TAG Consulting

A Proven Process For Making Great Decisions


August 25, 2017

As we work with organizations of all kinds to help them craft great organizational cultures, one of the most useful tools we use is called The Leadership Triangle.

Most leaders face a wide variety of challenges in any given day and in the face of that our response is often to go with the kind of decision that has worked for us in the past, without stopping to consider whether or not the current problem matches our experience.

In reality, leadership challenges fall into one of three broad categories, each of which requires a different way of thinking and a different process for resolution.

Not every problem is a nail, so make sure that your leadership toolkit includes more than a hammer!

 

The Leadership Triangle from TAG Consulting on Vimeo.

A 3 Step Checklist For Empowering Your Team


February 20, 2017

Two important things to know about empowering your team:

  1. We measure empowerment by how willing people are to offer us their maximum discretionary effort.
  2. We know that people feel empowered when they are motivated to give their all.

Who doesn’t want to lead a workplace environment like that?

So, how do you – in real life and in real time – empower your team?

We offer you the checklist below as a way of measuring your progress as an empowering leader. Think of it as a punchlist for your project of empowering your team. Or, even better, think of the metaphor we often use – of a team climbing up a high mountain together!

mountain

Provide Clear Direction

An empowering leader defines the task for the team with crystal clarity. A common misconception about delegation (a component of empowerment) is that it is described by this attitude: “Do your own thing as long as you are within the basic parameters and standards of the organization”. That’s mostly being lazy and settling for less than full alignment.

Empowering direction-giving sounds more like this: “See that mountain? We’re going to climb it together, and here’s how”.

 

Provide Needed Resources

Nothing is more dis-empowering to a team than not having the tools they need to complete the task they have been assigned. As an empowering leader you make it a priority to give your people the tools and resources they need to carry out their assignments with excellence and passion.

It sounds like this: “Here is the equipment we need to climb this mountain together. This is how you use it. Trust me, I’ve tested it and everything is safe, secure, high quality, and in adequate supply. Let’s get started!”

 

Provide Coaching, Support, and Feedback

Along the way, the empowering leader is providing constant, specific coaching (“Here’s our strategy for taking the mountain”, support (“You’re doing great – here’s what I can give you for your next steps”) and feedback (“OK, let’s set up camp for the night, reflect on what we learned today and focus on how we can get even better tomorrow”)

As you get ready to climb your next mountain as a team, review this list together. Does your team have the direction, resources, feedback, support, and coaching it needs? Does each team member know that they are needed and valued and that their very best efforts will rejuvenate them and help the team win?

Quick, Change Something – Now!


January 2, 2017

 

There’s no better time to disrupt the status quo than at the dawn of a New Year. Calendars are clicked over, resolutions are made, there is a general sense that it’s time for a fresh start. But the time to make disruptive changes is a short one – the status quo tends to fight its way to the top of the heap in short order.

This is simply the normal course of things – all organizations tend to maintain the status quo.

This is true whether the organization is a business, a family, a government agency, or a not-for-profit.

We’re comfortable with the status quo, even if we know it could be better, and often we will work vigorously to protect it. It’s just the way systems work.

One of the main tasks of a leader is to disrupt the status quo, to bring change. The problem is that often we don’t know how to do it.

So, we rely on what has worked before. If we’re in a leadership position, something we have done in the past has worked and so we keep trying that again and again…until it doesn’t work anymore.

You know the adage – if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a go-to approach for problem-solving, you will be tempted to use it over and over again.

Until yesterday’s solution becomes today’s problem.

In our book, The Leadership Triangle, co-authored by Kevin Graham Ford and Ken Tucker, we make the case that there are three different types of leadership challenges, each of which require a different kind of leadership solution (what we call an Option).

The Strategic Option is the first type of response. A strategic challenge arises when something in the environment external to your organization has changed in a way that impacts the organization. Maybe your customers’ preferences or values have shifted. Maybe a technological advance has disrupted your industry. Maybe a competitor has innovated in a way that threatens your market share. Maybe something has shifted in the regulatory environment and your rules of engagement are now different.

Whatever the case, your internal status quo has been disrupted by a change in the external status quo and you must change in order to remain relevant.

How do you do that, as a leader?

We suggest that you gather your team (after you have gathered your wits!) and run through this series of questions designed to grapple with your strategic challenge and move toward a wise and timely use of the Strategic Option:

  • What do we say yes to, that we should say no to?
  • What does our customer really value?
  • How are our competitors doing things differently than they used to?
  • What new competitors have emerged?
  • Who is our target audience, really?
  • What workarounds have our frontline employees adopted that could teach us something?
  • If we could create a niche for ourselves where we would be #1, what would that niche be?
  • What legacy will future leaders say we left behind for them?

If you wrestle with these questions and their answers, you will be much better equipped to deal with external disruptions, disrupt the status quo, and make wise and winning strategic decisions.

To read much more about the Strategic Option, check out The Leadership Triangle  on this page.

To learn more about how TAG’s team of experienced change leaders and status quo-disruptors can help your organization Discover its next best moves, click here.

5 Keys To Giving Great Feedback


December 12, 2016

Feedback is a critical part of the gift of accountability.

When you give that gift you are honoring and respecting someone, not micromanaging them. Accountability says “I believe that you have the capacity to do this thing and I believe that this thing is important”.

While accountability is more than feedback, feedback is an essential part of accountability’s gift. Here are five ways to insure that your feedback is both relevant and helpful.

1. Provide feedback immediately, whether the feedback is good or bad.
2. Provide feedback specifically, with immediate options for enhancement, improvement, and correction.
3. Provide feedback systematically, with planned times for give and take.
4. Provide feedback with the good of the person receiving the feedback in mind.
5. Provide feedback that is focused on the goal of your team.

 

You can use the five keys to feedback as a measuring stick for your current practices and/or as a way to improve your current systems of accountability.

To learn more about accountability and feedback, check out one of our best-selling books, The Leadership Triangle: The Three Options That Will Make You a Stronger Leader.

Disrupt The Status Quo With These 8 Questions


October 30, 2016

 

dominos

All organizations tend to maintain the status quo.

This is true whether the organization is a business, a family, a government agency, or a not-for-profit.

We’re comfortable with the status quo, even if we know it could be better, and often we will work vigorously to protect it. It’s just the way systems work.

One of the main tasks of a leader is to disrupt the status quo, to bring change. The problem is that often we don’t know how to do it.

So, we rely on what has worked before. If we’re in the position of a leader, something we have done in the past has worked and so we keep trying that again and again…until it doesn’t work anymore.

You know the adage – if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a go-to approach for problem-solving, you will be tempted to use it over and over again.

Until yesterday’s solution becomes today’s problem.

In our book, The Leadership Triangle, co-authored by Kevin Graham Ford and Ken Tucker, we make the case that there are three different types of leadership challenges, each of which require a different kind of leadership solution (what we call an Option).

The Strategic Option is the first type of response. A strategic challenge arises when something in the environment external to your organization has changed in a way that impacts the organization. Maybe your customers’ preferences or values have shifted. Maybe a technological advance has disrupted your industry. Maybe a competitor has innovated in a way that threatens your market share. Maybe something has shifted in the regulatory environment and your rules of engagement are now different.

Whatever the case, your internal status quo has been disrupted by a change in the external status quo and you must change in order to remain relevant.

How do you do that, as a leader?

We suggest that you gather your team (after you have gathered your wits!) and run through this series of questions designed to grapple with your strategic challenge and move toward a wise and timely use of the Strategic Option:

  • What do we say yes to, that we should say no to?
  • What does our customer really value?
  • How are our competitors doing things differently than they used to?
  • What new competitors have emerged?
  • Who is our target audience, really?
  • What workarounds have our frontline employees adopted that could teach us something?
  • If we could create a niche for ourselves where we would be #1, what would that niche be?
  • What legacy will future leaders say we left behind for them?

If you wrestle with these questions and their answers, you will be much better equipped to deal with external disruptions, disrupt the status quo, and make wise and winning strategic decisions.

To read much more about the Strategic Option, check out The Leadership Triangle  on this page.

To learn more about how TAG’s team of experienced change leaders and status quo-disruptors can help your organization Discover its next best moves, click here.

The 8 Things Great Team Leaders Do


July 24, 2016

team people

Being a team leader is a lot of work, right?

Well, yes. But not in the way we often imagine.

The real work of a team leader is making sure that he or she sets the team up to actually do the work.

This requires both strength of purpose and a willingness to hold one’s ego in check. The leader has to bear the anxiety of the team while managing his own anxiety. She has to provide all of the resources the team needs to do its job. And the leader has to make sure that all of the stakeholders involved are having the right conversations especially when those conversations involve competing values and priorities.

And all the while the leader is leveraging the talents and passions of the individual team members.

When we think about all the work a team leader must do, we define eight priority tasks which every team leader must be accountable for:

  1. Build rapport and create a safe environment for everyone. Team members don’t have to be best friends but they must hold mutual respect and be able to communicate clearly and honestly.
  2. Define reality by distinguishing between tactical, strategic, and truly Transformational issues.
  3. Engage the real issues, not the peripheral ones.
  4. Reframe seemingly unsolvable problems into ones that can be solved.
  5. Manage personal baggage, fears, ego, and anxiety.
  6. Make sure that any conflict that arises is about competing values alone, and not about personalities, side issues, or warring egos.
  7. Initiate change at a rate that can be tolerated.
  8. Mobilize the team to do the work themselves by providing the needed resources and asking the right questions.

If this list sounds challenging, it’s because it is!

But it’s not impossible. And it is thrilling when it all comes together.

At TAG we are committed to teams and leaders of teams. From leadership coaching to help you navigate tough decisions and conflicts, to workshops which will reveal and highlight the talents of your team members and how they come together, to cutting edge facilitation and learning for all levels of teams in your organization, we are here to help your organization move from good to great.

Find out more here – and lead with passion and purpose!

How To Disrupt The Status Quo


May 12, 2016

PLDDMLLTBL

All organizations tend to maintain the status quo.

This is true whether the organization is a business, a family, a government agency, or a not-for-profit.

We’re comfortable with the status quo, even if we know it could be better, and often we will work vigorously to protect it. It’s just the way systems work.

One of the main tasks of a leader is to disrupt the status quo, to bring change. The problem is that often we don’t know how to do it.

So, we rely on what has worked before. If we’re in the position of a leader, something we have done in the past has worked and so we keep trying that again and again…until it doesn’t work anymore.

You know the adage – if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you have a go-to approach for problem-solving, you will be tempted to use it over and over again.

Until yesterday’s solution becomes today’s problem.

In our book, The Leadership Triangle, co-authored by Kevin Graham Ford and Ken Tucker, we make the case that there are three different types of leadership challenges, each of which require a different kind of leadership solution (what we call an Option).

The Strategic Option is the first type of response. A strategic challenge arises when something in the environment external to your organization has changed in a way that impacts the organization. Maybe your customers’ preferences or values have shifted. Maybe a technological advance has disrupted your industry. Maybe a competitor has innovated in a way that threatens your market share. Maybe something has shifted in the regulatory environment and your rules of engagement are now different.

Whatever the case, your internal status quo has been disrupted by a change in the external status quo and you must change in order to remain relevant.

How do you do that, as a leader?

We suggest that you gather your team (after you have gathered your wits!) and run through this series of questions designed to grapple with your strategic challenge and move toward a wise and timely use of the Strategic Option:

  • What do we say yes to, that we should say no to?
  • What does our customer really value?
  • How are our competitors doing things differently than they used to?
  • What new competitors have emerged?
  • Who is our target audience, really?
  • What workarounds have our frontline employees adopted that could teach us something?
  • If we could create a niche for ourselves where we would be #1, what would that niche be?
  • What legacy will future leaders say we left behind for them?

If you wrestle with these questions and their answers, you will be much better equipped to deal with external disruptions, disrupt the status quo, and make wise and winning strategic decisions.

To read much more about the Strategic Option, check out The Leadership Triangle  on this page.

To learn more about how TAG’s team of experienced change leaders and status quo-disruptors can help your organization Discover its next best moves, click here.

A 3 Step Checklist For Empowering Your Team


February 9, 2016

Last time, we saw two key points about empowerment:

  1. We measure empowerment by how willing people are to offer us their maximum discretionary effort.
  2. We know that people feel empowered when they are motivated to give their all.

Who doesn’t want to lead a workplace environment like that?

So, how do you – in real life and in real time – empower your team?

We offer you the checklist below as a way of measuring your progress as an empowering leader. Think of it as a punchlist for your project of empowering your team. Or, even better, think of the metaphor we often use – of a team climbing up a high mountain together!

mountain

Provide Clear Direction

An empowering leader defines the task for the team with crystal clarity. A common misconception about delegation (a component of empowerment) is that it is described by this attitude: “Do your own thing as long as you are within the basic parameters and standards of the organization”. That’s mostly being lazy and settling for less than full alignment.

Empowering direction-giving sounds more like this: “See that mountain? We’re going to climb it together, and here’s how”.

 

Provided Needed Resources

Nothing is more dis-empowering to a team than not having the tools they need to complete the task they have been assigned. As an empowering leader you make it a priority to give your people the tools and resources they need to carry out their assignments with excellence and passion.

It sounds like this: “Here is the equipment we need to climb this mountain together. This is how you use it. Trust me, I’ve tested it and everything is safe, secure, high quality, and in adequate supply. Let’s get started!”

 

Provide Coaching, Support, and Feedback

Along the way, the empowering leader is providing constant, specific coaching (“Here’s our strategy for taking the mountain”, support (“You’re doing great – here’s what I can give you for your next steps”) and feedback (“OK, let’s set up camp for the night, reflect on what we learned today and focus on how we can get even better tomorrow”)

As you get ready to climb your next mountain as a team, review this list together. Does your team have the direction, resources, feedback, support, and coaching it needs? Does each team member know that they are needed and valued and that their very best efforts will rejuvenate them and help the team win?