Transform Talent Into Strength

Super Bowl Lii is coming this weekend pitting two iconic American cities - Boston and Philadelphia - against each other to see which will field the best football team in the land. And as players, coaches and fans of the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for the Big Game, there will be heated debate about who will win the matchup. But, one thing that is indisputable, regardless of who scores the most points on Sunday, it's the Patriots that are the winners. 

You see, the Patriots organization has figured out how to cultivate team success on a consistent basis over nearly 2 decades, by developing a system that not only is expert in identifying talents, but that understands how best to consistently transform those talents into organizational strengths. The team's leader prime mover - the initial source of energy directed towards a goal - is the coach Bill Belichick. 

Results don't lie, as you can see in this great piece on the subject from the Harvard Business Review.

Since 2001 under Belichick, the Patriots have finished first or second in their division every year, failed the make the playoffs only twice and been to eight Super Bowls, of which they've won at least five. This consistency is a demonstration that leadership development linked to success is often formulaic. 

For our purposes, we'll define talent as naturally recurring patterns of thought, feeling and behavior that can be productively applied. Strengths, on the other hand, are defined as the ability to consistently provide near perfect performance in any given activity. And to achieve the kind of consistent success that Belichick and his Patriots have enjoyed, they have applied a simple equation: Talent x Investment = Strength.

But you might be wondering, what does this have to do with my business? Perhaps you don't have the luxury of hand-picking talent to fit into a system relies on million-dollar coaches and athletes. Regardless of your organizational challenges, we believe the Talent-to-Strength equation can be successfully applied to your teams and result in improved performance across a multitude of domains. And it is this philosophy of system design that many organizations fail to connect to their activities regularly.

Here are some ways to begin thinking about how to convert your team's talents into strengths:

- Adopt a strengths assumption approach to problem solving

- Establish an awareness of individual and team strengths

- Apply a team's organizational strengths daily

- Identify and track key performance metrics 

This is what we do with our clients. We work with them to understand how best to leverage the talents of their team members. It's a way to develop a framework that helps team leaders to put teammates in the best possible positions to help the organization succeed and encourage individuals to utilize their talents more consistently.

For more information on how to help organizations uncover the talents of its employees and turn those talents into strengths, please contact OVP Management Consulting Group Inc. We look forward to helping your organization grow and win!  

 

 

 

 

Problem-Solving in The New Year

The New Year is a chance to assess one's progress towards established goals. Whether in a large organization, a team of 10 people or an individual, reflection on previous work is critical to establishing new baselines for success. 

I recently came across a simple yet brilliant series of steps by marketer and founder of Arkay Marketing & PR Lucy Rendler-Kaplan that show how individuals can enhance their personal brands. Her 6 Tips to Strengthen Your Brand tells why its so important to know the building blocks of your brand before you can change it or improve it. At OVP Management Consulting Group Inc. we think those tips are an important part of being able to help our clients with strategic thinking and effective problem solving. 

If you've read our blog before, you've come across topics like Designing Your Leadership Vision, Establishing Trust and Borderless Leadership. In each of these, we've talked about why it is important for leaders to understand the strengths/weaknesses of themselves and their teams when trying to solve problems and set achievable goals. We believe that any successful marketing effort (team or individual) must be predicated on a clear understanding of one's goals and skills are.

 Facilitating a discussion about workplace diversity for Leadership Detroit in Detroit, Michigan.

Facilitating a discussion about workplace diversity for Leadership Detroit in Detroit, Michigan.

At OVP Consulting, we encourage all of our clients to begin their journey with us by taking an individual assessment that begins the process of identifying talents (hidden and obvious). We think its a great way to help leaders of teams establish the baseline needed to set appropriate goals, as well as point out the skills needed to achieve success.

In 2018, we are looking forward to working with our clients to set new goals and uncover new ways to approach solving of problems. We've begun partnering with firms from around the country to help leaders of organizations think and manage more strategically. 

Here's a short list of things we recommend leaders consider when attempting to fix problems on teams:

- Get agreement on your problem-solving methodology: Using established methods such as Lean Six Sigma, Hypothesis Testing, Continuous Improvement Process Design or Route Cause Analysis are just some of the approaches used to understand problems. Having a common language to tackle problems is critical to your success.

- Consider changing up how you conduct team meetings: If you typically have a traditional "around the horn" sharing of information meeting as  your model, perhaps consider a more structured style. For example, developing the habit of distributing meeting agendas, requiring advanced preparation or alternating meeting roles on a team can help uncover hidden roadblocks to the successful leveraging of your meetings to address problems.

- Bring outside perspectives into the discussion: This can be a difficult (and often humbling) approach for leaders, when looking to address the fixing of entrenched problems. Many business consultants believe bring outside voices into these sessions is among the most important things a leader can do. An outsider's perspective can be "instrumental in rethinking a problem quickly and properly." 

- Conduct a Go-and-See to observe a problem first hand: To effectively dive into problem solving (whether financial, operational or cultural), leaders must have first-hand observations to begin dissecting a problem. We sometimes like to call it "Standing in the Circle" which refers to observing an issue from one particular location over a period of time to truly understand an issue. 

Ensure everyone on the team participates by writing their definition of the problem: This goes along with the idea that when seeking input from team members, it isn't just enough to take a "verbal poll" of their opinions on an issue. It is critical to have their perspectives in writing. Once opinions are shared in writing, it gives team members a stake in the eventual outcome of a problem solving journey. It also serves as a real-time check on whether there is consensus on what problem is being addressed. 

Looking for some supplementary reading that goes deeper into the area of problem solving? I would recommend picking up The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker. It's not just for manufacturing. 

 

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If you are interested in learning more about how to incorporate some of these problem-solving techniques with your teams, we'd love to help. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (coming soon)!