The topic of leadership truly generates a wide array of viewpoints, suggestions, historical examples, and assessments with regard to quality and style. Additionally, I believe it is difficult for anyone in a leadership role to accurately and completely explain their own methodology and arrangement to lead effectively. However, as a “case study” for this TRIPLE III TIME message, I would like to have you use a special TOP 10 list of questions to determine if you practice LEADING By Assumption.
- Do you regularly choose to NOT over assign… because you believe your workers can’t handle it?
- Do you move on a leadership issue only after you observe someone else taking action?
- Do you strategically limit input on a problem because of what you might hear?
- Do you NOT take on a new project because you believe it will never work?
- Do you limit the number of new initiatives, new services or new products you purse because you can only count on certain people?
- Do you become overwhelmed because it is your leadership practice to “just do it myself”?
- Do you consider it a successful workday if no challenging issues arose?
- Do you measure staff professional development by the number of years they have been on the job?
- Do you consider waiting until you get more, better information as a regular leadership strategy?
- Do you promote change or be content in knowing that “we have always done it this way”?
Unfortunately, I must report that LEADING By Assumption causes you to only look at where you have been… not where you want… need to grow!! Also, I must report that there are a large number of individuals that are LEADING By Assumption. How about YOU? Honestly, how well did you do on the TOP 10?
“Working ONLY for the Test?” OK… I must admit this is a very confusing title for our first 2020 LEARNING MOMENTS podcast. However, if you apply this phrase to the same concerns that are raised when you hear the statement: Teachers Only Teach to the Test… you begin to understand the point I am trying to make. Think about it. While at your day job… do we only focus on specific performance numbers or do we give workers appropriate time, space and support for creativity, individual ideas, and/or innovation? As always, our limited LEARNING MOMENTS time doesn’t allow us to address all the issues circling around this topic. But I hope you are motivated by this podcast message to give yourself and those that work with you some “dreaming-time”!
This week I received a consultant request for a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker Customer Service Workshop. The requester asked that it be just a half-day session and would target about 20 workers who have worked together for a number of years… but in multiple business operation areas. Well at first I was pleased and enthused about the request. Why? Mainly because it was for a unique, new audience and in an area (customer service) that I feel solid in offering a good training message. However as I discussed the goals and challenges with the potential customer… I realized their hopes for topics and impacts were far from “regular”. So because of the critical learnings to be gained from preparing for the experience, I believe it deserves the opportunity to be this weeks TRIPLE III TIME message.
Part 1 of the session was to focus on “where people stand” in relation to their perspective on product quality and the company overall. They indicated that this form of united discussion never occurs, and they do NOT want workers to feel like “their job is just a job” but rather that they are a partner in what they produce and the role they play in the company. Is everyone part of the “family” … or just another payroll number.
Next on the agenda would be an analysis of “work approach differences”. The company leaders felt it was time to discuss that “it is OK and even cool” for workers to display different approaches to getting the job done. But again they let me know that it has never been acceptable or a priority to share work approach difference thoughts in any form… and especially not during a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE staff development workshop!
Finally… Part 3 would break down the process of idea generation and idea sharing. Year-to-date they indicated that ideas only came from “the top” … because even if they came from the middle or bottom… the top claimed all the good ones. They were hopeful that I could design and facilitate a way to make idea generation and sharing a workable standard… but even more to create a means of enabling everyone to “add on” to individual ideas and thereby maximize idea ownership by all?
I am building the Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE WORKSHOP as I draft this message. Question: Does your organization or business understand that co-workers are direct customers to one another… everyday… EVERYDAY! Do your leaders developmentally step back and help everyone grow in this area? Would they/are they ready for a Co-Worker – To – Co-Worker CUSTOMER SERVICE WORKSHOP? Why or why not?
OK… please know that I have never been one to pledge one or more New Year Resolutions. As all of us have realized over our years, making meaningful promises to eat better, get more exercise, lessen our cell phone/computer times and/or stay in better contact with friends and family are all quality intentions… but are difficult to stay entrusted to. However just to try and set a new example and maybe help me improve on all life-fronts… I am pledging to create A “Mini-Resource Library” this year!
What do I mean by A “Mini-Resource Library”?
Let me explain. During my career years I have been fortunate to have many good friends and colleagues that have collected and stored a ton of resource materials that I have created or utilized multiple times. And without their strong support, I would have been so less effective in my leadership and consultant responsibilities.
Whether in a paper document format or online, I have been very poor in making sure I retained quality information that in many ways could have helped more people and groups in many, many ways. Hence, the need for A “Mini-Resource Library”!
Realistically, I picture my Mini-Resource Library for 2020 as a small “legal-looking” box. In it I would have 12 individual files that would contain documents, notes or computer-based references to projects that I have worked on during a specific month. I don’t plan on having files with a group of lengthy documents in them… rather just single pages of reference notes that would help me find it on my “not always friendly” computer. The goal would be to create a condensed “Mini-Resource Library” that would efficiently manage ideas and concepts, reduce the lose of valuable innovation shared, and MAKE ME MORE PERSONALLY RESPONSIBLE for all of it!
Skip the New Year Resolution tradition label… and think about creating A “Mini-Resource Library” for yourself. You may be surprised and pleased with the special record you preserve.
As I thought about penning the last TRIPLE III TIME message for 2019, I considered offering… “A Year in Review”, “The Best of” and/or a cool remembrance story from holidays past. However, no matter which option I considered, my instinct of making sure this message had some useful “staying-power”, pushed Employing EMPOWERMENT to win out as the most important topic!
So as a starting point, think hard about how you are currently Employing EMPOWERMENT to help YOU… personally. Do you offer examples of being a cautious risktaker… or do you over-question attempts at trying something new/different? Do you continually think about “Always A Better Way!” opportunities or take pleasure in the status quo because constant change is NOT exactly something you look forward to?
Second, how do you consider Employing EMPOWERMENT as a professional… in your world-of-work? Do you surround yourself with those who look forward to WHAT ELSE and WHAT NEXT? Are you someone who drafts new ideas or approaches to problems and feels confident in sharing them with anyone? If you are a leader in your workplace… do you support those who offer alternative concepts and encourage others to “step-up” and share in leading your organizations drive for continuous improvement everyday… EVERYDAY?
Bottomline: I believe there is nothing more complimentary than witnessing a friend, colleague, or student Employing EMPOWERMENT… due to your influence. Don’t ever accept the position that “It’s Not My Job” to initiate and support Employing EMPOWERMENT to any situation. WHY… because going from Good-to-GREAT personally and professionally requires building a creative Employing EMPOWERMENT “We Are All In This Together Culture.” (So now are you ready for 2020??)
As we begin this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message, we need to make sure our understanding of the term “DIVERSITY” is consistent with Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary and Roget’s New Thesaurus. Here are their definitions:
- The condition of being different or having differences (Webster)
- The quality of being made of many different elements, forms, kinds or individuals (Roget’s)
So as we discuss this week’s topic: DIVERSITY… More Today For Tomorrow, be sure to keep these definitions and meanings in mind.
I believe it is future critical to infuse diversity into your self, employees, co-workers, organizations, educational institutions, business, and community. What do I mean? No, I’m not talking about diversity in terms of race, religion or gender. Instead, I am promoting maximizing your diversity in terms of the work-based professional services or products you generate everyday… EVERYDAY.
For example, if I were interviewing candidates for any staff position, today I would prioritize their skill diversification. How skilled are they in technology, sales, innovation, communication, management, recordkeeping, marketing and yes even leadership? Too often we assess people in a limited way and thereby ignore the potential add-value capacities for their/your organization’s future.
Likewise, in evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of any private or public organization… do we spend appropriate positive time considering:
- Their condition of being different or having differences (or)
- Their quality of being made of many different elements, forms, kinds or individuals?
Having workers and organizations that exemplify DIVERSITY…. More Today For Tomorrow, will be a key planning/development strategy. Take a look around you. Are your employees “pigeon-holed” in their capacity to contribute? Is your organization entrenched in a “one size fits all” service/product structure?
New-age progress will be measured based on this type of employee/organizational skill diversity. How will you be ranked?
Did you ever think about innovation projects and try to put them into special categories… just to make them easier to replicate? Well in this month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast, I describe four “Forms” of Innovation:
- PURE IDEAS
- UNIQUE APPLICATIONS
- NON-TRADITIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
- TARGET AUDIENCE
My goal is to help everyone better organize their creative concepts and enhance focus and action.
However, the greatest segments of this podcast lie in the sharing of real-time innovation examples from my employment development workplace past. I hope you enjoy the message.
One of the “ice-breaker” training session start-up activities I utilize is to ask everyone to first introduce themselves with a little personal background, current day job information and then one extra special question! The question: If you had the chance to interview someone living or has passed on… a President, inventor, musician, family member… you get it, who would that be and why? The responses I received at a recent session were insightful, thought generating and just plain great. However, by accident… I did not discuss MY PERSON. But let me say this “mistake” was not overlooked. Several from the session have contacted me and asked me to send them my answer to the WHO & WHY question!
Well… just to keep my promise… here are my thoughts about the person I would like to interview.
I would like to have a long creativity/innovation/dreamer conversation with Walt Disney. I believe it would be difficult to finish any conversation on one (1) topic with Mr. Disney because they would all lead to more questions. Think about it! Was he always a “cartoon person” …? and did he dream about building a Disney World / Disneyland right from the start? And why Mickey Mouse? Couldn’t he have focused on a dog, cat, horse or even a pig as the starter character?
However, you can bet we would have to spend extra time discussing the “What Else?” topic. I would assume he would be proud of how developed the Disney franchise has become and that his name exemplifies quality customer service. But wouldn’t it be cool to hear his version about what other options and opportunities he planned to pursue?
I believe asking yourself “Who Would You Interview?” is an excellent personal reflection tool. So… Who Would YOU Interview?
This week I am excited to share my most recent American Society of Public Administration (ASPA) article. Teaching COMPROMISE 101 is a much-needed instructional opportunity I have been thinking and formulating in my mind for quite some time. And because public sector innovation is my trademark developmental dream area, not only does this article explain the need and void… but I also offer a customized syllabus for Teaching COMPROMISE 101.
Enjoy the article: TEACHING COMPROMISE 101
How many times have you sat in a business setting, a training session and/or a one-on-one strategy meeting, and the statement: “Do you/anyone have any questions?” is put on the table? And unfortunately, how often is the result just a HUGE zone-of-silence in the room?! Well I can tell you there have been a ton of times I have and continue to experience this long-standing phenomenon. And I will admit I have been on both sides of the table when the silence occurs. So yes, I am not innocent from contributing to the silence!
The Mystery of Asking Questions is therefore an appropriate TRIPLE III TIME topic. Also, in light of the numerous situations that challenge professionals every day with the zone-of-silence, we need to at least prescribe a special TOP 10 to address this mystery area.
Think about these:
- Every question NOT asked… is an opportunity lost.
- Simplicity matters and is appreciated when asking questions
- Believing “I will ask the question the next time we meet” … is hoping that history will repeat itself.
- Great leaders are great question askers too.
- Being the FIRST to ask a question has a positive recall impact on those in attendance.
- Often only by asking questions can a thought, idea, innovation, dream proceed.
- What progressive learning occurs during a zone-of-silence period?
- Questions can serve as the means for: “Making That First Good Impression!”
- People have yet to perfect “mind-reading” … so in the interim ASK QUESTIONS.
- Finally, set the example… ask the question… and help your co-workers, friends, family… you get it!
I am sure there are many more than 10 points that could help solve The Mystery of Asking Questions! Share them when and wherever you can.