Team Growth video

Quick Start: Creating a Winning Culture

(Each Monday, we are debuting a quick lesson from Dave from EntreLeadership Master Series. The clip and the homework below are designed to help our recent graduates learn to apply the principles they learned at the event. Feel free to join in the process. We would love your participation.)

Part of creating a winning culture is building loyalty. And there is no better way to do it than showing your people that you truly care. That's why you never shoot your wounded. When someone has a family emergency, sickness or tragedy, be there to provide support. The last thing they need to worry about is losing their job or not being able to pay the utility bill because they've used all of their sick days. As a member of your team, they deserve to be treated with respect, dignity and a caring heart.

When you love people like that, you don't just win the team member for life. You win every team member who watches it happen. So look for those opportunities. Handling these situations well isn't just the right thing to do; it can also change your company's whole culture.

YOUR HOMEWORK

  1. Watch Benjamin Zander speak on leadership. Make the time. The video is only 20 minutes long! 
  2. Schedule a 30-minute meeting with each team or department to discuss creating a winning culture. Topics on your agenda should include:
  • Implementation of a company-wide no-gossip policy
  • Ideas for unusual but easy-to-execute benefits
  1. Put your no-gossip policy into place. Gossip is poison to your company. It creates a negative atmosphere and kills unity. Before the policy goes into effect, make sure every person on your team knows:
  • The definition of gossip
  • When the policy goes into effect
  • Actions that will be taken if a team member gossips

Dave defines gossip as delivering negative information—any negative information about anyone or anything—to someone who cannot do something about it. Negatives go up. Positives come down. Gossip is taken so seriously at Dave's office that there's only one consequence: The person is immediately fired.

DO THIS!

If you want to be a better leader the only way to do that is to spend time with people that are already leading well. EntreLeadership offers you that opportunity. This May Dave will be joined by some of the biggest names in leadership with the sole purpose of sharing their life lessons with you. The EntreLeadership Summit features not only Dave, but John C Maxwell, Patrick Lencioni, Rabbi Daniel Lapin, Dr Henry Cloud, Chris Hogan and Christy Wright. This three day conference will make you better. Stop wishing. Start acting. Get your seat today.

Team Growth article

How to Implement a No-gossip Policy at Work

What’s the main concern of small-business owners and leaders when it comes to unifying their teams? At last month’s EntreLeadership Performance Series in Nashville, topping the list was how to implement a no-gossip policy. Weird, right? Well, after spending an intense three days learning the principles Dave used to take his company from a card table in his living room to a major national brand, the 150-plus attendees definitely didn’t think it was odd anymore.

Their questions were part of a daily lunchtime question-and-answer session featuring some of Dave’s leaders. The panel included Chris Mefford, Vice President of Live Events; Steve NeSmith, Director of Social Media/Email Marketing/Web Content; and Christy Wright, Speaker and Youth Products Manager. It was moderated by Joe Leavitt, Event Coordinator. Here’s a bit of their conversation, including their solution for gossip.

Joe: Part of today’s lesson focused on the enemies of team unity. Can you each talk about one area and how to avoid it?

Chris: Poor communication is a big deal. We do live events all over the country and have 30 team members. If you don’t over-communicate what’s happening, they’ll get confused or feel left out. They’re not sure what’s going on.

You can’t do great things without getting every single person on the same page. And you can’t just say it once. You have to repeat it over and over again. If I, as a leader, fall down in that area, then the team will fall down.

Christy: Gossip is the most destructive thing we see as far as company culture and unity. The problem is that it can be difficult to identify. At Dave’s company, our rule is that we hand negatives up (directly to leaders) and positives down. Leaders, in turn, are expected to take action—to do something about the complaint. So if a team member is going to take the initiative to say something, they’ll know it will be handled.

They need to understand that gossip harms more than the company and the culture. It hurts them personally too. I tell young women or even adult woman I speak to that there is not one single situation in which gossip helps them–ever. You talk negative about someone else, it doesn’t make that person look bad. It makes you look bad. If you want to maintain your personal brand, your personal reputation, your integrity and your character, you don’t want to participate in gossip.

Steve: I think if you are not careful, sanctioned incompetence can really take on forms you don’t even realize. Lack of technical expertise is easily identifiable, and you can put processes in place to keep everybody operating at a certain level. Cultural incompetence is more difficult to see. Someone has to keep an eye on it. They need to make sure that members of your team are consistent, hopefully exceeding your expectations when it comes to attitude, how they work with others, and how well they really promote the culture within your team.

Also easy to overlook is the level you are operating at. Oftentimes when you get to the leadership level, let’s be honest, you stop doing things. You hire folks to do tasks for you, and that’s important. But you still need to be able to answer basic questions about how things operate. I still go to training. I want to learn so I can lead well in that particular area and so my team sees me learning too.

Joe: A lot of our attendees will want to go back and immediately start a no-gossip policy. How do you implement one?

Chris: Before you do anything, you have to communicate the why to your team. It shows respect for the people who are helping lift your organization and what you are trying to do. The idea that you would just implement like you were a dictator is going to go wrong. You won’t get any buy-in.

But if you say, “Hey, if we do this, people will be happier, I promise. The workplace will be more fun to come to. You won’t dread coming in on a Monday. You’ll be excited to be here. And we’re going to do some amazing and great things together. And the way we’re going to do it is to build some unity on this team.

“We don’t build unity when half of you try to tear the other half down. So will you walk with me, sign a pledge to end the gossip in this place? And I want you to know from the outside, somebody is probably going to be sent home for a week, disciplined or, God forbid, fired for not following this policy.”

I think if you couch it with a why, which I think you should do with everything, your team will get on board and won’t get frustrated.

Christy: You have to sell it to them in the form of a benefit. Help me help you, right? You want to make sure they understand what’s in it for them. You’re creating a positive work environment for them. You want them to be able to trust the integrity of the team. Create a big picture of what you are saying yes to instead of no to gossip.

Steve. I think one of the things Dave Ramsey is the master of is really constantly painting the why: why we are here, why we are doing what we are doing, and what our goal is, why individuals are here. When folks start to see you genuinely care about the organization and genuinely care about the people, a lot of things start to bubble up from that. The caring is part of the why.

For more lessons on business and leadership, check out our EntreLeadership live events.

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Make a Difference Starting Today

Gossip should never be tolerated in a workplace that strives for unity. It is an immature, horrible nasty sin that can seep into your organization and make you feel like you are working in sewage. It has the power to divide and destroy everything you have built.

The good news is that the solution to this problem is easy. Like we discussed at Master Series, institute a zero-gossip policy. Then, have a meeting and explain that if someone gossips, you are going to fire them. At the meeting, you have to outline exactly what constitutes gossip.

Gossip, by definition, is saying something negative about anyone or anything to someone who can't do anything about it. At my company, we don't ignore negative stuff or pretend it's not there. We want you to tell us about it. We just follow a rule: negatives go up, positives go down. We want our team members to tell their leaders about the bad stuff, not each other.

Apply the no-gossip rule, and you'll see a difference right away. People will actually enjoy working together and be a lot more comfortable with each other. They'll become a team instead of co-workers.

QUESTION: How has gossip affected your organization?

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Create a Safe Harbor for Your Team

Instituting a zero-tolerance gossip policy might seem harsh, especially the first time you have to fire someone for breaking the rule. But it's actually anything but mean. A company culture that disallows gossip becomes a safe harbor for the team. They will know that when they have a problem, they can take it to someone who will fix it. And when there is no negative talk or backstabbing, mutual respect and trust form. That means in many cases, issues are dealt with by the two people who have the problem. It's resolved before it lands on a leader's desk. Any way you look at it, a no-gossip policy is a winner–even when you have to sometimes dole out some tough love to defend it.

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