Evidence-Based Leadership: The Only Fair Way To Lead - HIGHER HUMAN PERFORMANCE Podcast Episode 281

281 Evidence-Based Leadership: The Only Fair Way To Lead

Evidence-Based Leadership: The Only Fair Way To Lead - HIGHER HUMAN PERFORMANCE Podcast Episode 280
A 2006 book by two of my favorite business authors

I sub-titled today’s show, “The Only Fair Way To Lead” because it’s fair for YOU, the leader and for your team, too. I want you to be fair to yourself. That’s important as you work to be fair to your team. Any leader who won’t face their own reality will find it tough to face the reality of those they hope to lead and serve. Everybody is made better by dealing with how things really are.

I’m pained when I see a leader struggle with their own quality of professional life issues that could be helped if they’d just open themselves up to the possibilities of leadership growth. Unfortunately, too many leaders have a worldview that is destructive and formed in cement. Driven by paranoia, fear and insecurity, many of us can’t seem to get out of our own way to consider a better way. We get stuck in some bad habits that we think may be serving us, but really — they’re killing us and making our lives (and those we hope to serve) miserable. I have never wanted such a life for anybody, especially anybody I’m privileged to call “client.”

I want YOU to soar as a leader. I want your team to thrive under your leadership. I want you to feel wonderful about the service you provide to your team. Joy. That’s what I want for you. The joy of serving others. The joy of personal and professional growth. The joy of seeing your people grow under your watchful care and concern.

First a small bit of history. I’m a fan of scholar/authors Jeffrey Pfeffer and Bob Sutton. By the time their book was published (2006), Hard Facts: Dangerous Half-Truths & Total Nonsense (Profiting From Evidence-Based Management) – I had well over 2 decades of experience in working hard to make sure I was seeing and hearing things correctly. Based on evidence.

Jumping To Conclusions

I first learned it without knowing what to call it. For me, it was just seeing reality instead of practicing knee-jerk leadership. Early in my career I worked for a guy who practiced anything but evidence-based leadership. His behavior drove employees crazy, but over time I noticed it mostly drove a particular kind of employee crazy. The top performers.

The owner was one of the first people I ever worked for. I’d later learn – through experience – that he was among a large group of business owners and leaders who practice management without evidence. He would make purchasing decisions on how he felt about things rather than what was actually selling. He would make determinations about people based on how well he liked them rather than on how well they were performing. Everything seemed to be more feeling-based or emotion-based than evidence-based. And it drove us nuts. Well, as I said, it drove those of us who were performing at high levels nuts.

I saw it happen over and over. People would be highly regarded by the owner in spite of compelling evidence against them. Others would be lesser regarded in spite of evidence to the contrary. Life in business taught me it was a common malady. Partly because it’s hard to resist. Most of us get first impressions based on appearances, demeanor, speech and whatever else we observe. Those observations aren’t necessarily evidence though. Even so, we draw conclusions. We peg people. Not always correctly.

I was once introduced to two people. One was a manager. One was not. It was a very brief introduction made in passing. A week or so passed and I found myself in a business meeting involving both of these people. The meeting is clipping along when suddenly I’m smacked with my own idiocy. Turns out the person I thought was the manager wasn’t. In that brief introduction I’d been given of two people I not only got their names mixed up, but I also mixed up their roles. For more than half an hour during this meeting I’m looking at them based on my wrong conclusion. Thankfully, I sat passively, not addressing either of them, or discussing anything that would give away my stupidity. But I remember sitting there thinking, “Wait a minute. He’s not the manager?” I had it wrong. Getting it right changed everything. That’s the point. Getting it wrong versus getting it right changes everything!

Jumping to a conclusion implies a quickness that doesn’t always serve us well. We have to reach conclusions. That’s not necessarily a bad thing provided we’ve got some evidence from which to draw our conclusion. It’s the jumping that can kill us. We sometimes fail to hear properly or see properly. Then there’s that whole discernment problem – sometimes we just don’t see things clearly, or hear them clearly. How else do you explain multiple witnesses giving completely contradictory accounts of the same event? It’s like they saw or heard completely different events. Nope, they just each had their own head trash and perceptions (or lack of). Sadly, it’s not a case of somebody being right and somebody being wrong. When it comes to evidence-based leadership, sometimes we all just flat get it wrong!

Why do we do what we do? Why do we think what we think? What’s the evidence upon which we based our assumptions or conclusions?

Evidence Isn’t Truth, But Evidence Leads To Truth

There’s a difference between evidence and truth. Hopefully, evidence leads us to truth. But like any data, evidence is subject to interpretation. The important thing is to be open enough to see and hear the evidence clearly so you can follow it to where it leads you.

Great leaders need to be led by the evidence. And I’m speaking as a very intuitive person. I’m an INFJ (Meyer-Briggs assessment). I’m very intuitive. I have strong empathy. Maybe that’s why I’ve learned how important evidence is in my own leadership. It may also explain why evidence-based leadership is so urgent for me personally. Given my levels of intuition, I want to make sure I’m getting it as right as possible. I’m always looking for confirmation or denial that my intuition is valid. Getting it right is far more important than feeling or believing it’s right. I want proof.

When I began my career computers were no where to be found inside small businesses or large ones, except maybe the super-large ones. Cash registers and tabulating machines (mechanical adding machines) were the extent of our high tech world in the mid to late 1970’s. Sort through data was laborious. Bean counters were so named because those stodgy personalities disposed to hole up in a room with only their colored pencils and journals wanted to dive deeply into the numbers and let the rest of us mortals know which end was up. Or if both ends were down. Data was hard to come by. Gut feel was highly regarded, especially if the gut had a winning record.

But things change. Data began to be easier to collect. Pretty soon we had bigger issues than no data or a lack of data. We were over-run with data. An avalanche of data come sweeping our way daily, weekly and monthly. Pretty soon we had it pouring over the falls hourly. Now, it’s real-time shot to our headquarters from every remote location of our companies worldwide. We’re in a zero latency data environment today. It’s terrific and challenging at the same time.

While authors Pfeffer and Sutton focus on evidence-based management, I’m concentrating on evidence-based leadership. We manage work. We lead people. That’s the distinction I make.

The authors begin the book talking about corporate acquisitions and how the majority of them fail. There are reasons (evidence) why this is so. They cite the success of Cisco to incorporate new acquisitions and teams into their culture with far greater success because the Cisco leaders use evidence. Unlike many businesses, Cisco executives don’t rely on hope or fear or anything else. They go with where the evidence leads them and it works.

The authors write…

If doctors practiced medicine the way many companies practice management, there would be far more sick and dead patients, and many more doctors would be in jail.”

People make decisions. They dream up new ideas. They fix problems, and often create them. They get work done, or fail to. In short, people have the power to think. That’s the trump card, provided people are thinking correctly. That’s where evidence-based leader makes the impact.

Have you ever heard a successful person interviewed and the interviewer, hoping to draw out some secret strategy about why the person made a particular decision gets an answer they never saw coming? Maybe it’s a rock star or some other performer who made it big. Hoping for some insight the interviewer asks, “What was the strategy to go to Nashville?” And the artist might say something like, “We weren’t headed to Nashville. We set out for L.A., but we ran out of money and our drummer had a brother in Nashville where we knew we could crash until we earned some more money.”

Nothing terribly strategic about that. They ran out of money and needed a place to crash. Nashville was a lot closer than L.A. Hello, Nashville!

But we’re trying to replicate their success and dissect their strategy. We’re examining their story and drawing some conclusions. Until we find out, we’re wrong. They were just on the road running out of money in need of a place to crash for a few days, or weeks. So it goes with how we sometimes operate our organizations. We give meaning to things that have no meaning and we overlook other things that seem to have no meaning — but may mean everything!

A Copy-Cat World

More than ever before, it’s a copy-cat world. Chinese manufacturing has enabled the resourceful person to “knock off” just about anything. I’m not saying it’s legal. I’m only saying it’s possible and it’s happening every minute of every day. From hand bags and fashion products to high tech toys, somebody has a factory who can crank them out for you. Why do the engineering when all you need to do is buy one, tear it apart and reverse engineer it? Welcome to the world where generic is benefit.

All that R&D expense, saved. All those man hours of engineering, saved. All that time vetting the proper components needed to make it, saved. Not to mention all that wasted time being creative. We’ve migrated away from the notion that reinventing the wheel isn’t just unnecessary, but’s stupid. In fact, don’t even improve the wheel or put your own design on it. Just copy it outright. That way you only copy what works, what’s selling. You’re never stuck with a dog because you don’t copy dogs.

What was once bench-marking is now copying. We just gave it a fancy name, bench marking.

Judging books and people by their cover is standard fare today. That’s why bloggers and podcasters – at the least the ones who clammer for more readers and listeners – spend extraordinary amounts of time writing headlines and show titles. I should follow the evidence and do a better job of this myself. I do care about attracting more listeners, but I clearly have cared enough. Click bait is the practice of luring web surfers to click on a link by use of crafty copywriting, or other tactics. Sometimes we get what we thought we’d get. Much of the time we’re fooled. Again.

The authors point out how copy cat like we are, even in police work. At the time of their writing only 4 out of over 19,000 legal jurisdictions implemented an evidence-based practice of using sequential lineups instead of the commonly practiced, six-pack approach where witnesses are shown 6 people at a time in a line up. About 75% of all the convictions overturned by contrary DNA evidence resulted from eye witness testimony given by people who viewed a lineup. But there’s comfort in copying. At least if we’re wrong, so are most of the other people. Misery and misinformation love company.

Thankfully, you’ll likely find law enforcement agencies now practice sequential identification where a witness looks at one person at a time. Collective wisdom finally caught up with the evidence. It took a long time, but better late than never. Sometimes evidence takes awhile to be seen as valid, especially when everybody is going in the same direction – even if it’s against the evidence.

Years ago corporate America would purchase IT services and products from IBM because it was always the safest choice. Executives wouldn’t be reprimanded for going with IBM. It was the “no risk” option even if other suppliers might have proven to be better suited. So it goes sometimes with actions that go contrary to the evidence.

Let’s Simplify Things

Peter Drucker was asked why managers fall for bad advice and sometimes fail to use sound evidence.

Thinking is very hard work. And management fashions are a wonderful substitute for thinking.”

Blind spots, biases, prejudices, assumptions, perceptions, perspectives and a host of other things cloud our view and impair our hearing. We often hear what we want and see what we want. Then, we cram in data to make it fit. Square peg or not, sometimes we just don’t care because we’ve got a round hole that needs to be filled. Grab a bigger hammer. Make it fit.

It’s hard work to think. Harder still to see the evidence clearly. Still harder to follow the evidence until we get closer to the truth. If it’s your murder being investigated, you want a relentless blood hound of a homicide detective leading the way. Not some gloss it over and draw a quick conclusion kind of a cop. Chase the evidence and find the truth. At least get as close as humanly possible.

Leaders owe their people that commitment. Maybe you’re not solving a crime, but you are an investigator. You’re searching for the most accurate evidence you can find. Decisions hinge on it. Choices are made based on it. Careers are elevated, or knocked down because of it. And if not evidence, then what? Your gut feel? Intuition? The rumor mill? What others claim to have been told by somebody?

So many things in life don’t work, but still we seem to put in the work. Kids drop out of school and we think truancy rules work. They don’t. We often fix problems by creating new ones. All for a lack of thoughtful consideration in gathering evidence and following it toward the truth. A young woman pipes up in a meeting, saying something we deem a tad inappropriate and we castigate her forever more as uncouth and unprofessional. Maybe she just didn’t properly read the situation one time. Maybe nobody else in the room saw it like we did. What appears bad at first glance may be completely innocent upon further examination. But that would take too much time and effort. Easier to jump the conclusion that first hits us. And peg her forever more as somebody unworthy of our executive team. She may be the brightest bulb in the room, but not the most socially savvy. I don’t know. I need more evidence.

Some Tips To Help You

It’s not a comprehensive list, but it’ll get you started. I encourage you to think of your own steps. Ponder what actions you can take to improve your own evidence-based leadership.

One, know yourself

I know I’m an INFJ. I also know I’m high on empathy. There are many things I know about myself thanks to years to living with myself. And being critical with myself. But also thanks to the input of others. When in doubt, ask others how they see you. It may not mean they’re correct, but if everybody tells you the same thing, you’d be foolish to discount it.

Every leader – and investigator – has tendencies and views that have to be taken into account. Women see things differently than men. As a result, our interaction with others might be curved toward our view. Knowing that and acknowledging that helps us gather and vet evidence.

AlwaysAs a coach and consultant I have a mandate that I live by: do no harm. Yes, I stole it from the medical profession because it fits! The last thing I want to do is harm somebody, or hurt their career. That doesn’t mean I make sure to tell people what they most want to hear, or that I pander to clients who have behaviors that are contrary to accelerating their careers. No, I’ll speak the truth that I’ve witnessed, but I’m committed to making sure I’ve got it right. When I get it wrong – and yes, it happens – I want to be quick to own it and make it right. It’s how I choose to live. These aren’t difficult concepts or practices for me. I embrace them because they fit what I value most.

As a leader the do no harm mandate is a wise choice. Knowing yourself and controlling yourself gives you the best opportunity to avoid doing harm to others, and yourself. There’ve been time that I got it wrong and made it right, but harm was still done. Regrettable, but until I can be perfect, it’s life. I’ve wronged people. People have wronged me. When people own their actions I can pretty easily forgive. That’s what I hope happens when I own my own errors.

So part of knowing yourself is knowing where you’d like to err. Do you want to err in jumping to the wrong conclusion where harm might happen, or in jumping to the wrong conclusion where grace might be extended. An employee who neglects to perform a specified task may be guilty of neglect. Or they may have a valid excuse or reason. Jump to the conclusion that they’re negligent and climb all over them. Feel better? What if you discovered they were enduring some serious family challenge? Does that alter your view? It might. By foregoing the conclusion jump you give not only the employee, but yourself the opportunity to get it right – or get it MORE right. By knowing yourself you can decide which approach you’ll take. You know which one I’m encouraging you to take!

Two, know your team members.

There are many reasons to love small teams. Chief among them is the ability to really know and understand people. Every person.

Anonymity doesn’t serve leaders well. Being anonymous or having anonymous team members isn’t helpful for any leadership. You need to know the people you’re leading. They need to know you, too.

Be real. Stay real. Don’t pretend. Sure, you’ve got multiple personas, but leave the masks in the closet for Halloween. Personas are for situations. Like clothing. Sometimes I wear a suit. Other times I wear jeans. The circumstances dictate the choice. Whether I’m wearing a suit or jeans, it’s still me though. The presentation or persona is the only thing that changes. Otherwise, I’d be flexing in and out of personality styles, vocabulary choices and people would be looking to have me committed to a mental health facility.

The word is congruency. Every leader must be congruent. Your people need to be able to accurately predict your behavior. The more predictable you can be, the better. Don’t undervalue this. Or think it’s better to “keep ’em guessing.” It’s not better.

Your team members want to know where they fit and that they matter. Do you want them to feel uneasy when they drive into work each day? Or would you rather they walk into the office confident that they matter? You keep that uneasy team member and I’ll take the confident one every time. My confident team member will kick the butt of your always-on-edge worker every single time!

Parents know their kids. Kids know their parents. The more the better. Good parents have instilled training into their kids so much so that their kids know what mom and dad want – even if mom and dad haven’t addressed this specific thing facing the child right now. Was it that way when you were growing up? Did your folks have to train you in every possible specific thing or did you know your parents well enough to understand what they would disapprove of and what they would think was okay?

Leadership in your organization works the same way. Predictability doesn’t mean your stagnant lacking innovation or creativity. Nor does it mean you’re not devoted to changes leading toward improvement. It means your team knows what matters most to you. They’ll make the decisions they think will please you. If they do that and suffer for it, they’ll quickly begin to wonder what you want. That’s why you should put being congruent on a front burner of your leadership. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be consistent. Don’t say one thing and do something else. The team will be confused and congruency will slip. Pretty soon people will dread coming to work because they just can’t predict how you’re going to react or behave.

Three, attract the facts.

Attracting the facts is important work for the leader. Some leaders are surrounded by deaf mutes because only deaf mutes survive. Then they wonder why nobody will tell them anything.

It’s one thing to go gather facts. Anybody with sufficient resolve can do that. It just takes work. Attracting facts is a completely different skillset that you must develop. If you’ve become proficient at the first two steps, then this step is much easier. Fail at either of those and I don’t give you a fighting chance at making this one happen.

As a leader you want others to willingly share facts with you. You want them to be proactive to share facts. The goal is to have a team of people who are forthcoming. I’ll give you 2 simple, but powerful tips to accomplish this. One, be forthcoming with them. You can’t expect people to be forthcoming with you if you won’t be with them. And you’ve got to start the ball rolling. Be forthcoming without any expectation or conditions from them. Two, don’t shoot the messenger. Don’t be emotionally charged when people bring you facts that disappoint you. Be calm, not reactive. The more reactive you are, the more you’re negating your ability to attract facts.

Thoughtful. That’s what people want in leadership. Sure, considerate, too – but thoughtful and considerate aren’t the same thing. Thoughtful means you consider things. It implies you’re careful in your thinking. You don’t jump to conclusions. You take the time to get it right. Everybody will respect that, even if they don’t understand it. You’re liable to have some knee-jerk employees who will encourage you to join hands and jump to the conclusions they’ve already reached. Avoid the temptation. You have to be better. Hold to a higher standard. Show them the way toward evidence-based leadership by giving people a culture where presenting the facts is highly prized.

Attracting facts isn’t the same as attracting complaints. Or rumors. An employee approaches you to tell you something they’ve heard. Thinking they’re being dutiful they’re anxious to tell you about an exchange they just had over lunch. It seems their lunch partner told the story of a manager who may be working employees without paying them the required overtime. Rather than listen passively you begin to ask hard questions like, “How does this person know this?” You follow that up with more specific questions, including searching answers for who talked to whom. You want to attract facts, not rumors. This will accomplish two important things: one, it signals that you’re interested in facts and two, it signifies that you’re not going to be a sounding board for rumors. People need to have their facts when they present them. If they don’t, you don’t want to attract nonsense.

Sadly, too many leaders can hear something and deem it fact or credible evidence. Somebody told somebody something and a leader swallows it hook, line and sinker. That’s not evidence-based leadership. That’s foolishness. “Did you hear them say that?” asks the leader to a person coming to them with “facts.” The fact revealer says, “Well, no. But Bob said Tom told him, and Tom heard it firsthand.” Well, isn’t this peachy. Somebody fetch Tom and let’s see if we can figure out the facts.

Rumor-based leadership is not nearly as effective or productive as evidence-based leadership. Seek facts. Attract facts.

Four, accurately discern the facts.

Sounds easier than it really is. You have to take the time to ask questions. You’ve got to pause and ask deeper questions.

It starts in your head by questioning your questions. Is there a better question to ask, one that will take you closer to the truth? Always remember that truth is the quest. You want to see things as they really are. Your team deserves that from you. Your career and leadership do, too.

Dig like a detective. Keep digging. If you need corroboration, go get it. President Ronald Reagan gave you the formula for evidence-based leadership.

Trust, but verify!

Don’t lead by paranoia. Don’t be cynical and untrusting. Just be guarded about forming conclusions. Base them on facts and evidence.

Ask yourself:

• What do I know to be true?
• Do I know for a fact what really happened?
• Do I know for a fact what was really said and meant?
• Who are my sources and how credible are they?
• Do I have evidence to prove the motive behind this?
• Where’s the proof?

Keep adding to that list. Think. Craft your own questions. Above all, stay the course.

Five, don’t give in to shortcutting it.

Sometimes you’ll be pressed for time and tempted to shortcut it. Just this one time you’ll knee-jerk it and jump to a conclusion. That’s when you’re going to get it wrong and undermine all the discipline and hard work you’ve put into being an evidence-based leader.

You want your team to do great work all the time. No matter what. Don’t show them how willing you are to shortcut your own work because that’ll show them it’s okay for them to do it, too – every now and again. No, it’s not okay. It’s never a good thing to intentionally – due to your own laziness and neglect – to get it wrong. Sins of commission are better than sins of omission. Be caught doing the wrong thing because you were trying to get it right. Don’t be caught doing nothing because you were lazy or afraid of getting it wrong.

This includes avoiding playing favorites. The best and brightest often get it wrong. Just because you’ve got some team members who have proven reliable every other time doesn’t mean you should accept conjecture from them. Keep holding them to the same high standards you do everybody else. It doesn’t mean you’ve lost trust in them. It just means you’ve got a process that is important to your leadership and you’re unwilling to compromise it. Make it a non-negotiable standard for your leadership.

Curiosity And Vulnerability

Let me wind things down with a bit of focus about 2 vital ingredients to your leadership effectiveness: curiosity and vulnerability.

Leaders, especially senior leaders, can be prone to arrogance and know-it-all syndrome. That whole smartest-guy-in-the-room thing can hit any of us. We have to be on guard against it.

Leaders don’t have super-powers. You’re not as good as you think you are. It’s likely you’re not as bad as you sometimes feel you are either. Accept the truth (and evidence) that you’re blessed with an opportunity at this moment in time. For this moment in time you’re the leader. You’re the steward in charge of the organization, or the department or the team. Responsibilities are a blessing and a burden. Bear them with sobriety and clear thinking. Own them for the time you’ve got them.

Your power is a gift to share with your team to help them do their work better. It’s not a betrothal of superiority. You’re not better than anybody else, or necessarily smarter. You simply have a role and responsibility that has a wider and broader reach than others. A bigger platform gives you authority to influence the direction and work of others. Use it wisely.

Keep learning. Curiosity drives learning. Stop being curious and you’re done! The smartest guys in the room are only interested in showing off, not learning. Avoid being that guy, or gal. View the other person – whomever they are – as knowing something you don’t. Find out what it is?

You know what you know. Growth comes in learning what you don’t know.

Vulnerability is accepting failure. Maybe better yet, it’s being open to failure. Your own.

You must be willing to be wrong. Then, you must be willing to make it right. I regularly ask leaders a question about their leader: “Have they ever apologized to you?”

Simple enough question. You’d think everybody has heard their leader apologize to them for something, unless they’ve only worked for them a brief amount of time. Evidence – the answers I get to that question – has shown me that far too many leaders have never apologized to their team for anything. When I press and ask, “Why do you think that is?” the most common response I get is — “I don’t think they want to appear weak.” Being human isn’t weak. It’s real. Everything else is dishonest.

That’s vulnerability – being honest about yourself. Stop worrying about people thinking you’re all that and more. In fact, I’d encourage you to not fret much about your image with your team. Instead, worry about how well you’re serving them and that image will be everything you wanted and more! And when you’re devoted to leading with evidence, you’re going to start getting it right more often than not. That alone may shoot you and your reputation up into the stratosphere of extraordinary leadership and higher human performance.

Avoid hoarding knowledge, information and expertise. That’s vulnerability. Be confident enough to share what you’ve learned. Pass it on. You’ve spent years and endured many scars to get where you are. Help others avoid the potholes that have nearly broken the ankles on your career and work. These are your people. Their success is your success. Show them the way. Lead.

A Final Word About Leadership Growing Pains (And Why They’re Exactly What You Want)

Any discussion about evidence-based leadership must include some consideration about personal, individual growth of the leader who dares to embrace it. Organizations change. They mature. Personnel changes. Chemistry does, too. If leadership remains in place for a prolonged period of time, they also have the opportunity for growth and maturity, alongside the entire organization. Here in Dallas the Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones hired Jason Garrett to be the head coach, first as interim in late 2010. By January of the next year, 2011, he was named head coach where he remains today. It’s his first head coaching job in the NFL. Jerry Jones has kept him in place. As a result, Garrett has grown. He’s learned. It’s doubtful he’s working exactly the same today as he did 4 years ago. Not all that growth has been comfortable or easy, but it’s clearly been profitable.

So it can go with your leadership and your organization. You can and should learn. You want your team to grow and improve so it’s only fitting that you demand the same of yourself. I’ve seen it happen often. Especially leaders willing to embrace change. Leaders who are vulnerable enough to adapt and grow will experience some tension and stress. Growing pains. That’s exactly what you’re after. You want this pain because it means you’re finding new levels in your own leadership performance.

Don’t take a bow just yet. This is a tough time that you’re going to have muscle through because it’s going to weigh you down and kick your butt if you’re not careful. You’ll be tempted to avoid the pain by reverting back to how things used to be, back when you were totally comfortable. The uneasiness can devastate some leaders. Some even get physically sick. Facing the realities of these changes – especially if you’re going to fully embrace evidence-based leadership – can seem a daunting task. You’ll question whether it’s going to be worth it. The answer is, YES. Keep moving. Push past this pain. It’s a sign that you’re putting in good work.

Leaders brave enough to keep going find a path to organizational excellence they wouldn’t have otherwise found. Here’s what happens. As they’ve been elevating the performance of their team they’ve been urging their top performers to reach new heights. Along the way, they’ve likely seen the gap between their bottom performers and top performers close. They’ve lost some poor performers along the way because they just couldn’t keep up. Now, it’s a different organization that it was years earlier. The team has grown and you’ve grown with them. It’s time to embrace the ultimate way to lead, evidence-based leadership.

You come to grips with the past and sometimes want to kick yourself for failing to see this earlier. But these often happen at an appropriate time, a time when you’re open to see them. A time to accept them and a time when you’re most ready to implement them. Now is your time!

Your team will experience some bewilderment. Don’t sweat it. Go with it. Understand that it’s just part of the necessary process. Keep doing what you must do to practice evidence-based leadership and management. It won’t take too long until your team realizes that this is just the new YOU. It’s now how you roll. They’ll adjust. Then they’ll begin to mirror it in their own leadership and work. The results will amaze you when you see people following your lead, performing at levels they didn’t even think possible.

Fun. That’ll happen. Unless you’re an ogre it can’t be stopped because high performers doing great work have fun. Success and winning make it so. When you’re in the growing pain phase look past that and envision this fun place because that’s where you’re headed.


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