Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Two Parts of Creativity

How would you define creativity?

Some people see it as a flash of inspiration. It's the appearance of a wonderful and mysterious muse. Suddenly great and beautiful things happen.

For others, it's not like that at all. Why wait for the muse? Sometimes the muse is fickle and hard to find. We need creativity all of the time. We can't wait for brilliant flashes of insight. We need to conjure up that magic ourselves.

Creativity is not just inspiration -- it's also dedication and hard work.

Put in the work. Watch the magic happen.

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, September 2, 2017

High Performance Leaders Are Accountable

My friend and fraternity brother David Spiegal operates a variety of businesses, models success in many ways, helps people become healthier and happier, and more -- all while being a loving family figure and man of faith.

Occasionally, I'll like one of his daily emails so much that I publish it here, word for word. I'm doing that today because, well, it's thought-provoking AND he refers to me in it. (My humble response follows his article as a comment.)

Here's Dave...

"Leadership is not a license to do less; it is a responsibility to do more."
-Simon Sinek-Leaders Eat Last 
September Word of the Month:

Yesterday was a really great day. The weather was pleasant and I found myself in a really fantastic mood. At one point I was singing along with one of my favorite songs on the radio. I don't mean singing like following a long. I mean belting it out as if I were a finalist on America's Got Talent.
I made some long over due phone calls.
I cleaned up a multitude of emails and tidbits that were cluttering my desk.
Like I said, it was a really great day.
Today when I awoke the skies were even brighter than yesterday. So why if that's the case am I in such a dower mood on the the first day of September and another How Am I Doin' Friday?
It has a lot to do with the September word of the month, accountability.
Like any one else, I come in contact with and have to deal with a lot of different people.
Each and every one of them have their own idiosyncrasies.
Some may call them quirks or peculiarities.
That's what makes us individuals not automatons.
We recognize them and for the most part we deal with them to the best of our abilities.
Some times these "quirks" become a bit much.
They create an uncomfortable environment for those who have to deal with them.
For years now it has been the "in" way of being to "just be me".
Accept me as I am is the norm of the day.
Much like the attitude that spawned Gordon Gecko's famous line from the movie Wall Street "Greed is Good", bad behavior disguised as "well it's just my way" has become the accepted practice.
Let me fill you in on a little secret.
Greed is not good.
Neither is bad behavior disguised as quirkiness.
We have a responsibility when we interact with others.
I get the whole "I have to be true to myself" stuff.
However,if me being me is just flat out weird, then maybe me should go live in the woods by myself.
When others are effected by my idiosyncratic behavior, I have the responsibility of curbing my quirkiness while working in and around them.
How do my actions effect those around me?
Did I leave a mess on the table I just ate at at the fast food restaurant?
Did I flush the toilet after I used it?
Did I put the seat down?
These are small examples of personal accountability.
It comes along with common decency.
If others are depending on me to do something, it's Nike time.
Just Do It!
Simply saying "oops , I forgot, but hey that's just how I am" does not cut it.
My friend and colleague Doug Smith who coaches companies around leadership and team work may have some insight into dealing with this "accept me as I am" modality that permeates today's world and maybe he can shed some light on it for me.
Maybe I'm just old fashioned.
I hold open doors for people ...all people not just pretty women.
I say please and thank you and good morning and yes I even smile at people.
And most importantly, if it is my responsibility to get something done. particularly when it may effect others, I make sure it gets done.
If getting something done is your responsibility, hold yourself accountable and make sure that it gets done!
Shabbat Shalom! 

David Spiegel

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Ask The Right Questions

Are you asking the right questions?

One of my mentors, Lester T. Shapiro, told me that the primary role of leaders is to ask relevant questions. I heard that over twenty years ago, and it is as true today as it was then. Leaders ask questions.

Questions to challenge.

"What was the best thing about the performance?
"What could we have done to make the performance better?"
"What will you do differently next time?"

Questions to probe.

"What stands in your way?"
"When will you achieve that goal?"
"When will you know when you will know?"
"What would make this goal even more noble, more ambitious?"

Questions to motivate.

"When have you overcome something like this before?"
"Who do you know who has done something similar?"
"What makes you feel good about this goal?"
"Who will you help the most by achieving this goal?


The secret to leadership success is asking the right questions.

And, to once again quote one of my other mentors, Andrew Oxley, "If you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question."

If you get this right, when you get this right, the leadership develops new and refreshing clarity. Try it. You'll like it.

-- Doug Smith