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Showing posts from October, 2018

Goals Are There For You

The trouble with assigned goals is that it's within our nature to avoid them. That's true even if YOU are the one assigning the goal.

The first question for any goal is: what is your motivation to achieve it? What will you get out of it? How will it make you feel?

If those answers come hard to you, it might not be a goal for you.

Question any goal that doesn't promise to make your life better.

-- doug smith

What Is Your Strategy?

Are you comfortable with uncertainty? Or does it make you a little edgy.

We live with much uncertainty. What will the stock market do? What will our customers want next quarter? What is our competition up to? How do we find and retain the best talent? What style of leadership suits our team the best?

Lots of uncertainty. Unless we plan carefully, the amount of uncertainty we deal with magnifies. It grows. Take a little uncertainty, and ignore it, and it grows. Yikes.

Uncertainty is not your friend.

Still, as high performance leaders we must not only tolerate some uncertainty, we must embrace it. What if it is in the little in-between unknowns where the biggest change is coming? What if by staying uncertain about a certain detail we open up more possibilities. We can't be ambiguous, yet we can be open to the unexpected as opportunity.

Uncertainty is not your enemy. You need some uncertainty. Just not so much that nothing gets planned, built, or created. Leaders sometimes impose or…

How Will You Respond?

Everyone will lie to you.
The two key questions are:
how will you know, and
how will you respond?

-- doug smith

No Magic Needed

Have you ever known someone who seems to be waiting for a miracle before they make any major change? Miracles are great in stories. I also do believe that miracles happen. Things beyond our power may intervene in our behalf.

It's risky to wait and rely on miracles, though. If the power you need is power outside of yourself how will you ever get it? What can be done right now with what we have is where we begin.

It wasn't magic that brought you here and you don't need magic to improve.

Just get moving.

-- doug smith

Don't Take Someone Else's Pain Personally

Someone who yells at you is feeling pain that has nothing to do with you.

You might be able to help, but you don't ever need to take it personally.

And taking it personally makes it hard to help.

Stay curious. Find out what's going on.

-- doug smith

Use Your Fear

Fear is a funny thing. It warns us. It gets in the way. It protects us from harm. It prevents bigger achievements. Fear is a funny thing.

Nothing to laugh at, but nothing to surrender to, either. What if that fear is telling you something other than avoidance? What if it is really excitement bubbling up to energize your next great achievement?

Maybe that fear is there to help you move forward. Take caution, of course. Weigh all the choices and ramifications. But mobilize!

What you're afraid of really wants to help you.


-- doug smith

Don't Let a Lie Stand

Can you tell when someone is lying to you? Do you call them on it? Do you stay curious enough to explore what's behind what feels like a lie?

How about when you catch yourself stretching the truth or simply leaving out an important detail? You're better than that, right? High performance leaders are better than that. You can handle the truth, AND you can deliver the truth. Consistently, insistently, tell the truth.

The adjustment from a lie to the truth may be troubling at first but it's eventually liberating.

The truth rules.

-- doug smith

Give It Your Best

Give it your best and give time to the rest.

The rest will work itself out, while you get better.

-- doug smith

Career Courage

Where is your career headed?

Ask some people, and they know exactly and will tell you. Maybe they'll get there, and maybe they won't, but they are on their way. I've been working a long time and have seen my career take some unusual turns. I wouldn't change any of it! And, part of the reason I am completely happy with my own career is that while I was working on other things, I always had my dream in mind as well.

How about you?

As you work on other things (paying bills, raising children, serving a cause) are you keeping your dream alive as well? It takes guts and my experience tells me it's filled with disappointment, and yet it's also filled with adventure, surprise, and joy.

For all that, it takes courage. It takes taking charge.

Steer your career with courage, not fear. Whether you get there or not, courage makes it easier to sleep at night...

-- doug smith

Work On Your Top Goal

How much time today have you spent working on your top goal?

Now is a good time to look at your top goal and work on it.

That's why it's your top goal.

-- doug smith

Perfect Practice

Practice doesn't necessarily lead to perfect. What can we truly achieve perfection in, other than imperfection? We do, however, strive for perfection. In the striving we made strides and in the strides we expand. We won't achieve perfection, but we will improve.

Practice only leads to perfection when it includes feedback and correction.

...and even then, it's not perfection, is it??

-- doug smith

Invest in the Truth

I don't put much stock in lies, how about you? Because I never want to be lied to, I work my best to avoid lying to others. Leaders communicate for reasons they believe are important. If the result is important enough, it's far better to rely on telling the truth to get there than in fabricating some fantasy that will eventually be discovered. The truth always rises to the top anyway, why not start there?

Communicating for results takes an investment in the truth.

-- doug smith

Find The Flaw In Your Thinking

How does it feel like when your mind is foggy? For me, fogginess happens when there are an overwhelming number of choices, or possibilities, or the problem seems to cut so deep that only a tourniquet will help. Fogginess can also come from incomplete thinking - we stop at a place that makes sense to our unseen bias, and move forward without looking for other facts.

Flaws in our thinking develop when our thinking is misdirected (it was true about something else so it must be true about this), polluted (that advertisement is just SO convincing), corrupted (it might not be exactly right but it's good for me), and any of dozens of factors that fog our thoughts.

The flaw that blocks you knocks you off center. The flaw that deceives you leaves you without a real solution.

Find the flaw in your thinking while you can still find it, or the problem is yours to keep.

-- doug smith

Level Up It's challenging to think about what we think about. Our minds don't always see the shortcuts…

Teleclass: How to Communicate More Effectively

When: Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 12:00 Noon ET $30 / 30 Minutes

It's on every list of key leadership skills. It's on the minds of every recruiter, manager, executive, and team member: communication.

How to Communicate More Effectively is 30 fast moving minutes for you to explore key levers that will immediately improve your communicate skills. We'll explore and practice five key communication skills that, once practiced, will give you:

Deeper conversationsMore productive meetingsMore powerful presentationsBetter relationships Join with me in playing with the CLUES to Success model for developing and sharing more communication effectiveness.
You'll get a downloadable learner's guide plus 30 minutes of instantly usable skill building.
Register for the teleclass here.

Preview and download the Learner's Guide here.

Disagreement Clarifies

One of the biggest mistakes I've made, many times, was assuming that someone agreed with me. That's a dangerous practice. It feels easier to agree. It just isn't always the agreement we think we have.

High performance leaders constantly clarify the truth. They clarify meaning. The granular details reveal the truth. Abstractions keep us smiling and nodding. Clear communication sparks the awareness needed to see true disagreement.

Disagreement can be the start to understanding, and without understanding there can be no true agreement.

The more clearly we communicate the more likely it is that someone will disagree with us.

Then we know where we stand, and the direction we need to move.

-- doug smith

Admit Your Mistakes

Teams are busy. When a team pushes the creative edge, mistakes happen. Team members make mistakes, and team leaders make mistakes.

Admit your mistakes and commit to improvement to encourage your team to do the same. It build character, it builds capacity, it builds better teams.

-- doug smith

Try Discipline On For Size

Do you know what big goals need? Big attention! They need focus. They need action. To get this, it takes discipline.

Habits that lead to completing an action plan help you to achieve your goals. Habits like scheduling key tasks (instead of just listing them), finding a way to hold yourself accountable (like telling someone about your goal), and getting the help you need from your team are the habits that work. You no doubt use some habits of your own. There's no beating the habit of discipline: sticking to something until you are done. As my dad used to say, "a job half done isn't done at all." Get things done with discipline.

Even when it stops being fun and when obstacles stand in the way. Let your strength found in discipline find the way.

Discipline is your biggest goal's best friend. Keep it going.

-- doug smith

Share Your Goals

Who do you tell about your goals?

Do you regularly get feedback on the strength of your goals, or (how about this) how compelling your goals are? (I was tempted to say how "cool" but maybe that's dated now and then I was going to say how "dope" they are presuming that is the new cool but hey, let's stick to compelling.)

Your goals matter. When you talk about them, they become more real. You can sort them out, edit them, revise them, and most importantly drive them. Get them done.

Finding someone to share your goal with doubles your chance of success.

I just made that up, but it sounds right to me. What do you think?

-- doug smith

How to Achieve Your Goals - Teleclass on Oct. 11 at 11:00am ET

Teleclass on October 11 at 11:00am ET 30/30 - 30 minutes for $30

Discover a five-step process for achieving your leadership goals. In thirty fast minutes you'll be on your way to setting and achieving high performance goals. The hand-out is filled with information and activities that will direct you toward a faster, much more fun path toward achieving your goals.

You can preview, and download, the Learners Guide here.

Please register before October 10 at 11:00pm to attend this telecasts on October 11 at 11:00am

Register for the teleclass here.

Ten Keys to Leadership Success - Teleclass on Oct. 10 at 11:00am ET

30/30 - 30 minutes, $30 Leadership Teleclass on October 10, 2018 at 11:00 am

Ten Keys to Leadership Success

Explore ten key ways to quickly improve your leadership performance. But it's more than a list. You'll also hear how to implement these keys in your leadership role. Perfect for new leaders and people who have recently been promoted to leadership (or expect to be soon!) And, even if you're NOT a new leader, it's never too late to get yourself on track for truly high performance leadership.

Next session: Wednesday, October 10 at 11:00 am ET
Only $30

Download the Leaders Guide here

Paint Your Masterpiece

Have you painted your masterpiece yet? Have you utilized your gifts to their fullest and produced something that will last?

High performance leaders consider their legacy as they work and build toward a future where that work is remembered. I am thrilled by how much we as leaders can integrate our various skills into the work of leading. It's all connected. Find ways to connect what you love with what you do and you will always love what you do.

As a trainer and consultant, I am constantly finding new ways to blend my enthusiasm for the arts into my work. Maybe it's a song, maybe it's a collage, maybe it's a bit of acting in a story that I tell -- it's all part of the tapestry of the work. I may not have painted my masterpiece yet, but I am practicing every single day.

How about you?

-- doug smith

About Those Goals

You're going to set goals anyway, why not set goals that bring you joy?

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action:
Read thru your list of goals. Find the one that makes you smile the most. Do that first. Work on that goal right now...

When Necessary, Go Deep Inside

How much of that difficult problem is our own doing?

Do you remember the last time you caused yourself your own problem? I seem to do it enough that it's like a secret power: cue up the situation, make it more complicated, then dig my way out.

I've learned to check in on what part of the problem I have contributed to. Rather than blaming someone else (they don't want the blame and it's probably not true anyway) it's better to see how the problem is built of smaller pieces and that some of those pieces came from your closest source: yourself.

Think it thru, I tell myself, think it thru. Breathe. Figure it out. What did I do to create this situation and what can I change to improve or solve it?

Problem solving sometimes requires a level of self-examination we are reluctant to try. But sometimes going deep inside is the only way out.

-- doug smith

Stay Curious

Do you remember how it felt to be a young child filled with curiosity? I probably forgot until I became a parent and saw how curious my own children were. Everything was something to be explored and discovered. And then, when I became a grandfather, I felt a curiosity recharge as it surrounded me with the enthusiasm of young children.

Curiosity is powerful. It opens up possibilities. It wards off our inner judge long enough to truly explore, without bias, what's going on. When we can keep that level of curiosity alive we learn, we grow, we discover. Stay curious.

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

Stay curious.

-- doug smith

Slow Down and Enjoy The View

I once had a friend (OK, much more than a friend) who wrote a lovely song with the words "slow down and enjoy the view." It made perfect sense in 1977 and it makes even more sense now. We're in such a hurry. We're focused on our goals and on our results. We drive, drive, drive our people to do ever more -- faster, and better. Sometimes, though, we need to breathe.

When a high performance leader shows that it is OK to take the time to breathe, that it's OK to slow down once in a while to center yourself -- that pays off for the whole team.

Sure, achieve those goals. And -- take care of yourself and your team as you do great things.

The ride is never long enough so don't miss the view.

-- doug smith

High Performance Leaders Grow

Grow yourself. Grow your people. Grow your organization.

Growth produces strength, resilience, and opportunity.


-- doug smith