A Personal 25-Cent Bastion of Immortality

There are approximately 31.5 billion quarters circulating throughout our nation’s economy at last count, give or take several million. That is a lot of exposure for the person whose face appears on the “heads side.” Wouldn’t it be nice, even gratifying if our picture was on a quarter: A personal 25-cent bastion of immortality?

George Washington has held the place of honor since 1932. Today, among Americans, that name is almost cliché. Nationally, we are0_zps62325776 so accustomed to his generic description, “Father of Our Country” that we eclipse what the man, the icon, did to get on the quarter. Here’s a hint: You must be good before you become an icon. You must be extremely good, perhaps even sublime, to get on a quarter.

There is a recipe for making it on money, which requires three ingredients. First, live during a crisis period for America. Second, be a leader who can tame the crisis and bring the country through the period better than it was before. Finally, possess fortitude, which surmounts complacency, when complacency is the easiest most risk-free answer to the crisis.

Time we cannot control. If we are lucky enough, or unlucky enough, to live through a desperate crisis, we check off this ingredient of the formula. But, that is the easy part. It’s nothing more than fate and a birthday.

Strong, visionary leadership is the key precious quality, the rare second ingredient. What makes Washington human is he did not possess these leadership qualities when he became the commander of the Continental Army. But he developed as a leader, learning from his mistakes and from others.

So what is it Washington did that a hundred other leaders who lived through the American Revolution did not do equally well? Let’s convert his situation into one that makes sense to us now. Imagine George Washington is alive today and owns a franchise fast food restaurant: McDonald’s, Arby’s, Burger King—whatever. He has 20 employees. One morning when he opens up, only three employees show up for work. The same day, he learns a major competitor is building a restaurant directly across the street. Making things worse, George finds out his manager is going to work for this new competitor.

A month later, three of his missing employees come back to work. He must accept them back because good help is scarce. Now he has six people for all shifts. George’s staff is a far cry from his normal 20 employees and can barely keep his doors open for business. He promotes a new manager, but this person does not like work and spends the day reading newspapers in the break area.

Compounding Washington’s troubles, the franchise home office wants to pull his franchise rights and give them to one of his ex-employees. Finally, the black coup de grace: The bank will not extend credit so he can replace his worn out kitchen equipment.

Pretend for a moment we are George Washington, sitting in his office late one night, reviewing the present crisis. What would we think? What would we do? The natural inclination is, “This is hopeless!” Perhaps a “For Sale” might appear in front of the restaurant?

This is exactly the kind of situation George Washington faced entering the winter of 1776. Yet George took the crisis and converted it into a fifty-store powerhouse: the United States. Washington’s Army around New York numbered roughly 20,000 during the summer of 1776. By Christmas, his force was just over 3,000. He had limited supplies, few supporters within Congress and no financial backing. Others were machinating behind his back to replace him. His British foe outnumbered him more than 3-to-1. The situation was desperate. Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River is more than a quaint painting. It is the defining moment in American history.

By strength of will alone, this one man saved the American Revolution. This is not a gross simplification or exaggeration. It is fact. Without a leader of Washington’s mettle, we might still sing “Rule Britannia” before sporting events instead of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Best case, America would still be sending teams to the Commonwealth Games. Washington was the embodiment of the Stocksdale Paradox: “Retain faith that you will prevail in the end while confronting the most brutal facts.” This kind of unique, intense commitment gets your face on a quarter. It also results in two terms as president, and the title “Father of Our Country.”

Most would quit when faced by seemingly insurmountable odds. Not George. He possessed a vision for America, a dream he held more dearly than money or his life. He was not about to mortgage that dream cheaply.

The final ingredient for our recipe is willingness to lead when others defer. Washington was a wealthy man, a self-made businessman. He could easily have sat out the American Revolution and kept his portfolio safe. But his vision allowed no room for complacency. He gambled his property, his career and his life by leading the American army. Had the Revolution failed, Washington and dozens of patriots would surely have paid with their lives. Complacency was the easy answer, viewing the risk/reward equation. For George Washington, there was never a question. He placed country above self-interest and partisan posturing…imagine that. Others that aspired to usurp Washington ultimately showed their mettle was far inferior to his. We are indeed fortunate for his perseverance. It made Washington the indispensible man in American history.

Rarefied people like Washington exist today, poised and waiting for the next generation quarter. God forbid, a national crisis should provide the forum needed for greatness. Unfortunately for most, crisis usually means suffering and sacrifice. When it ends, all earn a share of glory once the country emerges on the “other side,” made of stronger tempered steel. But, in the end, the person who leads us to the other side through the crisis, gets their picture on a quarter.

J. Mark Jackson is the Territory Manager for the state of Florida, a writer, leadership consultant and trainer, and a veteran of the War in Afghanistan, where he provided training and mentorship to 350 Afghan soldiers.

Nimble Organizations Embrace and Adapt to Change

The National Football League recently held its annual rookie draft in Philadelphia. It was a life-changing opportunity for many young men. Only a handful of those selected in the draft will go on to have lengthy and successful NFL careers. Before the draft, teams looked at all the measurable factors of the potential draft picks, including height, weight, and speed. However, they also looked for intangibles, such as attitude, ability to respond to stressful situations, and work ethic.

When we think about successful leaders and organizations, there are key success factors that are identifiable and can help us predict business performance. There are also intangible factors that contribute to success and aren’t easily measured or apparent at a surface level. Responding to change falls into that second category. How we deal with and manage change is a key success factor in organizational performance. Nimble organizations and leaders that can pivot and adapt to change will have a positive impact and position themselves for success.

Both nonprofit and for-profit organizations face significant changes related to the economy, technology, customer/stakeholder expectations, and an evolving workforce. The ability to fulfill the missions of our organizations and to be financially sustainable is becoming more complicated. As organizations confront these challenges, it is important to remain nimble and responsive.

The following set of best practices are focused on how organizations and their leaders can adapt to change and remain nimble in a changing environment:

  • Practice continuous improvement
    • Teach, learn, and model key behaviors
    • Create positive individual and organizational habits
  • Manage your response to change
    • Understand your paradigms and blind spots
    • Recognize that to be nimble you must have engaged leaders and staff
  • Stay true to your vision and values
    • Do not sacrifice who you are to become someone or something else
    • Strive for positive growth

The following questions can help leaders focus on continuous improvement:

  • What are your key success factors and metrics?

  • What organizational and personal habits do you need to add or eliminate?

  • With whom should you connect or build stronger relationships?

We all recognize that change is inevitable. But you can be a game changer by focusing on positive improvements, acknowledging and addressing barriers and challenges, facilitating continuous learning and growth throughout the organization, and paying attention to coworkers, family, friends, and your community.

Paying attention to your customers, community, and staff through the development of open and systematic communications channels will help you to adapt and grow during times of change. The ability to respond to change in a systematic and timely manner is characteristic of successful and sustainable organizations and their leaders.

Reprinted with permission from the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

John Park, Ph.D., Baker Tilly

John, a director with Baker Tilly Virchow Krause LLP, focuses on leadership development, emotional intelligence, and strategic planning.


Quick Feet, Clear Minds


Three Ways Walking Meetings Can Make You Happier at Work

As you may have heard, at Diamond6 we are calling October “Walking Meeting Month.”

You have surely heard about the health benefits of walking meetings. I wrote about them briefly in my last article: Killer Chairs: The Sitting Prognosis. Getting up from our desks regularly throughout the day can have benefits for our weight, heart, blood pressure, and even blood sugar levels.

I am incredibly impatient and I like to see results….like yesterday. So, while all the studies on how walking will help prevent heart disease in 20+ years, those facts are not always effective motivation for me to step away from my email. Can you relate?

What I do know is that how we feel is something we can gauge immediately. That can be much more motivating for an instant gratification person like myself. And who doesn’t want to feel better?

Instead of droning on about the obvious PHYSICAL benefits, I want to share with you how walking meetings can help you and your employees’ MENTAL health. Specifically, how incorporating walking meetings can make you happier at work.

So, in brief, are three ways walking meetings can lift spirits in the office: 

1. Moving Makes You Happy: The exact physiological reason why exercise improves mood is still being studied. However, research has shown that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression and possibly even prevent it in the first place. We have all felt the happy high after getting a good workout in at the gym, going for a run, or riding a bike – we’ve done our own research! But, it doesn’t take a 1-hour Zumba class to turn a frown upside down. A 10-minute brief, brisk walk around the office can do the same. 

2. Sunshine Smiles: Vitamin D has long been known to play a vital role in bone health. Now, researchers have found that many part of the brain have vitamin D receptors. For this reason, vitamin D has been linked with depression and other mental health problems. Sure, you can take vitamin D supplements but they aren’t as effective for mood as getting it straight from the source – the sun. So, if you can, hit the pavement or the track and soak up a little sunshine and give you brain a little happy vitamin boost. Check out the Vitamin D Council for more information on this important vitamin and how to get enough of it.

3. Connection, Purpose, Value: A workforce that feels a social connection to one another has a united purpose and feels valued. And obviously, those people would feel pretty darn happy at work! Getting out from behind your desk to walk and meet with employees and colleagues removes the physical barrier of your desk, creating a more open and connected conversation. Aside from having a more relaxed work meeting you also have the opportunity to get to know someone on a more personal level. This can require some vulnerability on the part of the leader. However, when you have the courage to be yourself and show you deeply care about those who work for you, you will create a safe, productive, and happier workplace. This story about the founder of a tech startup is a perfect illustration of how creating connection can be the key to making an organization succeed.

Tanya McCausland, Chief Operating Officer

Tanya is a Board Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant through Bauman College in Berkeley, CA and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Killer Chairs: The Sitting Prognosis

You have probably heard the phrase, “sitting is the new smoking”.

I have to admit, when I first read this sentence as a headline while doing research for an upcoming wellness presentation I thought, “Come on, is it really THAT bad?!”. My second thought was, “If it’s true, that is the most alarming and unhelpful piece of health information I have ever read!”.

We now live in a sitting society.

We sit, sometimes for hours, commuting to and from work every day, we sit at our desks, in meetings, at lunch and dinner. Heck, we’re mostly sitting when watching our kids play sports and perform recitals.

Don’t get me wrong. Much of the sitting we do is necessary because of the distances we must travel to get to work and the type of work we do. Naturally, I’m sitting down at my desk while I write this article – how very ironic!

So, is sitting as detrimental to our health as lighting up a Lucky Strike?

There have been several studies over the last few years taking a closer look at how prolonged sitting may be associated with increased risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and impaired insulin sensitivity. However, the results of the most recent study published in Annals of Internal Medicine less than a month ago appear to provide the most reliable recent data. That is because previous studies relied on self-reporting to evaluate the total sedentary time. This study used hip-mounted accelerometers resulting in more objective data.

The most important contribution of this study involved the separating of two sedentary behaviors: total daily sedentary time (how much time we spend sitting each day) and uninterrupted sedentary bout duration (length of time we sit at a stretch before getting up).

Dr. David A. Alter, an associate professor at the University of Toronto in Ontario summarized the two extremes of the finding well by stating; “Persons with uninterrupted sedentary bouts of 30 minutes or more had the highest risk for death if total sedentary time also exceeded 12.5 hours per day. Conversely, in those whose daily sedentary volumes were low, uninterrupted bout lengths had little if any associated effects on mortality.”.

Yes, prolonged sitting does seem to have an impact on our health. Though the exact causes and effects are still unclear, why wait?!

You can be the most effective and respected leader when you take care of yourself and your body. Your organization’s success relies on your health!

This is why we decided to call October “Walking Meeting Month” at Diamond6. As the days start to cool down and the leaves change color we are getting up from our desks and heading outside to discuss business opportunities, brainstorm new ideas, and plan events – all while getting a little exercise and fresh air.

Come walk with us! 

Throughout the month of October, we will be sharing tips, tricks, and strategies around walking while working. Learn about some of the surprising benefits of getting outside in the middle of the day and HOW to actually make that happen.

Then, when you’re outside for your walking meeting snap a picture or take a short video. Post it to our Facebook page, share it on LinkedIn, or tweet it on Twitter, using —-> #D6WalkingMeetingChallenge.

We will be selecting a winner at random on November 1, 2017 from all submissions. The more you walk, the more pictures you take, the higher chances of winning!

Ready. Set. WALK!

Tanya McCausland, Chief Operating Officer

Tanya is a Board Certified Holistic Nutrition Consultant through Bauman College in Berkeley, CA and the National Association of Nutrition Professionals.

Emotional intelligence is the driver of success

Since the mid-1990s numerous books and articles have been written on emotional intelligence (EQ) as a driver of individual and organizational success. Authors Daniel Goleman, Travis Bradberry, and Richard Boyatzis have all written on the key components of EQ and the positive impact it can have in our personal and professional lives. Goleman defines EQ as, “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.” He emphasizes that IQ and technical competencies get us into the game; however, a high level of EQ elevates our ability to lead and manage organizations.

In The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book: Everything You Need to Know to Put Your EQ to Work, Bradberry suggests that “EQ is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence.” Bradberry goes on to make the case that leaders with a high EQ are 80 percent more productive than their low EQ counterparts, and this productivity translates to higher income and success in leadership roles. There is a sound business case for understanding EQ and focusing on its development. EQ can be developed and improved over time when we are willing to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone, are humble enough to ask for and receive feedback, and take the time to slow down, reflect, and think through what we say and do.

Bradberry breaks EQ down into personal and social competence – the ability to be aware of emotions and recognize certain tendencies and behaviors that help or hinder effectiveness. He also emphasizes the importance of social competence – the ability to manage relationships, understand and empathize with others, and recognize how the environment can influence both our own and others’ behaviors.Jefferson’s quote is particularly relevant to the improvement and development of EQ. Behaviors can be changed when we are willing to practice, adapt to our surroundings, and seek out trustworthy mentors willing to take the time to help move us forward.

For those who watch the detective show Foyle’s War, actor Michael Kitchen provides some wonderful examples of EQ through his ability to use the power of observation, empathy, and self-management to solve crimes. Foyle, has the ability to manage his emotions and nonverbal communication in a manner that allows him to keep criminals guessing. The power of EQ is in the ability to maintain focus and cultivate powerful habits that help leaders bring out the best in themselves and others.

Assessments, training programs, and workbooks have been created to encourage the development and use of EQ. You can develop your EQ through structured training, coaching, and a desire to improve and grow. Multirater 360 degree EQ assessments can provide us with a realistic snap shot of how others see us in a variety of settings and compare that feedback to our self-perceptions. This can be positive and validating at times, and it can also be uncomfortable. I have experienced the feedback of 360s, and regularly work with others to help them understand how the feedback can be used to drive them in a positive and beneficial manner.

Reprinted from CPA Now with permission from the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

John Park, Ph.D., Baker Tilly

John, a firm director, maintains a targeted consulting practice where he works with his clients on issues related to strategic planning, change management, enterprise risk management and leadership development. He has multiple publications including co-authorship of the book “Creating in House Sales Development Programs “and regularly speaks at regional and national conferences.


The Power of Awe: Putting Its Benefits to Work

First published by University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business Aresty Institute of Executive Education. For more information, click here

Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.

The Goal: Put the benefits of awe experiences to work for yourself and your team.

Nano Tool:

What if you could encourage better decision-making, generosity, and cooperation in your organization? What if people were eager to learn more and increase their interest in improving business processes and outcomes?

According to a great deal of recent research, these are some of the benefits of experiencing awe: a strong emotional response to encounters such as viewing dramatic landscapes, witnessing storms, observing inspiring architecture, listening to music, or having a religious experience. A new Berkeley study reveals that awe can even improve physical and mental health, possibly even lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes, clinical depression, heart disease, and arthritis — benefits similar to those enjoyed by eating right and exercising. As Berkeley psychology professor Dacher Keltner puts it, “Don’t underestimate the power of goosebumps.”

While awe is most commonly thought of in terms of a response to natural wonders (think mountains, waterfalls, and canyons), you don’t have to travel far to experience it. In fact, you can induce feelings of awe quickly and easily in the workplace — and reap its benefits — without putting on hiking shoes or purchasing plane tickets (although those are worthwhile options). Consider the following four action steps and begin incorporating “awe interventions” in your workplace.

Action Steps:

These steps provide ideas both large and small for inspiring awe in yourself and your team. Keltner says building in “mini awe interventions” during the day is key.

  • Make your workspace more aesthetically pleasing. Simple changes such as replacing your computer’s desktop image with a photo of a beautiful place you’ve visited, your child or partner, or an inspiring leader can work. Integrating nature can be done on a large scale (such as Silicon Valley’s vertical gardens or “living walls”) or a small one (adding potted plants). A study published in the journal HortScience reveals a number of psychosocial benefits afforded by plants in the workplace.

  • Take “awe walks” whether your work setting is urban or rural; indoor spaces can work too (think museums, cathedrals, or aquariums). Directions for 15-minute walks in natural, indoor, and urban settings are found here.

  • Write and read about awe. Research published in the journal Psychological Sciencefound that some of the benefits of awe, including reduced impatience and increased prosocial behaviors, could be elicited by asking experiment subjects to write about a personal experience that caused them to feel awe and by reading about the awe-inspiring experiences of others. In your workplace, incorporate testimonial stories of inspirational leaders, share your own experiences of awe, and encourage team members to do the same. Bookmark online stories of awe and set reminders to read them at least once a day. Sidetracked Magazine is a good place to start. 

  • University of Pennsylvania psychologists David B. Yaden, Jonathan Iwry, and Johannes C. Eichstaedt and co-authors say that astronauts interviewed after space flights reported self-transcendent experiences after viewing Earth from space, returning with an expanded sense of perspective on their lives, an increased sense of connection to others, and a renewed sense of purpose. For the Earth-bound, research suggests that viewing awe-inspiring videos may have a similar effect. Check the University of California Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center videos here.

How Leaders Use It:
  • Facebook has constructed a nine-acre green roof at its new Menlo Park facility, complete with a winding half-mile walking path. Lori Goler, head of HR and recruiting at Facebook, says the green space gives us “space to think.” To underscore the value of these experiences, researchers have documented the pro-social effects of even just one minute of looking up into tall trees.

  • Business titans like Elon Musk (Tesla and SpaceX) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon and Blue Origin) know the importance of awe in inspiring others and garnering attention through space flight. SpaceX ventures, with future plans to colonize Mars, are frequently described as “breathtaking” and “awe-inspiring.” Bezos, who displays Apollo flight suits and other memorabilia inside the Blue Origin facility, says, “I want millions of people living and working in space.”

  • Arousing a sense of awe is important if you want your message to reach as many people as possible. Wharton professors Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman examined the content on the New York Times’ homepage that is most widely shared. Their findings: content that makes viewers or readers feel awe or wonder is more likely to be shared than content that makes people feel sad or angry.

  • Google’s Tel Aviv office has an indoor (faux) orange grove in a collaborative workspace that also includes picnic tables and a cobblestone-like floor. HubSpot used wallpaper mimicking the outdoors, including forests and clouds, in its Cambridge, Massachusetts offices. San Francisco software company Zendesk has a two-story moss-covered wall, and Goodyear’s global headquarters in East Akron, Ohio boasts two vertical gardens.

  • IDEO design director Ingrid Fetell Lee says that cultivating more awe at work involves creating a shift in perspective, using light, colors, and textures. She suggests that awe-inspiring spaces, often relegated to the front lobby, need to be brought into the workspace. Lee says, “Having a space for awe to break you out of your execution-oriented mindset could be an asset.”

Chris Maxwell is a Senior Fellow, Center for Leadership and Change Management, at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Chris previously taught “Leadership and Communication in Groups” at the Wharton School and directed a wide variety of domestic and international leadership development programs in remote areas of North America, Mexico, Patagonia, Peru, Quebec, and Iceland.

He is the author of Lead Like a Guide:  How World-Class Mountain Guides Inspire Us to Be Better Leaders. To purchase a copy, click here.

Trust your team: four tips to stepping aside

When you maintain a leadership role, it’s tempting to take charge all the time. But you have to know when to hand off responsibility to members of your team. Leaders know when to make decisions, but they also know when to trust others to make those decisions for them.

Being a leader is an important role, and we often feel tempted to fulfill and build up those expectations. But an often unrecognized quality of leadership is knowing when to shut up and step aside. Not everything needs your stamp of approval or your opinion, so here are four tips to help you identify that moment when you’re not needed.

Your skill set isn’t involved

Good leaders realize that their knowledge and experiences are limited in few different aspects. That’s okay. You might know your organization better than anyone in the world, but some components will still require a specialized skill set that you don’t have. Trust the experts or your employees who carry the strengths that you lack. Make sure your talents are being used where they’re most needed, while you let others take care of those issues that function as roadblocks to your skill sets.

You have a full plate — delegate

Time is a luxury, so treat it like one. You don’t have to be at the forefront of every decision because there are other people in your organization who can do that for you. Recognize that and take advantage of that fact. Know what situations and components of your organization actually require your attention and know when you can afford to pass it on to a capable member of your team. They’re your team, so use them.

A new perspective doesn’t hurt

A great leader is always striving to learn new things and create new opportunities. There’s only one way to do that, and that’s by allowing yourself to take a minute to sit and listen to a few fresh voices. You won’t get the best work out of your team members if they’re waiting for you to tell them to jump, so let them know that their opinions and ideas matter. Let them work out problems on their own, and it’s likely they’ll do it better than you could have imagined.

Ego can make a team fragile

While you might be the most talented person in the world, you don’t and shouldn’t do everything. You won’t always know better, and thinking you do all the time could injure your team. Try to be humble, know your flaws and allow others to fill the gaps. Don’t let your self-importance get in the way and trust your team to do the job they were hired to do.

Encourage your employees to become leaders: How to teach initiative

Teaching your employees initiative is essentially teaching them to take risk. When you take a step forward on a creaky bridge, there’s a chance your foot might fall through — but there’s a reason the adage “no risk, no reward” caught on. Things don’t always go according to plan, but if you want your organization to grow or succeed through hardship, you don’t always have a choice but to take a chance.

If you’re the leader, you don’t want your organization filled with action averse employees who only move when you do. Empower them and ask them to bear responsibility with these four tips that doesn’t pass the torch but lights theirs.

Set Goals

Make known what you want your business or organization to achieve. Your employees won’t know how to get you there if you haven’t set clear plans and communicated that to the group. If people know where you want to go, they can help chart the course or even suggest alternatives.

Pass the Mantle

For the love of all that is good, don’t micromanage the troops. Once you’ve set goals, provide duties and allow people to take ownership of their role. Give them some space to figure out and overcome potential problems and conflicts themselves. You don’t want to hold their hand constantly or else no one is going to want to try or experiment without your permission.

Don’t Wait for Perfection

Your employees aren’t always going to take the perfect path. They might hit some with bumps in the road. That’s okay. If you set the expectation that nothing less than perfection is acceptable, you’re going to paralyze your workforce. People need to know that failure or opposition is acceptable — it should even be expected. “My way or the highway” isn’t going to work if you’re hoping for employees who can fulfill tasks themselves.

Keep Your Door Open

While you don’t need to be looking over everyone’s shoulder as they make calls or write emails, you should always keep your door open and make yourself available. Your employees are going to have questions or want your opinion. Encourage that kind of collaboration. Sometimes they won’t really need your help, but they just need affirmation. That’s okay. Sometimes you just give someone a nod of approval.

What new leaders need to do right away

It is inevitable that any organization will have a new leader, and it’s
always an adjustment. While it can be an exciting and hopeful time filled with the possibilities of a new direction, it still takes time to earn trust and loyalty from those who have been there for a long period of time.

Nevertheless, a new leader should see this as an opportunity to learn and engage their team. Below are five tips to incorporate in your leadership style to find immediate success.

Speak to everyone

While your initial instinct will be to speak to the people who hired you and your immediate subordinates, you need to expand your pool. In order for people to support your leadership, you need to show your face and prove that you care about people at all levels. When new leaders come in, some people might be skeptical. Address that skepticism head on and find its foundation. Getting to the root of these issues can immediately help you to succeed as you build your strategic vision for the organization. And who knows what you might learn at the same time. 

Identify influencers

Once you’ve spoken to everyone, find the natural leaders amongst them. This is some of your top talent, and you’ll want to bolster their success. It may take some time to identify who produces the best quality work, but once you do you’ve found the foundation of your company. Be sure to invest in these people and expand based upon their talents.

Showcase success

In that vein, it is important to also point out the people who are succeeding. This redoubles their efforts, shows that you acknowledge success, and stimulates a culture of hard work. This will also inspire camaraderie and pushes employees to collaborate and address the agenda that you’ve set for the organization in a productive way.

Be an open book

Don’t hide the challenges the company faces. If people feel closed out, they don’t feel readily engaged. While you may not be able to share everything, there are certainly important ideas and issues that you want your employees to consider. And by sharing, you’ve inspired your team because they feel like valued members of the organization.

Value accountability

If you take people’s ideas seriously, then more ideas will flourish. But make sure you take them seriously in a way that you expect results. While it’s great to have someone who can come up with a million ideas off the top of their head, telling your team that execution is key makes them feel inclined to prove their validity. It’s about finding a solution, not only identifying problems.

Learn “The Cubs Way” and Share the Win

Diamond6 Leadership & Strategy has a soft spot for the Chicago Cubs, as D6 CEO Jeff McCausland is a lifelong fan. But the Cubs are also a masterclass in leadership, especially when we consider General Manager Theo Epstein.

Epstein has broken two baseball “curses” during his 15 years as a Major League Baseball general manager. He first took on the helm of his hometown team — the Boston Red Sox  — where he brought the Curse of the Bambino to an end in 2004. In 2012, he came to the Cubs, completely rebuilt the team and won a World Series within five years.

He is a managerial legend now, but it still came as a surprise when he was named Fortune Magazine’s best leader in the world — even beating out the pope. Yet his reaction to the magazine’s honor also proves his qualities as a great leader.

The baby-faced manager, only 43, said he was taken aback by the top spot.

“Um, I can’t even get my dog to stop peeing in my house,” Epstein texted ESPN writer Buster Olney. “This is ridiculous. The whole thing is patently ridiculous.”

But it’s that exact dismissal that is evidence he is such a great leader. It is that rejection that proves his sense of modesty and humility — an integral characteristic of leadership. Epstein would be the first to say that he is not singularly responsible for changing the culture of an entire franchise and bringing the first baseball championship to the city of Chicago in 108 years. But it must be noted that his organizational changes brought the Cubs a victory.

“It’s baseball — a pastime involving a lot of chance,” Epstein told Olney, before bringing up a player he signed as an example. “If [utility player Ben] Zobrist’s ball is three inches farther off the line, I’m on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I’m not the best leader in our organization; our players are.”

A weaker person would have immediately taken credit for others’ wins, but Epstein is unwilling to bask in that glory. Instead he readjusts it and places the honor at the feet of the members of his organization, such as the players.

A good leader knows that the successes of a “team” isn’t the result of any one person. We must recognize and acknowledge every individual’s contributions or else we create an environment that doesn’t encourage success. No organization wants to stifle good work, so understand the new “Cubs Way” and share the achievement in order to inspire accomplishment.