What does your team think you care most about? Lisa shares one of the biggest lessons in leadership—learned from a group of kindergarteners. Plus, hear how to manage your own time with your team.
- When my youngest daughter was in kindergarten, I volunteered in her classroom every other Friday. One Friday, the kids were making Mother's Day presents. And the teacher prompted them with the question, what are your mommy's favorite things to do? And so, the kids drew pictures and wrote words about what their moms loved the most. And it was my job as the volunteer to staple their drawings together to make a little book. So naturally, I read them, all of them, and two themes emerged.
According to a classroom of five and six year olds, their mothers' favorite things to do were cleaning and sleeping. Clearly, this merited further investigation. Who were these women? So I asked the kids, uh, Lauren, sweetie, tell me about this mommy of yours. How do you know her favorite things to do are cleaning and sleeping? Another kid, Jason, tell me about all this cleaning and sleeping? How do you know those are your mom's favorite hobbies? And their answers were all the same.
She talks about it all the time. She's always saying we've got to clean up around here, we've got to clean up, and if she's not talking about cleaning, she's saying I am so tired, I have got to get some sleep. So what does that tell us? The words of the leader matter, whatever you give voice to the majority of the time is going to be what people assume is the most important thing to you. And this principle applies at home and at work. One of our clients, Amanda Harrington, is the VP of Supportworks.
They are a foundation repair network, and their purpose is to redefine the contracting industry. Here's what she had to say about keeping purpose alive in a rough and tough business. - It's not that we just talk about redefining our industry. We talk about that a lot, and we have boosters on the wall, and sayings all over the place, we wear it on T-shirts. But really, there's a whole narrative behind it, and those are the words that we use a lot as well. For example, for employees, we believe fulfilling work can create a fulfilling life, and that's really redefining.
We believe, for customers, that experiences can be remarkable, that's really redefining. And so, you find it gets really reinforced in the language. Now, we do do a lot of fun things, too. We have purpose picnics, we have, just today, in fact, we had a pop-up pizza shop that was all around purpose. We've had a redefine bakery that's popped up. And we do a lot of fun things to kind of keep it fresh and relevant. But at the end of the day, the discipline is really in just talking about it, over and over again.
- Now ask yourself, if someone created a transcript of your dialogue at work, how would the narrative read? Would your words reveal someone who cares passionately about customers or students or the people your organization is there to serve? Or would the transcript be about complaints and problems and internal metrics? The words of the leader tell the team what matters most. What are the people on your team hearing from you? You know, the reason so many people believe their leaders only care about money and self-serving measures is because that's what their leaders devote their airtime to.
So if you want to improve your culture, elevate your airtime, talk about purpose and customer impact on a regular basis. Your language is what crafts the priorities, and if you want to excel, the top priority has to got to be customers.
- Articulate the financial impact of purpose on business results
- Identify who your customer is and describe how you help them
- Integrate purpose and performance
- Develop qualitative metrics that provide a forward looking-lens into performance
- Foster a mindset of purpose in a quota-driven sales culture using active sales coaching
- Integrate an organizational purpose into decision making and strategy