Saturday, September 13, 2014

Build Your Character With Your Goals

What makes us who we are?

If that sounds like a question for a twelve week course to you, you're probably right. What makes us who we are is complicated.

Sometimes forgotten in the mix of genes, education, parenting, and peer adaptation is our approach to goals. Do we set goals, how do we set them, what kinds of goals do we set, how assertive are we about working on them? All kinds of questions centering on our approach to goals.

It's easy to forget, but ever so important.

How we achieve our goals determines who we become.

Where ever we started, however we got to the present, regardless of our previous circumstance -- we control our approach to goals today.

What's your approach?

How are you doing at your goals?

Where are your opportunities to create an even greater you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Friday, September 12, 2014

Be Careful of Forced Solutions

It seems faster. It seems more efficient. Why not simply give your constituents no choice by changing what needs to be changed and removing the old way of doing things?

Because, well -- people don't like that sort of thing. And when they don't like something you can count on lots of resistance.

There's not much point in solving a problem by creating new ones.

Centered problem solvers do better than that because they know that a solution that needs to be forced is probably not going to solve your problem.

We might as well find a solution that our constituents embrace -- even when that is more work.

What do you think?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Looking for a way to solve more problems in your organization? Why not bring our workshop Centered Problem Solving to your location.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Promise or A Plan?

Which would you rather have -- a promise, or a plan?

I love promises. When some people make a promise to me I know that it is as good as done. They are reliable, trustworthy, hard-working creative people who keep their promises.

I'll take a promise from them any day.

Promises can be problematic sometimes, though. Some people are not so skilled or willing to keep their promises. They may make a promise to move forward in the conversation (possibly because the conversation is deep enough to cause some discomfort) and yet have no intention of keeping that promise. That's not helpful. That's not what centered leaders are looking for. That's not how centered problem solvers operate.

Promises are great and I'm also interested in the plan. What exactly are they promising to do and when will they do it? What's the plan?

Picking a promise over a plan is a risky way to solve a problem. 

Problems respond better to the actions completed in a careful and thorough plan.

So, thanks for the promise and now I'm curious -- what's your plan?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Fix the Problem, Not the Person

How are you at fixing people?

Me, either. People are tough to fix, mainly because they usually are not broken. Something simply stands in the way of where they are and their most effective actions. Sometimes, we're even the thing standing in the way and don't know it.

Sometimes it looks like another person is the problem, or at least the cause of the problem. The temptation gets stronger then to solve the problem by fixing the person, or insisting that they fix themselves. That seldom works.

We do not solve our problems by attacking other people.

That makes the problem bigger and harms the relationship. Centered problem solvers take time to carefully analyze the source of the problem and they involve related people in that process. Because while it's hard to fix people -- those very same people you might be tempted to fix are often the best source of help in solving the problem. The key is aligning them, not maligning them.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Interested in solving more problems? Bring our Centered Problem Solving workshop to your location and see what a huge impact it can have in your team.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Centered Leaders Respond with Strength

High performance, centered leaders respond with strength. When problems arise, when challenges aggravate, when people clash, centered leaders find the right balance of courage and compassion to handle the situation.

That doesn't mean that they solve it all by themselves. Finding the balance might mean finding the right people to help. Finding the solution most certainly will mean involving the people who are effected by the problem.

Where does this ability come from? Largely, the ability to remain centered comes from a developed character. It comes from practice. It comes from focus. It comes from the heart, from the mind, and from the soul. It flexes the inner muscles of your being.

If that sounds deep, it is. Character development is more than training: it's experience, it's values, it's a sense of mission, and it's service to some higher cause.

Depth of character responds with strength to any problem.

How are you building the depth of character you need?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Show Compassion. Show kindness.

What is the most powerful strength a leader can show?

How about compassion under pressure? The ability to show kindness even when the other person may be acting in ways that do not normally trigger compassion. It takes a mindful leader to remain in the moment enough to remember the strength of compassion.

When we are given to anger, when we are tempted to yell, when we are managing our reactions...

The most profound gesture is one of kindness.

Listening deeply. Touching carefully. Trusting in spite of  the low level of trustworthiness. Staying kind. Staying compassionate.

Can you do that as a leader? Imagine the strength, the impact, the resiliency of your relationships when you do.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Change Quickly

How are you at keeping up?

Change is so rapid that adjusting, and evolving, has become a full time job. We roll with the changes, we drive new changes, we let go of the old. It's not getting easier, and it's getting faster.

I work at it. I keep learning. I keep adjusting, and still...

By the time I have it figured out it's time to try something else.

Instead of getting frustrated, here's how I like to look at it: change is growth. Faster change is faster growth. Getting better is growth, so the more change the better.

Are you with me on that?

Because the alternative is slow-motion decay, and we don't want that, do we?

-- Douglas Brent Smith