Ask Your Team Better Questions to Reinforce Better Behaviors

Your staff and volunteer culture may be the most crucial aspect of your organization.

That’s what Peter Drucker believed. When he said, “Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” he believed that your values, beliefs, and norms drive behaviors. As strategy, model, systems, and methods are behavioral, your culture ultimately determines if your model is followed.

I’ve seen this play out in my leadership journey time and again.

One of two things happen in organizations:

1. Values Remain: Well-defined values that are consistently reinforced keep desired behaviors in place. How people work and act remains consistent with the values.

2. Values Drift: The other option is the inverse. At a minimum, every organization has values written on the wall, on their website, or printed in a brochure. But if these values aren’t consistently reinforced, the associated behaviors give way to personal and natural behaviors. Worse, these new and potentially undesirable behaviors begin an inversed process, creating new (and unwritten) values, beliefs, and norms.

It’s simple, really.

Values create beliefs that drive behaviors. Since behaviors are more tangible, the values remain in place when they are reinforced. When behaviors are not reinforced, new behaviors form and eventually establish new beliefs and values.

Reinforcing desired behaviors is the secret to keeping your desired culture in place.

In this NEW POST, I give you a simple exercise you can do in your organization to test the values to behaviors connection.

7 Steps to Get the Full Story from Your Staff (Or Most of It)

Have you ever heard of “skip-level meetings?”

A leader and friend told me about this practice a decade ago and it unlocked some of my most important organizational insights.

In this NEW POST, I outline the 7 steps you must take to implement this learning practice.

More, I give you the exact questions I ask in these skip-level meetings.

I hope you can implement this practice in your organization!

ONE MORE THING: I have one opening in my portfolio for a consulting relationship. Here’s what I offer with this service:

Leadership Coaching Partnership: An exceptional coaching partnership should be mutually beneficial. I use the word “partnership” on purpose, as I desire to become more than a strategic coach, but a friend, supporter, and encourager of you and the organization you serve. The Leadership Coaching Partnership includes digital coaching sessions and on-site experiences.

If you’d like to learn more about this opportunity, please respond to this email. Thanks.

Why You Should Stop Comparing Candidates When Hiring 

Of all the difficult decisions leaders must make, hiring and firing are certainly toward the top.

Finding the best people for an open position is always challenging. Often we interview many people looking for that perfect fit. During the process, often two candidates rise to the top. When this happens, something dangerous is right around the corner:

The Personnel Comparison Trap.

In this NEW POST, I unpack the trap and give you some tips to avoid it when you are making your next hire.

Because Hiring Diverse Strengths Is Not Enough

Every leader knows that a well-rounded staff makes for a better organization. As a leader, you desire to have a diversity of skills, capabilities, and even personalities on the team. You want a leadership team to provide different perspectives. You want a leadership team to contain unique individual abilities. You want an overall staff built upon a healthy diversity of talent.

You want people with financial strengths, administrative strengths, people strengths, and creative strengths. You want leaders around you who are feelers, doers, thinkers, strategist, contemplative, and decisive. You need this as a leader. And your organization needs this to be successful.

That should be easy to accomplish, right? I mean, all you really need to do is hire for strength and personality diversity. Not diversity of chemistry — we all need to love the people we work along side — but diversity of talent. Diversity of abilities. Diversity of personality.

Does Your Team Really Believe They Belong?

Have you ever felt you needed to prove yourself? Prove your worth? Prove you deserved to be at your company, church, or organization?

I guess that’s more of a rhetorical question, right?

We’ve all felt the sense of performance-based acceptance at play in our heart. It’s part of the human condition. We’ve all wondered if we really belong. If we are worthy of our role.

As leaders, we have to look outside of our own experience to see the bigger problem: The internal battle to belong isn’t isolated to us. If we have felt it, most likely everyone in our organization has felt it — or is currently feeling it. And it’s a problem on several fronts. I know, because like you, I’ve been there.

The Internal Battle to Belong Creates:

1. Sideways energy: When people are trying to prove their worth, their misapplied motivation moves their energy away from the good work and toward a good pat on the back. When people are focused on being noticed, their efforts cannot be fully dedicated to something bigger than themselves.

Hiring Part-Time or Full-Time, That Is The Question.

If you could hire a new employee, would you bring on a full-time or part-time staff member?

Until recently, I would have laughed at that question: Full-Time! Who in their right mind would prefer hiring part-time staff if full-time was an option?

– Full-time staff members provide full-time attention.
– Full-time staff members work until the job is done, not until their hours are up.
– Full-time staff members are available when you are available.

While all that is true, when I began evaluating staff options against FTEs (Full-Time Equivalents), I began to see staffing through a new lens. At Watermarke, we hire to attendance ratios and revenue allocations. I’m ultimately not as concerned with total staff members as I am with FTEs. That creates a different perspective, which provides for some new considerations.

For me and our church, organizationally speaking, our primary staff needs revolve around executing Sunday programming. It goes without saying the more bodies on Sunday the better. But, there is a lot of work that happens throughout the week, and more bodies doesn’t necessarily equate to more progress.

So how do you decide between hiring part-time and full-time staff? Here are 5 clarifying questions I use to help our church decide:

1. Do we need more people or more focus?

This might be the most critical question (Although you should read the others, too! Especially number 5). If you need more bodies, hiring two part-time employees over one full-time employee is the best solution. We have done this in many departments at Watermarke to help cover Sunday responsibilities.