Thursday, October 8, 2015

Find the Center

When things unravel, when life goes crazy, when people are losing sense over senseless things, how do you keep it together?

For me, the key is to pause long enough to breathe. The expression "center yourself" is meaningful to me because it helps me find some calmness in what otherwise would be chaos. We only get a few seconds to find that center, but the good news is that's all that it takes.

As a person of faith, I also take that brief moment to check in with that higher power. Call it what you will, for me G-d fills that space with the peace I would not normally find on my own. The center.

When we're in conflict we can center ourselves before trying to influence anyone else.

Why would they respond to any attempt to calm them down if we're flying off the edge? Operating from our center, we can best help others center as well.

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

-- Doug Smith

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Learn from the Mistake

Do you remember what you learned from your last big mistake?

I learned to communicate more openly and without filters. My last mistake was a big smack in the face and recalibrate everything I do. Nobody wants a mistake like that, but I'm grateful to have learned and to still be learning. The side effects aren't even over yet, and so I'm sure that the learning has just begun.

Centered leaders learn from their mistakes and change the habits that lead to those mistakes.

Habits are hard to change. They are more easily replaced by effective, useful habits, rather than simply dropped. We want to do something. The trick is to choose what works.

My friend David Spiegel is an expert at changing habits. Just knowing that he reads these posts has given me a new habit of making sure everything I write here has some value. At least I think it does. Not just value, but useful value. Something that I hope someone can put to immediate use.

One of the things that Dave does is to help people lose weight. In today's world that's an important mission. Health is so critical.

I help people lead more effectively, mainly through better communication. After my last big mistake (a failed relationship) it occurs to me that maybe my real, most true mission should be helping people communicate more effectively. Especially leaders, but really - everyone benefits from communicating more effectively.

So that's what I'm gleaning from my recent big mistake. High performance leaders use their mistakes as levers to a higher plain.

What did you learn from your most recent biggest mistake?

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Dump Anonymous Feedback

What's the problem with anonymous feedback?

The list is long. When people can say anything they want, without any accountability, they are sometimes rude. The feedback becomes exaggerated. Not knowing what to do with it (who do you try to please?) it frustrates the person receiving the feedback.

Anonymous feedback encourages anti-social comments. It opens up a level of venting that is not healthy for either party. And, rather than building relationships, it tears them down.

The best place for anonymous feedback is the garbage. It's too easy to be negative when no one knows who you are.

Hold people accountable. Teach them that two-way communication is responsible, respectable, and useful. Let's keep the trash talking on the basketball court and build relationships of worth at work.

-- Doug Smith

Monday, October 5, 2015

Give Opportunity Your Full Attention

Do you hear that? It's opportunity knocking. What will you do with it?

Opportunity has a short attention span. It peaks in, it gives you a little signal, and then without waiting moves right along. We can't put a hold on chances that come our way. We often have only a few seconds to decide and then what looked so promising is gone.

Gone without saying goodbye. Gone without leaving clues to what could come next. Gone.

When opportunity arrives, give it your full attention.

It won't wait.

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Key to Delegation

How are you at delegating? Would you like to know more people you could delegate to?

I like to think of delegating as sharing the work. It's not dumping work on others because really, who likes that? Nobody wants a leader who makes you feel like saying "duck" when you hear them walking your way (having had leaders like this, it makes the day one little traumatic shock after another).

But, people DO like leaders who share with them meaningful work. Juicy assignments. Stretch goals that don't break but do cause us to grow. Those kinds of leaders, high performance centered leaders, develop their teams by building individual and collaborative skills.

It means finding meaningful work and sharing it. It means building relationships that are so close that the leader knows what each person on the team needs and is looking for in order to grow. That isn't quality time, that's time. Lots of time. Spending time together. Getting to know the team.

Successful leaders expand their delegating by building relationships.

It identifies mutually beneficial work. It builds trust. It allows us to challenge while also supporting our people.

Isn't that what you want as a leader?

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Drive That Project

What propels your projects forward?

We set goals. We form plans. We build teams. And then, when it's important, we drive our projects forward.

Every project needs a leader intent on getting it done.

How important is it to you?

Does your team know?

How will you prove it?

-- Doug Smith

Friday, October 2, 2015

Keep Your Dream

Do other people impact your dream?

Well, you might say, of course they do. I know that they can impact my dream - will they cooperate, will they interfere, will they help? That's not what I mean.

If people dismiss your dream as unimportant or unachievable, how do you react? There was a time when that might have been a dream-ender for me. I wasn't secure enough in my dream to let objections go without taking them to heart.

But people don't know everything about your dream. They don't know how important it is. They don't know how powerful YOU are. Whether you embrace and energize your dream is up to you. Other people can help, but they should not hinder your progress.

Easier said than done? Most important things are!

Someone's lack of a dream doesn't need to get in the way of your dream.

It's yours, after all. Own it.

-- Doug Smith

What have you learned today?