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The Champion Forum Podcast

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Developing A Culture of Improvement, Not Perfectionism

Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever wondered how to take your team’s potential and turn it into real progress for your business? In this episode, we’re presenting another portion of our series Hanch’s How-To’s. Here, I give you an inside look at the real conversations I am having with leaders like you and share how I answer their questions. In today’s episode, we will tackle the topics of perfectionism and creating a culture of personal development.

1.  Progress over Perfection

The problem: A leader expressed to me that they were frustrated by the amount of accountability conversations they were having with their team. They wanted to know how to get others to care as much as they care.

The solution: Accountability is necessary, but the goal is progress, not perfection. When you have a leader who sets unrealistic expectations for their team, the result can be toxic. These leaders can struggle to appreciate their team and provide enough encouragement. The perfectionist leader is also fearful and averse to risk, extremely self-critical, frustrated by the apparent lack of progress, and slow to make decisions.

If you are a perfectionist, try this:

  1. Sharing your mistakes rather than trying to hide them.

  2. Admit when you're wrong and ask for help.

  3. Try new things and ask others for feedback on how you are doing.

  4. Relax your expectations from others and let things fall where they may.

  5. Freely give compliments, appreciate efforts by others, and give recognition in public.

  6. Practice delegating more by finding the right people for each task and deciding on the level of your involvement.

  7. Learn to say no to taking on too much.

  8. Prioritize employee well-being and work-life balance.

If you focus more on valuing employee well-being, fostering open communication, and encouraging experimentation and adaptability, you can create a supportive and productive workplace culture. It may not always be perfect, but your employees will show great progress.

Q: Describe a time when you worked for a perfectionist. What was the culture of that organization like? Do you think of yourself as a perfectionist? Why or why not? What strategies help you manage your perfectionism?

2.  Foster a Culture of Continuous Learning

The question: How do I grow my company’s competitive advantage?

The solution: Everyone can find great resources on business strategy. The thing that is the most unique to your business is the people that work with you!

We live in a world where change is the only constant. Accelerated customer expectations, evolving regulations, ever-expanding advancements in technology, and changing workplace dynamics are just a few of the changes we all experience. A culture of continuous learning is key to keeping up.

How to Create A Culture of Continuous Learning:

Hold Employee-Led Lunch And Learns

Asking employees to play a part increases staff buy-in of the importance of being willing to explore new topics. 

Establish Small Group Meetings For Peers

Establish small groups of three to five people who meet weekly for 30 minutes. These meetings are an opportunity to share best practices, collaborate, and share challenges and the learnings from those challenges.

Share Informal Learning Content With Your Team

Sharing content like podcasts or videos in weekly team meetings demonstrates your commitment to continuous learning as a manager. These small, regular steps encourage employees to embrace lifelong learning. Then, ask them to share their best gem and acknowledge or reward active participation and contributions.

Attend Professional Development Opportunities And Share What You've Learned

Lead by example by attending professional development aligned with your work. Then, present a summary of what you learned to your team. By sharing what you learned as the boss, you will demonstrate the importance of continuous learning and encourage your team to do the same.

Ask Employees What They Have Learned This Week

Leaders should take time in individual and group meetings to pose the following: Tell me about something you learned this week. After you ask this question a few times, people will know they should come ready to share.

Q: How would you describe your team’s attitude toward learning and personal development? Have you ever tried any of these strategies? What were the results? Which strategy are you least likely to try? Why? 

Application Activities:

  1. If you are a perfectionist, think about how you can celebrate your team. You may not be able to celebrate people doing things perfectly at first! Break down some milestones that will help you see results and encourage your employees along the way. For example, if you want to see your team do something every time, start by celebrating increasing the rate of achievement to 75%, then 80%, then 90%. Focus on helping your team improve and appreciating their efforts.

  2. In your one-on-ones with your team members, collaborate and decide on one book they can read in their area of opportunity. When they are done reading it, have them present what they learned to the rest of the team! This practice will achieve two things. 1. The team will learn the book’s concepts without reading the entire thing. 2. The presenter will solidify their knowledge of the topic and be better prepared to utilize it daily.

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