LEADERSHIP RESOURCES BLOG

Guidance on leadership development & strategic planning.

How an Operating System Drives Profit & Growth

By Leadership Resources 07/15/2021

Most of us are familiar with the operating systems (OS) on our phones and computers. Just as these electronic devices require optimized software to handle a variety of important tasks, businesses benefit from a strategic operating system of their own. As it turns out, most businesses already have some sort of operating system at play — the problem is often that 1) it’s become background noise rather than a recipe for success, and 2) it could use a major “firmware update.” Moreover, in many cases, a company has several operating systems competing for dominance, creating chaos that hinders growth, profit, and leadership development.

Let’s define what a company operating system is and how the right one can drive profit and growth in your organization.

Defining a Company Operating System

Simply put, a company’s operating system serves as a guide for its inner workings, compiling the processes, structure, and systems needed to achieve certain objectives. Unlike a rigid line of code or instruction manual, a company’s OS is a sturdy yet flexible strategic game plan. Leadership and staffers rally around their central OS to solve problems, make decisions, resolve issues, and prepare for future success. In other words, every procedure should stem from the operating system, whether it’s employee management, succession planning, resource/financial management, marketing initiatives, etc. When every action derives from the same source, a shared vision flows through and informs your entire organization.

How the Right Operating System Can Improve and Grow Your Organization

So, a company operating system provides conscious clarity to an organization by establishing a well-defined structure that removes the guesswork. Ultimately, this framework translates to tangible growth and profit. After all, achieving organizational and profit goals depends on a passionate group of people actively working towards a clear purpose. When leaders and team members know what to aim for and why they’re aiming that way, much of the “fat” is easily trimmed away, revealing a streamlined path toward continued success. 

Neglecting your operating system or adopting an OS that doesn’t quite fit your organization will have the opposite effect, preventing growth, diminishing profits, and impairing your company culture as a whole. As leaders struggle to communicate their message clearly, team members will grow more and more frustrated, hindering morale and increasing turnover, which thwarts talent retention and succession planning efforts. The best way to prevent this self-fulfilling cycle from taking hold of your organization is to invest more time and energy into cultivating the optimal operating system.

Establishing an Operating System that Suits Your Goals and Vision

The question remains, then: how can you create and maintain an operating system perfect for your organization? Synthesizing the best aspects of various company OS methodologies is a great place to start. At Leadership Resources, we help our clients leverage the strengths of many ideologies, tools, and systems to bolster their operating system. When it comes to business and leadership growth, we don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” solutions — we also understand the value of allowing companies to try new things for themselves. As such, our method starts with a deep discovery of an organization’s specific processes, needs, and strategic goals. This research then feeds into our selection process for the tools and strategies that will fit said business like a glove.

When all is said and done, an optimized operating system will help your organization scale up, optimize data, better manage cash, and meet & exceed goals.

Operating Your Business With a Better System

Most organizations know what factors drive their business and their growth. But working with Leadership Resources and building a company operating system creates accountability around these factors. This process illuminates the leading indicators, where an organization’s energy and effort are consistently going. It allows them to problem solve, see trends over time, and make a real difference.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most!

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How a Leader Can Properly Influence a Younger Generation Without Judgement

By Leadership Resources 05/11/2021

Generational gaps are inevitable in businesses that stick around long enough. These age-related rifts can be both beneficial and detrimental. On the one hand, people who grew up in different eras will have unique perspectives on current dilemmas, which can be synthesized into optimal solutions. Unfortunately, these varying perspectives can also create roadblocks, conflicts, and even feelings of resentment — a younger employee might feel like their ideas aren’t being taken seriously, while an older employee might feel undermined by an up and coming workforce that deems their ideas antiquated.

In many instances, leaders within a company tend to have more experience under their belts, which means they’re responsible for overseeing several employees who are younger than them. If such a leader isn’t tactful in their approach to employee management, they can end up pushing this younger generation away. This is a lose-lose situation, as both parties stand to miss out on key insights provided by the other. With that in mind, here are some ways a leader can properly influence a younger generation without judgment or major conflict.

Listen to Your Employees

We often think of a leader’s role as merely giving orders and overseeing projects. While delegation and oversight are key components of leadership, nothing is more important than communication. Leaders should listen just as much as they speak (if not more). Indeed, if you want to steer your younger employees in a positive direction, you must let go of your ego and truly take their ideas into account. You might have more experience, but this doesn’t mean you have all the answers. And if you dismiss your employees, they’ll begin to dismiss you as well. Communication is a two-way street, and if you want your wisdom to reach your younger employees, you must open yourself to their wisdom, too.

Appreciate and Utilize the Younger Generation’s Strengths

As you learn from the younger generation, you’ll quickly figure out that they’re adept at certain things you might not be, such as social media usage, coding, multitasking, etc. Rather than balk at these skills or deem them unimportant, use them to your company’s advantage. Allowing your people to play to their strengths will boost morale and benefit your business in multiple ways. You can then insert your expertise where it counts most.

Understand What Younger Workers Care About and Open Yourself to Change

One of the negative stereotypes younger workers often place on their older counterparts is that they’re stuck in the past and unwilling to adjust their point of view or methodology. Some leaders certainly fall into this category, and it’s natural to resist change no matter our age. If your goal is to reach your younger employees in a meaningful way, however, you must make an effort to understand their view of the workplace and adapt accordingly. Things were undoubtedly different when you were their age, after all. Today, most young people don’t want their work to be their entire life. This isn’t to say that younger people aren’t able or willing to work hard, but rather that they seek a healthy work/life balance. As such, millennials value companies that offer flexible scheduling, remote work options, an easygoing company culture, and so on. Whether or not you share these opinions, cultivating a workplace with more modern appeal will allow you to hire and retain top talent and create a stronger impression on your people.

Establish Common Values

Generational gaps are primarily fueled by perceived differences in values. When you dig a bit deeper, though, it often becomes clear that one generation shares most of the foundational values of the other. People of different eras might have different conceptions of what these values mean or look like, but just about everyone agrees that responsibility, respect, integrity, kindness, family, etc., are fundamental across the board. Simply discussing these values can bring people of all backgrounds together. You might be surprised at how much common ground there is between you and younger generations.

Cultivate Leadership Growth

Time doesn’t stop for anyone, and a new generation will always be there to take the place of the previous one. This can be difficult to accept, but coming to grips with this reality is key for proper succession planning. Simply put, if you want your company to have a lasting legacy, you need to cultivate new leaders and prepare them for more significant roles. In this way, investing in ongoing leadership development for the younger generation is essential to ensuring your business’ ongoing success. Additionally, investing in your people is a display of respect and encouragement. People of all generations like to learn and be recognized for their accomplishments.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Why Proper Employee Development Leads to Long-Term Success

By Leadership Resources 04/26/2021
Group of employees working on development

The most successful businesses are always looking towards the future while focusing on the present. Indeed, your short-term goals and day-to-day actions should contribute to the bigger picture. The continuous development of your employees, then, should be a top priority. Spending time and resources on your people’s growth is an investment in your enterprise’s prosperity. Let’s dive deeper into why proper employee and leadership development leads to long-term success for both your business and your employees.

The Benefits of Employee Development

More Engagement

Some people truly enjoy their work, but you can’t (nor should you) expect all of your employees to commit their whole selves to your business. That said, you also don’t want your people to feel disconnected from or disinterested in your operations and vision. Ideally, your employees will feel like they have a stake in what goes on, that their contributions matter, and that a win for the company translates to a win for the team. Focusing heavily on performance management and employee development is one way to increase engagement. Recognizing your employees’ accomplishments and providing them with opportunities to grow with the organization cultivates investment — when your people feel like they can expand their skills, influence the company, and earn more, they will become more engaged in every aspect of their work and your organization will thrive as a result.

Increased Innovation

Every company requires fresh and diverse points of view to constantly adapt and improve. If your employees lack avenues for leadership growth, however, the old guard of leadership will eventually exhaust its creative capabilities, and the business will become stagnant. The best way to innovate in your industry is to build up young and budding employees, allowing them to take on new roles and truly listening to their unique perspectives. Of course, your people must feel confident in bringing new ideas to the table — this confidence stems directly from long-term employee development.

Raised Retention

Finding promising candidates for your organization is a challenge all its own; retaining these quality hires is in some ways even more difficult, especially in highly competitive markets. In our previous article, “How Long-Term Leadership Development Helps You Keep Your Best Talent,” we broke down the ways in which investing in your employees incentivizes them to stick with your company and improve your company culture in the long run. Indeed, businesses that regularly give their employees new opportunities and recognize their strengths have far stronger retention rates than those that keep their people in their lanes. Not only does proper employee development help you retain top talent — it also helps you attract other valuable candidates. When a potential hire is made aware of the growth opportunities your organization offers, they’re more likely to want to become a part of such a culture.

Lasting Legacy

Businesses that outlive their founders and make a mark on the community keep succession planning in mind at all times. Simply put, if you want your company to thrive for generations, you must always be on the lookout for employees with the potential to lead it into the future. The best way to ensure a strong transition of leadership from old to new is to constantly cultivate fresh leadership in your organization — the more leaders you have, the easier it will be to fulfill vacant roles and create new ones. In this way, proper employee management and development will help to secure your company’s legacy. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.

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Growing Business in Lincoln, NE: Will My EOS® Need Change Over Time?

By Leadership Resources 02/13/2020
Two women presenting stats on a whiteboard

Every business aims to grow in one way or another. Of course, the type, rate, and limits of this growth will vary from one organization to the next. One company might prefer to stay local but deepen its impact on the community and strengthen its operations, while another might wish to expand beyond its regional base and maximize its long-term profits. In other words, businesses seek more than just expansion — they seek sustainable and strategic growth.

How do companies in Lincoln, Nebraska and elsewhere achieve the growth and success they desire? Simply put, they need to operate under a system that clarifies both short- and long-term goals, unifies all team members to execute on those goals, and develops healthy leaders to guide these processes each day. This is where the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)® comes into play.

But what is EOS, exactly? And does this system remain useful as an enterprise grows and changes over time?

How to Manage Your Company’s EOS

Establishing EOS® for Your Organization

The Entrepreneurial Operating System is a collection of principles and practical tools designed to help businesses achieve their full potential. The EOS Model™ outlines Six Key Components™ that businesses of all sizes and scopes should bolster in order to succeed. These are Vision, People, Data, Issues, Process, and Traction®. 

Each component requires equal attention, and they bounce off one another in important ways. For instance, an organization must employ the best People to execute on its Vision, but it must also create a culture of accountability and discipline (Traction) to do so.

What Is The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)? Download this whitepaper.

Getting a Grip on Your Business’s Growth

Beyond its detailed and multi-faceted approach to business growth, what makes EOS so powerful is its adaptability. In other words, the system is designed to move at a given company’s pace and adjust accordingly. The EOS Process™ includes Focus Days™ to establish leadership roles and set priorities, as well as Vision Building Days™ to cultivate a concrete plan that looks at 90-day, 1-year, and 3-year desired outcomes. EOS also requires quarterly sessions to evaluate overall performance, reestablish focus and priorities, and resolve current issues. Annual sessions are also included in order to foster healthier team management and update the company’s vision for the upcoming quarter and year.

This broken-up, routine, dynamic performance management process changes and grows with an organization. In this way, EOS keeps companies in check every step of the way. If the business is growing beyond its means, EOS makes it possible to pump the brakes, and if it’s falling behind, EOS can address and remove the roadblocks. And all the while, leadership development is always front and center as team members grow more confident, engaged, and united.

Preparing for Your Company’s Next Chapter

As mentioned above briefly, EOS isn’t just designed to keep a business on track in the here and now — it’s also crucial to ensuring a business’s long-term success. Indeed, by performing regular checkups, a company strengthens its foundation to ensure sustainability. Simply put, the focus EOS places on team unity, accountability, problem-solving, and healthy leadership growth helps set up a business for a bright future. As such, the system helps businesses cultivate, discover, and choose the best people for the right positions when it’s time to change over leadership and/or restructure. Succession planning is made easy with EOS because it happens naturally.

So, if your business adopts EOS, will the system remain relevant as you grow? The answer is a resounding yes. In fact, EOS plays a key role in ensuring your company grows in the best possible way. Best of all, EOS is built to adapt with your organization. Change is good, especially when that change is backed up and well-informed with EOS.

At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how we can help your business succeed and grow.

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"I'm My Own Worst Enemy" and Other Pitfalls of Being Your Own Coach

By Leadership Resources 02/21/2019
woods

Most of us have heard the phrase, “I’m my own worst enemy.” Indeed, many of us can probably relate to this idea. To be one’s own worst enemy is a common human pitfall because we are ultimately the one in control of our actions. Some of the decisions we make may satisfy us in the short term but harm us in the long run, like ordering pizza instead of cooking those vegetables in the fridge, or avoiding that phone call. We can defeat ourselves more easily than any mustache-twirling villain could attempt.

Some of us, however, have a hard time admitting this inherent and common flaw. We claim that we don’t need external influences to guide us on our way or prevent us from making poor choices. While some people are more self-aware than others, everyone can benefit from having a coach in any aspect of life. Being your own coach comes with a number of caveats that can stifle or even harm your progress. This is especially true when it comes to leadership development. Let’s examine some of these pitfalls of self-coaching.

The Pitfalls of Being Your Own Coach

Falling Back Into Bad Habits

We all form habits in our lives and they both serve us and stunt us in significant ways. These habits allow us to operate efficiently, but mindlessly. For instance, one may wake up at 6 AM every day, shower, brush their teeth, get dressed, have breakfast, and head out the door, but do it all without a moment of reflection. And this normal morning routine just outlines a neutral habit.

Bad habits are those that we fall into at our lowest moments, or that negatively affect us in some way. These might include avoiding difficult conversations, smoking a pack of cigarettes each day, or spending too much time on social media at work. Whatever they may be, bad habits can be difficult for a person to notice, admit, and/or change on one’s own. If you’re your own business coach, you’ll have a much harder time breaking or even recognizing these regular behaviors.

Unlock The Leadership Potential Within Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Limitations of a Single Perspective

No matter how much empathy we have, we’re ultimately restricted by our own point of view. Reading, listening, attending conferences, and speaking with others helps one gain perspective and perhaps address personal shortcomings. But by avoiding external leadership coaching, one has a much harder time seeing oneself in an objective light.

Having a business coach greatly helps us improve ourselves and our leadership skills. It gives us an additional perspective that calls out our bad habits while showing us another way of operating. We can use our mentors as exemplars of better behavior.

Lack of Direction

Even if we discover our bad habits, eliminate them, and manage to gain perspective without having a dedicated coach, there is still a problem: where do we go next? The hardest part of achieving lasting leadership growth on one’s own is seeing a clear path forward. We can set goals for ourselves, but they may not be the best goals or the right goals at that moment.

We Need Someone to Challenge and Push Us

Again, an outside perspective is invaluable for development of any kind. We can’t exactly give ourselves a proper performance management evaluation. We need a coach to point out the places where we’ve improved, and the places that could still use some work. By focusing on the latter, we can map out the best direction for continued growth and success.

In other words, an outside coach will challenge us, pushing against our bad habits and calling us out when we try to make excuses. Both our actions and our ways of thinking need to be kept in check. This is both a short- and long-term project. A good coach will keep us on our toes on a daily basis. This daily accountability will add up and eventually become a successful routine. By challenging our negative thoughts and habits, an outside coach can ultimately transform our actions in the long-term.Everyone needs a coach to help defeat our own worst enemies. At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow.

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Hard Conversations: How Personal Accountability Has Suffered in the Age of "Everyone Gets a Trophy"

By Leadership Resources 10/02/2018
leadership development omaha

The key to personal growth is honest, constructive evaluation. The past few decades have seen the rise of a mindset that casts every individual as equals, not just in opportunity, but in outcome. While few deny that people should be treated fairly, we’re starting to see the negative consequences of rewarding everyone evenly, regardless of differences in effort, ability, or intelligence.

By giving everyone a trophy, we fail to equip young people with an understanding of how the world works. In truth, some people do better than others in life. But without knowing the underlying reasons for this variation of outcome, people become embittered and their own personal development is stunted as a result.

So, when someone underperforms in the workplace, leaders need to find effective ways to approach the subject, knowing that this person might not have received this type of criticism before. How can leaders tackle employee performance management in the modern age?

Making Expectations Clear

One of the most important tasks of a leader is laying out expectations early and often. The more staff members hear these expectations, the more likely they are to follow them. Then, if anyone fails to meet them, there should be no confusion as to where they went wrong. In this way, clear expectations lead to increased accountability.

These guidelines can be iterated in many ways. Some businesses create acronyms or mantras that keep their mission statement front and center at all times. Hosting daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly meetings that go over these expectations can also help improve employee and business performance management. These meetings should dive into real world applications to reinforce the importance of maintaining these standards.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

Talk with Transparency

When it comes time to confront an individual who is underperforming, be as open and transparent as possible. There is no benefit to talking around the issue. So many people have been let down by coaches, parents, teachers, and other leaders avoiding the real problems and resorting to platitudes. Leaders must speak directly to the person and address their shortcomings – but they can’t stop there.

To truly foster personal and leadership growth, a good leader must explain why they’re giving this feedback, and how it can be used as a teachable moment where this person can learn and grow. Negative feedback simply isn’t enough and it might even shock the person if they’re not used to receiving it. By offering full transparency and constructive criticism, leaders can help lift up their team members and strengthen the entire business. If expectations have been clearly established, this person should be able to see where they took a wrong turn and how they can right it moving forward.

Limits of the Blame Game

Yes, sometimes something is entirely one person’s fault. In these cases, the person should take responsibility for the mistake and seek to fix it. This is a crucial part of leadership development. However, when people begin playing the blame game, either casting all the blame on themselves or others, things can go awry.

Some companies have built into their performance management operations “autopsies without blame” (a term coined by Jim Collins). These are meetings involving all relevant team members where a problem is dissected but not targeted to one individual. The goal here is not to rid anyone of accountability, but to address a real problem and move forward as a team, with full knowledge that everyone makes mistakes. For large scope business performance management concerns, this approach is often warranted. People will feel less alienated and more willing to solve the problem collaboratively.

Conversations involving performance management are not easy and some people aren’t used to receiving harsh criticism. Still, there are ways for leaders to make these conversations easier and more productive in the end. By setting clear standards, speaking openly and honestly, and not casting targeted blame for larger issues, team members will perform better and grow as individuals.

Leadership Resources helps leaders hone these interpersonal skills. Through education, personalized business coaching, and a large library of resources, we make the impossible possible by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. For more information, contact us today.

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