Showing posts from August, 2018

Are You Happy, Frustrated Or Just Don't Care?

This is an over-simplification, but people fall into three general buckets. Whether we are talking about customers, employees, students or any team members you lead.

Happy - They are satisfied with your leadership and they like their position or status within the tribe. Things aren't perfect but they feel like they are listened to and you will try to make things better for them. Obviously you want to have everyone in this area, but know that it will never actually happen.Frustrated - There are levels of frustration ranging from the person that is calmly talking about why they aren't happy to the person that is so frustrated that they anyone that will listen. If they feel heard something productive can come from this.Don't Care - They have given up on you. The employee that just shows up and does the bare minimum. The player on the team that never gives their best effort. The customer that really wants to leave but can't find a better alternative but they've given up…

Trust Is The Cornerstone Of Successful Teams

My most recommended and most read business book is Patrick Lencioni's The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. I was reminded of it once again as I was reading a tweet from @simonsinek:
A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other. This is exactly what Lencioni talked about as the cornerstone issue in dysfunctional teams often stems from a lack of trust between people. When you don't trust each other you don't openly talk about issues and work together to find a resolution. If you spend all of your time covering yourself so you are protected when things go south you aren't working on pushing things forward.

Do you trust your manager, your employees, your teacher, your coach, your kids or your parents? If not you are never going to function effectively.

I've been having a lot of conversations lately about culture and how the environment established by the leader impacts the team. If you want to fix the culture, if you w…

Where Learning Something New Leads You

I look at my kids as they continue to learn new things and I am inspired. Reluctantly they dig into new subjects each year in school and willingly they learn new skills in dance. My 5 year old started taking gymnastics this summer and it has been fun watching her learn new skills and get better upon each visit to the gym. We get older and we often forget how to start something new, not knowing anything and learning for the first time. The thought of starting from square one, no knowledge or experience, can be frightening. But few of us are naturals that can pick up something brand new and take to it like a prodigy. It is okay to start out awful, you should be terrible because you've never done it before.

I remember when I joined choir in high school, I can't remember what we were singing but I remember trying to match pitch and my classmate next to me was kind enough to point up or down to help me when I was off key. While I still have the memory I forget how far I came. Impro…

Do Not Let What You Cannot Do Interfere With What You Can Do

It has been a tough week or so in our house talking about things that limit us. We've had to have some hard conversations with our kids about things that they just can't ever do. Sometimes in life we have health, time or money constraints that just don't allow us to do certain things that we would really like to. It is easy to have a feeling of life being unfair when you have limitations that others don't.

We all have limitations on us in our life. There are things that I'll probably never be able to do in my years on this earth. Yes, some of them I don't care about missing out on, but there are some that deep down I still wish for. We are all capable of more than we think we are. Don't let the limitations on your life hold you back because there are lots of other things that are completely within our grasp. They are yours for the taking if you put the effort into it. There are lots of people that don't believe in you or will tell you what you can't…

The Direction Doesn't Matter As Much As Team Unity

It is easy to see a successful company and have the urge to be like them. You want to implement similar processes, adopt their culture, and share their vision. That rarely works. Your organization is different and needs to come up with its own values, vision and structure. Interestingly enough, what you pick for your culture has less to do with how good your culture is and is more about if everyone in the organization believes in it. For anything to succeed, it doesn't really matter what you pick, it matters that everyone is in agreement and does everything in their individual power to help support it. The people that don't care about or don't agree with your organizations culture, vision or values won't do a lot to make it work.

If you are stuck in a row boat in the middle of a lake, how quickly you get to the shore has little to do with which direction you choose to row in. It has everything to do with everyone in the boat rowing together.

You Can't Serve And Be Served

It's funny how some people get into leadership positions, management or coaching and they miss the fact that it is no longer about you, it is about the people you lead. I strongly believe that an employee should hope to perform well and do everything they can to make their boss look better. That is about having a persons back though and supporting your team above all else. But too many leaders take advantage of this, or worse, force the people they lead to provide a certain amount of acclaim. They expect the people they manage to do things for them, that their employees should feel privileged to work for them. They not only drop hints that national bosses day or their birthday is coming up they are just shy of demanding that they celebrate it and bring them gifts. You can't begin to serve the people you lead well if you are focused on how others serve you. Leadership isn't about getting all of the attention, it is about helping others reach a higher level of performance th…

What Is Your Attitude About The Problems You Face?

Why is problem such a bad word? Your boss comes to you and says there is a problem and we get worried, fast. Nobody wants a problem, but rather than look at it with dread, look at it as an opportunity to make something better. I recently had an awful day at work. One of those where a problem spiraled into this complex web of scenarios and variables that made your head hurt because you couldn't tell which path you had wandered down. It was a day when I got nothing done that I was planning. A day where I was just talking to different people one after another to identify the current state. I left at the end of the day exhausted and not feeling like I did much of anything.

But I look at it as a great opportunity to figure out how things actually work. The more questions that were asked and the more information we gathered we started to uncover a number of opportunities to improve our business. There were things that were probably happening for years and would have continued on had the …

Building From A Strong Foundation

My current side project is building a shed. It is a simple 10x12 structure that will help clear out some clutter from the basement and garage. I've never built one before so I'm excited to get started, but of course, I have to start with the foundation. Any good construction project begins with a good foundation. It is necessary but tedious and time consuming. There is a desire to get it close enough so I can start on the fun part of building the structure, but the foundation isn't the part of the project to cut corners on. Get the foundation right and the rest of the construction is that much easier, not to mention that it will last longer without any sort of damage. Block by block I level, tamp, place the block, measure, remove the block, adjust, and repeat and repeat and repeat.

A foundation is a good metaphor for other areas of our life. If you are in sports, the foundation comes from the weight room and conditioning to prepare your body to perform at a higher level. F…

Seeing The World Through Rose Colored Glasses

People truly are amazing, there is never any shortage of surprises they can throw at you just when you think you have them all figured out. Unfortunately, we all have our opinions and expectations of people that we rarely allow them to surpass. I call this the rose colored glasses syndrome. When you wear a pair of glasses that are red or rose colored, everything has a rose colored hue to it. No matter what color things actually are, they become more red. When we start formulating opinions about co-workers or our kids, we put on our rose colored glasses. If we think a person is argumentative, everything they say starts to sound like they are trying to pick a fight.

The fact of the matter is people can change. Doesn't always happen, but if there is a recognition and desire to be different, a person can change. A person can study, practice, work hard and transform from who they were to what they are. Do we allow them that right by being open to change ourselves? Are we able to change…