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You can’t win if you don’t get in the game

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Twenty-one years ago I was encouraged to write my first book (Inspire, Persuade, Lead), by David Ness, a friend and Medtronic executive. David saw my potential and introduced me to two people who changed my life for the better: Bill George and Lance Hazzard. At the time, Bill was the CEO of Medtronic who taught me about the intimate and powerful Medallion ceremony for Medtronic employees. Later in life, he wrote two fabulous books: True North, and Authentic Leadership from his perch as a professor at Harvard Business School.

Lance Hazzard, was a high-potential HR manager who needed to take the edge off his leadership to reach his full potential. Lance became a coaching client, who today is a friend and a coach within the cadre of coaches at Good Leadership. Lance is also co-author of a terrific book, Accelerating Leadership, and an influential member of the International Coaching Federation.

Get in the game
Six months ago, Lance encouraged our firm – Good Leadership – to nominate our client, Twin Cities Orthopedics (TCO) for the International Coaching Federation, Minnesota Chapter, PRISM award. Lance was impressed with how TCO leveraged their coaching relationship with Good Leadership to form a stronger team, articulate what’s expected from leaders to get the business to the next level, and allocate the most valuable leadership energy to the strategic work that’s shaping their future.

TCO won the award. And as Lance said, “It’s a big deal!” Coaching is growing in esteem within high-performing businesses – largely because the best coaches are willing to be held accountable for producing a tangible ROI from their fees. The highest award is called the PRISM award, because the award shines the light on how coaching provides business ROI through multiple lenses.

Why coaching?
“We didn’t know what we didn’t know,” CEO, Troy Simonson, shared with the ICF Award judges in the interview process. Here’s what he meant: Over the years, he and the physician owners of TCO assembled a team of young and talented business leaders who were accelerating the growth of their enterprise. Eventually, the growth outran their ability to be effectively coordinated. They needed to really work as a team – a high performing team – to keep up with their aspirations.

The ICF PRISM award recognizes business leaders for exercising the humility to seek out good coaching. And for making the changes in leadership behavior to tangibly improve the performance of the business. Here’s the ROI, recognized by ICF for Twin Cities Orthopedics:
> Troy got 30% of his time back to focus on advancing growth strategies, which led to starting a new business, and market share growth
> The senior team learned how to engage themselves and others in building a compelling business plan – that allowed key managers to execute faster, with fewer mistakes from misunderstanding
> The senior leaders articulated the expectations there Be the Difference culture has for leaders at the Individual, Team, and Organizational leader levels. That clarity improved the ability to ensure the right leaders were in the right places – including some who had to go

“We learned that’s OK for people to push back on me as the CEO. Not all of my ideas are good ideas, and not all of my timelines are realistic. We needed more healthy tension to effectively pressure-test our goals and plans,” Troy shared. “Those learnings were absolutely critical to how we handled the COVID pandemic – we found a way to grow the business, while others were backing away.”

Clearly, the biggest joy of running our business here at Good Leadership is transferring what we learn from one client to other clients. Over the course of working with Troy at TCO, our firm has also engaged four specific coaches to help us improve our alignment, commitment, and accountability. And it’s working…we too, are growing in the pandemic.

You can congratulate the TCO team here on LinkedIn. We are grateful to Lance for getting our firm in the awards game.


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