Retail Observer

February 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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Page 43 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM FEBRUARY 2021 44 I t's not particularly good news" the Senior Leader said. "But we have to acknowledge it, own it, and create a plan on what to do about it." This statement was in response to my culture audit presentation for a global organization. The culture was facing several key challenge areas – and lots of bright spots, too. But the leadership team acknowledged them, and that's always a good sign for the future of a culture and company. We know from experience that it's not always comfortable to discover our blind spots, weaknesses, or the unknowns in our world. But we're always better off knowing about them than not knowing. The most confident leaders are willing to examine what's working and what's not on their teams and do something about it. After all, you can't manage what you aren't aware of. Bettering a culture requires that the leaders be willing to discover and look at some hard truths. I've found that the critical and often-missing component to organizational health and what makes a good leader great is self-awareness. And it's tethered to the culture's all-mighty trust metric. Trust is the linchpin that allows teams to be collaborative, productive, creative, innovative, and to drive for exceptional results. Without trust in place teams are apt to behave in the following misguided ways: • They conceal their weakness and mistakes. • They don't offer to help people outside their area or department. • They jump to conclusions without seeking clarity or understanding. • They fail to recognize each others' skills, expertise, experience and perspectives. • They gossip, back-channel and hold grudges. Fostering trust is ultimately about being vulnerable by creating psychological safety. Team members who trust one another can be comfortable being open, even vulnerable, to others around their failures, weaknesses, even fears. Vulnerability-based trust is predicated on the simple and practical idea that people who aren't afraid to admit the truth about themselves are not going to engage in unproductive behavior. With trust in place, getting results is far more likely. Just as self-awareness is the threshold to gaining trust, trust is the linchpin to all the other positive cultural attributes – including outcomes. TETHERING SELF-AWARENESS AND TRUST When team members feel psychologically safe, they're more likely to raise issues, confront reality, speak the truth, hold others accountable, think creatively and be more results-driven. Teams perform better when there's a high level of self-awareness that breeds deep trust. If being self-aware means understanding your internal motivations and desires, and how your actions and attitudes affect others, then organizations need these qualities, too. Self-aware teams are: More efficient, effective, innovative, and more rewarding to be part of. Few teams are naturally self-aware – it requires installing and nurturing a few critical factors. THREE PILLARS FOR ORGANIZATIONAL SELF AWARENESS: 1. Leaders who model the way. All organizations embody and mimic the style of the leader. The leader must show the way through consistent behavior and a willingness to be open, honest, transparent and courageous in the face of human imperfection – their own and others'. 2. Psychology safety. Teams that trust one another are able to lean into their individual and team strengths, while showing their weaknesses and asking for help as needed. 3. Values in action. When you define your values and put them into action, your teams will have an ongoing process to support consistent and aligned team behavior. This "operating system" is built on core values that define standards of behavior and excellence throughout the organization. Self-aware people and teams take the risk of vulnerability because they have the confidence to stand on their conscious, deeply held beliefs. They understand how their behavior affects others, therefore they treat others with respect. This is contagious, when everyone is trained on it. If you want a high-performing culture, you need a self-aware team. It starts with the leaders' willingness to look closely at what's working and what's not within the culture, and the courage to make changes that will improve the lives of everyone on the team. For the past 25 years, Steve has served as an advisor and consultant on brand strategy, organizational life, and humanized marketing strategy, for companies such as Samsung, Habitat for Humanity, LG, and Amazon, and is a regular speaker for TEDx, CES, HOW Conference, and American Marketing Association. The author of three books, (Brand Love and Loyalty, Humanizing the Customer Journey, and The Evolved Brand: How to Impact the World Through the Power of Your Brand), he has been featured in many notable magazines. Steve leads his own brand and business strategic consultancy., 619-234-1211 or RO Steven Morris On Brand SECRETS TO HIGH-PERFORMING TEAMS "Until you make the unconscious conscious it will direct your life and you will call it fate." — Carl Jung "

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