As I work with organizations in building leaders, I find that they typically want to work on shoring up weaknesses. Although that approach seems normal to most folks, I've found it to be less than optimum.
An individual can work on limitations to reduce their negative impact, but small incremental improvements often require extensive time and energy. The return on the investment seems much less than putting energy against finding ways to capitalize on existing strengths. Take a look at this week’s article, “Build Leaders by Capitalizing on Their Strengths.”
Make your organization one of the few that takes a conscious and creative approach to enhancing contributions to your customers.
Keep in mind that your organization's customers may be internal customers. If you enhance your service to internal customers, you enhance the larger organization's quality or lower its costs, which helps everybody!
So, every couple of months, call a "time out" and do something a little different. Instead of focusing on solving problems, focus briefly on enhancing the services you provide to your customer. Ask in a fresh way, "What does the customer consider 'quality'? What would it take to make the quality of our output better?”
That's what this week's article, “Explore Opportunities with Your Team,” is all about--increasing the value of what you contribute.
Want to retain your customers during hard times? This is the way!
This week's article, “Preventing (or Correcting) a Dysfunctional Culture,” is taken from my notes this past Friday associated with “Catalyst Conference” speaker Dave Ramsey. I'll use this column with future clients, because every organization faces these challenges!
Dave Ramsey is a caring, compassionate leader, yet he is firm in not tolerating the presence of certain "enemies" in his organization. His expectations for his leaders are clear, and he backs up his expectations with personal involvement when necessary. These enemies are constantly attacking, diminishing the effectiveness even of your organization!
Dave's presentation was fun and engaging. Near the end of his comments, however, he said he was not nearly as funny when teaching this material inside his own company. I can imagine that his firmness regarding ethics and values contributes to a sense of stability and service that his employees deeply appreciate.
Continuous learning and continuous improvement are work! But Dale Crownover suggests that it’s far more satisfying and rewarding than running from bankruptcy. And that's where Dale Crownover's company was headed when he and his small business began learning about systems that define and measure improvement.
In 1991, Dale Crownover and his colleagues at the Texas Nameplate Company started learning about how to build quality systems into an organization. In four short years, they applied for and won the Texas Quality Award. The same year, 1995, they applied for a National Quality Award and profited greatly from the valuable feedback they received from their application review. In 1996, they applied again and received a site visit. With great disappointment, they did not receive the award, but learned a huge amount from the evaluative comments they received.
In 1997, they applied again and became a 1998 National Quality Award winner, the smallest business to that point to have received that recognition. In 2004, they became the only small business to have won two National Quality Awards. The employees are preparing now to apply for the 2010 award.
The attached article, “It's Easy, It’s Free, and It Works!” was never intended to highlight Dale Crownover and the Texas Nameplate Company. The intent was to highlight the availability of the Georgia Oglethorpe three-step state award process and the annual Awards Conference held each October in Atlanta. This is a huge and inexpensive opportunity for any leader interested in personal and organizational growth to interact with knowledgeable people and to walk away inspired to seek additional learning.