Four-star General and Hippie Agree on Leadership & Change Management

This last week I went to the Fortune Magazine ScaleUp Summit in Atlanta Georgia.  The overarching theme of the summit–from General McChrystal’s “Team of Teams” keynote to Ari Weinzweig’s change management presentation about Zingerman’s Deli–is that no one wants to be managed. Instead, our people want and need coaches.

If the frontline employees have access to the same information (or more – think corporate wikis and dashboard) as senior leaders; and a process for making decisions without the need for getting approval from the ‘higher ups’ – they better decisions faster and the do the right thing more often!

This requires the right training and coaching of the frontline and a change in leadership thinking (removing the need to make all the decisions). It generally isn’t something one changes overnight – but it’s where we need to be going.

Marshall Goldsmith, author of 35 books and recognized as one of the top ten Most-Influential Business Thinkers in the World, shared eight steps to effective coaching of team members. He explains how executive coaching is one tool in performance appraisal, compensation, and promotion that truly reinforces positive behavioral change.  His eight steps are:

1. Identify desired attributes for the manager you are coaching. 
2. Determine who can provide meaningful feedback. 
3. Collect feedback. 
4. Analyze results. 
5. Develop an action plan. 
6. Have the manager respond to stakeholders. 
7. Develop an on-going follow-up process. 
8. Review results and start again.

Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google, said the best advice he ever got was, “to have a coach.  Once I realized I could trust him and that he could help me with perspective, I [realized] this was a great idea.”

I’ve used coaches, I’ve had my people use coaches and I’ve worked as a coach.  I have come to greatly appreciate the value of coaches.  Our people want it and we need it. That is the message I came home with from the ScaleUp Summit in Atlanta.  I’ve seen companies grow dramatically once more growth-oriented coaching is implemented within an organization.

To learn more about how coaching can help your organization, connect with us and let’s have a frank discussion about you and your organization.