Omar L Harris Show Notes Page
Omar L Harris coasted on his own individual talent early in his career. The first time he led a team, he began to carry the performance of the team on his shoulders. This caused him to be hospitalized and suffer from panic attacks. Finally, he realized he needed to trust his people and put them in the right place to win.
Born to a chemical engineer father and social worker mother in the working-class town of Pittsburgh, PA, Omar L. Harris learned the values of connecting process to outcomes and the importance of being of service to others at an early age. Being the youngest of four boys in a family of 5 children he endured a lot of hope and pressure to succeed where others had failed in order to uplift and support his family. Moving from Pittsburgh to Charleston, WV, to Lake Charles, LA over the course of his childhood and adolescence engendered in Omar the ability to adapt to constant change which has been his status quo as an adult living all over the US and spending considerable time living and working in the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America.
As a young professional in the pharmaceutical industry, he was exposed to Gallup’s StrengthsFinder tool back in 2002 which informed his philosophy of focusing on what was right with people versus what was not. According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, Omar learned that he was naturally gifted with the ability to forge connections between seemingly unrelated items, influence transformation from good to great, quickly generate options, inspire confidence in others, and confront and overcome obstacles. Honing his natural talents into reliable strengths he successfully matriculated through Pfizer and ultimately found a corporate home at Schering-Plough as a fast-track management associate where he worked for one of the most successful marketing teams in the pharmaceutical industry. He became the youngest marketing director and senior marketing director in the company’s history before Schering-Plough was acquired by Merck.
His 8 years of experience working on this high performing team became the seed that would germinate and ultimately grow into his book Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams.
Omar began leading teams in 2006 and began implementing principles he’d learned reading books by John C. Maxwell, Tom Rath, Patrick Lencioni, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins to name a few. Over time he found significant gaps between the brilliant theories of these leadership giants and the exact application in the day-to-day minutiae of leading a team in the real world. So, he set out to synthesize and adapt these concepts into a suite of Team Performance Acceleration Principles that he’s used with teams of different sizes and scopes all over the world to drive results.
Omar currently lives alone in Sao Paulo, Brazil where he works as Country Manager – Brazil for Allergan.
Quotes and Mentions
Listen to Omar L Harris (@strengthsleader) to get over the hump on the @FastLeaderShow – Click to Tweet
“If you provide positivity to others, you in turn fill your own well of positivity.” – Click to Tweet
“You can avoid the negativity trap simply by trying to do something nice for other people.” – Click to Tweet
“Be aware of your impact of positive and negative on your team and organization.” @strengthsleader – Click to Tweet
“The more positive energy you put out, the more you’re going to get back.” – Click to Tweet
“By putting positive actions in place, you have the ability to drain the well of negativity.” – Click to Tweet
“There’s a halo effect when the leader is intentionally being positive.” – Click to Tweet
“The information about you as a leader can get transmitted faster than ever before.” – Click to Tweet
“If you are a negative leader or toxic leader in today’s environment, everyone’s going to know and no one’s going to want to work for you.” – Click to Tweet
“In today’s world you can no longer get away with being a toxic leader.” – Click to Tweet
“HR cannot create a personal relationship with your people with you.” – Click to Tweet
“One of the reasons we’re seeing this global disengagement crisis is because managers are increasingly less engaged and involved in their people’s lives.” – Click to Tweet
“Where you went to school, how smart you are on an IQ test and your past success, does not predict your future.” – Click to Tweet
“As a leader, don’t assume that the behavioral attributes you need to be successful are there.” – Click to Tweet
“Every project has elements of execution, influencing, relationship building, and strategic thinking to it.” – Click to Tweet
“If you’re a poor leader, changing companies is not going to make you a better leader.” – Click to Tweet
“You need to make sure your character is at the utmost level at all times.” – Click to Tweet
“There’s different coaching aspects depending on which stage your team is in.” – Click to Tweet
“The numbers are depressing if you look at the employee engagement numbers.” – Click to Tweet
“Focus on the person, not the role.” – Click to Tweet
“Everything happens in due time, don’t get ahead of yourself.” – Click to Tweet[optin-cat id=11101]
Hump to Get Over
Omar L Harris coasted on his own individual talent early in his career. The first time he led a team, he began to carry the performance of the team on his shoulders. This caused him to be hospitalized and suffer from panic attacks. Finally, he realized he needed to trust his people and put them in the right place to win.
Advice for others
Everything happens in due time, don’t get ahead of yourself.
Holding him back from being an even better leader
Not working out enough.
Best Leadership Advice
Focus on the person, not the role.
Secret to Success
Daily habits that lead to future outcomes.
Best tools in business or life
My energy, positivity, and my enthusiasm.
Leader Board: The DNA of High Performance Teams (Leader Board Series)
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
Contacting Omar L Harris
Resources and Show Mentions
231: Jim Harter: Chief Scientist Workplace, Gallup
Show Transcript:Click to access edited transcript
247: Omar L Harris: Leadership giants have gaps
Jim Rembach: (00:00)
Jim Rembach: Okay. Fast leader Legion today. I’m excited because I had the opportunity to interview somebody who I have actually had the chance to interview before and he brings such a wealth and depth of experience and knowledge that I’m looking forward to this conversation. Even more than the last, born to a chemical engineer, father and social worker, mother in the working class town of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Omar L Harris, learn the values of connecting process to outcomes and the importance of being of service to others. At an early age, being the youngest of four boys in a family of five children, he endured a lot of hope and pressure to succeed where others had failed in order to uplift and support his family. Moving from Pittsburgh to Charleston, West Virginia to Lake Charles, Louisiana over the course of his childhood and adolescence endured in Omar the ability to adapt to constant change, which has been his status quo as an adult, living all over the U S and spending considerable time living and working in the middle East, Asia and Latin America.
Jim Rembach: (01:02)
As a young professional in the pharmaceutical industry. He was exposed to Guelph StrengthFinder tool back in 2002 which informed his philosophy of focusing on what was right with people versus what was not. According to the StrengthsFinder assessment, Omar learned that he was naturally gifted with the ability to forge connections between seemingly unrelated items, influenced transformation from good to great quickly generate options, inspire confidence in others and confront and overcome obstacles, honing his natural talents into reliable strengths. He successfully matriculated through Pfizer and ultimately found a corporate home at shearing plow as a fast track management associate where he worked for one of the most successful marketing teams in the pharmaceutical industry. He became the youngest marketing director and senior marketing director in the company’s history. Before Schering plough was acquired by Merck is eight years of experience working on this high performing team, became the seed of what would germinate and ultimately grow into his book leaderboard the DNA of high performance teams.
Jim Rembach: (02:03)
Omar began leading teams in 2006 and began implementing principles. He’d learned reading books by John C. Maxwell, Tom Rath, Patrick Lensioni, Stephen Covey, and Jim Collins. To name a few over time, he found significant gaps between the brilliant theories of these leadership giants and the exact application in the day to day minutia of leading a team in the real world. So he set out to synthesize and adapt these concepts into a suite of team performance acceleration principles that he used with teams of different sizes and scopes all over the world to drive results. Omar currently lives alone and saw Paul Brazil where he works as a country manager of Brazil for Allegan where he loves to travel and experience the culture. Omar L Harris, are you ready to help us get over the hump? Let’s do it. Let’s do it, man. I’m glad you’re here. Now given my Legion a little bit about you, but can you share what your current passion is so that we can get to know you even better? Or my current really is,
Omar L Harris:: (03:00)
uh, writing. So that’s where the author comes in leading. So, which is why I maintain a position at Oregon and lead an enterprise over 300 people and high performance strengths coaching. So basically helping people understand what’s great about them and put it into action to overcome their obstacles and achieve their goals.
Jim Rembach: (03:17)
Well, I’m talking about action. I mean your book leaderboard is just loaded with a lot of opportunities for that to take place. Um, being able to take, like you have said, some of those gaps that we often find in theory and making them real. But I think first of all, we often have to realize that there’s potential pitfalls and things that we can run into. In the very beginning of the book, you talk about negativity trap. Can you tell us a little bit about what that is?
Omar L Harris:: (03:44)
So the negativity trap is really where you get into a mindset or the negative cycle of negative thinking that perpetuates negative outcomes. And this really comes from the book. How full is your bucket? Um, was written by Donald O Clifton and Tom Rath, uh, back in, I think the early two thousands was what came out. And so, uh, what was most interesting about that particular, that particular book was it was a, uh, a great example of PLW in term camps, uh, in China. And the psychological effect, uh, that the, the, the captors used all the captives to basically utilize negative reinforcement to perpetuate a hopelessness and sort of hopeless hopelessness. And the captives, it didn’t do torture. It didn’t, you know, beat them. They didn’t treat them poorly. They just gave them bad news about their fit. They wrote letters, for example, from the point of view of the family members dying in the U S as an example, or, uh, they would perpetuate other negative thoughts in the captives.
Omar L Harris:: (04:45)
And this led to was sense of hopelessness and people basically die the hopelessness and these camps not up toward turnout of other things. So, uh, that was a very powerful example that I took from, from reading. Uh, how full is your bucket? And then the inverse of that situation is the theory that if you provide positivity to others, you intern for your own well of positivity so you can further be energized into your job and be engaged. So the idea that you can avoid the negativity trap simply by trying to do something nice for other people. So what I always tell people who are coming to me with negativity in my office and on a daily basis is, you know, do something nice for someone that somebody else, here’s something positive for somebody else. Be aware of your impact, both positive and negative on your teams and on your organization. The more positive energy you put out, the more you’re going to get back to providing a more. So it’s a bit of a virtuous circle. So, so you have to avoid the negative negativity trap, which is really these negative doubts, beliefs, self limiting beliefs, um, career limiting beliefs, things that we all have anxieties, fears, worries,
Jim Rembach: (05:53)
Omar L Harris:: (05:53)
And counteract that by simply putting positive action into place. By putting positive actions into place, you have the ability to really, uh, to drain the well of negativity. Refill with the Willow positivity. And this is the first, the book starts off with this example because, uh, more than any of the thing, there is a, there’s a halo effect of the Fado the leader on the organization when the, when the, when the leader is intentionally being positive with their, uh, with their organization versus when you’re not aware of your actual impact on those around you. So it’s about self-awareness. It’s about intentionally being positive because you know, that’s going to have a far more powerful impact on employee engagement or productivity, and you’re going to get it back into yourself as well.
Jim Rembach: (06:38)
Well, to me, what you just said, right there is the really the importance of modeling because I think, you know, it’s too easy for us, especially where if we’re in a position where we have some subordinates to oftentimes fall into the trap to where it’s like, okay, you know, don’t do what I’m doing. Do what I’m telling you to do.
Omar L Harris:: (06:57)
Right? Right. And today’s employees, the millennials and those coming after them, they’re watching you basically. You know, the idea of transparency is everywhere, right? Transparency on the web, transparency on social media. Uh, uh, right now there are websites and services where bosses are being rated by their employees of glassdoor.com so everybody’s watching you now and the information about you as a leader is can get transmitted faster than ever before. If you are a negative leader or a toxic leader in today’s environment, everyone’s going to know and no one’s going to where want to work for you. Whereas before you kind of get away with it today in today’s world, you can no longer get with being a toxic leader. And so that’s really why I start the book with the negative trap negativity trap to show that the main character of the story is trying to avoid that so he can basically perpetuate something positive for himself. And then for the organization.
Jim Rembach: (07:46)
Well, one of the things that’s important to all of this as well is making sure that when we’re selecting people for our teams, regardless of the size, and I would dare to say the smaller the team that even more important than it is, is that we don’t just necessarily go through a very typical, our common process of interviewing you actually use something that’s a little bit different. What is that?
Omar L Harris:: (08:08)
So my principle is called interviewing, but interviewing begins actually after the person has been hired to the team. So it’s a step of onboarding. So one of the things that really is really amazing to me in today’s day and age is that leaders outsource onboarding to HR. So HR cannot create a personal relationship with your people, with you. HR is not going to sell your people on you. Think about this. When you hire someone, if the maximum out of time is spent with you as their hiring managers, probably an hour in that first interview you did with them, right? You think that there’s a bond of trust already created and a bond of they understand your style. What’s going to work for you, what works for them and how you guys are going to work together to for powerful part partnership and really drive no. So interviewing is taking the next step to saying, listen, we work together.
Omar L Harris:: (09:00)
I as your leader, habit, intense interest and curiosity about who you are, the person, what makes you who you are and I’m going to sit down with you over the course of two to three hours and get to know the building blocks of you, your motivators, your desires, your drivers, your strengths, your weaknesses, things you hate, things that drive me crazy things you love. Because when I have all that information right from the beginning, first of all, the fact that I’m asking these questions creates proximity between the two of us. The second thing it does is it builds trust because it shows that my manager is concerned about knowing me as a person before we start talking about what my job actually is. So it’s no the person focused on a person, not just a role. And those two things combined creates a powerful partnership between you and your employee, which is the building block.
Omar L Harris:: (09:49)
If you have that with every individual member of your team, this is how you begin to talk through some of the stages of group formation and hack some of that process, which we’ll talk about it a little bit. I’m sure Jim. So, but that’s, that’s what interviewing really is, is a, a standardized approach during the onboarding process within month one, someone coming on your team where you sit down and really reveal yourself, become vulnerable, let them know about your life, you get to understand their life, build up our partnership and then, uh, take a, take a, take a
Jim Rembach: (10:18)
stuff from there. Well one of the things that also to me is quite, um, the opportunity when you start talking about that is I could even do that to my boss. So like for example, they may not come with me with this, you know, come to me with this particular, you know, interview process. However, I could essentially be using this tool in order for me, you know, as their direct report to get to know them better. You know, whether or not, you know, it’s, it’s open and open discussion and that they’re willing to do it. I just need to collect this information so that when I do try to get, you know, my ideas forth in an approved, when I try to, you know, um, have them enable us to get certain things done that only they can do. I mean I see it being as very a lot of ways.
Omar L Harris:: (11:04)
So Jim you are, you’re going to the bed step cause that’s actually you’re exactly right. You know the questionnaire works both ways. You know, I’m trying to influence leaders to be more people oriented and I’m asking them to do the stuff of doing interviews. But if you’re an employee you also have an obligation to break crate, break, bridge that barrier with your, with your manager. So it works both ways. And actually when I started my new job with Allegan last summer when I joined it and moved to Brazil from Indonesia, I actually sat down with my new manager who was the senior vice president of LA, of the [inaudible] region and I, I did an interview with him, a reverse interview. So we sat down over lunch and I actually use the process that we built the bond of trust right from the beginning I understood what his pet peeves were, I understood what he expected from me style wise, what expected for me from a communications perspective. I understood about his life, the fact that he had kids and you know his birthday well, whether it was important for him. So we got to a different level of, of comradery over the course of a two hour lunch and then our relationship was off to the races from that moment on. So you’re exactly right. It doesn’t just speak, it shouldn’t just be the manager to the, to the new colleague at Oxford, the colleagues. It’s actually very powerful for colleagues,
Jim Rembach: (12:14)
manager as well. Well, and I want to make sure that people kind of understand when we start talking about the reverse interview process is that certain cultures, that’s kind of expected. If we’re talking about the North American culture, specifically in the United States, we oftentimes will shirk or discount the importance of doing something like that because we think it’s invasion of somebody’s privacy. But in fact that’s how you build relationships is getting to those things because it’s not what, we don’t want to know what it is that people do. What we want to know is who are they.
Omar L Harris:: (12:45)
Exactly. Exactly. And the best teams I’ve ever worked for Jim or teams where we were involved in each other’s lives, we got personal. So, so, and I think if you’re going to spend all this time working with a group of people to achieve a goal and you don’t get personal, uh, it’s, it’s really, what’s the point of it. I mean, I think that’s, you know, keeping it a hundred percent professional and only what happened when people walk into the office. You don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes at the teammate or as a boss. Um, you’re really missing a major trick in terms of motivation and engaging the organization. That’s probably one of the reasons why we’re seeing this global disengagement crisis because managers are increasingly less engaged and involved in their people’s lives. They don’t understand what’s happening. I’ll give you, I’ll give you another example, Tim. I’m doing my midyear performance reviews, right? And one of the questions that I’m asking you, my major performance reviews is, um, tell me, uh, how, how has your level of stress right now, how has your current level of engagement with, uh, with me and with the enterprise and with the products we’re working on? Um, how was your overall health and is there anything in your personal life affecting your performer friend? Now I’m asking these questions in a mini review. I can ask these questions because I’ve already done interviews with all of these people.
Jim Rembach: (14:01)
Omar L Harris:: (14:01)
And we already have trust. If I just come out the door asking questions like this, you know, it’s not going to work. But because I’ve already put the work in, uh, when I ask questions like this that are really caring and understanding questions and let me know what’s going on with somebody, um, it’s not taken in a wrong way and we, it further builds those last so’s trust.
Jim Rembach: (14:20)
It’s funny that you say that because I, um, a while back was doing a mid year review with, uh, somebody who was reporting to me and I started asking him questions about how could I, you know, better serve and support them, how could I, you know, and basically that was the gist of the review process. Um, and then when it was all done, she looked at me kinda fun and she said, is that it? And I’m like, well, yeah. And she goes, that is the strangest review that I have.
Omar L Harris:: (14:49)
But, but, but we’re, we’re, we are are of like minds. Jim, I asked the exact same question because for me, once again, that whole concept of servant leadership, I work for you. I did a rule book bears from you, so you can be massively successful if you’re successful. I’m successful.
Jim Rembach: (15:04)
Most definitely. Okay. So another thing when you start talking about identifying the right people, you use another little bit of a twist, somewhat of an acronym, uh, and then you use something called boom, a, w, H. O. M. what does that stand for and what does that do?
Omar L Harris:: (15:18)
So whom is the step before interviewing, which is how I identify a high performance DNA right from the start. Let me give you the background of this. So going, bridging another leadership Titan’s philosophy into the practical application. So one of my favorite books is good to great. I love good to great so much. We have a read good to great. It’s a study of a top tier companies. They had a peer group and basically they deliver 10 times market performance over a 30 year period. And they were studied by Jim Collins and associates. And then they wrote a book, uh, of somewhat, uh, not, uh, obvious insights about what made the, what made the great companies distinguish themselves from the good companies. So the first principle of good to great was not, you know, a counterintuitive insight was not they had the best mission or had the best process.
Omar L Harris:: (16:11)
It was called first. Who then what first, who then what says as a basic principle, get the right people on the bus and then decide where the bus was going. Right. I loved that and I kind of committed it to memory, but then I’m in a day to day world and I’m like, but who are the who? How do I decide who the right people are? Is that experience pedigree, a, you know, a past success? Is that the best measure of who I started there? Then I realized that actually where you went to school, how smart you are and an IQ test and your past success is not necessarily predict your future success. I have to go deeper. So I created an acronym initially was just work ethic, heart and optimism. And that was built out of, uh, really thinking about the teams that I worked on that were very successful.
Omar L Harris:: (17:00)
And what did everyone on those teams have in common? Well, we all worked really hard. We had shared passion and we saw problems and barriers as opportunities and not as things that were going to slow us down or stop us. So I use the who principle for many, many years. And then when I was working in Indonesia, I added the M, which is maturity because I, as I become, uh, increasing my leadership in terms of leading leaders, deleting leaders of leaders and leading leaders of leaders of leaders, the higher up you go. So for example, now I’m leading leaders of leaders of leaders, but shorty becomes a much more important attribute. And you can’t assume it’s because someone is, you know, 45, 50 years old or in their forties that they’re mature. And what I mean by maturity is they can deal with inevitable disappointment. They can deal with conflicts productively when they arise and then make a positive outcomes come out of that.
Omar L Harris:: (17:53)
Because so then I begin utilizing, creating questions from maturity that complemented the entire, uh, big fire cycles. So now when I hire a team for a team, anyone who comes on my team, they have to prove to me that they have the necessary level, minimum level of work ethic, heart optimism and maturity. My current team now is comprised of all these individuals. We don’t have unnecessary conflicts about silly things. We’re very focused on the mission. We all are aligned. The passionate about what we’re doing and when we kind of problems were very quick and collaborative to solve them together. So, um, high performance is almost guaranteed if you have that DNA right from the start, which is why I recommend hiring the right home.
Jim Rembach: (18:37)
Well, and as you are saying that, I kind of chuckled inside because I used to have this saying that I use quite often and you see, you’re causing me to reflect and bring it on back. As I was talking about my career of managing, you know, hundreds of people through operations, um, at various times is that I, I would say I’ve been blessed. I’ve had the opportunity to lead 18 year old men and 65 year old boys.
Omar L Harris:: (19:07)
There it is. You brought, you brought the whole thing home. And the whole point is as a leader, don’t assume that the behavioral attributes you need to be successful are there. Um, and, and so, so a lot of times we focus on someone’s town and their potential, uh, but these people are destructive on teams. You know, I’ve dealt with some of the smartest people you could ever lead. And individually they are superstar, they’re brilliant, but he put them in an, around another group of people and the frustrations boil over and people don’t move fast enough for them. And, and then it just creates unnecessary attention that people can’t get things done and it becomes devolves into, you know, uh, just a lot of negativity. And you’re in that storming phase that we’re going to talk about a little bit later.
Jim Rembach: (19:52)
Yeah. And let’s talk about that. Okay. So, and you’re talking about the, the, the team work and the team building process. I mean that talking about going back on those Titans that that was done back in the forties or 50s, I think. And you probably have more insight and sharing on that, but there’s a specific process that teams go through and, and it, it and it actually evolves and, and sometimes you go back two steps and move forward, but about that team process.
Omar L Harris:: (20:18)
So, so Bruce Tuckman who’s a behavioral psychologist and a giant of behavioral psychology, uh, wrote an a landmark article called uh, group development and sequences. And in that landmark article, what he did was he basically took a lot of research from a lot of different disciplines on different groups of people and it looked to find the thin red line between all these studies. And what he found was that basically, uh, when you’re talking about groups of, you know, between one and 25 people, like smallest type groups, uh, when you put these people together and you give them a task, naturally they’re going to go through four stages. Forming is the first stage, storming is the second stage. Norming is the third stage. And performing his last days. Now forming is guaranteed. And I would say storming is guaranteed. Norming and performing are not guaranteed. Uh, you’re just because you’re in a group of people, you don’t always arrive at norming and you, most teams never actually arrive at performing.
Omar L Harris:: (21:21)
Um, although their managers or leaders may think they’re, they’re in high performance, but they’re not actually that actually performing. So let me go through each one of those stages for you, Jim. So we can break it down a little bit. Better. Forming happens either when it’s a brand new team, random people that are coming together. So basically, you know, it’s a start up and you’re starting a new organization or when the leader is new. So imagine you are a leader. Like I was coming into Brazil last year inheriting an organization. The team begins to form around me because my energy, this is my presence changes the organization. So we forming from that, from that perspective or forming happens when the mission changes. So imagine that you won a championship, but the next year you want to win another championship. Well, the next year’s task is different than the first year task.
Omar L Harris:: (22:08)
The team members may be different. That dynamics in the market may be different. So therefore you’re forming again around the task. So those are the three instances where you’re actually four. So basically it’s a group of people coming together to do a task. As you go through and begin to decide how you’re going to go about doing the task, you go into a phase called stormy, which is basically when everyone has a different opinion about how to accomplish the task. You put 10 people together and said, listen, uh, you know, uh, screw in a light bulb. That’s where the dope comes from, right? You’re going to find, you know, 10 different opinions about the best way to do that, right? So that’s storming. And then that show was basically everybody wanted to put their point of view on the table and say, listen, this is how we should go about doing some critical tasks.
Omar L Harris:: (22:52)
The leaders tried to assert their authority. Uh, individuals are trying to be political, either to become close to the leader or to basically remove the leader’s power. So it’s a very uncomfortable period of time because although people have, they know what the task is and they agree on the task, how to achieve the task has not yet been aligned. So norming is once you know, everyone is aware of the task and know what we’re trying to accomplish and we agree on how we’re going to go about achieving the task. So what are the rules of the road where the rules of the game? Now we’re in Norman, now we have certain rules and established ways of working that will allow us to go forward and accomplish the task. And usually it stops right there. It stops adoring because because you’ve gone through storming, what happens in norming that prevents high performance?
Omar L Harris:: (23:38)
Well, one thing, people will become too polite. They don’t want to disrupt the harmony that they’ve established after coming through stormy. So there’s an artificial harmony that pervades norming teams that the leader must disrupt. All of the leader can disrupt the artificial harmony by stimulating productive conflict, by stimulating productive conflict. Then you get to the next stage, which is performing. That is when, uh, not, not only does everybody know what the task is, not only does everyone have the ways of working, but everyone is laser focused and a hundred percent passionate on doing whatever it takes to achieve the task. That’s the difference between a performing team and a Normington. It’s a level of commitment and the level of focus and orientation towards nothing’s gonna stop us from achieving this task, not even artificial harmony. And that’s when you get to high performance.
Jim Rembach: (24:33)
Well, and when you start talking about yet another acronym, so we’ve hit a several. You, you close the book with something called [inaudible].
Omar L Harris:: (24:43)
So really what I wanted to do was, uh, because once again, Bruce Tuckman wrote a great article, right about forming, storming, norming, and performing. There’s nothing in the article that says, what should a leader be doing? Or how can a leader actually help a group of people faster move through these stages. So that’s where the teeth have come into play. Because basically I have identified in the literature and in my own personal experience that there are definitely proactive ways a leader can take to speed. The group from forming to performing. And so the team performance acceleration principles or T paps or the state that the actual practical application things you can do starting today that will allow you to move much faster through forming jump right through storming gets normally very quickly and then get to performing after that. So there’s five team performances or it’s principles linked to each one of the stages of group formation. And that’s really unique about leaderboard is that there’s never been that kind of guidance linked to the state as a group formation put together before. And it’s not only my own, uh, own ideas, it’s also the amalgamation of the best, the leadership from the greatest minds on business, uh, business and operations and organizations, uh, over the last 20 or 30 years. But what’s different is it’s all practical application. It’s all things you can do, download tools and start utilizing them today.
Jim Rembach: (26:15)
Well, I think that’s the missing component for so many folks and they need to get, you know, charged, energized, uh, excited, motivated, you know, when they hear and read, you know, certain things about leading. And then it’s like, okay, now let’s go do it. And we’re like, where do we start? And it’s crickets. Right?
Omar L Harris:: (26:32)
Exactly. Exactly. So, so you know what I, what I like to say is I’ve, you know, the first person that goes through the wall gets the blood and knows, I’ve gone to the, what I’ve gotten the Belinda nodes for everybody. I’ve actually taken the pain and time to try to implement these things in the real world, see what works, what does not filter all that out and give you a curated list of tools that will definitely work to move the needle forward for your organization.
Jim Rembach: (26:59)
Well, and as I had mentioned to you, I mean, going through the book, I mean, I was inspired in a lot of different ways. Uh, I also had the opportunity to have, uh, dr Jim harder on the fast leader show who is the chief research scientist of workplace for Gallop, uh, who is author of this book called H the manager. He also shares a lot, a bit about, a lot about the strengths. And while, you know, there are some people out there that will talk about the strengths and even you know that strengths finder and identifying and you know, all of that, you know, has some gaps in it as well. It’s nothing is perfect here, but I th and I think one of the things that you’ve done with leaderboard, and I think you’re also, you know, working on some additional works associated with that, you know, is making it, like you said, it’s tangible. The day to day this is okay, you know, TA take all of this theory, you know, and do these things and now you’ll have success.
Omar L Harris:: (27:52)
Yeah. Speaking of the strengths specifically, and I’m glad you brought that up, Jim, is you know, as a certified strengths coach, I have a, I have a gigantic frustration I’m going to reveal to you right now, which is the power of focusing on what’s right with people versus what’s wrong with them as a leader to engage and really transform someone’s career is phenomenal. Two problems we have right now, only 20 million people globally have taken a strength finder assessment. So the vast majority of people still have not learned their strengths. What in globally there are less than 4,000 certified strengths coaches for 20 million people in the world. So even if you take the string spider test and you are very passionate and you and you, you get the, you get the bug that you want to develop restraints, that the likelihood that you’re going to find a strengths coach that was going to, that’s going to be able to take you through the process and help you improve is very difficult because of the, the, the gap between the number of people who are taking assessment and the number of actual strengths coaches.
Omar L Harris:: (28:56)
So leaderboard also fits in there to bridge that gap to a certain extent as well. Because when I talk about in the book and what I leaderboard actually is, so other than a clever title is uh, one of the actionable steps that we’re talking about. So all the leaderboard is, is taking principles from strengths based leadership, which was published back in 2008. Uh, and what strengths based leadership said is that, you know, there are 35 themes of talent. So basically everybody has, uh, 30, 34 teams of talent, talent, which are ordered in terms of their dominance from one to 34. Right? These things have talent. They say they organize it, the four domains of strength, so executing, influencing life stability and 50 thinking. So basically the 34 talents are organized in four domains of strength. Well, I take it a little bit further than than Gallup is, is to say what that means to me is that if I’m a leader looking at a group of people, that means I have people on my team who may be better than me in execution, who may be better than me at influencing outcomes, who may be better than me at relationship building or who me, who may be better than me, asked you to thinking I don’t have to be great at all of these things as leader anymore.
Omar L Harris:: (30:12)
I just have to be to put the people who are great at those things in there of straight sewed on a daily basis and then watch them that in capital. And that’s what a leaderboard is. A leaderboard is basically identifying the top domains of everyone on your team and the game of find the work. Because every project actually has elements of execution, influencing relationship building and should be thinking to it. So if you break down tasks and allocate them towards the individual or team who are strongest in those areas and gamify it, you’re going to start seeing progress towards goals accelerate at an exponential rate. And that’s what we did in our team as an actual example back in, you know, back in the early two thousands and that’s what a leaderboard is. And that’s the, that’s the real gold at the heart of the book is how do you apply strengths based leadership actually in the workforce 14 and take it a beyond the great theory of focusing on what’s great with people, but actually put it to work.
Jim Rembach: (31:12)
I mean, so for me, as you were talking, I’m like, well, that’s the personalization of work. I mean, what you’re doing is you’re making it right for me. Yeah. Yeah. Well, needless to say, when we start talking about a lot of, you know, the frustrations, um, a lot of the successes in the exhilaration, there’s a lot of things that help us really to get pointed in the right direction. And on the show we focus on quotes. Um, there are a quote or two that you liked that you can share.
Omar L Harris:: (31:38)
My favorite quote, and I don’t know if it applies to necessarily to, to, to what we’re talking about here, but, uh, is by Emerson. No change of circumstances can overcome the feet of character. So that’s something that I carry with me is that, you know, your, and I think it does link because if you’re talking about this transparency now that we have, and the fact that everything you do is watched and correlated and seeing roughly by the people who work for you, uh, you can’t, if you’re a poor leader, changing companies is not gonna make you a better leader. Uh, you need to put in the work, uh, and you need to make sure that your character is at the utmost level at all times, especially as a leader. So, you know, it’s inexcusable for the higher up you go to become a worse person. It’s inexcusable. I think the higher up we go, the better off we had to get them more actualized we have to become, and the more supportive we have to be for people because that’s why we’re, we given that great title was not, you know, because we were so as, because we have a lot more to give back to the, it’s not about the ego, it’s about what we have to get back to the organization. So I think that that quote for me kind of sums up that that idea
Jim Rembach: (32:48)
well and the modeling becomes even more important, doesn’t it?
Omar L Harris:: (32:50)
Yeah, yeah, for sure. For sure. So yeah, I really, I really am passionate about the servant leadership approach to religion, philosophy and, and really, uh, helping leaders understand that there is another way to achieve results. Top-down used to work still works in certain organizations, certain cultures in certain instances. But if he wants sustainable high performance, if you adopt servant leadership and begin to go to the customer and go to your front line and understand what the real challenges are and begin to drive solutions faster to those challenges, how can you not drive higher performance?
Jim Rembach: (33:27)
Well I think for me, um, like you were talking about is knowing and some people will call it situational leadership. So I mean I need to do top down. I mean I just need to want that longterm, you know, value generation and all that. Well then I need to switch on and I need more of the things that you’re talking about.
Omar L Harris:: (33:46)
And you’re right. And one of the things, the other things that I talk about in the team performance in the discussion section of the book is what is the role of the leader in the four stages? Because the change begin to form and you have to be on board directive. You do have to kind of tell people what to, to organize the group and organize the work. Whereas the storming, your mindset has to be coaching. You need to coach people a lot more. In norming, I talk about inspecting, so not coaching, but inspecting. So you’re, the mixture of the norms hold up under all circumstances. So there’s different coaching aspects depending on what stage your team is in. Um, and that will help you also move the team to the state is acknowledging what you have to do and what you have to exhibit for the group, for the group in that.
Jim Rembach: (34:29)
Well, and I would dare to say that the, or where you are now was a direct result of, you know, capturing a lot of information, self-awareness, you know, continuous commitment, you know, to learning all of those things that, you know, just didn’t come and your youth. And so when I start thinking about lessons learned, you know, we talk about getting over the humps. Is there a time where you’ve gotten over the hump that you can share?
Omar L Harris:: (34:52)
Oh yeah, definitely. Definitely. I think that, you know, early on in my career I coasted on talent, on my own individual talent. So my own ability to be a very, very hard working, but my own individual talent to put things together in a way that people hadn’t thought of before. And I kind of really coasted on that. But when I became a leader of organizations and teams, you know, the first time I led a team, I was trying to once again utilize my own individual towel to drive this group of people towards a goal. And I put the whole team on my bed and just like LeBron James catering the Cleveland Cavaliers to the chat, to the, to the finals in 2007 versus spurts. But as far as we’re a team, the problem is, is one guy who we only know who they are right now, right. That was like me back in 2006 I, I, you know, I was dragging my organization forward and we were getting some results done.
Omar L Harris:: (35:43)
But the moment I was out of the picture, it kind of collapsed. And that’s not leadership. Leadership is, you know, once again, sustainable DNA, it’s in the DNA. I mean means that when you, whether you’re there or not, these principles are going to be upheld and moving forward. So I think I had to overcome that hump because also the cost of myself was very personally challenging. I went through panic attacks once the hospital several times. At that same time of my life, I was working myself and putting so much pressure on myself individually that I almost broke myself. And I think that I had to reflect and really come back and say, listen, actually I’m not trusting my people enough. I’m not putting him in the right places to win and I have to invent a new way to do this. And that’s what I began to embark on the journey that ultimately began, uh, that ends with, uh, with leaderboard being published.
Jim Rembach: (36:35)
Well, and like I said, and I know you’re working on, you know, your next, you know, opportunity and your next book, I’m not going to get into that. I know that’s something that I, I would dare to say it out the course of your career, you’re probably going to produce several, but I know you said you’re a strengths coach finder. Um, you’re a country manager, you know your author, speaker. I mean you’ve got a lot of things going on. So when I start thinking about a goal, what’s one of your goals?
Omar L Harris:: (36:59)
Well, my main goal right now in one goal that you’re really helping, we miss Jim, is to really get some of these ideas out there. I think it’s not about that this is bigger than than Omar L Harris. It’s bigger than any one person. This is about, uh, how are we going to, the numbers are depressing. If you look at the employee engagement numbers, you look at what’s in what book. The book gets the, and it talks about employee engagement. You just get, the preps are like, listen, our our, how do we, we’re going to be in a perpetual recession or depression from an economic perspective, but we don’t get distinct fixed. Right? So for me, it’s really about trying to change the hearts and minds of principals, new leaders coming in. So I want to really focus on new people who are coming up and I’m really focused on doing whatever I can do in my power to get the word out to the new leaders coming in that there’s another way to do this.
Omar L Harris:: (37:54)
Um, and maybe not the ultimately right way, but there’s another way to do it, another path. There’ll be always be other paths of how to do things. Uh, so I think that’s one major goal that I have set for myself right now, which is where I’m probably really focused on, on that. And then am I, am I into the world is just, um, making sure that I am actually the example of these principles. So I think that, you know, one of the things that happens to you when you write a book like this, and you’re not a theoretical, uh, theoretical person. You’re not in academia. You’re actually doing it every day is people can say, Omar is not walking the talk. He wrote an entire book about this stuff and he doesn’t do any of it. Whereas actually when I’m talking to my team and my midyear reviews, one of my colleagues, she said to me, she said, Omar, you know, one of the great things that people appreciate about you is you wrote this book, but it’s 100%. You and I’ve met the world to me that actually that, you know, the, the, the, I w I’m really walking the talk and I think being that example, showing people that I’m not just talking about the stuff that I actually do, it is also really important to me right now to be somewhat of an example and, and to really talk to anybody who needs help on how they can make the transition. Cause I made it, um, uh, to the other side of this and that’s what I’m really focused on now.
Jim Rembach: (39:07)
And the fast leader Legion wishes you the very best. Now before we move on, let’s get a quick word from our sponsor.
Speaker 3: (39:13)
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Jim Rembach: (40:02)
my physical fitness. What is the best leadership advice you have ever received? Focused on the person, not the role. And what is one of your secrets that you believe contributes to your success?
Omar L Harris:: (40:14)
Uh, daily habits that lead to future outcomes. So basically making sure that I’m focused on the right daily habits to lead the future outcomes. Although I’m not doing the workout enough and I am getting enough water, getting enough sleep, uh, reading every day, uh, and making some time for meditation on a daily basis.
Jim Rembach: (40:31)
And what do you feel is one of your best tools that helps you lead in business or life?
Omar L Harris:: (40:35)
My energy and my positivity and my enthusiasm.
Jim Rembach: (40:38)
And what would be one book that you’d recommend to our Legion? It could be from any genre. Of course. We’re going to put a link to leaderboard on your page as well.
Omar L Harris:: (40:46)
The five dysfunctions of a team by Patrick Lencioni.
Jim Rembach: (40:49)
Okay. Fast leader Legion. You can find links to that and other bonus information from today’s show. I go into fast leader.net/omar L Harris. Okay, Omar, this is my last Humpday hold on question. Alright. Edge. And you are given the opportunity to go back to the age of 25 knowledge and skills that you have now back with you. But you can’t take it all. You can only choose one. What skill or piece of knowledge would you take back with you and why?
Omar L Harris:: (41:13)
The only thing, I will go back and I’ll tell myself and give myself the perspective that everything happened to do time. Don’t get ahead of myself because, uh, you need to, I need to accumulate knowledge as well as, uh, accumulate, uh, promotions and whatnot was very focused on promotion to getting to a certain level. Uh, and I think that, you know, actually time and and perspective is equally valuable, not just moving fast, like a career. It was a fun time with you today. Can you please share the fast leader Legion, how they can connect with you? Yes. The best way to reach me facet of Legion is through my website, www.omarlharris.comomarlharris.com.
Jim Rembach: (41:55)
Oh, Omar Harris. It was an honor to spend time of the day and the fast leader Legion honors you. And thanks you for helping us get over the hump.