High-performing teams - empowering people to succeed. An interview with business author, Chidi Ameke
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
I was a special guest speaker in a Q&A Podcast hosted by InterQuest Group to discuss "high-performing teams - empowering people to succeed."
The podcast will be out soon!
Read the transcript of the interview.
Hi everyone, my name is Chidi Ameke. I'm a business professional and author, and I've been in the creative and digital industry for over 20 years.
Most recently, I've been in the Global Supply Chain business, initially as a Change & Transformation subject matter expert. My current role is VP, Operations Risk Management, Global Supply Chain.
I'm a subject matter expert in business Operations, Project & Programme Management, Organisational Change Management and Enterprise Risk Management.
What is your new book about?
My latest book, "Accelerate", is a career self-development book for employees, managers, leaders and entrepreneurs. It's an inspirational book filled with tools, tips and strategies to achieve career success.
How long did it take to write?
My book projects take about a year from start to finish to write.
How do you find the time to write books?
I usually set one significant personal development goal each year, making it manageable. Over the past four years, I have focused my goals on writing business books and sharing my unique insights based on practical and lived professional experiences. I've honed my ability to effectively prioritise my time to increase productivity. A heavy dose of discipline and deferred gratification are my secret ingredients.
You wrote about The Corporate Gratitude Framework™. Can you tell us more?
Yes! It's so important that I dedicated two chapters in my book to discuss it. The Corporate Gratitude Framework™ is a tool to empower employee success. The framework recognises that employees are an organisation's greatest assets. Helping employees succeed is an obvious way to gain a competitive advantage.
Investing in employee success leads to a high-performance culture. I'm interested in building high-performance teams and helping others do the same.
When businesses demonstrate gratitude towards their greatest assets - people - the next natural step is to create systems and structures that empower, nurture and develop talent. The Corporate Gratitude Framework™ consists of a 12-point plan to achieve personal and team success.
Very briefly, they are:
Setting clear performance expectations
Providing adequate tools, resources and training
Creating the opportunity for employees to do their best work
Rewarding performance through praise and recognition
Developing a robust employee engagement strategy
Partnering with each employee to develop their career progression plan
Creating a supportive working environment
Fostering a "speak up" culture
Aligning with your organisational purpose
Demonstrating positive leadership qualities
Creating a safe environment of belonging, inclusion and representation
Providing access to growth opportunities for everyone
The Corporate Gratitude Framework™ can be tailored to meet the needs of each business.
What role do organisational values play in driving high performance?
Most people want to be part of something meaningful and to use their talent to create value, add value and make a difference. That can only happen if companies genuinely live by their values. A great company is one where all employees believe in their company's values and strive to uphold them.
When an organisation is clear about its values and communicates them well enough, it becomes a recognisable symbol of high performance within that environment. Notably, when those who uphold them are recognised and rewarded.
Corporate values should embody positive behavioural commitment. When leaders uphold their corporate values, it builds trust and inspires those who engage with them.
What is the difference between a manager and a leader?
Put simply, a manager leads their teams to successfully achieve business outputs and outcomes. A leader sets the vision and direction for the organisation and unlocks the capital and resources to realise business objectives.
It should be noted that leaders are managers, and managers can be leaders. You've got to be clear about what hat you're wearing at any given moment.
What are the qualities of great leaders?
Great leaders are inspirational and entrepreneurial and have a strong sense of personal values that guides their actions.
They are visionaries and great storytellers.
They can identify opportunities where others see only risks. They are comfortable taking calculated risks. They have incredibly high expectations of themselves and others.
Outstanding leaders can develop other great leaders too. They think about succession planning.
Great leaders are also brilliant strategists. In that, they know how to realise their vision. They provide clear business priorities and objectives and can unlock investment to pursue their goals. They have a special knack for identifying strengths in others and leveraging those strengths.
They build winning teams and create a productive and supportive culture.
What are the qualities of great managers?
I believe managers have an immense responsibility. They have to balance the need for stability with the necessity for innovation. They must care for their team members and support their growth and development, ensuring team productivity, performance and employee wellbeing.
They must understand and translate strategy into activities for their teams.
Great managers are subject matter experts that can successfully lead a team.
Great managers are leaders. They have to be detail orientated yet know when to step back and trust their teams.
In reality, most managers have room to grow.
Outstanding managers foster loyalty in their teams and drive high performance. Most employees' commitment and loyalty are towards their managers, not the company. It's essential to not lose or break that trust.
How can you improve your leadership skills?
In practical terms, it starts with being clear on the expectations of your role. We are all hired to create and add value. Focus on doing your job to the best of your ability. Proactively seek to add value by supporting your team in any way possible.
Lead by example in your behaviour and personal values. Hold yourself to the highest possible standards. Own your mistakes, and correct them when you can. Seek opportunities to grow and develop at work and outside of work too. It may not sound like leadership, but investing in your personal and professional development is an excellent pathway to becoming a great leader.
What can managers do to help employees reach their goals?
Every employee wants to feel valued. Start with building trusted relationships. From there, managers will learn more about their employees' intrinsic motivators and career aspirations.
When employees see that their manager genuinely desires to help them develop their careers, they feel loyalty and commitment to the business's long-term goals. From a manager's perspective, developing their coaching skills will accelerate the development of their team and enable high performance.
Is there any situation where a group can be successful without good leadership?
Great teams are self-organising, and they trust each other.
Great teams are high-performing and rely on and depend on each other to deliver. In that regard, it's not about any single individual; team success is a collective effort.
How important is it to hire the right people?
Hiring the right people becomes a business imperative if people are an organisation's greatest asset. Developing the existing talent is just as crucial as hiring new talent.
From a candidate's perspective – how do you spot a successful team before joining them?
Ask relevant questions to learn more about the organisation’s values and culture.
Successful teams have specific characteristics:
They respect and value each other
They support one another
They work well together
They play to their strengths and enjoy winning together
What is your best advice to help those who want to accelerate their career?
Learn to enjoy solving challenges
Problems are opportunities. Companies value employees that can rise to the challenge and positively and proactively contribute to successful outcomes.
Develop your leadership skills
You don't need a title to be a leader. The ability to galvanise others to achieve a business outcome is a great starting point.
Grab every opportunity to create value and add value.
Invest in your personal development
Become the best version of yourself, professionally and personally.
Get in touch to continue the conversation.
The Intelligent Change Management Guide: How to Successfully Lead and Implement Change in Your Organisation. Find out more!
Purpose-Driven Transformation: The Corporate Leader's Guide to Value Creation and Growth. Find out more!
Accelerate: Your Career Ascension Guide. Find out more!