The best holiday gift you can give to your business and your team is to “own the ugly”. Take the lead and have an honest conversation with your key team members about what’s not working and what is getting in the way of your company performing better. Your team is more than likely having these conversations among themselves today, by opening up this conversations in an honest and solutions based manner, you will identify the ugly issues that are holding you back and bring forward the solutions to make 2017 your best year ever.
I was recently facilitating a strategic planning retreat for one of my clients. During the meetings we conducted a problem solving session where team members identified the ugly issues that need to be addressed and worked on real solutions.
Unprompted, within minutes, the group listed every “efficiency tool” the company was using to make “work easier”. We then created a two column sheet on the dry board, one side read keep, the other read throw away.
Everyone got a vote and indicated what their role in the company was. By the end of the session over half of the tools listed were identified to throw away. The boss, somewhat uncertain about how to respond took the lead by initiating a non-threatening conversation as to why they felt the way they did. What they found was the tools they had selected to throw away all made sense, in theory, but the requirements to keep everything up to date were driving people crazy and keeping them away from doing what’s important, serving customers.
At one point the boss asked Why didn’t you raise these concerns before? The group responded, well, no one asked. This one hour conversation will save them hundreds of hours of frustration moving forward and allow them to focus on what they do best serving their customers.
Own the Ugly. Make it safe to talk about what’s working, what’s not, and what the possible consequences are. It’s getting talked about somewhere anyhow. Best to get it out in the open, talk about the issues, allow people to vent if needed, and more importantly figure out what the solutions are.
I have always had one simple rule for my staff, there is no problem that is too small to talk about, however if your going to bring a problem bring a solution as well.
Four Ways to Own the Ugly
Here are four ugly conversations worth having with your team. If you’re going to ask the questions, be sure you really listening.
UGLY- What are Underestimating?
Are you underutilized your technology or ignoring new technologies that could make you more efficient? Are there new and maybe known competitors that are taking market share from you? Is there an erosion of your company’s culture due to unchecked ego’s or negativity by one or more team members? Are you missing opportunities that you “don’t have time to thoroughly vet?”
UGLY – Whats gotta go?
What are you doing now that doesn’t make sense anymore? What processes and systems are more habit than value? Do you have meetings that are wasting your company’s time? Are there people attending these meetings that don’t need to be there or don’t contribute in these meetings? What’s gotta go, and what changes do you need to make so that 2017 is truly remarkable?
UGLY – Where are we losing to our competitors? Where are we under-performing despite our best efforts? Why? Who’s doing it better? How? What are our customers saying?
UGLY – Where are we missing, YES?
What must we say “yes” to in 2017, even though it requires us to change? What new opportunities need our attention? Where can we improve to better serve our customers, employees, ownership? Where should we invest more of our time and money?
Team’s follow leaders who “own the ugly.” Have the confidence and humility to start the conversation, and then listen deeply to the solutions offered by your team. This process will be one of the most productive meetings you will have all year and the outcome will positively change your company, guaranteed.
Your Turn, Have your UGLY conversations with your team before the end of the year?
If you need help, call Beartooth Business Consulting, we can provide expert facilitation to insure this conversation is non-threatening and productive. www.bearttohbiz.com. 406-690-5988, firstname.lastname@example.org