The Four Universal Promises of Leadership – Part 3

July 9, 2020 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

In previous parts of this series we looked at leadership, the self-commitment it requires, and the first of four universal promises of leadership. The first was the promise to set a clear direction and create meaningful work for the organization you lead.

The Second Universal Promise

You will engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance.

Engaging your team members is about the connection with each of them individually and also as a team. Getting to know and understand each person requires intelligent and thoughtful communication. This communication includes asking insightful questions, listening with all of your senses to the language used and the emotions expressed and experienced. This will expand your understanding and communicate significance to each individual in a very powerful way. 

You have heard this expression: ”Getting the right people in the right seats on the bus.” One of the most important functions of a leader is to evaluate the gifts and talents of each person so that you can put them to work in the best position on the team. Facilitating each individual’s understanding of how their work contributes to reaching our destination provides motivation, clarity, meaning, and accountability. ”Coaching as a Leadership Style” focuses much of our work as a leader on the development of the gifts and talents of the individuals in our organization. When this happens, we have really begun to bring out their inherent potential…the gifts, talents, discretionary energy, and passion of the individuals we lead.

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Ray McElroy speaks on the topic of “To Boldly Go – Stepping Out of the Ordinary to the Extraordinary.” Ray’s background includes spending six seasons in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Detroit Lions, and the Chicago Bears. A native of Chicago and a graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Ray also served as Team Chaplain for the Chicago Bears Organization from 2008-2013.

McElroy says, “Ordinary people with average talent can accomplish extraordinary things.” He urges us to “see where you want to be and work on getting there.” He asks us to ponder these questions:

  • What do you know that nobody else knows? 
  • What do you see that nobody else sees? 
  • What can you do that nobody else can do or will do? 
  • We need a team around us in the valley … Who’s your crew? 

I ask you to ponder these questions:

  • Who on the team knows things no one else knows?
  • Who on the team sees things no one else sees?
  • Who can and will do something no one else can and will do?
  • How can you best position team members to contribute their best?
  • What do you need to do to better lead your crew?

From Compliance to Commitment

When the organizational culture supports people in such a way that they thrive, strive to contribute, and are valued for their contributions, there is a shift from compliance to commitment to the cause, resulting in dramatic increases in individual and organizational performance. It is a 1 + 1 = 3 phenomenon. 

From Values to Accountability

Our deeply held values become our standard of accountability, both individually and collectively. In Part 2 of this series, I provided the example of performing an After Action Review (AAR) in a morning huddle. When we debrief on previous behavior as a team, everyone is invited to reflect on whether we could have performed better to support our foundational values. One of the foundational values of how we work as a team in my practice is to encourage team members to discern and discuss failures to support our agreed upon values. Anyone is welcome to point out violations. We then look at behavior that violated our values and discuss what would have been better behavior. It provides clarity for everyone.  

A primary goal of leadership is helping each individual and the team, as a whole, become clear on the essential vision, mission and values of the organization. If we confuse, we lose. Clarity wins and is a primary driver of performance. 

Until next week and Part 4

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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The Four Universal Promises of Leadership - Part 2

June 18, 2020 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced you to a discussion about leadership and four universal promises of leadership. My next goal is to discuss the first of four universal promises of leadership.

The First Universal Promise

You will set the right direction and create meaningful work.

Each of us needs structure to live and lead effectively. Setting the right direction requires you to be clear on what your destination is. What story do you want your life and your life’s work to tell? Is it a story worth telling? Will it inspire other people to want to go with you? What will it take to get there? How and where do you start?

Clarity Will Transform You

The structure of destination and meaning comes from your vision, mission and values. Your vision is critical to communicate a clear picture of your destination. Your mission is critical to understanding what you must overcome and connecting each person’s role to it. Values guide us from deep within.

The process of clarifying your vision, mission and values sets into motion self and organizational transformation.

Your vision transforms you into an Inspiration Maker.

Your mission transforms you into a Meaning Maker.

Your values transform you into a Behavior Maker.

Vision is the inspiration maker for the organization. It is the destination that the organization is traveling to. Jason Bourne’s vision was to get his identity back from the evil CIA unit that stole his identity. His mission was the very dangerous actions that he had to undertake in order to get rid of the bad guys and get to the truth.

Mission is the meaning maker for the organization…It is about the conflicts, barriers, and work that must be overcome to reach the destination. In a Nike commercial, the athletes are pushing their physical limits in training (Mission) to become a champion (Vision).

Values are the rules of behavior for everyone in the organization, including the leader. They are the boss. When anyone violates the values that they have agreed to, it becomes obvious to all. The leader makes himself/herself accountable to the team and asks for them to confront him/her if he/she violates them. Values are grounded in our most deeply held beliefs and often integrated to the framework of our faith.

In other words, vision-mission-values are for the benefit of the organization. And, yes, the leader must become them as well.

When your vision, mission and values saturate your organizational culture, you begin to enjoy the rewards of that effort. The shared mental model provides structure for thinking with one mind, speaking with one voice, and feeling with one heart. Your energy and effort are channeled into one powerful coherent force that is aligned at all levels and moving in the direction of your destination.

After Action Reviews

Here’s an example of how in my dental practice we routinely review whether we are on course to our destination in alignment with our values. Recently, in our morning huddle today, we did an After Action Review (ARR) of our performance as a team on the previous afternoon. It was a routinely busy day that got pushed in the last two hours with several important emergency appointments.

An AAR examines the performance of the entire team and asks key questions:

What did we intend to do?
What did we actually do?
What were the results?
What would we do next time?
Were our actions consistent with our values?

I started the discussion. Quickly, several key team members expressed their thoughts and emotions that our performance as a team did not produce the results that we want and were not consistent with “Who We Are” and “Who We Hope to Be” at our best. It was a difficult but very productive conversation…and I think essential to creating better future performance.

These kinds of conversations invite every team member to have a voice in the critical moments of how we perform as a team, which increases the meaning of their work and recognizes the value of their contributions. It also allows us to evaluate if our behavior and performance as a team is moving the practice in the direction of our vision. Clarity wins. These conversations clarify.

Until next week and Part 3

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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The Four Universal Promises of Leadership - Part 1

June 8, 2020 Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Warren Bennis, in his book, On Becoming A Leader, says, ”Becoming a leader is synonymous with becoming yourself. It is precisely that simple, and it’s also that difficult…First and foremost, find out what it is that you are all about, and be that.”

In other words, leadership development is about developing yourself. As appealing as that sounds, it is one of the most resisted journeys that any human being can attempt to make. One of the most extraordinary writers, thinkers, and influencers I have ever read is Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl. He said, ”When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Changing ourselves can appear to be a daunting task, but it is the work required to become a great leader.

Self-Deployment

My favorite definition of leadership says that Leadership is about the deployment of self into circumstances. But which of your selves is deployed? Is it your best self that shows up with clarity, conviction, courage, and compassion as the essential qualities of a great leader? Or is it some other less powerful version of you? The performance of the organization that you lead will be in large part determined by how you show up to the most important people that you have been given the gift of leading. That organization ranges from your family, to your community, as well as the business organization that you lead.

Four Universal Promises

When you decided to become a healthcare professional, you decided to become a leader, whether you knew it or not. That role as a leader comes with four promises that are universal. We will examine those promises in this blog series, and you will get the opportunity to determine how well you are keeping them. Your future and the future of the organization you lead depends upon it.

  1. You promise you will set the right direction and create meaningful work.
  2. You promise you will engage all stakeholders and hold them accountable for performance.
  3. You promise you will ensure that your strategies, systems and processes facilitate focus and execution.
  4. You promise you will lead effectively by maintaining relationships of trust to achieve and sustain results.

Until next week…

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About Author

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Edwin "Mac" McDonald DDS

Dr. Edwin A. McDonald III received his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry and Economics from Midwestern State University. He earned his DDS degree from the University of Texas Dental Branch at Houston. Dr. McDonald has completed extensive training in dental implant dentistry through the University of Florida Center for Implant Dentistry. He has also completed extensive aesthetic dentistry training through various programs including the Seattle Institute, The Pankey Institute and Spear Education. Mac is a general dentist in Plano Texas. His practice is focused on esthetic and restorative dentistry. He is a visiting faculty member at the Pankey Institute. Mac also lectures at meetings around the country and has been very active with both the Dallas County Dental Association and the Texas Dental Association. Currently, he is a student in the Naveen Jindal School of Business at the University of Texas at Dallas pursuing a graduate certificate in Executive and Professional Coaching. With Dr. Joel Small, he is co-founder of Line of Sight Coaching, dedicated to helping healthcare professionals develop leadership and coaching skills that improve the effectiveness, morale and productivity of their teams.

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