Evan: Naumis is writing in, “Diverse teams may come with creative ideas “alongside when you need quick consensus “among members with diverse backgrounds and culture, “how do we achieve it so that the firm “moves forward ahead as one team?”
Stephen: That’s a great question. Hey Naumis, I’ve got this… language is pretty important to me, I think it’s really good. And the more diversity you have you tend to find different cultures coming together. So I think you need a common language around, how do we serve them? And number one, always use phrases like, we’ve got to put ourselves in the shoes of the customer, what does the customer need?
Even in meetings I sometimes keep an empty chair for the customer. What would the customer want? What would the customer want us to do here? I’ve always encouraged to have a culture where you get facts and data in the room. If anybody’s got a point of view they should say it.
And I think as a leader you want to encourage the people who don’t speak often, ’cause sometimes they’re the brightest people in the room, but they might feel intimidated. And then when you’ve got that you frame, what is it we’re trying to achieve here? What is the right answer for the customer? How do we get to mark? Or whatever the problem of the day is.
And then you get agreement around what the decision is. And then a phrase I use in tur-nil-la is if you make a decision and you take no accountability, no action, and no timeline, and no outcome of what that decision is then if you leave the scene of that decision then consider that there was no decision ever made.
Because a decision without an outcome or an action is hallucination. It never happens. So I think a great culture, a great culture is where you have the discussion, you get the facts and the data in, you put yourself in the shoes of the customer, say how do we make a difference here?
You make the decision, you lock that down, get everybody crystal clear about what their accountability is and who’s going to be responsible for delivering that for the team. And it could be a team effort. And then you say, right, what does success look like? What’s the outcome?
When are we going to have it, 30 days, 10 days, five days? And so let’s get back together the next week, let’s have a coffee and just make sure we did what we said we would. As a leader you can really be a bit of a hustler, and also, I think where this is important, you’ve got to be authentic again with yourself. You’ve got to hold yourself to account, so if you commit to things for the team, you’ve got to deliver them for you. And you’ve got to walk the talk and set the tone for the company you’re building.
Evan: I like that empty seat for the customer. I’ve never heard that. I’ve consumed a lot of content, I’ve never heard anybody do that, have an empty seat and imagine the customer’s there. That’s cool, I might use that. I think two things, I agree with Stephen, I think the mission is the unifying goal, like, why are we doing this? If you have clarity on why you’re here, that makes it so much easier to gather around and move forward.
I think too, in terms of cultural diversity, a lot of the work can be done in advance as well. Ideally, if you’re over communicating and really try to understand each other, then you already have a sense of how to work together before you come to the table to make this really important decision and not have to figure that out on the spot.
If you look at Stephen, he led off with a quote from Justin Trudeau, who is the Canadian Prime Minister, and every time we do something, I’m Canadian, so there’s always some Canadian content in there. I always appreciate that, right? Like Stephen’s done his homework. He’s always prepared. I’m sure when he’s going to France, he has some French thing that he’s going to be sharing.
And that means a lot, you know, to the people that you’re talking to, that you’ve taken the time to understand their culture, to understand them a little bit more, so that when you do get together and you have that important decision to make, it makes it easier to move forward in the same paths. So the alignment around the goal, I know, so the prep work, the ground work, the awareness to understand them prior to having to make that decision, I think is really important.
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