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Showing posts from September, 2009

Gravity Doesn't Care

"Gravity doesn't care if you have an excuse" Jim Collins, on rock climbing. *

Does gravity = your business?

Do you find yourself making excuses about a missed target or goal? If you take your focus off of your purpose, do you rationalize how important that distraction was?

Jim Collins, famous writer and consultant is also a rock climber (as are some of my friends in the Boulder area). Rock climbers know that an excuse is no substitute for careful planning, practice, and attention to detail. When you fall, no excuse can put you back together again. When you let go, gravity wins -- everytime.

What does this mean for you and your business, for you and your purpose?

Are you putting in the attention to clarity and detail that you need?

People can be forgiving, but gravity -- and business -- never is.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

*Quoted from an interview with Jim Collins by Bo Burlingham, Inc. Magazine, April 2009, p.86

Can a Supervisor Create A Better World?

Do you realize how important you are to your team? As a leader, your people are constantly looking toward you for guidance, for inspiration, for the ever important reality check.

Your people are filled with questions:

- Are they doing what they need to do to make you happy?
- Is this really the team for them?
- Is YOUR boss happy with their performance?
- What more do they need to do to take the team to the next level?
- Can they bring their whole selves to work?

... and so many more...

What you do immediately effects your team and their performance. If your team is truly aligned with a meaningful mission, your actions can help to change the world. The world of your team members, the world of your peers, and your own personal world.

Your leadership skills can help to create a better world. Will you?

It may take extra effort. You may stumble along the way, but you have the tools, the magic, the ability. Pull together, develop, and utilize every fiber of courage, clarity, creativity, a…

Clarify What You Really Know

Clarify, clarify, clarify. Pretend you don't know the whole story because you probably don't.

When the information is important enough as a leader make sure that you completely understand:

- the facts
- how the facts effect your mission
- how the facts effect your goals
- how your people are reacting to the facts

Centered leaders use their imaginations to pretend they don't know in order to get closer to the truth. Because, truthfully, we don't always know. We seldom know the complete picture.

People have a way of not telling you what they think you already know. So ask questions that imply you don't have all the facts. Ask questions that show you are still seeking the truth. Ask questions.

Clarify what you really know, and sort it out from the rest. You'll find that you communicate more often for the results you really want.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:  Communicating for Results

The Meaning of Silence

Great communicators clarify the meaning of silence rather than making assumptions.

What happens when people assume that they know what silence means? Agenda's are declared settled, plans are made without commitment from constituents, and goals are left unfulfilled.

Silence does NOT equal agreement -- unless you validate that as the meaning from the people involved.

Silence does NOT mean disagreement -- but without exploring what it DOES mean you'll never know for sure, will you (or you'll know when it's far too late to intervene).

Silence is our friend, but we must use it wisely, acknowledge its validity, and clarity its meaning.

The next time you encounter silence in a conversation or meeting, what will you do?

How will you know what that silence means?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn more in the workshop:   Communicating for Results

Taking Responsibility

High performance leaders take responsibility for everything that matters to them and speak up when necessary.

If it is important, a leader is involved. Even when high performance leaders delegate (and they delegate a great amount) they stay in touch, stay involved, stay informed. That's not the same as micromanaging -- it's keeping interest, keeping focus, keeping attention on critical matters.

Keep in mind that people may not always know what's important to you. With so much going on in your team already, it can be easy for a detail to slip away and for a task to stay undone. High performance leaders don't let that happen. Attention brings results.

How do you keep your focus on what matters most to you?

In what ways do you demonstrate your sense of responsibility?

What important matter do you need to attend to right now?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Challenge Assumptions

Challenge assumptions, especially your own.

Just because somethings seems true, doesn't mean that it is. Views that you hold are especially vulnerable to locking in beyond all evidence or testing. We believe what we believe and then consider our believes to be truths.

We do well to open up our truths to examination. Let the evidence speak. Stand apart from emotional holds and really look, listen, and test.

When was the last time that you changed your mind on something? What caused you to rethink it?

How could you benefit from examining your own assumptions?

When have your assumptions gotten you into trouble or disappointed you?

What assumption are you holding fast to now?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership

The First Step Toward Agreement

How do you react when you find yourself in a misunderstanding or disagreement?

Any supervisor or manager who is truly getting things done will find conflict coming into each day. Frequent conflict can force us into habits we don't even remember choosing. What if you took the time to choose?

Before you disagree, ask a clarifying question. Creating understanding is the first step toward agreement.

Creating mutually beneficial agreements is a key step in developing centered leadership. How often have you disagreed with someone only to later discover that you really didn't understand their point of view? Do you think it is possible that other people have done the same thing with you?

Sometimes we will disagree. Views differ, agendas clash, goals compete with one another. But often, what seems like a disagreement is really just a misunderstanding.

Isn't it worth figuring out which it is?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Fast Feedback

Watching a video of your presentation will provide 100 ways to improve it if you openly pay attention.

Do you like to watch yourself on video? It can be a challenge, since nothing is hidden. Suddenly your perspective is exposed as incomplete. Nervous habits are revealed. Problems in syntax, punctuation -- even grooming are suddenly wide open to see.

We can hide, or we can use that feedback to vastly improve our presentations.

Stay open to the changes you will likely want to make, and work to make those changes without ever expecting perfection. Remember, you don't need to be perfect, but you DO need to constantly improve.

How can you arrange to watch yourself in action this week?

-- Doug Smith

Learning Is Forever

Leaders learn in order to improve themselves, their work, and their organizations. Learning is forever.

Learning doesn't stop after employee orientation. Learning doesn't stop after basic training. Learning is an integral part of every plan for success. As leaders we need to learn new skills, new trends, new directions, and new possibilities. We need to learn in order to stretch our creativity, clarity, courage, and compassion. Every day is a new opportunity to learn more

What are you doing as a leader to continue learning every day?

What will you put into place today that will help your people continue to learn?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Life Is An Adventure

Life is an adventure. Opening ourselves to the spontaneous and unexpected creates vast opportunities for learning.

As leaders, it's easy to fall into a routine. Going from meeting to meeting we structure our days down to the minute. Time management teaches us to manage our lives with the precision of a factory engineer. But leadership requires more than careful planning. Leadership requires more than carefully planned management.

Growing, prospering, flowing and centered leadership requires room for the spontaneous. Creative bursts that surprise and delight us open our leadership lives to new possibilities, new products, new solutions.

How can we make more room for that kind of creative burst?

What can leaders do make more room for adventure?

-- Douglas Brent Smith