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Once again the Gazelles / Fortune Growth Summit last week in Vegas proved to be an informative and enlightening conference. Lots of great speakers and stories but I especially liked the talk by Mark Goulston, Co-Founder of Heartfelt Leadership™  and author of “Just Listen”. His talk was a bit “softer” spoken than some but he definitely got the attention of the audience of over 600 entrepreneurial executives – especially with the line:

“A lot of you may love mankind, but you hate people.”

Some in the audience might have taken his words as a bit of a low blow or maybe even an uppercut, but I’ve certainly seen many leaders struggle with the people issues in their companies, sometimes not too gracefully.   And very few CEO’s that I’ve met over the years got into business because they wanted to have lots of employees. 🙂

A good understanding of the “human factor” behind great execution however is what’s missing in many companies.  While the right tool kit can help make execution a lot less frustrating – as I wrote in my last blog – as any good craftsman knows, you can’t just have the right tools for a job; you also need to know what material you’re working with.

And in the case of business, that means people.

So how do you get the most from the “human factor” ?  Here are 3 “practical” recommendations…

#1 – The first simple people practice I always recommend to leaders as they’re venturing into what for many is unfamiliar territory is the Gallup Q10 Strengths Interview Originally published in the book, “First, Break All the Rules”; by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, it’s a simple ten question interview that should be used with every new employee as well as at least once a year on an ongoing basis.  With questions like, “What’s the best form of recognition you’ve ever received and why?” it’s a wonderful tool for deconstructing the underlying motivations and drives of people and helps to build the foundation of a productive relationship going forward.

#2 – Make it a practice to find and use an assessment to help you understand what makes the people on your team tick.  Whether it’s MBTI, Gallup Strengths Finder, Kolbe, Predictive Index, or DISC – all are tools that help people understand themselves and others – often in new and enlightening ways.  And – these tools provide guidance and help leaders gain insight into how to work with all kinds of people, those who are similar to us as well as those who bring other talents to the table.

#3 – Take time to create relationships and get to know your colleagues as people.  Formal teambuilding activities can certainly help but asking a colleague to join you for a coffee or lunch can be just as effective. My husband Chuck, who works in organizational effectiveness at Penn is fond of saying, “You need to have the relationship, before you need the relationship.” 

And as Mark Goulston said to us last week, “In matters of the world, stay in control.  In matters of the heart, let go.” Until we’re willing to be vulnerable, we can’t create the relationships we need to unleash the “human factor” in our organizations.  That’s the real essential tool of Great Execution!

[divider_flat] Looking for opportunities to strengthen your relationships with your team members?

Consider registering here today for our upcoming “Mastering the Rockefeller Habits” workshop on Tuesday, November 5th in Blue Bell, PA.

And get your tool kit – including your team – in shape for 2014!



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