Making Waves: 3 Secrets to Becoming a Highly Paid Executive Faster
Making Waves:<br />3 Secrets to Becoming a<br />Highly Paid Executive Faster<br />Chapters 1 and 2<br />www.managementcoach.caTM<br />Mary Legakis<br />Helping leaders and aspiring executives get personal, professional and organizational results – faster.<br />260350-3175<br />Setting the Foundation<br />Aspiring executives are around every corner. Look in every office and cubicle around you, and chances are you will find someone who has ambition and aspiration to make it to the top. The sad news is, not all of you will make it. Only those who know how others got there will even stand a chance.<br />For the past six years I have worked closely with hundreds of management teams and executives to improve their managerial effectiveness. I have seen everything that has worked, and everything that hasn’t. The secrets I am about to share with you have come directly from the real world of organizational politics and hierarchy in large, medium and small businesses in the US and Canada. I can tell you undoubtedly that these secrets will work no matter what kind of situation you are in, provided your values are aligned to the culture of the organization.<br />Before we get to the secrets, we need to build your foundation. Note this point:<br />Your success depends on deliberate planning on your part. These three secrets will not produce results unless you hold yourself solely responsible for the actions and the results. There is no room for victims in the C-suite of your organization. There is no room for excuses when you are an executive officer of your company. Victim mentality and excuses must exit your system now. Here are a few things you can do to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the career change you are about to embark on: <br /><ul><li>Set a clear intention for who you want to be, and what you want to create for yourself.
Write down your intention somewhere that you can refer to it daily. Let this be your guidepost for your journey. Your beacon for your voyage.
Answer “why” five times. Really understand how this intention matters to you, and its true meaning in your life. This will help keep you focused when you feel you might be straying.
Get off the fence. Decide what you want, and go after it whole-heartedly. Don’t get paralyzed by conflicting desires. Read “The Fence Sitter” on my blog at www.managementcoach.ca/index/the-fence-sitter
Recognize that for every win we create in our lives, there was a price to pay or a challenge to overcome. The price we pay or the size of the challenge is always equal and opposite to the benefit gained. Don’t be discouraged by the challenges you will face. They are the source of your future wealth.</li></ul>“Scepticism, disappointment and resistance are measures of success; clues that you’re on the right path. If everyone’s happy, then you’re not doing great work.” (Michael Bungay Stanier, author of “Find Your Great Work”)<br /><ul><li>Know your fuel
Identify where you get your energy from so that you know how to tap into it when it is needed the most. Read my blog article “What’s Your Fuel?” at www.managementcoach.ca/index/what-s-your-fuel-</li></ul>Take the time to prepare, but don’t take too much time. Execution is about getting things done. It is futile to wait for perfection when everyone else around you is moving up despite their imperfection. Start right away, and accept imperfection as a blessing that will pay high dividends when you get to the corner office first.<br />Now let’s get you to the secrets that will change the trajectory of your career!<br />Secret #1: Tied for First<br />You, Your Team and the Business<br />“The bigger the dream, the more important your team.”<br />Robin Sharma, Leadership Advisor<br />All successful executives know:<br /><ul><li>Business results matter
Teams produce a whole greater than the sum of the parts
Teamwork is therefore the fastest way to get business results</li></ul>Managers know they want to be executives. <br />But most managers still place themselves higher on the importance scale than the team’s they lead and the business. Consider your impression of most of the bosses you have had since your career started. How many of them:<br /><ul><li>Didn’t know what they were doing. You definitely could have done their job better than them, right?
Didn’t help promote you to new roles or pay scales. Those greedy monkeys. All they ever thought about was themselves!
Didn’t care about the business. All they wanted was self-gratification.</li></ul>What most of us don’t realize is that we have most likely become the bosses we hated. This is because we have forgotten that we are tied for first with our direct reports and the business. <br />“What we do not love, we either attract, become or create.”<br />Dr. Lise Janelle, Life Coach<br />Our typical order of priority as managers looks like this:<br /><ul><li>Me
The Business</li></ul>Here is why.<br />When you prioritize your team at your level, you create a relationship of mutual support. Mutual support creates loyalty and motivation. Loyalty and motivation create focus. They eliminate distraction. Focus creates results. Results are what the business wants.<br />When you prioritize the business at your level, you create focus on the right results.<br />Well-run businesses are guaranteed to follow one important rule: <br />Recognition and Reward in exchange for Results<br />I call these “The 3 Rs”. If you produce results for the business, you will produce recognition and reward for yourself and your team. That in turn increases the strength of loyalty and motivation around you. The more fans you have in all directions, the quicker you will reach executive status.<br />You are the key to the prioritization process. You are the CEO of Me Inc., and your job is to get to your dream job. That means you have to figure out how to create mutual support between you and your team, so that you can produce business results for the organization. Nobody will do this for you. You are the CEO.<br />916940116205<br />We’ll talk in detail about defining and finding Business Results in Secrets #2 and #3. I’d like to use this space to help you connect with your team.<br />Stephen Covey wrote a book called “The Speed of Trust”. When you create trust in your work environment, speed of execution increases, cost and inefficiency decreases, and performance improves. So how do you create trust?<br />The key factors in creating trust are these:<br /><ul><li>Authenticity
Selfless interest in developing and recognizing your team</li></ul>Authenticity<br />Be unabashedly who you are, and be prepared to behave as who you’re not.<br />Effective managers and executives have two key characteristics behind their authenticity:<br /><ul><li>Their inherent personality that drives their preferred behaviours.
The ability to choose from and demonstrate, at the right times, an array of behaviours outside their inherent personality that make them effective no matter what the situation. </li></ul>The people who make it to the top are authentic and unapologetic about their inherent personality. Their team members can always count on them to behave exactly how they are. Their team members are never surprised, and this helps to build trust. Even if they are cranky and bossy at heart, their teams love them.<br />However, the people who make it to the top also realize that different situations call for different styles of behaviour. Not all situations will call for your most natural work style. Therefore your most natural work style won’t produce results in all situations. <br />Being directive in a brainstorming session doesn’t generate the same result as being participative. Being participative when a deadline is looming doesn’t offer the best opportunity for meeting the deadline. A project manager needs to manage budgets, timelines, and checklists – all are bureaucratic tasks. However, he also has to manage change, which is fraught with human dynamics that require compassion, interest in others’ opinions and influence. <br />Managers who are authentic about who they are can, and should, flex their behaviour to meet the demands of the situation so that the right results are produced. If you are a horrible listener, you have to learn to be a good listener when the alternative won’t produce the right results. If you are a subdued and quiet manager, speaking up once in a while with authority and resilience may be the order of the day – if it is going to get you a better result than staying quiet.<br />“Management of others is self-management”. Dr. Bill Reddin, Behavioural Scientist and Management Guru<br />Managers who navigate different styles of behaviour with kindness and confidence, while staying true to who they really are, gain respect – of their teams and their peers. Respect breeds trust. Trust creates mutual support between you and your team. Mutual support gets you results. Results move you to the top faster.<br />Agreed Upon Work Approach<br />The Agreed Upon Work Approach is one of the most underestimated, and yet easiest modes of building trust. Teams that talk about operating principles and ground rules for their behaviour get results 80% faster than the teams who don’t. Sadly, 80% of teams never bother to have the conversation. This explains why 80% of exceptional results only come from 20% of the organization… everyone else is just filling space to maintain the status quo. It is pretty sick when you think about the amount of value and opportunity being left on the table!<br />Putting yourself into that elite 20% is not difficult. The Agreed Upon Work Approach, simply put, means getting your whole team on the same page about acceptable and unacceptable work behaviours for the team. These can be interpersonal in nature, or business oriented. It will depend on the type of people you have on your team. The key is to remove inefficiency in your team process before it gets in the way of results and your ultimate career success.<br />“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” Michael Jordan, Athlete<br />Here are the three critical pieces of advice for creating an Agreed Upon Work Approach for your team:<br />1. Set Ground Rules<br />2. Do a team Start-Stop-Continue exercise every 3-6 months<br />3. Create action plans together<br />Setting Ground Rules<br />First of all, if you aren’t holding team meetings, start. Have one a month or one a week. I don’t care. At least have ONE! Make the purpose of your next meeting to set some team ground rules. Send an email to your team asking each of them to think about ground rules they would like to set for each of the following themes:<br /><ul><li>Communication
Decision-making</li></ul>Make sure everyone attends the meeting, and give them each a piece of flipchart paper to tape to the wall. Have them write up the ground rules they want to propose. Then have each one present while the rest of the team sits in silence. The only speaking allowed from non-presenters is to ask a clarifying question.<br />Once everyone has presented, ask the group to narrow the list down to five or six ground rules that you’ll all agree to start living by right away.<br />Do a team Start-Stop-Continue exercise every 3-6 months<br />Within 3-6 months of setting the ground rules, call the team back together. For those of you already having regular meetings, include this in one of your existing meetings. Before the meeting, send an email to your team asking them to reflect on the ground rules, and come to the meeting prepared to give ideas about:<br /><ul><li>What the team should stop doing – it is making the team ineffective
What the team should start doing – this may be a new ground rule or activity
What the team should continue doing – it doesn’t hurt to celebrate your successes!</li></ul>Set up your meeting room so that there are three sheets of flipchart already up on the wall labelled “Start”, “Stop” and “Continue”. When the team arrives, give them each a marker and have them post their thoughts under each category.<br />Next, have everyone present what they wrote to the group, while the rest of the team sits quietly only asking questions for clarification. Finally, have your team narrow down the list to a few key changes you will make together.<br />Repeat every 3-6 months.<br />Create Action Plans Together<br />The first two exercises under Agreed Upon Working Approach were behaviourally focused. Creating trust by acknowledging behaviours that are acceptable and not-acceptable to the team. They basically speak to staying out of each others’ way and not annoying each other.<br />Creating action plans together has a bit of a different feel. Action plans are task focused. They speak to the rational or logical approach you will take to getting a job done. The importance of this is also underestimated. Everyone thinks there is only one logical approach to executing any given solution – theirs.<br />Developing action plans together does a few critically important things:<br /><ul><li>It makes certain that the person assigned the task knows what it is and has confirmed they are capable of doing it.
It makes certain everyone else on the team knows what everyone else is up to so that they are not surprised by anyone’s activities, therefore discouraging gossip and counter-productive whining.
It leverages the creativity and intelligence of the team to find the most efficient and effective means possible of getting to the end of game.</li></ul>“Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.” Vince Lombardi, famous American football coach<br />Getting every individual committed to the team’s effort is at the crux of why creating action plans together builds trust. When everyone knows what the play is, their own role in the play, and everyone else’s role (or non-role), it clears up a lot of confusion and breeds trust and accountability. Trust and accountability creates efficiency. Efficiency helps keep focus. Focus creates results. Results means career success for you.<br />Selfless interest in developing and recognizing your team<br />We end this chapter on the one part of trust-building that your team members are most interested in: “What’s in it for me!?”<br />If you place your team as tied for first with you and the business, then selfless interest in their development and work satisfaction will be a natural byproduct. Their interests and aspirations have to be as important to you as your own interests and aspirations.<br />As the CEO of Me Inc., your team will look to you the way you look to the CEO of your company: “If I give you results, will you give me recognition and reward?”<br />You are the source of your team’s recognition and rewards. Deliver on this unspoken commitment to them, and they will deliver for you. <br />First, know their interests and aspirations. Not everyone is motivated by the same things as you. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true. Some people on your team don’t have the desire to be an executive. They might just want a good income, with reasonable hours, so they can spend time with their families and send their kids to university. So ask them! Most organizations have Personal or Employee Development Planning processes that are designed to get this information out of the employee’s head and heart, and into your hands. Find out if your organization has such a process. If you don’t find one there, download the sample I have provided at:<br /> www.managementcoach.ca/tools. <br />Next, you give them what they want in exchange for results. Every time one of your players makes a good move, your job is to recognize or reward in the way that they find valuable. Did they email you a high quality presentation on time? Send them home early the next day so they can have dinner with their children. Did they solve a problem that was plaguing the business? Recognize them publicly, and get them a Starbucks card if coffee is their vice. If you’re employees are as important as you (tied for first), then their interests and desires should be as important to you as your own. <br />Be thoughtful, and reward your team members in a way they will appreciate.<br /><ul><li>“What about members of my team that are incompetent? I can’t reward them, can I?”
Absolutely. Remember the 3 Rs. Recognition and Reward in exchange for Results. Even incompetent people can be successful if you give them tasks they are actually capable of.
However, if the only tasks they are capable of do not satisfy their role in the organization, it’s time to find a new employee. Work with Human Resources to get your paperwork in order and plan their exit. They are not serving you, your team or the business. And those three things are tied for first, so everything else has to get dealt with.</li></ul>“All my players are not created equal. How do I reward some and not others when it comes to monetary recognition and promotions?”<br />As the CEO of Me Inc., you have great power. And with great power comes great responsibility. Life gets tougher when you’re an executive so making tough calls with your players now is all about practicing for the big leagues. Tough decisions include removing bad players, and playing favourites. Choosing favourites should be based on one thing: Performance.<br />Performance Players are the ones who produce the right results consistently, while role-modelling the values of the organization. These people deserve monetary recognition and the opportunities to progress. Especially if you know these are important to them (because you talked to them about it, right?). Some of these players might be happy with non-monetary recognition. For example, they might just want a work-from-home arrangement, or flex hours instead of money and progression. The key is to know what motivates them.<br />High Performance Players are Performance Players who consistently exceed the results expectations of their role. Your focus in life is to be the High Performance Player. That’s what gets you into the C-suite. To be the High Performance Player (HPP) you need to know who the HPPs are on your team, and make them your biggest fans. Be consistent in your support of HPPs, and let it be known to everyone else that these are the people who earned their rewards. High Performance Players are your successors. Having them in place means you have succession – one less excuse to not give you the next top job.<br />“What about the people in the middle? How do I show selfless interest in developing and recognizing them?”<br />Some of the people in the middle are your next Performance Players, just as some of your Performance Players are your next High Performance Players. Your job is to coach and mentor them the way this book is trying to coach and mentor you. Help them learn how to get results, and then reward them when they do.<br />“Effectiveness can be learned, and must be earned.”<br />Peter Drucker, Management Master<br />Learning how to become a Performance Player involves challenge. When Drucker says it “must be earned”, that means helping your team member understand that putting in some blood, sweat and tears is essential to moving them to the next level of their game. Michael Jordan didn’t make it to the top of his sport by sitting comfortably in his cubicle getting average results. He practiced harder and failed more times than most other players combined.<br />“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” <br />Michael Jordan<br />If you are authentic in your approach to selecting your favourite players, people will understand. Everyone knows who the stars are and who sits in the middle. Do not try to hide this fact for fear of hurting someone’s feelings. Trying to protect your players only weakens them. Hurt is the fuel that motivates change. Honesty is the value that earns you respect. Respect leads to trust. Trust gets you mutual support from your team. Mutual support from your team gets you business results, and that gets you the next promotion.<br />What to Remember<br />Tied for First – You, Your Team and The Business<br /><ul><li>Business results matter. Teamwork is the most efficient way to get business results.
Mutual support between you and your team is essential for moving you to the next level of your career. It creates trust, respect, supporters and business results, all of which are key ingredients to moving up the ranks.
Authenticity: Be unabashedly who you are, and be prepared to behave as who you’re not. Use styles appropriate to each situation.
Put yourself in the elite 20% who get 80% of the organization’s exceptional results by having an Agreed Upon Work Approach with your team that creates efficiency and productivity: