Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Create a Positive Perspective

How much of what we see is true, and how much is filtered by our perspective?

While it may all seem true, it is all filtered by our perspective. We do not get a choice. Our perspective filters everything. How can we ever be sure that OUR truth is THE truth? We can't. It isn't. It is simply our truth as presented by our perspective.

There's no reason to get all anxious about this. It is simply there, whether or not we worry about it. But, there are things we can do to improve our perspective.

We can read great books and articles. We can keep learning. We can stay curious. We can stop judging quite so much and simply experience. Life is a collage, and we are largely in charge of what pieces fit into that collage, but not completely. We cannot evaluate completely our own perspective with the device that created it (our our minds).

High performance leaders recognize the influence of filters. They realize that their own perspective is always open to interpretation and never available as universal truth. The learning continues.

Let's influence that perspective positively. Let's stay curious. Because like a pair of constant eye glasses, we take that perspective everywhere we go.

-- Doug Smith

Monday, May 23, 2016

Solve Problems and Free Up Your Creativity

Creativity is an essential ingredient in solving problems. But, have you ever considered how much more creative you might be once those problems are solved?

Problems take up so much energy. They slow us down. They sit heavy on our mind. All that bandwidth is being taken up pondering the problem. Solve it, and the space is open. Solve it, and you can apply that creativity to something, well...fun.

If you're creative NOW -- imagine how creative you can be without the load of the problems that are slowing you down.

Centered problem solvers -- engineers of the exquisite -- realize that all the noise a problem makes is better quiet and stilled. Solve it -- and then create!

-- Doug Smith

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Call Fewer Meetings

Do you have too many meetings?

Many leaders do. Staff meetings, committee meetings, team meetings, project meetings, all-company meetings...the list goes on. Most of us can think of many meetings that were simply wastes of our time.

Time is too important to waste is bad meetings.

Do the people in your meeting want to be there? If not, maybe it's not a meeting that you need. Maybe there's another way to communicate your message. Maybe the work that is waiting is too important to wait.

We can like the feeling of having a meeting. It feels like we're doing something. But if we're not -- if we are delaying real work, maybe we don't need that meeting after all.

What scheduled meeting could you eliminate this week? Wouldn't it be nice to have that time to be...well, happy and more productive?

-- Doug Smithy

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Are You Doing The Work?

Have you ever seen a work of art and wondered what burst of creativity led to its creation?

Inspiration is a funny thing. It's easy to romanticize it as some magical flash that happens  to us. We're minding our own business and wham! Inspiration!

That's not what really happens. Creating something wonderful takes more than inspiration, and inspiration comes to those who have paved the way.

People who have paved the way thru practice. Thru handwork. Thru training and coaching and trial and error. Lots of error. Lots of practice.

To create something that stirs the emotions, that feels as if it IS spontaneous, takes much more than spontaneous inspiration.

Emotionally moving creativity is hard work.

As one of my best acting teachers often said, "Are you doing the work?"

-- Doug Smith

Friday, May 20, 2016

Insist On Improvement

Who on your team needs to improve? Most front line leaders can think of at least one person right away who really needs to improve. Their performance is disappointing, and they might even be sitting on the bubble of an early exit.

Absolutely, work with them on improvement. Coach them, collaborate on a plan, follow-up diligently, and firmly insist on progress. Laziness and apathy are not options.

Of course, you also know who else needs improvement. You do. Every leader faces the constant need for development. Build your core skills. Improve your ability to communicate for results. Find new ways to build your team. Grow. Insist on your own improvement.

Insist on improvement from everyone on your team. Even the super stars. In fact, your super stars need improvement the most because if they do not feel that they are being challenged and growing they will likely leave. And then where will your team be?

Do you want to build your team? Insist on improvement.

Not harshly. Not with a stereotypical boss tone of authority. But firmly. Assertively. Be kind, be compassionate, be participative -- and insist on improvement.

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Celebrate Your People's Success

What do you do when some in your team achieves a new level of success? Maybe they got promoted. Maybe they won an award. Maybe they achieved a goal you've been coaching them on. What do you do?

They will notice. Whatever you do (or don't do) they will notice. Team members look to their leaders to both develop and recognize their achievements. Whether or not you had anything to do with their success, they want to know that you still support it.

It can be easy to forget. A key team member might graduate right out of our team leaving us a bit in the lurch. But we still need to celebrate their success. The team members who are still on the team are watching. They want to know how much you support your challenges. They want to know if you're on their side.

You are on their side, right?

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

How Do Dreams Come True?

Who do you know who has achieved their dreams?

Whenever I think about the people who have gotten what they wanted - who have seen their dreams come true - it is clear that the reason they have achieved their dreams is because they have worked hard. Their dream is really a hard-earned goal achieved.

Sure, luck can be a factor. Sometimes we meet the right person at a party or convention who can put us in contact with other people who help us find a direction that leads to success. But, we still need to apply ourselves. We still need to work hard.

Find the mission. Set clear, action focused goals. Design a cool plan. Act relentlessly on that plan. And learn constantly. It's that simple and it's that hard. It's all a matter of focus and work.

What dreams are you imagining?

How can you make them come true? You'll need to know, because no one else is working on that for you.

-- Doug Smith