Business Leadership Today

Mike Figliuolo On Building A High-Performance Culture


In this episode we talked with author and thought leader Mike Figliuolo and discussed the top 11 most important things that a leader needs to do to create a high-performance culture that doesn’t burn people out.

Mike is a former officer in the US Army and a West Point Grad. After leaving the Army, Mike worked as a consultant with McKinsey and then went on to hold executive roles at Capital One and The Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. 

Then Mike founded thoughtLEADERS because he believes practitioners make the best instructors and because he has a passion for people development and organizational improvement. Mike is also one of the top authors on LinkedIn Learning where his video-based training courses have been viewed millions of times. 

Along with this, Mike is also the author of One Piece of Paper, Lead Inside the Box, and The Elegant Pitch.

Join us as we discuss with Mike how to create a high performance culture that doesn’t burn people out. Hear real life stories of how the daily actions of leaders help build the culture of a company. Learn how leaders can benefit from decisiveness and avoiding being a “squirrel.”

Here is a link to Mike’s website:
Mike’s Website

Here is a link to Mike’s book:
The Elegant Pitch

Here is a link if you want to connect with Mike on LinkedIn:
Mike’s Linkedin Profile

Mike’s Top 10

1. Adhere To The 80/20 Rule

The time of leaders is one of the most valuable assets of any organization. Because of this, it is essential that leaders prioritize their time investments on activities that create the most value for the organization.

2. Say No

Feeding hope is about looking toward a better future. Your employees need to understand where the organization is “It’s the smallest word but it’s the most important word. Say no to things that are off strategy or don’t matter.”

3. Be Decisive Even In Ambiguity

“Part of it is understanding the cost of inaction. Too many times we look at ‘here is the cost of me acting,’ and we stall. But what’s the cost of doing nothing? If you think about the cost of inaction, it dimensionalizes the investment you are trying to make and makes it a much easier tradeoff.” – Mike Figliuolo

4. Know Your Team As Individuals

Every member of your team is not simply a cog in the machine of the business. By getting to know your team members as individuals, and not simply employees, you demonstrate the fact that you care about them as people. Demonstrating this care creates a higher level of care among your employees when dealing with customers and one another.

5. Rubber Bands

Rubber bands are a metaphor for the bandwidth of every team member. As employees and leaders grow, their rubber band is stretched upward which creates tension. Often as tension increases it is natural to move towards the bottom of your rubber band and focus on the lower level tasks that are easy and well-known. Other times the rubber band of a leader or employee is stretched too far and causes the rubber band to break. It is important to keep the rubber band in mind and manage the bandwidth not only of yourself as a leader but your employees as well.

6. Culture Is The Sum Of Your Actions

“Your people are watching you all the time. Even when you think they’re not, they are. Word is getting around so that even when the people who aren’t watching you firsthand are experiencing your actions second and thirdhand. It’s the little daily actions that are going to drive the behaviors of everyone around you because they are seeing or picking up on what is acceptable or expected within the organization.” – Mike Figliuolo

7. Can’t Lead If You Are Dead

As a leader it can feel like we should be obligated to overwork ourselves for the benefit of the organization. However this is a counterproductive practice that more often than not ends with negative results. It is similar to the instruction of oxygen masks on an airplane. You have to secure your own mask before you can help anyone else secure theirs. If you kill yourself in the process of overextending yourself, you are only hurting the group in the long run.

8. Understand Skill/Will

Having a clear understanding of the skill and will of team members is a vital component of being a leader. A leader who has a firm grasp on the skillset and will power of the team member knows where, when, and how to support their team and help them grow.

9. Make Investments In Training

Investing in training not only creates employees who provide more value for the organization, but also increases their buy-in to the organization’s culture and their enthusiasm for their work.

10. Focus Your Time On Individuals

“Tell me a higher competing priority than taking care of your team that actually executes the work in your organization. Tell me one other than safety, there isn’t one.” – Mike Figliuolo

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