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The 4 Stages of Leverage When Building a Team: Stage #4 - The High Leverage Stage:

Updated: Nov 29, 2023

After reaching the Momentum Stage, organizations can transition to the High Leverage Stage. In this stage, the focus shifts to building a high leverage team through 1 on 1 coaching, trust, and transparency.

John C. Maxwell said, "Leadership is not about titles, positions or flowcharts. It is about one life influencing another." By investing in their team members, leaders can create a culture of inter-dependence that leads to opportunities for all.

A Culture of Inter-Dependence:

A culture of interdependence is one where team members work collaboratively and rely on each other's strengths to achieve common goals. This type of culture recognizes that everyone has unique skills and perspectives, and that success is best achieved through teamwork.

Stephen Covey, in his book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," describes interdependence as the highest level of human effectiveness. He states, "Interdependence is a higher value than independence. Independence is the paradigm of I. Interdependence is the paradigm of we."

In a culture of interdependence, team members communicate openly and honestly, share knowledge and resources, and support each other in achieving individual and team goals. They recognize that their success is dependent on the success of their colleagues and are willing to put aside personal differences for the greater good of the team. This type of culture can be fostered by creating an environment of trust, where team members feel safe to share their thoughts and ideas without fear of judgment. Leaders can also encourage interdependence by recognizing and rewarding collaborative efforts, and by providing opportunities for team members to work together on projects and initiatives.

In a culture of interdependence, everyone benefits, as each team member contributes their unique skills and abilities to achieve shared goals. As Covey notes, "When you combine the unique talents of individuals and the strengths of the team, you create a culture of interdependence that can accomplish great things." This culture attracts higher qualified candidates to the organization. As Jim Collins stated in his book "Good to Great," "When [leaders] began focusing on getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats, they didn't need to worry about motivation." By creating a culture that values and invests in its team members, the organization can filter out those who do not fit in and attract those who do.

A Culture of Coaching:

Everyone needs a coach. From top to bottom, everyone in your organization needs a person looking out for them and their current and future interests. Most organizations get this wrong. Most one-on-one conversations between supervisor and subordinates are targeted on recalibrating the employee to overcome deficiencies that allow them to perform at a higher targeted level. They can also be strategic and exploratory, working towards goals or a better outcome. Either way the normal interaction doesn’t tend to focus on the needs and development of the coachee for the purpose of their personal benefit. They are focused on the other constituents such as the organization, team members, customer, vendors, supervisors etc. These interactions are not bad and need to happen, however they don’t even come close to the impact of a genuine coaching experience focused on personal empowerment from a trusted leader dedicated to the personal growth of their people.

Zig Ziglar said “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”

Leaders notoriously miss this reciprocal approach that in my experience changes everything and opens the floodgates of opportunity for all parties involved. This is the secret sauce. When people feel their leader has their back and is fully engaged in their success, they will run through walls for them. Nothing is more powerful in the world of leadership.

People are all borne upside down seeing the world through their own perspective. We don’t know a better perspective until someone can come and help us see a better way. We can’t find our way to the paradigm shift that must take place in our mind without the right leader at the right time with the right message to share it with us. Bosses often try to mold people with sticks and carrots using external factors to direct them toward a favorable outcome, but the truth is that we cannot change anyone. Our job as leaders is not to get people to do something. It’s to get people to desire to do something. Everyone needs a hero to help guide them. Leaders need to be the guide and not the hero. Real leaders are the influence behind the hero, providing support and encouragement helping the hero gather strength and skills to conquer the challenges and save the day for those who they were entrusted with.

A Culture of Credibility:

In the complex and fast-paced business world of today, it's hard for companies to build and keep the trust of their stakeholders. A culture of credibility, on the other hand, is a strong way to build and keep trust within a company. By putting integrity, transparency, and responsibility first, a culture of credibility not only makes employees more engaged and happier, but it also helps the company succeed in the long run. In this piece, we'll talk about what a culture of credibility is, how it can be built up within an organization, and how it affects the performance of that organization.

A culture of credibility is a work setting in which trust is the foundation of all relationships, decisions, and actions. It includes a set of shared values, norms, and behaviors that help everyone in the company be honest, reliable, and act in an ethical way. In this kind of society, people at all levels are expected to act with honesty, talk openly, and take responsibility for their actions and choices.

For your team to appreciate and adhere to a culture with a high level of credibility, they need to have a clear understanding of the company’s purpose, mission, vision, and goals. They must also see consistency in the way the leaders of the organization conduct themselves in alignment of these principles. A high level of empowerment will be present throughout the organization. Empowerment becomes the driving force behind performance. An organization shows its credibility when it has stood the test of time, producing at a high level, and doing so with style and excellence.

Culture of Opportunity:

Employees need to see a pipeline for future opportunities and advancement, or they won't take you seriously or at least not the serious candidates. Most employers focus on their current position, the requirements and what success will look like in that position. Advancement may be mentioned as a carrot, but seldom articulated effectively in the interview stage. When people are offered a “job” trading time for money, there lacks a spark of excitement if their longer-term future is not part of the conversation. When offered a vision of a pipeline of opportunity and a path to get there, one’s imagination can be inspired. This often makes a difference in career choices. People may settle for less, but they want much more. As a hiring employer, don’t miss this.

Working On Your Business:

At a certain point in the pursuit of organizational development and success, leaders must go from working "in" the business to working "on" the business. To accelerate growth and make their vision a reality, executives must adopt a strategic strategy known as the High Leverage Stage.

In his book "The E-Myth Revisited," Michael Gerber argues “The problem with most failing businesses is not that their owners don't know enough about finance, marketing, management, and operations—they don't, but those things are easy enough to learn—but that they spend their time and energy defending what they think they know." By stepping back and focusing on the big picture, leaders can accelerate their growth and see their original vision come to fruition.

Big Picture Thinking:

Reaching the High Leverage Stage requires a focus on developing a high leverage team, creating a culture of inter-dependence, attracting higher qualified candidates, working on the business rather than in it, and accelerating growth through a focus on the big picture.

The High Leverage Stage relies on its leaders' ability to maintain a big picture perspective while staying in touch with the core operations of the business. They don't let themselves get bogged down by the mundane tasks of running the business and instead focus on long-term goals like improving processes and developing new ideas. Leaders can help their companies thrive in the long run by putting in the time and effort required to develop the firm.

Stephen Covey also wrote, "The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities." By prioritizing the right actions, organizations can reach the High Leverage Stage and achieve their goals.

In the High Leverage Stage, organizations pivot from the Momentum Stage with a focus on building a high-leverage team. This entails fostering a culture of interdependence where collaborative efforts and recognition of unique strengths propel success. The emphasis on one-on-one coaching, not just for performance but personal development, echoes Zig Ziglar's philosophy of mutual benefit. Rooted in trust and transparency, a culture of credibility becomes the bedrock, while a culture of opportunity ensures a clear growth path for employees. Shifting from working "in" to "on" the business, leaders prioritize big picture thinking, as emphasized by Michael Gerber and Stephen Covey, steering the organization toward sustainable success and the realization of its vision.

Joel Smith

Business Coach, Author and Entrepreneur

This article is a section out of the book Team Design: Building Great Teams By Attracting the Right People. Download the Free PDF version.

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