We hosted our final Nonprofit Bites of 2019 last month at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization in Alexandria. Christine Springer, entrepreneurship expert and CEO of Rising Culture Group, was our workshop leader for the morning.
Rising Culture Group is a business consulting group that works with organizations across industries to help leaders and teams work more effectively together. Christine’s extensive consulting experience and insight drove the overall objective for our nonprofit workshop: to help team members revisit their company’s mission and goals, and to develop strategies to meet them in the coming year.
She opened the workshop by talking about the Washington Nationals and their 2019 World Series victory. After participants offered their thoughts about how they thought the team pulled off this amazing win, Christine pointed out that they had one overarching goal from the beginning: to “stay in the fight.” Every team member was fully committed to the principle of staying in the fight, and because they never lost sight of this one goal, they had it in them to win.
Christine connected the Nats back to the workplace by saying that it’s not all about talent; rather, it’s about your team’s connection and commitment, and whether their goals for the organization are in sync. Sometimes team members will be aware of the strategic goal, but they may have lost sight of the vision. This can cause employees to become demotivated or develop their own organizational goals that are different from those of other employees. Christine suggested that to solve this problem, organizations need to make the vision clear to all employees, new and old.
So how can we make our big goal, or vision, clear for everyone? Christine said that a vision should be like the horizon: you can see it and picture it, but it is most definitely not easy to get to. It should also be aspirational in that it creates value for employees who see it, as well as inspirational in that it motivates people to go the extra mile because they care.
After Christine and the workshop attendees worked to develop a definition for a company vision, Christine challenged the attendees to draw a picture of what it will look like if their company achieves its goals in 5 years. Then, everyone shared their drawings with the people at their table. The purpose of this activity, she said, is to spark communication among all employees about the company’s 5-year vision. Often times these high-level conversations stay within the leadership team, so when it’s presented to all employees, it opens up that communication and allows everyone to revisit the organization’s purpose. It’s also a great ice breaker that will encourage team members to think outside the box and connect with each other.
Christine moved on to the second part of the workshop: developing strategies to meet the company’s mission in 2020. She identified three common problems that tank alignment:
- Unaddressed Performance Issues
- Poor/Unequal enforcement of Behavioral Standards
- Inadequate or Impaired Communication
If these problems are not addressed, she said, they can deteriorate motivation among individual employees and overall teams. In order to figure out how to approach these problems, Christine presented her four keys for leaders when giving performance feedback:
- Keep it Simple: Address ONE issue at a time and provide a clear picture of what needs to change
- Be DART: Direct, Accurate, Respectful and Timely
- Use Kinesthetic Language: “What’s working is…”, “What I see that needs to change is…”, “What does support look like from me?”
- Schedule a Follow-Up: Target is 4-6 weeks after initial conversation
She invited the attendees to think of a one conversation they need to have with someone to solve a performance or communication issue, and then pair up with someone in the room to practice that conversation.
As leaders, it’s important to step outside of our comfort zone and have these difficult conversations with our employees. In the end, leaders will see stronger motivation, teamwork and commitment to the company’s mission for the coming year. What conversations do you need to have with your team members?
For more information about Christine Springer and her work, click here to visit her website, Rising Culture Group.