Why Focus On Relationships?

“Resort to fault finding rather than problem solving
is a common flaw in organizations,
and one that undermines both performance
and the potential to improve performance over time.”

W. Edwards Deming, the father of Total Quality Management

Everything starts with a relationship.  If your mission is to make your company a great place, you can only accomplish it as a team.  It is important to have shared goals and it’s just as important to achieve them through the power of relationships.

Who is the most important to an on-time departure?  The pilot?  The mechanic?  The baggage handlers?  The ticket agents?  The air traffic control?  Or each of them, together?  If the flight doesn’t take off on time, who loses?  Does the customer care whose fault it is?

Let’s see the difference this simple method of leadership can create within your organization.  Company A has no shared goals.  Unfortunately, in this company when something goes wrong, they need to be able to pin it on someone.  You should hear them fight over whose department is responsible!  Who can we pin it on? Sales? Customer Service? Merchandising?  Warehouse? Housekeeping? Deliveries? Why do we have to have someone to pin it on? The reason is simple.  There are no shared goals.

An employee of Company A are primarily interested in protecting their job. They seek out actions that help make them “look better”, even if it means pushing someone elses down.  They do not want to accept responsibility for undesirable results (the type that would go on a Scoreboard).  Are these the same self-serving leaders that take the credit when things are good? Are these attributes of servant-leaders?

Now, let’s notice the difference in Company B, where there are shared goals.  When something goes wrong here, we figure out the problem.  It’s a matter of working together.  There’s no finger pointing here. We operate on shared goals, shared knowledge and mutual respect.  

Common companies practice finger pointing.  As a leader, it’s your responsibility to be the uncommon company by focusng on problem solving at the very core.  Who will people look to when there are challenges? Where do they go when your mission, principles or values are compromised by another employee? They can’t wait to see how you respond! And this is when the rubber hits the road.

Leadership is the ability to influence people to get results.  How will your response to management issues determine your success and ability to influence people?  This is always an opportune time to tie your leadership back to your shared goals.  As a guide, remember what your shared goals are and what they do.  Communicate their importance as you problem solve and make decisions around resolution.


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