Investors who are purely reactionary do not perform as well as those who are proactive. The same is true for teams and organizations.
Too many teams and leaders operate in Thermometer Mode.
Without clarity of the type of culture they are trying to create and the leader they need to be, they end up with a culture that is purely reactionary. The temperature goes up and down depending on who is in the room or what is happening in the external environment. One day it’s hot and the next day it’s cold. Like a thermometer, the culture reacts only to its environment.
But the best leaders and teams on the planet operate in Thermostat Mode.
With clarity and precision, they know the temperature they want to set as a leader and as a collective team. No matter what is happening in the external environment, they proactively set the temperature they desire. The focus isn’t only on what they will do, but on how they will do it as leaders and unified teams. Like a thermostat, the culture is proactively shaped by the consistent temperature they set.
Being proactive is a cornerstone of every strong investor and every advisor. Having a clear investment strategy from the beginning, starting investments early, establishing life and health insurance coverage before it’s needed, and taking advantage of timing are all proactive elements of success. Thermostat thinking is key to developing your clients’ portfolios as well as the culture of your firm’s brand.
The best leaders and organizations understand that calibrating the thermostat doesn’t magically happen. It’s not reactionary, it’s proactive. The best teams are committed day in and day out, month in and month out, year in and year out to calibrating their thermostat, and gaining alignment and clarity on the temperature they desire to set in the future.
Here are four ways to calibrate your team.
- Mission. The mission is why you are on your particular journey. It is the heartbeat and soul to all your efforts. Return your team to purpose by involving them in discussions on why they are on your team’s journey. What is your collective mission and what is each teammate’s individual mission? Help clarify the mission so that everyone understands why your organization is making its efforts.
- Vision. The vision is where your team or organization is heading. It’s the dream of what is possible and what can be created together. Paint the picture of what you hope to create that doesn’t exist and what that future vision looks like. What’s your collective vision as a team and what’s the individual vision for each contributor’s role? Help clarify the vision so everyone is clear on the end game and the desired results of all efforts.
- Values. Your values are how you are committed to traveling along the journey. Values are the compass that helps you know that you are on track with how you’re committed to traveling. Values aren’t dictated to us, but they are discovered, discerned and identified by participatory discussion. What are the unified values that will guide you as a team and what do they look like in action and behavior? Help clarify the values so that your team has a compass for how they’ll travel together.
- Strategy. The strategy is what you will do to bring the mission, vision and values to life. It’s the game plan that clarifies the priorities, people and next steps to bring the dream into reality. With clear direction for the road ahead, what are the next actions needed to stimulate progress individually and collectively as a team? Help clarify who is on the journey and who is doing what. Have a bias toward action that stimulates progress toward the vision.
Every time you return to these discussions and seek clarity as a team, the thermostat begins to calibrate. Every time you deliver on the actions and behaviors you envisioned, the temperature becomes even more consistent. Culture-shaping is not a one-time act, a flavor of the month or an annual exercise. It requires ongoing discussion, focus, accountability and action. The temperature is intentional and consistent. Your clients will see that in the growth of their portfolio and, more importantly, they will feel it in how you approach your relationship with their plan.
The best cultures proactively set the temperature throughout their organization. They are grown, developed, cultivated and led with intentionality. The process for developing high-performing and engaged cultures never stops. The best leaders, teams and organizations are committed to setting the temperature in how they hire, onboard, do performance evaluations, develop emerging leaders and recognize excellence. The best leaders invest in their cultures and the climate they want to be a part of.
If you’re experiencing negativity, blame, blurry vision, division, disconnection or uncertainty, it may be time to calibrate the thermostat!
Trust me, your clients will feel the different temperature and so will your entire team.
Jason V. Barger is the author of Thermostat Cultures, ReMember and Step Back from the Baggage Claim. He is the founder of Step Back Leadership Consulting. Jason may be contacted at [email protected].
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