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Showing posts from July, 2009

Powerful teams share responsibiity

A single leader cannot do it all. A single leader who tries to control every decisions is bound for failure. People need input in what their team does and where they go.

Powerful teams share responsibility, and responsible leaders realize this before it becomes an issue.

But it's not too late. If you are not already sharing responsibility for your team's success, why not start today?

What will you do TODAY to increase the involvement of your team and to share responsibility?

-- Doug Smith

How many approvals do your processes need?

High performance leaders reduce the number of approvals it takes to complete a process.

Cut the frustration. Cut the nonsense. Cut the ego-centered need to control every little step. Empower your people and feel their trust grow.

Reduce the number of approvals it takes to complete a process!

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Supervising for Success

Explore Perspectives

When you find yourself locked in conflict, suspend your competitive edge long enough to discover what people in the conflict really want.

For many of us, the natural reaction to conflict is to become more competitive. We prepare ourselves to fight to the finish and behave as if victory must be one sided (and of course, must be ours alone).

As Doctors Thomas and Kilmann have pointed out in their influential work on conflict, we have more choices than that.

We can always choose to compete if necessary. But first, what if there's an opportunity to build relationships? What if there's an opportunity to collaborate?

Isn't it worth taking a moment to step back and find out?



Look at the situation from a more impartial distance.

Ask meaningful questions with genuine curiosity and an open mind.

It's that important.

-- Doug Smith

For a useful Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Modes Instrument in PDF form:…

What Did You Learn Today?

Every day we have the opportunity to gain valuable lessons. Every experience provides material for improving who we are and what we do.

People learn effectively through experienced that is followed by reflection. The experience isn't enough -- we all know people who make the same mistakes over and over again. It's reflecting on the experience and asking a few learning oriented questions that helps us examine what happened and how to both build on the plus side and change the parts that we are not happy with.

Questions worth asking include:

What did I like about this experience? How can I have more of that?What would I change about this experience? What should I do? When do I start?Who else may have shared similar experiences? What did they learn? How can I find out?What's my next step for improving my experiences?
I'm sure you can think of many more, but all you really need are the first two: What worked for you and what would you change.

You can enhance any experience…

How Clear Are Your Values?

Which of your values are you willing to break, and which of your values are truly firm?

Haven't you known an organization (maybe you even worked for one!) that espoused really terrific values but then acted each day as if those values didn't even exist?

Setting values is not an exercise for decoration. Establishing values that sound nice is not an activity you forget about or simply post somewhere, perhaps on a plaque in the lobby. Values are more than that.

Values should be the conditions you intentionally live by.

A value that you are willing to break is no value at all.

What are your core values?

Which of your values are so firm that you'd never break them -- no matter what?

Spend some time considering your values today and to what extent you rely on them as your standards of behavior. Getting clear on your values helps your decision making, your performance, and your reputation. Clarity of where you stand means that people may disagree with you but they will never miss …

Instant Personal Needs Analysis

Training others reveals how much more training you need.

It's one of the best ways to learn -- helping other learn. There's something about the clarity it takes to communicate your ideas, the creativity it takes to find ways to provide "hands on learning" with feedback, the compassion it takes to watch, listen and provide feedback that's both thorough and kind.

There's also a kind of courage inherent in training anyone. They are relying on you and it's time to deliver. During those times, it's easier to see what you don't yet know and what it still before you to learn.

Training others stretches the learner and the coach.

Have you checked in on that lately?

-- Doug Smith


Coaching your peers may be your greatest opportunity for influence.

Without issues of rank or status, and stripped away of pretense, coaching is a powerful form of communication. Keeping your feedback positive, recognizing the strengths of others, and offering new insights you may find your circle of influence expanding more and more.

But there's more to this coaching equation. Are you coachable as well? Do you take and use the feedback and insights that others give you? Are you willing to change your own habits to increase your performance and set a better pace for others?

Being coachable expands your leadership influence even more than coaching others.

Are you spending some time each day coaching others?

Are you also coachable?

Who can you ask today for some informal, open and honest coaching?

-- Douglas Brent Smith