Jul 29, 2013

How Will Your Company Increase Fourth Quarter Revenue?

The first order of business in the Baldrige Criteria is Leadership and it is the item that carries the largest weight of the six Process Areas, 22% of it.  Another statistic is that 80% of the chokehold on any company is the psychology of the leadership; how they see themselves, their belief systems, and their behaviors.  If nothing else will, this should tell a business owner or executive where their focus should be to improve the quality of their company and revenue the quickest.

There is a plethora of leadership training out there, yet, this is something I’m asked to discuss, teach, and train on a regular basis.  When I ask leaders in organizations why they need me to teach them leadership when so much is available and they have probably already gone through several cycles as a leadership team and individually, they tell me because the training they have taken is just information.  They know how to lead.  They just don’t practice it.  If you’ve ever seen the Charlie Brown cartoons, you have heard his teacher.  For many executives, that’s what leadership training sounds like!

I want to take a look at a few of the questions that leadership teams are asked when applying for participation in the Baldrige and see if it can bring some clarity to the issue:

  1. How do senior leaders set and deploy your organization’s vision and values?
  2. How do their personal actions reflect their commitment to these values?
  3. How do senior leaders personally promote legal and ethical behavior?
  4. How do they create an environment for performance improvement and leadership, accomplishing your mission and strategic objectives, innovation,      organizational agility, and organizational and workforce learning?
  5. How do senior leaders communicate with and engage the entire workforce, including two-way communication and communicating key decisions?

After reviewing these questions, ask yourself:

  • Does the viewpoint the leaders in my organization have of themselves influence the answers to the questions above?
  • Do their beliefs about themselves, the employees, and their customers affect their answers?
  • Do the behaviors of the leadership of the organization I’m in align with the vision, values, and ideals they promulgate?

In order to be truely effective, people leading any organization must be transformed at their very core to support their mission, vision and values.  This can only take place through the process of “perspective transformation”, with the three dimensions of: psychological (changes in understanding of the self), convictional (revision of belief systems), and behavioral (changes in lifestyle).  Transformative Thinking is the expansion of consciousness through the transformation of the basic worldview and specific capacities of the self; it is a consciously directed process accessing the symbolic contents of the unconscious and critically analyzing their foundations.  These are the missing pieces to the great amount of leadership training out there.  Without addressing these core, unconscious elements first, all the training available becomes just “blah, blah, blah”.

  • No leader that has the belief that employees are only working to collect a paycheck will ever give them the opportunity to give honest feedback on process improvement and mine the wealth of knowledge existing in their company.
  • No leader that behaves in a way controdictory to the values of the organization will ever have the respect of the the people in, or around, the organization.
  • No one in a leadership position that has a a lack of confidence, low ethics, or holds on to prejudices and the past will ever go beyond being a manager
  • No leader that believes that customers will buy whatever the leadership decides to produce will ever contribute significantly to the organization

The leadership in any organization, for-profit, non-profit, religious, etc., has tremendous power and influence.  For this reason, the Baldrige placed a great deal of significance to it.  Leadership is the heart of any organization and it pumps the lifeblood through it.  If you desire to increase fourth quarter revenue and sustain revenue growth into 2014 and beyond, take a look at your leadership team before any other area of your business.  If the members have been through formal leadership training and have a good depth of experience, then take a deeper look than ever before at the three areas I mentioned above. If your leadership team hasn’t gone through formal leadership training, then, what a great time to first discover what lies at their core psychology, beliefs, and behaviors!  By building on a strong core, you can create a leadership team that will produce not just for the immediate future, but for decades to come!

Creating life in forward motion,

Dr. Edward Lewellen