by Anne Warfield
What does the movie Coach Carter, the book The Tipping Point, and great leadership have in common?
Every Executive I work with wants to be a good, positive, and strong leader. When I ask them what they would like to change in order to make their life easier they often say things like, “it would be great if my team could think more independently to make the best decisions possible WITHOUT me involved!”
But how do you do that? In order to answer that all we need to do is look at the above question because the answer is right there.
One of the most fundamental and pivotal points of a great leader is one most people hate to take on. It is the one ingredient that makes a huge difference between great parents and just okay parents. It is what makes a team stick or fall apart.
That one ingredient is consequences. It means that as a leader you have to have standards that you will NOT compromise no matter who is asking. It means that you have to follow up to make sure the standards are held up by all people. This can be very painful to do!
What I rarely see Executives do well is have direct consequences for poor behavior. In the movie Coach Carter each player had to sign a contract. The contract required them to have an average GPA of 2.3 while the state only required a 2.0, wear ties on game day, to participate in all classes and to sit in the front row.
The players thought these demands were not fair and the parents even stood up and said these are ridiculous standards, yet Coach Carter stayed firm. Even his boss, the school principal, thought he was being too “harsh.” They all thought his standards were too high because they weren’t the “average.” Coach Carter replied that “these are student players. The first word in there is student and that's what I expect them to be.”
Coach Carter took a job at Richman High School where only 50% of all students graduated and only six students out of every one hundred went on to college. That was a standard when he arrived. Parents, teachers and the school principal all told him that he was there to coach basketball and nothing more.
As an Executive you will often face people feeling you are unfair because your “standards” are too high. They will push you to lower them. And often, like in the case of Coach Carter, it could be your boss that tries to get you to lower those standards.
When you have pressure like that it becomes even easier to let of your consequences for not following the standards. That is the first step to mediocrity.
In the book “The Tipping Point” Malcolm Gladwell proves over and over how ONE little thing can be the tipping point that sends a neighborhood to crime and violence. If one house has a window boarded up it is only a matter of time before crime creeps in to the neighborhood. Stopping the fare jumpers instead of going after the big criminals helped turn the subways around and reduced crime.
So check your own scoreboard. What are your standards? What are you willing to do to support those standards? What consequences will you FAIRLY and JUSTLY enforce to make sure ALL PLAYERS know the standards and follow them?
For this next month, challenge yourself to focus on ONE standard you would like to see followed in your company and set about implementing it in your company. Then just sit back and watch the positive ripple effect.
As the leading Outcome Strategist, Anne Warfield shows people how to present their ideas, products and services so people WANT to listen to you. Her communication formula is easy to apply and produces proven results. Fortune 500 companies around the world have utilized her expertise and her work is published around the world. She has been published in Business Week, Good Housekeeping, Forbes publications and has been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS. Anne speaks around the world about Outcome Focus™ Communication.
Check out her website www.ImpressionManagement.com to take the communication quiz for yourself! Books can be purchased from Amazon.com or Barnes & Noble. You can also email her at firstname.lastname@example.org