Blog | Xquadrant

Team engagement: 5 moves to create a sense of ownership

In the current situation of 100% remote working and social distancing imposed by the COVID-19/Coronavirus crisis, it’s more important than ever to create a sense of engagement and ownership in your team. But these key principles are timeless and should be in every leader’s toolbox at every stage of the economic cycle.

William is a client of mine and an impressive executive in the telecoms sector, with a track record of developing and launching new business. When I spoke to him he was frustrated and rather resigned regarding his team.

“My new hires are great,” he told me. “But I’ve a lot of staff that I inherited, and they’re just not motivated.”

Perhaps you can relate.

As a high performer, it’s easy to look at your team and wonder how to instil in them the same drive, focus and sense of ownership that you yourself have. And you might jump quickly to the conclusion: “they’re just not committed/motivated.”

The impact of team engagement and sense of ownership

Imagine the difference it would make if everyone in your team was engaged, felt accountable for their objectives, and had a genuine sense of ownership regarding the mission of the team.

It’d be a game-changer, right?

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How to be a better leader: an implementation guide

Any successful person will eventually come to the realisation that the thing that’s stopping them from achieving greater results is … themselves.

We can (and should!) talk about mindset, skillset, drive, emotional intelligence, and so on. But ultimately what it’s going to come down to are the observable habits and behaviours that result from all of that.

In other words:

How to be a better leader? Adopt better leadership behaviours.

But how do we do that?

Unfortunately, it’s extremely difficult for adults to change their behaviour in meaningful ways. Indeed, you might want to ask yourself “when was the last time I actually did successfully sustain a meaningful behaviour change?”

What’s more, if changing personal habits (like eating, exercise, reading, …) are hard enough, leadership habits involving other people is an even bigger challenge.

Why so?

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How to scale company culture: 4 counter-intuitive truths

I spoke to a client this week. He’s the CEO of an incredible high-growth tech company that’s just raised around $200M in financing. We started to explore what the next level looks like for him and for the firm - he’s able to switch gears from fund-raising to accelerating growth - and it’s clear that there’s some major expansion ahead.

We explored several topics, and quickly got on to the critical issue - how does he grow the company in a healthy way, and scale company culture as new offices open and new recruits come on board, without diluting the very elements that made the company successful in the first place?

It’s a wise question to be asking.

Culture is what happens when you’re not looking. It’s the difference between a high-performing environment where people want to give their best, and mediocre, humdrum workplace where people do the minimum.

Creating a consistent culture is important because it creates a shared sense of belonging and it reduces the risk of silos and divergent decision-making. Simply put, it allows a company to preserve the factors that makes it successful.

But when you’re growing fast, how do you scale a culture?

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Your People Plan: a strategic way to develop your team this year

I just got off the phone with a senior leader at a multinational. He’s experienced, highly competent and in the middle of a turnaround situation.

During our call, I asked him “so what’s your vision for your team next year? How do they need to grow and step up? What would you like them to be doing differently this time in twelve months.”

This stumped him. “You’re right, this is important. And actually, I’ve been meaning to think this through properly but there are so many operational demands right now I’ve not had the time to think clearly. I’m taking some holidays over Christmas, so will try to give it some thought then.”

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The New Leader’s 100 Day Plan

18 powerful questions you need to ask

If you’re taking on a new leadership role, your first 100 days are critical. As you’ll be aware, the stakes - for you and your organisation - are high. Check out this graphic from McKinsey, a consultancy:

New leader 100 day plan - McKinsey

As you can see, 90% of leaders who had a successful transition deliver on their three-year performance goals. But when leaders struggle through a transition, the performance of their direct reports is 15 percent lower than it would be with high-performing leaders.

The problem with most advice on 100 Day Plans

The idea of a new leader 100-day plan is common. There are plenty of articles and books on the topic. Whilst I’ve benefited from these myself, they tend to fall down in two ways:

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4 Pitfalls of High Performers

How to avoid the common traps that limit C-suite leaders' future success

You’re a high achieving founder/executive with an impressive track record.

You’re a quick-thinking strategic problem solver. You love the challenge of fast-moving, complex situations. You’re always among the first to catch a vision.

But despite that, you don’t feel that special inside because of the deep sense that you could achieve so much more. You know you’re playing too small a game.

Sounds familiar? You’re not alone.

In my coaching and consulting work with incredibly impressive founders/C-Suite leaders and their teams, I’ve found four main pitfalls keep high performers from achieving their potential.

In this document, I describe these pitfalls.

You won’t necessarily find all apply to you. But my clients have demonstrated that when you overcome your top 1-2 issues on this list, your world and your legacy transform.

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Recalibrate your leadership skill set

Many leaders stop growing because they’re getting great reviews from their boss and strong feedback from their people.

Unfortunately, they don’t realize they’re still only in the first phase of their leadership journey.

Perhaps you’re getting results from your team that bolster your company’s bottom line. Your people respect you and look to you for direction. You know you’re an effective leader – maybe you’d even rate yourself as, say, an 8 out of 10.

However, you might be using a scale made for people with more modest ambition.

It’s time to recalibrate that scale to reveal the tremendous opportunities for growth--and to inspire yourself to reach for greater heights.

How Coca-Cola recalibrated its idea of what was possible

Look at how Coca Cola recalibrated its concept of what it had the ability to achieve. The company had already cornered over 65% of the international soft drink market – the height of success, one might say. However, instead of just patting themselves on the back for a job well done, executives realised they’d only cornered a small portion of the total drink market.

Meanwhile, Pepsi dominated 77% of the sports drink market and 88% of coffee drinks. Now, Coca Cola too is focused on becoming a “total beverage company” that dominates in many different categories of drinks where it has boundless room for growth.

The lesson: Don’t just luxuriate – and languish – in your success, and 

  • Re-calibrate your idea of what is possible for you to achieve in your own journey 
  • Evaluate yourself on a new leadership scale; a scale calibrated for people who want to leave behind a legacy of success
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Scaling a company: Why leaders in tech fail to capture the market

  • Warning: This article has the potential to change your business and your personal leadership forever. If you’re looking for a quick piece of content candy, I advise you to skip this article and get back to work. However, if you know that what got your organisation here won’t be enough for its next phase of growth then you’re in the right place.

The ugly truth is this. In fast-moving sectors like tech, 90% of smart and experienced business leaders - like you! - are going to fail to achieve the incredible results they envision.

  • Their organisation either fails to execute fast enough to fully seize the opportunity - and competitors capture the growth instead.
  • Or they experience fantastic growth but fail to put in place the foundations to sustain their success. The Kauffman Foundation found that 2/3 of the Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing companies had shrunk, gone out of business, or been disadvantageously sold after 5-8 years.
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Team Meetings: How to have better discussions

Do you know this issue? You have very capable, strong performers on your leadership team, but team meetings and discussions are… unsatisfying!

It’s so frustrating because you know the calibre of people in the room and you know the team could be accomplishing so much more together.

Well, I’ve been working with a couple of really strong, high-performing leaders recently who had similar issues with their leadership team meetings.

The problems?

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