As I write my very first Full Circle blog, we’re just a few days away from my favorite conference of the year – The PDCA Residential Forum Advanced Shop Talk. This year will mark the 20thanniversary of AST, and it’s in my hometown of Philadelphia, so I couldn’t be more excited. It got me thinking about how much I’ve learned from the group over the past decade or so, and I thought it would be fitting to start this journey with one little tidbit that could have a major impact for all of us both working IN and ON our businesses.
Much of the work that happens within The Full Circle Business platform is geared towards business owners looking to create systems and processes to calm the chaos and/or set themselves up for the growth required to reach that next milestone. At AST 18, John Kahl, CEO of ShurTech Brands, shared his story of how having solid core values has shaped their company over the years. And while core values are critical to the overall and continued success of any company, there was one small piece of insight that he shared towards the end of his talk that sparked my “ah ha” moment.
John started by drawing a diagram of what I like to call the upside down snowman. The largest circle is at the top, and the smallest circle is at the bottom. Then he added one arrow pointing down on the top right and one arrow pointing up on the bottom left.
He then went on to explain that small movement at the top causes BIG movement at the bottom, but big movement at the bottom often only causes SMALL movement at the top. His point? That when the leaders of a company make a decision that results in the shift of a system, process, etc., it’s going to affect the people in the bottom circle the most – go back and read that one more time… John’s advice – be sure to weigh changes very carefully and measure and monitor their impact. The best intentions may cause more harm than good if those who have to execute on the changes aren’t a part of the decision making process for the “how.”
Put another way, it is the job of the leader to decide WHAT needs to happen and explain WHY, but those who will be making it all happen need to be included on HOW to best accomplish the task.
So as you consider your next growth opportunity or creation of a new system or process, take a moment to define the WHAT very clearly. Be sure you can explain the WHY in a way that will click with the rest of your team, and then ask them to help you with the HOW. You’ll be amazed at the results that can be achieved through a truly collaborative effort – where everyone is given the opportunity to try (and maybe fail) and arrive at the optimal solution and successful outcome together.