Is EVERY member of your team contributing SIGIFICANTLY to your strategic goals? By EVERY member of your team, I mean EVERY member, including front-line talent that you pay by the hour. By significantly, I mean directly to your bottom-line in the form of tens of thousands to millions of dollars in revenue or savings.
If yes, that’s fantastic! If not, it is critical that they start contributing today. In order to create full engagement of your team, and for you to move forward QUICKLY, every team member must be contributing in a BIG way. The days of just showing up for work to collect a paycheck are long gone. The days of generating ideas for innovative and real growth are here to stay.

In today’s reality of slim staffing, incorporating a pull-style, not a push-style, of leadership is the key to thriving in these tough economic times. In the recent past, it was typical of senior leadership to set strategic goals in motion and then push hard to accomplish them no matter what obstacles were in the way. Pushing, or telling, has its time and place, but should be the exception, not the rule. You can certainly get results that way, but push-style is flawed in many ways:

? The commitment isn’t there from the majority of the team, because they didn’t play a part in creating the direction or goal setting. No ownership.
? No one likes to be told what to do or how to do something, even if they are getting paid to do so. It’s time to tap creativity and passion to achieve bottom-line goals.
? It undermines trust. Without trust, you have big trouble on your hands.
? It’s not efficient use of your time. No time to manage. Only time to lead! Your role is changing, just like everyone else.
So how do you incorporate a Pull Style of Leadership?

1. Ask for ideas from everyone in your organization, especially those on the front line. They are the lynch pin for success.
2. The ideas must be aligned with your vision, mission, values and key goals. Filter through the ideas and prioritize them. Implement the best ones first.
3. Ask individuals or teams to own the idea(s) and begin implementing with your guidance.
4. Communicate consistently and frequently. Coach and mentor as necessary, but don’t take over. It’s their idea. Ask lots of clarifying questions so you are clear and comfortable with their direction. Resist the temptation to give all the answers or to take over. (This is typically where the process begins to fall apart and great ideas do not move forward). Keep pulling. Questions pull, telling pushes. Showing your frustration to your team is the kiss of death for an idea or project.
5. Encourage and reward along the way. Your team will encounter many obstacles. This is where they need the most help because it is easier to just give up and return to the status quo. When they overcome obstacles, they actually learn something. They will find ways to move forward if you encourage them.
6. Chart progress. Have individuals and teams communicate their specific, measurable achievements and show how the organization benefited from implementing their ideas.
7. Celebrate! Make it a big deal when success is achieved. Have your team(s) do presentations of their significant accomplishments at the next company meeting.
8. Repeat steps 1 thru 7. You now have a proven model for success.
So, in the words of Jim Collins, ask your team to “build clocks,” not “tell time.” Time tellers are efficiency and productivity drainers because they just do their jobs, nothing more. How many time tellers do you have working for you? Ask all of your time tellers to become clock builders, especially those on the front lines. They know what’s going on more than anyone else and have the best ideas for improvement. There are thousands, hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars hidden in your organizations because ideas are not put into action. Pull those ideas out of them and put some wheels on them!
Inspiring quotes to light your fire:
“Minds are like parachutes. They function best when open.” - Thomas Dewar
“It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change” - Charles Darwin
“Future leaders will be less concerned with saying what they will deliver and more concerned with delivering what they said they would.” –Dave Ulrich
To find out more about Pull-Style Leadership or enhancing your leadership skills, please email me or call (928)284-1509.

Author's Bio: 

Chris is Lead Coach at Expect Success Coaching and Training, the premier coaching and training company on the planet. For more than a decade, we have helped thousands of individuals achieve unprecedented levels of success in their careers and personal lives. To learn more about us, please visit