Behind the Principles – Creativity

Can your organization push the envelope creatively?

Once a consistent, solid foundation is set through standardization, leaders encourage creativity that “pushes the envelope” for continuous improvement.  Then, once higher levels of performance are realized, the pursuit of excellence continues. 

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Behind the Principles – Standardization

Have you identified which processes in your organization need to be standardized?

Managers often want their teams to come up with “Out of the Box” solutions to business problems. How can they accomplish this if the box hasn’t been defined first?

Standardization of processes and procedures helps define boundaries in which people operate.  Consistently adhering to these boundaries results in achievement of desired outcomes or goals.

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Behind the Principles – Briefing and Debriefing

Does your team plan to perform at its highest level?

In our assessment of organization cultures, we have found that very few management teams possess the critical skills for briefing and debriefing.  These techniques are the foundation to sustained superior performance.  Briefing and debriefing tools for conflict resolution and finding innovative solutions are the workhorses for maintaining the culture and reaching every individual in the organization over time.  These concepts are so foreign to management, they need to be defined:

  • Briefing:  Distilling your preparations into how you are tackling the problem. Clearly communicating, understanding and agreeing to objectives ahead of time.  This involves investing considerable time to organize and gain a high level of focus
  • Debriefing:  Critical to continuous improvement, debriefing is a structured critique of recent performance.  This approach promotes getting better each time and not repeating the same mistakes. 

Briefing and debriefing are the management tools necessary to accomplish the following:

  • Ensure standardization and adherence to excellence
  • Realize constant process improvement and error elimination
  • Communicate and execute the strategy
  • Institute real-time, day-to-day teaching and learning
  • Employ the critique process as a management instrument

Leaders create opportunities to brief and debrief their workgroup.  They dispel “fear in the ranks” in discussing opportunities and/or problems.  They prepare for the next challenge by constructively critiquing the last one.  As Albert Einstein said, “We cannot expect to solve problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

In addition to the essential management skills of briefing and debriefing, we will provide instruction to your leadership team on the following important topics:

  • Implementing the  plan
  • Establishing an atmosphere of two-way communications
  • Realizing continual process improvement at every level of the organization
  • Developing high reliability organizational techniques
  • Advancing resource management to a new level

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Behind the Principles – Preparation

Are your people as prepared as a fighter pilot would be in accomplishing their mission?

A goal without a plan often is just a wish.

Preparation is a key component for your leadership team to reach the next level of performance.  If teams do not prepare correctly, they are setting themselves up for failure.  Our Top Gun instructors have designed several course components specifically to improve a team’s strategic development and preparation to achieve results.  These include several courses of action, decision briefs, action and milestone strategies, as well as specific plans for building trust and openness with team members.

Don’t wait until crisis situations or serious challenges to begin preparation.  Then it is too late.  Relentless preparation builds unconscious competence.  As a result, individuals will respond effectively to adversity without a second thought.  In a fast-paced environment, it is easy for leaders to fall into the “urgency over importance” mode.  Overemphasis on urgent matters results in neglect of important matters, contributing further to the reactive, crisis mode of operation.

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Behind the Principles – Resolute Professionalism

Does your team represent your brand professionally?

Create a corporate identity and reputation that will foster internal excellence and attract others from the outside who are passionate and very good at what they do.   Establish a disdain for mediocrity, the enemy of excellence.  When the common trait is to make the organization better by pursuing personal excellence, there will be little interest in anything less than the pursuit of improvement.

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Behind the Principles – Buy Into Your Culture and Values (The Brand)

Is everyone that reports to you on the same page?

Every successful team has like-mindedness.  They share the same values.  All of us have a set of cultural values.  They range from family to hard work, from merit to creativity, from empathy to honesty.  They are our basic values and give us purpose.  We refer to these values as “the brand.”  Put another way, the brand is what makes you turn off the snooze button every day, because you can’t wait to get to work.  It dictates that no phone rings more than three times in the office before someone picks it up. 

Simply put, this defines why we do what we do.  The brand should, but often does not, work in concert with what we do (the corporate mission or vision).  The first step toward success is to look within ourselves and determine who we are, what makes us tick, and what our true values are.  Then we must determine what we’re going to do with them.

While every organization has a brand, few employees can articulate what their brand is and what it means to them.  We help you evaluate your brand in a clear and concise manner and determine this essence.  Then, everyone must agree and commit.  They have to buy into the brand.  Only after commitment to the brand can we agree on the organization’s goals and objectives.  This is a critical piece of the process.  These values first have to be accepted by the leadership team (the buy in) before they communicate any goals and objectives to other employees.

These cultural values say “This is where we want to be; this is the best we can be.”  Top Gun Strategies assists organizations in making this vital mission a success.  Pride, respect, loyalty, excellence, esteem, tradition, leadership…all flow from that unique and valuable brand.  It is, indeed, the heartbeat of an organization.

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Behind the Principles – Assemble a Quality Team

Who do you trust to solve your most important problems?

Once leaders are identified and their expertise expands, create the expectation that they, in turn, develop others.  Note that leaders are not always the top producers or the most skilled technicians, but rather those individuals who inspire others to a higher level of performance.  Every individual, every organization, is rich with untapped values and beliefs.

Identifying and selecting the most valuable and potent of these riches is the task of management.  Focusing resources on relatively small numbers can have a significant impact on the whole organization.  For instance, each year Top Gun produces only 24 graduates.  However, the compound effect of each graduate sharing his expertise with others outside of Top Gun has shaped the face of naval fighter aviation.  We can help you compound the leadership within your organization.

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