4. Setting the goal. In the next contest, Buddy asks the bakers to make a cake that tells a story. It’s a stretch goal. He doesn’t under-instruct. He doesn’t over-instruct. It’s a “figure it out” project. He knows ahead of time that most of the teams will fail, which accomplishes at least two things. It humbles the teams to know they have a lot to learn. Second, it gives them a chance to stretch, fail and learn from the experience. When the teams present their final products, Buddy asks a lot of questions and gives a lot of feedback, without being demeaning, to help them do it better the next time. He challenges them, but does not deflate them. When justified, he praises them with “Congratulations. You did a good job.”
Buddy is building culture. He’s establishing the prevailing norms of the organization. People accept them, learn them and then repeat them. That’s culture. It matters. Ultimately, it’s your most important competitive weapon. So bring it!
Timothy R. Clark is the CEO of TRClark LLC, a management consulting and leadership development organization. His newest book, "The Employee Engagement Mindset," has just been released from McGraw-Hill. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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