In business-speak we just entered the fourth quarter (Q4) of the year. It’s the holiday season in America, with Halloween rolling into Thanksgiving and colliding with Christmas. The marketing onslaught starts working people into a frenzy with people bemoaning that “the holidays seem to be coming sooner every year.” People get crazy for many reasons in Q4.
A recent conference call with Dave Logan, co-author of Tribal Leadership, took a positive spin on how to make Q4 a success in completing the year and being primed for the next. His proactive approach is an antidote for the stress and competition usually seen in companies this time of year. Below are Dave’s tips for a fruitful Q4.
While it helps if you are already familiar with Tribal Leadership, the concepts behind these suggestions are fundamental. Besides, if you are reading this because you recognize the stressors that occur around Q4 and want to minimize them, understanding the culture you have will go a long way in eliminating stress all year round! Having a more productive culture where it’s fun to work and people naturally do the right things is even better! If that’s of interest I encourage you to explore www.triballeadership.net and review our prior posts on Tribal Leadership.
From Turnaround to Yearnaround: People get stressed as the holidays approach. This means that, for whatever stage your company or “tribe” is at, there will be a pull towards regressing to a lower stage. The first step is to make sure your tribe is at least stable at stage 3. That means people are engaged and working and not in the “life sucks” mode! For a list of action steps to elevate cultures click here The antidote to Q4 stress:
1. Encourage triading. At its simplest, a triad is a 3-person relationship where each person “has the back” of the other two. If you’re not familiar with Tribal Leadership look at this as shifting the focus beyond “all about me” to a more fruitful and collaborative direction, where the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.
- Relational triad: each person (leg of the structure) is responsible for the quality of the relationship between the other two parts, based solely on shared values. This does not tie back to a project or to pain points.
- Structural triad: each person (leg of the structure) is responsible for the quality of the relationship between the other two parts, based solely on a shared project and associated pain points that the project is addressing. The focus is on how you can each help each other, like in a networking group.
- Power triads: Combines the qualities of relational and structural triads. The relationships are connected by both shared values and helping each other on projects of mutual concern.
In stage 3 cultures Structural Triads are the ones most tolerated. In stage 4 cultures the values piece is the one that usually leaves the Power Triad, so reinstate it.
2. Express your personal or corporate values with holiday cards. Instead of the standard holiday fare, walk the talk. This is one example from a branding/consulting firm with a core value of “bringing people together.” Their holiday card featured a dialogue box with various religious symbols, and at the bottom it said “Hoping the next year is one where we all have one conversation.”
- Be creative. Invite employees to help create the card and other holiday themed decorations with messages aligned with core values. Resurface core values. And if core values has yet to be an open conversation, the holiday season is a perfect time to segue into it!
2. Forget the neck ties and focus on weak ties. In business you want to be connected to massive amounts of people. You need to do something at least once a year to reach out to all the people in “your world.”
- It could be a small gift or note of appreciation; something personal to maintain the relationship. It need not take a lot of time.
- Reach out to all of these weak ties and touch each one.This sets the stage for stronger more productive relationships including possible triading in the new year.
2. Shake non-performing assets (persons, skills, connections, relationships, budgets, etc.).
- Find every asset and see if you can make it do something. Assets tend to go away if you don’t shake them every once in a while.
- Look at what assets you have that you’re not using. This could be using a skill you have or finding someone in your network and reaching out to see what could happen. Think of this as freshening up or clearing a space for a great new year. It’s certainly a more productive way to engage in Q4 than the usual frenzy.
3. Do a micro strategy (“Outcomes – Assets – Behaviors”) for the first quarter of 2012 (this won’t start until 1/1/12).
See this link for a quick primer on Tribal Leadership strategy.
1. Take your outcomes & really stretch them (i.e. triple them or shorten time frames). That will trip a “no” on the first test question: “do you have enough assets to produce your outcomes?” For you to accomplish something extraordinary in 2012 you will need to stretch by taking actions such as:
2. Touch your weak ties
3. Shake your assets
4. Build power assets
You don’t want this to feel like the obligatory “New Year’s Resolutions” yet you also want to be proactive about the end of year stresses. No one likes the stress and revved-up competition to survive the home stretch. So use your triading and networking skills to galvanize the group to have fun and set the stage for a positive glide into the new year.
We’d love to hear from you about how you made Q4 better this year than in the past!