Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Solving Problems with the Highest Payoff

With so many problems to choose from, which do you pick to solve first?

Some people like to build momentum by moving from smallest problem to biggest problem. If this works for you and you're happy with the results, keep doing it.

Other people find that once they start with small problems or easy to do tasks that they get stuck there. It becomes too hard to move forward. If this is you, you're probably ready for something different.

How about going right for the biggest payoff?

When I worked at GE we used a tool called the Payoff / Effort matrix. With so much to work on, we used this tool to determine where to start. Should we put extra effort into something that would provide little payoff? Clearly, not when the same effort could produce more payoff in another area.

Solve the problems that provide the biggest payoff first.

Not only will you get your biggest problem solved, but you will likely find that you now have more resources and energy to solve other problems.

Of course, you may then discover yet another, bigger, higher payoff problem ready to be solved. That's good news. That's called development.

What's your highest payoff area of opportunity? What can you do to work on it today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Certainties: A Creative Problem Solving Activity

Purpose:
Create deep conversations around perceived truths.

Materials: Talking stick or microphone.

Seating: Circle

Process:
As we travel thru life we learn a few things. Things we were once certain about change and feel less certain. Things we did not believe or know emerge as our new truth. Do you believe in lasting truth? Do you hold a few beliefs that you feel will stand the test of time?
Follow the CLUES for Success guidelines and when it is your turn, share 3 to 5 beliefs that you think are certain.
Options:
To prime the pump, share some “certainties” from others in short phrases or quotes. Some  examples:
(Doug’s list)
The truth will always bubble to the top.
God is love.
Everything is personal.
Nothing is ever off-the-record.

Expand:
A.Use recording equipment to create a visual record of people providing their wisdom. As a group, edit and produce a film.
B.Play with figure/ground concepts and paradoxes by finding and exploring polar-opposite beliefs.

C.Create a book built on quotes from the session and illustrations created during (or after) the event.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Create a New Team

Have you ever taken over the responsibility as leader for an existing team? If so, you probably remember many of the challenges. There is already a culture in place. People are accustomed to doing things in certain ways. Processes are only partially effective but deeply entrenched.

A leader who inherits a team must find a way to create it anew.

Despite any resistance. Regardless of the difficulty. It's your team now, and it's completely up to you to build it in your image.

Not in some egotistical way. You can certainly build a high participation, transformative team. But the old team won't work long. As leaders, it's our job to take our teams forward. To do that requires change, and the change begins with the team.

What can you do to make your team more fully reflect your vision today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith