It is that time of the year again, leaving fall in our rear view mirror and entering winter in a great big rush. Outside temperature this morning was barely 22 degrees, although crisp, winds were calm which made for perfect early morning walk to clear my lungs and refresh my brain.
I’m starting a new job on Monday and feel like a sixteen year getting ready to go to his first prom. I’m stoked, excited, curious and a bit nervous. It’s all positive energy that will feed my physical being for weeks and months to come.
All great news for me however that is not always true for those left behind or about to meet their new leader. Change in leadership often causes anxiety and turbulence among staff members. We have to respect the fact that they too are going through a change of “known behaviors” to the unknown. Because of this predictable anxiety, negative energy tends to be at a “high”, be mindful of this and counter it with an appropriate amount of positive energy to remain balanced.
Both sides of the equation are affected by change and each should give the other room to learn, grow and experience albeit it counter intuitive at times. Positude Leaders will concentrate on finding mutual respect and developing a common bond with their new leaders and staff alike. Just because the environment is changing, it doesn’t mean you stop doing what works well and isn’t broke. Keep doing the right things right!
As I enter a new phase in my life, I will be switching to listening mode to learn about my new environment and focus on developing relationships with my new GM, peers, directs and front line staff. I will do my very best to ensure that each person feels like they are equally important to the outcomes we collectively desire. I will carefully listen to their perceived problems without trying to solve problems. I will document success and try to develop what “Great Looks Like” and most importantly, I will do my very best to learn from my past failures and look for opportunities to improve upon them.
The key to your success is to outweigh the negative with +1 positive and not to make emotional decisions during a time of change. Be open to new learning.
Today, I woke up with no obligation to go to work. I left Jacobi on Friday with a great sense of accomplishment and I’m looking forward to starting with my new team at Quest Diagnostics next Monday. So am I on vacation, a break between jobs or working for my wife this week? It feels strange to say the least especially when your brain and body are still going through the motions of getting the week started.
Since I’m not going on a family vacation this week, I will consider it a series of days-off. I should utilize my time to the greatest extend possible including doing things I have been putting off, items on the honey-do-list and of course spend time flying my little plane.
This week, I will have time to reflect on the past and daydream about the future. What to do and what not to do. Learn lessons from the past and develop plans for the future. Review our bills and find ways to safe money on home owners, car and life insurance, cable, telephone, and review our investments. It’s time to work smart at home. I’m sure that without looking too hard, I can save at least $100/month.
I will approach it the same way, set a vision, develop a strategy, identify measurable goals and objectives and be accountable to self. On the end of the day, once successful, I can celebrate successes and have some fun.
Two hours into the day, I settles outstanding insurance issues and diagnosed my dishwasher as “DOA”. I guess it’s gonna cost me a thousand instead. Regardless, we smile and feel grateful for the opportunity to live life with “Positude”.
One of the most powerful books I have read over the years is the “Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman. You might say; what does this have to do with leading with Positude or in the business world? It’s a great question that comes with a simple answer. As my coach once told me, to be an effective leader, we need to have balance physically, control stress at work and have a good relationship with your wife, husband or significant other.
It happens to be that “Five Languages of Love” addresses each of these three vital factors by taking an approach that life is a based on fact not innuendo. We can assume what the other is thinking however to be successful, we need to learn from each other how to meet each others needs at home, in the office or your physical body.
You might have to use your imagination a bit more to translate this to improving non-physical relationships at work however the rules are the same. In the work place you can use the words “Intrinsic Drivers” instead of “Physical Touch”.
Lets check out each category a bit more to develop a better understanding.
- Words of Affirmation
- How does the other person feel respected and appreciated
- What kind of words touch the heart and soul
- How often does one like to be acknowledged
- Acts of Service
- How can you assist the other person in a meaningful way
- What is important to them
- Assist in a task or service even if you don’t like doing it
- Receiving Gifts
- What are their needs vs. wants
- Don’t always give what they need
- Be timely in giving of time, love or material
- Quality Time
- How much time does he/she require
- What quantifies “quality” time, define it carefully
- Make this a priority item
- Physical Touch/Intrinsic Drivers
- What are their needs and how often
- What is it that they expect, what is their pleasure threshold
- Identify what makes the other person “tick”
These are some short examples on how you can develop and strengthen your personal and business relationship albeit with your spouse, a colleague or boss. Failure to understand your opponent(partner) is a recipe for disaster and failure. To be realistic, this is not easy and often you have a reluctant partner to deal with. If this is the case, run “Pilot Projects” for each category and gauge their response. Even more important, start by giving more than you expect to receive back. If you start hitting the sweet spots, return on investment will be earned.
As Gary says throughout the book, its best to read and do this with your partner however going at it alone is certainly not a lost cause. If for nothing else, you get to know yourself a bit more.
I highly recommend this book “Five Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman!
It’s been on an emotional roller coaster lately. I have been recruited by Quest Diagnostics to lead their Patient Services division in the East Region which gives me a great “HIGH”.
On the reverse side, I had to tell my staff that I was moving on to pursue my dreams which was both a “LOW” and a “HIGH” at the same time. Ever since, we shared moments of dismay, happiness, tears and laughter. HIGHS, LOWS AND SOME MORE HIGHS. One thing was for sure, I got a real sense that Positude Leadership actually works.
In the next few weeks, I will be writing more about all the things Quest and its’ talented staff did right in the process of showing me that this opportunity was the RIGHT position for me. From start to finish, they have simple been amazing and I can’t wait to get started on November 13th. My focus will be to make every blood draw in the East Region a meaningful and efficient experience for our patients and staff alike. Together as a team, we will be what “Excellence” looks like.
All too often, we use the word “Gratitude” which comes from “Grateful + Attitude” however what does it actually mean or how is it expressed?
Especially since my announcement, I have had a daily dose of “magical” words from my staff, patients and associates alike for which I’m truly grateful. I’m humbled and honored. At times, I doubted if my leadership style was paying dividends or had an impact on my staff. The last few days not only validated that “Positude” actually works, it gave me a great sense of “Gratitude“.
“Paying it Forward” by coaching, mentoring and making time for those who need you during their time of need is something that I deeply believe in and encourage you to adopt as well.
“Gratitude” is a reward for leading with “Positude“.
Why do we save the best for last? Is it to leave on a good note or is it because we have a tendency to see more negative than positives? Part 6 of my fall mini-series is about reminding ourselves as Positude Leaders that having “FUN” is a critical part of our leadership style. It’s about activating our positive brain that releases small amounts of Dopamine AKA “happy” medicine. Just a simple smile while making eye contact when greeting your staff in the morning will do the trick.
I’m a true believer that much can be learned while having fun at a team building event or participating in cohort driven learning activity. As adult learners, we perform much better when learning in a practical scenario versus didactic or theory based learning. With this knowledge, we should generate activities that activates critical thinking during role play.
As a Positude Leader, it is your role to think “out of the box” and to develop opportunities for your staff albeit a quick “Murder Mystery” or “Paint Night” to raise funds for your favorite charity. It should be done regularly to ensure your staff has something to look forward too. Be creative, it does not take much money to have “FUN” in the workplace.
Below are just a few examples for you to consider. I encourage you to conduct a brainstorming session with your staff to generate additional “FUN” activities.
- Expose your staff to continuous learning opportunities via LunchNLearn sessions
- Encourage participation in Manager Core Competency Training
- Conduct conferences to showcase your competencies
- Create FUN activities; i.e. paint night, dance, bike tour
- Hold TEAM building events; i.e. robe game, murder mystery, bridge building
- Make it difficult to say “NO” to your staff
- Empower your staff to make decisions and learn from their failures
- Encourage your staff to be creative in having FUN WORK activities
- Be creative in finding funds
I love spending time with my staff and love it even more when I see them at play. Relationships are strengthened and their engines get recharged. Don’t under estimate the power of “Play” and “Fun” in the workplace.
Up to this point in time, I have covered the who, what, when and how but none of that matters if you can’t measure it. The simple objective of measurement is to gauge where you are against your stated goal. However measurement is only meaningful if you have selected the right metric in play. Even more important is your ability to continuously measure your outcomes after reaching your goal to pick up variation at it earliest point allowing you to make adjustments before it actually impacts your stated objective albeit access, flow, safety, quality or financial margins.
Before I proceed with giving you key positude drivers to setting up a successful score card, I would like to take a minute to elaborate on the difference between a driver metric versus an outcome metric. All too often, we only look at outcome lagging metrics which makes it extremely difficult to be agile and nimble enough to make adjustments before actual impact. Don’t take this point lightly, let it sink in before proceeding.
Each morning, first thing I do is step on my scale with the hope that my numbers look better than the day before. (not so much:(). What I just look at is a typical “Outcome Metric”, I can look each day without ever knowing how I affected the number causing it to go up or down. Instead, I should focus on a “Driver Metric” such as my total fat, carb, fiber or caloric intake. If you want to lose weight, I can reduce any one of them and have a predictable outcome each morning whereby the numbers get lower. As long as I measure the driver metric, I can observe for variation and make adjustments as necessary. I’m sure you can think of ten more scenarios such as this one to differentiate between a “driver” vs. “outcome” metric.
Below, I have outlined a positude leaders approach to setting up your score card. Adopt these standards for each project you start and you are more likely to succeed.
- Trust your data before publishing
- More Metrics is NOT always better
- Focus on DRIVER metrics
- Electronic vs. Manual whenever possible
- Humans are Visual RED YELLOW GREEN
- 1-2 measures per project
- Include baseline measure
- GREEN Zone should be a stretch metric
- Measure weekly for long periods of time
- Establish upper & lower control limits
- Countermeasure variation
- Coach for Success
- Share BEST Practices
Sticking to what you know works well is a “no-brainer”, however actually following up and living by these rules is much more difficult. Each time you start a project, make sure it meets your SMART standards and includes the right metrics.
It’s time to get your hands dirty and start solving problems.
You are actually at a critical point in time, it’s time to perform which might not be as easy as it sounds. There’s a big difference between completing an assignment/task/project versus developing a sustainable high performance solution. All too often projects are completed without actually solving the root cause of the problem or without measurable objectives to ensure sustainability.
As a positude leader, you should adopt the following strategies to set your teams up for success;
Strategy #1: Work with a great sense of urgency
- Scope your project right, an inch wide and a mile deep
- Select the right tool to solve the problem at the root cause
- Work in 90-day cycles (30 days to scope, 30 days to solve, 30 days to implement)
- Weekly 30-minute rapid fire meetings
- Monthly shared report outs
Strategy #2: Conduct weekly team effectiveness & project status assessments
- Right People, Right Roles
- Unified in Vision
- Utilizing Meaningful driver & outcome Metrics
- Be accountable to self, team and institution
- Take countermeasures for non-performance
Using these strategies consistently, your teams will drive better results going forward. As a positude leader, you need to empower your local governance teams to solve problems, be accountable and measure both driver and outcome metrics until such time a new norm has been established.