As the strategic planning consultant to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame I get some inside looks at the high performance culture of the sports world. A couple years ago I was sitting next to a very sweaty and happy Chris Perry, who minutes earlier had won an NCAA championship title. I asked Chris when he started wrestling and he said in 4th grade. It takes that kind of proactive plan to become a NCAA Champion. His dad was sitting behind us weeping tears of joy and relief having invested heavily in the sustainable approach to success over the past 12-15 years.
I think Rich Bender (head of USA Olympic wrestling) is weeping tears of another kind. The sport has been mostly reactive over the years. They thought by default they would always be in the Olympics until the IOC voted them out. The sport was fortunately reinstated after frantic action by FILA to “revamp the organization and reshape the sport to save its Olympic status.” The default/reactive approach resulted in the unthinkable, whereas Perry’s proactive approach has resulted in the mostly unachievable.
(AKA – Helping the Organization Get Where It Needs To Go!)
Let’s demystify the art and practice of leadership. There are many parallels to the aspects of riding a bicycle and leading the team.
First of all, the purpose or usefulness of the bicycle is to get from point A to point B. Clearly, leadership is focused on forward movement toward a vision of a future desired state.
The bicycle has a framework or structure that allows it to transfer energy to serve a positive purpose. Leadership, truly is about energy management and how to focus the individual and collective energy on meaningful goals of the organization.
You know the types. There’s the office yeller, intimidating others with vitriolic rant. There’s the passive-aggressive underminer, nodding assent but then dragging her feet. There’s the colleague who gets angry over a perceived slight, but then quickly shifts tone. Conflict in the workplace is pervasive and unavoidable. And it isn’t always a bad thing. Healthy debate can be good for your corporate culture. It ensures that diverse perspectives are considered or lights the fire a team needs to move from a stalemate to a creative solution. But when they turn ugly, conflicts can damage your culture—straining relationships and putting teams at risk.
We have used stories to pass on information for thousands of years and they remain the most powerful way we know to communicate. Indeed, the power of story is magnified in today’s super-connected, transparent world – the truth gets out fast and can be widely communicated – to millions of people all over the world – in such a short space of time.
Here is a story which illustrates how employees’ “felt experience” every day strongly shapes their perception of an organisation and how the impact compares to official “corporate messaging”. This, in turn, highlights the critical (often underappreciated) role played by facilities management in reinforcing organisation brand and values. What are the implications for the role of Facilities Management and the wider HR agenda?