Monday, January 26, 2015

Choose Courage

Where do you think courage comes from?

Some people think of courage as if it's some form of super power. Something so rare that courage is like a gift from heaven.

Maybe it is a gift. Maybe we are blessed. It's also a choice.

When we are faced with the toughest challenges, we need courage. When we have our values put up for bargaining, we need courage. When our friends and loved ones are in danger, we need courage.

And in each of those instances, and in each time we need it -- courage is a choice.

Choose courage. From courage grows more courage. And we can never have too much.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Thursday, January 22, 2015

On Time Is A Sign of Respect

Do you show up on time? How do you feel when you're in charge of something and people choose NOT to show up on time?

Not everyone - some people respect you enough and your work to show up on time. But what about those who make other choices? What about those who have de-prioritized your event?

Yesterday I facilitated a training program on time management. Some people thought it was funny to say "I don't have time for time management." That's OK. I get it. Managing time is hard. It's a challenge in today's world of multi-tasking and parallel meetings. And yet, tossing the blame onto others won't manage your activities for you, will it?

Not only were some people late for my time management workshop - some didn't show up until after lunch, when it was more than half over. Then, they wondered why they didn't find what they needed.

Learning is an investment. Learning is a discipline. Managing time is all about managing yourself, and having the courage to let other people know that you have taken charge of that.

Some people at the workshop learned a lot, and look forward to applying what they've learned to their busy schedules. And some people, I feel certain, will continue to be late for their meetings.

Showing up is a sign of respect. Honoring time commitments is not for amateurs - it's a sign of a professional.

And you do want a reputation as a professional, don't you?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Thanks for reading this little rant. If you're interested in bringing better time management to your life or your organization, contact me:

For a really fast approach to the topic, book our webinar Time Management Now!

Friday, January 16, 2015

High performance leaders keep their promises

How are you at keeping your promises? Do you think anyone is paying attention?

Everyone is paying attention. Promises matter. Centered leaders are careful about giving promises because they are so vitally important to keep.

Broken promises are not forgotten.

Broken promises damage integrity, character, reputation, and effectiveness. Broken promises keep people from becoming high performance leaders.

We can do better. We can keep our promises.

What promise have you been holding back on? How about keeping it today?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Recruit Right, Train Right, Coach Constantly

Do you have this leadership thing all figured out?

Once I thought I did, until I learned later that it is a constant figuring out. It is a constant learning process. Even when I had a great team that was completely working together and achieving its goals, just when it seemed to be perfection I would make some mistake (hiring the wrong person, cutting short a performance evaluation, delaying an important piece of feedback, failing to recognize a big effort) that would set the energy back. Things wouldn't feel perfect anymore.

But there are some things that have held up over and over. Some things that if we get right as leaders our jobs are SO much better, and our impact is deeper and longer lasting. These three things in particular touch almost everything that we do and, if done correctly (and often) can prevent us from having to let people go.

Recruit right.
Train right.
Coach constantly.

Each is a course-load in itself. Each could take a life-time to master. That's part of what makes leadership so rich, so exciting, and sometimes, so frustrating. The learning, and the need for learning never ends.

By doing these three things we stop bringing the wrong people into the team. We stop throwing work at people they aren't qualified to do. And we stop assuming that once someone is on board that they will run effectively and efficiently like a machine with minimal attention.

The need to fire someone is an organizational failure. 

It is a lack of centered leadership. It is a loss of high performance leadership. It is a sad story that as leaders we must take very seriously, because the impact of letting someone go is profound.

When we as leaders do our jobs correctly, with copious amounts of strong recruiting, attentive and interactive training, and constant coaching, we find that there are very few people who truly need to let go.

Who on your team needs additional training? How will you help them obtain it?

Who on your team would benefit from more positive, specific coaching (hint: everyone).

Who is missing from your team and what are you doing to find them?

It's a full time job and some of the best work you will ever do.

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Friday, January 9, 2015

Centered Leaders Manage Their Secrets

Do you have a lot of secrets?

How do you remember your secrets?

If you've ever had one of those moments when a you heard a secret fly right out of your mouth before you could stop it (meaning that suddenly it wasn't really a secret anymore) you know that secrets need care. They need to be managed. Revealing them can be awkward.

That's why I rarely promise a secret. I'll stay curious about why it should be a secret before I even know what it is. Why would it be detrimental for someone else to know? What is the motivation behind keeping anyone uninformed.

Sometimes the reasons are valid. We do need some secrets. But that is much more rarely than we probably think.

Secrets do not build trust.

Secrets create anxiety and hidden agendas. Secrets build walls in the middle of our bridges to understanding. And, most importantly, secrets are almost always eventually revealed.

If you know that the truth will always emerge, when do you want that to happen? While you still have trust and understanding, or after that is broken?

-- Douglas Brent Smith

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Centered Leaders Stay Focused

Are you easily distracted?

Many of us are blessed with the ability to shift our focus instantly. We can move our attention from the problem we're working on to a few items on our phone. We can forget what's pressing on us and drift into long periods of cat videos or project management cartoons.

Centered leaders stay focused. Centered problem solving keeps us focused whether or not the problem is solved.

The goal, to put it simply, is the goal. All the problem is doing is standing in the way of the goal.

Are you a centered leader?

What are you doing to continue in your leadership development?

- Douglas Brent Smith

Front Range Leadership offers fast, affordable leadership training through workshops and webinars.