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Five reasons “Leading Kids Effectively” works for businesses too

By Jacqui Gage-Brown, Oct 29 2019

Ben Bergeron and his series Chasing Excellence is my podcast go-to when in the car. It is a show dedicated to dissecting what it means to live a life of excellence, both in and out of the gym.

For me, it is definitely life outside of the gym (my dream of being a full-time athlete disappeared years ago) but I can still have a mindset of a champion! And that’s just what he does, diving into various aspects of being an athlete and maximising potential which transcends into all aspects of life and business.

I tuned into Leading Kids Effectively and quickly discovered the title could have easily been replaced with Leading Your Team Effectively. Here are the five reasons why:

  1. We need to build a feedback loop in our business that enables growth-driven mindset
  2. We need to create buy-in
  3. We need to create an environment where mistakes are OK
  4. We need to understand the power of our words
  5. We create the culture

We need to build a feedback loop in our business that enables growth-driven mindset

Thinking back to your days as a kid, you nailed a test. Did your parents, teachers, or friends say, “Great job on your test, you’re very smart!”? While they may have meant this as a compliment, they were reinforcing that you were smart. What happens when, one day, you’re smarts are not enough? With a fixed mindset, you either have it or you don’t.

Now, they could have said, “Really nice job, Jacqui,” or “You’ve worked really hard,”, which is growth driven. You didn’t happen to just ‘be smart’, you ‘worked hard’ which helped you achieve the outcome. The emphasis is now on working hard – the zone where growth is possible.

Look at your own tendencies, are you giving feedback that allows people to grow, developing a feedback loop that will create a growth mindset? Or are you implying that they have it (or they don’t). Let’s give our team, kids, and family the tools they need to make them better.

We need to create buy-in

Get it, want it, capable of doing it – there are three key factors when we assess team members and whether they’re on board for the journey or removing themselves from the bus (with or without some help).

Generally, you will have undertaken this assessment before hiring staff but sometimes these aptitudes become evident once the bus has left the station!

As leaders, it’s our job to teach people how to learn, how to solve problems and how to think creatively. And with a growth mindset, this is possible (because nothing is fixed).

We need to begin with the end in mind. People need to know what we want to achieve. You may establish a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) or a mission. Whatever it is, we need to be sharing it, as this will create the inspiration that drives people forward. Let’s help them get excited! It’s our passion that drives the bus. It is important we are real and authentic.

We need to create an environment where mistakes are OK

Yes, there will be successes along the way, and we need to celebrate them. But with a growth mindset, as Ben explains, we need to celebrate the mess-ups too. Because they matter. Our team can learn and get better constantly. Any time we make a mistake, it is a chance to create purposeful action –“Here are the tools we are going to learn that will make you better.”

When we create an environment of learning, mistakes are OK, as we can grow and get better from them. Of course, we don’t want them regularly! They can be costly and damaging to our business. However, let’s  build a 360-degree, all-the-time feedback loop system.

Ben likes to say, “Here’s where we are, here’s where we are going, here’s what we can do better, here’s where we are at, here’s what we can do better.”

We need to understand the power of our words

As leaders, as friends, as parents we are authority figures. Post CrossFit event, my friend Loral and I come off the floor and say, “What went well?” This is our way of ensuring we look firstly for the positives, before looking at what we could improve on.

For my boys, I consciously make sure I say the same thing. When they finish a game or competition I ask, “What went well?”

Since joining Sport Waikato as a Trustee, I am now also including the word FUN constantly, “How fun was that?!” We know kids drop out of sports because it isn’t fun anymore and, just like my team, I want them to have fun, so they want to keep turning up and being active.

We need to understand the power of our words and how they manifest in our team.

We create the culture

Culture is purposeful and driven by the leaders (well, it should be). Learning, growing, feedback – this is fundamental to a growth mindset and your team culture. Embracing these elements, will enable an environment where people are coachable. Where they are willing and able to take feedback and grow.

We all know culture is ongoing. We don’t wake up one day and say, “Great, no more culture work, we’ve ticked that box.” Coaching becomes easy when we have:

  1. A well-defined culture (purpose, values/pillars of behaviour)
  2. A vision (what we are trying to achieve)
  3. Standards of excellence (what we operate by)

Leadership is getting people to where they cannot get on their own. It is our role as coaches, mentors, team leaders and business owners to help people grow, continuously.

Who is Ben Bergeron? For your non-CrossFitters out there, Ben is coach of the reigning Fittest Man (Matt Fraser) and is considered one of the top coaches in CrossFit. He is focused on mindset and building better people through positive mindset.

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