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“Walk The Walk” In 2015

What were they thinking?! How often have you asked this question about someone on your team? You are not alone.

Some years ago I was working with the owner of a manufacturing business on a variety of opportunities for improvement within his leadership team and overall organization. While we made great progress, there were some areas where we just could not seem to make the desired improvements as quickly as others.

A few examples included:

•Safety rules were not being followed.

•Leadership not holding their teams accountable based on outlined expectations.

•Conflict was allowed to continue without a purposeful plan for resolution.

One of my tasks was to find the root cause of these types of issues so we could make the desired progress. Here are a few examples of my findings:

This manufacturing facility had a very strict safety program that should have resulted in a great accident-free record. Instead, there were injuries occurring that were directly related to not following safety protocol. This was of particular concern and I made this a top priority.

There was a lot of dialogue in management meetings about the need to increase accountability. What surfaced in my analysis was that the owner simply did not hold his leadership team accountable and this set the tone for the lack of accountability for the whole organization.

There was still unresolved conflict throughout the organization even though there was a very well thought-out conflict resolution process. This was directly affecting the performance of the company. The owner had a track record of not addressing the root cause of conflict and not resolving it in a positive way. This leadership behavior set the tone for the half-hearted execution of the conflict resolution process.

A conversation with a second-shift machine operator helped me decide where to focus my energy for finding the root cause of the issues we faced.   At the end of a discussion about safety he asked me a very interesting and powerful question. He looked at me and asked “doesn’t the owner know we are all watching him?” He went on to say that the owner did not wear appropriate safety glasses, disregarded many of the safety rules and they even noticed he never wore a seatbelt in his company car.  I wondered how many of the other issues were the result of the owner not aligning his leadership behavior with the values he wanted to see in his people and organization.

With this new clarity, I was able to research and prove that the owner’s behavior was the key driver to many areas where there was a disconnect between what the owner states as the values he wanted for the company and how he actually operated on a daily basis.

Many leaders do not realize that everyone is watching their behavior and that their actions impact the culture of the organization. It is important for leaders to align their own actions with the rules, mission and approach that they would like to see their teams demonstrate.

Every leader should put forth the effort to “walk the walk” that demonstrates values that they expect of their team. The idea that we can operate in one way and expect the team to act differently does not work. It is time to eliminate the idea of “do as I say, not as I do” from your thought process and change it to “Do as I say and do as I do.”

As we approach the end of 2014, my challenge for you is to create a specific action plan for 2015 that aligns your behavior with the qualities that you want to see in your team.

“Walk the Walk” in 2015 and have your formula for leading be “DO AS I SAY, AND DO AS I DO!”

Please feel free to share this blog with colleagues.

For more details about creating a leadership strategy that demonstrates the values you want to demonstrate to your team, please contact me eric@myersbds.com or 563-340-7600.

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