how to execute well, are not making sure that they understand what they’re supposed to be doing? What if we have, as we talked about in an earlier podcast, that task result gap? What if people are doing tasks but they’re not getting the result that we’re looking for? What does that lack of execution that’s showing up inside of your team, inside of your business inside of your leadership? What if it’s your leaders that aren’t executing well? That is absolutely gonna slow down your productivity and definitely hurts your revenue? The next thing is a biggie.

It’s that accountability, that lack of accountability. Once again, I said communication is the number one issue inside of every business. Lack of accountability is number two, not holding people, processes, projects, clients, leaders, accountable to what is supposed to happen. So I just mentioned the task result gap, that gap that is missing. We can have people do tasks and not get the result that we’re looking for because we don’t have the accountability in place. Over and over and over again I have clients that will ask me about Chris, what do I do about this team member? They’re not getting this part of their job done or they’re not doing this well or they’re not doing this. And I’m like, do you have a KRA? Right? No, I know you talk about that stuff and how important that is, but no, I haven’t done that yet. Okay.

Then question, what are you holding them accountable to? Well, you know, they, they’ve got a, they’ve got a job description. Okay, so the job description is talking about what they’re supposed to do as far as a task, but we don’t actually understand the result very well do we? So how can we hold them accountable to a result if they don’t even know what the results should be? If they don’t understand what it’s supposed to look like? That’s why we just taught a huge lesson on KRAs at the Next-Level Leadership LIVEevent is to help people to actually understand the key result areas are not just the job descriptions. It’s so much bigger than that. The point that I’m making is KRAs are just one area of your business that you should be holding people accountable, including your leaders, including your leaders, right? So if you don’t have that accountability, how are you expecting that you’re going to have great productivity?

How are you expecting that you’re going to have great revenue? You’re working harder and harder and harder to create the revenue that you want because of the bottlenecks that are slowing down your productivity. So think about it. If you did not have unresolved conflict on your team, if you had high levels of quality communication, if you had phenomenal execution and you had phenomenal accountability, what would your revenues look like? What would your productivity look like if your productivity just increased by 25% which is not difficult to get to at all. That’s actually pretty easy. If it increased by 25% how much would your revenues increase? It should be roughly 25% right? That’s what it should roughly be. How much does that help your business? So think about it. If these cultural issues are holding back your productivity and your revenue and they are becoming the bottleneck and you are the one who is not confronting them, then you are the one allowing unhealthy culture.

You can be losing between at least 25 and 50% productivity. And I can promise you this, if you’ve got all of those that I just mentioned, it’s more like 50% it’s most likely 50% productivity. I sit down with a lot of businesses that when we see all of these areas and we put together a plan of how to solve all this stuff, what you see is the revenue is going to increase dramatically because of just fixing the productivity inside of the company, not adding new revenue guys, not just adding new revenue. Their bottom line comes up. Why? Because they’re spending less on fixing the same mistakes. Their gross revenue increases. Why? Because they’re able to help more clients. So if you’re the bottleneck, then guess what? This is absolutely affecting not just a productivity but your money. Okay? So how not to be a bottleneck in your business.

Here are the weekly action steps, folks. These are things you can do right now. These are things you can put in place right now. So here’s what I want you to do this week to have a phenomenal culture that drives results and to keep you as a leader from being the bottleneck, allowing poor culture to hurt the business and the team. So up the quality communication that’s happening. I want you to be on the next level of leadership. Do personality styles as a team. Make sure that you have your team do the DISCs. I highly suggest the DISC plus, so you’ve got the DISC and the Values in there. Make sure you sit down and watch the video, but sit down as a team watch the video and discuss the different personality styles. Pour over them yourself as a leader. Make sure that you’re looking at the people that you’re working with.

Make sure that you understand how to communicate with them. Make sure that you understand how they communicate with you. I always say the importance of DISC comes down to four things. How a person acts, reacts, gives information, receives information. You need to know those things to be able to predict communication. How do you communicate with somebody? How are they going to communicate with you? How somebody’s going to receive something. If you tell it to them, how are they going to receive a tough conversation? You know you need to be having those and you also know you’re avoiding them, so how? How is that going to go down? How do you lead somebody correctly? Is the person even right for the roles. We had a phenomenal mastermind Q & A today with the folks that are in the mastermind program, we do 10 Q & A calls with them a year.

They jump on the call with me and just ask whatever questions that they can, whatever they want to ask. And we had a great call today of talking about how people put the wrong personality styles in the wrong seats. So you may be putting somebody who is more administrative, more amiable, more stable in an outbound sales process and that’s not gonna work, it just does not work. That’s high conflict for them. Or maybe you’re putting somebody who is more of that extroverted person in a high admin role and that’s just never going to make it right. Now, those are two teeny tiny, simple examples that we see all the time. But you’ve got to make sure that you’re pouring over those profiles. One, you’ve got to know you first, then you need to know the people you’re working with. And then we need to be communicating it as a team.

When you come into my office, every desk that you walk by has got their DISC on the desk. There’s a little frame standing up. I love it because people walk in and go, oh, I know who this person is just by looking at their desk yet. Absolutely you know how to communicate to that person. You know how they’re going to receive information. You know how they’re going to give information. Now, the people in my office obviously communicate at very high levels, so they’re very mature in their personality styles, but if I don’t even know what to expect from you, how can I communicate well? If my job as a leader is to make everybody else successful around me so that in turn I become successful, then guess what? I have to know how to lead you properly. If you’re a super high C and I’m leading you as a high I, there’s no possible way.

I’m setting you up for success. Instead, I am absolutely setting you up for failure. That is something I have to know and I have to recognize, so make sure that you print them off and make sure that you have them around their desks somewhere so people can see them. Make it a part of weekly discussion. If not daily conversation, there’s probably not a day that goes by at our office at somebody’s not talking about, oh yeah, so I was talking with this person. They’re a high d, so I was communicating this way. It happens all the time. It’s DNA inside of our business and that’s why we have massively high levels of quality communication. It’s also why I don’t have to hire as many people as the average company to pull off the things that we’re pulling off.

Why? Because our productivity is massively high. We have people who produce like crazy. Why? Because we don’t have a bunch of junk that we’re dealing with. When you have champions on your team that don’t have to deal with gossip, that don’t have to do with backstabbing, that don’t have to deal with conflict that goes unresolved, that don’t have to deal with drama. Guess what they do? They work, they bust their butts, they love putting in a great day and realizing that they’ve done something that is bigger than them. So we have a team that produces incredibly well because we don’t have all that crap floating around our business. So that’s the first thing. Second thing, add accountability. Now for me, accountability is lovingly helping others to succeed. All right? Uh, for those of you that come from a background, like I do a Christian background, you probably hate the word accountability because it was hijacked and used as a way to beat people over the head and point out all of their flaws while holding back the doors on the closet of all of my flaws, right?

So that is not proper accountability. Proper accountability is helping somebody to get to their potential. Helping somebody to, to have all the tools, helping somebody to remove excuses and victim mentality if they’re struggling with it. Lovingly. Not pointing out somebody’s flaws so that I can feel better about myself. Not pointing out how somebody is not doing something well so that I don’t have to look at the mistakes that I’m making. Instead, it’s helping people become successful. It’s holding team members accountable to their communication. You know, are you communicating well? You know, here’s a situation where so and so didn’t get enough information to do their job right? So I’m going to go back to the first person, hey, how did you communicate this? Well, why are these pieces left out? Why didn’t you share this stuff? I’m going to go to the person that was communicated to.

Did you ask enough questions? You know, I’m going to put that accountability in place and say, you can’t just sit here and go, well, so and so didn’t tell me or I didn’t get enough information. Did you get enough? Did you ask plenty of questions to make sure that you were set up for success? It is both people’s responsibility. We don’t allow that victim mentality. We just don’t. Why? Because it just jacks up everything else, all their productivity, right? So instead everybody knows they’re held to a higher standard of accountability. Also, what are your cultural standards? You know, how do you want people to treat internal clients, external clients? What’s the accountability there? What’s the accountability if you don’t want people gossiping or if you want people realizing that the clients are the one who pays the bills. You know, how are they treating the clients?

How are they looking at their role? How are they looking at their job as far as setting other people up for success? So what does the accountability you have in place to those cultural standards that you have inside of your business? Also, what is your accountability to due dates and deadlines? Are we actually holding people accountable to that or are we allowing things to constantly get changed and moved around with a bunch of excuses as to why we’re not accomplishing it. Guys, it comes down to one of two things. We don’t have great accountability or we’re crappy leaders and we’re dumping way too much stuff on capacity that we don’t have. It’s gotta be one of those, right? Because if we are aware of our capacity then we know what can get done right? And I’m saying being aware if we have somebody who’s full of excuses and we’re not holding them accountable, then of course we’re going in with whatever excuse and moving our due dates and our deadlines.

So where is the accountability when it comes to those things? So this week I want you to start working on this. Kick up your communication, make it quality, put in your accountability, make it quality, get high levels of quality communication in your business, and then make sure you’re following it up with solid accountability. These are the things that are gonna help you right now to stop being the bottleneck and be able to correct culture. Well, folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Thank you for joining me. I hope it has served you well. I encourage you to subscribe, rate, review, and share the podcast to help more people join our community. And as always, take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life, and join us on the next episode.



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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.

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