Speaker 0 00:03 Welcome to the culture of things point Brendan Rodgers. This is a podcast where we talk culture, leadership, and teamwork plus business in school.
Speaker 1 00:21 Hello everybody. Welcome back. I'm Brendan Rogers, the host of the culture of things podcast. This is episode four, part two. This episodes, the second half of my chat with Martin West. As a reminder, Martin is the owner of a consultancy business called ex gap, which is short for execution gap except focuses on helping leaders create conversations that produce healthy team performance. Martin has co-authored, I recently released book called hard road. A leader's journey begins. If you haven't already, I encourage you to go back and listen to episode four part one before listening to this episode. If you have already listened to part one. Let's dive into this episode as Martin shares the other four parts of the model from the book and some more lessons for emerging leaders. Look, Mike, let's move on to the second part of the model. Build strong relationships. So just give us a bit of a summary about what that's about and, and where that came from.
Speaker 2 01:21 Okay. That, uh, was about having good, strong one-on-one relationships with people in your team. The argument and observation that you can have goals, right? You can have interaction or team health right within a cane, but if it's not built on strong relationships that you as a leader personally have with individuals in your team, then it can be a half a cab and it can come down quite quickly. And their observation was that some ladies had not taken a time to spend one on one time with individuals in their time just to get to know them and to find out what their aspirations are and to ask them some simple questions about had I locked to be managed. A lot of things in sames and work and organizations and business are feel a bike in to a schedule, you know, quarterly meetings, annual meetings, the weekly staff meeting.
Speaker 2 02:26 And one of those things seem to be common language and biking. But one of the things that's not biking, not biking well is the one on one and just having a one-on-one for no other reason than the font of the individually to deleting is going, what are their strengths? What are they struggling with? What did I like about your leadership? What motivates them? Doing motor by some systems. Simple questions. So this second part of the model from relationships came from watching this part. Missing from what? So again, a short story. I ran a workshop with a client. It was only four people in the room and was half a guy. And I could tell at the end of the workshop that something was not quite right. And so I just went off script. I just asked a simple question. I asked everyone in the room to write the quality of the relationship.
Speaker 2 03:20 Everyone else in the room, we had the leader, we had three other team members and I just didn't write it. Red, yellow, green and gown and put your answer up on the whiteboard. Sorry. This person went up to the whiteboard. They listen to other people's names on the underneath and right, red, yellow or gray. And lo and behold, three people out of the pool were red. And I write as each other rig. And so I'm looking at it and I said, cause I've just spent four ass together. You're telling me that all the poor people in this room, three of you that have been working together for more than five years, you were writing your personal relationship with each other. Red and I will note it and I said, should we try and fix that? And again, they all known him. And then that led to a whole conversation, the point that why is it red? And it turned out the coolest. It was actually quite straightforward. It was, it was simple to understand. But we'll take to on the phone. What to me was, I didn't uncover this till the end. And so this relationships topic is all about understanding the strength of the relationship that exists between you and the team members. And within the time, because of the red or yellow, then almost doesn't matter what else you're trying to get done. It's not going to get done quickly.
Speaker 3 04:45 Yeah. It really reminds me of a, you mentioned Patrick Lencioni earlier as well on, you know, the, the five dysfunctions and trust and, and conflict being the first to, or the fear of conflict. So again, if those relationships aren't there, are bare and they're not strong, then you're hacking. People have the conversations they need to have to get the improvement and the results I need to have. It's just to me, it's just not logic. It's not possible.
Speaker 2 05:09 No, that's right. And it's so hard to fix it later. I think you just go to, um, dedicate yourself to doing a one on one. And I've seen maybe two or three very simple questions. One of them, they be what motivates you, what the motivates you. And another question would be, what do you like about my leadership style and perhaps anything I can improve. And another third question I love to pose is, where do you see yourself in three years time? I think if you can uncover those sorts of questions in a very informal way, uh, it helps build the picture and builds the relationship
Speaker 4 05:50 <inaudible>
Speaker 3 05:51 yes. Might look great questions and, and you know, great simplicity you're providing as well. Can I just ask for again, listeners, and particularly you mentioned earlier how it's very, very difficult as a leader. You know, we get dragged into so much stuff and day to day in the urgent rather than the important and relationships certainly fits into that important category. What if a leader's is not doing this and having those one-on-ones, what's, what's some simple advice you can give them just to, to build that habit? What would you say to them
Speaker 2 06:19 first I'd say just think about the concept. Think about hat. What do I think the strength of the relationship is with each person individually? Because before you do anything and you go to value the, the topic, do I place value on the strength of model licenses? That's, you've gotta be honest with yourself as a leader. If you not mansplain a place where you, you, you value the strength of those relationships. And it really doesn't matter what I say next and you know sometimes later in seasons where they knew they just scrambling like that kind of seat time to add one on ones. So the first step just say to ask yourself, do I value having strong one on one relationships with my team members and maybe not progress any further with what I'm about to sign next until you get to the point of disowning it.
Speaker 2 07:19 This is super important. Now I've got the Bryant spice. My next piece of advice would be try and fond, if I went to the simplest, simplest, simplest frequency and it would be fond of time every six weeks to sit down one on one with each person you'll train. Now I'd be like, should be more frequently than that, but if he got advice every six weeks and it could be coffee with no agenda, just want to sit down <inaudible> each person in your chain wants every six weeks. If you just do that, you'll be making progress because you're investing time and then if he needs it for more and some sort of agenda. Now perhaps she can go into those questions I said earlier on, it just wants to be six weeks one-on-one. 30 minutes might be 60 minutes coffee and get into the habit of doing that.
Speaker 3 08:21 That's fantastic advice, Mike. I really liked the, I like both points, but particularly that first point. It's, you know, again, it's, this is not a tick the box exercise. If you are not invested in it, if you don't believe that relationships are a key part of, of you being a great leader and getting the best out of your team, then don't just give it lip service. Don't do it because every, all your actions and behaviors after that will not support. Um, you know, that you believe in it. They'll actually support that. You don't believe in it.
Speaker 2 08:50 No. And you'll cancel when they say legacy. That and canceling one-on-ones is a shock at Telegraph scheduling. And I get it sometimes later they're overwhelmed to deal with this crisis or I've got a gun in Chris marble, so I've got to go and create some momentum. Marcel personally, I get it. I'm not saying you have to do this from day one, but at some point you have to fly us out to what value do I place on a relationships.
Speaker 3 09:25 And that's it. I think it gets back to that old saying that what you value or what you, what you value your prioritize and you'll put time to it. So
Speaker 2 09:34 exactly. <inaudible> rather than pretending.
Speaker 3 09:40 Mike, let's move to the third part of the model alignment and cultivating team alignment.
Speaker 2 09:45 Okay. That's plenty that this kind of the model really is what our business was for the past 10 years. It's answering four questions. Is it same side with full? Yeah. But I want to right up front say that the key here is getting blind. And so the full questions we think teams made, um, and I answered to successfully produce results and include the question one, why do we see, what's our purpose? Question two, describe success described some points in the future. Normally one might be <inaudible> and get really clear on what success looks like for the team at that point. Question three, what do we have to focus on in the next six months? The key here is not having a big loose three to four things, nothing more than that. You know, if everything's important, nothing's important. So question three is what do we need to focus on to help drive us toward that picture of success? And then the final question, the fourth one is what do I need to execute? If we know a question, one is the reason and purpose and then we know where we're heading describing success, now we know what to focus on. The last piece of the jigsaw is really being clear personally, what do you need to focus on? What do you need to execute? And keeping that real simple, cool questions. And it's, it's really a workshop that we, we advocate the leader leads the team through to get boring.
Speaker 3 11:17 Mike, what I really love about that and, and again, you know, the model I just really, really love, again the simplicity of it, but probably for some of those leaders out there that are, you know, thinking more, you know, relationships and self-awareness is all good, but we've got to get stuff done. And, and that, that really to me focuses in that alarm and the cultivating. This is where we get stuff done. But you get stuff done better when you've got the self-awareness and when you build the relationships because you'll work together better.
Speaker 2 11:44 Exactly. And look, we have screwed this up as a company. This is where we would have stopped at the model and alignment <inaudible> and saying that quality of relationships is absolutely critical and the state part of that, having some level of self awareness as Kate, um, it's not out of the model, but it is very key. This is all about what is the game plan and how are we going to execute the game plan.
Speaker 3 12:14 I don't have to ask that and something completely random has jumped into my head. But do all of your clients know that you've been treating them as Guinea pigs for this last 20 years?
Speaker 2 12:29 Tell her to tell him,
Speaker 3 12:32 look, isn't that the best? It's the best learning ground isn't it? It's the best learning gram.
Speaker 2 12:37 Yeah. If we're not saying we know everything, Lisa's matches way help thing and we'll enjoy it. Especially, you know, longer term relationships with he can be more uptime, more crank and really enjoy the journey that you sports and all the stuff we're good at the stuff and not many of that corresponds with, for instance, realized that my business partner and I built it together. Um, with the, we love what you do. It get better when brag and city and Boston, you get good car license pretty honest with you, which is good.
Speaker 3 13:28 And on the topic mate, I mean the uh, the sum of the parts together is better than just the individual parts. Right? So again, you and you and Mark Mikey, great team. I love what you said before about, you know, you don't know everything, but I think the key message in this is yeah, none of us knows everything, but you are really open to improvement, like a lot of the great leaders out there and that that's what distinguishes you from maybe the average versus to to what you're achieving today.
Speaker 2 13:53 Yeah, I mean I can be a far way Lincoln here, but we might've been business took 10 years to realize that same health and behaviors or importance. Um,
Speaker 3 14:08 like dare I say it, dare I say it, you and Mark market just me and miles like us and maybe you need a little bit of female influence to help you move forward a little bit quicker, but let's not go into that area. Just let, let's move on to the, let's move onto the fourth part around discipline and establishing team team discipline before you, before you explain that I get the feel and the saints and I use some of my experiences. This is probably the, the tough part, listless about maybe determining the behaviors around that and what the team disciplines are. But more the application and the uh, the constant accountability attached to that. How about you explain some more?
Speaker 2 14:48 So the next fifth upon the next lesson, is it out of the province discipline. And it's really an accountability. This one and age is why I can pull this up, but sign up till this point, all we've done is establish a plan, build great relationships and gotten self-aware. We don't know what's actually happening. And so the tame mating is the cornerstone of the discipline that we're talking about there. There are several aspects of the discipline, but the weekly team meeting is the corner side. And the reason that's a cornerstone because it's the game, it's the time where you get to see what happened, what did not happen, what do we need to JJ for lay Knicks. And you get to see that come to the surface. We've got a very specific why we think that same meeting should be run every week. But the overarching corny, unless you've got some way to check progress with the gang or you've gone, um, so this is really bad execution walk, that executed and discipline just means something that's repeated. Um,
Speaker 3 16:09 about three times a week.
Speaker 2 16:12 Okay. Three times a week as a discipline. I haven't asked you what you do, how long you do it for K times a week as a discipline. If you'd said three times a month on gas, not really discipline. Maybe it's something that you dabble in every now and then. So discipline this mind something that is repeated regularly. It doesn't mean it has to be right. It has to be the same every time. It just, it's the repetition that's the case and we think the key part of that, it's a waste of time.
Speaker 3 16:43 My, I don't want to put words into your mouth, but I get the sense that understanding disciplinary and in my opinion there is a severe lack of disciplining in to be fair, the global society and people's behaviors. Is this the toughest part of the model for leaders to really grasp into and to show the discipline needed
Speaker 2 17:03 they getting, because I'm saying with the big point here is the weekly team meeting, you know there's a monthly meeting with things should happen, a quarterly meeting, but the weeklies the key I found that once claims my st Jody do made it so it's not like meetings calling. It's supposed to, most of them are not done well. Two thirds of the meeting is a general status of mountain guys when they might be a little bit in discussions about what we started to flip that around. We we limit the amount of agenda for weekly team meeting and maximum Matt of what we call real time and general or discussions about and off on. Once a came get a type of a different way of doing the team meeting, then the discipline part of it I doing it becomes a lot easier. So it's like trying the new way is part of the Cape most pains. I think now that meetings are part of the culture, it's just the experience of them. It's been really bad. And so we try and show, Hey, you can have a really good experience with claim Modi and once crime experienced a new way of doing it. If I get a victim to a time this was right. Um, but how do we ever do things differently then this way?
Speaker 3 18:19 Yeah. Once again, a great point. I mean I'm not sure that there's a lot of leaders out there. They're enjoying the meetings that they're having and you know, to use your analogy about being at the game, you know, the game they're playing. So anything that can be done to help them and understand how to have better meetings, it's ah, surely everyone would have to be quite open to that.
Speaker 2 18:38 Yeah, analyze it. Otherwise, the planning period in the previous lesson ran, it's just a staffing. But as we know, the sames and worth has dynamic stuff changes every week and they only want a sound. Top of that is that claim writing. Otherwise you've got a bit of pipe that sits in the drawer and you're just hoping for the best or you're really good at eMAR and that neither of those is a substitute for a robust dynamic. Interesting. Sometimes conflict field, weekly team meeting.
Speaker 3 19:09 You just touched on something we haven't spoken about and I guess we won't, we'll we'll go into a little bit of that, but all of these bits are connected and let, let's, we'll talk about the connection of these, but let's, let's share about the last part of the model around coaching.
Speaker 2 19:24 I coaching the regionally fond that this is the last and most important part of the model is ultimately your job as a leader. It's about other people in the came. It's not a bad news and types of people sometimes will come to realize that it's not about me, it's about others. So you have to change your mindset and ultimately your role as a leader and the thing that will bring you the most satisfaction is the two. You can see individuals in the team improve and therefore the team collectively improve. If you can sit back and look at the team and think you've help individuals on the team become better and you can find the blind spots to do that. Um, a simple method to doing that. That is the most satisfying thing. I later the team and we advocate a very simple approach to coaching coworker Cray box approach to coaching which is imagine a new mind, a visual picture of a one box, let's say down the bottom right corner of a whiteboard and it listened <inaudible> performance, what there is, where you want to get clear with someone you're coaching, what they count performances, how they count producing, performing or delivering.
Speaker 2 20:48 The next box is upper left corner arrow pointing toward its future performance. That's a description in two or three dot points and where will we love to see you as an individual in the future to we'll say dope points on performance delivery, old behavior at some point in the future. And then the K box is the third box, which is really where you need to help individuals understand why you are in it with them is the house and the third box is almost pointing halfway between the other two boxes. It's the house, it's really an agreement on what are the steps we're going to take and then they wakes and moms to help you get from counter pizza and that how boxes really the coaching bolts. It's whereas as a coach you're working with the individual getting clear on what is it that need to happen.
Speaker 2 21:39 Has it made it happen? How can you help them and make sure you not scaring them with massive steps. Doesn't need to be big challenges. We think coaching is K it's, it's the juice behind being a team leader. You know, all the previous steps are important. Getting cell phone, you don't become a attain. Lay to death to get soap away or just to build strong relationships or to build, get alignment or discipline. Ultimately you're in a leadership role and often looking that brings most satisfaction and does for me as a consultant, it's helping individuals contains improved and so coaching is critical for that
Speaker 3 22:18 and I think it's a, I'm pretty sure you and I would agree on this page is that, look, if that's not your motive and you know why you've gone into a want to go into leadership positions, then you're probably doing it for the wrong reasons.
Speaker 2 22:31 Yeah, yeah, that's true. That's right. And sometimes you know, especially new later, sometimes you just shot us of OD and so when a new leader reads this book and I say coaching and there they might think I'm man, how am I going to have time for that, Amy? She didn't have time for that. You just absorb that. Ultimately I'm going to get most satisfaction not out of getting promoted, but out of thing, click on improve agent. I can just absorb that point. That's going to be really helpful.
Speaker 3 23:04 Right. Well, even the best players are, or actually the best players have coaches. That's why they're the best. Right?
Speaker 2 23:09 That's right. That's exactly right.
Speaker 3 23:11 Like rep wrapping up the model. So I'm an, I'm a new leader. I pick up the book, I, I spend the money on it. Fantastic. I have a read and I'm going to spend the next six or 12 months on self-awareness because I think I need to, is that, is that how I should apply this or can I, can I move between the how, how, how linked, how interconnected are these things?
Speaker 2 23:31 Um, I would, I would work on the first two really quickly. If I was looking at the model, I'd be trying to put up and Amani later put Hagen, we'll send a diet we're on to do step three. That's the alarm. And I put that pig maybe three months. And if you weren't feeling confident, maybe four months, five months out, you need to put a pig in the sand where you're going to have the team together and the sods are working. Why? To the pool questions under the line, which is purpose success. What are we gonna focus on? What these personnel to execute the calm between now and then as we work on those um, self-awareness and building strong relationships. If you'd asked me of all the things on the book, if I was just to do two, if I was to walk line this to one or two, where would the starting point day? The two I would say start with a self awareness exercise. Get some feedback from your team and maybe Akia and might be a boss on your strengths and weaknesses. Just get that as honestly as you can. And the second thing was start wrapping your head around how to do really good weekly team meetings. That'd be the two starting points. If he, if you can get those two things into um, rhythm, Michael sat on those two, that'd be a good place to stop.
Speaker 3 25:03 That's fantastic mate. Thanks for sharing that advice. And I think for me, and what I really want to get across as well is that, you know, you don't, you don't just tick one off and you're done with it. You know, these things are living and breathing. It's live. And you should always be constantly working on each part.
Speaker 2 25:20 Yeah, yeah. No, that's true. That's true and I think by, by fooling, some people are going to be naturally stronger at some things than others, but we some people who are listening it sort of right at the alarm pass might need to do some work on self awareness and relationships. Others will be great at those too, but I'm so great at the alignment and weekly team discipline, so I think you've got to match your own situation and wiring and personality and each person should be able to work at, okay, I know I need to do some work here.
Speaker 3 25:53 I've taken a lot of your time today and I really appreciate you explaining the model in such detail and that that is just going to be so helpful for our listeners. There's so much gold to be taken from that. If we go and go into, just wrapping this up, what, what's the impact that you and Mark are trying to have on on leaders and particularly emerging leaders through this book? What are you trying to achieve?
Speaker 2 26:15 Really, really simple. Might help them. Never come the limit to that same. We want every leader have the right tools, the right skills, and be positioned so that they're always ahead of the team because there wasn't entertainment person. Like I said at the beginning, some of this has come at a time. It's watching senior leaders who are the limits. I thought you had a different approach, maybe not say, but 10 years ago if you'd able to absorb some of these lessons we're talking about here. If you look 20 years in, you'll carry some of these times as a habit if you will, two years or five years or seventies and you create and you'll just spouting your leadership journey. You can make these changes pretty quickly. So helping leaders never become the limits that same.
Speaker 3 27:12 I love the simplicity of that message fan. Fantastic. Like if just as a, as a final word for our listeners, what is, if you could give them one bit of advice and really you've given so many bits of advice through this interview, but if there was one bit of advice you'd like to give to leaders today, what would that be?
Speaker 2 27:32 The advice on games is one that I think all our to use personally in our own business and with our clients. I'm trying to think of the right words to describe it, but the advice is to be more open and the word is wrong. Rubble. And what I mean by that is if you not a conversation needs to happen with a client or a team member or a boss or a peer or walk or a husband concrete it all, it requires vulnerability and courage to fight for the things that we know are holding us back that we're not doing anything bad at Mati financial discipline, physical discipline and mopey. Someone in that same and most attempts something holding us back and if we spend even just a few minutes thinking about it by us can pinpoint what that is. The hard part is actually doing something about it and most of it starts with a conversation with someone.
Speaker 2 28:46 So my parting advice would be write down the thing that you think is holding you back in this context is later the plane I saw non Toms at a 10 it's going to point to a conversation you need to have with someone. Put that person's name in the blanks. But who is it on Nathan gown tool too. And my advice would be to have the vulnerability and courage to do that exercise. Go and have the conversation. If the pertain manga, the pier, the boss, the person you know you'd been putting it off needs to happen. Kind of make it happen.
Speaker 3 29:28 That's great advice mate. So really the, the summary of that for me was being vulnerable is the starting point. So as a leader be more vulnerable and that will create the opportunity for conversation and who knows what's happening and what happens from there.
Speaker 2 29:44 That's right. And everyone, all of us including you've been an inmate, had a conversation we probably should've had a week or a month or a year ago that we haven't had. We need to have. It doesn't require a lot of pain to work out what it is. Most good things are on the other side of the right conversation.
Speaker 3 30:03 And, and again, it's a, it's a great point that you raised because it, you know, you are living and breathing this, I'm living and breathing this in my business, but we can still find this tough, you know, we reflect back and think, did I really have the right conversation a week or two weeks or a month ago? So it's not easy to get it, but probably that, again, going back to your model and being self-aware around that and who you are, then that can help and being vulnerable to, to move forward with that. That really sets a solid foundation.
Speaker 2 30:31 Great chatting, Mark.
Speaker 3 30:32 Mike, thank you very much. As a final, final point, now, how can, if listeners wanted to ask you a question, you're a man with unbelievable experience. If our listeners wanted to get in touch with you, how can they do that?
Speaker 2 30:45 Probably why he's wanted to contact you. You can give him a date though.
Speaker 3 30:49 Oh, that sounds like a buck pass.
Speaker 2 30:51 Okay, no email is nothin. Don't waste at <inaudible> dot com um, and the third way would be the same day towels are on the website for the book, which is hydroid leadership.com we've set a website up just for the book. They told her there as well.
Speaker 3 31:17 Excellent. So yes, hard road leadership.com a fantastic website. There's a online coaching course associated with the book as well. So look and you can buy the book online through that website. So it's, I'd thoroughly recommend, it's a fantastic read, great nuggets. As you can hear from the interview today. Martin has some fantastic insight in the work that human Mark, his business partner of Dannon and putting this book together is fantastic. And the exciting thing is that from what I read through the book and in the light of hot, is that there's a book two and a book three that'll be coming out at some stage in the future. So I look forward to hearing that. Martin, thank you very much for your time, Mike. I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Uh, it was a fantastic stroke of luck meeting you and having you in my life and thanks very much for sharing today.
Speaker 2 32:03 <inaudible>. Thanks a hundred on that
Speaker 3 32:10 <inaudible>. That concludes my two part interview with Martin. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. Once again, it was really tough to only pick three key takeaways from this second part of my conversation with Martin, but here they are. My first key takeaway, building strong relationships, particularly one one, relationships.
Speaker 1 32:41 Do you value one-on-one relationships? If you do, you will have the brain space and you'll make the time to do them. It's absolutely vital to take the time to get to know the people in your team as real people. If you aren't making the time for it, you need to consider this question that Martin mentions. What value are you placing on relationships in your team? My second key takeaway coaching and helping people improve. Ultimately your job as a leader is about other people in the team. It's not about you. This thinking requires a mindset shift. In some leaders. As a leader, they should be nothing more satisfying than seeing other people in the team improve. Martin talks about a simple three box coaching model. Firstly, get clear on current performance, then decide on what the future performance looks like and then agree the steps to take to improve from current to future.
Speaker 1 33:49 I really love the quote Martin mentioned coaching is the juice behind being a team leader. My third key takeaway is related to Martin's final piece of advice for leaders and he said be vulnerable and courageous. Talk about things that we know are holding us back and impacting on performance. Write down what you think is holding you back in the context of leading a team and show the vulnerability and courage and do something about it. As Martin said, most good things are on the other side of the right conversation, so in summary, build strong one-on-one relationships. Get good at coaching and helping people improve. Be vulnerable and courageous and have the conversations that you need to have. If you have any questions or feedback about this episode, please feel free to send me a [email protected]
dot. I U. Thank you for listening. Stay safe. Until next time,
Speaker 0 34:58 thank you for listening to the culture of things podcast with Brendan Rodgers. Please visit Brendan rodgers.com dot. AAU to access the show notes. If he loved the culture things podcast, please subscribe, right and give a review on Apple podcasts and remember, a healthy culture is your competitive advantage.