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What's Your Superpower?

Would you like another super power?

There's a skill that, once you start using effectively, begins to feel like a superpower. You never have to settle for a poor answer again. I learned this from my mentor Andrew Oxley, who taught me "if you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question."

Try it.

It takes practice. At first you might run out of questions. But, if you stick with it and work at it you can always, always, always come up with better questions. And if you get stuck, silence can even be your better question. Just don't give in. Just don't give up. Ask better questions.

Remember what Andrew Oxley said:
If you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question. 
-- doug smith


Recent posts

Set 5 Top Goals

How many top priorities do you have?

The trouble with too many top priorities is getting them done. Too many top priorities means you don't really have priorities -- just a really long list of goals.

Have all the goals you want. Goals are great. I've know people who carry a list of 100 goals. They check them off one by one, and some have truly accomplished nearly half. That takes time, and feels more like a bucket list than a goals list.

Top goals are what you work on first. Top goals are what you prioritize above all else. Top goals are where your results make a meaningful distance.

High performance leaders show the courage to focus on five top goals.

How many do you focus on?

-- doug smith


You're It

Have you ever worked for a perfect leader? Me, either. And neither am I a perfect leader. We can't be perfect, yet we can work to be on the work toward perfection. It's a road we'll never finish.

I've been blessed to work with many great leaders, none of them perfect. But, some people have not been so lucky. Some people seem to have worked for a long streak of frustrating leaders or bullies. Maybe some of those people are headed for (or already on) your team. The news is good, though. You can greatly influence their future experience, even if you were previously less than what they needed in a boss.

It's a new day. It's a new time. You can be a new, improved, effective, attentive, high performance leader.

Start today.

Be the leader you always wished you had.
Someone else is wishing for that, too.

-- doug smith

Provoke Positively

Have you ever noticed that people tend to default toward rejection? A "no" comes quicker than a "yes." That's annoying to a sales person, but it's big trouble for a team leader who has a team stuck in the status quo. For teams, for leaders, there IS no status quo. A leader's job is to provoke change, to spark action, to get stuff done.

High performance leaders provoke. Not to be bossy, but to be effective. When people aren't responding it's time to lead with more strength, more resilience, more persistence. It's time to provoke.

How do you provoke?

Keep asking questions. Keep communicating your expectations. Talk about it at length -- so much that if your team member is tired of hearing from you simply say that they will hear less when they have done more.

High performance leaders provoke positive actions. And, they don't stop until those positive actions start.

-- doug smith


Own It

High performance leaders make peace with their mistakes without pretending that they never happened.

-- doug smith


If you have the same problem that you had a year ago you have not yet found the real problem.

Keep digging.

-- doug smith


Goals are Negotiable

Have you ever been stuck with goals that no longer work for you?

Did someone else stick you with those goals, or did you do it to yourself?

High performance leaders set lots of goals, but they don't get emotional about realizing that they can't possibly achieve all of them. Life brings complications, strategies change, better goals come along.

Working on a project, working for a boss, working on change -- if the goal is big enough there is likely to be disagreement. That's OK. Talk about it. Negotiate. Find a goal you can agree on instead of grudgingly plunging forward on a loser. And then, stay calm. There's no need to take a disagreement personally.

We can disagree on goals without becoming disagreeable.

-- doug smith


There Is Always Another Goal

Achieving a goal does not promise you perfection. There is always another goal.

Find it. Set it. Get it going.

-- doug smith


The Loneliest Yard Sale

Do you like yard sales? I know that some people do. The few times that I've participated in yard sales there were always eager shoppers there BEFORE the announced opening time. I've even seen a man (who was extremely well-dressed for yard sale shopping) carrying a map with all of the local yard sales marked, numbered in the order of starting time and access. He was looking for extreme bargains, with some very specific items in mind (he had to have boundaries, he was making the circuit on his bicycle.)

Some people love yard sales. The bargains, the sudden finds, the thrill of the hunt. I do not enjoy them as much, because some have an air of desperation: please buy this crap that I don't want anymore.

It's not all crap. But, some is.

One particular yard sale that wore me out and sucked the joy out of them for me was set up by my significant other at the time. It's the yard sale in the picture above. That's it, just about -- the whole yard sale. Do you see anyth…

Variations in Quality?

How do you feel about quality?

A long time ago I was a Blue Willow china fan. I collected pieces wherever I could find them, one at a time mostly, at garage sales, antique shops, and occasionally home goods stores. My collection was humble and yet it brought me much joy. Somehow the subtly Asian look to the pictures which seemed to be telling untold stories fascinated me. My grandmother had a complete set and it was a joy to eat and drink from them.

One day I decided to order a complete set so that my family could not just admire them, but also eat from them every day. Frugal person that I am, I was enticed into buying a big box of the set by mail order. This was long before Amazon or any kind of online ordering and the picture in the magazine looked great. I could hardly believe my luck!

Until the box arrived. It was a big box, to be sure, and carefully packed. The very first thing I saw though, at the very top of the packing material, was a roughly printed set of "instructions…