Letter from the President – October 2018

As part of our ongoing commitment to always be learning and getting better, we organized a training for our leadership and management team on Emotional Intelligence and we recently attended this training together. In this month’s newsletter, I am sharing the follow-up note I sent to my team in hopes you get some takeaways from it. I truly believe getting better in “leadership and management skills” is a differentiator for us as we grow into the future. I discuss my thoughts and expectations around leading within our Management Creed, Standards and Values, and by doing so will have a positive impact on the overall well being of our people, our clients and the longterm relevance of our company.

The FollowUp Note:

I want to thank you all for taking the time out of your day to attend and participate in Wednesday’s EI session. We all wear multiple hats many have clients to service and teams to lead, and finding this time as leaders is very important to me, our agency and most importantly to your own personal development – incredible nuggets of knowledge we all can bring into our own lives – thus a multiple return on your time invested.

Please take a few minutes to read my thoughts when you have time. I hope they give you context around this training – which was only a few hours to wet the surface of what we are making available in the future for all of you.

I say important to me because, as CEO, I need to do a better job communicating and managing the promise in our Management Creed and I need your help. In the Management Creed, I declare how a person who joins our firm and reports into their manager will be treated – what is expected of them and what they can expect from us. I sign this and I recruit to it – and I hear others recruiting to it. We are making promises to prospective team members and current team members – and we owe it to them to deliver. If we don’t deliver on this promise we are hypocrites and being disingenuous. If we do deliver we have something very special here.

To make sure we deliver, I am advising Carol to continue to offer up resources for all of our people – and mandatory for any team member who has granted authority as a people manager/leader.  Anyone who has someone report to them needs to be engaged in leadership development.

The beauty of each of our leaders becoming better at leadership – a scarce and needed skill set in our society, let alone businesses where we spend a majority of our waking time – is if we all agree to lead and manage by our Management Creed we prevent becoming a “corporate rule maker” and having to micro manage people to follow the rules and be punished if they don’t. The reason why corporations become too “corporate” is they don’t have leaders who lead with principles – meaning being aware of and relentless in using values and standards as the compass and the center of their leadership actions. In addition, they see their position as “their power” versus “empowerment  of others” – they don’t get how “powerful” servant leadership truly is. So when people with authority aren’t principlecentered  and aren’t “servant leaders”, they suppress the talent, styles, skills and energy of their team. The way to “control the behavior” of suppressed people is to set rules and enforce them – thus the non-servant leader becomes a “enforcer” of the “corporate rules.” This is how business becomes “too corporate” and why span of Management is tightened – because the manager has to micro manage the rule breakers and even the rule followers get “watched closely” just in case. Not only does this affect morale, it is inefficient and businesses can’t gain operating leverage with small spans of management. Thus, they end up having to hire more layers of management versus client facing people and now, not only is morale bad, profits suffer due to bloating of overhead – clients suffer and employee engagement is nil at best.

The reason why I say if we deliver on our Management Creed promise we have something special is – if you as leaders – who are granted authority as part of your role and no better than anyone else – manage as servant leaders, sharpen your EI skills (and we all need to), and commit to using the tools and resources we provide, our team members will be empowered to use their skills and reach their potential. They won’t feel suppressed, they can better manage themselves, and we are unleashing the amazing energy and potential they have – with less “managing” and less emphasis on “rules”. This doesn’t mean process and process improvement isn’t vital – it is. In fact, empowered people with continuous process improvement is what sets them free to use their skills to engage people and sell and service internal and external clients.

I need your help and I need your commitment to understand this, learn it, practice it and get great at leadership. As was validated in yesterday’s session, great teams operate with an agreement. Our agreement is to lead under our Management Creed, Standards and Values. We don’t have to be best friends, we have to respect our agreement, each other and get better at being accountable to each other.

It isn’t easy, and at times can be grueling, yet the reward puts us in a very unique and special place. It gives us the ability to grow profitably and do so where people want to be and see the opportunity to thrive in their careers and their lives.

If you would like a copy of our Management Creed, please contact Carol Pandiscia at cpandiscia@smithbrothersusa.com or 860-830-3696. If you would like to discuss our Management Creed, Standards or Values in more depth, please feel free to reach out.

Be Sure.

Joe

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