Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. How do I get my employees to meet my evolving needs when most people are naturally resistant to change?

Contrary to popular belief, most people do want to learn and develop and adapt and we change in ways that we want to change on a regular basis. The key is to get to the heart of what goals inspire your employees to want to learn, develop, adapt, and change in a direction that helps meet the needs of the organization. The most dynamic and effective leaders foster an environment where employees establish personal growth goals that align with organizational growth goals.

Q2. How do I get my team to accept the change that is coming?

The same way you get your significant other to be more supportive of the plans you made for the two of you without checking in before making the plans. You don’t.

Organizations rely on healthy processes and healthy relationships. The further along you go before bringing your team up to date on new initiatives, the more resistant the team will be when the plans are announced. When you feel your team resisting change, it is likely an indicator of unhealthy relationships due to poor planning and implementation processes.

Q3. Why can’t I find people who are capable of creating my vision?
This is very common and here is why. You are the expert of creating your vision and not an expert at hiring and successfully communicating your vision. Many extremely intelligent business leaders need help with this and often have trouble translating visions into verbiage and messaging that provides immediate clarity, buy-in, and direction for the majority of the workforce.
Q4. How am I supposed to manage the younger generations?
The younger generations are a product of the evolving collective consciousness. The best thing is to stop using that verbiage and ask yourself, how am I supposed to manage people today. We work with individuals of all ages and we see that the struggle has to do more with career stage than age…after all, the older generations are the ones providing resources to the younger generations. That means we are in this together. Stop perpetuating the issue by creating generational divisions and start thinking about the basic needs that all people share in 2017. Start from there.
Q5. How can I find/create more loyal employees?
Loyalty is a function of cultural fit. Each person in an organization has a unique culture and the organization has a culture. A culture is made up of all the influences that have been placed on it since its conception. Understanding and being able to tightly define the organizational culture provides a framework and a gate through which people can enter and exit the framework. Interviewees are standing at the gate and employees are already in. In either case, the job of leadership is to correctly identify who does and does not fit in the culture based on personality, temperament, and values. The next step is finding the right jobs for those who are invited into the framework. This is the key to building bi-directional loyalty.
6. How can I develop key contributors into effective leaders?
The best way to develop key contributors into effective leaders is by being the living example of an effective leader. If your key employees are not naturally developing into effective leaders, it is usually a sign that you are not leading them effectively. In this case, the most effective leaders often bring in an external leadership development practitioner to increase the focus on and awareness of leadership development opportunities.
Q7. Why is culture important?

Peter Ferdinand Drucker is known as the “founder of modern management.” He studied and advised Mid-20th Century powerhouses such as GM, GE, and IBM. Through the course of his work, he authored this powerful comment that disrupted the business world: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

We agree with Mr. Drucker and so do many studies that show culture-focused organizations statistically obliterate the average growth rates of the 500 companies represented in the S&P 500. While we place high importance on strategy with our clients, we always find that it’s the cultural enhancements that lead to unparalleled growth.

Q8. How can I prevent high turnover?
Loyalty is a function of cultural fit. Each person in an organization has a unique culture and the organization has a culture. A culture is made up of all the influences that have been placed on it since its conception. Understanding and being able to tightly define the organizational culture provides a framework and a gate through which people can enter and exit the framework. Interviewees are standing at the gate and employees are already in. In either case, the job of leadership is to correctly identify who does and does not fit in the culture based on personality, temperament, and values. The next step is finding the right jobs for those who are invited into the framework. This is the key to building bi-directional loyalty.
Q9. How do I let my employer know that people are miserable and we are going to leave if the culture does not improve?
Write us. Provide a little about the problems you are seeing, the name of your company, and contact information for the Owner/CEO/highest-ranking division leader in your company. Feel free to not include your name…unless you want us to reach back out to you. Ask your co-workers to write us with the same information if they also want a cultural improvement. We will reach out to your organization for you.
Q10: I have done everything I can and I still cannot get through to some of the key players. So now what?
If you are asking this question, you either need help evaluating the scenario to make sure you are not missing something, or you need help putting a plan together for some decisions that you already know need to be made. It is great to have external counsel in your corner for either case so that you can rest assured you make the best decisions for the overall health of the company and the future of the organizational culture…from all perspectives.
Q11. What is leadership development?

This is a great question and there are a lot of definitions out there. At Zebra, we feel that becoming a great leader is like becoming a great musician (or anything else that requires hours and years of intentional practice). The desire and discipline must come from within and daily practice is a requirement of mastery. Many leadership development programs are beautiful roads to nowhere because the participants are not ready for the leadership journey. These individuals are usually great at and dedicated to something, but it is not leading others. There is an art to step one…identifying your future leaders.

When we develop leaders at Zebra Leadership, we help individuals learn how to think about intentionally leading in all settings of life. Then we provide open lines of support for those who are dedicated to the practice. A musician can record, playback, critique, and improve her music. At Zebra, we work closely with individuals, playback leadership opportunities, critique their leadership effectiveness, and explore methods for enhancing future leadership performance.

Q12. How do I financially justify retaining a service like Zebra Leadership when the name of the game is making money?

Interestingly, this is one of our most popular questions…so it must be a very real concern. In sports, there are moments that players/teams provide from time to time…the slam-dunk, the touchdown dance, the grand slam homerun, etc., but it’s the fundamentals that win championships. At Zebra, we focus on the organizational fundamentals that lead to sustainable results that exceed expectations.

When the fundamentals are practiced daily, people become more attracted to the organization. This typically starts within and then evangelically spreads throughout all stakeholders (clients included). The bottom line is this: people begin to believe, employees see a future and feel tied to outcomes, unhealthy turnover expenses begin to vanish, happy employees work harder, productivity increases, innovation and forward-looking strategy planning becomes the focus rather than problem resolution, and revenues reach new heights. Before you know it, you will wonder why we don’t charge more.

Q13. Who is the right candidate for an external consultant/outside advisor?

This is a great question. Very generally, we break it down into three types of leaders who may benefit from an external consulting firm/outside advisor:

1. The Generally Concerned: ”I believe our leadership team has a vision, but employees are not making the vision come true…what is wrong here? Can anyone help figure this out?”

2. The Self-Reflective: “The leadership team has a vision, but the employees are not making the vision a reality …maybe I am (or the leadership team is) the problem. We need help!”

3. The Proactive Owner/Leader: “This is important to me/us…I/we want to be proactive and bring in an expert/firm that helps bridge the gap between the executive vision and all employees so that all decisions are pointing to the same desired outcomes. I/we have seen/participated in dysfunctional organizations where the culture was not marching to the same beat and it is not something I/we want to see happen here.”

AGREE? DISAGREE? HAVE ANOTHER QUESTION?