A throat culture…

…tells you a lot about what’s going on in your system.

This idea got stimulated by a compliment we received from a “brand marketing” consultant.  After dozens of interviews with one of our clients, they were amazed at the level of ONEness they discerned across the firm — distinct AND deeply connected.

“Oh, you have a culture doctor!”  they exclaimed.

At BUILT TO LEAD we intentionally practice a highly disciplined form of speaking & listening.    If we didn’t, we’d be guilty of mal-practice, leaving our client poorer and more feverish than ever.

When a team is really sick it can’t hardly open it’s mouth.   When it’s healthy it sounds like a symphony, quickly establishing the melody line with an edge that gets you leaning forward on your seat followed by 1000 nuances as the whole teams speaks on beat without being cued.

We know when it feels easy, it’s because we’ve fought through the real, HARD, work of building a strong core immune system.   A system gets sicker when it fights against itself.   A system gets healthier when it fights FOR itself.    Like the brain, a healthy leader sends healthy signals to the rest of the body with a growth response to a challenge, and lets the body go to work.

In Practice #47,  it didn’t feel like this at all. The team was frustrated with a lack of clarity from its leader on its priorities.   Voices sounded raspy.   The team wanted to help but didn’t know how, because the leader said the priorities were all on his plate.   Practice #47 closed with the leader giving the team the “green light” to assemble a few fellow builders to help him with a “stop doing list.”     Two weeks later, we started practice #48 speaking & listening about what gives rise to the need for a stop doing list, and why most don’t follow through.   Then the fellow builders broadcast productive actions they had taken with their leader to take stuff off his plate.     Momentum filled the room,  and another cadre formed with the productive action to identity with clarity by next practice “who we serve” – which was the root issue to the other priorities not being advanced.

So, at practice #49 today with this client, we heard from the throats of newbies, the young vets, and the head of the system.   It’s music to our ears when a team has a jam session like this one.   Besides teeing up practice with a WHY question about the importance of know who you serve and why, my role was easy.   After speaking & listening at their tables about the WHY, the cadre grabbed the reigns and broadcast the breakthrough they’d made working with their leader.   The head of the system “anded” how this connected to the vision and next steps.

A throat culture tells you a lot about what’s going on in a system.   Today we enjoyed the unison of the melody line – “Together we Improve” – and 1000 nuances.






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