Rick Miller knows what it means to be a leader. Not only is he a former president of two Fortune 30 companies, but today he is a mentor for many of the large public company CEOs. He is also the author of the upcoming book called Be Chief. At the recent T3 Summit for real estate CEOs and industry leaders, he delivered an excellent presentation on what it means to be Chief, whether you have the title, or not. As a matter of fact, being Chief has nothing to do with your title. It has everything to do with your choices—those that bring out your best and the best in people around you. Anyone can be Chief.

In terms of supporting your team, the Chief can model (walk the talk), inspire (do things the right way all the time), enable (help people expand their knowledge and abilities), encourage (recognize through thank-you’s and awards), and question (be curious and learn from others.)

The Six C’s

Many CEOs focus on the six C’s: customers, competitors, costs, capital, communities, and culture. Research has demonstrated that culture drives the bottom line by empowering and fully engaging others. Culture also helps to create the sustainability that keeps the business going with partners, customers, and the community. In the United States, only 31 percent of employees are fully engaged vs. 69 percent who are not. Lack of engagement costs U.S. industry $370 billion annually.

How to Turn Around the Lack of Engagement

If only three out of ten people are fully engaged, how can the Chief turn it around? Employee satisfaction studies fail to address the underlying problem. The answer is to dig deep into the culture, but employees may not feel safe telling the truth about the situation. In Miller’s case, he set up a 1-800 number at one of his competitors so that his employees would feel safe leaving their candid comments.

In addition to the six C’s, Miller identified 11 areas that a leader may use to drive additional engagement. These 11 areas include:

  • Selection
  • Assessment
  • Promotion
  • Performance Management
  • Retention
  • Education
  • Communication
  • Compensation
  • Recognition
  • Values
  • Viral Engagement

Sigal Barsade in The Ripple Effect showed that positive emotions spread from person to person in a work environment. Any individual can impact the engagement of every individual in any group. Furthermore, a 20-year longitudinal study by Fowler and Christakis on happiness showed a similar result in terms of how happiness spreads in personal relationships. If you have a happy friend living within a one-mile radius of where you live, it increases your probability of happiness by 25 percent. A happy sibling who lives within a one-mile radius increases your probability of happiness by 14 percent while a happy next-door neighbor increases the probability of your happiness by 34 percent.

The All-In Roadmap

The All-In Road Map is based upon questions about five major elements—Values, Insight, Creativity, Discipline, and Support. The power is not in the questions asked, but in the answers that arise. The five questions include:

  1. How can living my values bring out the best in those around me and in me?
  2. How can I develop insight to learn more about myself?
  3. How can I use creativity to increase my positive impact?
  4. How can I use discipline to manage better?
  5. How can I support others to increase their positive impact?

Getting Rid of the “No-Go’s”

Another interesting take away was the importance of understanding the types of people within most organizations. The “Go-go’s” get what the Chief is trying to achieve and will work hard to make it happen. On the other hand, the “No-go’s” have no intention of following the program and are practiced at dodging what they don’t want to do. Miller advises getting rid of them as quickly as possible. Finally are the “Go-buts” that constitute half of the company. Avoid wasting your time with the “No-go’s; instead, show the “No-buts” what to do and how to do it. If you are loyal to them, they will be loyal to you.