In the "2007 Corporate Issues Survey, A Look at the Trends and Issues Organizations and Leaders Face," by the Ken Blanchard Companies, it is evident that the corporate world is dealing with a complex mix of challenges, or opportunities as I like to call them. Competition continues to evolve and appear from new sources, growth and expansion goals must be evaluated against the reality of the lack of skilled labor and internal leadership bench strength must be shored up in order to retain key talent. Of course, all of this must be balanced with intense focus on an outstanding customer, client and guest experience.

The top four management opportunities in the survey are:

1. Developing potential leaders(#1 for fifth consecutive year)
2. Selecting and retaining key talent
3. Creating an engaged workforce
4. Customer loyalty

These four ranked ahead of reducing costs, succession planning, team member flexibility/responsiveness and increasing innovation.
It makes perfect sense that developing potential leaders keeps showing up on top, as effective leadership is required for the success of the opportunities listed beneath it. These opportunities are also extremely integrated with each other.

For example, a high degree of customer loyalty occurs when a workforce is fully engaged. When a workforce is fully engaged, your team member retention will increase dramatically, which increases your internal talent pool to develop potential leaders. When your team is engaged and "in the zone," your company is also more desirable when recruiting outside leadership candidates. They will "feel" it during the interview process.

So how do you create full engagement in your company? I recently finished(now re-reading) the national bestseller, Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box, by The Arbinger Institute. It exposes the main reason why so many companies struggle with high turnover and mediocre levels of productivity and profitability. I was astounded by what I learned about my own leadership abilities, thinking my people skills were very strong to begin with. What an eye-opener!

The premise of the book is that all leaders at all levels unknowingly deceive themselves(inside the box) to some degree by imposing their own opinions, thoughts, beliefs and behaviors on themselves and others to which a wall of resistance is created between the two. The key here is how big and thick of a wall will be built? The larger the wall, the more creativity, commitment, communication and cooperation will decrease.

If your turnover is high, you have leaders and team members that are "in the box." If turnover is low, you have leaders and team members that are "out of the box." The team members will mirror the leaders, which is a concept most leaders have knowledge of, but they don't fully understand the concept and aren't sure how or aren't interested in becoming a different kind of leader, a leader who can see others as people, not objects. Remember that more than 50% of people leave their jobs because of the way they were treated by their immediate supervisor.

So, how do you become an "out of the box" leader, so you can engage your people, lower turnover, attract potential leaders so you can have a reliable succession plan and dramatically improve your productivity and profitability?

« You read Leadership and Self-Deception and learn the concept of how to become an "out of the box" leader.
« You incorporate 360 degree and organizational assessments and do quarterly follow-ups so you can measure the changes in performance. Otherwise it is a waste of time and money.
« You retain the services of a corporate coach who will guide you through the transition, giving you brutally honest feedback and a way to measure your performance and your coaching investment.

What are you waiting for? Everyone is counting on you! Who are you counting on?

Author's Bio: 

Chris has thirty years of business management experience in the hospitality, service and tourism industries. After a successful career working in both corporate America and on Main Street, Chris decided to pursue his dream of inspiring others to be all they can be. He is now and executive leadership coach, consultant, author and speaker. Chris's passion is to work with executives, entreprenuers and professionals in creating powerful visions for their companies along with a smart action plan to make them more sustainable and profitable. Chris is an advocate for values driven leadership and believes it is the key to business and personal success.

Chris lives in rural Arizona with his wife and two young daughters. When he is not coaching, writing and speaking, he enjoys spending quality time with his family, volunteering in his church and community, reading leadership books and articles, cooking, yoga, jogging, gardening and golf a couple of times a year.