Toxic Behaviors

Jack Welch responds to a question on how a leader knows who is being “cut-throat” and who is doing their work. Toxic behaviors need to be handled promptly.

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Viewpoint on Toxic Behaviors

With toxic behaviors present in a group, there is very little chance that people will fully trust each other, speak openly, and work in a collaborative manner. Cut-throat behaviors such as taking credit for work that others have done, backstabbing, gossiping may happen behind a leader’s back so to speak, but the consequences are always visible in the way people talk and act. Toxic behaviors can be detected in the patterns of avoidance in the team’s interactions.

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Overwhelm: a Dangerous State for Leaders and Organizations

Individuals, teams and entire organizations can easily slip from working hard in a productive manner to a state of overwhelm that generates diminishing results. Some even confuse overwhelm with results. The flawed thinking goes something like this: “we are so miserable; it’s got to mean we are productive”.  In reality overwhelm  is a state of ineffectiveness. The challenge for leaders is to understand the signals of overwhelm correctly and then refuse to accept it as a normal state of operation.

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Integrity in Organizations

Simon Sinek discusses how leaders need to value integrity in order to be trusted as leaders and to foster trust in their organizations.

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When integrity in organizations is low, trust is also low; people do not acknowledge they have made a mistake, do not admit that they don’t know how to do a part of their job, and avoid asking for help for fear people (and especially their boss) will think they are incompetent. Such behaviors always begin and get reinforced with what values leaders embody by their behaviors. If integrity is not acknowledged and rewarded by the leader, it will not be a core value.

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Culture of Accountability

Alan Mullaly explains how the executive team at Ford Motor Company changed to a culture of accountability.

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Viewpoint on Creating a Culture of Accountability

True accountability needs a culture of trust and openness and it is up to the leader to put in place the following necessary conditions: safety, clarity of purpose, trust, and an environment where responsibility is valued. Talking about accountability without such conditions in place will cause people to go into a mode of self-protection rather than initiative.

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Solutions Come from Inside

Carlos Ghosn of Renault-Nissan discusses his experience of organizations in trouble. Whatever the organization, it can find inside solutions to its problems. It is a matter of listening to the people who are involved in the key processes.

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Viewpoint on How to Let Solutions Come from Inside the Organization

Bringing out the reality of the situation is the first step to turning around teams in difficulty. Establishing a common reality that everyone can agree on is the absolute necessary phase to turn around a group or an organization. Interviews can provide insights, but there is no solution better than the collective solution generated once the group has come to term with the current reality.

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Candor in the Workplace

Candor in the workplace as Jack Welch describes is the necessary lubricant for organizations to run well. What prevents candor is fear.

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Viewpoint on Candor in the Workplace

In our experience, candor grows when leaders have established the following prerequisite conditions: safety, trust, clarity and transparent accountability.

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The Imperative of Building Trust in the Boardroom

Sitting on the board, whether in a corporation, partnership, family business or charitable organization, often becomes a source of constant frustration. Board members will readily confide — off-the-record of course— that trust among board members is too tenuous for anyone to be able to raise the real issues in a productive manner and consequently little gets accomplished.  Board members also report they have given hope that things will ever change because no one seems to know how to change the culture of the board itself.

Behind the frustration and discouragement, exists a genuine concern that real dangers loom if critical business matters of strategy, governance, technology, among others, are not addressed. I would go so far as to suggest here that when organizations run into serious difficulties or fail to capitalize on opportunities, one can probably find that the seeds of trouble were sown 3 to 5 years prior in the mediocre functioning of the board.

Unfortunately the likelihood is high that a board without a culture of trust will become somewhat dysfunctional. Without trust, dysfunction is baked in the very nature of what a board is. Boards are different from other groups of people in several critical ways which become problematic when ignored.

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