Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Build Your Relationships

Who do you rely on the most?

I will admit that there are days when I am tempted to say "my computer." That's a mistake. It's people we rely on the most.

Who is most reliable in your life? Who do you talk to every day?

I've come to realize that I do need to talk with more people every day. It takes contact. It takes reaching out. Building relationships is not a little thing, it's more like a lot of little things. Recurring conversations add to the relationships we build. Spending time together adds to the relationships we build. Remembering birthdays, holidays, and special times is important, too. The key is in the conversation. How we communicate is so often who we are.

As a leader, building your team takes building your relationships. A strong team is built on durable, reliable relationships.

I will strive to communicate to more people more often in the coming days, weeks, month, and year. How about you?

-- Doug Smith


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

What About Absolute Truth?


What do you know that is absolutely true?

Careful -- how can you be sure?

I naturally believe some things absolutely -- but does that mean that they are absolutely true? I'm not advocating a kind of philosophical relativism here. I do not rule out the possibility of absolute truths. What I have discovered is very often we cling to what we believe to be true only to discover later that it was not true at all.

Why do we do it?

There is a comfort, a satisfaction, a security in standing by what we believe. It can even be healthy. But, it can also get in the way of listening. When my mind is totally made-up it makes it much harder to listen openly to someone else, to listen with curiosity. And, listening without curiosity is not listening at all -- it becomes a maneuver to express our own truth (as flawed as it may be, it seems perfect to us.)

I wish that truth was absolute. I wish that truth was universal. All too often, like ethics, it's situational. What delivers the most good and produces the least harm? Life can't always be simplified to an equation, but it does always include the math. When a truth consistently does more harm than good I question its degree of truth.

Stay curious, my friend. Truly listen. While few truths are absolute, it's easy to believe that ours are. What if they are not?

-- Doug Smith


Monday, December 26, 2016

Solving Problems: Identify the Why


Do you know why you have a big problem?

Before you start working on the cause, before you even think about thinking about solutions, ask yourself why you have this problem. Is it a goal you haven't achieved? Is it because you have taken on a new project? Is it about people or conflict?

Knowing why we have a problem is eye-opening. I've even discovered that what I thought was a problem was not even a problem once I identified why it concerned me or why it was there.

We do things to invite problems. We may not even be aware of it, but we open the door to problems when we try new things, make big changes, meet new people, expand our teams. We do need to do all those essential things of growth -- it's just that when we do, we invite new challenges.

Embrace those challenges. Figure out how you invited that problem to the party. And then decide what's next...

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, December 24, 2016

Building Your Team: Recruiting for Success


How do you recruit for your team?

Of course there are many important details to recruiting. The interview is only part of it. Working in collaboration with a skilled human resource team is a big help. But, you know what else is a big help? Getting a reputation as a great place to work. Becoming known as an empowered team that achieves its goals. Finding success with both better results and more friendly relationships.

It's your job as a leader to create the kind of environment where team members feel both part of the team and a key reason for its success. How are you doing at that?

What can you do today to help your team help each other toward more success?

-- Doug Smith


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Start With Decisions


Do you share leadership?

The most powerful teams share leadership responsibilities AND attitude. When you develop a team where people feel empowered to take charge, take responsibility, and take ownership you then no longer need to do all the difficult work. Delegation becomes easier. Collaboration feels more natural.

Start with decisions.

It's fast and easy as a leader to make all of the big decisions, but when you include your team in the conversations it takes to gain mutually shared understandings and collaborative decisions, you no longer have to "sell" your decisions --- people simply know what you as a team have decided and act accordingly. No passive aggressive resistance, no passengers on your team "bus" -- just fully engaged team members.

Start with collaborative decisions. The rest will be much easier.

-- Doug Smith


Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Too Many Emails!

First of all, to my good friends (especially you, David) this is not meant for you to reduce your contact. And of course, my clients (love you!) email all you want. But I AM looking at you Lands End, Credo, MoveOn, Raymour & Flannigan -- and anyone else who fills my email in-box up with multiple emails a day. Really?

Too much marketing is too much. Even companies I love risk it all when they over-sell. One after another, one after another, it's all so exciting! (no, it's not) it's all so special (not really). My favorite? "Last Chance to..." (really, really NOT the last chance, so STOP fibbing, STOP the hyperbole, and cool your marketing jets!)

Inundating our in-boxes is the fastest way to get uninvited. Every day, I unsubscribe from something. Want to be next to get unsubscribed? Keep flooding my in-box. You'll. Be. Gone.

Glad I got that off my chest. Now it's time to unsubscribe from someone...

-- Doug Smith


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Who's Your Coach?


Sometimes it seems like everyone is a coach. But, does every one of those coaches have a coach?

Can there be TOO many coaches?

Who benefits from coaching?  Not a trick question! Everyone benefits from coaching.

Whatever your goals as a leader are, you are far more likely to achieve them if you have a coach. Someone to hold you accountable. Someone to encourage you. Someone to help you think out loud, live out loud, grow, fly, release. A coach.

High performance leaders are not only great coaches, they find and benefit from great coaching.

We all need coaching. Why not get the coaching we need?

-- Doug Smith


Friday, December 9, 2016

What About The Millennials?

I'm sharing this because occasionally one of my learners will ask "what can we do about the millennials?" with complete exasperation.

There are lots of answers and lots of approaches. Think of this as part one in a dialogue here. Here's what Simon Sinek recently said.





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

High Performance Leaders Set The Pace


Are you the hardest working member of your team?

When I worked at Aon, the CEO Pat Ryan said that "the speed of the leader is the speed of the team." That made an impression on me then and it still does. Are you the kind of supervisor who sits back and waits for your team to do their job -- or do you set the pace? Do you show how important the work is to you? Do you demonstrate commitment to your customers AND to your team members?

Set the pace. See what happens. You'll like the results.

-- Doug Smith

Need help getting your supervisors to set the pace in your organization? Bring our two-day workshop, "Supervising for Success" to your location. Contact me today:

doug@dougsmithtraining.com


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

How Do You React to Resistance?


How do you like change?

Are you on-board every change that comes down the pike? Do you accept every new idea?

Neither do your constituents. Neither does your team.

Resistance isn't always right. But, it isn't always wrong, either. Someone who tells you their objections is doing you a favor: now you know. Now you can do something about it. Change the "thing" or change the way you deliver the "thing"...or dig deeper to figure out what's behind the resistance.

Even the most brilliant projects need acceptance to succeed. Work on that while you work on your brilliant goal.

-- Doug Smith