Saturday, April 18, 2015

Get Fresh Data

How old is the data that you are relying on to complete that project?

How certain are you that the information you are relying on is timely and true?

Statistics age faster than milk. Get fresh data when you need it.

Oh yeah, you probably need it now.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are you launching a big project? Contact me today about how to get your project team ready for success.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Treat Your Goals Seriously

How many unachieved goals have you left behind?

I'm not judging because I've left plenty of goals behind. Some deserved to be left behind. Some goals never made sense and never got the energy they needed to be achieved.

But some -- some goals that were supposed to be important to me withered on the vine until they became untenable, unachievable, inedible.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

Treat your goals seriously and they'll payoff.

Ignore them and well, they won't.

What's your choice today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more about what to do next on your goals in our webinar How To Achieve Your Goals. 

Front Range Leadership  |  Fast, affordable leadership training

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Clarify Misunderstandings

Are you ready for a bold statement?

I don't know if it's statistically sound, but intuitively it feels true. See what you think:

More than half of our problems are simply misunderstanding our situation.

Misunderstandings come in all sizes:

  • what someone said
  • what they meant by what they said
  • how strongly someone feels about something
  • a person's willingness or unwillingness to help
  • the measurements we are relying on
  • deadlines
  • specifications

You get the idea. Unless as leaders we constantly clarify the meanings we are seeking we are open to misunderstanding the situation. And that can lead to serious problems that, left misunderstood, only grow worse.

Start by clarifying the situation. Maybe you don't even have a problem after all. And if you do, then now you know more about what that problem is.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Interested in helping your team develop its problem solving skills? Bring our one-day workshop Solving Problems to your location. It's surprisingly affordable and develops the types of skills your people will use over and over.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Remember Tradition While Creating the Future

How traditional is your team?

Has your team carried forward patterns from the past that stabilize and simplify how things get done? Does your team honor the accomplishments of the past while working toward the future?

I remember working in an office with no computers, no fax machines, and no expectation of 24/7 service. It's not that I miss those days, but I do remember them. I also remember loyalty without the need for loyalty programs, and a work ethic that didn't need to be taught because people brought it with them.

Things change. For the most part I believe that the general state of the world is improving. We develop new technologies. We build new configurations of teams. We learn from diversity and experience. We improve.

As leaders we are responsible for co-creating the future. How we lead, which projects we support, and the people we inspire determine what tomorrow will look like. That is an awesome and wonderful responsibility.

We can do that enthusiastically and still honor the achievements of the past. Some of your people may be waiting to be remembered for accomplishments you've long forgotten. Would you be here today without those accomplishments?

Some noble traditions have been forgotten or ignored that might help your team function faster and more effectively. What are those traditions? How can you find them? How can you honor the past without necessarily repeating it?

Centered leaders remember the old traditions with respect while co-creating new ones with love.

Try that. See how your people respond.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership  |  Fast, affordable leadership training

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Test Your Assumptions

When we want to communicate for results -- to achieve something, to reach shared meaning, we need to constantly clarify and test our assumptions.

Does smiling and nodding mean agreement?

Does silence infer disagreement?

Is that frown on their face a sign of trouble?

What does it all mean?

We get into trouble communicating when we rely on our assumptions as truth. Maybe they are, and maybe they aren't, but my experience has been that more often than not our assumptions are not truth. Not the truth of the people we are seeking shared meaning with.

If you don't test your assumptions they'll keep lying to you.

And, that's probably not what you want.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership  |  Fast, affordable leadership training

Monday, April 13, 2015

Cooperate, Collaborate, and Co-Inspire

Who is your favorite artist?

Unless you were an arts major, you probably named someone well-known like Picasso or Van Gogh. But there is a world of wonderful yet lessor known artists out there waiting for you to discover.

What does that have to do with leadership?

As an artist, I've learned that leadership is most effective when it is shared. When responsibility is part of the job description for each person on the team, the team does better. Leaders benefit from being creative. What could be more creative than the arts?

That doesn't mean that all leaders must be artists -- but it does mean that all leaders can benefit from learning from the creative approaches artists must take -- to create, to collaborate, to survive.

Here are my suggestions to explore this more:

  • visit a museum or gallery
  • go to a concert
  • see an unusual, independent film
  • walk thru the art section of a local fair or flea market
  • draw a picture you've never drawn before
  • pick out a tune on the next musical keyboard you see
Creativity is everywhere, waiting for you to make the most of it. Then, like an artist, your leadership can encompass some new qualities. A new spark and many new ideas become instantly available to creatively centered leaders. 

Lead like an artist today. 

The arts teach us that it is not necessary to compete with one another. We can cooperate, collaborate, and co-inspire.

Imagine the success you can create with that!

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Stay Curious

Do you remember how curious you were as a four-year old?

I don't remember too much myself, but as a parent I sure do remember how my children were at that age and all through their childhood. Curiosity is a key strength of children. They are constantly testing, trying, investigating, and inductively learning how the world works and where their most fun opportunities could be found.

As leaders, we owe it to our teams to encourage more curiosity. What if we could capture the curiosity we felt as children and perpetuate in ways combined with our adult knowledge to develop better products, faster processes, and more eloquent customer service?

I think that we can.

Centered leaders stay open and curious.

Open to possibilities, and curious about what they don't already know.

I'm willing to work at being more curious today. How about you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership  |  Fast, affordable leadership training