Leadership was on display as the audience hung on every word uttered two weeks ago in Ft. Lauderdale, FL by Bob Danzig, former nationwide head of the Hearst Newspaper Group and vice president of the Hearst Corporation. For 20 years this industry giant was the epitome of what leadership should be in the 21st century. He used engagement techniques and conversational communication skills long before they ever had a name.
Danzig’s leadership philosophy was summed up in eight simple but powerful words, “you are worthwhile, you are full of promise.” He believed that if you start with a genuine empathy and value for others, be they your clients or your workforce, they would then gain and so would your business.
Danzig chiseled out the new norm 20 years ago when he put the workforce, the client and the consumer first – and they knew he had their best interests at heart. He used soft skills, especially listening and nurturing, to open doors and build spirit in a huge corporation.
Where are you on the leadership curve? Are you ahead of the curve like Bob Danzig was or just recognizing that a new curve has emerged from behind the walls that have boxed in the way business is done? Is your business still a slave to an organization chart with linearly connected boxes that create barriers, limit the flow of productivity and is inefficient for doing business in the 21st Century? Or, have you discovered a fluid adaptive expansive networked model – ORBS?
ORBS stands for Organizational Relativity for Business Success. It is a transformational organization chart that allows for dynamic potential and unending growth, freedom for innovation and enough structure for optimum productivity and profitability.
Danzig may not have called it ORBS but his leadership style was all about the principles that make up orbital leaders: vision, connecting, listening, nurturing and creating value in what he and his organization had to offer, whether it was advertising for the client or employment for the individual.
ORBS Principles: The “orbital effect” of this organization chart adapts to the flow and change of today’s business environment, meeting the needs of the organization no matter what state the business environment is in. ORBS is no longer a static document posted on the wall that bears no relevance to what is actually happening in the workplace. It is a roadmap that embodies the life and breath of an inclusive organization.
Vision trumps everything: At the heart and soul of ORBS is the company vision. You may think that works, programs and issues may be the logical vision but they are not the glue that holds everything together. Your vision is the driving force for everything and should be the very reason for existence. It must be crystal clear from the manager to the mail person, from marketing to sales and from production to shipping. The vision must be simply stated and with great clarity so that everyone understands it and any person in the organization can say it at a moment’s notice – no more than five to eight words. When the workforce understands why they are doing what they are doing and how they impact the outcome, they become more engaged and productivity increases.
Environment builds spirit: The physical and emotional workplace must be conducive to not only maintain the flow of a focused engaged workforce but also be welcoming to a new way of thinking and doing – it’s no longer business as usual. Everyone that works for your organization lives there for at least eight hours per day. In order to be most productive, the environment that surrounds them for those eight hours needs to be clean, free of chaos and clutter, organized for efficiency and conducive to maximizing their productivity. Included here are little things like the wrong colors on the walls for the work being performed in a given area, barriers caused by cubicles and noise pollution distractions. It’s the little things that build company spirit, connecting on the emotional level to increase the self-worth of the individual and improve the natural flow of focus, productivity and profitability.
Orbital Communications engage: The flow of information, spoken and unspoken, is key. One of leadership’s top responsibilities is communicating their vision so well that it lives in the hearts of the workforce. Communication must be in a format that is easily understood, brief and has the “orbital effect,” as in circular or orbital in nature, not just one way. It is equally important for leadership to listen when communicating. The only way to determine whether the workforce has heard you is to have them play back what they heard. That completes the communication orbital cycle. Listening aggressively engages the workforce – the result, greater buy-in to your vision and the role they play in the outcome.
A new era has emerged from behind 500-year-old Newtonian walls and boxes in the business community: it’s called ORBS. The “orbital effect” demands that a strong vision is in place, requires a nurturing environment that spawns innovation and engages the workforce and customer through the use of soft skills. Are you ready?
Pat Heydlauff speaks from experience. She works with organizations that want to create an environment where employees are engaged, encouraged and involved, and with people who want to be in control, anxiety-free and confident. She is the author of the forthcoming book, Engage: How to Lead with Power, Productivity and Promise and Feng Shui: So Easy a Child Can Do It. She can be reached at 561-799-3443 or engagetolead.com.