As a leader, when was the last time you:
- Called your own customer service or customer success department?
- Drove through your own drive thru?
- Shopped one of your physical stores?
- Rode with a driver in your company?
- Stocked shelves with the night staff?
- Experienced your online website?
I would guess that if we did this, we’d be shocked at the poor level of service we’re giving to our customers.
And the fault is not the employee, or their manager. That solely rests on ourselves.
If we have not run through the experience from the customer’s standpoint to see the lack of training, broken systems or bad procedures, then we’re not ensuring our customers get the best service.
It’s easy to tell our people what procedures must be followed, and what should be an outcome. But when the reality is denied because we don’t see the poor experience ourselves, we put the customer at risk of leaving us.
Take a few minutes to see the total experience from your customers eyes. Great leaders like Sam Walton have always done this. It makes strong leaders, and even stronger organizations.
Last month Peter Barron Stark, an executive coach on San Diego, tweeted about this leader who had a question about “this vision thing”.
Recently an #executive asked me “Is this vision thing overrated?” What do you think? Do you think that #vision is overrated? #leadership https://t.co/FlF6agmKAr— Peter Barron Stark (@peterbstark) April 1, 2019
It brought up some thoughts as to why some leaders don’t really get “that vision thing”.
They don’t see past the “action-results” dynamic. As Stark iterated, vision drives behaviors whether they’re positive, status quo based or negative. Many leaders get stuck in the thinking that results are the by-product of actions, so actions must be driven. That creates results, but many of them are mixed, some positive, some status quo and some negative. Leaders need to back up a step to create a vision that drives the actions towards positive results.
Some don’t truly understand what drives human behavior. Not employee behavior, but human behavior. People, especially the younger generations of Millennials and iGen. They want the vision to much of what they do, not a “do as I say” culture. People are connected best with the big picture, buying into what it means for them. It creates connected partners with more passion and at stake in the results versus compelled workers who mostly try to hang on.
Don’t value vision as a priority. It is said that what you do is what is important to you, and what you don’t do, you don’t value. Simply stated, if a leader doesn’t create vision, it’s not important to them. it’s never too late to get a vision clearly established, but to claim there is no time or it’s not important will hamper your overall goals.
Vision challenges their leadership style. Vision will often expose the efforts of leaders whose styles include being solely results-oriented, a micro-manager, top-down-chain-of-command or managing on a need-to-know basis. Vision creates transparency and accountability as everyone is committed to the behaviors that will achieve it.
They’re dominated by short-term thinking. This year’s budget is all that matters with no set up for the overall culture or future goals. That might be good to hit numbers, but it never drives a lasting and sustainable organization. Long-term vision and people development get sacrificed for the results of the fiscal year when this year’s numbers are preeminent.
Understanding vision is to understand human performance. Without vision, people and organizations perish. With it, they not only succeed but thrive.
A lot of managers and small business owners struggle to overcome the rogue behaviors of their staff, and even sometimes their customers.
It’s usually because they’ve allowed certain unproductive, and in some cases abusive, behavior to creep in. Once those habits are ingrained, they tend to take over a culture.
In order to change the work dynamic, a good leader needs to establish a firm but healthy boundary.
Boundaries are the guardrails whereby good and conducive behaviors fall in line and unacceptable behaviors are jettisoned.
They are established with the bigger vision of what the culture should be, ample communication for clarity on all sides and coaching to the model being laid out.
However if rogue behaviors continue after communicating the expectations and coaching, the only recourse is to remove those individuals that are not willing to exhibit the correct culture in their actions.
Counter-culture behaviors will choke the life force out of your organization and prevent not just growth, but sustainability and harmony in the workplace.
Establishing behaviors can be a scary venture to some, but they are necessary for survival to ensure everyone is on the same page in order to move forward together.
Don’t be afraid of establishing boundaries. There will be resistance when people are held accountable. But it shows who is willing to be a team player and who is not, and makes your role easier to manage success in the long term.
Boundaries are the best way to grow healthy businesses, marriages, teams, communities and organizations. Not everyone is a fit for certain cultures and a good leader recognizes this without guilt but with empathy.
Be fair and firm in making a healthy environment for others to thrive. You owe it to those but also yourself to make your life prosperous and successful.