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Solve the Little Problems



Those big problems are tough. Like giant stone walls they overshadow everything around them. How will we ever solve them?

Those walls are made of smaller bricks. What if we tackle one brick at a time, one smaller problem at a time?

High performance leaders find ways to break down the big walls into digestible pieces.

What if our biggest unsolvable problem is really one hundred perfectly solvable little problems?

-- doug smith






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Do You Really Understand?

Have you ever pretended to understand something that someone said, even though you didn't? Maybe it seemed like too much effort. Maybe you were just trying to be polite. I've done it. The quiet smile, the gentle nod, the secret "I've got no idea what you're talking about" whispering in the background.

Sure, it takes longer to ask more questions. It requires us to stop in our tracks and LISTEN. But it's worth it. Because it's dangerous to pretend we understand when we don't. Feelings get hurt (I know, I've hurt them.) Ideas get misunderstood (I know, I've misunderstood.) And trusts get broken when we pretend.

Today, I'm going to do everything I can to actually understand when someone tells me something important. How about you?

And, how do you know it's important? They're telling you!

-- doug smith


The Benefits of Supervisory Training

When was the last time you had any leadership training?
How often do the supervisors in your organization get training?
If you are like most organizations, it's never enough. Some teams go without any supervisory training at all and expect supervisors and managers to learn as they go, on the job. Unfortunately, while it is memorable to learn from your mistakes, it comes at a high cost. People get tired. People leave. Important accounts go away. Customers complain. And teams struggle without the skills and knowledge it takes to build cohesive teams that are capable of solving problems, improving performance and achieving goals.
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Supervisory training can generate benefits that pay off long after the training is over.
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Reinventing Ourselves

How often do you change?
Not little changes, not incremental changes, but really big changes. Changes that radically effect the way you operate. Changes that send you in a new direction. Changes that even readjust your circle of friends.
That's how fast the world is changing -- in ways that force us to change or fall behind. Small changes are not enough, we need to frequently reinvent ourselves.
Centered leaders know that it's everyone's job to constantly reinvent ourselves.
What is your next change?
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How Strongly Do You Provoke?

Leaders do not settle. Good enough is not enough. Almost will never do. As my dad used to say, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right," and leadership must be done in a fully attentive, fully focused, high performance way. High performance leaders insist on ever increasing performance. To get there, they encourage positive action after positive action. Step by ever reaching step to a higher level, to a better degree, to a higher quality.

It's what high performance leaders do.

High performance leaders provoke positive actions.

What positive action will you provoke today?


-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action The next conversation you have with anyone on your team today, take a moment to provoke a positive action. Encourage your team member to do more, to add quality, to add value to something otherwise routine. Keep provoking until that positive action is a reality -- and then keep provoking until that positive reality is a habit.

You can do it. You're the boss…

Lead with Compassion

Does your team know that you care about them?

How do they know? Is it from your flexibility? Is it from your discipline? Is it from the time that you take to talk with each and every one of them on a regular basis?

Times are tough for many team members. They are wrestling with issues that we don't even know about, plus some issues that we DO know about. How leaders respond makes the difference between a functional team and a dysfunctional one.

Go for the functional, fully moving forward team that delivers on performance. Build trust, build relationships, spend time getting to know your team and letting them get to know you. The payoff is immense.

Lead with clarity, courage, compassion, and creativity. If you don't know where to start, start with compassion.

Leading with compassion builds trust.

And trust propels high performance teams to success.

Go for that success. You can do it. You're the boss!

-- doug smith


Pick the Right Goals

How many goals do you have?

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It's a smaller list, isn't it.

The right goals help make the right decisions.

Which list are you working on?

-- doug smith

Strong Goals

It might seem obvious, but it's worth remembering: strong goals provide you with strength. They provide you with strength of purpose, strength of direction, and strength of endurance.  A goal that you truly care about, that's written with clarity provides help when others try to hinder. Lots will try to get in the way. The best goals resist this resistance and persist to achievement.

A solid, clear goal can withstand any judging.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action
Check in on your top three goals today. Are they providing you with strength of direction? How could you make them even stronger? What will you do today toward achieving them?


Try Not Lying

High performance leaders communicate without lying. That's harder than it sounds.

So hard, that hardly anyone ever does it.

-- doug smith


Does Punishment Work to Motivate People?

Do you believe that people only respond to two basic motivations, punishment and reward?
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Fear certainly does effect behavior. A strong leader may create an atmosphere where people will do what they are expected to do to avoid punishment. Fear may prod some people into towing the line. They will do what they are told to do. But, they will likely do no more.
Fear creates a lowest common denominator mentality. Of course we do not want to be punished so of course we will do whatever it takes to avoid that punishment. Sometimes, whatever it takes creates side-effects that leaders don't want, don't count on, and don't deal with effectively. It can spiral into an non-virtuous cycle of failure.
No leader really wants that.
Here's one of the biggest problems with leading by punishing:
People find ways to get even with those who pun…

Stay Curious

Do you like a good argument? Do you get excited with the adrenalin rush of proving someone wrong?

I do. Except...it doesn't work that way. Do you ever really prove someone wrong with an argument? Work isn't after all debate club. No one has to cede to your cogent, meaty, precious points. Few people are persuaded by hefty logic or prolific pronouncements. They tend to turn away instead.

What works better is curiosity. What is more influential is staying open to the thinking and processing of others. They might be wrong, of course. But, what if they are correct? What if at least PART of what they're saying is logical and practical?

Gasp! Stranger things have happened. Stranger things indeed.

Stay curious. There's mysterious, undeniable, unbreakable power in it.

Curiosity is more powerful than rhetoric, dogma, or unquestioned truth.

-- doug smith