Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Centered leaders act!

Do you have great ideas you've never implemented?

Most of us do. They come to us at odd times. They float thru our minds in the middle of doing something else. They emerge as suggestions for that project action plan but never quite make the plan.

And we have great intentions, too. We'll improve our performance. We'll create better teams. We'll make a better world. Tomorrow. When our ideas are ready.

Our ideas are ready. The time to act is now. Let's put our best ideas into motion and when we find their weaknesses make the corrections in motion.

People will remember what you've done, not what you meant to do.

What will you do today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Help That Struggling Team Member

Are you dealing with one or more struggling team members? Does it seem like nothing works to improve their performance? Have they been struggling long enough to try your patience?

Any leader with a large enough team (and sometimes, that's only two people) will be faced with struggling team members. Maybe they don't keep their promises. Maybe they miss their deadlines. Maybe they seem disengaged.

Centered leaders find out why a team member is struggling and then help them to improve -- or move on.

As tough as that may be, sometimes the best thing that a struggling team member can be helped to do is to move on. But that is not the default strategy. Start by helping. Start by listening. Start by focusing on the struggling team member's goals.

Those goals may need to be re-calibrated. Deadlines might be moved. Additional team members may be brought in to help. When centered leaders stay curious and flexible a struggling team member can navigate thru that struggle. Sometimes (I've seen it happen often) they even become star performers.

Haven't we all struggled at one time or another? Isn't it better to offer help than criticism?

It's worth a try, isn't it?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Friday, November 14, 2014

David Encounters A Young Man In Need

This is another guest entry from my friend and fraternity brother David Spiegel. He's got a lot of great ideas and every once in a while he hits one out of the park and it compels me to share what he has to say. Today's one of those times. Here's David:

Once again on this "How Am I Doin' Friday" I am writing later in the day. And once again the day has influenced what I am writing about. My day started out with a gift of some extra time. My new smart phone allows me to check my emails and bank balances from bed as I drink my first morning coffee! Cool beans!

I accidentally scheduled my training for 7 instead of 7:30 today so I was not able to work with Kieth when I showed up at 7:30. No big.....I still got in a decent workout.

On my way home,about a block from my house, I saw a young man laying half on the curb and half on the road,his friend standing helplessly over him.. I pulled over to see if I could be of assistance.Cars continued whizzing by,honking at me for obstructing their path . The young man had tripped and it seems he may have sprained his ankle. I asked how I could help him. He said it hurt , not terribly and if I could drive them around he corner to the High School he could figure things out from there. 

It sounded like a reasonable plan. He was a big boy and his slightly built friend was unable to help him. I helped him up and got him in the car and the three of us took the two minute drive around the corner to the High School.

Here is where the story gets interesting. The boy, although a bit hefty, was a very soft spoken kid. He was polite,a bit shaken a bit embarrassed but you could just tell he was a nice kid.

He called his Mom to let her know what had happened. Over the next 6-10 minutes,the time it took to go around the corner and for his buddy to go get the nurse and a wheel chair, I listened to the Mom tear into this young man non-stop." How could this happen" "how could you be so stupid" "How irresponsible" "How did you get into a strangers car" "How many times have I told you never to do that" 'You're grounded" "Your car privileges are lost now...if you are too irresponsible to walk with out falling how can I let you drive a car." "You have no respect for my time"...in all it was horrible!

I felt terrible for this kid. I wanted to reach out and just give him a hug and let him know that he was okay and that all would be fine.I gave him my business card and let him know that if he or his mom or the school needed me I could be reached on my cell.

Now before you get all "well the Mom has a point about getting in a car with strangers..." on me remember, he was laying in the road! This man child had been on the ground for who knows how long,cars kept passing him by as if he was a pile of leaves and he could not get himself up. And now he was being berated by the one person in life who should be his primary nurturer.

I have been in similar situations where I wanted to just jump all over my kids for one thing or another. It is precisely in that moment that I take a breath, hold my tongue and when the heat has been cooled from the situation take the opportunity to address the episode and try to come to an understanding as to how this may be handled differently should anything like this happen again.

My take away from all of this? Simple. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be thoughtful. Be mindful. Be thankful......some day you may be laying in the road.

Shabbat Shalom


Thanks, Dave! Good advice for us all.

Centered Leaders Stay On The Record

Have you ever been asked to share a confidence, "off the record"?

Do you? Sometimes it happens so quickly that we don't even react in time to stop from going "off the record" to share a secret, a detail, or a comment that could at some point cause trouble.

We see it in the movies, on TV, and in our daily lives -- people who say that this is "off the record".

There's no such thing as off the record.

Everything is part of the record. Anything and everything can be dug up, subpoenaed, recalled, and shared. So when we say that something is off the record all we really mean is that we'd rather not have it generally known. There's little to stop it from hitting the record as soon as it becomes useful to someone.

Centered leaders operate with the respect, dignity, and compassion to realize that anything said that could harm someone is probably better left unsaid. Everything is on the record. All truth emerges. Everything bubbles to the top eventually.

The next time someone you are with mentions that something is off the record, ask them what that means. It probably doesn't mean what they think it does.

We are always communicating for results. What results do you want?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Perception Frames Your Problem

How do you know for sure if something is a problem?

If you see it as a problem, then it is a problem.

Your perception will tell you -- not reality, but what you consider important about your reality. If you see it as a problem, shouldn't you do something about it?

Centered problem solving sorts through our perceptions and checks in with the perceptions of other people who are effected by the situation. Emotions can trigger misconceptions, so centering ourselves and testing our assumptions is key.

Then, if it's still a problem, it's time to do something about it.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Bring our Centered Problem Solving workshop to your location and dramatically increase the problem solving skills of the people who attend.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Do You Create Noble Goals?

Do you have a list of goals? If that list is short enough you could be working on those goals every day. I am most driven by noble goals.

Noble goals serve to help other people without causing harm to anyone. They are both courageous and compassionate. They are equally creative and clear. Most importantly, they create wins without creating losses.

One of my goals is to help as many people as possible achieve as many noble goals as possible as quickly as possible.

How about you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

If you're interested in learning more about how to achieve your goals, check out our webinar here.

A Sign To Learn

What's your reaction when you find yourself in conflict and yet you are absolutely sure that you're right?

Do you dig in on your position? Do you redouble your efforts to convince everyone of your position?
Or do you stay curious? Do you stay open to learning?

The more certain I am that I'm right the greater the opportunity there is to learn.

The next time you are absolutely sure that you're right try asking yourself -- what can I still learn here?

It could change everything.

-- Douglas Brent Smith