Get an EDGE in Business With This Scouting Lesson

One of my favorite events of the year is right around the corner. On Thursday, May 23, The Boy Scouts of America Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council is hosting their annual Community Leadership Breakfast. It’s an inspiring morning in support of an excellent organization, and this year, the keynote speaker will be business magnate and BSA CEO, Roger Krone. Roger is promising a candid discussion about all that’s changing in our world, and I can’t wait to hear what he has to say.

With my sons in Scouting and as a lifelong Scout myself, the Leadership Breakfast is always a top event for me. It also gives me a chance to embrace one of my favorite parts of being Televerde’s CEO, which is getting to spend time with our clients. This event offers the best of both worlds, and I relish the opportunity to combine the two.

I owe much of my success to the many lessons and good habits Scouting has instilled in me over the years. I can see Scouting’s effects in almost everything I do today: helping others, social impact, and leading with empathy. That’s why I would like to share one of the best skills I’ve learned through Scouting: The Teaching EDGE method (Explain > Demonstrate > Guide > Enable). In my experience, it’s one of the most effective ways to learn a skill. We explain the skill simply, demonstrate it clearly, guide them through it, and finally enable it. EDGE works whether you’re teaching kids how to build a campfire or teaching a roomful of adults how to use your company’s latest product.

Explain everything.

Explaining is the first step in the EDGE method, and it’s an important skill to master as a leader. Corporate leadership often faces criticism for poor communication and transparency. Leaders often explain who, what, when, and where, but they may not explain why or how. For most, why a decision is being made, how the outcome will be achieved, and how that decision will impact the company, their job and their workload are the most significant pieces of information. That’s why, as leaders, we must clearly communicate as much information as we can as frequently as we can.

Organizations run on information and people need informed decisions to succeed. It’s also much easier to gain buy-in from employees when they don’t feel like their leaders are holding anything back from them. Whether you are communicating about company growth, setting goals, or announcing layoffs, always explain the why and how as simply and directly as you can.

Demonstrate the behavior you want to see.

Strong company culture is desirable in any organization. Having people aligned with our vision and living in the company’s purpose are important to us as leaders. To achieve that sense of cohesive culture, we must be out front leading the pack. Leaders must demonstrate the kind of business ethics, personal commitment, and positive attitude they want from their employees. “Do as I say, not as I do” does not work in the business world.

If you are implementing your company policy, be the first to adopt it. If you want employees to be more involved in their community, volunteer. And if you feel morale is low in the organization, speak with employees personally to understand what could be done better. No matter what the situation is, if leaders aren’t demonstrating the behavior they want to see, nobody else will.

Guidance is imperative to growth.

Guidance is a critical step in the EDGE method. It’s the step that helps people bridge the gap between knowing how to do something and being able to do it well. Leaders, especially those in large organizations, won’t have the time to guide everyone. Instead, leaders should focus on building a mentorship culture and encourage continuous learning. No matter the outcome you want your team or organization to achieve, you are responsible for guiding the path to that outcome.

If you know your employees need upskilling, invest in courses, or set up skill sharing sessions. If performance is down, work with your team to determine the cause and find a path forward together.

And perhaps most importantly, give people the space to try things for themselves and create opportunities for personal and professional growth. It’s imperative to remember that guidance does not mean micromanaging. Instead, leaders should ensure steady progress toward organization goals is being made. They should also help others make the most effective possible decisions in order to reach desired outcomes.

Empowering is better than enabling.

The final step in the Teaching EDGE method is “enable.” As leaders, we want to make sure managers and employees have the tools they need to do their jobs, meet their goals, and produce positive outcomes. However, I think it’s worthwhile to go one step further, empowering people to use those tools to their greatest effect.

For example, enabling a marketing team may involve building up your organization’s marketing technology stack. But empowering that team means ensuring they have the time and training they need to effectively use the cutting-edge technology. Similarly, you might enable better diversity, equity & inclusion (DE&I) initiatives within your company by updating your hiring policy and practices. However, empowering your DE&I program may involve establishing employee resource groups or holding open forums with leadership to ensure you hit the mark.

Empowerment happens when everyone has the tools best suited to their needs and feels skilled and capable enough to use them to produce positive outcomes. In my experience, employees who are enabled by their employers can do remarkable work. But employees who feel empowered drive change and move the needle. And by empowering employees, leaders can give them the EDGE they need to succeed.

If you would like to learn more about the great work BSA is doing, the Community Leadership Breakfast is not just a chance to gather insights from business leaders like Roger Krone, but also an opportunity to connect with peers who are equally committed to growth and excellence. Spaces are limited to ensure a personal and impactful experience, so please send us a message and reserve your spot as soon as possible. Our team and I are eager to share this enriching morning with you and look forward to seeing you there.

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