Purpose…..Got some?

Purpose…..Got some?

By the time we are 12-years old, we are forced to make choices that could potentially impact us for life. Do I want to study the sciences or arts, do I want to go to university or vocational school, what is it that I want to do for about 40-years of my life? So many options and choices, too young to be painted into a box however never too young to start exploring your purpose in life.

Parents, teachers, and guidance counselors are supposed to be vital parts of your inner circle to assist you in developing a pathway that will allow you to reach your potential. A friend once told me that no matter you chose to do in life, make yourself a promise to be best at it.

With that in mind, I encourage those I coach & mentor to search & identify their true purpose in life. What do they feel connected to both on an emotional and physical level. This should not be a rushed process.. It’s like falling in love, once you are there, you will know it.

Don’t wait for it to come to you, pursue your purpose relentlessly and never give up on your dreams. Set realistic progressive steps towards your measurable goals and celebrate your successes along the way.

Dreams do come true….be in charge of your destination!

-W

Advertisements

SMART!….. Are you?

SMART!….. Are you?

I have been accused a few times across the span of my career to have been too energetic or setting the bar a bit too high. Through self-reflection and assessment of expectations against my own SMART goals, I can make adjustments based on feedback without losing a sense of urgency or pushing the limits of performance.

Being unreasonable and setting expectations of your team too high will be demoralizing and can have a direct opposite effect of your desired results. Keeping an eye on the bigger picture, one must remember that to eat an elephant, it can only be done one bite at the time.

Over the past few weeks, I led a group of leaders through a vision & strategy workshop and I’m sure at times they felt overwhelmed at the prospect of change management and transformation from the way they have been operating. However, as we sharpened the pencil, the team saw light at the end of the tunnel.

They felt in charge of their own future’s having set their own performance measures. Leading from the front or better said being on the leading edge will allow them to work with a great set of urgency 1-2 focused projects at the time. Each project will be another bite out of that elephant.

As positude leaders, it is our responsibility to push the limits and keep it real at the same time. If it’s too easy, we didn’t try hard enough. By setting goals that are specific, timely and attainable, the team will be able to accomplish their performance goals and if necessary can set next target a bit higher up the ladder.

I love when a plan comes together and it all starts with having the “Right People in the Right Roles”.

Be SMART!

-W

 

First responsibility of an effective Leader!

First responsibility of an effective Leader!

As a leader, it’s is your basic responsibility to love and care for those you lead. This is especially true when there’s distress in the system albeit it financially or emotionally.

Keeping a finger on the pulse and be mindful of your surroundings will provide you the insight you need to ascertain the emotional status of your team at large.

Small things can have a major impact on business continuity. Identifying and mitigating likely scenarios should have been done yesterday, not wait till the emergency happens because it will.

We often talk about safety in the work place which is assumed to be physical in nature. This assumption is narrow minded and should include the psychological well-being of your staff at large.

An untimely death of an employee is such a scenario that can have devastating impact on operations and have lingering effects if not mitigated appropriately.

Assembling a crisis intervention team and execute your crisis communication plan is one way of showing true empathy for your staff and extended family. After all, we spend more time with each other than we often do with our own families.

Bring a small team of folks together to develop a crisis intervention plan and consider it part of your business continuity plan which should be exercised regularly.

As a Positude Leaders, you will be prepared to respond, support and care for your staff. It’s a primary duty of an effective leader.

It’s never too late, start today!

-W

Business Intelligence!

Business Intelligence!

I’m drinking from a fire hydrant! Sounds familiar to those who work in industries heavily reliant on data analytics. We are slowly growing accustomed to the fact that everything we do is measured by someone. Question remains, what are we doing with all this data?

The answer is business analytics. Frequently overlooked or under appreciated entity within a business practice and likely the first on the cutting block when margins shrink.

It’s being penny wise but dollar foolish. Although seen as a pure cost center, a well set up business intelligence unit is a key contributor to avoiding unnecessary cost to any business and likely to contribute in focusing business opportunities that will drive growth strategies.

As a leader, it is your responsibility to organize data in such a way that is can become actionable by your managers. Developing a strong bond and selecting the right people into these roles can be the differential at years end budget review.

We tend to be reactionary by nature responding to physical manifestations of negative trends. We need to commit ourselves to resisting the temptation to be reactive and rather focus on identifying issues before they become actual problems that can negatively affect your bottom line.

The mission of your business intelligence unit is to develop proactive reporting system with tight parameters that will function as early indicators. There’s plenty of technology available to assist you BI staff and we should not shy away from making some timely investments in this area of operations as well.

Most importantly, your business intelligence unit is charged with developing reports that can be understood by those charges with implementing countermeasures. A picture speaks a thousand words. Make sure it tells a story and is labeled correctly. You BI unit should be seen as the single source of truth in respect to data.

Make the right investments in people and process! It will pay for itself many times over!

-W

Listen to Learn!

Listen to Learn!

A powerful few days of intense listening and learning. It truly is amazing what you can learn in a short period of time if ones brain is set up to receive and process information.

Your mind is a powerful machine capable of much more than you can ever imagine however it is just as easily distracted by external noice.

To gain control over your thought process thereby creating bandwidth to truly listen and learn is an acquired skill. It really is no different than building a muscle, it requires repetitive activity to gain strength and regular tune-ups to maintain this newly gained skill.

A great place to start is with simple meditation techniques. Try is right now a see how well you do….

Close your eyes, tune-out all external noise to the best of your ability. Now just listen to every breath in and out. Not just the breath but every single molecule of oxygen entering your body from your lips till it reaches it’s finally destination. Try this for several minutes and each time your brain wonders of to the unknown, bring it back to the breath you are taking at that moment in time.

It will take concentration and practice over time to get proficient at this exercise.

Now, imagine you are sitting in an important meeting and you need to listen intently with no distraction to ensure you can process the information and formulate a response as necessary.

“Listening to Learn” is a powerful tool in your repertoire. If you don’t have it today, start by exercising your brain.

Be mindful of your mindfulness. Live in the NOW!

-W

Lead through Context NOT Control!

Lead through Context NOT Control!

I’m back in my chair early on a Saturday morning, watching our Roomba zigzag through our living room like it is on a mission determined to get every single last dog hair or spec of dirt. Our Roomba is led through control, we program it to go only as often and as long as we want it to clean not a minute longer. However trying this same approach with our team members often results in disengagement or worse separation. Humans should be led through context, not control.

As positude┬áleaders, we need to transform our ways of managing and leading by connecting to the emotional side of our team members. Each wants to be valued albeit a bit different from each other, at the end of the day, if one knows and understands the reason he/she is doing a task, it will be completed more thoroughly and on-time. It doesn’t matter if its an employee engagement survey, a specific task or your annual corporate compliance attestation, “Leading through Context” matters and it is evident in the final results.

By nature, humans are curious creatures whom are programmed to be inquisitive, creative and challenge traditional thinking however much of that is suppressed if you lead through control versus leading through context.

We need to take our time and communicate clearly our expectation by explaining the “WHY”. This is often accomplished through story telling or relating it back to something meaningful. For example, if your company’s value statement includes the word “Integrity”, it means that you will do the right things even when someone is not looking. An annual compliance attestation is not just another thing to do, it is actually a personal commitment to live up to the high standard of integrity providing confidence to your customers that quality, safety and doing the right things right are at the core of what you do each day.

Understanding the “WHY” engages your team members to whole another level of cooperation. If done right, it gives a sense of pride especially if your department as a whole out performs all others. You will ” kill two birds with one stone” by making a commitment to integrity and creating a “WIN”.

As a team, you will be more successful if you are unified in vision, action and deliverable. It’s about “Context” not “Control”!

Trust but Verify!

Trust but Verify!

Empowerment is something I truly believe in however it should not be based on blind trust without verification including your own work. Empowerment is also not a substitute for dumping your responsibilities into someone else’s lap. Delegation without support equals a dump and most likely will end up biting you in the butt at some point in time. Empowerment through delegation with coaching for success is a great start to developing your staff members. Add a verification process and you should be golden.

One of the most important decision point in a continuous improvement cycle starts once your staff has been in serviced on the new process. It’s a critical point where you shift your work to the front-line staff with the hope that they will execute only to find out that it rarely happens as you envisioned. Don’t blame your staff, be reflective and point some fingers at yourself and the system before pointing any finger at the executioners of the process.

Implementing a new process is not a singular step of educating your staff, it is about continuous coaching for success and validating that the new process steps remain in place until a new norm has been established. This can take as many as 3 months to accomplish. Once in the grove, one must put into place periodic check in’s by using a “Trust but Verify” approach. Don’t take anything for granted and trust me when I say, staff will find a better way (or shorter way) of doing it once left on their own.

By nature, I’m a trusting person and want to believe that people will do the right thing more often than not. However, using a “Trust but Verify” approach to managing a process is the responsible approach especially if you use these moments for teach back to your staff versus a punitive approach when process steps a negated or short cuts are discovered. Remain teachable at all times, maybe your staff members have found an even better way of doing the job.

I will use this same approach when working on a major project by inviting outsiders or trusted insiders to verify my work. As long as you remain open to critical feedback, it will benefit your performance.

“Trust but Verify” is a Positude way to go!

-W