The title of this post captures a genuine (albeit vague) request for help from a manager I met with the other day.  The next day I sent over something of a generic brain dump of ideas/perspectives/tips etc. to get him started.    Although it would have been great to know more about the specific challenges he’s facing so I could have customized my advice, I have to say, it was fun to challenge myself to quickly come up with a relatively short list of things that I think are non-negotiables – especially #1!

Here’s my list…send me yours!

  1. Immediately buy this poster for your office – if you remember this simple wisdom, the rest of this list will sort itself out in the end
  2. Thoroughly assess your current state – leverage interviews, surveys, skip meetings, roundtables
  3. Learn from any internal success stories, locate your evangelists, identify toxicity
    • Who has found a way to succeed right now.  What are they doing?
    • Who has enthusiastic energy that is dying to be tapped?  How can they be leveraged?
    • Who are the key influencers?  Are they on board?
    • Who is poisoning the well water?  How are they being sorted?
  4. Articulate a team vision and brand – start with ‘Why’ – keep it simple and measurable
  5. Establish a process by which senior managers can participate in both talking through the vision and determining how the organization will get there.
  6. Establish expectations – what behaviors do managers need to demonstrate to walk the talk, what won’t be tolerated in the culture/environment, what will be celebrated, how will the team see the vision and brand come to life in the environment?
  7. Communicate
    • With consistent messages and multiple platforms (pay particular attention to how leadership is positioned)
    • Leverage your ‘Why’ statement generously, reinforce the brand
    • Be radical – put the people slides up front!
    • Make it conversational and create a leadership brand within the brand – assure all managers are leveraged
    • Ensure managers have the tools they need to stay on the same page – good intranet site for resources, talking points as required etc.
    • Make sure your evangelists and influencers have the right messages to propagate
    • Encourage two-way communication and follow through on it
    • Create platforms that demonstrate what teams/individuals can teach one another
    • Don’t create a platform or process that can’t be sustained for the long-term.
    • Constantly assess what’s working and what’s not
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