Keeping Your Head on a Swivel

How do you implement the ADJUSTING stage into your business?

How important is remaining open minded, nimble, and flexible – what is called “Keeping Your Head on a Swivel”?

I took my team to school every day…and I called it “The Daily” – or my “Magic Theatre”.

This daily workout session was a brief, morning execution meeting. We tracked our progress toward the vision, we discussed challenges or roadblocks, and we celebrated successes.

In the past, the Superintendent usually lectured at these types of meetings, which was very debilitating for the team. It took time for them to adapt to my open, transparent style of leadership.

I demanded a couple of things during the meeting. First, rank was left at the door, including mine. Second, everyone’s opinion mattered and would be listened to and considered.

In the beginning, we had many awkward moments of silence where people were expecting me to lecture and I was expecting them to share their opinions.

I had to publicly thank people for having the courage to speak up. I had to apologize and show continuous humility before others would take the leap of faith to share what they thought. They were not used to being trusted or consulted, so it took a lot of continuous, small efforts to finally get some dialogue going.

My leadership team kept pushing problems up to my level for solutions and decision. I would push them right back down. I wanted them to start looking for solutions and taking action.

The days of micromanagement were over. I was not paying them to be dependent on me. Some people did not appreciate or understand this break with the command-and-control style of leadership. I had a few officers transfer out, which was the right thing for everyone.

In the end, the daily workout sessions were one of the most successful process tools we had. We began to hack through immediate and pressing challenges, and then moved on to some of the bigger issues. Eventually, we ran out of things to improve. We went back through past meeting notes trying to excavate something we could work on.

Don’t misunderstand. That didn’t mean our Detachment didn’t have daily challenges. It just meant that our workforce was now dealing with issues proactively.

They knew that I didn’t mind being the last to know about some things. In fact, it’s my badge of honor when people are empowered to the point that they are free to solve problems for themselves. My team members would come to the daily workout session and say, “Yes, we had this problem and here’s how we already dealt with it.”

Our Daily was just one of the many ways we were able to keep our head on a swivel and adjust daily – slight course corrections as required.

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