Build Collective Leadership Crisis situations showcase the true distance of a corporation's gap
between its rank-and-file employees and its C-level executives. Inevitably, these situations exacerbate the distance. Taco Bell should rally behind this crisis situation as a transformative engine to rejuvenate employee attitudes and behaviors, set ambitious targets to substantiate an aggresive play to regain its footing, and combine frenetic activity from the ground-floor to the balcony. These actions can only come from actively immersing their managers and leaders in finding the solution and collectively developing a cohesive point of view.
Activate Everyone *Ahem* If I may use a McKinsey consultant voice here: Each individual at Taco Bell must cross the threshold of conviction to realize a transformative process. *End voice* Transformative processes born out of noncrisis situations often fail because it lacks an authentic story to rally behind. Taco Bell should get everyone together to communicate this must-win battle and adopt a new vision for its future. Inspire the troops by communicating why this is needed, where the company is headed, and what's in it for the employees. By making everyone an energetic proponent of change, Taco Bell could not only reinforce a corrective response, but also inspire genuine commitment from within (which is the true genesis of change).
Choreograph a New Corporate Reality The new corporate vision should be vivid, compelling, and inspiring. And I'm going to go against the grain and say that the cascade process of communication will not work in this case. Although Taco Bell is a large company with multiple organizational levels, I firmly believe that radical change must come from a two-way dialogue. The practice of top-down, center-out, one-way communications doesn't inspire conviction. Nor does it engender a collective worldview.
I propose an "executive team" meeting of all Taco Bell Managers. Fly them out during the one-week off that Gary suggested. Communicate and develop dialogue there. Once they go back to their teams and engage conversation from within, have the "executive team" fly back to central meeting grounds to finalize its new corporate reality.
After that, it's time to walk the talk.
Note: Thanks to Gary for creating the opportunity to talk about this subject. I hope I was able to provoke some thought.
The day has come... tomorrow, the 10th, will be my last day at eBoost and I'd like to say something to my colleagues before I go.
I can't express in words how valuable it has been to be part of eBoost from its infancy. It's so sad that I won't be close to see it grow... I'd like to address each one of fellow eBoosters below:
Micha - thanks for bringing me on board and taking a chance on me. Thanks for teaching me about PPC, SEO, SEM... gosh, online marketing! You did a fine job! I'm sure you can agree with that :-)
Dee - thanks for keeping the cool and being so organized! You're a very good communicator and I'll take that with me.
Nick - man, you have some energy! Thanks for passing that on and for always being in a good mood :)
Johnny - Johnny boy, I've learned many great things from you, it's too much to describe each one... you're one professional others can look up to.
Josh - I wish I had your desktop :-) You have a great creative mind, I'm glad that's contagious :-D
Amber - I've only had a few days working with you, but I can already see how successful you'll be here at eBoost. You're a fast learner and that's what we need.
Guys, of course I learned much more from each and the whole team together than what I've just said. Working here with all of you has truly been one productive and interesting journey.
I wish you guys and my girlfriend, eBoost, all the success in the world! I'll be watching for the IPO next year, huh?
I know where/how to get you and you guys know where/how to get me, so let's keep in touch. AND.... I hope I've contributed positive things to eBoost and have taught you guys a few things too... samba, bad words in Portuguese, etc.
Funny how even the most successful (and supposedly flawless) people still have many flaws they either don't know about or don't want to admit they have them. Critical to innovation and continuous success, and lacking in many such successful people, is leadership. Believe it or not, some of the greatest weaknesses of our great leaders are in their leadership skills, according to Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter. In their latest book, What Got You Here Won't Get You There, the authors analyze bad habits that stifle successful people from becoming even more successful. Here're the 10 bad habits from BusinessWeek's review:
Winning too much - wanting to win all times at all costs can be detrimental.
Adding too much value - People's overwhelming desire to add their 2 cents to every discussion.
Passing judgment - the need to rate others and impose our standards on them. Helllooooo??? Anybody in Washington reading this? Anybody in Corporate America finally realizing this?
Making destructive comments - if you don't have anything positive/constructive to say, please stay shut. Don't think that sarcasm or cutting remarks make you sound sharp or witty.
Starting with "No", "But", or "However" - These secretly say to people "I'm right, you're wrong"
Telling the world how smart we are - the need to show people we're smarter than they think we are. The funny things is that people who like to tell the world how smart they are don't even realize that people on the other side know about their need (hang up) to tell the world how smart they are. In the end, they look silly and foolish.
Speaking when angry - using emotional volatility as a management tool. LOL, this is so common in Latin America!
Negativity - The need to share your negative thoughts. Really, only if your negative thoughts are critical then go ahead and say it, otherwise keep it to yourself.
Withholding information - power playing to maintain advantage over others.
Failing to give proper recognition (and, I'll add, stealing the ideas of your subordinates) - this is just plain stupid to do! If you don't give people recognition, people don't feel the need to be loyal to you, and you'll be paying the price of a huge turnover ratio.
These are all very good insights I believe anyone, at any stage of one's career, can benefit from. It's hard to overcome these bad habits, but the sooner you start practicing, the better leader you'll be!