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Showing posts from December, 2018

High Performance Leaders Show Respect

If you had to build a winning team, what kinds of team members would you recruit? I haven't ever heard anyone ever say that they'd start with subpar performers. No one wants to build a team of strugglers. Wouldn't we rather have a perfect team?

Ah, yes, but there are NO perfect performers, are there? We are all flawed. We are all in various stages of growth. Superstars, as well as subpar performers all need to grow, all need to develop. How do we do that best?

As high performance leaders we must do two fundamental things very well. First of all, we must support our team members. Give them the resources, the training, the attention, and the respect that they need in order to prosper.

The second fundamental we must master is to challenge our team members. Challenge them in ways that they've never been offered before. Give them tough projects, delegate them advanced tasks, push them beyond their initial expectations until they see their own potential as something to work…

Days Like Today...David Spiegel

This is a guest entry from my friend and fraternity brother, David Spiegel. He's a hard-working, deep-loving family and business person who shares his insights on a daily (almost!) basis. I like the positive nature of this entry and I have some leadership questions for you to contemplate after reading...

Today is one of the days of the year that I truly enjoy. As the rest of the world seems to be shutting down from the mundane and gearing up for the upcoming holiday,we are busy doing business!
When I arrived at The Grooming Shoppe this morning, Becca had already opened, brought in our first client, put on the Christmas music and straightened and cleaned up the front end. We were ready for action on what should be one of our busiest days of the year. Truth be told, we were actually busier on the Saturday before Christmas last year. It was the single busiest day we ever had.
It's not that we have any less business. On the contrary. Becca has done a marvelous job of scheduling b…

Stretch Without Breaking

Leaders are likely to rock the boat. Leaders are likely to push the edge in order to get beyond the normal and into the extraordinary. To achieve great things, leaders act fast and decisively. But not too fast and not too decisively -- it does pay to consult with your team, with your followers, with your customers, with your constituents. What do they expect? What do they want? What do they suggest? You might still decide what you were going to decide, but you might gain insights that make your actions easier, better, faster, and more in harmony with the needs of those around you.

Push. Absolutely. And listen while you do. And do get the feedback and information you need to know what the legal boundaries are. They may be dynamic, but their effects are reliable.

High performance leaders test boundaries without breaking laws.

-- doug smith

Leadership Is More Than Power

Leadership is more than strength and much more than power.

Leading by strength alone ultimately fails.

High performance leaders find balance, centeredness, subtlety. They exercise a skillful combination of clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. And they do not give up or force the issue thru strength alone.

Leading by strength alone ultimately fails.

Why fail? Learn, and then do better.

-- doug smith

I'm still learning. How about you?

It's More Than The Money

I'm a fan of the arts. My high school yearbook blurb read "quiet, natural guy. Music, art and poetry are for him" and it's still true. Art matters.

Quality matters. Feelings matter. We are blessed with so many important tones and shades and notes in life and yet so much of our life is devoted to the singular note of money. Sure, we need money. Absolutely, I understand the quest for increasing one's wealth. I'm not saying that money is not important. It's just not alone in importance.

Money also makes a rough master. I've seen organizations make strategic decisions based only on the monetary factor and then get it dead wrong. Money doesn't care, and when the vortex points in a direction, even if it's the opposite direction you'd figured on, there it goes.

Making decisions based only on money can suck the heart right out of a direction. It can hurt people.

Money is important, it just works less effectively when it becomes all-important.


Sing In Your Own Voice

A long time ago, in a place not so far away, I was sitting in the living room of my college apartment (that I shared with at least three fraternity brothers) playing guitar and singing a Neil Young song. I was a tenor back then (or almost so) and I was affecting the tone and timbre of Neil himself. Or, so I thought.

One of my roomies, Skip, is one of the kindest people I've ever known, so you have to know that when he gave me feedback it was in the most gentle and compassionate way possible. In essence, though, what I heard was "you should sing in your own voice. We already have one Neil Young, and he does himself the best..."


The full impact didn't hit me until years later. The importance of finding your authentic voice is a part of finding your leadership style and therefore your effectiveness. You could (and I have) imitate other leaders in hopes of harvesting their success. It's no good. We each must be who we each must be. When we find that -- when we f…

Keep Improving

Do you ever get impatient with small improvements and crave one big leap to the next level? Big changes are great. Geometric revolutions out-excite evolutions every time. But they're not the only way to grow. In fact, it's the small, incremental improvements that prepare us for the big leaps. It's the small changes that facilitate the greater gains.

Incremental improvement is just as hard as geometric improvement -- and just as necessary.

-- doug smith

Remember What You've Learned

Hard fought lessons can be forgotten. What we forget can't help us.

It's easy, but foolish, to disregard the lessons of the past.

Remember what you've learned and your learning will serve you well.

-- doug smith

No Excuses

When I worked at Whole Foods, my store leader once said to me "We live in the land of no excuses..." Not that I was making excuses, but if you came close enough, Bruce would let you know that no one really cares about your excuses. "No one cares about how hard you tried," Bruce said, "They just want results."

High performance leaders produce results. Ever increasing, ever improving results. Results come from action, not excuses. No matter how good that reason is for not doing something, it's still not done.

Excuses delay. Action pays.

Take action.

-- doug smith

No Complaining

Lou Grant was the boss on the Mary Tyler Moore show. In many ways, he was a model for how NOT to lead, not because he was a bad boss but because most of us could not pull off that level of brash management backed up by a lightly disguised heart of gold. I've seen a lot of bosses get the brash but forget the heart.

I mention that because of something Lou Grant said in an early episode - the one where he first meets Mary -- when he was briefing her on office norms. "I don't have a lot of rules, " Lou said, "because then I'd just have to enforce them..." and then he gave her one (which I forget.) Rules are often forgotten and often poorly enforced. But here's a useful guideline: don't complain.

There isn't one team member on your team who is looking forward to you complaining. There isn't one executive at your organization who is hoping that you'll lodge a complaint or two. I'm not talking about really big complaints -- if someone …

Talk About Your Goals

Are you talking about your goals?

Unless you demonstrate enthusiasm for your goals by talking about them with others you may well find yourself blocked. Goals without enthusiasm struggle to bubble to the top. It's easy for busyness to cloud over your vision and keep you mired in the day-to-day.

That's what goals are for. Ambitious, noble goals. Goals that inspire you and lift your team to the next level. Goals that propel you toward success.

Any goal you don't talk about is slowing you down.

Talk about your goals.

-- doug smith

Doug Smith Training: Developing Leadership Skills