A Management Guide to Winning
How do you create an environment that encourages teamwork and creativity?
As a manager, do you need to choose between results or relationships?
Is it possible to create sustainable results instead of thinking only of the next quarter?
“Winning well is all about achieving the bottom line while inspiring the human spirit.” –Hurt/Dye
In a practical guidebook, authors Karin Hurt and David Dye share solutions for managers who want both a meaningful work experience and results. Karin is the founder of Let’s Grow Leaders and David of Trailblaze, Inc. Both Karin and David are focused on helping leaders improve their productivity and effectiveness. Their new book, Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results—Without Losing Your Soul is chock full of advice for managers looking to take their game to a higher level.
After reading their new book, I asked them to share their research and experience.
Become A Winning Well Manager
You share a few different management styles and then discuss the “winning well manager.” What distinguishes this type of person? Is it possible for anyone to become that type of manager?
Managers who win well bring confidence and humility in equal measure and focus on both results and relationships.
Where the other three manager types tend to focus on short-term goals, managers who win well have a longer time horizon. They build teams that will produce results today as well as next year.
Managers who win well build healthy professional relationships with their employees. They maintain high expectations for results in a supportive environment where people can grow and take healthy risks.
They master the art of productive meetings, delegation, and problem solving. They run meetings that people consider a good use of time. These managers practice steady, calm accountability along with celebration.
As a result, their employees tend to stick around (often until they get promoted), and there is a steady line of people wanting to work for them.
“If you’ve communicated something once, you haven’t communicated.” –Hurt/Dye
Create Genuine Connections
If a new manager takes over a team and sees that it is a low-energy environment where people barely get through the day, how does she turn them into an energetic, sustainable team?
We offer a lot of tools and techniques in our book, but it all starts with creating a genuine connection with your people. Start with building relationships and get to know them as human beings. Then help them see why the work they are doing is so meaningful and vital to the larger mission of the organization.
Building a foundation of real trust and genuine connection makes all the difference. Take time to understand and cultivate their intrinsic motivation.
Use Confidence Bursts to Build Momentum
How do the best managers set expectations in that perfect zone, setting a goal that’s not impossible, causing demotivation, but also not a layup, causing the team to stretch?
Winning Well managers do set aggressive goals but they also work to make those goals feel achievable. One of our favorite techniques is the use of “confidence bursts” or breaking down expectations by focusing on a single behavior during a finite period of time to build confidence and momentum.
Build a temporary scaffold of support around employees with lots of extra attention, skill-building, fun, recognition, and celebration. The risk is low—it’s just one day and it doesn’t feel like a big commitment to change. Once people experience success with the behavior, their confidence improves, and the ceiling of what they perceive as possible moves a little higher.
Every time we’ve done this, the results have been head-turning and remarkable. The best part comes in the afterglow discussion: If you (and we) can make this much magic on this day, why not every day?
We find that a few sets of these intervals spaced one month apart can lead to remarkable and lasting results.
You’ll know the behavior has sunk in when the impact of these “burst days” begins to dwindle but the overall results stay high. The behaviors have become so frequent that the extrinsic motivation is no longer necessary. The value in the behaviors has become an intrinsic choice.
We’ve all seen managers struggle with either too much empathy (and thus accepting excuses or not removing a team member) or not enough empathy (cold, uncaring). What tactics have you seen work to coach in this area?
How often do you find yourself alone?
Do you regularly make time to get away by yourself?
As your life gets busier, how often do you just spend time with you?
Most of us don’t think we have the time for this. We rush to work. We rush to the store, to pick up the kids, to the gym, running errands like a hamster on a wheel.
Want to try an experiment? I love to watch this event, which plays out in every restaurant I have seen. A couple is eating dinner. One person will get up. See how long the remaining person waits before fishing out the cell phone and playing around on it. Likely, it will not be long. It seems we are that uncomfortable with being alone, even in a crowded restaurant.
What would happen if we made alone time a priority?
Jesus did it. He would regularly remove himself from the crowds to be alone and meditate.
Thoreau did it. His book Walden is a classic, filled with the wisdom of his time alone in the woods.
But today? Take the time to be alone?
Studies show taking time out for you increases memory, creativity, and mood.
Take Time to Reflect
Leaders who take the necessary reflective time find meaning and intention in their work, increasing their effectiveness.
Studies have shown that taking alone time:
- Increases empathy
- Creates more accurate memories
- Helps teenagers improve both moods and grades
- Boosts creativity
- Allows for deeper, strategic thinking
- Improves your relationships
Do you have a personal pit crew to fuel your career?
Is it possible to take worry-free, unplugged vacations?
Would you rate your peer relationships as outstanding?
Mindy Mackenzie is a speaker and advisor who has served as the Chief Performance Officer of Beam, Inc. She has served in various senior HR leadership and organizational development roles at Jim Beam, Walmart and Campbell Soup Company. Her new book, The Courage Solution: The Power of Truth Telling with Your Boss, Peers, and Team, is filled with practical advice and tips to improve communication with your colleagues.
Mindy’s perspective provides a roadmap for success in relationships at work. I recently asked her to talk about her current work.
I wrote this book in answer to a crisis. And the crisis, from my experience, is that the thing that companies and individuals need most they often get least – and that’s the truth. And I saw it again and again and again even though I worked for three fantastic companies (Walmart, Campbell Soup and Jim Beam). So there was this crisis. The crisis was the absence of truth. Why? Because people didn’t have the courage to tell it. People were afraid of the consequences. So I wrote this book to show them how to tell the truth diplomatically but effectively. I learned that myself through trial and error to the point that I earned the nickname the Velvet Hammer.
Is “truth telling” getting more difficult these days?
Truth telling is always challenging because people like to be liked and agreed with. And telling the truth many times runs counter to that – so you have to know how to do it right. But let me pan back for a moment and make a broad statement. I think truth is the commodity in shortest supply in the corporate world, and it may be the most essential commodity of all. Why don’t people tell the truth? They are afraid of the consequences. I wrote this book to cure them of that fear. Because without the truth, no company or individual can survive, let alone thrive.
“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” -Thomas Jefferson
Why You Need a Personal Pit Crew
What’s a personal pit crew and why do you recommend one?
A pit crew is an external group of people committed to your success in your work and in your life. The analogy to a race car driver is apt because while they are driving the car, they have an entire team of people dedicated to helping them stay on the track going as fast as possible. Same with navigating a career. Going it alone is a bad strategy. You need to have a small group of people you trust and respect that you can go to for advice, support and practical help. The most successful business professionals I know all have their own pit crews, even if they don’t label it that.
Career Tip: Have a pit crew, a team dedicated to helping you stay on track.
Name It to Claim It
Would you share more about your advice “name it to claim it?”
If you want to achieve something or advance in your career, it helps immeasurably to be clear about your destination. Spending the time to get clear and know what you want and why is a massive accelerator to attaining it. That’s the “naming it” part. So when you are asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” for example, you will have a ready, well-thought-out answer. When you know what you want, you can then engage others in helping you to get there. To claim it.
Take Worry Free Vacations
Many people will read your chapter on vacations and say, “Worry-free, relaxing, unplugged vacation? Impossible!” How do you respond to those who say it’s impossible?
I say it only feels impossible because you’ve never done it and likely have never seen anyone around you do it. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible for you – it just means it is scary, uncomfortable and foreign. But if you want the big pay-off – which is to truly relax, refresh your energy and perspective, have unfettered fun (which is aided by not having any responsibilities) and come back to work feeling great – then you choose to be courageous and work through your discomfort. Taking the steps laid out in the chapter really work. You just have to be brave enough to try.