Byron's Babbles

Serving Instead Of Putting On A Show

So, let’s see here; if we are constantly looking up to make sure our boss is seeing and approving of us or bragging about what we’ve done, we’re probably paying less attention to the people we’re now leading or worse yet, our customers. If your organization follows a traditional hierarchy, which most unfortunately still seem too, attention will naturally shift up — be directed up the hierarchy. Ever been a part of an organization where there always seem to be the favorites, you must make sure those high on the hierarchy are hearing every great thing you do, or having to make sure you’ve bragged on those high on the hierarchy? It’s not a good place to be.

In Simple Truth #3, Servant Leaders Turn The Traditional Pyramid Upside Down, in Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice we are told by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley that great leaders turn the hierarchy over and make those closest to the customer the top of the organizational pyramid. For example, in a school, this would put the teachers at the top of the pyramid. In this model, the principal serves the teachers. Let me tell you from experience, this works. What this ultimately does is place the customer (in my example, the student) at the top of our organizations. This really shifts us to an intent-based leadership model where everyone is a leader. Then, everyone is serving.

Can You Get Your Deck Chair Unfolded?

Simple Truth #2 this week in Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice by Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley was “Every great organization has a compelling vision.” We spend quite a bit of time on this in the leadership development work I do. So many times this just becomes a task to get done, then laminated and pinned on the wall. Then when someone is coming to visit everyone better have it memorized. Worthless, right? Right! I love the three elements: 1. Purpose; 2. Picture of the future; and 3. Values.

It is then so important to involve all stakeholders in the development and living out of the vision. Basically, we are answering the question: “Where are we going and what is going to get it there?” Thinking of the vision in the three parts suggested in Simple Truths of Leadership gives context and life to the vision. This reminded me of someone once referring me to an interaction between Charlie Brown and Lucy in a Peanuts comic:

“Life, Charlie Brown, is like a deck chair. Like a what? Asks Charlie Brown. Lucy then explains. Have you ever been on a cruise ship? Passengers open up these canvas deck chairs so they can sit in the sun. Some people place their chairs facing the rear of the ship so they can see where they’ve been. Other people face their chairs forward – they want to see where they’re going. On the cruise ship of life, which way is your deck chair facing?”

Charlie Brown replies: “I’ve never been able to get one unfolded.”

Peanuts, Charles M. Schultz

We need to help everyone get their deck chairs unfolded and facing forward to the future.

Results & Relationships

You all know how I love books that are split up into 52 distinct chapters/lessons. Well, here in the first week of 2022 I have been blessed with starting a new one, by an author who I greatly respect, have read all his books, and heard him speak several times. That author is Dr. Ken Blanchard. I’m sure you recognize that name. I am on the launch team for Dr. Blanchard’s new book that he wrote with Randy Conley, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice. I was so excited to get an advance copy of the book and to make this the book that I commit to doing one of the lessons each week and writing a blog post about in 2022. The book releases on February 1st. You need to go ahead and get your pre-order done.

I had to chuckle when I first started reading this book and came across, “When it comes to servant leadership and trust, we both wonder why the principles we see as common sense are so seldom used in common practice” in the introduction of the book. Ken went on to say, “If today’s leaders had a more commonsense approach to leadership, we’d venture to say that 65 to 70 percent of the workforce would not be considered disengaged.” This is such a timely book because a common theme keeps coming up in my leadership development work – we are forgetting the simple things. In fact, I blogged about Simple Things in one of my last posts of 2021 before I’d even started this book. I am super excited to dig in and unpack the learning of this great book. The book is divided into two parts. The first part is on servant leadership and written by Ken Blanchard. Randy Conley wrote the second part on building trust. So, let’s dive right in with lesson #1.

Simple Truth #1 – Servant Leadership is the best way to achieve both great results and great relationships.

We are reminded that we all need to feel connected and have a shared sense of what is valued. “Results” and “people” are not mutually exclusive. Vision and direction are leadership responsibilities, but cannot be a top-down function. As I always say, if you have included everyone on the front end, you don’t have to worry about buy in on the back end, because it will already be there. And, if we are truly servant leaders we will be shoulder to shoulder with those we serve providing personal and professional growth opportunities, actionable feedback, listening, and communication. We can have our cake and eat it too when it comes to results and relationships.