The Power of People: GiANT Southeast on Leadership and Team Success

April 23, 2024

Amy Norton headshot

Commonwealth Payroll & HR helps businesses thrive by focusing on what’s within their control—their people. That focus on human-centric solutions aligns perfectly with the work of GiANT Southeast, a company dedicated to empowering people to lead themselves and create thriving work environments. We spoke with GiANT Southeast co-founder Amy Norton about the power of trust in teams, building company culture, the importance of effective communication, and how to navigate company turnaround successfully. 

GiANT Southeast’s Leadership Success Story

CommPayHR: As co-founder of GiANT Southeast, can you tell us about the company? 

Amy Norton: GiANT Southeast exists for a singular purpose: to empower people to lead themselves. We believe that healthy leaders are the standard-bearers for healthy culture in organizations. We’re committed to helping them learn how to be creators of the kinds of work environments where everyone can thrive. We do this through a mix of transformative coaching and teaching, and the values we embrace as a company—freedom, fun, accountability, and stability—are an integral part of our client work. 

CommPayHR: What have you found are the main factors that negatively impact team performance? 

Amy Norton: Team performance is impacted positively or negatively by a variety of factors. In my experience, the key five indicators are communication, relationships, alignment, execution, and capacity. However, from what I’ve observed, the root cause of poor performance is usually connected to the first two indicators: ineffective communication and lack of trust in relationships. 

CommPayHR: What is your TRUST Equation, and how was it conceived? 

Amy Norton: There’s an intangible quality to trust that makes it difficult to quantify. Lack of trust, in our experience at GiANT Southeast, is the number one killer of team performance. We developed our TRUST Equation as a way to take something intangible and essential for teams and break it down into a systematic process. The leader is the variable in this equation. Solving for X means the leader learns how to build and maintain trust with others. 

CommPayHR: How does trust come into play when effectively managing change? 

Amy Norton: Trust is the relational connective tissue in teams; it’s what holds us together, particularly when organizations are navigating change. Change requires innovation and being able to take risks. Trust is what makes leaps of faith possible. Learning how to have productive dialogue for the leader, then, becomes a protective agent for the team, which increases trust and ultimately provides a runway for innovation and collaborative problem-solving. 

CommPayHR: How can remote teams build trust and improve communication? 

Amy Norton: Don’t default to emails and texts, particularly when you need to bring challenges to others. Intent and tone can’t be interpreted in writing. On the other hand, remote teams can have Zoom fatigue, so opting for phone calls can provide a welcome break from video screens. I also have a three-email rule: if a question or issue takes more than three back-and-forth responses, it’s time to schedule a meeting or at least pick up the phone. 

CommPayHR: How do you make what you do “stick” for teams and leaders? 

Amy Norton: Our visual tools are intentionally designed to be simple and sticky, and our process applied over time is what helps with sustainability and retention. The more curious a participant is and the more willing they are to engage the principles and think it through on their own, the more the concepts “stick.” 

CommPayHR: At Commonwealth Payroll & HR, we operate by a set of core values called SPARC, which stands for Service Oriented, Pro-Human, Always Learning, Reliable, and Collaborative. How does this gel with what GiANT Southeast does and believes? 

Amy Norton: GiANT Southeast is a business, but we prioritize relationships ahead of the transaction. Our “know yourself to lead yourself” philosophy is fundamentally about learning, and our commitment to intentionality, proactivity, and consistency is what makes us reliable. We experience this when clients, years after the paid program has ended, call us to celebrate a win or talk through a challenge they’re facing. It also allows us to be collaborators during and beyond the engagement.  

About Commonwealth Payroll & HR  

Whether you’re a seasoned leader or just starting your journey, exploring the principles GiANT Southeast shares can help you create a workplace of collaboration where your team can reach its full potential. The themes Amy Norton explores resonate deeply with Commonwealth Payroll & HR’s approach to human resources.  

By focusing on people-centric solutions, both GiANT Southeast and Commonwealth Payroll & HR empower businesses to build environments where employees can flourish, driving success and creating a positive impact on the world. Contact us to chat with our team and find out how we can help support yours. 

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