Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Motivational Value

Motivational speakers are a dime a dozen. Motivational leaders are your friends for life.

Leaders who motivate become your friends because they add lasting value to your work and to your relationship. Think about the most motivational leader you've experienced -- whether it has been at work, at school, at sports, at church, or at some other organization. How did they motivate you? What effects did it have?

I remember being motivated by my assistant track coach in high school, Mr. Hursey because his approach was so different from that of the main coach. While the main coach seemed aloof and bossy, Mr. Hursey was filled with enthusiasm, patience, and yes - love for every athlete on the team. It didn't matter if you were fast, talented, winning, placing or simply showing -- Mr. Hursey gave each of us attention, instruction, and patient support.

You could see it in his smile. You could feel it in his concern. You knew he touched you deeply, with his presence and care. That instruction, patience, and love led me and others to perform far better than we'd ever performed before. We practiced harder. We ran faster, jumped higher, and stayed with the program hour after hour.

Mr. Hursey showed us tricks of the trade we could never learn on our own (for instance, how running up and down the stairs of the stadium could increase your vertical leap). We saw far more of him than we did of the main coach. As a true test of motivation, consider that I think of Mr. Hursey often, decades after his influence, and I can't even remember the name of the main coach.

There have been other great motivators in my life and I'm sure that you can think of many as well. Chances are, it's not what they said that motivated you the most, but what they did.

- Support
- Instruction
- Care
- Patience
- Discipline
- Insights

I've got nothing against motivational speakers - I enjoy many of them often. But it's been the motivational leaders in my life that I remember.

What will it take for you to be more of a motivational leader?

Will you start that today?

-- Doug Smith
http://frontrangeleadership.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

Success Starts With Action

What will you DO about it?

Have you ever asked anyone that question? Have you ever asked yourself?

People may complain. People may document faults and shortcomings. People may expect more than they are getting -- but nothing happens without taking action. Success starts with action.

All success depends on action. What can you do right now toward achieving your goals?

Sometimes we have finely crafted plans for achieving our goals, and yet miss acting on those plans.
And, sometimes we miss the plans altogether and simply hope for the best with our goals.

Plans, and hope are important but what matters most is action. What you DO to achieve your goals. Actions matter because they place us in motion. Then thrust us toward our vision.

Even when we make mistakes and miss our targets, the energy created by action propels us forward. We can correct mistakes. We can change direction. We can accomplish great things. But first we must place our selves in motion through action.

What can you do right now toward achieving your most important goal?

-- Doug Smith

Achieving Your Goals


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Are you a catalyst?

What sparks people to help you achieve your goals?

Influential leaders create circumstances that catalyze action.

Inaction is simply unacceptable. When the issue, when the goal, when the vision is important enough, high performance leaders find a way to mobilize people and processes in the direction of achieving their goals.

Influential leaders know that given the right appeal, many people will work toward the desired goal. They also realize that given the right consequences, others will jump out of their inaction and into productive motion.

As leaders, we sort out the motivating forces and create the environment that allows our people to prosper, contribute, and move forward.

What are you doing to catalyze action toward achieving your vision?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Achieving Your Goals



Improving Performance

To improve performance, ask about what's standing in the way.

We all are capable of finding the most convincing of excuses why we are missing a target or late on a goal. That's part of the rich benefit of working with a coach: accountability. As a leader, as a coach, it's your responsibility to test those excuses. What really is standing in the way?

Often, there are legitimate reasons for missing a deadline. It is even more useful to identify those and collaborate on ways to overcome the roadblock. Because if the goal is important enough (and why would you be working on it if it wasn't?) it's worth finding a way around whatever stands in the way.

Explore what's standing in the way -- and how to overcome it.

What's standing in the way of your most important goal today?

What will you do about it?

When will you start?

-- Douglas Brent Smith


Learn more in the workshop: Improving Performance

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Understanding Yourself

It takes complete honesty to understand yourself.

No illusions. No delusions. No fantasies about perfection. Seeing yourself, flaws and all, takes willingness to listen without judgment to the feedback you get.

Ask people honestly, what do they think?

It should never take an anonymous 360 survey to know how people really feel about you. Once you create an environment where people know that they will still be valued, still be respected, and still be listened to no matter what their feedback is, they are far more likely to give you the kind of feedback that you really need.

It takes honesty from others, and honesty from yourself:

- what are you working on that matters?
- how closely is your life aligned to your purpose, your values, your vision?
- what kind of environment do you create around you for communicating?
- how close are your closest relationships?

Understanding yourself is a lifelong process.

- Doug Smith
http://frontrangeleadership.com

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Heart of a Leader

What are you emotional about?

The heart of a leader is always on display.

Whether or not you are aware of it, the people you seek to lead are watching you. They want to know what you care about. They want to know what activates your emotions. They want to know what you are passionate about (and especially, are you really passionate about what you SAY you care about).

There are so many ways that we show our emotions:

- our facial expression
- our tone of voice
- our body posture
- the words we say
- the company we keep
- the energy we bring

People seldom miss these signs. These emotions show what we care about and how much. Leading people, especially leading people thru change, requires healthy doses of useful, productive, passionate emotions. How are you doing on that?

Do you want to supervise for success? Get to know, and show, your emotions with intention and skill.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

http://frontrangeleadership.com

Friday, June 12, 2009

Leading Through Participation

"If you create an environment where the people truly participate, you don't need control. They know what needs to be done, and they do it. And the more that people will devote themselves to your cause on a voluntary basis, a willing basis, the fewer hierarchies and control mechanisms you need."
-- Herb Kelleher, CEO. Southwestern Airlines


Leadership brings about participation. It's not just distributing work the way some people call delegation. If a person feels dumped on, it's not effective delegation. I have a real distaste for the definition of leadership that describes it as "getting work done through others". Sure, others help -- but unless the leader has at least some taste for the work involved, people will only stick around until a better offer appears. To build true devotion takes commitment and involvement by everyone -- including the leader.


-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Supervising for Success


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Just In Time

Sometimes when a door closes, it's just in time.

We like to keep our options open. We like our doors to be free swinging and unobtrusive. But too many options can hem us in. Too many choices can keep us from moving forward.

As high performance leaders go about creating change, very often a path chosen turns out to be too narrow, too flat, too unconnected. The door that seemed open suddenly closes.

Having the sense to accept some closed doors as timely frees up a leader to move forward in a direction that makes more sense.

How can we know which doors should close and which we should battle thru no matter what?

Ask yourself these three questions:

1. Was the door that closed aligned with my vision and purpose?

-- if not, closed is how it belongs.

2. Do I have the time, inclination, and resources to re-open that door?

-- if not, let it stay closed.

3. Are there more appealing open doors ahead?

-- if so, go for those doors with all the energy you can get.

-- Douglas Brent Smith