Often in our blogs, we talk about issues, obstacles, or problems that teams face. Today, I (Rip) want to talk instead about a two-day team meeting that was sheer joy to be part of because of one key factor: everyone in the meeting lives into their leadership ideals. If you can’t imagine a two-day meeting being a pleasure, read on!
The meeting was with the leadership team of a third-generation family business. The team is evenly divided between family and non-family members who have worked together for several years. They have been through tough challenges and exciting successes. This is what it looks like when I say that they live into their leadership ideals –
First, they have strong, healthy, relationships with each other:
- They both trust and like each other.
- They are willing to be perfectly candid with each other without ever making it personal.
- Each person is always ready to listen and change their mind if someone presents sound reasoning for a decision that would be better for the business.
Second, they have a strong, healthy approach to the business:
- They have a clear sense of priorities for the company.
- They are willing to put any issue on the table – whether it is a problem or an opportunity – and work through it together.
- They are passionate about doing what is best for the business, not about promoting any personal agendas.
- They encourage new ideas and judge each idea on its own merit, not on the basis of who proposed it.
Finally, they have a strong, healthy perspective about leadership:
- They envisioned the type of environment they wanted to create, then rolled up their sleeves and did the hard work to make it happen.
- They model the behaviors they want to see in their direct reports and show that that is the way to succeed at the company.
- They provide both positive and constructive feedback to their direct reports to encourage growth and development.
Over the course of two days, this team tackled a list of 25 items – and handled every single one of them with time to spare. Were there obstacles and problems to address? Yes, there were. Did challenging conversations take place? You bet. But because of the strength and health of this team, they could deal with tough matters with respect, candor, efficiency, and effectiveness. When the meeting ended, I truly wanted to applaud; the leadership team left feeling positive and energized.
This company is in the top five of their very crowded industry in terms of gross profit per employee and they continue to grow at a rapid pace. What they have achieved is remarkable – yet it is also completely replicable for any leadership team. All it takes is a firm and unwavering commitment to live into your leadership ideals.