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Showing posts from March, 2013

Just Kidding

Has someone ever said something to you that stung, sounding like a sharp insult -- only to be followed up with a quick "just kidding!"?

Are they kidding? Or not?

The sting is still there. The truth behind their statement unclouded and set free like running dogs in a department store. Things are going to get knocked over. Expectations are going to change.

Just kidding.

Maybe you're in the middle of a deep examination of important problems. Maybe the challenges in front of you are adding tension. Maybe the stress causes nervous laughter and crude joking. Maybe they are kidding after all. Have they found a sensitive spot? Is this your soft white underbelly of pain? Could they even know how close they are to your nerve?

Just kidding.

When someone says "just kidding" find out what they really mean but haven't said.

It's there. No kidding.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Centered Leaders Pay Attention to Emotion

Do you ever wish that your team members were a little less emotional? Do you ever find yourself wondering why people are so upset?

We want to be productive. We want to get things done. We do want to achieve our goals. Sometimes emotions get in the way.

The very same emotions that get in the way can also propel us toward our goal. There is energy there. Maybe it's misdirected. Maybe it's obtrusive. Probably, it's inconvenient. But there is solid useable energy.

Listen. Pause. Breathe into it and out of it. Let another person's emotions be there own. You don't need to adopt or adapt it. But before either of you can move on, you will need to accept it. Validate it and move forward. There are better things ahead -- it just will take even more listening, suspending of judgement, and work.

Logic has very little influence over emotion.

We need to understand how that emotion feels.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Add a Touch of Kindness

What would your customers say about you, as a company and as a person?

Would the words "kind" or "compassionate" be a part of their description?

Think about a person you know who you would describe as kind. Whatever is is that they do for a living, what is it that makes them kind, or compassionate?

Is it the way they show that they care? Is it the way that they listen to you, even when you know you might be babbling just a little or way off base? Or maybe is it the way that they lightly touch you by the hand -- on your shoulder or on your back in a non-threatening willingness to feel and to help?

We can all be more kind. We can all be more compassionate. When I think of those who have been most kind in my life they just happen to be those who are also the most trustworthy. Their agenda has always been open and gentle: simply to help. It's the nurse at the glass factory who dressed my cut and sent me back to work not with judgment but with encouragement. It'…

Does Your Solution Hold Problems?

First, there is a great idea.

Second, there is detraction. Dissension. Opposition.

Third, the idea lies dormant, unimplemented, dead.

Great ideas need energy. Great ideas need support. Solutions to problems must be fully supported to have any chance of success.

We can solve even big problems quickly given the right amount of support and the minimal level of resistance.  Leaders and problem solvers get into trouble when we ignore the need for support.

If your solution creates problems for others it's not a solution at all.

It might feel right. The data might even prove that it will work. But unless people support it, what chance does it have?

And, since people naturally resist change anyway, if your solution comes loaded with problems that were not there from the start, why would people support it? Take the time to find out what the problems are (real or perceived) and then take the problems out. Only then will your solution rise and prevail. Only then will the people you need to su…

Validate and Move Forward

Can positive thinking solve everything?

Staying positive is a wonderful tool. Still, we often encounter people who are not feeling quite so positive. We often must interact with sour moods, tough dispositions, or even tougher situations.

Telling someone to affirm the positive doesn't make it easier for them. It's better to validate their feelings and then help them to move on.

Listen > Acknowledge > Validate > Move forward

People are much more ready for whatever comes next once they know they have been heard and believed.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are You In The Mood for Problem Solving?

Have you ever noticed people getting grumpy, just when they need to be at their best?

Problems can bring out the skepticism in us. They can rankle our intentions and sour our mood. When that happens, don't deny it. Experience it. Let it find you in the moment and then let it go. Are you ready? Let it go.

We can solve more problems in a good mood than we can in a sour mood.

While we can't force a good mood, there's not much benefit to holding onto a discontented one. It's served its purpose once it has your attention.

As a problem solver, it's time to move on.

If your role is the leader in the problem solving effort, it's time to create a better space. Bring some things into the environment to build more comfort, trust, and energy:

- food
- water
- soft music
- light
- warmth
- confidence
- acceptance
- appreciation

What else could you bring? What works best for you? What would work best for your group?

Sour moods serve their purpose -- but only for a short time …

Gaining Perspective

How do you see a problem clearly?

Could it be that problem you are working on has clouded some issues? Could it be that you've come to see it a way that is uniquely all yours?

Sometimes we have to step away from a problem in order to see it clearly.

Take a break. Ask someone else. Look in another direction. Change things up. Open up your mind to new, fully present possibilities.

It can make all the difference in the world.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Interested in learning more about solving problems?

Do you have a group that could grow faster and deliver better results by solving more problems?

Explore our workshop, Solving Problems.

Reason to Grow

There are thousands of valid reasons to grow, and very few for not growing.

Every problem that can't yet be solved is a reason to grow.

Reason for you, reason for your team members, reason for the world.

What will you do to grow today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

How Are You Developing As A Leader?

Have you given it much thought lately? What are you doing to develop as a leader?

Are you working on your skills? Are you building relationships?

Have you found new ways to exercise, practice and develop your clarity, courage, creativity and compassion?

The art of leadership requires constant development.

Things you could do:

- take a teleclass
- sign up for a workshop
- take on a new project
- build an ad hoc team to solve a problem
- get coaching to achieve your goals
- mentor another leader
- find a mentor
- read more about leadership

... the list is filled with wonderful potential.

What will you learn today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Staying Centered

How do you react when you are pulled from your center?

It starts out natural, centered. It's our normal state of life. Focused. Alive.

We grow. Forces enter our lives. Distractions pull us from that center, sometimes so far that we forget our center entirely. The tough stuff is rough enough and then suddenly it seems something so trivial can knock us off balance.

The most surprising little things can pull us from our center.

- critical feedback we did not expect
- flat tires
- lines at the department of motor vehicles
- beggars in the fast food drive up window lane
- team members who casually disagree without listening
- not listening ourselves

Endless possibilities. Relentless temptations.

My, oh, my sometimes. Still. Embrace the stillness. Remember we started out in that stillness, centered.

Sometimes returning to that centered stillness takes everything we've got. But it gives back more than we ever held.

Staying centered is worth it.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Is That Project For You?

How often are you asked to do a project that you don't really want to do?

Maybe it's a project that you have tasks due. Maybe it's a project that does not align with your goals. Maybe it seems like more trouble than it's worth.

Some of the most important choices leaders make are the projects they refuse to do.

High performance leaders, when they can, refuse projects that:

- are not aligned with their goals
- are not aligned with their organization's goals
- are not aligned with their organization's mission and vision
- could be best handled by someone else
- have already been assigned to someone else

You need to have the authority to refuse the project of course. It may not be a popular decision. But how much effort do you want to put into low priority projects that you don't want to do?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

To arrange training in project management, leadership, or handling multiple goals and projects, contact me at:

Results and Relationships

Are you a people person, or a results person?

People tend to favor one or the other: results, or relationships.

Naturally, we like to think of ourselves as leaders as being versatile, flexible and well rounded. Of course we DO value both results and relationships. Truth be told, we likely lean on one more than the other. It doesn't make us good, bad, or indifferent; it just makes us people.

Centered leaders remember to nurture relationships as they communicate for results.

It's not one or the other. It's not either / or. We can have both results and relationships. We simply need to know which one we are favoring at the moment, step back, and make clearly certain that we take care of both.

That's what centered leaders do. How about you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith