Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Solve Your Biggest Problem

What's your biggest problem?

Will that problem get any smaller on its own?

Some people advocate solving lots of little problems in order to generate energy and momentum. I can see the logic to that, and if it's working for you, keep going.

I've also seen big problems that stall any progress at all. Team members talk about them. Customers rumor about them. Leaders lose sleep over them.

When you've got a problem that big and that troubling, isn't it time to do something constructive about solving it?

Solving your biggest problem is the fastest way to grow.

How can you take the next step toward solving your biggest problem?

-- Doug Smith


  1. Before you even get to the solution stage of a problem, turn it around. Rephrase the problem statement into a goal. Instead of what's troubling you, express the goal that you want to achieve. What's your goal?
  2. Ask a close associate if the goal clearly states the situation you want instead of the problem. If it does, what's your next step?

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: developing creativity

Monday, June 29, 2015

Make the Hard Decisions

Have you ever hesitated to make a tough decision? Maybe you even knew what the decision should be, but something held you back?

That's happened to me. Sometimes it's that struggling performer who isn't willing to get better and needs a decision about moving on. Or, maybe it's a strategic change that will basically rebrand something important I've been working on.

Why do we hesitate? Will the decision get better? Will time add a dimension of security to what we decide? Or, are we simply stalling.

We must make the hard decisions.

Sometimes the best decisions are the hardest ones to make. 

People are effected. Strategies shift. Customers could even be surprised. Slowing down doesn't help. A needed change knows only change. The sooner we make that tough but certain decision, the better off we are. High performance leaders make the tough decisions quickly.

And then we keep on moving.

What tough decision have you been delaying?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: developing creativity

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Take the Uncertainty Out of a Goal

Do you have a goal that seems stuck because you don't know what to do next?

What a sinking feeling it is when a goal slowly fades away for lack of action.

Here's what works better for me:

  • Clarify your goal - make sure there are these three components: an action verb, the result that you want, and the time for the deadline. They don't need to be complicated. The simpler the better. Just keep the ART in them.
  • Set an aggressive action plan and stick to it. 
  • Act relentlessly on your plan every day.
Those three things will make a pronounced difference in your goals.

Take the uncertainty out of a goal by working on it everyday.

You'll be glad that you did.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership: How to achieve your goals

doug smith training: developing creativity

Friday, June 26, 2015

Reinvent Yourself

Who are you today? What's different about you today from yesterday?

Even though change can make us dizzy, it's the way of growth. Many famous creative people are known for their uncanny ability to evolve: Madonna, Bob Dylan, Meryl Streep, Miles Davis - and we can do it, too.

While holding onto what works, we can grow in other directions. We can ride the creative train of change.

Creative leaders constantly reinvent themselves.

Where's your next change?

What's your next phase?

What's your first step in a new direction?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: developing creativity

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Focus On The Problem

Have you ever been so deeply entangled with a problem that you feel like it's become you, or you've become it?

I know that I have. Some problems trigger our nerves into a chaotic sense of attachment to trouble. We don't remember choosing it. We wouldn't have asked for it. We didn't reach out to grab it - but there it is, clinging to us so tightly you can't tell us apart.

Yuck, eh? We don't want that. We want creative answers, not burdened weights and clinging symptoms.

We can do better.

We can focus on a problem and work to solve it creatively without making it part of who we are. The problem is NOT who we are. The problem is the problem. Restating the problem as a positive goal to achieve helps, as does keeping our center when the rest of the world spins madly toward trouble.

We can do better in steps. We can do better by degrees. We can dramatically do better all at once.

Centered leaders focus on a problem without becoming the problem.

Stepping aside, holding loosely, allowing ourselves to breathe, we can always do better.

Don't you feel better already?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: developing creativity

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Think Beyond Your Filters

How much of what we see is filtered by who we are?

Probably far more than we ever realize. When we look through the same filters every day, year in and year out, the filters remain invisible. No matter how much our cultural background, education, personality, family, and bias filter our vision we just don't see it.

That's beyond amusing - it's dangerous. When we think we're making logical decisions, there's always (always!) something illogical filtering our choices. We need help to see through the filters. We need feedback. We need persistence. We need creative and open minds.

Problems provide the opportunity to think beyond our filters, to find truer clarity.

When we collaborate on identifying the real causes of our problems - when we ask the right questions, we can penetrate the thick filters of experience and open ourselves to the undiscovered. In there is the magic. In there is the secret. In there is the way beyond our bias.

Are you ready to cut through some of those filters? What problem are you working on?

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals  

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Pass The Problems Test

Do you feel tested by problems?

I've had tough problems that not only test my abilities but also my willingness to solve them. Still, solving them is the best solution.

Problems have a way of testing our vision and values.

They shine a light on our willingness to stick to our values no matter what, even if it would "make the problem go away" to cut some corners or put a standard on hold. But you can't let values slide - that's why they're values. You can't cut corners on what's right.

Stand up to that problem. Analyze it in fine detail. Find the solution that falls within your vision and values, with no compromise.

Because if we let the latest problem get the best of our values, there's no end to that temptation.

-- Doug Smith

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals  

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

What have you learned today?