Agility:  Leading With Speed

Agility: Leading With Speed

“Success today requires the agility and drive to constantly rethink, reinvigorate, react and reinvent”.  Bill Gates

“If you want to be fast and agile, keep things simple.  Speed isn’t the result of simplicity, but simplicity enables speed”.  Jim Highsmith

Did you catch the clue in today’s quotes about our subject matter?  Yes, it’s agility and leading with speed.  I was talking about leadership with one of my new colleagues and mentioned the characteristics hungry, humble, and smart.  Gino Wickman in his book Traction would say Get it, Want it, and Capacity where capacity includes the emotional capacity or emotional intelligence to do the job well.  I may be stretching that capacity includes humility, but I think you must be capable of bigger things without letting them get to your head.  My colleague was quick to add agile and he couldn’t be more right.  It’s not enough to be smart enough to get the job done or driven enough to see the project to completion and having the capacity to get it done is important, but all three of these things aren’t good enough if you can’t learn, adapt, and change quickly.  Success loves speed.  Today’s leader needs agility.

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What Is Servant Leadership

What Is Servant Leadership

“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter the words, but to live by them”. John F. Kennedy

“Those who have long enjoyed such privileges as we enjoy forget in time that men have died to win them”. Franklin D. Roosevelt

Happy Memorial Day and a big thank you to all of our past and present service men and women out there.

To Serve

When I think of a holiday like today I think of the key element which is service. To serve, which makes me think of how service relates to leadership. We have all heard the term servant leader or servant leadership. When you hear those words what kinds of images come to mind or what actions do you think are represented by a servant leader? What I have witnessed is that the term is very misrepresented. Many confuse a leader doing someone else’s work for them with being a servant leader. We would all love a boss that does our job for us right?  They may win a popularity contest, “most liked leader”, but someone else doing your job for you is not going to build your skillset, challenge you to do more, or inspire you.

What Most Think Servant Leadership Is

Many leaders roll their sleeves up and get in the trenches. Sometimes it is necessary for the needs of the business, or to provide the example for others to follow. (more…)

Leadership Status; Unstoppable

Leadership Status; Unstoppable

Has your leadership status plateaued?  Here’s one way to fuel your leadership status to unstoppable.

“You can’t build any kind of organization if you’re not going to surround yourself with people who have experience and skill base beyond your own.” Howard Schultz

“When you’re the best, you only want to surround yourself with the best.”  Floyd Mayweather, Jr.

Leaders need to remember that we are in the service of humans business.  As Albert Einstein said, “Only a life lived in the service of others is worth living.”

The talent you surround yourself is what gets you promoted, not your own talent.

Reflecting on my own past and observing many amazing leaders I will tell you this. I never received a promotion based solely on my contributions. Perhaps, getting into that entry level leadership position will be based on your performance, but after that you will be recognized on the performance of the people you surround yourself with.

You’ve heard the term control the controllables.  People is a controllable that many leaders do not see as one because they don’t take true ownership of their team(more…)

How Leaders Make Work Fulfilling

How Leaders Make Work Fulfilling

Three (with a bonus fourth) Way Leaders Make Work Fulfilling

“When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.” – Simon Sinek

“On what high-performing companies should be striving to create: A great place for great people to do great work.” – Marilyn Carlson, former CEO of Carlson Companies

How To Be 21% More Profitable

As leaders we know that we need to create engaged employees.  Kevin Kruse wrote an article in Forbes defining employee engagement like this: “Employee engagement is the emotional commitment the employee has to the organization and its goals.”  He goes on to say “When employees care—when they are engaged—they use discretionary effort.”  Discretionary effort?  What does that mean?  It means they do things because they want to do them.  They choose to go above and beyond.

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most: A Guide to Employee-Customer Care

“Highly engaged employees make the customer experience. Disengaged employees break it.” – Timothy R. Clark, The 5 Ways That Highly Engaged Employees are Different

That is why high engagement is a common thread in the world’s most successful organizations and Gallup puts a 21% more profitable number to it.  That’s money you can take to the bank.

3 Ways Leaders Make Work Fulfilling

As I mentioned, this doesn’t come naturally, leaders must create the proper environment for this to happen.  One of my favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni, explains how in The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.  Most leaders who are readers have read Patrick Lencioni’s books.  Most notably The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.  If you haven’t read it yet, read it now.  I’ve used The Three Signs of a Miserable Job as a developmental tool for leaders for years.  Not as popular as some of his other books, but I think this one is a gem and if you are a leader wanting to create a more engaged workforce this is a must read.

Here are the 3 signs:

  1. Anonymity
  2. Irrelevance
  3. Immeasurability
Anonymity

Let’s start at the top. Anonymity.  People who see themselves as invisible, generic, or anonymous cannot love their job, no matter what they are doing.  Leaders need to find unique qualities of each employee and keep in mind that work is not their lives.  Work can be an important fulfilling part of their lives, especially if their leader shows genuine interest in them.  Most importantly, employees who feel valued will value your customers and clients.  It’s a magical trickle-down effect.  Happy employees produce happy clients.

“The way your employees feel is the way your customers will feel. And if your employees don’t feel valued, neither will your customers.” – Sybil F. Stershic, Taking Care of the People Who Matter Most

Irrelevance

The second sign of a miserable job is irrelevance.  Employees must feel their work is important to someone in the organization. From the book, “Human beings need to be needed, and they need to be reminded of this pretty much every day. They need to know that they are helping others, not merely serving themselves.”

“Connect the dots between individual roles and the goals of the organization. When people see that connection, they get a lot of energy out of work. They feel the importance, dignity, and meaning in their job.” – Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard, Do People Really Know What You Expect from Them?, Fast Company

The most famous story we have all heard before that illustrates an employee understanding their relevance is the story of the janitor who, when asked by JFK what he did stated, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”  That’s seeing the big picture.  That is relevance.

Immeasurability

And finally, immeasurability.  We’ve all heard if it can’t be measured it can’t be improved.  Every employee needs a number.  They don’t need a scorecard with a dozen metrics, but at least one number.  “Numbers create accountability. When you set a number, everyone knows what the expectation is.” Gino Wickman, Traction.  The communication is so much clearer when there is a common number to speak to.  Some positions are easier than others to assign a number to, but you can find a measurable for practically everything.  How many new clients will you sign on this quarter? 10.  How many seconds before a client is greeted in your office? 10.  How many rings before the phone is answered?  Better not be 10.  How about 2.

Recognition isn’t one of the 3 signs, if it were then there’d be four, but let’s not leave out recognition.  This will ensure that you, as a leader, make work fulfilling.

“Dispirited, unmotivated, unappreciated workers cannot compete in a highly competitive world.” – Frances Hesselbein, Hesselbein on Leadership

Put these 4 lessons in your leadership toolbox and make it a great week.

 

 

Your Team Needs These Four Words

Your Team Needs These Four Words

Leadership is a transfer of beliefs.  That is why it is crucial your team needs these four words from you.  I believe in you.  When you believe in them, they begin to believe in themselves and amazing things happen.

“People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.” – Neil Gaiman

“The fact is, you do not believe what you see, but rather, you see what you already believe. Your deeply held beliefs distort your worldview and cause you to see things not the way they are but the way you are.” Brian Tracy

The Wallet Thief

Yes, it’s still 2020.  The year where nothing is crazy because everything is crazy.  Our daughter graduated college and unfortunately did not get to walk with her classmates and our son turned 16 and couldn’t get his license because the DMV was closed.  Imagine all that excitement you had leading up until your sweet 16.  Counting down the days, planning where that first road trip will take you and the poof gone.  Yes, worse things have happened during the pandemic, but when you are 16 not being able to get your freedom is pretty tragic especially when you have your sights on a girl who is a senior and can drive and today things are different.

These kids do everything officially harder. When I was 16 if you went on a date and then went on a second date you were pretty much a couple.  Today, there has to be a plan.  Have you seen the promposals? So, my son plans to take her hiking for the day and when he finds the perfect romantic spot he will ask her to be his girlfriend.  The same kid who won’t take the extra effort to bend over and put the dish in the dishwasher instead of on the counter is going through this effort for a girl.

The two are at the park all day.  It was probably a very nice escape for them, except when my husband called to check in our son told him that his wallet was gone.  Now when you are 16 pretty much everything you own fits in a wallet.  He was devastated and when he got home there were a lot of accusations about the supposed wallet thief.  Someone lifted it out of my backpack, someone took it spiraling down into a dark negative place and I said Sean you have to believe that people are good.  No one wants to keep your wallet you will get it back.  It’s like a switch went off.  Instantly, he was telling himself a new story. A great person found my wallet and is trying to get it back to me.

What we believe about people is what we see in people.

What we believe about people is what we see in people.  If we want to see something more from people, we don’t go to them and say “I need this from you” – sometimes that is the answer, but first you have to check your beliefs about a person.  Do I believe that they are doing the best they can?  Do I believe they want to do a good job?  What am I seeing in this person that reflects my beliefs?

If you lead others now what do you believe about your team?

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The Difference Between Meh or Magnificent

The Difference Between Meh or Magnificent

The Difference Between Meh or Magnificent

“Some of us get dipped in flat, some in satin, some in gloss… But every once in a while, you find someone who’s iridescent, and when you do, nothing will ever compare.”
― Wendelin Van Draanen, Flipped

There is an employee engagement survey question “do you have a best friend at work?” Most of my former coworkers would agree we were family.  Our employer filed chapter 7 this year and I miss people the most.

Have you ever walked into a room and suddenly noticed someone who is the center of the room?  Similarly, a person walks into the room and the entire place brightens up?  This describes who I miss the most.  A great business partner with infectious energy. I’ve found it is impossible to not change your state when she is present. The root is simple.  She is passionate about what she does and; above all, she believes in her purpose. Her passion and belief fill her with energy which transfers to everyone in the room.

Enthusiasm is Key

For successful people, enthusiasm is a key driver of passion and achievement. It comes from within. Enthusiasm for a goal will produce energy driving you to do your best. The motivation generated will see the goal through to success.

As a leader, how can you expect your team to be excited about anything if you are not? Your enthusiasm towards the goal will inspire your team’s enthusiasm.  Leadership is a transfer of beliefs witnessed through the leader’s actions.

“Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity but with it you can accomplish miracles. “ Og Mandino

Job Seekers Must Bring It

For job seekers out there, this is very important too.


My 16-year-old has been applying for his first job and the only advice I have given him is bring energy. (more…)

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