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Invite Them to the Table

The Table - What happens around a Table? Many of us eat dinner around a table. What else do you do at the "dinner table?" Do you watch TV, have a conversation, look/respond to your cell phone, or does everyone eat by themselves? One of the richest times is when a meal is shared with others and there is conversation around the table. A table is a great opportunity to connect with others. This "Leadership Table" time of sitting with others and digging into leadership challenges can be extremely satisfying. The challenge is that it can become a complaint session.

Tim Elmore, founder and president of Growing Leaders makes these comments about culture in the workplace: The better the organizational culture, the less policies and corporate processes are required to enforce behavior. Examples given are Zappos, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A, Netflix. This statement works in reverse as well. The weaker the culture, the more leaders must rely on policies and procedures to make people behave a certain way. Let's look at the Chick-fil-A culture... When hiring, this company may have as many as 250 applicants. Compare CFA to other similar businesses - many are in the fast food business. CFA is in the people development business. CFA develops people to serve other people. And if you're aware of their company values, you may remember that CFA doesn't work on Sundays. To add to that, I recently found out that CFA makes more money in 1 week (open 6 days) than the next 3 company's combined make in their 7 days/week of operation. Those next 3 companies: McDonalds, Subway, and Starbucks. Businesses with leadership culture, tend to propagate a continuing leadership culture. A company's culture is the expression of the values of the people within the organization.

John Maxwell encourages everyone to ACT (apply, change, teach). When you are learning something new, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What can you apply to your life?

  • What can you change about yourself?

  • What can you teach to someone else to help them?

When people are at the Leadership Table, they get to practice leadership. There's a fantastic study done in 1991 by psychologist Anders Ericsson and 2 colleagues. They studied violinists at the Music Academy of West Berlin. Boys and girls were divided up into 3 groups based on their perceived ability:

  • Students capable of careers as international star soloists.

  • Students capable of careers in the world's best orchestras.

  • Students capable of careers teaching music.

To make the story short, I'll just summarize the findings.

Biographies of the students in all 3 groups was very similar. Most began practice at age 8, decided to become musicians before they turned 15, had studied under about 4 teachers and had on average studied 1.8 other instruments in addition to violin. There was no remarkable difference in talent between them when they started. So what was the difference. Practice time. By age 20, the bottom group had practiced 4000 fewer hours than the middle group and the middle group had practiced 2000 thousand few hours than the top group, which had practiced 10,000 hours. Purposeful practice was the only factor distinguishing the best from the rest.

Who are you brining to your leadership table? What is the true culture of your team or family? If you are curious about your values and the culture around those you lead, we would love to resource you and be your thinking partners!

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