Curt Fowler: Three Steps to Create a Transformational Workplace

| November 14, 2017

Curt Fowler | Fowler & Company

I’ve written about the power of transformational workplaces to attract and retain great people and to drive powerful results for the organization. This week I want to show you three steps to create a transformational workplace.

The idea of transformational versus transactional leadership was first introduced to me in a book titled “InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives” by Joe Ehrmann. Ehrmann is an amazing person and known as “America’s Coach” by many.

His book outlines the power coaches have to transform lives when they focus on building character rather than just winning games.

This idea of building people first and the results will come was birthed in me by the ideas in Ehrmann’s book. I highly recommend reading it.

Below are the three ways you can begin to create a transformational workplace in your organization.

Create Alignment

The only way to provide autonomy to your people while delivering results is to create alignment and clarity in your organization. This alignment is built upon the three clarity pillars of our 12 Pillar Framework. They are:

  • Core Purpose – Your organization’s reason for being beyond making money. This is your big “Why?”.
  • Core Values – The rules by which your team plays the game. Teach your people that if they stay within these boundaries they are free to improvise in their pursuit of the vision.
  • Vision – What is the inspiring future your team is reaching for? Is it a clear destination? Will you know when you have crossed the finish line?

Put Your People First

By putting the needs of your people ahead of your needs and even ahead of your customers, you will create a workforce that is engaged and motivated to deliver outstanding results to your clients. This level of customer service will create customer loyalty that will drive organizational profits, which results in the leader’s goals being met. It seems counterintuitive, but it works.

Southwest Airlines has always put its people ahead of its customers. Putting its people first has led to outstanding results for its customers and shareholders.

The best exercise I have found to help leaders put their people first is the Be, Do, Have, Help exercise I learned from Chick-fil-a. Ask everyone you lead to write down five things for each category. Five things they want to Be, five things they want to Do, etc. Put this information in their human resources file and refer to it often. Find ways to help them accomplish their goals and they will help you accomplish yours.

Embrace Honest Mistakes

People moving fast in pursuit of a common goal will make mistakes. Fear of mistakes stifles creativity and kills speed. Praise the mistakes. Highlight them for what they are – potholes on the road to success. Learn from the mistakes and train your people to avoid them in the future. Make your Return on Mistakes incredibly high.

If your leadership will focus on creating alignment, putting your people first and embracing mistakes, you will create a great workplace that attracts the best people and delivers outstanding results.  

Curt Fowler is an organizational growth expert and President of Fowler & Company, a business advisory firm dedicated to helping leaders create and achieve a compelling vision for their organization. He has an MBA in Strategy and Entrepreneurship from the Kellogg School, is a CPA, and a pretty good guy as defined by his wife and four children.

Have a business growth topic you’d like me to cover? Send suggestions to cfowler [at] valuesdrivenresults.com or use our contact form by clicking here.

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