Three C's

Cooperation the Mortar that Binds and Builds

The last, yet certainly not the least of the Three C’s is cooperation. Cooperation is a person or group working together to achieve a common goal or benefit. Although it sounds simple enough in theory, the act of cooperating in our day-to-day interactions can be complex and should be carried out in a deliberate and thoughtful way--cooperation is simplex.

Cooperation in its simplex form is the desire to draw the best from each family or staff member, and the capacity to value the skills, talents and abilities they add to the organization. Where collaboration is the building block of a high-performance company culture, cooperation is the mortar that holds the whole thing together. No company becomes successful without frequent, purposeful cooperation between everyone involved in the business.

Not Like the Other

Although cooperation and collaboration are similar, they are not the same. For example, in the game of tug-of-war the team members collaborate—through discussion and skill assessment--to decide on the order of the team lineup. Once an order is determined, the team members line up in order and cooperatively tug on the rope to try to muddy the other side and win the game.

Sharing the Load

Cooperation does not mean being free of disagreement, and it is more than someone just doing what they are told. It means understanding that sometimes we must set aside personal bias and be bigger than the disagreement or opposing view in order to promote the common good.

Cooperation means sharing the load with those around you that have a vested interest in the success of the company. It also means that family members or people within the business are fully contributing their mind share, heart share and hand share.

Mind Share

We must rid our mind of mental baggage and be intellectually prepared to cooperate with others. Resentment is a barrier to cooperation and letting go of the anger and hurt will not only facilitate a cooperative mindset, it will also improve our relationships with others.

Heart Share

We must believe to our core that cooperation is the best option in achieving results through people. We also have to open ourselves to trusting people around us to do the right thing for the company. This may mean setting aside our ego and giving up control in order to allow others to take the lead.

Hand Share

We must commit to take on the heavy lifting, and take the actions that are in the best interest of the organization and mutually benefits others. No job is too menial or insignificant when it contributes to the success of the company.

Don’t be Annoying

As leaders it is critical that we develop an awareness of self in order to bring out the best in those around us. Antagonism, pettiness, and egotistical behavior are barriers to cooperation and exhausting to others. Most people will avoid spending time with people that consistently exhibit these traits. Reflect on whether any of these behaviors are limiting your ability to encourage and produce a cooperative company culture. If they are, then take action to change or minimize the behavior to encourage a high performing culture in your organization.

If you truly want your business to maximize performance, then develop family leaders who understand the value and importance of self-awareness in the form of transparent and authentic communication, collaboration and cooperation.

 


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 


Three C's

Collaboration, the Building Block of a High Performance Culture

Once you have established a firm foundation of effective communication in your family business you can focus on the second of the Three Cs—Collaboration.

Creating and fostering collaboration in a family organization goes a long way toward minimizing the dysfunction. A truly collaborative company respects our input, values ideas, and appropriately rewards contributions—things we all crave.

Collaboration Is

Collaboration means to work jointly or together. In its simplex form, collaboration is the relationship between multiple ideas that contribute to a better result or outcome for the business. Collaboration is the foundation of a high-performance approach within a family company.

Collaboration Is Not

Collaboration doesn’t mean consensus--general agreement and harmony. In fact, consensus is the antithesis of collaboration because meaningful, productive collaboration requires diversity of opinion and approach. Collaboration is based on working jointly toward common goals while respecting opposing views and engaging in respectful dialogue that values perspectives other than your own.

Capitalize on Diversity

Left to our own approach, the people we choose to collaborate with are people we know well, which can be deadly for developing new ideas. In order to leverage the power of collaboration, we must purposely seek out and welcome the divergent opinion and viewpoint.

Diversity is more than the color of someone’s skin or their ethnic background. Look around and consider the diversity that exists in your own family. Even though you may have been raised with similar values and beliefs, each family member comes with their own behaviors, motivators, experiences, capacities, and competencies. We are all gloriously unique in how we approach life and work!

Collaborative Pitfalls

Collaboration isn’t without its pitfalls. We need to be conscious of the challenges to working in a collaborative family company.

Over Doing It

There’s a reality that must be acknowledged—there can be too much collaboration! Collaboration can quickly become the brakes grinding advancement to a hard stop. When we try to collaborate on everything, we can find ourselves in endless meetings debating ideas rather than finding solutions.

It is important to focus collaborative efforts on projects that need a creative solution, rather than attempt to work on every detail of the day-to-day business. That is not to say that daily tasks won’t benefit from a team approach. Process analysis of small details can result in tremendous efficiency gains, but it’s critical that your collaboration efforts are focused on solving problems and don’t increase dysfunction or create inefficiency.

Disagreement does not Equal Disagreeable

The foundation of collaboration is discord and disagreement, but it is not okay to become disagreeable. When you become irritated or overwhelmed by negative emotion, take a mental step back and assess the situation. Is your irritation the result of something other than the current situation? Are you allowing family bias to influence your attitude?

Collaboration Killers

I am often confused when otherwise bright people place self-interest ahead of a collaborative outcome. Yet many limit collaboration because it requires them to step outside of their bias; set aside their ego, and leave their emotional comfort zone.

Eliminate Silos

Silos are not only collaboration killers, they can kill a company. For example, if a company’s manufacturing department finds a critical flaw in a part and no one tells sales to stop selling that part due to an organizational silo it could destroy the business.

Do Not Kill the Messenger

Trust and transparency are crucial to creating a collaborative organization. Few of us enjoy delivering bad news, and many of us won’t give bad news when we know that there is a “kill the messenger” culture in our company. Punitive behavior when someone brings bad news is the fastest way to destroy a person’s will to offer their opinions and ideas.

Make it About the We

Collaboration is about achieving results as a team. To maintain a collaborative culture we must prevent any one individual or group of collaborators from benefiting so much that others feel their inputs are being exploited.

Build a Culture of Collaboration

Building a culture of collaboration in a family company means taking the time to understand and inspire people. We must demonstrate that collaborators are vital to the organization.

The results of effective communication and a collaborative family company culture are cooperation, which is the topic of our next article.

 


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.


Three C's

Communication, the Cornerstone of the Three Cs

In our previous article we discussed the Three Cs of communication, collaboration, and cooperation. We explored how a breakdown in any or all of them can result in dysfunction in the family business—frankly in any business. We also discussed the idea of simplexity—breaking a complex concept or issue into simple, actionable points. Today we’ll delve into what I consider to be the cornerstone of the Three Cs; communication. Without communication, there can be no collaboration or cooperation.

Complicated by Family Dynamics

In a standard business model, bad behavior is quickly addressed through coaching and development. However, in too many closely held businesses the dynamic of “family correctness” disrupts the normal flow of constructive feedback. It creates stress for the family member and those around them when the family member cannot fundamentally do the job. The only correct thing to do is address this with authentic, transparent, and well-defined communication.

Defining Communication

Many times people define communication very simply – one person talking with another. While simple in theory, communication is very complex--communication is simplex. Communication is not just about listening more and talking less. Real communication is driven by a desire for mutually beneficial dialog and respecting and valuing the thoughts, ideas and input other than our own.

Communication in its simplex form means we take the time to understand how someone prefers to communicate; why they prefer to communicate that way, and how their communication style impacts their approach.

Understanding Different Styles

As complex as communication may seem, there are only four communication styles. At Perpetual Development, we use a TTI Success Insights Trimetrix HD AssessmentTM to analyze communication styles among team members for our clients in closely held and family companies.

Dominance

  • Direct
  • Big Picture
  • Determined

Strengths: People with a Dominance style see the big picture, willingly accept challenges, and exude confidence.
Challenges: This style may be interpreted as domineering, impatient, and blunt.

Influence

  • Optimistic
  • Collaborative
  • Persuasive

Strengths: They are outgoing, friendly, optimistic and collaborative.
Challenges: Can be perceived as flighty, shallow, and pushy.

Steadiness

  • Calm
  • Humble
  • Supportive

Strengths: Sincere, patient, and consistent best describes this style.
Challenges: Fears change and needs time to adapt.

Compliance

  • Cautious
  • Independent
  • Precise

Strengths: High level of accuracy and independence.
Challenges: Gets stuck in the “weeds” and may not relinquish control.

Understanding each communication style will help us become better communicators, because we can adjust our leadership approach and draw the best outcome from our staff. The strongest communicators have honed their powers of observation to the point that they can adapt their communication style to elicit the very best from others.

Styles Differ

Improving communication requires that we recognize and understand that we have different communication styles. Everyone has a dominant communication style; however people are a combination of all four. Each of us has a communication style that is our Achilles heel, or that is more difficult for us to use. Our dominant style often influences how we interact with others and how we are perceived. We also adapt our style when dealing with others.

Not Just One Style

Although we all have one of these four as our dominant communication style; very few of us use only one style all the time. There are times when a Dominance style may use Steadiness traits (calm, supportive) to diffuse a particularly volatile situation. Conversely, a Dominance style of communication may be required in certain circumstances--when we must make a quick decision.

More than Words

Words are only one of the ways in which we express ourselves, and often our behavior belies the words coming out of our mouth. How often has someone said he or she agrees with you while his or her head subconsciously shakes back and forth in the globally accepted motion for “no”? Their words indicate agreement, but their body language is telling you a different story. This is just one instance of how effective communication entails more than just speaking and listening; it requires observation.

Actions Speak Louder

I believe one of the secrets to becoming an exceptional communicator is honing your powers of observation because we often experience communication through the behavior of others rather than their words.

We often use action as a stand-in for direct interaction. When Bob does not receive a promotion, he feels he deserves he may show up late for work or “forget” an important meeting as a way to show his displeasure. Sometimes these behaviors are intentional; other times they may be purely subconscious. Either way, the behavior has a negative impact on the business.

Self-Awareness Plays a Critical Role

It is easier to point out character flaws in others than it is to see them in ourselves. However, the only way to adequately address dysfunction in others is to understand and manage our personal communication strengths and challenges.

Effective communicators have a heightened awareness of who they are and what triggers certain emotions or reactions. For example, Samantha is a self-aware leader that realizes she has a bias to hire and surround herself with people that agree with her. She also knows that diversity in opinion and background are crucial to the success of the business. As a self-aware leader, Samantha takes steps to minimize the impact of her bias by including people with differing values and backgrounds in the interview process.

Do you know your preferred communication style? The first step to being an outstanding communicator is to identify your style.

Practical Application

Real, meaningful communication requires what I like to call Full Mental Engagement  (FME). It takes focus and practice to hone your self-awareness and improve your communication skills.

The next time you are in a dialog use your powers of observation along with your ears to increase your understanding. Consider the following;

  • Do they demonstrate urgency or rapid pace of speaking?
  • Are they verbal and optimistic in their approach?
  • Do they prefer to do many things at once or do they prefer a steady and consistent pace?
  • Do they demonstrate a high degree of detail and follow-through, or were the rules invented for someone else—only followed when there is no other option?

We’ll explore collaboration in its simplex form in our next article.


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.


Three C's

Why the Three C’s are Critical to a Successful Family Business

I have come to realize that many of the issues I see when I work with family businesses are due to a breakdown in one, or all of what I call the Three Cs--communication, collaboration, and cooperation. Effectively achieving the three Cs is a challenge in the best circumstances, but when you factor in the family dynamic and emotional baggage; it can become almost impossible.

The Complexity of Families

People and families are complex, and they come with their own strengths, weaknesses, opinions, and biases. When families come together to run a business the complexity increases exponentially.  The adage that familiarity breeds contempt is never truer than when you are dealing with dysfunction in the family business! Conflicting personal interests; sibling rivalry; old wounds from family feuds, and perceived favoritism are just a few of the familial issues that can muddy the waters. Unfortunately, the family dysfunction often adversely affects the health of the business. More than one family company has closed its doors due to a lack of communication, collaboration, and cooperation. The good news is that with work, focus, and intent these issues are not insurmountable!

Personalities Abound

Humans are multidimensional, and as such we all deal with the stress of family dysfunction differently. Some of us are pacifiers, trying to keep the peace and maintain the family relationships. Some are bullies that attempt to get their way with badgering and controlling behavior. Some are victims who blame their shortcomings and failures on circumstances beyond their control and never take responsibility for their actions.

Finding Common Ground

Whatever the personality type, we all have the same desire to be respected, valued, and understood. We need to know that someone appreciates us, and can see our point of view because this is how we know we’ve made a connection. Self-awareness and awareness of others is central to finding common ground on which to build or rebuild a relationship. Creating a connection to others is a fundamental building block for trust.

family-business-dysfunction-1

The Simplexity of the Three Cs

Dysfunction is so rampant in some family companies that members have come to accept it as a condition of doing business. As a result, they tolerate bad behavior on the part of others. However, playing family politics or pretending the problem does not exist worsens the issue and doesn’t address the required evolution necessary to minimize the dysfunction. Although we may never eliminate the family dysfunction, it can be addressed through authentic and transparent communication, collaboration and cooperation so that it does not negatively impact the business.

From Complex to Simplex

Simplexity is a phrase I coined to describe the process of breaking an extremely complex concept or issue into simple points. In this case the complex issue of dysfunction in the family business can be boiled down to a collapse in one or all of the Three Cs. Think of the Three Cs as the legs of a three-legged stool--take away one leg and the stool cannot stand on its own. The simplexity of minimizing dysfunction in the family business or organization comes from valuing and balancing the relationship between communication, collaboration and cooperation.

three-cs

In order for a family company to achieve optimal performance, they must determine which leg(s) of the Three Cs stool are broken and then take action to deal with the situation. For example, a breakdown in communication will adversely impact collaboration and cooperation. When we identify and correct the challenges to effective communication we are shoring up the foundation of the Three Cs stool.

The more awareness, understanding and action created around improving communication, collaboration and cooperation, the greater the capacity of the people to understand how their contribution impacts the organization. Raising awareness is the first step toward maximizing family relationships and addressing family dysfunction.

In our next article, we’ll explore the first C—Communication and offer guidance on how to deal with dysfunctional communication.


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.


Thinking as a strategy build business

Thinking as a Strategy to Build Your Business

A force multiplier is a factor that can dramatically increase (multiply) the effectiveness of leadership performance and company profitability. For the purpose of our article, clear critical and strategic thinking are a powerful force that you can use to radically multiply your capability as a leader.

Valuing Strategic Thought

As owners and executives, we cannot afford to lead from a position of internal isolation or limited thinking about key issues or strategies impacting our business. The right strategy can catapult our company to success, and some would argue that the ability to think strategically is the defining skill that elevates one from an average leader to a game changer. Strategic thought is so prized that in a study by Management Research Group, they found that 97% of senior executive’s value strategic thinking above any other leadership attribute.

Strategic Leadership of Thought

Strategic thinking requires foresight and the ability to set aside or challenge conventional “wisdom”—even our own assumptions. It requires opening our minds to every conceivable outcome for our business.  We do not stop at analyzing what we should be doing differently; we focus on how we can accomplish our goals, and why those goals are worth our attention.

Planning Follows Thought

It is not enough to think about the company strategy. Once you identify new strategy for the organization, you must be able to formulate and communicate a set of goals to move the business to the next level. This is the point where strategic thinking becomes a deliberate plan of action for your company.

Thought as a Competency

In order to make thinking a Force Multiplier that has a positive impact on the strategy and practical direction of our firm, we must continually seek to increase our thought competence. Critical and strategic thinking is a skill that must be learned and improved over a lifetime, and we should concentrate on developing the attributes of a strategic thinker.

  • Be Curious
    • Challenge yourself to think about how to continually improve the performance of your business. Produce thought provoking ideas around which you and your team can begin to formulate actions.
  • Observe and Question
    • Learn to listen with all of your senses when interacting with people. Observe the speakers body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. Ask questions that are designed to uncover the real meaning or motivation behind the words.
  • Find the Why
    • Continually seek to understand the “Why” of the situation. Finding the cause can lead to thoughtful and innovative solutions.
  • Unbiased Analysis
    • When you set aside your bias you can consider the totality of the situation and context as it relates to people, processes, products and performance. Become acutely aware of the biases within your thinking that can lead to blind spots in business performance.

Force Multiplier Zones

Below I outline five critical areas of your business that will benefit from clear, focused, critical and strategic thinking.

  1. Think about your customers in terms of maximizing relationships and optimizing return to your company. Not all customers are created equal; which customers add value and who may be more trouble than they are worth? Think about why and determine next steps.
  1. Think about your organizational structure. People and positions, like equipment and processes, should deliver quantifiable efficiency and produce a return on investment. Which do and which don’t? Think about why and determine next steps.
  1. Think about what is purposefully being done to develop your people. Common business logic dictates that Sales and operational results drive organizational performance. Lower results equal an increased emphasis on expectations and outputs. People fuel performance. Development fuels people. How purposeful is your development of people? Think about why and determine next steps.
  1. Think about the processes and systems currently in place in your company. Analyze which systems and processes support your business. Do they exist to support your business and people, or have they become obsolete dinosaurs that hinder more than help? Think about why and determine next steps.
  1. Think about the bias vs. objectivity of decision making by leaders within your company. Objectivity is a powerful perspective to effective decision making. This is the difference between “what we think we know” (bias) and “what we actually know” (objectivity) One is an opinion, and one is a combination of data, fact and our intuition or gut feel. Can you advance the objectivity of decisions ahead of the bias of judgments? Think about why and determine next steps.

Full Mental Engagement

Thinking is a continual process, rather than an abstract exercise. Thinking requires full mental engagement. When you are fully engaged in the thought process–– without distractions and interruptions—you can think clearly, critically, and strategically to solve the challenges your business faces each day.


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

 


How to think with clarity

Clarity of Thought as a Competitive Advantage

When is the last time you stopped to consider the thoughts that are constantly running through your mind? This may appear to be an odd question to pose, but it is actually a valid query. Most of us don’t put much intellectual energy into how well we think, yet our thoughts drive every personal and business decision we make and action we take.

Clearly Competitive

When our thoughts are in disarray, it becomes difficult to make good business decisions and making the appropriate decision for your company can be the difference between success and failure. According to a survey conducted by McKinsey Quarterly , only 28 percent of surveyed executives felt that the quality of strategic decisions made in their companies was good. These results highlight the need for considerable improvement in our ability to think clearly about our business. Focusing on improving our capacity to think purposefully and strategically can give an organization a distinct competitive advantage.

The Busyness of Doing

We all too often find ourselves busy with all of the daily tasks (the doing) we need to accomplish. Our calendars are full of work to be accomplished and meetings to attend, but where does practicing clear, critical and strategic thinking fit into all this busyness? When we are preoccupied with doing, we are rarely focused on thinking. We push aside the thoughtful opportunities that could tip us and our company into the high-performance zone.

We start each day by doing; the alarm clock sounds and we’re off! We jump in the shower; dress; eat breakfast; commute to the office, and begin our work day as a series of thoughtless tasks. Doing is automatic and fundamental to our daily existence, and it’s much easier to “do” than it is to stop and consider.

While the “just do it” approach may clear your calendar, it probably won’t give your company a competitive advantage. It’s time we add “thinking” to our schedule. Carving out time to spend on practical, strategic and critical thoughts must become a daily priority in our lives. With so much depending on our ability to think clearly, we must find time to invest in the improvement of our critical thinking skills.

The Discipline of Thinking

Where doing is automatic, thinking requires discipline and focus. Blocking time on your calendar to spend exercising your brain is the first step toward improving your thought processes. The next is to prepare for the mental exercise. Think of it as mental stretching before you give your brain a workout.

No interruptions

You can’t focus your thoughts on strategy when you are constantly being interrupted. Turn off the phone; shut your door and concentrate.

One thing at a time

You must clear your mind of distractions in order to thoroughly consider and solve a business problem. Mental multi-tasking is the antithesis of strategic thinking. Pick one challenge and try to solve it with single-minded purpose.

Think you can

Believing that you can solve the problem at hand is critical to finding the appropriate solution. A lack of confidence in one’s ability leads to anxiety and muddles your thought process. So leave doubt at the door and trust your instincts.

These are a few of the techniques you can use to improve your critical, practical, and strategic thought processes. We’ll explore additional methods for refining your thinking ability in upcoming articles.


Brent Patmos is the founder and President of Perpetual Development, Inc., an organizational performance company serving the exclusive needs of privately-held and family-owned business leaders. You can contact Brent via email: ContactPDI@perpetualdevelopment.com or by phone at 480-812-2200. You can follow Brent on twitter -  @BrentPatmos and connect with him on LinkedIn.