It always amazes me how long a business owner will hang on to the wrong employee, the type who, despite their value to the organization, rubs against company culture.
Convene Chairs eat their own cooking. They get together and work challenges and opportunities just like the CEO teams they gather. In a recent conversation we talked about how we have come to understand and respond to the question that often comes: "What are the points of difference between Convene and other peer-based advising groups for CEOs and business owners?"
Our answer? We have:
* An Essence Process (that distills the team's best thinking)
* The Holy Spirit Co-Creating Wise Counsel (with like-minded peers)
* A Safe Peer Environment Committed to the Ongoing Transformation of the Leader (producing trust, vulnerability and speed of decision-making)
These elements, when combined, lead to greater clarity sooner.
This in turn, empowers our members to make more confident decisions, grounded in deeper understanding for greater (Kingdom, business and family) impact.
Three great temptations wage war against a CEO: fear, pride and confusion. When a CEO does not have clarity on the issue at hand, on God's will for them and their stewardship of the company, or on a particular opportunity, it is nearly impossible to act dutifully. Fear, pride and confusion block right and timely action.
The alternatives are twofold:
1) To not act, delay the decision, gather more facts, avoid, put off, minimize, rationalize or spiritualize.
2) To act with compromised effect based on un-clarity of purpose, opportunity, etc.
By engaging a Convene Team with a tough issue, a CEO is:
1) Humbling themselves by submitting their pride to the counsel of the team, thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of pride;
2) Gaining truth, wisdom, insight and clarity, thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of confusion;
3) Gaining depth as a leader, borrowed experience and encouragement from others thereby counteracting the enemy's tool of fear.
"For God is not a God of confusion, but of peace." (1 Cor 14:33 - ESV)
It is interesting that Paul, who wrote those words, creates a dichotomy between confusion and peace.
And so, we answer the question about the Convene distinctive as more confident decisions, grounded in deeper understanding for greater (Kingdom, business and family) impact... and personal peace.
When questioning if a good or bad decision was made we need to look beyond the outcomes. It is normal to consider only the outcomes but what makes a decision a good one is more than that. A good decision is not outcome based only, you need a good decision process. If your teams were literally rolling dice to decide between options how would you feel? Even a string of past success is not enough to say, “Keep it up”. It is intuitive; we know that is not a sound process. To get important options in a decision considered, evaluated, and committed to takes purposeful agreed to steps.
So what if your teams were making decisions based on who talked the loudest or the most? Not much better. What if the decision was driven by who got paid the most, had the most seniority, and was the “ranking” person in the room? We’re no longer in the randomness of rolling dice. But these unstated decision-making processes are not getting the most from your teams. If you truly want a team decision you need a process that outlines how the team works together.
We avoid teams defaulting into decision process ruts of loudest or highest in the org chart by defining an alternative. Consider the following four decision-making roles.
- Facilitate Making the decision process move forward. Insuring others participate and carry out their contribution to the decision. Insure the team understands the decision and the options being considered.
- Consult Similarily evaluating alternatives and narrowing down to a choice but when you consult your input may or may not be followed. If you consult into a decision your recommendation may not be followed and that is OK. If your input was heard, understood, and considered then the consult was completed.
- Decide Actually making a decision through evaluating alternatives and narrowing done to a choice. When multiple team members have a ‘decide’ role then they need to agree on the choice. This is the much-maligned consensus. Sometimes consensus is essential.
- Inform Being informed after a decision was made. That is often key in that decisions impact others. At times those impacted need to know but don’t need to participate for a decision to be effective.
Team decision effectiveness rises meaningfully when all those who are involved understand their part. The alternatives are people guessing or trying to discover their fit over time. As leaders, we equip our teams for decision success by outlining how the group works together. Use the four decision-making roles, Facilitate, Consult, Decide, and Inform as a guide. Good team decisions are not just about good outcomes; you need a solid, well-understood process for each person. Each needs to know how to carry out their part. Equip your teams with this clarity, they will appreciate it and the chance of better outcomes will increase. It beats rolling dice.
One entrepreneur summed up the feeling of many, “The people who are safe (like my Bible study group) can’t help me grow my business. The people who can help me grow my business (and have mixed motives) aren’t safe.” Most entrepreneurs relate to the saying: “It’s lonely at the top.” We’re responsible for leading the company to short- and long-term success, and for making decisions that will affect people’s ability to provide for their families. We’re typically operating in uncharted waters and wondering how to avoid the next big threat or exploit the next opportunity. There aren’t many people who can relate to what we’re facing.
Isolation breeds fear, insecurity and distrust, which can result in poor decisions, negative thinking and low team morale. Being isolated in business can also result in negative emotions spilling over into our family lives, so they end up paying a high price too. Without a doubt, isolation can derail our lives, our leadership and our businesses.
Many entrepreneurs have discovered developed safe relationships with successful Christian peers, and regularly building into each other’s lives and businesses is an effective way to eliminate isolation. When the isolation in a leader’s life dissipates, they'll have more confidence and a broader base of resources, which results in wiser decisions, better relationships and greater progress toward goals.
“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).