Ryan Berman, author of the new book RETURN ON COURAGE, is the Founder of Courageous, a creative consultancy that develops Courage Brands®. For his book, Berman spent three years shadowing top leaders to understand how they accomplish their goals. He found that the best leaders make sure that courage is a key component of their organization’s culture. The excerpt below will help you build an organization in which courage thrives.
Most businesses are properly focused on return on investment. Courage Brands have a high Return on Courage. How can you recognize when your brand is moving down the right path to delivering a Return on Courage?
By doing the hard work of setting up your Central Courage System, you’re on your way to eliminating the fragmented gap that sits between organizational health and courageous business.
All decisions can now be made the right way—through your core values. Remember, core values are not eye rolls. They are how the exceptional roll. Knowing your values and communicating them takes the guessing game out of what matters most to your business. Activated properly, your values become your corporate cadence that can bring calm and alignment to your employees.
Remember, repeating makes Believers. The same holds true when you stay authentic to your values and use them as decision-making filters.
When you lead with your values, you have the opportunity to make a Believer. When you make internal Believers, you make a culture. When you have a culture crafted out of your values and belief system, you build a loyal company willing to go the distance on your behalf. This is the idea of conviction. How you operate and communicate is the driving force behind making Believers or making Fake Believers. It has never been more desired by a next generation workforce than it is now.
In less than a decade, 75 percent of your workforce will be Millennials. This generation aspires to work at unique, innovative, and purpose-driven companies. They’ll stick around if they believe. Create an authentic, empowering, and purpose-driven work environment that Believers can rally behind.
“Create an authentic, empowering, and purpose-driven work environment that Believers can rally behind.” -Ryan Berman
Culture defines us in our family units, businesses, and organizations. It distinguishes who we are and how we are described. Employees can readily describe their organizational culture, using such words as supportive, open, results focused, etc. Much of that culture is built up over years or even decades. Yet we don’t have decades to build a successful team culture; we endeavor to create a strong and powerful culture within one to two years. We do this deliberately and consciously by defining the culture we want and then bringing it to life. When team members start to identify strongly with the team, we know that the team culture has become embedded.
THE 8 ELEMENTS OF HIGH – TQ TEAMS
As a result of working with hundreds of teams over many years, I have found that there are certain elements of High-Performance Teams that can be summarized by the acronym VIVRE FAT!
The idea of VIVRE FAT is not to create a group of ‘bon vivants’ or ‘gourmands.’ It’s rather about focusing on the ingredients that will create a great team that fulfills its mission and realizes its vision. Let’s examine each of the eight elements more closely.
High-Performance Teams know where they are going and have a keen sense of direction. The Vision syncs with the overall company vision yet is distinct to the team. The Vision is not something created and communicated by the team leader alone; rather it reflects a core team effort, allowing all to feel ownership. The Vision is a motivating factor that propels the team forward. It allows team members to set clear goals, and targets and measures success. The Vision encompasses not only the business but also other aspects, such as team, people, key financial metrics, industry, and stakeholders. Besides Vision, we may also want to define the ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’ of the team, which essentially defines its ‘raison d’être’ or reason why the team exists.
“Every company needs to nurture its own culture organically, developing a distinct personality.” -Douglas Gerber
High-Performance Teams identify with the team and are proud of it. This sense of pride is due, in part, to the personal efforts that each team member has invested in moving towards High Performance. Identity forms an important part of one’s own self-perception and may even be more powerful than company or industry Identity. Identity places the team first and knows that team effort is a key to overall success. The sense of being part of something much bigger drives team members the extra mile. They believe what they are doing has meaning and creates value.
Low unemployment rates have led to a highly competitive talent market. The Conference Board predicts talent shortages in key sectors over the next 15 years and in a recent survey identified that “…attracting and retaining talent ranks as the foremost concern not only among CEOs but also the rest of the C-Suite, including CHROs and CFOs.”
Organizations are coming to understand that career development is a powerful strategy for retaining top talent. They also recognize that recruiting is easier and more effective when they have a reputation for developing talent. And—for better or worse— given the visibility that social media facilitates, candidates are making choices based upon an organization’s reputation for staff growth and development.
“Career development is a powerful strategy for retaining top talent.” -Julie Winkle Giulioni
Early in his career, Rodger Dean Duncan interviewed interesting people like Lyndon Johnson, comedian Jack Benny, Baroness Maria von Trapp, pollster George Gallup, and anthropologist Margaret Mead. He traded jokes with Norman Rockwell and discussed home carpentry with Robert Redford.
Later, as a leadership consultant, he advised cabinet officers in two White House administrations and coached C-suite executives in dozens of Fortune 500 companies. He also headed global communications at Campbell Soup Company. He received his PhD in organizational behavior at Purdue University, and writes a regular column for Forbes.
Like you, I’ve interviewed many leadership experts. Were there any surprising interviews that gave you a different perspective?
The interviews for LeaderSHOP certainly provide some thought-provoking perspectives.
Drew Dudley emphasizes the value of regarding every new day as a fresh start and an opportunity for self-reflection on specific behaviors. Leadership, he says, is not a title or accolade. It’s a daily choice about personal practices. His Day One approach to personal management involves making your life less about living up to the expectations of others and more about a disciplined commitment to acting on your core values each day.
In discussing purpose and meaning at work, Dave and Wendy Ulrich highlight the importance of humility in the leader. Humility, they say, is at the heart of a growth mindset that encourages and unleashes learning that, in turn, gives meaning to work and fosters engagement.
Bill George talks about how “authentic” leadership is made possible when the practitioner follows an internal “true north” compass of selflessness and integrity.
Elizabeth Crook emphasizes that our gifts are found at the intersection of what energizes us and what we know how to do. Hint: it’s probably something you’ve been doing in one way or another most of your life.
Hugh Blane talks about a mindset he calls JDTM—Just Doing the Minimum—and how getting clarity on what lights your internal fire can be a critical step toward high achievement.
Rob Fazio gives specific examples of how honest conversation is the key to handling office politics. He also says that listening is bad for your health—that is, listening to discouraging messages from others or to negative self-talk.
Ann Rhoades, former Chief People Officer at Southwest Airlines, underscores the importance of rewarding behaviors that are the foundation of the culture you want—and taking quick and decisive action when expected behavioral norms are violated.
Social psychologist Dan Cable talks about a de-motivator he calls “learned helplessness,” and he explains how leaders can create a work environment that encourages smart risk.
Ira Chaleff reveals the secrets of saying “No!” without getting fired, explaining the situations in which refusing a directive is not insubordination but rather smart collaboration.
Jim Kouzes explains how a feedback-friendly work environment is to everyone’s benefit and why dialogue skills are a hallmark of effective leadership.
Carmine Gallo teaches communication techniques used by great presenters as disparate as Steve Jobs and Pope Francis. The “Rule of Three,” he says, has been used by everyone from Thomas Jefferson to Goldilocks.
Career coach Mary Abbajay discusses approaches to “managing up”—dealing proactively with an incompetent manager in a way that doesn’t derail your career. She suggests tactics ranging from keeping the manager (overly) informed to building your own reputation by filling in where the manager is deficient.
Marshall Goldsmith and Sally Helgesen talk about how striving for perfection can serve you well early in your career (because it supports doing outstanding work), but it can later hold you back because being so invested in precision can dissuade you from taking the kind of risks that characterize strong leaders.
Other people I interviewed—like Brian Tracy, Tom Rath, Jodi Glickman, Laura Vanderham, and Stephen M.R. Covey—provide a rich mosaic of ideas on leadership and personal development. People tell me the individual conversations are interesting, but the real value is having them all in one place that provides insightful “connective tissue.”
“Teamwork has been given a bad name by a world of bad practitioners.” – Rodger Dean Duncan