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In our Instant Insights this year, we are highlighting phrases “we often say” to demonstrate timeless principles of leadership and organizational health.

This time, Gina describes a phrase that is often used by one of our favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni – “people who weigh in buy in.”

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”  —Harvey Firestone

Emerging Teams is a service initiative from North Group Consultants specifically geared toward developing your next generation of leaders. Whether these folks are young high potential – high performers, veterans soon transitioning to next level leadership responsibilities, or somewhere in between, we believe this developmental approach will assist in their understanding of organizational health.

At North Group we have always been passionate about the importance of sustained relationships when supporting the development of leaders and their organizations to their highest potential. Development initiatives are often short-term, condensed information sessions with little time to put concepts into practice. Our Emerging Teams initiative is designed to ensure effective learning reinforced over time.

Specifically, we will teach concepts and develop skills on the following six topics:

  • Organizational Health– Defining the elements and benefits of organizational health,  Everything DiSC ® behavioral profile and self-awareness, and the importance of alignment within an organization
  • High Performance Teams– Building trust, navigating difficult conversations, maintaining accountability, and achieving optimal results
  • Purpose & Clarity– Establishing team / departmental / organizational purpose, setting behavioral standards, solidifying products and services, and creating strategic anchors
  • Effective Communication– Understanding communication types, discovering how others receive information, and mastering healthy conflict and crucial conversations
  • Structure & Process– Growing teams and hiring, managing performance, recognizing positive actions/behaviors, understanding consequences, and fostering employee engagement
  • Meetings & Recognition– Distinguishing meeting types and purposes, creating intentional agendas, crafting effective next steps

Emerging Teams is a year-long developmental initiative that will utilize a monthly meeting rhythm, alternating between large group “cohorts” and one-on-one coaching sessions. Large group cohorts will meet for half-day sessions. One-on-one coaching sessions will take place with a Consultant to help advance members’ unique understanding of topics and apply them to their individual working scenarios and teams.

Perhaps more importantly, individuals will learn and practice with folks from other organizations and industries, finding different and new ways to observe, analyze, and solve various organizational issues.

As you consider how Emerging Teams may be beneficial to your organization, here’s a brief overview of this new service:

  • Purpose: To develop an understanding of and the skills associated with organizational health, effective leadership behaviors and high performing teams
  • Who: Individuals from various organizations and industries; an organization can send a team of 2-5 individuals (min. 2 for group homework, max. 5 to vary representation)
  • Timeframe: 1 year – 6 half-day, large group sessions every other month; 6 one-on-one coaching check-ins for every individual every other month

If you want to learn more about Emerging Teams, participating, and/or involving some of your team members in this initiative, we would be delighted to connect. Please email Gina at gbreslin@northgroupconsultants.com for more information.

Our choices, right now, can make all the difference! As leaders, it’s essential that we take time to reflect on the lessons we are learning during this season so that we can emerge stronger.

Throughout our Choose Series, we have encouraged you to choose hope, encouragement, generosity, others, vision, and balance. In this video, we’ve taken time to reflect and summarize our lessons learned.

“If you hire the ‘right people’ again and again, you will strengthen your culture over time.”
 Truett Cathy, Founder, Chick-fil-A

When hiring, have you ever looked an “A-Player candidate” in the eye and said, “Sorry, but you’re just not the right fit for our organization”? GUTSY – especially in today’s tight labor market!

Every CEO, President, Executive Director, and organizational leader is searching for the slightest advantage over their competition. Most of us would agree that when we hire an individual with outstanding technical skills or a track record of successful work experiences, we’ve just given our organization a competitive advantage… or have we? If we’ve neglected to also evaluate the candidate’s character – for values alignment and culture fit – we run the risk of making a bad hire. Google “cost of a bad hire” and you’ll quickly find the price tag ranges from $25,000 – $240,000 per hire!

But, what if…

What if we thought about hiring differently? What if we placed more importance on fit than skills and experience? What if every aspect of our organization’s human systems, from hiring and orientation to performance evaluations and compensation, were created to reinforce our organization’s core purpose, values, and service offerings?

It is critical that organizations keep human systems simple while remaining steadfast in their quest for organizational clarity. Organizations that hire well evaluate potential new hires fastidiously and without compromise. Candidates must score “green” on three or four simple, specific (to you/your organization) criteria. Not even one “yellow” rating is acceptable and “red” is unthinkable!

An organization can be confident they are true to their purpose, values, and service offerings when they adhere to them, even when it hurts… even when they walk away from that technical expert/cultural misfit “A-Player”, knowing that their team will be short-handed for yet another day.

How do your human systems eliminate compromise and keep everyone focused on what is important to your organization?

  • Does your hiring process include an evaluation for values alignment and culture fit?
  • Does your orientation educate new hires on your organization’s elements of clarity?
  • When given a raise, do employees know that they are being rewarded for behaving in a way that is consistent with your organization’s core values, not just achieving technical outcomes?

The “terrible twos” – it’s the infamous age where children become tenacious in exploring their independence, discover there is a reason for everything, and become quite famous for relentlessly asking, “Why?”  However, as evidenced by the countless number of books, the topic of “why” has continuing significance today… even in business.

Bestselling authors, Jim Collins, Patrick Lencioni, and Simon Sinek suggest that an organization’s ability to answer its “why” is critical to its success and sustainability.

  • In The Advantage, Lencioni states that an organization’s “why” yields their core purpose – their fundamental reason for being in business. Moreover, it is the first of Six Critical Questions essential for organizational clarity and health.
  • In Start with Why, Sinek suggests that people are inspired by a sense of purpose – their “why.”  Our purpose, cause, or belief drives every one of us and is directly connected to how we make decisions. Sinek argues that “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
  • And, in Built to Last, Collins & Porras uphold that enduring organizations understand why they exist. This can powerfully guide them in deciding what not to do and helps them avoid losing their way.

An organization with a clear reason for existing will inspire people, guide their behaviors, and pilot decision-making regarding its future.

Additionally, these authors agree that an organization’s “why” must be inspirational, aspirational and grand. Lencioni goes as far as to say your “why” needs to be completely idealistic. It starts with asking, “How do we contribute to a better world?” Collins & Porras affirm that, similar to the inquisitive 2-year old, an organization needs to ask, “Why do we exist?” then ask “Why?” and “Why do we do that?” again and again, until the answer leads to the highest purpose or reason for existence.

At North Group, we exist to support the development of leaders and organizations toward their highest potential. Why do you exist?

Stay tuned for our March 4th blog, when Mitch Taylor of Mersen explains their “why.”

During the final round of the recent Player’s Championship golf tournament, Webb Simpson had an unprecedented 7-shot lead. All he needed to do to win the nearly $2M purse was play a solid round of golf and focus on the process – play his game one stroke at a time. Fortunately for Webb, he was able to complete a consistent round and win his first major tournament in four years. His ability to “trust the process” yielded impressive results.

When it comes to hiring well, the ability to create and follow a consistent, structured and comprehensive process will most often produce new hires who are successful and productive. Like Webb, when we have a fully-developed process, it’s in our best interest to follow it. In today’s competitive job market it’s easy to feel pressured to make quick hiring decisions. We may feel compelled to scoop up candidates before someone else does. We may be tempted to make hiring decisions based on our “gut instinct.” Or, we may simply be overwhelmed by ill-defined or drawn-out hiring policies that take longer than they should.

In his most recent vlog, Roger North describes hiring well as both a science and an art. The science of hiring well lies in having a process that is predictable, repeatable and consistent. It begins by identifying exactly who and what you are looking for in a new hire, understanding what is needed for them to be successful within your organization’s culture, and adhering to each step of your process along the way. The art of hiring well occurs as you evaluate human behavior and determine whether the candidates in front of you meet the needs that were identified at the beginning of the search.

How would you describe your hiring process? What could be improved? How well do you stick to each phase?

For over a decade, North Group Consultants has been helping companies hire well. Our proprietary, comprehensive Hiring & Onboarding Services provide our clients with increased productivity and greater organizational health. We bring expertise in both the art and science of hiring well.

As athletes know, the right amount of stress or tension must be present for optimal performance. In the moment between the words “runners take your mark” and the starter’s gun, a sprinter must be appropriately focused and ready. Too much and they’ll jump the gun – a false start. Not enough and they’ll lose precious seconds getting off the blocks.

This tension doesn’t just happen. All kinds of methods are used to generate it – think music (“We will, We will…”), team huddles, fight songs, pep rallies, and cheers (“We are…)! We rely on those around us to help create the right energy, atmosphere, emotion and attitude.

Dr. Henry Cloud talks about “the right kind of push” in his book, The Power of the Other. “Leaders must inject just the right amount of tension into the system to motivate their people, but not so much that their people shut down. Stretch them and they’ll move toward the goal. Stretch them too much, and like rubber bands, they’ll snap.” As leaders, we have the responsibility of finding the balance between encouragement and high expectations, between achieving goals and allowing freedom to try new things, between creating stretch targets and not overwhelming our team members.

As we work to provide “the right kind of push” for our team, Dr. Cloud encourages us to self-reflect and ask ourselves:

  • Am I being appropriately pushed to be better, to be more?
  • What specifically am I being challenged to do better? What specifically am I being challenged to do that is more than I am doing now?
  • Am I being pushed past my comfort zone?
  • When I resist or struggle, how are those feelings addressed? Do others remain firm in my need to grow?

Are you pushing your team members appropriately? Who is pushing you?