Do you have radical trust?

Let's say you are going to launch what could be a million dollar product.  You've had other products that have been somewhat successful and you have fans but this product is going to change everything.   The technology is unheard of but that's not the reason this product will cause so much change. The brilliance behind this product is it's unfinished.  As a matter of fact it's like a never ending canvas.  It wouldn't be a stretch to consider it the most collaborative tool ever created.  Kids will benefit.  Adults will benefit.  People with special needs will benefit.  Education will benefit.

This product is out, you might even be using it right now.

Apple had radical trust.  The brilliance behind the iPhone, iTouch, and iPad are the apps.  Apple created a wonderful product and handed it over to the world to make it better.  There was even the tagline, "There's an app for that."  If you remember the initial keynote address about the iPhone there was an introduction to developers as well the ability to begin building apps on their Mac prior to the actual product launch.

What does this have to do with us as leaders?  It's a matter of retaining great people.  I have learned great people stick around because they are allowed input and ownership.  Often, I can ignore this truth.  I get in the "get it done" mode and don't look for opportunities to include others.  My question for you is where could you be more like Apple and put radical trust in people?

Every organization has systems.  So you might want to look at yours and ask a couple of questions:

1.  Are people our infrastructure? - Sure the iPhone is genius but other people have made it even better.  What are you doing to develop a culture of great people before you think about the ROI of a product or action?

2.  Do we build platforms or walls? - Apple could have launched the iPhone and locked everything down.  I think it still would have been a pretty inventive product.  But apple wasn't thinking just about a product, they were thinking about a creative platform.  Do you train your people in this way?  Are you thinking about giving people what they need like core values and resources so they can then do even more?

3.  Can people give feedback? - I know, this one can be terrifying.  Every leader has experienced people who don't understand constructive criticism.  But hang in there and give people the opportunity to give feedback.  Again, this is the genius behind Apple's success.  When a developer hits a bump in the system Apple tries to flatten that bump.

So what about you?  Are you a leader with radical trust in people?  Do you believe they can make things better?  I'd love to hear what you think about trusting people.  Please leave a comment below!


5 Ways to develop your core

No.  I'm not talking about your abs. I'm talking about the people around you that are your high impact people.  People that are progressing across leadership lines, they naturally take on things to improve the performance of the team.

What are you doing to develop your core?

Core development doesn't happen without intentionality.  I've learned that you want a strong core for times of growth, crisis, hardships, and at the ground level.  The more I try to do everything the less gets done.

What steps can you take to develop a core group of people?

1.  Invite people in - I've never had anyone ask me if they can be on a special team that focuses on high output.

2.  Cast vision - People need to know why the core team exists, what purpose do they and it serve.

3.  Give ownership - Take the training wheels off and let go of the bike.  I learned to delegate if another person can do something 80% as well as I could I should delegate it.

4.  Give feedback - Be a coach, it's that important.

5.  Allow room for change - If core members are developing then they will want to see changes be made.  Allow them the opportunity unless it violates the Core principals of the mission.

What have you learned about leading a core group of people?  Please leave your comments below.

Is the organization blessed?

I feel confident that God approves of order but I'm beginning to wonder if we give too much credit to the organization. Every organization fights to remain a living active body and not simply an idea that used to work. I can understand organizational pressure but I feel the tension when the organization asks more of me than I ask of it. I think everyone feels that from all types of different organizations. People feel that tension at their place of employment. People feel that tension from their kid's sports team. People feel that tension from the charity they volunteer for. The tension is real and it exists and the misplacement can happen to any organization. How do we navigate this as leaders? The moment we begin to make decisions that serve the organization over serving the people of the organization we lose blessing. The blessing we lose is that of the people who's hands are dirty with the most work. They begin to become paycheck to paycheck (or project to project, or commitment to commitment) instead of calling to passion. That's the reason that people are there in the first place for any organization, they are called to it.

Serve the people, serve the organization. Serve the organization, kill the calling and passion of its' people.

How do you function differently when you are operating out of calling and passion instead of serving to protect an organization?

Destroying the system: Part 3

Quick review: Part 1- Instead of constantly blaming people for a lack of success look to where the system is breaking down. Be willing to let go of the system more than you're willing to let go of people.

Part 2- Look to your team for answers. Let those closest to the work re-create systems around their own gifts and strengths.

Part three is where the fear can really creep in for leaders. This third step is the most critical and will determine if you are able to keep people long term on your team: choose a launch date and trust. When you have your most invested people around the table and they have come up with a new way to do something, as the leader you have to say, "On (this specific date) we are changing the way we work." If you drag this out nothing will take the wind out of your teams' sail more than you allowing them to give feedback and invest their time but never allowing them to act. Let your people run with it. As a leader, your role becomes checking in with key people and giving feedback or small tweaks.

The people you lead are dying to be trusted. Almost as much as they are dying to be recognized. But more than anything they are dying to be a part of something that truly matters. And guess what? If they create it, it will matter to them! Move into the role of servant leadership and equip others to lead well. Support those who want to lead and give them the resources they need to change the system. Be, as Jim Collins in "Good to Great" defines, a level five leader. When their is success, give the team the credit. When there is failure, take personal responsibility.

Do these three steps and you will see people re-energized, engaged, and more productive.