For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth

084: UNLOCK Innovation

May 31, 2021 Winston Faircloth Season 2 Episode 84
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
084: UNLOCK Innovation
Chapters
For Love of Team™ | Winston Faircloth
084: UNLOCK Innovation
May 31, 2021 Season 2 Episode 84
Winston Faircloth

In the Indian fable about the blind men who each touched a different part of the element, we aren’t surprised to see that an argument breaks out. Each man trusted his own perception to guide him. Until someone with sight coached them on their error, they made assumptions about the whole.

Within an organization, leaders can easily find themselves in the shoes of blind men. With a limited field of view, they make assumptions about the entire organization, process, and team. 

Just before recording this podcast episode, I was speaking with the founder of a large, complex organization. She’s found herself at the center of a problem where she’s the sole person resolving conflicts, making decisions, and charting innovative waters. In thinking about our conversation, I reflected on the blind men and the elephant and discovered some important business truths hiding inside the story.  

In this episode, you’ll get:

  • How to avoid being the bottleneck, even when you are the visionary founder of the organization
  • The challenge when leaders focus too much attention on their own specialization and why it’s a roadblock for the team
  • Why having historical and real-time context for business decisions may be the most important data to share across the organization
  • The 6 steps to UNLOCK innovation in any business in any industry

And, you’ll hear how you can bring a WHOLE picture workshop to your own organization to see how revealing the truth drives business success.

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, your Margin and your Freedom in business, join hand-selected business owners just like you in an upcoming...

For Love of Team™ Intensive:

Coming Virtually & In-Person beginning May 2021

Our intimate, immersive and interactive 2.5 day experience:

1) Sharpens your focus by doing more of the work you love

2) Simplifies your business processes. 

3) Surrounding yourself with others doing the work that they love

For Love of Team™ Intensive is an invitation-only event.  To connect with Winston to see if this is a fit, book a 35 minute exploratory session using this link.   




Show Notes Transcript

In the Indian fable about the blind men who each touched a different part of the element, we aren’t surprised to see that an argument breaks out. Each man trusted his own perception to guide him. Until someone with sight coached them on their error, they made assumptions about the whole.

Within an organization, leaders can easily find themselves in the shoes of blind men. With a limited field of view, they make assumptions about the entire organization, process, and team. 

Just before recording this podcast episode, I was speaking with the founder of a large, complex organization. She’s found herself at the center of a problem where she’s the sole person resolving conflicts, making decisions, and charting innovative waters. In thinking about our conversation, I reflected on the blind men and the elephant and discovered some important business truths hiding inside the story.  

In this episode, you’ll get:

  • How to avoid being the bottleneck, even when you are the visionary founder of the organization
  • The challenge when leaders focus too much attention on their own specialization and why it’s a roadblock for the team
  • Why having historical and real-time context for business decisions may be the most important data to share across the organization
  • The 6 steps to UNLOCK innovation in any business in any industry

And, you’ll hear how you can bring a WHOLE picture workshop to your own organization to see how revealing the truth drives business success.

****

When you’re ready to Multiply your Impact, your Income, your Margin and your Freedom in business, join hand-selected business owners just like you in an upcoming...

For Love of Team™ Intensive:

Coming Virtually & In-Person beginning May 2021

Our intimate, immersive and interactive 2.5 day experience:

1) Sharpens your focus by doing more of the work you love

2) Simplifies your business processes. 

3) Surrounding yourself with others doing the work that they love

For Love of Team™ Intensive is an invitation-only event.  To connect with Winston to see if this is a fit, book a 35 minute exploratory session using this link.   




Winston Faircloth:

So to unlock innovation and smash the bottleneck effect of everyone coming to you for answers, I'm going to suggest a concrete step that you can. Either multipliers it's Winston Faircloth, and welcome back to four love team. This is the podcast where leaders simplify teamwork helping you surround yourself with teammates doing the work. They love simplifying business processes so that you can serve more doing the work you love. Perhaps you've heard this story before the blind men and the elephant. It's a famous Indian fable that tells the story of six blind sojourners who come across different parts of an elephant in their life's journey. The first man put his hand out and touch the side of the elephant. how smooth He said, The elephant is like a wall. The second blind man put out his hand and touch the truck of the elephant. How round He said, The elephant is like a snake. The third blind man put out his hand and touch the Tusk of an elephant. how sharp he said the elephant is like a spear. The fourth blind man put out his hand and touch the leg of the elephant. how tall he said the elephant's like a tree. The fifth blind man reached out his hand and touch the ear of the elephant. How wide he said the elephant is like a fan in the six blind man put out his hand and touch the tail of the elephant. how thin he said the elephant is like a rope, a wall, a snake, a spear, a tree, a fan a rope? Well, as you might imagine, an argument ensued with each man thinking his own perception of the elephant was the correct one. Now the leader awakened by the commotion called out from the balcony, the elephant is a big animal. He said each person touched only one part, you must put all the parts together to find out what an elephant is like. You know, this is this the moral of the story is something like this. We all have different experiences. And whenever we found ourselves at odds with others, we need to be humble and recognize the limitations of our knowledge, the need for other perspectives and trust that others may have truths that we do not see in leading a team of functional leaders in our group in our organizations a lot like this fable. Recently, I was talking to the founder of a pretty large and complex organization. Now she has an amazing team of leaders all responsible for individual segments of the company. And while there are some gray areas of responsibility between roles which could be cleared up overall, she would say this team is functioning pretty well, except for one glaring area. She's constantly the one person being called upon to resolve conflicts, make decisions chart, innovative waters, it's a heavy burden for the founder. And she's puzzled why the team is so dependent upon her for so much help and intervention and wonder respect. It's understandable. As the visionary founder, there's a natural tendency by team members, even leaders, even senior leaders of an organization to defer to the person who willed an organization into existence. Yet sometimes even a good thing can go too far, leaders can become passive too deferential at times, especially when the founder speaks and even in the best circumstances, divisional leaders can be like the six blind men in this fable as subject matter experts are SMEs within their part of the organization, they understand they're part of the elephant in fine detail, the metrics, the people, the competition, the clients, the market conditions, all these elements are critical for success of my part of the organization or the division in some leaders can focus so much on only their part of the elephant that they can number one see their worth and value primarily by how many people work within their part of the organization. Number two, consider only the top line revenue impact versus the bottom line contribution to the organization. Number three, they can see other people's suggestions as encroachment upon their authority. Well, these are not healthy places to be as leaders, and in other words, they can become so focused on their part of the elephant, that they develop blind spots to the health and well being of the overall organization. This is natural. It's a consequence of specialization that's always required in organizations of size and complexity. Yet, there's another hidden, almost subconscious consequence for the leadership team that finds themselves in this kind of situation. And by the way, this is a natural outgrowth. I see it in almost every organization. But one of the reasons that leadership teams defer to the founder or the chief executive is because of the lack of context typically, not only does the founder have historic context, like the reasons why the organization began the challenges that the organization is face down and conquered over time, certain moments of inflection, the founder and or the chief executive is typically be the only person deeply familiar with with those historical context and with the key performance indicators across all sectors of the organization. This is the leaders blind spot that they alone possess the real time understanding of history, metrics, market and internal culture, which allows them to be super creative and innovative. And then they wonder why doesn't this also happen with my team? And so to unlock innovation and smash the bottleneck effect of everyone coming to you for answers, I'm going to suggest a concrete step that you can take guide your leaders on a journey of context sharing, equipping them with the history, the key performance, performance indicators, KPIs, meaning, context, history, all these things, which closely mirrors your vantage point as the founder or chief executive, I actually have a process for this, I call it unlock innovation. Now over the years, I've literally led dozens of leadership teams through this process of discovery. And yet, as many times as I've done it, each and every experience is unique, immensely rewarding, freeing up the founder unleashing cross functional innovation through bottoms up context and bottoms up ownership. So let me walk you through the steps of this because it's a fascinating journey. Step one is unlocking our story. So unlock innovation begins with data storytelling, we asked the team to identify observable, measurable data points that help describe both the elephant and its environment. Typically, we want to look back at these same data points over time three to five years, if possible, in order to see a big, bigger picture. And by the way, the lack of a data point is itself a data point for future collections. So sometimes, as we begin to weave the story together, we say, Gosh, I wish we had this piece of data over time. Well, that's a data point itself. So no judgment, no, no condemnation here. If you are not gathering these data points, it's a great opportunity to begin. So this data storytelling phase is probably not hands down, let's just call it it's the single most important part of the process. It takes planning and effort to bring a story together, perhaps for the first time bringing these meaningful data points together to help tell a strong story to ourselves, our teams, and perhaps other stakeholders, the art of this process is this gathering of measurable, observable data about our organization to elephant and its environment over time, you can't rush this part of the process, it takes effort on earth it to bring it to light and to put it into consumable format. Step two examination once we've collected this, now we move into the fun part of the journey of the immersive part of the of the journey. And typically we bring the team together and an off site location to look at the elephant the data in one overall view as the founder, here's, here's your part of the process, you take a backseat and let the team do the work. In fact, many times I prepare the chief executive in advance with a warning that not to be the source or the answer to the team's questions, there are going to be times multiple times during the workshop where all eyes will turn to you for a decision or an answer. And even if you get uncomfortable during the process, it's important to let the process play out because we're trying to break this dependency on you. It's important that you take a step back. Sometimes we even asked the leaders not even to attend this part of the session, because sometimes that stranglehold of everyone turning to the founder, so profound, but we take the team through a process of looking at these data points in defining the terms and coming to a common understanding about the data. But more importantly, what does the data mean? We asked the team members to craft statements which are not conclusions about the various data points that are in the room, and observable by all you can take notice of data or trends. But here's the key. We're not doing it with judgment or emotion, explanation or conclusions. We leave judgment, emotion, explanation or conclusions out of this part of the process. And we continue this process until we've exhausted dozens and dozens of statements from around the room. Step two examination Step three is evaluation like a zoo ologists. We asked the team now to evaluate each statement independently. Is this a statement of facts that we like or dislike? does it represent a trend we'd like to continue? Or one we'd like to reverse? Is that a statement of fact that requires even more review or more digging? And ultimately, for each statement, we're going to make a decision. Does this statement represent a strength within the organization or an area of opportunity for improvement? The discussion here is fascinating. It's enlightening. And most importantly, it's critical because we can all see these statements differently depending upon our roles in the organization and hashing these out with the overall or organization or elephant in mind is critical step four themes. Now this is an area where leaders really excel connecting dots or themes between strengths and opportunities, we want to protect and enhance our strengths. And this is just as important as overcoming weaknesses or finding opportunities for improvement. And at this stage, this first round, where we're connecting dots and looking for themes between these various statements that we've just evaluated, we're looking for some potential headlines or hashtags, which can help provide context and direction for us after we've gone through a first pass of this data storytelling. Then we go to Step five, which is repeat, oftentimes, we've developed supporting data that takes our data story, one or two levels deeper, and we run these different data warehouses or data stories through the same process. First one of examination, getting those statements of facts up on the wall, an evaluation process, thumbs up, thumbs down kind of process, and then are there themes that are supporting that we can connect some dots. And finally, Step six, I call this the innovation recommendation stage. And now at this point, where we have a set of fact based shared understanding of our data story in themes, we begin to unlock innovation, people begin to see cross functional opportunities with less need to protect their turf or defensiveness, or other kinds of emotion, which can cloud innovation in a larger, more important picture begins to emerge. Now, every time I do this process, this is a moment of truth. And this moment comes at an emotional peak during the immersion process, when it doesn't feel great, or the or it feels overwhelming. There's always this moment of truth that happens in the process. And it's this moment, if we can stay uncomfortable just for into we can work through this. This is the moment a breakthrough that occurs in every single session. And even as the facilitator cannot predict when it will, will occur. But it always does. There's a moment, it's like, oh, my gosh, why did we do this, we're not going to get anything done. And then all of a sudden, something snaps into place. And what I love most about this phase is this is why unlock is not a typical consulting session. Typically with a consultant, they would do this back gathering phase and do all this work to this point, and then take all the information back home and write up a set of recommendations based upon both their outside perspective and outside expertise. And with unlock the team writes the recommendations right here right now, with their unique experiences, perspective and creativity backed by the facts that were discovered earlier, and they're shared meaning behind those facts, they are suddenly driven to solve this problem. And now this challenges become too overwhelming and has this urgency to it, this moment of real uncomfortableness is such a critical part of this overall process. And because we've already set aside opinions and excuses, we're working from a common starting point, this six step is the most amazing part of this process. Oftentimes, to ratchet it up a little bit more, I push the team at this point to write the report as if they're presenting it to ownership, a board of directors or some other higher authority. In many times, you've already scheduled that session in advance for the end of the workshop that's coming up the next day. And creating a report for someone who's not in the room is the best way to ensure clarity, conciseness. And consistency. This is an amazing part of process. Because we boil it down to the most essential elements, we gain consensus. And more importantly, we've got a consistent context across the group. This is when innovation really happens across the team. It's an amazing process. It is so much fun. And what we uncover and what people are committed to coming out of these sessions is just phenomenal. And so whether you're a professional services company, like a dentist, a doctor, an IT firm, I've done them in multiple of those kinds of situations. Or if you're a nonprofit, you're at educational institution, your fundraising organization, a consulting or coaching company, this process works. It's a journey that works without exception when you have a leader founder who's ready to have their leadership team take a greater role in unlocking innovation. And yet a leader who is humble enough to know that their vision and impact requires the multiplication effect of a fully engaged leadership team now we offer unlock innovation as either a three or five day immersive workshop and we do this at your business location. And if this sounds like something you or someone you know would benefit from text me right now, because there's only so many of these we have available between now and the end of the year. 1-754-800-9461 that's my personal text number 1-754-800-9461. And if you'd like to avoid having six different versions of the elephant in your organization, the elephant is a law Snake spear, a tree a fan a rope, getting your team together using fact based evaluation, uncovering trends and making a decision with shared understanding and meaning. Really could not think of anything better than unlock innovation that can really help you unlock a team that you love a business you love supported by a team you love what could be better remember friends leaders simplify teamwork, multiplying your impact income and freedom and business. Can't wait to catch you on the next episode friends till then be blessed.