August Business eNewsletter

Welcome to our August business eNewsletter focusing on leadership.

Quote of the month:
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” – Mr. Rogers

In this Issue…

SpiritBank September Lunch and Learn

Join us for some Burn Co. Barbecue and get answers to your most burning legal questions.

September 5, 2019
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
SpiritBank Community Room (1st Floor)
1800 S. Baltimore
Tulsa, OK 74113

Trusts & Wills: Explained and Illustrated

RSVP: Tandy Donald, tdonald@spiritbank.com; 918-295-7438

Leadership Techniques That Build Unstoppable Teams
By Alden Mills, Guest Writer

Former Navy SEAL and Perfect Fitness founder Alden Mills offers leadership insights into building teams that achieve success.

Let’s get something straight before we go any further: teams always beat groups of individuals. Want to accomplish the impossible? Build a team. Looking to turn around a hopeless situation? Fire up a team. Trying to launch a new-to-the-world idea? Yep, you guessed it, a team is what you need. Turning a startup into a success only happens with hard work, determination and a team. Yet, somewhere along the journey between sketching out the world-beater idea on a napkin and turning that idea into reality, many entrepreneurs lose sight of the fundamentals that will bring them to the promised land of viability and profitability.

I call these principles the Unstoppable Team Fundamentals because if you’re truly in it to win it then you need an unstoppable mindset for you and your teammates. I’ve learned these leadership fundamentals the hard way — through multiple failures and a few remarkable successes that span my life’s journey from leading Navy SEAL platoons to founding Perfect Fitness, my company that makes Perfect Pushup and other revolutionary fitness devices.

In fact, these fundamentals apply regardless of your industry, business structure or startup focus. Disregard them at your own potential peril; heed them and you’ll discover that your greatest challenge will be dreaming up bigger entrepreneurial mountains for your teams to climb.

Related: 10 Popular Myths About Leadership and How to Overcome Them

1. Use the “Swim Buddy” system

The single most important team in SEAL Team is the swim buddy; it’s also the smallest team. All SEAL teams are developed from the swim buddy system. Two swim pairs form a fire team, two fire teams form a squad and two squads form a platoon. (The names have changed slightly with the term “platoon” replaced with squadron but the basic premise remains.) The same holds true in the civilian world whether you’re just starting out, rebuilding or rebranding — it’s all about pairing people up. The goal of swim buddies is three-fold:

1. Pair an experienced person with an inexperienced member to rapidly close the learning gap. The faster you close the experience gap the stronger you make the “weakest” link of your team (the one with the least amount of experience).

2. Team up complementary skill sets to problem solve faster than individuals working alone in silos.

3. Bring together diverse backgrounds (i.e. diversity of thought) to spark creativity and overcome negativity within your organization.

Swim buddies aren’t forever — rotate people through the pairing up process and not only will they solve problems faster and more effectively they will also develop the critical bonds of trust needed to galvanize individuals into a selfless focused winning machine — an Unstoppable Team.

2. Model the Way You Want Your Team to Perform

Understanding and articulating your company’s “why” is fundamentally important, but the “how” behind how you and your team execute drives your organization’s culture and ultimately, it’s brand. Your company’s brand is nothing more than a reflection of your culture, and culture is a reflection of your teammates’ actions… and guess where your teams’ reflection comes from? It comes right from the leader: you. No detail is too small when modeling the way for the organization you strive to build. Make no mistake, your actions are under a microscope.

Related: 15 Mistakes Successful Leaders Know to Avoid

What you do gets emulated not just internally but externally to your customers. J. Willard Marriott developed a simple rule to live by when he founded his company 92 years ago: “Take care of associates and they’ll take care of your customers.” That simple philosophy remains at the heart of Marriott’s leadership focus today (Marriott’s HR policy is called “Take Care”). You might think because you’re the inventor, creator or founder of the company, you can operate differently than others. Wrong! Products will come and go, but the single hardest thing to build and the easiest thing to lose is a winning culture focused on caring for each other, customers, contributors and the communities in which you operate. As the leader, always model the way in which you expect others to emulate.

3. Caring Leads to Daring

One of the greatest challenges of team building is getting people to relinquish their selfish ego-driven desire for personal gain and replace it with a selfless drive to help the team flourish. Legendary coach John Wooden said, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” The only way to help people transform from selfishness to selflessness is by showing how much you care for them. The goal is getting them to forget about worrying about their own “backs” and, instead, keeping them focused on caring for each other and the team goals. It takes time, transparency, consistency and thoughtfulness to prove to others that you have their “backs,” but when you succeed at proving to them how much you care about them, then they will start proving how much they will dare for you. Caring leads to daring. Seek ways to connect with your teammates — to understand their challenges and pressures not only during the work day but also in their personal lives. People are not robots, they have emotions which drive their behaviors. Unstoppable Teams are powered by care.

4. Hire for Culture First

I don’t care how smart someone is — if they are a jerk or have some kind of caustic attitude they will become a liability in your team building process. When hiring people you want to look for what Eric Schmidt in Trillion Dollar Coach refers to as “smarts and hearts.” Seek competency and compassion that are a cultural fit for the “why” and the “how” of the organization you are building. You want diversity of thought but not diversity of heart. Make cultural fit a top priority when selecting people to join you on your entrepreneurial journey. There is hard evidence supporting the soft arts of emotional intelligence, and while you’re contemplating who to hire, know that women are instinctively better at building caring relationships. They typically have higher levels of oxytocin — the caring/nurturing hormone — then men do. If your team doesn’t have women on it, it may not be as unstoppable as it could be!

Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

Team building is an imperfect science — it’s messy and at times frustrating but so incredibly worth it. We are all imperfect. We need each other, and how we form those bonds directly impacts how well we will succeed together. We are much more powerful together than we are standing alone. So, leaders, this is a call to step up, give it all you have and don’t you dare give up on going all-in every day…because that’s exactly what you need your team to do too as well: Go All-In All the Time.

Now go build an Unstoppable Team and make greatness happen!

Read this article at the Entrepreneur.com

4 Ways to Build up Leaders in Your Business … And 3 Ways You Might Be Tearing Them Down
By Mike Kappel

You may not want to hear this, so brace yourself: If you aren’t building up leaders in your business, you’re not a good leader.

Maybe you have most of the qualifications of a good leader, like having integrity, humility, and charisma. But if you are tearing down future leaders in your small business, you are lacking in the “World’s Best Manager” department.

Not to mention, building up leaders in your business is oh so important. Tearing leaders down does nothing but create a toxic work environment, stifle creativity, and prevent growth.

So, are your actions building up leaders in your small business or tearing them down?

4 Ways to Build Up Leaders

I’m not a textbook-trained manager. In fact, I am not sure I’m a good “manager” at all. I’m just me. So, why should you listen to me?

Before I was an entrepreneur, I was an employee. At age 25, I was a bit immature; I was not a skilled, serious, or polished worker. In short – I was a goof-off. My manager, on the other hand, was an ex-Marine who was a no-nonsense problem solver.

My manager – let’s call him the MVP – gave me room to run. The MVP challenged and motivated me. Instead of micromanaging me, my manager helped build me up to be a leader.

I may not be trained in management, but I learned from the MVP … and from over three decades of entrepreneurship experience.

My approach is simple. I’m reachable and human, with plenty of flaws. I think my employees appreciate my down-to-earth management style because, like the MVP, I give them room to grow.

No, I’m not claiming to be the best manager out there. But for my businesses, my “style” has worked. I’ve built up numerous leaders who have added countless insight and innovative ideas to my businesses.

How did the MVP do it? How did I do it? Here are a few tried-and-true methods I use to build up leaders in business.

1. Set big goals, and leave the little goals to your staff

To build up leaders, you must give them authority over their work. You can do that by letting them do their work how they see fit.

Start by thinking big and setting huge goals for your business. Establish your mission and vision statement. Explain your business’s main goals to your employees.

Once your team understands what your business is trying to achieve and how their roles tie into it, give them the freedom to set individual or department goals.

You might be surprised by what your employees come up with. People are pretty innovative when it comes to setting goals and coming up with ways to achieve them. Your employees’ ideas might be so effective that you even implement them across your business!

2. Give employees opportunities to grow

If you want to build up leaders, give them opportunities to grow. Put them in leadership positions, add responsibilities, and encourage ongoing learning.

Leadership positions

Putting an employee into a leadership position doesn’t necessarily mean you promote them. The employee might not even be ready for a leadership position.

Throwing an employee into a leadership role gives them the chance to get their feet wet, fail fast and learn quickly, and boost engagement.

To give employees the opportunity to lead, you might establish committees or pass the baton during meetings.

Increased responsibilities

Adding responsibilities to a worker’s plate can put employees in a great position to test their leadership chops.

Generally, increasing responsibilities puts an employee into a sink-or-swim situation. Pay special attention to what they do and how they react, not whether they initially fail or succeed.

Many leaders are born from failure, not innate success.

Ongoing learning

Another way to grow employees into leaders is to equip them with the knowledge and skills they need for success. You can do this by providing ongoing training and learning opportunities.

Encourage employees to further their knowledge by providing education assistance, training workshops, and online certification programs.

At Patriot Software, I make sure that tuition assistance is available to both my full-time and part-time workers. That way, my employees can pursue certifications or degrees, equip my business with what they learn, and satisfy their love of learning.

3. Demonstrate What Being a Leader Means

Many people learn by example. Kids observe their parents and model their actions after what they see. Employees tend to do the same thing with their managers.

When your employees observe you, what do they see? Do they see someone who swivels around in their chair barking orders? Or, do they see someone working alongside them?

If it’s true that people learn by example, you need to be setting a great one. To build up leaders in your business, demonstrate what being a leader means.

Exemplify all the great characteristics of leaders, like:

  • Honesty
  • Humility
  • Practicing what you preach
  • Strong communication skills
  • Responsibility
  • Empathy
  • Listening
  • Consistency

Sure, there will be good days and bad days. And, I’m not saying you’re a terrible leader if you forget to mention something to your team. But when your goal is to build up leaders in your business, you need to show them what being a leader truly means.

4. Measure, Measure, Measure

Giving employees the freedom to make their own goals and do their own thing isn’t a free for all. You aren’t doing your employees any favors if you fail to provide constructive criticism.

As an employer and manager, it’s your responsibility to inspect what your team is doing from time to time and give feedback. If something isn’t working and your employee hasn’t figured it out yet, it’s time for some tweaking.

Measure if your employees are reaching their goals. Ask employees to come up with their own measurement methods, too. Employees must measure their results so they know whether their actions are effective or not.

3 Ways You Might be Tearing Employees Down

Many people in leadership positions tear down future leaders without even realizing it. This can lead to a plethora of workplace problems, including resentment, disengagement, unoriginal ideas, and even turnover.

Here are three big ways you might be crippling the future leaders of your business.

1. Breathing Over Their Shoulders

Showing employees you care is good. Helping them tweak and measure their work is also good. But, breathing over their shoulders? Not so good.

Avoid getting the dreaded nickname of “micromanager.” A micromanager tries to manage every little thing an employee does. If you’re always sticking your nose in an employee’s day-to-day activities, you could be limiting a future leader.

2. Keeping Information to Yourself

Knowledge sharing is critical to business success. It equips employees with what they need to make educated decisions, set reachable goals, and work effectively as a team.

As important as communication is in the workplace, it’s apparently lacking. One study found that 91% of employees said their leaders lack communication skills.

Failing to share information with employees guarantees their knowledge stays limited. That also means their creative capabilities are limited, too. Without access to important business knowledge, your employees might struggle to collaborate, perform redundant work, and (you guessed it) fail to grow as leaders.

If you’re worried about exposing things like trade secrets, ask your workers to sign a confidentiality agreement.

3. Being Quick to Take Credit and Pass Blame

If you want to tear leaders down in your business, be quick to take credit for great ideas and pass the blame for bad ones.

Sixty-three percent of employees said that their leaders don’t recognize their ideas. And, 47% went so far as to say their leaders took credit for their ideas!

Again, building up leaders in your business requires you to act as an example. What kind of example takes credit for their team’s hard work?

To avoid this toxic faux pas, give credit and constructive criticism to your workers. Show your employees you appreciate their strengths and help them improve their weaknesses. That’s how a leader is born!

Read this article Business2Community.com

The Perfect Leadership Quote from Mr. Rogers

The brilliant Mr. Rogers is captured in the new Tom Hanks film A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. In 7 words, the late icon showed smart leadership

The new Tom Hanks’ movie A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood captures the spirit of children’s icon Mr. Rogers. Fred Rogers died a decade and a half ago, but his lessons are still relevant. In fact, they go well beyond parenting and child guidance. They can improve your business leadership.

One particular Mr. Rogers quote, from a candid mid-90s interview recently shared by writer Jose Arroyo, packs an invaluable leadership lesson.

Show, don’t tell

Charlie Rose interviewed Rogers and asked him how you can help others build enough self-esteem to pursue their dreams. Rogers shared a big lesson from grad school.

I remember in the nursery school where I worked when I was doing my masters in childhood development. There is a man who would come every week to sculpt in front of the kids. The director said, “I don’t want you to teach sculpting. I just want you to do what you do and love it in front of the children.”

Rogers says the kids used their own clay more innovatively, more creatively and more often than any other time before or after.

“A great gift from any adult to a child, it seems to me, is to love what you do in front of the child,” Rogers said.

“Attitudes are caught. They are not taught.”

Bring your joy

We can’t tell our employees, colleagues or even superiors to enjoy their work more. We can hardly convince ourselves. Instead, we are better off aligning with what we actually want to do and trusting that others will see the power in it. They then feel empowered to embrace their own strengths.

That is how you lead.

I talk about it more in my new book Bring Your Worth: Level Up Your Creative Power, Value & Service to the World:

You want your purpose to be as transparent as a drop of water: Only take a sip, and you are completely understood. You don’t need anything deep or heavy, any dramatic pronouncements. Marcus Aurelius said that your truth should be clear as soon as you step into a room, like a smelly goat. That strength is undeniable by the many, even by your detractors, and it is unattainable by the masses, even by the envious. It is pure and unyielding.

I have found this effective as a parent of two. You may find it working with the employees you guide. We can all make a bigger impact by not trying to tell people to change, but showing them that we are being our best.

Read this article at Inc.com

The views and opinions presented in this newsletter do not necessarily represent those of SpiritBank.
Property of SpiritBank. 2019.