Archives for the month of: July, 2014

Confused EE

During my career, I’ve been involved with business environments where there was great concern about publicly sharing how the company was performing.

The underlying paranoia was that if “P&L” or strategic information was shared with employees of the organization, then that data might (would) somehow be used against the company by the competition.

My belief is that as a leader, whenever you attempt to conceal performance (or other essential) details from your team, that not only fosters an environment of distrust but further reduces employee engagement. A 2012 Forbes article noted that of engaged employees are 87% less likely to leave the organization than the disengaged.

In leading your team,  it is imperative that we take the next step beyond communicating visions, strategies and goals by candidly and consistently reporting how we are doing.  Not openly sharing performance results is akin to playing any sport with no scoreboard…why bother if we can’t determine who is winning?

 

Delegation Flow Chart

During decades of “management”, I couldn’t begin to count the number of times I’ve heard that phrase “it’s easier to do it myself.”

Although sometimes that may be true, in the long run, doing everything yourself is no formula for successful productivity.

The flow chart nicely depicts the proper delegation process for a strong leader:

  1. Be able to perform any task that you are responsible for supervising
  2. Be able to demonstrate how to do it properly
  3. Be able to teach someone how to do it as you work together
  4. Be able to monitor their execution with constructive feedback
  5. Be able to praise your protégé for their accomplishment

Great leaders influence their team toward achievement through effective delegation.

One such person was Dwight Eisenhower who stated that “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because they want to do it.” Genius!!!

Dickens determination

Wow, was Charles Dickens ever ahead of his time when he made this declaration in the 1800’s!

The art of time management rightfully reinforced the importance of such traits as planning, proactivity, prioritizing and punctuality as essential in achieving your goals (see the blog on the 6 P’s for more).

In the late 1960’s, the computer industry introduced the concept of multitasking, the apparent improved performance by an individual via handling more than one task at the same time.

I recall an era when job seekers proudly touted multitasking as a skill on their resumes!

The reality is that multitasking results in wasted effort due to human context switching and apparently causing more errors due to insufficient attention.

A 2009 study by Hewlett-Packard revealed that multitaskers performed much worse at tasks involving cognitive processes and memory than did those who focused on single tasks.

As alluded to in The Electronic Leash blog, modern day technology has forced us to heed Dickens’ direction. Those who indeed can demonstrate the skill of concentrating on one task at a time will surely outperform the others who remain at the mercy of allowing distraction to occur.

Maintaining a positive work environment goes a long way toward improved productivity, energy, employee retention…and having fun at what you’re doing.

Leadership includes an obligation to create enthusiasm, despite what may be occurring in either your personal life, professional world, or both!  On some days, you may have life challenges that potentially drain you and make it hard to “plug it in” as that high energy role model.

When I find myself approaching a less-than-desirable emotional state, realizing the negative effect that has on myself as well as those around me, I attempt to catch myself and quickly “recalibrate.”

This entails a simple ten second “time-out” where I relax my body, take a few deep breaths, and change my thought pattern toward all that I have and all that I am blessed with.

The quote below is a good reminder for anyone when they find themselves going in a negative direction.

Koenig

 

 

 

 

Platinum rule

During a recent long distance drive, I was getting a dose of automobile university, the learning while listening process touted by the late, great Zig Ziglar.

The audio book was Michael Port’s Beyond Booked Solid which focuses on helping consultants get “more clients than they can handle”.

Throughout my business career, much notoriety has been given to the Golden Rule principle of treating customers how you would like to be treated.

However, I believe there is a stronger customer perspective which was reinforced in the book, that of the Platinum Rule, shown above.

Life and business is about relationships, and I genuinely believe that success comes by understanding what is important to those people who you come in contact with, and in turn, giving them what they want (i.e. treat them the way they would like to be treated).

By the way, this is equally important to all stakeholders that you interact with!

While watching the World War II classic movie Tora, Tora, Tora about the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I noticed another “classic” taking place as well, that of pathetic leadership!

There is a scene where a General is visiting a strategic enemy detection station on Oahu. He gives “instruction” to his subordinate commander to take certain action, and in response to the General’s ill-advised “direction”, the commander reports the issues and concerns that impact their situation.

The General then provides typical “leadership direction” by stating to his commander “take it easy, you’ll figure it out!”  The commander says, tongue-in-cheek, “yeah, I’ll figure it out.” You can vividly see the engagement and morale impact of this dialogue.

Now I’m a proponent of empowerment, but this is not how it should be done!

Fast forward…the same commander then gives “direction” to two soldiers at the location by saying “well don’t just stand there, you guys know how to operate this thing”.

Their response is that “we know the theory sir”, to which their “boss” responds, “well let’s put the theory into practice.”  “You two stay put and keep watching that screen.”

Then comes this classic question…“excuse me sir, but what are we watching for?”

Regrettably, the absurdity of unclear and uncaring communication evident throughout this scene occurs on a daily basis in many workplaces.

Now watch the rest of this stunning dialogue in reply to the soldier’s inquiry:

Colonel: “Anything unusual coming from the sea.”

Soldiers: “Sir, if we do spot something, what do we do?”

Colonel: “Report it to headquarters.”

Soldiers: “How, Sir? We haven’t got a telephone.”

Colonel: “There’s a gas station a mile down the road, they must have a phone.”

I won’t even start to discuss ensuring that your team has the right tools and resources to do their job!

Sadly, we all know how Pearl Harbor turned out, and although I suspect much of this movie dialogue was fictional, it leads me to think that with more caring leadership, the tragic results of that Sunday could have somehow been altered.

pEARL

One of my favorite coaching areas is that of Attention Management (the artist formerly known as Time Management).

Time cannot truly be managed…there are 86,400 seconds in a day and once gone, you cannot recover them.  On the other hand, how you spend that time, your attention and focus,  can be proactively controlled given that proper personal disciplines and barriers have been established.

All to often, people spend their days hitting the ground running, operating in reactionary mode and being at the mercy of the world and people around them; instead of controlling their activities.

A surefire way to improve your effectiveness is to dedicate time to a daily action plan, either the night or early morning before your committed day starts.

Adding a quiet time or meditation period is a useful tool in this process.

Once you’ve created this daily strategy, draw upon your personal power to make every effort to stick to that plan, no matter what.  Sounds easy, does hard!

Further, ensure you include some time slots for handling the unscheduled interruptions that will come, regardless of the boundaries you’ve established!

Give it a try next week, and I’ll be you’ll see an astonishing increase in productivity…not to mention that you’ll have less stress and feel better!!!

Plan your work

 

One of my favorite quotes comes from leadership guru John Maxwell who made the profound observation that “The longest distance between two points is a shortcut!”

My business experience has provided me with countless examples where employees or organizations attempted to get results as quickly and easily as possible, often leading to disastrous outcomes.

The only place that success comes before work is in the dictionary!

When thinking in terms of employee performance, leaders should closely monitor not only the results but also how they are being achieved. Taking shortcuts tends to leave a trail that includes less than optimal consequences.

In business and life, anything worth doing is worth doing right.  The quality of one’s work is often in direct correlation to the amount of “heavy lifting” that has occurred in route to the finished product.

jordan shortcuts

readers

Despite being the last President not to have a college degree, Harry Truman was an extremely educated person, much the result of being a lifelong, avid reader.

For many years, I chose not to read.  However, I encountered caring leaders along my career path who challenged me to keep growing and learning, often through books they would suggest.

After learning that lesson, I’ve frequently “paid that strategy forward” with several of my peers and friends, and have seen many transformations from non-reader to learning addict!

As in my case, if you find that you are too lazy or too easily distracted to read, you can always listen to audio books in your car and painlessly attend, what the late Zig Ziglar called, “automobile university” while driving.

Ironically, my own personal development in the early 1990’s started with listening to Tony Robbins’ Personal Power tapes.  It’s ironic that Mr. Robbins credited much of his early success to becoming a voracious reader, getting his hands on as much written knowledge and experience as possible.

By the way, it’s never too late to start on your self-improvement and self-development.  Dr. Seuss reminded us of this profound truth in a very simple way:

“The more that you read

The more things you will know.

The more that you learn

The more places you will go.”

With all this in mind, what’s keeping you from expanding your mental horizons???

By the way, if you need some ideas on where to begin your reading efforts, I’d recommend checking out Tom Butler-Bowdon’s “50 Success Classics” to get ideas about how to start this journey!

 

 

Bruce the BossWhile observing Bruce Springsteen’s E-Street Band’s recent induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, I observed “The Boss” as a genuine and caring leader in action.

Bruce exhibited multiple leadership traits, including:

  1. demonstrate great passion for what you’re doing and how you do it
  2. create a fun working environment for all stakeholders involved
  3. surround yourself with the best talent available (his E-Street band includes awesomely skilled musicians)
  4. exhibit non-stop high energy that creates infectious enthusiasm
  5. be unselfish and empower your team to perform their part
  6. appreciate and acknowledge the importance of everyone on the team

Not surprisingly, the majority of this tribe has been together for decades, following the same leader with an unrivaled camaraderie and success that most leadership could only dream of achieving!