Dolly the Sheep

DollyFor my money, the most challenging aspect of being a leader is being a leader of people. When I think about where I spend the most time, and where I’ve faced my most challenging issues, it always comes back to the people. The art and science of leading people can get remarkably complicated, so much so that it sometimes feels like you need a PhD in psychology on certain days. Two of your team members can’t stand each other and the office is choosing sides. Your top performer lost his/her mojo and isn’t delivering anymore. Your most experienced and best-liked team member has lost the drive and is punching in and punching out. Any of this sound familiar? Just another day in the life of a leader. So what’s the secret? Well, unfortunately like most things in life, there is no magic bullet, but I the closest thing I’ve found is Dolly the Sheep. Baaa

You may recall a few years ago a few scientists made history by successfully cloning Dolly the Sheep. And believe it or not, the most successful leaders are passionate Dolly fans. See, at the most basic level, whether at work, socially or romantically, people either “click” or not. And if they click, it is because they fundamentally share the same core values. These are the things that mean the most to them that cannot be taught. When people don’t click, friction occurs, bad things can happen, and ultimately, that means extra time spent as a leader. Most people don’t step back and take the time to identify what their core values really are, so they perpetually deal with people issues day after day, not understanding how to make the issue go away forever. Having been that leader for too many years myself, I stumbled upon a framework we’ll call “Dolly,” that hasn’t eliminated my people issues, but it has to have reduced them by easily 90 percent. If I calculate what an hour of my time is worth, that is a ton of value being put to far better use in the organization. Dolly goes something like this: think about your team and who the people are that you’d like to go all Dolly on and clone them because they are so wonderful to work with. Then get a piece of paper or a whiteboard and try to describe what it is about them that makes them such a fantastic fit. Then look for the trends. What were the 3 to 7 best descriptors of what it means to be a rock star employee in your organization? Those are your core values. And the best part is that you didn’t make them up out of thin air or put them on a wish list to aspire to; they already define what is best about your culture, and now that you’ve brought them out of the shadows, you can go Dolly on them. Now take a moment and do a simple check by running through each of your employees and asking if they meet each of the core values you came up with. You will quickly notice the ones you have the most issues with get the most “no’s.” You have to decide how many “no’s” you are willing to live with, but realize that every “no” represents friction with that person throughout the organization, and that means time spent dealing with it for you. We don’t allow any “no’s” in our organization; for so many reasons it just isn’t worth it. Whatever yours happens to be, it is your responsibility as a top notch leader to set free those people that do not meet all or some of your core values. They, too, feel the friction and aren’t as happy as they could be. Meeting or not meeting core values has nothing to do with being a good or bad person; it simply defines whether they fit in an organization. At this point, you may be scratching your head with a few folks because they meet all the core values with flying colors, yet you are still having your share of headaches with them. There are two succinct reasons why you have people problems: Either they do not meet your core values and/or they are not a fit for their specific position. Paraphrasing Jim Collins, it is very common to have Dollys that belong on the farm but are in the wrong pen. If you want to save lots of time dealing with people issues, email me at cwills@studentpaths.com with the secret password DOLLY in the subject line and I’ll send you the list of our core values and a tool we use to evaluate whether our team members meet those core values and are in the right seats on the bus. Father Time, or Chris Wills, is passionate about helping other leaders learn and grow and free up time they didn’t think they had. He is the Founder of Student Paths, an organization that better prepares students for their future in college, career and life readiness.

Chris Wills About Chris Wills

Father Time, or Chris Wills, is passionate about helping other leaders learn and grow and free up time they didn’t think they had. He is the Founder of Student Paths, an organization that better prepares students for their future in college, career and life readiness. You can reach Chris at: cwills@studentpaths.com

Comments

  1. Jay Circosta,Counselor says:

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