Sunday, May 21, 2017

Keep Looking for the Truth

How can you tell when you know the truth?

We look at things thru so many filters that we don't always know what we see. Is it the truth, or our version of the truth? Is it a shared truth, or are we in disagreement. We develop so many polar opposite views that it immobilizes us, and then we dig in more.

As high performance leaders we must find ways past that. We have to keep looking for the truth. We can't settle for our long term bias. We must uncover, discover, and grow.

Wouldn't it be great to know the absolute truth? The problem is that we think we already do.

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, May 20, 2017

High Performance Leaders Launch Their Projects

Don't start another project. Launch it.

Give that project the energy, the momentum, the power it needs to focus on the goal, work the plan, and create something both useful and memorable.

Your project is worth it. Give that new start the focus it needs with a workshop that brings together all of the key constituents. Let your project team feel part of something special by celebrating before they even get started.

Giving your project a collaborative workshop launch could be the most high impact thing you could do for it.

What goes into a collaborate workshop launch?

You decide. I have found it helpful and energizing to include these:

  • A vision/mission for your team.  This could be your project goal, expressed in a way that drives some excitement into the project
  • A team identify. Depending on the project (and your budget) that could be as simple as matching T-shirts and coffee mugs, or as elaborate as a team name theme song, and video
  • Carefully prepared agenda. Make significant progress on the project at that first workshop so that success seems not only possible but inevitable.
  • People! Who ever your project touches is a candidate for that first launching workshop. Let them feel the benefits headed their way. Ask the to raise their concerns (those will come up later anyway, you might as well deal with them early.) 
  • Food! You already know the magic of breaking bread together -- add that to the mix.
  • Music! Projects are dependent on creativity, so add as much creative content to the opening launch as you can to stimulate and inspire your team. 
What else? What ideas do you have? 

Make your project sing. Make your project shine. Make your project launch!

-- Doug Smith

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Solving Problems: Relax the Overwhelm

Have you ever tried TOO hard to solve a problem?

It's possible. I've been know to over-think a problem. People sometimes take the spaghetti approach -- throw a bunch of solutions at the problem and see what sticks.

Sometimes it works. It doesn't always. Sometimes finesse wins the day. Or patience. Or collaboration.

It isn't always necessary to overwhelm a problem in order to solve it. Maybe, like in the martial arts, it pays to let the problem fall on its own with just a gentle re-direction from you.

-- Doug Smith

Can Your Team Just Take a Shortcut?

Wouldn't it be great if there were a shortcut to greatness for teams?

A vitamin, a slideshow, a speech -- something that would get the team right where you want it right now.

As my friend Judi would say, "Wake up, you're dreaming!"

There are not shortcuts to team greatness. What is available is the planning, the talking, the coaching, the working, the problem solving -- the effort it takes to bond a cohesive and productive team together. There will be mistakes -- you'll survive. There will be temporary success -- you'll find a way to sustain it longer. There will be times of confusion -- let your vision see you thru.

Great teams are built on noble intentions and disciplined hard work.

Showing up everyday. Putting in the time. Making the effort. Learning, growing, and talking it thru.

Short cuts? Not available.

Hard work? Absolutely. Discipline? Worth developing!

-- Doug Smith

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Achieving Your Goals: The Possibilities are Endless

Do you believe in endless possibilities? I'm not one of those people who believe that anyone can do anything if they just believe. Here's why. No matter how much I believe, I will never play major league baseball. Even if I could learn to hit a fastball (my reflexes haven't kept up with these young pitchers' arms!) let's face it: I'm way past the age of sports prime.

That doesn't mean there aren't plenty of other horizons to gaze into, explore, and travel. The possibilities don't shrink as we grow, they expand. They're just different.

It is primarily important to pick the right goals. Sensible, achievable goals. When we do that, the possibilities are endless.

I can't say that ANYthing is possible, what what IS possible is plenty. Seek that.

-- Doug Smith


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If you and others at your organization would benefit from a two-day workshop on high performance leadership, please do contact me about "Supervising for Success." It's over twenty years of leadership experience, tools, methods, and techniques distilled into my "greatest hits." I love delivering this program and I enjoy watching supervisors realize that they CAN get stuff done without ticking people off. Let me show you how.

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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Solving Problems: Avoid Making Assumptions

How good are you at avoiding assumptions. (Careful now, is that an assumption?)

We all make assumptions and it's almost always a mistake when we do. I'm working on taking Don Miguel Ruiz's advice on that from the Four Agreements: Don't make any assumptions.

I'm especially careful about it when it comes to answers, to solutions, to big changes. Assuming we have all the answers is highly questionable thinking. When we do that, it's time to ask more questions.

What assumptions should you stop assuming today?

-- Doug Smith

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Look for and Listen for True Feedback

Are you a fan of feedback?

I once avoided it. Oh, I'd enjoy positive feedback as much as anyone. Truthfully, I loved it. But feedback for improvement? Or outright criticism? Yeah, go ahead and keep that to yourself.

Even when I taught other people that feedback was a gift, the negative feedback could stay wrapped up as far as I was concerned.

Then I realized that it's only feedback. It may or not be even true. It comes from one person's perspective and that is influenced by so many factors, much of it has absolutely nothing to do with me.

But more important than that -- there are things about my performance I miss. There are things that I don't see, don't hear, don't feel but that other people do and that effects their experience. Since I want my customers, my clients, my learners to all have the best possible positive learning experience when they work with me, the constructive feedback really does help me to do more of what is needed and less of what is not wanted or useful.

Feedback is a gift. Open it up. Unwrap it. Unpack it. Figure out how you can use it without taking it personally. It's not about you, anyway. The best part is about your performance.

Why not make that the best that you can?

-- Doug Smith