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ACCELERATE GROWTH BY ALIGNING LEADERS AT A GUT-LEVEL
TO ALIGNING LEADERS AT PROFESSIONAL SERVICE FIRMS
How We Deliver This Service
This service usually involves three key steps: build trust among team members, gain clarity about the future and reinforce clarity at regular intervals.
Build Trust Among Leaders
The only way we know of for leaders to build gut-level trust with each other, trust that can withstand adversity, is to get to know each other at a very deep level. Here is how we achieve this. Over the course of a year, we usually hold 4 sessions with a leadership team. During each of these sessions, we empower leaders to intentionally nurture the kind of trust and transparency that produces rock-solid loyalty to each other. We achieve this by exploring a few key areas.
Backgrounds and Motives:
We ask leaders to tell stories about where they come from, how they grew up, the values that guided their households when they were children and the seminal events that shaped their early experiences. We also ask them to explore how these experiences shape the way they make decisions today.
We ask leaders to talk about their life goals. These are the goals that their work-life should make come true. A different way of saying this is “dreams.” We ask leaders to talk about the dreams they have for their life and what their life will look like once those dreams come true.
Families And Loved Ones:
We ask leaders to talk about their families, loved ones and anyone who is important to them. We ask them to share how long they’ve known these people and why they are important to them.
Timelines And Horizons:
We ask leaders to share their horizon to achieving their dreams. Given that every team we’ve ever coached has people of different ages, this becomes very important to the success of the team.
Gain Clarity About The Future
As we are building gut-level trust between leaders, we also being to explore visions of what a shared future should look like. We do this by having meaningful conversations that explore these core questions:
- What are we trying to achieve as a business—the BHAG (big, hairy, audacious, goal)?
- What does our end-state look like—once all of our strategies have worked?
- What is our exit plan?
- What metrics indicate to us that we are on the right path?
- Which behaviors do we value and which do we abhor?
- How long do we reasonably think this will take?
- Which milestones are most important to us this year?
It usually takes quite a bit of dialogue to get agreement amongst the players to these questions. But the end result is alignment unlike anything most professional service firms have ever experienced.
Reinforce Clarity At Defined Intervals
As trust-building and gaining clarity about the future being to produce the desired results, we ask leadership teams to reinforce the clarity they’ve gained. This reinforcement needs to take place between leaders and between the leadership team and the rest of the company. This is the best approach we’ve seen to preventing trust-fissures from reemerging over time, as circumstances change.
We recommend as much transparency with the rest of the company as possible. This actually enrolls other people in the goals and the operating model of the business, ensuring their loyalty. We ask leaders to reinforce the answers to the question listed above (under Gain Clarity About The Future) during these important events:
- Monthly leadership team meetings, which usually only involve the leadership team.
- Monthly all-hands company-wide meetings, which involved everyone in the business.
- Quarterly off-site sessions, usually with just the leadership team.
- Annual planning and strategy sessions, which involve as many people as necessary.