Thursday, March 1, 2018

You Can Handle The Truth

Why do people shy away from the truth?

Lately, I've been telling my workshop participants that they can handle the truth, and that starting right away they can tell the truth in ways that other people can also handle it.

What's the alternative? We tell so many lies. We cover up so much useful information. We deceive so many people, but always temporarily because the truth will always bubble to the top. Why not stay on the high road to begin with?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Say What You Mean

Do you keep it to yourself, even when you're trying to say something?

Have you ever regretted NOT saying something?

I have. Too many times. I kept thinking that another opportunity to say it would come around. There would always be tomorrow. Maybe I'd think of the perfect words to say if I just waited.

But the time would pass, and the opportunity would go with it. We seldom know when some occasion might be the last opportunity we have to say what we're thinking to someone. If it is important, say it.

Oh, sure -- by resolving to say what's on my mind I have not only risked embarrassing myself, I have done a splendid job of doing that. Words are harder to take back than they are to say. But at least I said it. Nobody can read my mind. As my good friend Judi Madigan says, "my crystal ball is broken and all the snow has dried up..." Say what you mean.

There's no point to waiting to say what you mean -- you may not get the chance again.

-- doug smith

Friday, February 23, 2018

Be Prepared

Opportunity doesn't send invitations; it sneaks up on you, surprises you in the middle of doing something else, and then keeps you awake poking you until you rise to the occasion. If you ignore it long enough, it slips away in the dead of night and finds someone else who is more awake.

Are you ready?

Are you ready for your next level of leadership?

It could be ready for you.

-- doug smith

Monday, February 19, 2018

Security Comes From Doing

Do you worry? Do you make things up that never happen? Do you you shy away from opportunity because it might turn out wrong? I've done all of that, way too much. I don't now where insecurity comes from, but it is welcome to go back there, tuck its self in for a long nap, and stay far, far away.

Insecurity is one of those wasted feelings. It doesn't help, but it does stand in the way. Security comes from doing. When I start to feel doubts creeping in, my new resolve is to do. Get started. Act. As one of my old bosses, Jack Macklin once said, "You can always fix a mistake, but first you've got to make it." Get moving.

-- doug smith

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Switch On The New Lights

There are many ways that a high performance leader achieves high performance, but one of them is NOT staying stuck in the past. It's tempting to focus on what went wrong, or perhaps to revel repeatedly about an accomplishment of the past. Meanwhile, time clicks on, life fills each day, and each day drains a little away.

I like to remember the past. There are some wonderful moments back there. Reminiscing can bring smiles. That's fine. I do remind myself, though, that the power is in the present for the needs of the future. The work is now. The moment is now. The power is now.

The past has no power. Those lights are already out.

-- doug smith

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Try Something Else

It may be natural to think of ourselves first. It's perfectly normal to look out for our own interests. But, that's different than self-centered. We need to consider others in our actions and especially in our solutions. As leaders, the purpose behind our purpose should be to make things better -- for ourselves AND for others.

The strongest action is seldom the self-centered one.

-- doug smith

Thursday, February 8, 2018

There Is Power In What You Say

High performance leaders realize that there is power in what they say. A few words can make the difference between a stronger relationship and a more flexible team or a broken promise and a shattered dream.

What we say maters.

It's amazing how much a little can mean.

Let's choose that little like it's a lot. Because it is.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Choose Your Expectations Carefully

How do the people on your team feel about your expectations? How well are you communicating your standards, your insistence, your urgency?

Your people are listening carefully to you. Maybe more carefully than you imagine. Sometimes they understand you and sometimes (gasp!) they misunderstand you. Be intentional about what you say.

What we say creates expectations -  about what we want, about what we expect, about how we operate and behave.

Your team will do its best to meet your expectations, so choose your expectations carefully.

-- doug smith

doug smith training

Sunday, February 4, 2018

High Performance Leaders Strive for Shared Understanding

We can get stuck in disagreement. We can get stuck reaching for agreement. One thing helps both problems: reaching a shared understanding.

You don't have to agree, but if you understand you are one step closer to influencing someone to your view -- or perhaps even one step closer to remaining open to being influenced.

So many of us are stuck in our positions. It's not working. We need to listen. We need to focus. We need to understanding.

Understanding brings us together. Understanding smoothes our rough edges. Understanding makes us adjust our perspective enough to make room for others, and when we make room for others miraculously there is more room for us as well.

Shared understanding is a powerful bond. Will you work on that today?  -- I know that I will.

-- doug smith

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Past As Lesson

Sometimes I like to imagine that I can go back in time and fix some mistake. Something I said, but shouldn't have...something I didn't say, but should have.

A look, a sigh, a moment taken distracted when someone needed my attention. Could I just please fix all that?

We are who we are and we got here the way that we got here. There is no changing that. And -- there's no stopping us from learning. From it, and from more. To keep learning.

We can't fix the past, but we can learn from it.

To say what we want to say. To do what we need to do. To grow instead of standing still. To make the gesture, hold the hand, hug the friend, attend to the one in need.

We can learn.

-- doug smith

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Stretch Yourself

Are you stretching? Are you expanding your boundaries? Are you trying new things and developing new skills?

No matter how much we resist it, we are born to stretch ourselves and test our limits.

Stretch. Repeat. Don't stop.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Deep Confidence

Doubt is a butt-kicker. It slows down performance. Do you know what's way better than doubt? Preparation. Training. Persistence. Discipline. Working harder everyday to get that job done and achieve that goal.

High performance leaders are as capable of doubt as anyone. What they do differently is assess the doubt, look past the fear, and persevere.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

High Performance Leaders Forgive

If we can forgive our past we can work on our future...doug smith

It's not easy. Forgiving others is tough enough. Forgiving ourselves is monumental. We can never completely fix a wrong. The long tail of short comings seems to last forever.

But why get stuck there? Unable to fix the past, let's forgive and move forward. Let's work to make something better. Let's work to make everything better.

If we can forgive our past we can work on our future.

-- doug smith

Monday, January 8, 2018

Do Your People Have The Training They Need?

Work is rapidly changing. Yesterday's highly valued competencies are becoming expected. Supervisors find themselves ill-equipped to handle the production needs and people needs of their teams.

The journey from goal formation to goal achievement is covered with roadblocks. Challenges face us from every direction. The best way to navigate those challenges is by learning. Constant, relentless, patient, persistent learning.

Every leader in your organization is on a journey. Do they have the training they need?

-- doug smith

Sunday, January 7, 2018

High Performance Leaders Care About Why

Did you ever have someone who kept insisting on a particular deadline, whether or not the deadline made sense?

I've had bosses who set arbitrary deadlines and then treated them as if they were the most important thing in the world. One in particular kept asking his favorite question, "Are you done yet?"

Deadlines ARE important. What we are working on is important. Deadlines matter. But why we are doing what we are doing may determine how much effort and urgency we give to the task. Why matters. Importance is relative. Priorities are necessary so that we spend our limited time working on what truly matters most.

Why is more important than when.

As a leader, when you are delegating, help the team member identify why they are doing the assignment.

As a highly productive, high performance leader, when you prioritize your own tasks, ask yourself why number one is number one in order of priority. Why matters.

Why is more important than when. Wouldn't you rather have it done right than done early?

-- doug smith

Friday, January 5, 2018

On Failure

Failing one test is study for the next.

As adults, the learning never stops. We get to repeat the lesson until we LEARN the lesson. I've learned to take my lumps and keep learning. Keep getting better. Study harder, work harder, and fill the gaps.

We all fail sometimes. Let the learning continue!

-- doug smith