Chuck Mollor, CEO, Executive Coach, Advisor, and Best-selling Author of The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can you make the shift?
About this podcast episode
🎙️ Learn how to cultivate 🥇 excellence in leadership and organizational cultures
In today’s podcast, Chuck Mollor, best-selling author of The Rise of the Agile Leader, will explore the importance of leadership and culture in driving organizational success.
Chuck and Bill discuss the five drivers of effective leadership: integrity, innovation, urgency, engagement, and direction. These drivers are essential for creating an agile organization that adapts and thrives in a rapidly changing business landscape. By understanding and implementing these drivers, leaders can cultivate a culture of excellence that attracts and retains top talent, fosters innovation, and drives business growth.
Here is what you will learn: ✅ The meaning of leadership and culture and how they are interconnected
✅ The characteristics of an agile leader and how to develop agile leadership skills
✅ The importance of creating a culture of agility and how to build it
✅ The five drivers of effective leadership: integrity, innovation, urgency, engagement, and direction
🎉 The significance of direction and how to set a clear sense of purpose and vision for your organization
Content goes here…
(transcripts are auto-generated, so please excuse the brevity)
[00:00:00] Podcast intro
[00:00:00] Speaker: Welcome to the Agile in Action Podcast with Bill Raymond. Bill will explore how business disruptors are adopting agile techniques to gain a competitive advantage in this fast-paced technology-driven market.
[00:00:13] Bill Raymond:
[00:00:13] Introducing Chuck Mollor
[00:00:13] Bill Raymond: Hi, and welcome to the podcast. Today I’m joined by Chuck Mollor, CEO, executive coach, advisor, and best selling author of The Rise of the Agile Leader: Can you Make the Shift? Hi, Chuck. How are you today?
[00:00:27] Chuck Mollor: I’m great, Bill. Thanks for having me today. I’m really excited to have our conversation.
[00:00:31] Bill Raymond: Yeah, me too. We’re going to talk about cultivating excellence, leadership and organizational cultures. I’m excited to have the conversation, but before we get started, could you introduce yourself?
[00:00:41] Chuck Mollor: Sure. As you mentioned, I am, I’m a CEO and also the founder of a consulting firm called MCG Partners, which I started 16 years ago. I’ve been in consulting most of my career. I’m also a former CEO of a midsize global leadership and organizational effectiveness consulting firm. Same business I’m in today.
And I became an executive coach 16 years ago. So I wear multiple hats, which I enjoy. I’m very passionate about helping leaders and organizations be successful.
[00:01:10] Leadership and culture
[00:01:10] Bill Raymond: Great. Thank you. And I’m curious if you could just start off with a really high level overview. What do you mean by leadership and culture? What does that mean to you?
[00:01:20] Chuck Mollor: Leadership essentially is, the ability to really motivate, inspire and get the best out of people, right? It’s all about people. It’s all about having them feel they have an opportunity to grow and stretch and be supported and help really optimize their ability to be successful and grow and develop.
Culture is really a reflection of that. Culture is essentially the values that are near and dear to your heart and what you feel are important that sets you apart as an organization that allows you to attract and retain and develop the best people that you want for your organization. It’s also your differentiator, right?
What you mean by why would you want to not only work here, but why would you want to buy our either products and services? So culture is a reflection of all those things.
[00:02:06] Defining leadership, culture, and agility
[00:02:06] Bill Raymond: We always do these podcasts in the context of Agile. So maybe you could share your thoughts on what you mean by Agile and Agile leadership?
[00:02:14] Chuck Mollor: Sure. So agile leader going back to the title of the book is really the verb agile. However, It also fits incredibly nicely into agile methodology. As we know, it’s been around for, over 20, 30 years. The book essentially is two things. It’s a combination of myself asking myself and my team, what is the future of leadership?
And as we interviewed CEOs and clients and did some research. Several years ago, we coined this framework, the Agile Leader. The other part of the book is also, what’s really the roadmap on a very practical level, how to get to the next level as a manager, as a leader, no matter what level you are, no matter what organization you’re in, how big or small or what sector.
So that’s the book. So the agile leader is really on a very high level. It’s a framework that talks about integrity, innovation, urgency, engagement and direction. So there’s sort of 5 key drivers and each under each of those drivers, we give descriptors or capabilities of what an agile leader should be.
[00:03:18] Agile leadership
[00:03:18] Bill Raymond: Yeah. And we’ll go into those five in just a moment. Obviously we want to keep this podcast positive and make sure that we’re offering the best ideas to our listeners, but I guess it probably would be a good idea to just share some of the issues that we might see in Agile leadership.
[00:03:34] Chuck Mollor: Sure. I think, the key things about being agile is how do you set a tone, right? How do you set a tone in terms of how you want people to work together, how they’re going to communicate together. Frankly, how they’re going to make decisions together? Probably one of the bigger differentiators is that agile organizations are more empowered.
They’re flatter. They’re not as hierarchical, people are making decisions. At every level, and they’re more collaborative in terms of how they work together, how they work across organizations. They’re also letting go of the notion of perfection, right? It’s okay to have 70, 80 percent of what you need to be successful.
It’s also about engagement, right? It’s about optimizing the most of people. So they go beyond the minimal requirements of their job. Why? Because they feel appreciated. They feel valued. They feel empowered. They feel they can grow and learn. But they also can stretch themselves and frankly, be involved in decision making and have some sense of ownership, which I think all employees are looking for.
So those are some of the characteristics.
[00:04:33] Building a culture of agility
[00:04:33] Bill Raymond: Thank you for that. And I guess now it would be a good idea. I’m just going to ask you this sort of broad
[00:04:38] Chuck Mollor: Sure.
[00:04:38] Bill Raymond: open question here before we get into those five drivers. But how is it that you do set up an agile culture because what you just said. That all sounds very easy. And I think most organizations if you’ve said that, you’re setting a tone and you’re making sure you have a culture of thinking differently and moving forward at a pace that you’re constantly supporting your customer.
I think we all can say that those are good values, but how do we bring that into our agile culture?
[00:05:07] Chuck Mollor: It has to start with leadership, right? And you have to start with leaders understanding essentially what their natural leadership style is. And if a leader has been around, Working for a certain period of time, they grew up in a much more hierarchical, traditional work environment. So you’re also talking about creating change and driving change and transforming how your organization operates and how they make decisions. Which is a big part of what agile leadership is about.
But you have to start with the individual and collective leadership. And give them a sense of do you understand your natural style and where are those opportunities individually and collectively where you need to shift, including letting go of some past behaviors or patterns of decision making and ownership and communication and transparency.
So it’s not that simple. It’s actually. Quite transformational and you have to do it at a very integral level. And it’s essentially you have to define what we mean by leadership today. What’s that transformation going to be for each person individually because of their natural style and their background and.
Historically, how they grew up in business and in leadership, and then you’ve got to paint a picture what we mean by culture and organization. What does our aspired state look like? So that has to be a road map and how you’re going to get there. It’s not. It’s not a light switch. Doesn’t happen that way.
[00:06:24] Introducing the 5 drivers of effective leadrship
[00:06:24] Bill Raymond: Yeah, I think that’s really important. And you do talk about these five drivers of effective leadership. We’ll drill into each one, but could you list those out for us?
[00:06:34] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, absolutely. We mentioned a little bit a second ago. Integrity is one of them. Innovation is the second. Urgency is the third. Engagement is the fourth. And then direction is the fifth.
[00:06:47] Bill Raymond: So let’s talk about integrity first.
[00:06:50] Chuck Mollor: Sure. It goes back to a little bit what I said earlier. You have to be aware yourself in this sense of not just your Your behaviors are what drives and motivates you. What are your values and do your values align with the organizational values? And oh, by the way, have you identified what those organizational values are?
Because if you want to define culture, you have to start with what we value. What does it mean to how we operate here? How do we treat each other? How we go to market, how we treat our clients, our prospects, our vendors, this whole notion of what we value and that individual alignment of what I value in my organizational or my cultural values, there needs to be some level of alignment doesn’t mean it’s going to be a perfect alignment but philosophically you have to start there.
So that’s our sense of self awareness. And do you understand yourself as a leader? How you handle pressure and stress? What are your emotional triggers and how you respond to your environment, including people? That’s all about integrity in terms of how we show up and how we reinforce not only for ourselves and how we show up before our people organizations.
Another really good example would be. When you’ve got your classic high performer or superstar, no matter what the profession is, yet somehow they get away with the wrong behaviors, right? No, it’s not only not what you mean by integrity, but also does that support your values as an organization, as a culture, and for yourself as a leader?
So those are some of the challenges and opportunities when you talk about integrity.
[00:08:18] Bill Raymond: Yeah, I think it’s really interesting when you talk about that, because, one of the things that I got excited about not too long ago, actually and I was working with the team to create a set of values that we would work through right that these would be the values that we use as a team and it was great having these working sessions and really thinking them all through and we had them and then we stepped back and said.
Wait a minute, how does this map up to corporate values? What the CEO is setting, for example? And I don’t know that we fully aligned there. It took a while, but we finally got some of the leadership team involved to sit down with us and collaborate with us and make sure that we had those set up.
It was so interesting to see that all the leaders were really bought into working with us to make sure that we were actually aligning with their priorities as well as our own internal, if you will, objectives.
[00:09:18] Chuck Mollor: I love that story, Bill. And it reminds me that, our cultures are essentially an ecosystem. And, if you start to get larger as an organization and more complex and more departments and division and people departments, and you end up having micro cultures, right?
You still need to have that overarching culture that gets reinforced. But this whole notion of alignment, right? Of leaders and leadership teams and organizations and divisions and functions and culture. That is a never ending pursuit of and there needs to be incredible level of communication and feedback and discussion and having, frankly
systems and processes that support culture that has to happen in order for culture to really work.
[00:10:03] Bill Raymond: Yeah, absolutely. And I felt like one of the coolest things that came out of that, though, is that yes, I’m on a team, which is a leadership team. And then I also have the team that, if you will, reports to me, right? There’s a functional role there as well. But I always found that it’s so much
better you get so much more buy in when everyone together works on these things as a group and you don’t look at things as, oh that’s the person up above that’s talking to me you’re all working together to sort that out as a team.
[00:10:35] Chuck Mollor: Agreed. And I think, we, again, we talk about integrity it’s that it’s also about how we deal with conflict. Are we, how transparent are we? Are we being political in terms of how we show up with each other? And then what we say behind the scenes or behind a closed door. It’s being able to create healthy conflict and we’ve become a very conflict averse society.
We could debate about that for quite some time, but having healthy conflict and being able to disagree and agree to disagree is really healthy, and that’s how organizations and people establish trust and trust is a foundation for healthy teams and healthy organizations and being agile. And there’s a level of accountability, and we talked about accountability, not just in terms of performance, but also in terms of behavior.
If you’re a star performer, it does matter if you treat people disrespectfully, you should be held accountable to that. If you’re a C level executive, you need to be held just as accountable as a new hire in terms of demonstrating the right values and behaviors that reflect leadership and culture.
So those are the other elements I would add to that.
[00:11:35] Bill Raymond: The next one is innovation. Could you share what you mean about that?
[00:11:38] Chuck Mollor: Sure. Innovations are really fun one, because it’s about, being curious. It’s about being willing to experiment and try things. But the key message about innovation is it does not happen without failure. And unfortunately, again, there’s so much pressure from shareholders and investors and the stock market and executive teams and board of directors and go owners
depending on your business model. And innovation doesn’t happen without failure. Sometimes we forget that. Sometimes we’re so focused on immediate success and wins. And don’t get me wrong. We need that in organizations and in business, but we have to remember that without failure, without mistakes, innovation doesn’t happen.
You can’t innovate without failure mistakes. There’s no such thing as successful innovation and entrepreneurship, no matter what kind of business and how big and small and how long you’ve been in place. You don’t have to be a startup to be innovative and then be not entrepreneurially oriented.
You could be a fortune 500 organization and then everything in between. So that to me is probably the most important message when it comes to innovation is understanding the aspect of failure mistakes, and you’ve got to create an environment where people feel it’s okay to try it’s okay to make a mistake and fall down and get back up. Because the moment you reprimand somebody for thinking out of the box, for challenging the status quo, for going beyond the minimal requirements of their job.
If they get reprimanded, are they going to go beyond that again? No, they’re not. So if you want people to think outside of the box, challenge the status quo as I just mentioned stretch themselves, and really think about, how we can get better and more innovative and new products and service and more efficient.
You have to be creating a work environment where people feel it’s okay to fail and make mistakes.
[00:13:25] Bill Raymond: Yeah. And I think I shared with a story with you and I may have shared it on this podcast before. I do remember that there was a big change that we were making to our organization. We’re shifting from one networking platform to another, and it was a significant update. We were, it was going to change the way the entire company worked.
It’s a large organization, global company, many more than 10,000 employees. So we had a lot of, we had a lot at stake doing this. And so every single thing we did was, like fine tuning every decision so that when we make a change it worked just fine. And the very first time we made a change, we had to shut down one single server.
That’s all we needed to do. Shut that one down and fire up the new one that is the replacement one. And. We found out that sometime in the past, someone put some special software on there that the plants, the manufacturing plants used to manage how the systems work. And so we shut down the server.
And we shut down four major plants and it was just terrible. I laugh now, but let me tell you, I was scared to death then and there’s people’s lives at stake when these types of things happen. And so what happened though, was, I thought I was going to get fired.
I actually went into my boss’s office, the CIO’s office with them. And I said, I understand you want to fire me. I’m happy to leave today and I understand what happened and they told me we’re not going to fire you, Bill. This was like we just paid for a major mistake here and you’re probably not going to be making that one again.
And also we find that, you, cause I did of course, write up what happened and what we experienced. And I shared that with them and I was keeping people up to date in real time. The key thing though, for me here was that in order to innovate, we can make really big mistakes and one of the things that
I really want to say to the leaders that were helping me there was that they embraced that failure and they helped me make sure that we didn’t have those mistakes again. And they provided me some more process. They provided me some more resources in order to get that right in the future.
[00:15:43] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, I love that story. And it reminds me again, going back to behavior and personality and style. Some of us are very risk averse. Some of us are really don’t like change. Some of us are very much about change and are big risk takers. And again, there’s already in between if you want to scale that.
You need to know yourself and make sure that you have balance around you. For example, if you’re running a division or you’re really a big driving decisions or even running a business are you a risk taker? Are you? How risk averse are you? And you have people around you that you’re going to let loose to really drive taking risk again, and in a very measured way, of course, in an effective way.
It reminds me of very two quick stories. One CEO very well known consumer product company I was working with, he was very risk averse. And even though he was trying to create innovation teams, really drive innovation in this culture. And product team came out with a new product.
They were excited about it. Without the market and it didn’t do nearly as well as we’re expecting initially, but instead of getting a time or maybe making some adjustments, he immediately pulled the the product out of the marketplace and then shut not only shut it down, but really reprimanded
the team. Especially the innovation team and the product team. How much innovation do you think came after that? Very little. Because no, now people feel like, okay, now I have the boundaries. It has to be immediate home run or else it’s not gonna, we’re not gonna have a good reaction, or I maybe lose my job.
So that’s an example of what you don’t want to do. And another example on the opposite side. And this is actually a business case study out there in business school, which I cannot name in both the business school as well as the company, but a CEO of a software company about 100 person software company had a customer support team that tried to solve a problem with a particular client.
And they came up with some innovative solutions, but it didn’t work. And the customer was unhappy, and they actually ended up leaving the company. And I’m paraphrasing a little bit here. And during a town hall where the CEO would get up in front of his entire employee population every so often, he brought up the story to thank this employee group
for, really not only working hard to come up with a solution, but really for trying to come up some innovation about innovative ideas. And then in front of the whole entire company, he wrote them each a bonus check right in front. A little dramatic, but he literally pull out a checkbook and wrote them each a bonus check.
That same team several months later came up with an innovation that led to a new service offering that like tripled the size of the company. So again, that, these are both extreme examples, but there are examples of what happens when you support people and when you don’t support people,
[00:18:27] Bill Raymond: Yeah that CEO just gave them that burst of energy and when you have that burst of energy, a lot of thought and innovation comes out of it, right? You just, you get excited and you sit down in a room and you start whiteboarding or you’re, or you just start chatting with people and ideas just come out of nowhere sometimes, don’t they?
[00:18:46] Chuck Mollor: They do. And again, it goes back to we’ve said earlier, which is you got to create the right work environment. And yes, you have to deal with and address mistakes and failure. And sometimes people need that feedback, need to understand how to course correct. But you have to provide that environment if you want innovation.
Innovation doesn’t always mean new products and services. It means how we operate, how we internally make decisions. Innovation means every aspect of what you do as an organization.
[00:19:12] Bill Raymond: Let’s talk about urgency now.
[00:19:13] Chuck Mollor: Think about the world we live in today, right? We’re, we live in the Amazon effect era, right? Where we order something and you expect it on your doorstep the next day. So consumers demands of not only when they receive a product or service, but also the next generation of that product and service.
The innovation cycles are getting shorter and shorter, right? So the pressure of Being a hit today and maybe being out of business tomorrow is greater than ever. So the cycles innovation are getting shorter. The demands of consumers and customers are getting higher and shorter. So we’re living in this world where speed of going to market of it being innovative of new products and services of shifting direction strategically are greater than ever. So how do you create going back to agile organization environment where you’re nimble? You’re flexible. You’re fluid. You’re constantly challenging yourselves.
You don’t want to be the next company that creates a great product, but literally it’s not a business five years later, because you didn’t keep up with the times of innovation and there’s so many. So many skeletons or I should say graveyards of companies that have operated that way and have not seen the future.
So you have to be going back to challenge yourself to, and I hate to say it, but not being satisfied or settling with where you are today. Because literally a year from now, the world will look very differently. So this whole sense of urgency is really a critical driver. But then again, how do you create an environment where you have very little bureaucracy, where, your people can make decisions.
They’re spending time thinking and planning. That’s the other big example. There are plenty of examples out there. Especially in software development where people literally have one day to do nothing but to play or to research or to think there’s no responsibilities. There’s no day to day if everybody in your organization, including leaders, by the way, and your executive team are too caught up in the day to day and what I call an operating mode.
Not only do you not have that sense of urgency, you’re not going to be innovative. So how do you create time to think and to plan and experiment? That’s where you see some of these agile characteristics and drivers really integrate. So urgency is really critical.
[00:21:34] Bill Raymond: Now, I’m curious to get your thoughts on this because we talk about urgency a lot. The word agile almost means urgency in some ways. I think that’s how it gets interpreted very frequently. Of course, this podcast, we think about agile and agility as the human centered way of working with teams and improving how we work together and delivering great customer experiences and things like that.
But urgency can very much be a great thing as much as it can be a hindrance or a problem. For example, you just talked about the fact that people need some time to play and try new things out. Otherwise, you don’t have that innovation and we, I guess there’s a common term a lot of people like to use now, which is feature factory, which is we just need to keep releasing these new versions of whatever our product is, and we get it out there, but we’re not necessarily thinking about the future and how we’re innovating. And you lose that sort of, if you will, customer facing thing. And so now you’re actually creating features maybe because someone asked for it internally or someone yelled really loud about it.
And so you have to go do that. I’m curious, like, how do you define the balance between if you will "pet" needs and customer needs while also remaining at a pace of innovation.
[00:22:52] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, so I get an example what I would use, and I hate to pick on Blockbuster, but Blockbuster is a real good example, right? Because They had a great sense of urgency. Let’s open up more stores. Let’s make sure we are in every, block and every other block, of around the country and providing, a video, movie media experience.
So their urgency was around operational success and efficiencies, and results, and actions, and deliverables.
And that’s really critical. But if your urgency is only tied to that, and going back to your point, if you don’t pause, so yes, it’s very counterintuitive, but to be successful around urgency is to create time to pause to think, to think about the future, to think about what’s next, to think about what are we not doing today that is going to be the next generation, and surround yourself with people that can challenge you and that bring ideas and activities that you don’t have yourself.
Going back to the fact that I’m sure most of your audience know the story of how Netflix sat down with Blockbuster and said, hey, would you like to buy us? And Blockbuster laughed at them, essentially, and said, No, you’re not the future. We are. And of course, we all know how that story ended, right?
Blockbuster is gone and Netflix is the power that it is today. Now they’re challenging some of their own innovation issues right now. So my point, though, to your question is, You’ve got to not just think about urgency in terms of execution and process and efficiency and metrics and your numbers. That’s critical, but you need to be thinking and create time to think and reflect and pause about what does the future look like.
[00:24:35] Bill Raymond: Yeah, it’s so important. Thank you. And how about engagement?
[00:24:39] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, so engagement is really really a driver of how you assess performance, productivity and culture, right? So the kinds of employee engagements around for 30 years, people probably have taken employee engagement surveys. Sometimes they’re called employee satisfaction surveys.
Engagement is going about how do you get beyond the minimal effort to do a person’s job? How do you get beyond that? To get the most out of a person, but also how you create an environment where people feel supported, accepted and thrive. So big part of engagement is do people feel have a voice inclusive of what they look like, what their backgrounds are, the color of their skin their sex, their age. So it’s about inclusion. It’s about acceptance. It’s about creating support for people and who they are. And it’s also about ensuring that people feel they’re being supported. And why is this critical? Because in all these years, there’s a very strong correlation to the more engaged your workforce is,
the higher performance, both financially and productively you have is an organization. The lower your engagement, the lower your performance and your financial results are. So the measurement of engagement actually has a high correlation to success. So that’s why engagement is so critical.
[00:26:03] Bill Raymond: Now, it’s interesting because you’re certainly talking about customer engagement as well, but the core of what you’re talking about here is being a leader and engaging with your team in a way that everyone feels like they’re productive and heard.
[00:26:19] Chuck Mollor: Absolutely. Historically, we worked in these hierarchical organizations where employees really didn’t have a voice. It’s this is I’m the boss or this is my business. This is how I want to do it. Go do it. You know, I’m paying you to do a job.
Please go execute. And that’s just not the world we live in today. And if you look at the generations that are in the workforce or entering the workforce, people want to feel valued. They want to feel heard. They want to have a voice. They want to have an opinion. They want to be able to express not only how they feel about the organization of the business or on ideas, but also the work environment, their career.
So you’ve got to create an environment where leaders are supportive of that. They create that kind of environment. They reinforce that environment. In addition to saying, yes, we have to be accountable and we have to drive results and we have to do all the things we were talking about earlier. So creating engagement where people feel, yes, this is a culture and organization and leadership that supports me, but also my colleagues, my team and my organization to be successful, but also where I have a voice and I’ll be heard.
And then I’m also accepted for who I am inclusive of what I look like and what my background is.
[00:27:32] Bill Raymond: Yeah, it’s so important. I think one of the things that I started doing, I’d say, probably midway through my career is there’s times when I guess I prioritized and I didn’t necessarily do this, purposefully, right? But I, my feedback was that I was prioritizing certain people based on their skill set, right?
I maybe valued someone that was more advanced in this topic and did that unconsciously. Fortunately I appreciate getting feedback from people and I allow that to happen. And I provide that capability for people to tell me what they think and I will accept it.
I have a pretty thick skin too. So even if I’m taken back, I can do that. But one of the things that kind of helped me shift as a leader, and this is an interesting one, I don’t know why it helped, but I started taking on anytime I brought on a new employee, I would ask them to write about a topic that they are passionate about, that’s also related to the work that we’re doing, and share that with a greater audience.
And so I would set up a webinar internally at the corporation, the company we work at, and they would be able to present their thoughts and ideas. And every single time we did that, not only did that person feel welcome within the team and that they managed to get a voice, all the other leaders in the organization and their peers got to hear what they had to say, and it created a dialogue and everyone started to welcome that person and maybe a different way than if I were to just send an email and say, Oh, welcome this new employee, or that person just sat in a team meeting once.
[00:29:12] Chuck Mollor: You know, I love that example for many reasons. It reminds me, and there’s methodologies and exercises out there, Bill, that talk about how do you be authentic and transparent and share, your passions and your interests? How do you really get to know people beyond the job? And actually, in the world we live in today, post COVID, or I guess, maybe always in COVID, but at least the initial trauma of COVID in the world we live in today.
And we should talk about the virtual hybrid workforce impact as well to this. But what used to be a line that you didn’t cross, which is how do I get to know a person on a very personal level? That line is now blurred, right? People, because of, whether it’s stress, anxiety, mental health, people want to know that they are appreciated and that organizations and managers and leaders care about them as people, not just as an employee.
And yes, I think your example is spot on, but we need to make sure that people are okay in their personal environments that we, we can have that dialogue and then on a personal level do we really understand what motivates and drives that person? Do we really understand what keeps them awake at night?
What gets them excited to start their day? We should be able to answer those questions about everyone we work with in addition to do we know who they are, where they came from and what their experiences are. We know the cliche. You can’t judge a book by its cover. So do we really get to know our people that were people we work with?
And the more we do that, frankly, that’s how we establish that connection, that level of relationship and the level of trust. Because trust is still a huge foundation. And again, going back to hybrid and virtual work it’s more important than ever that we create that bond, that we create that interpersonal connection.
And it’s harder to do that virtually and when you’re a hybrid, but we have to go out of our way to make sure we have those conversations that we’re not only getting to know the people we work with and the people that maybe work for us, but they get to know each other and they get to know us. As leaders as well.
So those are really critical elements.
Yeah, it’s so important. Thank you. Yeah, and I will be one last thing before I forget before I talk about direction, is going back to behavior. Often we’re in a meeting and the people who have a voice for people who are not only confident. But they’re outgoing, they’re opinionated, and they’re often people there that are more reserved or quiet or they’re maybe they’re more processing or more analytical.
We need to make sure that everyone has a voice. So as a manager, as a leader, it’s really important that we ask and talk to people and bring out those people. They’re not always going to have an opinion. They’re not always going to want to participate. We just can’t let those with strong opinions and outgoing personalities dominate conversations be the only voice in teams and an organization.
So as a manager and a leader, we need to make sure being inclusive that we also bring in the personality factor as well.
[00:32:05] Bill Raymond: Thank you for sharing that because if there is one thing that is a theme through almost every podcast discussion that I have had, we’ve have had over 120 recordings, guess which topic comes up the most? It’s making sure that everyone has a voice in some way, shape, or form, and just because there’s a loud person in the room,
that does seem to make sense frequently too, by the way it doesn’t mean that there isn’t someone else that has a different opinion and they may not be willing to just share it out loud like that and giving them that voice that is probably the most common theme throughout this entire podcast series.
[00:32:43] Chuck Mollor: It’s interesting you say that because I think again, we talk about inclusion and diversity, we know that we know the clearly obvious ones are getting around gender and race and color. But there’s also obviously cultural differences, depending on where you grew up and what part of the world.
But there’s also behavioral personality and style differences, and that’s not a new conversation, but they’re just as important. And if we really want to have a healthy team, healthy organization, we need to make sure that people are not being left behind because they simply are more reserved and they’re quiet and they tend to process.
So I absolutely appreciate you saying that.
[00:33:21] Bill Raymond: Yeah. Thank you. And the last driver is direction.
[00:33:24] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, so the big one here would be that the days of what I call the traditional strategic plan is done, right? So that used to look like we would spend probably 6 months to a year developing a strategic plan. Then we roll it out through the organization to communicate it to make sure everybody is aligned.
And with that strategic plan would be anywhere from 3 to 5 years, sometimes even 10 years long. For the most part, that doesn’t happen anymore. Most organizations have gotten away from that. Why? Because by the time you actually communicate it and try to implement it, it’s already outdated, right?
Because going back to, we said earlier around urgency, the world’s changing so quickly. But, having a sense of direction of where are we, where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, knowing that you’re going to probably have to modify that and communicate that pretty often. It’s still critical, right?
Going back to engagement, alignment, culture, people want to feel not only who are we and how does our internal brand reflect our external brand from a culture and why we want to be here, what we’re trying to accomplish and what the experience that we want not only employees to have, but our customers and consumers to have.
You need also a sense of purpose, a sense of what do we stand for? Not only what is our business strategy, but why do we exist? What’s really our purpose as an organization? What do we aspire to be? And that aspired state is constantly in pursuit. It’s something that’s almost not even attainable because we’re always striving to be that.
And but you need to still communicate the tangibles of that to your people because people need to feel a connection of not only What’s my role in that? But how does my job, my responsibilities tie into this overall purpose and vision and mission and strategy of where we’re going? So that sense of direction, we all want a sense of direction in addition to a sense of purpose.
So direction really is a huge part of this.
[00:35:24] Bill Raymond: Yeah, your direction can’t just be we want to change the world. How do you define that?
[00:35:27] Chuck Mollor: Every business, I guess you could say wants to change the world, even though they all say that, but yeah, you need a little bit more, more than that.
[00:35:33] Bill Raymond: And also I think it’s interesting. There, there is a certain level of pride that comes with this. And that pride can take two forms. You’re proud in what you’re doing because you are meeting those objectives. And it’s something that you feel like import is important to your role. But then there’s the other one, which is we’re so proud of the direction that we set, we lose sense of the idea that maybe the world has changed.
And we need to let that go and take it, make a change.
[00:36:06] Chuck Mollor: Yeah, it ties back to what we were talking about earlier, Bill, right? Why this is all somewhat integrated is that it’s sometimes hard to let go of what your success has been in the past because your future success is going to be different and needs to be different. And that’s part of being comfortable with change, it’s being comfortable innovation, that’s being comfortable with shifting and being fluid and being adaptable and changing your sense of direction.
It may not. It’s not going to change necessarily your purpose, but it’s going to change us often about where we’re heading and how we’re going to get there. So that kind of discussion and people feeling a sense of ownership of that Bill, a sense of I have a voice in that that goes, that’s such a key component of not only culture and engagement, but also being agile.
And when you can create an environment where people truly feel that way, you have a special conversation It was special situation. And start start small. Start with your team. And then hopefully from there, it can grow into multiple teams and then a division and department and then hopefully an overall organization and company.
But is there’s anyone out there as part of an executive team or it’s a CEO? All the things we’ve talked about today are key aspects to how you run your business and create an environment that allows you to attract, develop, retain your, really good people that can help you achieve great success.
So it is, at the end of the day, it is all about leadership that drives all this.
[00:37:31] How to contact Chuck Mollor
[00:37:31] Bill Raymond: Chuck Mollor, I want to thank you for being on the podcast. And I want to also make sure that if anyone in the audience could reach out to you, they can. So how could they reach out to you?
[00:37:42] Chuck Mollor: Sure. Thank you, Bill, for suggesting that or offering that. Two ways, really. They can reach me through my LinkedIn profile, which is Chuck Mollor, and that’s spelled M O L L O R. They can also reach me at our website, which is https://mcgpartners.com.
[00:37:58] Bill Raymond: Wonderful. Thank you. And of course, I’ll make sure that those links are in the show notes, the description, if any podcast app that you might be using right now, and they will also be on the https://agileinaction.Com website. Chuck Mollor, once again, thank you so much for your time today.
[00:38:13] Chuck Mollor: Thanks, Bill. Really great conversation. Thank you for all your terrific questions.
[00:38:17] Speaker: Thank you for listening to the Agile in Action Podcast with Bill Raymond. Subscribe now to stay current on the latest trends in team, organization, and agile techniques. Please take a moment to rate and comment to help us grow our community. This podcast is produced in affiliation with Cambermast LLC, and our executive producer is Reama Dagasan.
If there is a topic you would like Bill to cover, contact him directly at Bill.Raymond@agileinaction.com.