No MBA mumbo-jumbo, just stuff that's worked through 30 years of team-building in business and the military.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The First Rule of Presence: Leverage Your Location

When I took command of my company, I asked the outgoing commander for advice. He told me about what he called the Three Rules of Presence.

The first one relates to your physical presence: Leverage your location. Like leaning on a bicycle, you can shift the course your team takes by where you are.

He explained that soldiers believe their commander is not only completely committed to the organization, but also totally focused on the objective. Because of that, they will assume that you'll be wherever most important thing is going on.

That means there's a really easy way for you to put emphasis on something: Just go there. Show up somewhere, or ask about something, and your team will think it's important. After all, there were a lot of other things you could have chosen to spend your time on.

Key learning event for me: My company passed a key maintenance inspection for the first time in a decade, and my people gave me credit. I protested; I literally hadn't done a thing to contribute. My First Sergeant corrected me: "Sir, in every training meeting for the last year, this was the first thing you asked about, and every Saturday morning, you stopped by the Motor Pool to check. Every soldier in the company knew this was high on your list." What I did, inadvertently, was use the First Rule of Presence.

Your people gauge importance by your interest, which they gauge by your presence. It works the other way too: Your team will devalue anything you never look at or ask about.

No comments:

Post a Comment