LIFE-CYCLE OF FAILURE AND SUCCESS
Circuit City, Blockbuster and Radio Shack failed when their team shelf life expired. Today, corporate leadership is struggling with the loss of a competitive advantage over rivals. Success in the marketplace requires corporate teams working together now, more than ever to provide a fresh dynamic culture. C-level leadership knows the highly competitive business world is a constant drain on the creative and cooperative energy of even the most successful team.
Circuit City, Block Buster and Radio Shack
- They lost their innovation, teamwork and priority clarity.
- Key vision components failed.
- Teams lost their chemistry.
- Key people bailed because corporate leadership lost their shelf life.
- No more Amazing Advantage.
Without great team chemistry – you won’t compete at a high-powered level.
Executives know peer-to-peer issues and unresolved conflicts can easily stall or sidetrack the best team. Before you realize the breakdown in teamwork, your team falls behind in trends and market interest. That prized “Amazing Advantage” vanishes from your team and production stalls.
The good news is – it’s not your fault! This is actually the natural life-cycle of an amazing team. Teams have a shelf life. They have an “Amazing Advantage” expiration time stamp. Over the course of weeks, years or numbers of projects, good team members leave and green members step in. And you never know what the chemistry is until you put everyone on a project!
All remarkable and amazing teams require “Change Energy.” When the proverbial production engine sputters it’s a sign your team needs the “Change Energizer” – Scott Carley – to get your team back on track for the next level of amazing success! Following are three key elements to reviving your team with “Change Energy.”
Three Stories of Change Energy
I. VISION FLAT-LINE – We were dead in the water
Corporate teams can suddenly find themselves with blurred, crushed or no vision and lose their momentum. They will eventually shut down. You’ll become aware of this when everyone is dragging their heels because they have no energizing direction. This failed energy can tear down your team. The cause of this sapped energy can come from something as serious as criminal activity, or most likely a lack of company or departmental direction that compounds frustration, stress and infighting that zaps team energy.
REVIVE THE VISION
Find the vision that will drive your team’s success. While goals define a destination, vision is a goal that’s been energized. Vision wakes a team up in the morning and gets them out of bed and off to work with a dance in their stride. Vision appeals to that competitive gene in their DNA and they start to feel the electricity. Their step increases, and the pace gets faster because they’ve got somewhere to go and something to do! It’s easy to spot a team member “on a mission” and a leader “with a plan”.
Here’s where you can step in and lead the team by inserting the Change Energizer into your success equation. An Energized Vision attracts the right people like a magnet attracts steel! Everyone wants to get on board with an innovative group, especially people with high skills looking for a place to practice their due diligence. Bright thinkers attached themselves to a group that appreciates their ideas and will put them into action, give them a chance and a try! There are plenty of people who are listening for the voice of a visionary to speak up, so they can sign up! People follow a leader, but they will sacrifice for a Visionary! An Energized Vision is the major catalyst for building your Amazing Corporate Team!
BNI (Business Networking International) is the world’s largest international business networking organization with over 8000 chapters in 65 countries. Together they generate $13.6 billion in referral revenue. It’s an amazing, highly functional organization that has helped thousands of business owner grow their business.
The Central Texas region for BNI had lost their visionary leadership and was stalling. Chapter numbers were down. Referrals were off and revenue was falling. Morale was low. Middle management had turned into finger pointing “policy policemen” and members were bailing. The Amazing Advantage meter was the lowest ever.
I was hired by the Executive Director to be the Change Energizer for Central Texas form Austin, to Waco and College Station. It was a mess but the first thing we did was start talking about a new vision for the region. That breathed a breath of fresh air into the meetings. Attitudes started changing and volunteers began popping up. We started looking for past leaders who were interested in that vision. One by one, key people came on board with that same Changer Energy and things began to happen!
Over the next 24 months, we added new leaders, chapter starters and trainers to our team. We also cut a few loose who didn’t have the chemistry we needed. Together we cast vision for the Central Texas Region numerically, financially and in chapter growth. Chapter visits were reset with new initiatives, region wide training were combined to create momentum and leaders were supported and rewarded for accomplishments. Becky opened three Hall of Fame Chapters in Waco. Steve opened one in San Marcos. Gregg opened 2 and then 3 and 4 in Austin. Numbers and attitudes started rising. As a result, chapter starts went back up with record breaking numbers, Visitor Showcase events had huge closing ratios and it put Austin on the map Internationally to the top 2% world wide in growth, retention and referral revenue. Conference after conference, Team Austin would march to the stage to get their Oscars for starting Hall of Fame Chapters, pictured with their Executive Director and the Changer Energizer. They were all smiles.
Energizing your team takes risk, resolve and epic action. And that’s what team vision is all about. Teams have a shelf life. They accomplish their vision and need a fresh one. Or, they lose their motivating energy because of fractured trust, distractions or the visionary leaves. Your team needs a spark, a charge – from the Change Energizer – so they can recapture your vision and return to a level of pursuing an amazing advantage in the marketplace.
II. WHAT’S MY JOB?
The number one complaint of employees isn’t low pay, bad benefits or poor working conditions. It’s “Unclear Job Responsibilities.” Five out of seven professionals and entrepreneurs show up Monday after Monday without a plan, and then they start their day by reacting emails and juggling phone calls. Energy drains. Whatever hits their desk first or whoever screams the loudest dictates that day’s priorities. Energy drains. Naturally they feel scattered, unfocused and overwhelmed. Energy drains. Work stacks up, projects are completed late and they are losing accounts. Energy drains. Needless to say, they have no feeling of Amazing Advantage. They are drowning in work, with no focus and desperate for something to energize them.
WORK WITH PURPOSE
The person who can identify priorities and determine what is really an income producing activity has a tremendous sense of purpose and accomplishment. That clarity gives them confidence in saying “NO” to distractions so they can give a robust “YES” to priorities. The most successful people in the workplace have a “success routine” of predictable activities that advance them forward. They can make quick decisions about where to spend their time and what projects deserve their attention. They have found mental, electronic and paper tools to leverage their time to produce phenomenal results and get more accomplished. If you want something done, give it to an active person with clear priorities. They have the focus, and the energy level, to either delegate it or do it themselves.
Olga was a young, married Russian immigrant who worked for an international language translation company in Austin. Most of her work was in sales for which she had little experience. She was average or below in sales as compared to her peers. She spend a lot of time trying to figure out what she needed to do to get more sales. Most of her day was scattered all over the board from phone calls to appointments to research. She wasn’t getting much traction or success. She was referred to me by a mutual friend and we met for tea. After a short conversation, she hired me to coach her into new priority management habits.
Olga was very responsive and soaked up the concepts of having ascending levels in priorities and understanding the difference between busy work and income producing activities. Each week Olga embedded more and more tools. She was so excited in every session about how much more productive she was being and the impact it was having on her compensation. Six weeks into her coaching, her manager handed her a commission check with a 350% increase in sales! She had a clear Amazing Advantage! Olga was ecstatic and her manager wanted to know what made the difference. She said, “I hired a priority coaching and he helped me get unusual clarity about where and how I make money! I feel like I have an amazing advantage!” That next week her manager hired me! The next month the company CEO hired me as well! Olga was promoted again and again up the ladder as a result of her newfound clarity and focus.
PLAN FOR ACTION
Scattered, unfocused and overwhelmed people will not get much accomplished. They have no plan and embody a mental state of being reactionary to work. They are drained of energy. Not only that, their sense of value and self-worth is usually very low. So, it’s incredible the difference it makes when people are energized and have clarity of priorities and can get focused on what matters. They have a system to mentally and methodically focus on the right things. They have Change Energy. They’ve got simple tools that are readily accessible and keep them on track to reach their goals. And it’s that energy, efficiency and electronic dexterity that gives them their Amazing Advantage.
III. MY TEAM IS IN A MESS
Do you ever feel like your team is fractured, suspicious or uncooperative? Is everyone walking on eggshells around a huge elephant in the room? When people are suspicious of one another and teamwork is fractured or broken, the flow of productivity crumbles, the atmosphere is tense and the return on effort is marginal. Broken teams have characters such as “Drama Queen Darla,” “Dishonest Dan,” “Soapbox Sam,” “Missing Martha” and others who short-circuit the integrity and capabilities of group collaboration. Energy drains. Teamwork stalls, fails and crashes. Their internal credit score is so low nobody wants to conduct business. There is no hope for an Amazing Advantage.
REGAIN ENERGY, TEAMWORK
Stephen Covey said, “You can’t talk yourself out of a problem you have behaved yourself into. But you can behave yourself out of a problem you have behaved yourself into and often faster than you think.” Change Energy creates new behavior. When a team is energized, and teamwork trust is remarkable, the flow of productivity is quick, the atmosphere is vivacious and the return on effort is extraordinary! Only behavior can validate our words, conversations and intent. TRUST can be repaired, rebuilt. Ask Martha Stewart. Teams that have suffered major fractures can have the hard conversations and rebuild a vetted chemistry of reliance. One by one, members give their vote of confidence, create peer-to-peer accountability and suddenly they are energized. Their Amazing Advantage returns!
What does Change Energy look like in real time? What success can the Change Energizer provide for a fractured team?
LORI’S CHANGE STORY
Lori came on board as “CEO elect” at a nonprofit as one of her many upward moves in the organization. She worked and waited patiently for two years as the “old guard” members slowly inched their way toward retirement in a well-planned, but slowly executed exit plan. As much as possible, Lori worked with her charges over those 24 months and shaped the team she would inherit.
But when the day finally arrived, and the baton was handed over, her team was less than amazing. There was no energy. Some team members had barely been on the job six months, others were divided between her and the former leader. For others, interpersonal chemistry was low or, at best, not unified.
Something had to be done. Lori arranged a retreat and brought in me, the Change Energizer, as the speaker.
For her team, it was a mixed bag of anxiety, hopeful expectations and defensiveness. Teamwork trust was scoring low and members were covering their bets. It was a real-time team mess.
I started the day with a clip from the movie, “Oceans 11,” as a visual example of remarkable teamwork. Not that I was planning a robbery, but it made a great illustration. In just a 5-minute video trailer, the team zeroed in on what it meant to have unity of purpose and a remarkable vision. The energy meter spiked. Personal agendas began to fade, and the team started to find ways to come together. The change in energy was evident and growing.
Once we began to laugh about the Six Star Characters of Teamwork (Missing Martha, Drama Queen Darla, etc.) they began to relax and realize EVERYONE had room for improvement. More change energy. The deep dives into understanding how trust gets fractured got people listening and thinking. The more they heard, the more they wanted. The change energy was sparking the entire team.
When we finally broke into groups for case studies around specific issues, they were hooked! For most of the team it was the first time they understood how to repair a broken or fractured trust. The change energy was guiding them. The results were amazing. Some were immediate between team members in the way of apologies and commitments to behavior changes. But many were about their separate teams and how they could use “Monumental Vision” to start rebuilding trust.
Lori was ecstatic! Bringing in the Change Energizer provided exactly what she was hoping for!
CHANGE AND ENERGIZE YOUR TEAM
Fractured relations, broken trust and suspicion among team members sabotage productivity. People simply refuse to work with each other in this environment. They snarl under their breath and won’t offer a helping hand to get the heavy work done. Mutual trust takes a bad credit hit. Finally, someone gets their courage together and acknowledges the elephant in the room. Something must change.
My goal as the Change Energizer is to guide your team down a path of realization that leads to success. Goals are accomplished through an energized, revised vision. People will respond to your new vision and the behavior of team members will change. It’s an exciting revelation to see the trust credit scores start to improve as behavior changes. Steadily and visibly the change energy increases, and the Amazing Advantage of your team returns. Then, there’s no job your team can’t pull off working together – changed and energized.