Friday, December 29, 2017

It's Your Mess Now

Have you ever inherited a big mess? When I first became a supervisor, a long time ago, the people who were assigned to me did not make a cohesive, collaborative, or cooperative team. We were one hot mess of humanity, working to meet personal production goals.

I could have blamed upper management for selecting that team. I could have moaned about their previous supervisors. Maybe I was too young to be cynical. What I did instead was dig in, try different things, get to know my people, and give them every opportunity to succeed as a team.

I could have done better, but maybe the learning was the best outcome. We grew together as a team, and in turn mysteriously grew as professional individuals as well.

No matter how much of a mess you inherited it's still up to you what you do with it.

Choose wisely and you'll like what you get. And if you don't? You get to keep choosing (and working) until you do.

What kind of mess have you been blaming someone else for? Isn't it time to let go of the blame?

-- doug smith


Thursday, December 28, 2017

Avoid the Damage


I know how it feels to fail to communicate. For too long I would keep my feelings to myself. Too many times my thoughts were secret. All too often my silence would be assumed as agreement when that simply was not true.

No more. I've focused on improving, on developing my communication skills, and whenever possible, to help other people with theirs. Because it's so important. In many ways, it's the whole ball game. Fail to communicate and how will you ever get what you want? Fail to communicate and how will you manage to make a positive difference in the world?

I've still got a long ways to go. There are still times when that deeper conversation escapes me because the emotions are too strong. Still. We live, we learn, we grow. Better to keep improving than to accept the disconnect.

Failing to communicate causes us to miss our goals. It causes our teams to splinter and disintegrate. Failing to communicate drains us of the vitality that living is meant to provide. And it's all preventable. The damage is not inevitable. We can talk about it. We can talk about our thoughts, our feelings, our hopes, and our fears. And even more important than talking about it -- we can listen.

Few things hurt more or do more damage than failure to communicate. I'm still learning how to communicate more effectively. How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Powerful Silence

I often quote Susan Scott ("Fierce Conversations") who said, "Let silence do the heavy lifting." It's powerfully useful. Those awkward silences are times to think, times to process, times to remain curious.

Today I'd like to add this:


We rush to fill the silence. We awkwardly walk away. We miss the silent opportunity. It's not a time to hurry, it's a time to remain mindful. Be there. Process. Listen.

Silence is too powerful to waste. Use the gift that it brings.

-- doug smith


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Are They Listening?

Do you send a lot of messages?

I see people who broadcast hundreds of tweets a month. Dozens a day. Sending, sending, sending, I truly wonder if they read anyone else's messages. Are they paying attention? Are they listening?

What about your people? Are they listening?

A million messages a minute won't matter if they aren't listening.

You can teach them how...just, listen.

-- doug smith

Monday, December 25, 2017

Talk About What You Want


I've never met anyone who could read my mind. And, I've never been able to read anyone else's mind, either.

Intentions are funny things. We can't always tell what they are. One way helps the most: talk about it.

If you want to get what you want, talk about it.

-- Doug Smith


Monday, December 18, 2017

Imperfections

Centered leaders remember that people are not perfect and are not surprised by their imperfections.

-- Doug Smith