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Who Says You Can't Measure Leadership?

Posted by Randy Hall

Apr 24, 2015 3:38:37 PM

I often work with companies who want to measure the effectiveness of their leaders but don't have a plan that they are confident in for how to do that. Too often we resort to downstream results, such as sales numbers, as our only way of determining if our people are good leaders or not. The problem with only using the bottom line to measure leader effectiveness is that leaders are responsible for not just the what, but the how. It also doesn't give us any indication of how new leaders that have only been in their role for a short period of time, are impacting the bottom line. As a result, if sales, profit, or growth are our only measurement of how leaders perform in our business, we don't really have a measurement. We've probably all seen situations where leaders can get a team to hit numbers for a while, and even drive short-term growth, but down the road we learn that they used management techniques that cost us more in terms of retention, employee satisfaction, or HR issues than they could ever make up for in dollars. Those things affect our culture and our future, and if we put a price on those things, I’m confident the bad managers would cost a company far more than they generate. If you doubt this is true, take a look at this infographic from INC. Magazine.

Just one stat from the research shows that 33 percent of employees admit to doing less than their best for a bad boss. Admit might also be a key word here. But how do we determine how good the leaders in our organization are? Is it a gut feeling? And yes, I've heard that answer when I pose the question.  Is it how well their own boss likes them? What others say? If we can't measure them well, how do we identify leaders for promotions, succession planning, or even development?

Here are some other tools to consider as you think about determining who the best leaders are in your organization.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success, Learning

Leaders Win or Learn Every Day

Posted by Randy Hall

Feb 17, 2015 1:19:16 PM

A friend of mine once said to me “every day we win or learn.”  It sounded witty then, but over time I’ve come to understand that thinking like that gives you permission to fail and learn on a daily basis.  Great leaders know that they can’t just fix someone with a single conversation, or change a culture immediately any more than they can make a business an instant success.  And along the way, they learn that progress is what’s important.  Progress is about consistency and learning, and winning only happens after enough progress is made.  I constantly encounter leaders and managers who want to add more speed to the process of developing others or creating a more engaged team.  This need for speed often causes them to make poor choices, overuse authority, and sometimes even push people or teams in the opposite direction of the one they so badly want them to go.  Here are some things to consider as you tackle the important work of helping individuals or teams accomplish more.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success, Learning

How to Create a Leadership Development Plan for Yourself

Posted by Randy Hall

Feb 5, 2015 11:33:05 AM

I have the privilege of working with many people who want to be better leaders.  It’s one of the most fulfilling parts of my job.  I also get to observe some of the key differences between those who simply want to be better leaders and those who make steady, consistent progress towards accomplishing that goal.  Often, the biggest difference between the two is creating a definition of success for themselves as a leader and then building a detailed plan that helps them progress towards their goals.  Leadership is complicated in many ways, so it’s helpful to have a specific plan for each of the areas you want to improve upon and a roadmap for progress along the way.  Here are three areas that are helpful to work through, and create plans for, as you continue on your own leadership journey.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success

Three Ways to Become More Successful this Year

Posted by Randy Hall

Jan 14, 2015 9:00:00 AM

We’ve all seen the statistics on New Year’s Resolutions. About 45 percent of people make some kind of promise to themselves for how they will do things differently in the coming year. About eight percent of people consider themselves successful at keeping their resolutions beyond a few months. The good news is that close to half of resolution-setters feel that they achieved at least part of their goal or had some temporary success. Resolutions are about causing a behavior change, and in many ways, our job as a leader is to help ourselves and others make those same kinds of behavior changes. Let’s look at some ways that we can set ourselves up for success in the new year.

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Topics: Leadership, Performance, Success

3 Questions That Will Tell You If You Are Leading Others

Posted by Randy Hall

Oct 16, 2014 3:52:18 PM

I get to work with a lot of good leaders, senior executives and rising business superstars.  These emerging and accomplished leaders have a few things in common that separate them from the others.  One of these things is their definition of leadership. Leadership is one of those words that we think can be defined in terms of preference or style- as if there is no right or wrong way to do it.  Unfortunately for businesses, having this mindset means people can call themselves a leader because of their title, not because they actually lead. If a salesperson stopped selling for very long, they wouldn't get to keep the title of salesperson.  If a builder stopped building or a driver stopped driving, the same fate would be waiting for them. But, if a leader doesn't lead, we simply say that's just HOW they lead.  Why would we allow bad management to just be considered a different form of leadership, when we wouldn't settle for that in many other jobs?

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Topics: Leadership, Leader

Creating a Culture of Client Service

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Sep 17, 2014 10:00:00 AM

If you are like me, you go through the day interacting with many people and very rarely stop to evaluate those interactions.  In any given week, I might visit ten or more businesses as a customer or client.  From getting gas, to buying lunch, dropping my child off at daycare, a doctor visit, or running into the pharmacy for toothpaste...I have multiple opportunities as a consumer to be wowed.  Yet ask me to pinpoint the last time I had an exceptional customer experience and I for the life of me cannot think of one. Similarly, ask me to recall when the last time I had an awful customer experience was, and I will also struggle. Am I walking through life with blinders on?  Am I spending too much time reading emails on my phone and not paying attention to the wonderful levels of service I am receiving out there?  Or am I simply not experiencing anything worth remembering?

It is often stated that consumers are more likely to share a negative experience than a positive one….yet the sheer lack of a negative experience is not shown to improve customer retention or loyalty. Giving a customer an experience that matches their expectations- no more or no less- will not help your business retain those consumers.  

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Topics: Employees, Leadership, Company Culture, Leader

5 Ways Questions Can Make You a Stronger Leader

Posted by Randy Hall

Sep 11, 2014 2:18:05 PM

As I work with leaders to support them in their development I find myself discussing the importance of good questions a lot. When we get right down to the tactical changes that leaders need to make to be more effective, increase the capability on their team or change the culture of their organization, asking great questions is usually a part of those changes. Questions are one of the most powerful tools a leader has to inspire, develop, support and engage their team. I don’t subscribe to the theory that there is a secret to leadership but asking well thought out questions is a skill and a habit that may just come close to that silver bullet some people are searching for.  

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Topics: Leadership, Leader

The Art of Transparency

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Aug 28, 2014 10:22:00 AM

As leaders, it is critical that we are able to engage with our teams, be seen as trustworthy, and position ourselves to lead with influence.  One way to accomplish this is to increase the level of transparency throughout the organization.  In fact, a recent survey indicates job seekers value transparency in a company more so than a fun, relaxed, or casual environment.* Why?  Because people want to feel connected to more than a set of tasks.  They want to trust their leadership, feel connected to their company, and spend their day among people they can relate to and fit in with.  

While there are many ways to display transparency,the most important are to remain consistent, appropriate, and genuine in your attempts.   I use the caveat “appropriate”  because like many things, transparency is a balancing act.  As a leader you can quickly cross the line or unintentionally give others the wrong impression of who you really are and the type of leader you want to be.  Show too many cards and you risk offending others or having your team lose respect for you as a leader; don't show enough and people will question your intentions, think you are a know-it-all, or struggle to build a trusting relationship with you.  So, where is that line and how do you walk it?  In my opinion, there are three ways to master the art of transparency all while maintaining a boundary of respectful behavior.

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Topics: Building Relationships, Employees, Leadership, Employee Engagement, Trust

Blog Roundup: Culture Change

Posted by Bethany Swartz

Aug 20, 2014 11:42:17 AM

Change is necessary, inevitable, and not always easy. As an individual, managing our own change is challenge enough, but as a leader, managing change throughout an organization filled with various teams, departments, and employees takes additional capabilities. Planning for it, following a process that works, and committing ourselves to the change can make all the difference. The following blogs were pulled together to help support you on your change journey and represent our views, lessons learned, and tips on change management.  We hope they help and as always, feel free to reach out for guidance, support, or coaching along the way!

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Topics: Building Relationships, Employees, Employee Engagement, Hiring, Onboarding

Trust and Leadership

Posted by Randy Hall

Aug 14, 2014 1:38:45 PM

There have been scores of books, blogs, and articles written on the importance of trust in leadership. Most experts, authors, gurus and thinkers agree that without trust you cannot lead. You may be able to herd,or coerce, or corral, or even intimidate, but you cannot lead. And while leaders everywhere would probably agree that this is true, there are very few who know how to go about defining and building this much needed trust. I say defining and building because it’s almost impossible to build, create, or work towards something we can not define. If we relegate trust to that set of things that are simply up to others and we have no influence on them, then we are left to hope it happens. Hope by itself is not a great strategy for a business or for becoming a more effective leader. How we define trust has everything to do with how we set out to create or influence it.

There are probably thousands of definitions for the word itself. Webster’s dictionary goes with: belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective, etc. I don’t think many people would dispute this statement, but it doesn’t necessarily help us create a path toward building trust. Consider this definition:  Trust happens when people believe we have their best interest at heart. If we think others are engaged in genuinely trying to help us, we listen and think about their words differently, even when we initially disagree with them. We are quicker to accept information from others that we think has some of our agenda in mind, not just someone else’s. I also think this definition helps us see a path to building trust with any individual, regardless of our experience, our skill, our history, or theirs. We then start to ask the question; How do I demonstrate to someone that I genuinely have their best interest at heart?

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Topics: Building Relationships, Leadership, influence

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