Unless you plan on living forever (I have a member who does), someday you will exit your company. Your company’s value will be significantly impacted by how well the company runs without you, as the CEO.
Do you believe that your company must change as fast as the rest of the world to just maintain your current competitive position? Want to beat your competition? Then you have to change faster than they do. And, that is dependent upon how well you develop your executive team and how well your executive leadership develops their people.
“How shall I train my supervisors and managers?” asked a member.
“How well do your employees listen? How effective is conflict in your organization?” I ask.
“Start with those two.” I recommend.
Daniel Goleman and his work with emotional and social intelligence and Mark Goulston in his book “Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone” describe neurons that act as mirrors. These cells allow us to create another’s experience in our mind. Each time we feel empathy for others, it creates a need in us to be mirrored back; to have other’s demonstrate empathy toward our feelings. To adeptly mirror, we must first listen. I’m not talking about the type of listening that most people do. I’m talking about empathic listening: listening with all of our senses. If you want to see some specific examples, I recommend reading Stephen Covey’s Seek First to Understand chapter in his book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”
Let’s talk about the “C” word. The lack of conflict can lead to disastrous results, such as in the case study of the Challenger. The The Abilene Paradox and Other Meditations on Management, is a story where a group of people collectively decide to take a trip for ice cream. The paradox is that, as individuals, no one wanted to go. If one person would have said what he was really thinking, the group would have made a different decision. I have seen and experienced where lack of conflict resulted in some stupid and costly decisions. I guarantee the same thing happens in your organization.
You go first. Learn how to really listen. Learn how to engage in productive conflict. See what happens in your business and personal life. Then role model and teach all your employees.