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No-Compromise Leadership Choices Drive Consistency
October 5, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
No-compromise leadership = Consistency across all four business outcomes (Productivity, Profitability, Staff Retention and Customer Loyalty). It’s such a simple equation. Yet, within its simplicity is a profound message to all who lead, or seek to lead others. The rich word for me here is consistency. Consistency is perhaps the most challenging aspect of no-compromise leadership to comprehend and live, because how one leads is influenced by the leader’s collective abilities, beliefs, behavior styles, perceptions and life experiences.
How long your voyage to no-compromise leadership will take depends on current behavior patterns. Some people are natural achievers while others are procrastinators. There are those who obsess over every minor detail in their quest for perfection. In leadership positions they can bog things down by micro-managing everything. At the other end of the spectrum are those who hate the details and do all they can to avoid them. In leadership positions, they can wreak havoc by communicating in such broad brush stokes that the outcomes they desire are vague and open to broad interpretation … if achieved at all. For a company’s performance and culture to be consistent, its leader must be a model of consistency. This is non-negotiable. It is one’s commitment and ability to be consistent that defines the no-compromise leader.
No-compromise thinking is like an internal compass that guides your leadership behavior in the right direction. No matter which direction you face, it points toward leadership consistency.
By connecting “consistency” to the four business outcomes, it defines a leadership mission of the highest order. Consider the equation as the first line of your job description. Now, take it a step further and consider it the first line of any job description in your company. What would the performance of your company look like if everyone were held accountable for creating and maintaining consistency across the four business outcomes?
So, what does living no-compromise leadership look and feel like? I would have to say it’s the sum of all no-compromise moments, choices, actions, communications and decisions. Given this, how does a leader seeking to practice no-compromise leadership behave? No-compromise leadership is more than just a philosophy or cool business battle cry. It’s stepping outside your comfort zone, looking within for possible motivators and blind spots, and analyzing why a certain decision, course of action, or behavior is chosen. Something as simple as how you conduct your day-to-day time management of what you intend to do, versus what actually gets done, contains a whole host of no-compromise moments and chosen behaviors ranging from high achievement to total procrastination.
Consider the following situations:
- You’re in your office working on a project with a deadline that impacts the entire company. A team member enters with a pressing issue he wants to discuss. How do you determine the right no-compromise leadership choice in this situation? How do you process the situation to make the best no-compromise decision? Is it a compromise if you stop working on that critical project to address another seemingly pressing issue? Is it a compromise to turn the team member away? The no-compromise leadership way would be to say, “I want to give my undivided attention to your issue. Can we meet at 8:00am tomorrow morning?”
- You discover that one of your managers has been fudging some reports. It’s the 26th of the month and the team really wants to hit goal. A serious bonus payout is on the line. What would the no-compromise leader do in this situation? A decision to compromise and accept the fudged numbers opens up serious issues of integrity, trust and the consequences that go with that decision. The no-compromise decision to expose the fudged reports is the right decision, even if the consequences are unpleasant.
- A high school principal witnesses a star football player skipping school the day before the big game. Knowing that any disciplinary action would have tremendous impact on the team, the school and the popularity of this leader – what would the no-compromise leader do? He must do as Coach Carter did at Richmond High School when his basketball players failed to uphold their signed contracts to attend class and maintain grades. Carter banned all basketball activities. The no-compromise principal must take disciplinary action – even if it means losing the big game.
- A doctor makes a decision to write a prescription for a patient, influenced heavily by the kickback from the drug company and not the needs of the patient. Was the doctor following his internal no-compromise compass? Clearly not. The doctor had the opportunity to make the right choice, but a decision to compromise was made instead. If this doctor is the leader of the medical practice, his decision to compromise for a monetary kickback set a new acceptable behavior pattern for all to follow. He contaminated his company’s culture.
- A waitress in a restaurant decides to pocket a $10 bill from a customer, in a business that pools tips, because the customer was very demanding and difficult. The waitress felt “entitled” to take the money, but her entitlement thinking guided her into making a decision that compromised one of the core teamwork policies of the restaurant. Her chosen behavior shifted from “we, us, team, the company,” to, “I/me.” The decision took no more than a nano-second to make, but the contamination to the team culture created a breech of trust that will linger for a long time.
The antonym of consistency is inconsistency. From a leadership standpoint, the quest for either begins with a choice. To incorporate No-Compromise Leadership into your daily leadership life, you have to make a choice between no-compromise and compromise – between striving for consistency or allowing and accepting inconsistency.
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