Several weeks ago, my wife and I headed out for a quick lunch. I had been traveling and speaking in a few cities and was glad to be home. Before lunch, we needed a few supplies and stopped at Target.
Target does a lot right. Wide, brightly lit aisles. Easy-to-find merchandise. And friendly staff who seem happy.
When I was grabbing the items I needed off the shelf, I noticed a sign. “Buy three of these items and get a $5 gift card,” one sign said. The other said, “Buy two and get another $5 gift card.” I only needed one of each item, but I thought why not take the money so I loaded up.
At the checkout counter, we paid for items and then I asked about our gift cards. We liked the kind woman who was helping us. She was efficient and the type who could build a relationship fast. “I thought about that,” she responded. “Let me check….no, this item doesn’t qualify for some reason. I know you only bought this many so you would get the card.”
She pulled open the Target brochure, looked at the item, and still couldn’t figure why it didn’t give us the cards. I explained that I checked the labels when I took the items off the shelf and that they were immediately behind the sign. She shook her head and offered to have someone go check the sign.
Immediately in my mind I pictured what would happen: A light would go off. She would get on an intercom and bellow, “Man in Aisle 9 needs a price check!” We would hold up the line, miss our lunch reservation, and a manager would come out to talk to us.
“Forget it,” I said, not wanting to cause a scene and not having any time to wait. For me, the pain wasn’t worth it. (But I’m thrifty enough that it did bother me.)
“I’m sorry,” she responded with an “I wish I could do something” attitude.
This is not a story about Target. It’s a good store. This is not a story about the checkout clerk. She was so nice we would seek out her line next time.
It’s a lesson for management. And it’s all about empowerment.
Last week’s unspeakable tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut left me speechless. There really are no words to express the feelings, the raw emotions, the shock, anger, pain, and the heartbreak. Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy tried to explain the unexplainable, saying “Evil visited this community today.”
How many of us just stared, open-mouthed at the television feeling completely hopeless? I closed my eyes, feeling crushed under the weight of sadness as I thought about the children, the teachers, the school psychologist, the principal, and the first responders.
After watching some coverage, I turned off the television and said a prayer for all involved. I recalled a scripture verse:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted. He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalm 34:18
I can think of no more crushing blow than this tragedy.
Lead With Love
How do you respond to events like this? Dan Rockwell said it well when he said the response should be to lead with love. I like what Dan had to say because love is always the best response.
Here are a few ways to respond to these sad events:
- Love more. Hug your kids. Even in a corporate setting, it’s possible to lead a company with love.
- Be compassionate. Someone once told me that, when in doubt, assume the person you are talking with is hurting. That’s because all of us face challenges, adversity and heartbreak.
Much of leadership is influencing people to change. You talk about the five stages of changing human behavior. Would you explain these and is there one stage more difficult to move through than the others?
Because changing human behavior is such a big job, many leaders face challenges when first installing 4DX. In fact, we’ve found that most teams go through five distinct stages of behavior change.
Stage 1: Getting Clear – The leader and the team commit to a new level of performance. They are oriented to 4DX and develop crystal-clear WIGs (wildly important goals), lag and lead measures, and a compelling scoreboard. They commit to regular WIG sessions. Although you can naturally expect varying levels of commitment, team members will be more motivated if they are closely involved in the 4DX work session.
Stage 2: Launch – Now the team is at the starting line. Whether you hold a formal kickoff meeting, or gather your team in a brief huddle, you launch the team into action on the WIG. But just as a rocket requires tremendous, highly focused energy to escape the earth’s gravity, the team needs intense involvement from the leader at this point of launch.
5 Stages of Behavior Change
- Getting Clear
Stage 3: Adoption – Team members adopt the 4DX process, and new behaviors drive the achievement of the WIG. You can expect resistance to fade and enthusiasm to increase as 4DX begins to work for them. They become accountable to each other for the new level of performance despite the demands of the whirlwind.
Stage 4: Optimization – At this stage, the team shifts to a 4DX mindset. You can expect them to become more purposeful and more engaged in their work as they produce results that make a difference. They will start looking for ways to optimize their performance—they now know what “playing to win” feels like.
In every business, strategy is vital for success. It charts the course and sets the direction. But, every strategist knows that so often strategic goals never take off because they are drowned by all of the other competing interests. The daily activities of the organization starve the strategic goal. In The 4 Disciplines of Execution, a terrific new book, authors Chris McChesney, Sean Covey and Jim Huling explain how learning four disciplines can help produce breakthrough results.
And these same concepts can be applied to achieve your personal goals.
After reading the book, I followed up with author Jim Huling to delve into the material.
Jim, for those who aren’t familiar with the four disciplines, would you walk us through them quickly?
- Discipline 1: The discipline of focus. Extraordinary results can only be achieved when you are clear about what matters most. As simple as this principle may sound, few leaders ever master it. 4DX teaches why focus is so critical and how to overcome your biggest source of resistance.
- Discipline 2: The discipline of leverage. With unlimited time and resources, you could accomplish anything. Unfortunately, your challenge is usually the opposite: accomplish more with less. 4DX shows leaders where they can find real leverage and how to use it to produce extraordinary results.
- Discipline 3: The discipline of engagement. You have the authority to make things happen, but you want more than that – you want the performance that only passion and engagement can produce. 4DX enables leaders to rise from authority-driven compliance to passion-driven commitment in themselves and the people they lead.
- Discipline 4: The discipline of accountability. No matter how brilliant your plan or how important your goal, nothing will happen until you follow through with consistent action. 4DX brings the practices that drive accountability and follow through, despite a whirlwind of competing priorities.