More Capacity for GoodPublished March 30, 2016
One of the hard lessons all successful leaders ultimately learn is that capacity, not desire, is the limit on their influence and their impact. The path to this conclusion has several predictable phases….
In the first phase, a leader assumes he or she can do it all. When we hit hard patches, we double down and eliminate time wasters and employ the latest time management techniques. We pursue efficiency like the Holy Grail. If we are diligent and disciplined, we become like the world-class athlete who has 5% body fat. We are lean. But we ultimately realize we still can’t run a 3-minute mile. Despite our best efforts, we still have limits.
At this point, many leaders discover the power of increased leadership capacity through the formation of a leadership team. I believe a leadership team is one of the greatest innovations of the last 2,000 years. Stop and think about how Jesus approached his work. He could have organized his ministry any way he wanted. What did he do? He built a leadership team! Unfortunately, once many leaders figure out the power of a leadership team, they stop. They fail to realize there is one more fount of abundant untapped potential – their followers.
Jesus’ example is insightful – He didn’t stop after he built a great team. He was not envisioning a future based on what his leaders alone could do. He charged them with making more disciples. His challenge to those first leaders would yield more than an increase in heaven’s headcount; it was a strategic move that would create a quantum leap in Kingdom capacity here on earth—more capacity for good. That is the ultimate promise of increased organizational capacity – a quantum leap in the outcomes you desire.
Once leaders realize the promise and priority of greater capacity, they are then faced with the bigger question: How do I grow organizational capacity? My team invested the last five years trying to answer that question. We discovered four common traits among High Performance Organizations (HPO). We call these the four moves.
High Performance Organizations…
Bet on Leadership
We have never seen a High Performing Organization that wasn’t well led. This is not the most important of the four moves, but it is first among equals – an organization that doesn’t make this move will not have the leadership capacity required to execute the remaining moves. When you do find a HPO, you’ll see leaders who set the pace personally, grow a strong leadership team and intentionally build their bench of future leadership talent.
Act as One
Alignment multiplies impact. When a group of people are truly unified, amazing things can happen. Fragmentation never generates power; it saps it. Leaders in High Performance Organizations create clarity around the ideas that matter, staff with people who align with the vision and values of the organization and honor people who live the values. All of these activities combined unleash real power.
Win the Heart
Engagement energizes effort. Thanks to Marcus Buckingham and our friends at Gallup, the evidence couldn’t be any stronger. Engagement matters. So why are only 30% of American workers engaged at work? For me, this is not an indictment on workers; rather, the leaders should be called to task. If we’ll foster dreams, build genuine community and share ownership, we not only win the hearts of our people, we get their heads and their hands as well.
Excel at Execution
Greatness hinges on execution. For many leaders, execution is both a focus and a frustration. Why is it so hard to deliver consistently on the promises of your organization? In many cases, the answer lies in the previous moves. When you find people well-led, aligned and engaged, consistent execution is much more likely. Combine the moves with a focus on the fundamentals while allowing everyone to know the score, and your chances of winning skyrocket.
How is your organization doing? Have you unintentionally created a culture in which followers are merely bystanders? Imagine what could happen if you decided to create a High Performance Organization. What if you devoted yourself to the four moves? Our data and experience indicate you would begin to tap into a vast reservoir of God-given talent, passion, energy and creativity of your people—you would create more capacity for good!
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About the Author
Mark Miller began his Chick-fil-A career working as an hourly team member in 1977. Since joining the corporate staff in 1978, he has provided leadership for Corporate Communications, Field Operations, Quality and Customer Satisfaction, Training, and Leadership Development. He is a best-selling author with over one million books in print. His most recent book, Win the Heart, was released in March 2019.