October 2015

Welcome to the October HTG Way! We are on the cusp of harvest here on the farm after a very good growing season. All indications are that the crop will be good, and we'll be able to bring it in out of the field and put it into the bins for storage before we market it this fall and winter. The prices are currently very low, creating the reality that a breakeven farming year is the likely result. But that is better than one alternative which would have been the outcome if the crop yields weren't high enough to offset the low grain prices.  We only have a few levers to pull on the farm. Mother Nature controls the weather and ultimately the harvest outcome.

The truth of the matter is that within our organizations, we only have a few levers to pull as well.  One of those is the people we place on the bus, to talk in terms of Jim Collins' Good to Great teaching.  A second lever is making sure those people are on the right seat on the bus so we leverage their skills and talents to maximize their contribution.  A third lever is how we educate and build into those right people sitting in the right seats on the bus.
Developing Organizational Leadership 
That is the core of this month's focus.  We have to get serious about developing organizational leadership that cascades success down to every single person in the organization.  The reality is that owners/founders/leaders have to transition to building their people, not being involved in the day to day aspects of the business.
One of the outcomes of the new Service Executive Peer Groups (now four groups strong with roughly 50 companies engaged) is that there is a significant potential to bridge what can be a natural disconnect between the owners attending the regular HTG Face to Face peer groups and those who are tasked with leading the service delivery outcomes for their organizations.  We have to focus on carrying home the learnings and lessons we get from our HTG group so it can be transferred to those who work with us and for us.  That is how you double down on the value of HTG.  It isn't information that is presented purely for the benefit of the attendee.
The concepts and information learned through HTG is most powerful when it is widely shared with your team.  And the truth is - they are hungry for it.  They want to learn and grow.  So that has to become a key focus for 2016. How do you do it effectively?  Here are a couple ideas you might try which I have used with my team:
  1. Write a trip report.  This can be a simple one page report on the key learnings that came out of the time spent at each HTG event.  There might actually be two; one for the leadership or role based academy content and a second for the individual peer group time.  It might include your one thing, key ideas you picked up for other members of your team in their specific roles, and general content that might apply to your team.  If it is worth two days to attend a meeting, it is worth the time on the flight home to write a summary and share it with your company.  I encourage you to have a regular blog to communicate your thoughts as a leader with your entire team, and this is great content to share four times a year (or actually eight posts with the leadership academy/role based content).  Make it short.  Think about using video.  The important thing is to share what you learned.
  2. Have a recurring items in your company meeting agenda to share.  This is about a regular rhythm of communicating with your team.  Hopefully you already have a regular monthly all hands meeting, put 10 minutes on that agenda to share the big idea with your team you learned at the HTG quarterly event.  Make it a point to educate and teach key concepts to the entire team.  That is how you exponentially increase the value and impact on your team.
  3. Make your HTG goals part of the management scorecard for your team.  Be sure you share the goals you have set with the team and then be accountable in updating your own team on how you are progressing.  Accountability is led, not dictated.  You get to set the example and model what a culture of accountability looks like.  That starts with you, at the top, and there is no better way to get that going than by using your HTG goals as a scorecard metric for your team to monitor.  That makes it far more likely you won't return to the next quarterly meeting with your goals incomplete.
Let the Power of HTG Impact Your Entire Company 
Those are three simple ways you can leverage HTG to help build organizational leadership in your company.  It takes focused effort.  Leadership is taught, and it won't happen if you don't make it a priority and do something intentional.  I occasionally have the conversation with an owner who says they have received all the value that their HTG group has to offer.  That always causes me to ask how they are doing cascading down all that they have learned throughout their team.  "If I came to your office and asked your people for the three main things that your company has done as a result of HTG....what would your employees say"?  I actually have done that at a number of HTG companies.  My biggest fear is hearing the words 'what is HTG'?  That is a sure tail sign that nothing has been shared.
Occasionally when I do ask that question, employees of an HTG principal do know what HTG is and they don't think very highly of it.
I hear the story of an owner or two being out of the office for a few days a quarter at "some kind of meeting," and then coming back and do what we call 'seagulling' all over the team.  Seagulling is a term I've coined for when we come back and drop a bunch of to do's on everyone without any explanation of the why that drives it beyond 'just do this.'  I was just as guilty in the early days of my IT company, HTS, which is why we push now to have a focus around plans and goals tied to plans.  It helps us as entrepreneurial owners resist the urge to chase shiny objects and distract our team while we're at it.
There are several times when I have visited a company and asked their team about HTG, and the team not only knows about HTG but is engaged and excited about the value their owner and team get from each meeting because they are using it to raise the tide for everyone.  Value happens when you take the things you have learned and effectively train the team about what has been shared and learned.  It is a rare exception for me to talk with someone considering leaving HTG where they have effectively leveraged the real power of our community to impact their entire company.  That is the magic.  Those that figure out that value actually never leave because they realize there is so much more their teams need to know.
Q4 Content Days for You and Your Team 
I look forward to seeing you in Orlando in Q4.  Monday afternoon we will have a great session addressing some key organizational leadership topics at the Leadership Academy.
Also remember we have the virtual HR Summit that day as well, which consists of two sessions. Register for Session 1: Organizing Your HR and Session 2: Recruiting and Retaining Talent.
Be sure you are leveraging all that HTG has to offer as you build your team and prepare to go to the next level!

Prospective Member List
The new and prospective member listed on the HTG HUB in the Prospective Member List   are being vetted by an HTG group for membership, or are invited to their next quarterly meeting. Per our membership agreement, this is the opportunity to HTG members at large to review the list and provide written beedback on any objections they may have to the members or prospects under consideration. Member companies have 48 hours following this email to communicate concerns to Scott Scrogin for review by the Advisory Council.