Archive for February, 2014

Building a High Performance Culture Part IX

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Words that Work: Tough-Minded

In this ninth post on building a high performance culture I want to discuss a word that works: tough-minded. Consistently holding others accountable is impossible without tough-minded leaders, welcoming entitlement and mediocrity into your culture as a result.

For a quick review of this series, peruse the following words that work in a culture, and words that hurt a culture, from the past eight blog posts. This will help you grasp the concepts, values and mindsets necessary for great performance; and help you identify and weed out those that are harmful.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

To use in a sentence: It’s not my fault I had a bad month. In other words, I’m a victim.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: “a claim to something you feel you are owed”.

The word tough-minded is defined as, “strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed”. This definition embodies the makeup at the bedrock of high-accountability leaders. Notice that it doesn’t say anything about being rude, abusive, getting personal, being a bully, shouting or using profanity. No, you can be tough-minded in a calm, measured, respectful voice and get your point across far more effectively. In a sense, being tough-minded means you have decided to stand for something:

· You hold everyone accountable for living the core values; even the high performer who is prone to be selfish or take shortcuts.

· You apply consequences when necessary for missed performance objectives.

· You hire slowly and strategically, even when you have pressing shortages. You don’t flinch, lower the bar, and bring someone on board that will inflict continual damage to the culture and team morale.

· You terminate the non-performer, even when there’s no one readily available to replace him or her because you understand that it’s better to be strategically short-staffed than foolishly filled up.

· You routinely make decisions that are right; not easy, cheap, popular or convenient.

· You raise others to reach your expected performance bar; you don’t reduce the bar to accommodate someone else’s comfort zone.

Followers may not always like or appreciate a tough-minded leader, but they are certainly more apt to respect him or her. And in time, as the tough-minded leader positively impacts those on the team, like will evolve from respect.