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Showing posts from June, 2014

Rock Your Own Style

Remember a time when you saw someone so completely centered, so completed on their game that you wondered what it would be like to try their style on for style?

Long ago I wanted to be Wilt Chamberlain.  If you were a basketball fan (and player) at the time you might want that, too. He was dominant. He was relentless. He could score at will. But I was not even close to his size or stature or skill. It was not the style for me.

Later I wanted to be Bruce Springsteen. To sing like him, rock like him, give more than anyone else in the business (except maybe James Brown at the time) was able to give. And, in many ways The Boss is style a big influence on my guitar and vocal styles as I play in a band even now. But I'm no Bruce, and there's no point in pretending that I could be.

It's up to each of us to rock our own style. To be our own leader. And within that, to develop the skills and character we need to be the best leader that we can be: a leader operating with clarity, co…

Squash Deception

How to you react to being lied to?

I'm going to guess that it makes you angry. It likely creates an emotional storm, whether you discover it later or earlier. Deception is a bite out of integrity.

Maybe people deceive us because they think they can get away with it. Maybe they try to deceive us hoping to get caught. There is something desperate about deception. It is irritating and much weaker than it appears.

Deception begs for justice. Give it what it craves.

Squash deception wherever you find it. Truth rules.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Create Project Boundaries

Do you find your projects getting bigger and bigger?

Is scope creep more than a concept to you and more like a way of life?

I call it the "wouldn't it be cool syndrome." Our bosses do it to us, our clients do it to us, our customers do it to us, our team members do it to us, but most of all we do it to ourselves -- we let our boundaries disappear and work expand endlessly.

Do you know what that leads to? Unfinished work. That's not what you probably want.

While your job might be without boundaries, your projects need them.

And guess what -- if you don't set them and enforce them, why would anyone else?

Centered leaders, high performance leaders create project boundaries. Shouldn't you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Give Lots of Chances

Do people who follow you make mistakes?

Of course. All people make mistakes. How you as a leader respond to those mistakes will determine how many risks they take and how creative they get. And, you want them to be plenty creative.

Give your people lots of chances. Chances to succeed. Chances to learn. Chances to grow. The cost is incremental, but the payoff is geometrical. It's worth it.

Giving someone another chance doesn't take any chances from you.  Your chances are unlimited.

There. I said it. Your chances are limited. What's the point in being stingy about them?

Centered leaders give lots of chances. Who do you know who would love another chance today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Multiply Your Lessons Learned

Isn't it tempting to keep our mistakes to ourselves? We're just glad to get through them and really don't treasure parading our weaknesses around. But, what if by sharing our mistakes we can do some good?

The lessons we learn from our mistakes can be multiplied by teaching others.

It provides useful information (whether or not others take it). It shows our own humility. It demonstrates our compassion for others with the hope that they can avoid some pain or hardship that we've already experienced.

We might have a hand in helping others avoid mistakes.

And if others make fewer mistakes, won't that be good for us, too?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Learn from Those Missed Goals

Do you remember missing a goal but also learning from it?

If we are truly setting stretch goals, we will sometimes miss. It doesn't make us unsuccessful -- it changes us, it refreshes us, it develops us -- if we take the time to learn the lesson inside.

Why did we miss?
What should we do differently next time?
What part of our goal plan did work?

Sometimes we learn more from a stretch goal that we don't achieve than from an easy one that we do.

Pick the stretch goal. Grow.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Play A Better Game

Do you like it when someone blames you for something you didn't do?

For that matter, you probably don't like it when people blame you for things you DID do either.

Blame creates more ill feelings. While it may be intended to build in accountability, does it seem to you that it works that way? Instead, problems get escalated. People point fingers. Guilt is transferred.

When justice is required, seek justice. But assigning blame -- randomly or otherwise -- seldom improves the situation.

Blame brings shame so play a better game.

It might take courage. It might take compassion. It might take the clarity of seeing the bigger, better picture and working to create the better relationship.

Find ways to get past the situation to a mutually shared goal. Play a better game.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Begin Again

Have you ever had one of those days when you wished you were in a video game and could simply push reset?

It's not so easy in real life. But we do have a reset button. We are not always trapped in unchangeable circumstances. We have choice. We have power. We have courage.

Take that courage. Show that power.

Each moment presents a new chance to begin again.

Begin again.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

You can begin your quest again to achieve your goals. Get more info here.
Are problems standing in the way? Check out our Centered Problem Solving Workshop.

Create A That Sounds Awesome List

Guest Post from David Spiegel
I often find myself writing about things that are perplexing me. When I am feeling uncomfortable about something, I find that writing about it helps me shed some light on the matter. Sometimes the results are immediate and at other times it is a process. 
Today I am writing about something I find fascinating. I think inspiring is a better word.In fact I find myself awestruck by it. 24 years ago, while planning my son Max's Bris, a friend and mentor told me "David,all you can do is set the stage. You can not predict an outcome". The message was simple, have no expectations ,just do it the way you want it done.
Fascinating! Today that same person is fulfilling one of those bucket list items herself. After standing track side at Churchill Downs to watch California Chrome run for the roses, I next heard from her in Baltimore where she watched C.C. take the second leg of the Triple Crown. Today she is in Queens at the Belmont in position to watch hi…

High Performance Leaders Keep a Positive Mood

Do you ever get in a bad mood?

We all do. Certainly, I've shown some moods I'd rather have kept to myself. The trouble is, as leaders we can't afford bad moods. We can't afford to show other people moods that might impact their productivity, slow down their work, and keep them from achieving their goals.

If we are to achieve our goals it makes sense to drop the bad moods. When we feel a bad mood coming on, to get a grip on it, hold it tight, feel it for all it's worth, and then let it go.

Let it go.

Let the bad mood good and substitute a positive mood.

Positive, centered, high performance leadership moods such as:

- Fixing the process instead of blaming the person
- Focusing on the big picture vision instead of the instant blemish
- Staying curious instead of judgmental
- Showing nurturing instead of nagging
- Giving people the benefit of the doubt
- Going a little easier on ourselves
- Remembering that this too will pass
- Keeping a positive perspective: you have…

Don't Force Your Solutions

What happens when you impose your solution on someone else's problem?

If it works, they will be happy that it works and likely still resent you for imposing the solution. If it does not work (which is often the case) you of course will get the blame.

People need to come up with their own solutions. Your advice may be brilliant. Your insistence may be strong. But their resistance to change (and need for ownership) will quite likely get in the way.

We should not force someone to try our solution to their problem.

Even if their ideas aren't as good, they are much more likely to follow them.

Unless your trying to teach both of you a lesson. Good luck with that approach.

Centered problem solving involves much more. It is taking an approach of working on the relationship as well as the problem. It's attacking the process, and not the person. It's cooperating and collaborating. That's not as easy as imposing your own solution -- but much more likely to succeed.

-- Douglas …

Bring Centered Problem Solving to Your Location

WHAT IF you could work with a small group of people who would help you to solve your most pressing problems? They wouldn't try to impress you. They wouldn't charge you money. They wouldn't hold back their best advice to keep you coming back for more. All they wanted from you was to help you to solve your problems and achieve your goals, in exchange for cooperation in solving their own problems and achieving their goals.

What they would do is speak openly and honestly and with absolute clarity. They would support your goals and offer their expertise unselfishly and without reservation. They would pay careful attention to your problem solving needs and treat your shortcomings and challenges with compassion. They would cooperate. They would spark ideas together that they would probably not realize on their own, and they would have fun doing it.

They would help you drop excuses and time wasters to focus instead with your full energy on what you really want.

That is…

Introduce Your Goals to Your Dreams

Are your goals acquainted with your dreams? Are the things that you work on and focus your attention on in any way connected to your greatest dreams?

If they aren't -- how on earth will you get there?

Introduce your goals to your dreams. Focus on what matters. Work on what will make you complete.

No one else will do that for you. Ever.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Test Your Assumptions

Can you remember the last time that you were wrong?

How did it feel to discover your mistake? Do you remember the cause? Could your actions have been built on a false assumption?

We all make assumptions from time to time. It's when we live in the world of assumptions that we really get into deep trouble. The more we assume, the easier it is to take comfort in our assumptions. But, our assumptions are often wrong.

When we're leading a team, developing performance, running a project and doing the important work of a leader we need to check our assumptions at the door. We need to test our thinking and clarify our expectations.

High performance leaders identify and test any assumptions before launching a project or reaching a major decision.

After all, isn't it better to spot your mistakes before you make them?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are you developing leaders in your organization? Bring our two-day workshop for supervisors, managers and project managers, Supervising for Success

Bust That Barrier

What stands in the way of achieving your biggest goal?

There's always something. It might seem bigger than it is, but it's there. It might be hiding in the field like a clever little rabbit ready to jump out and bite with the force of a wolf, but it's there. And, the very thought that it's there can sometimes keep us from going through that field. Sometimes our fears of the barrier are bigger than the barrier.

Get past the barrier. Go around it. Go over it. Go right thru it if you can. Get past the hold, the clasp, the fence, the fear. Get past the barrier.

Sometimes a barrier is simply testing how much you want to achieve your goal.

You do want to achieve that goal, don't you?

Get past the barrier.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are you developing leaders in your organization? Bring our two-day workshop for supervisors, managers and project managers, Supervising for Success to your location.

Contact me here:

Find a Bold Partner

I like bold partners. Not too many at once, but someone to challenge me, to question my judgment, to test my assumptions. When I've directed plays I have found it very helpful to have a challenging stage manager -- someone who isn't wowed by my grand plans and simply knows how to get things done. Someone who can smell baloney no matter how many things are sandwiched around it.

That approach is useful in problem solving, too. Fearless collaboration grows with a certain degree of comfort with conflict, with a shared understanding that assertiveness is an ally.

Before solving that next problem, find someone who will see what you can't and express what you won't.

You won't be sorry.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Are you developing leaders in your organization? Bring our two-day workshop for supervisors, managers and project managers, Supervising for Success to your location.

Contact me here:

Review What You've Learned

How often do you review what you've learned as a supervisor?

I'm thinking about what you've learned from experience, from mistakes, from other people, from surprises, from training and development events. Learning something is only the first step. To make use of it we need to review and review and review until it becomes a tangible part of ourselves and then we have to use it. We need to put our learning to work to make it reach its potential.

Successful supervisors review what they've learned on a regular basis.

Could you spare 15 minutes today to review what you've learned this year so far?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

One Generation Behind

It's not fair. It's not exactly logical. But how true do you think it is?

Every generation creates its own problems -- and must solve the problems of the previous generation.

Maybe it's the advance of technology. Maybe it's the quality of thinking. Maybe it's the incubator of time. What do you think?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Stay Highly Creative

Is it possible to be too creative?

If you produce a mass quantity of creative work, will some of it miss your highest standards?

Of course. Stay creative anyway. Sometimes volume produces the unexpected spark of genius that might otherwise go undiscovered.

It's possible to be so creative that you produce some bad work. But what quality of work would you produce otherwise?

Stay wildly creative.

-- Douglas Brent Smith