Category Archives: LEADERSHIP – ALWAYS!
As I draft this final TRIPLE III TIME message for 2021, I can hardly believe that we have been sharing thoughts and ideas about communication, leadership, innovation and professional development for eight years. Sometimes the messages come naturally, sometimes with challenges…but always with the hope that each helps every reader in a special personal or professional way.
This last 2021 TRIPLE III TIME message GIVING (Not Paying) FORWARD was created by the post-retirement activities undertaken by a very great friend. First, I am assuming that everyone understands what is meant when you talk about the person “Paying Forward” for a product or service for a total stranger. Maybe it’s paying for a cup of coffee, restaurant tab and/or the fare to go across the Mackinaw Bridge! These good deeds are referred to as special “Paying Forward” acts of kindness…and it is hoped that they are replicated by the recipient. But today I want to alter our “Paying Forward” act perception and substitute the unique value of GIVING (Not Paying) FORWARD.
My friend who was/is a very successful business person who decided to initiate GIVING FORWARD activities for several young adults he had just happened to connect with. What GIVING FORWARD help does he offer you ask? Well his great GIVING FORWARD advice/coaching includes educational recommendations, career mentoring, relationship development, parenthood issues, business profit & loss challenges and sometimes just fatherhood-isms. His GIVING FOWARD times never seem to have an agenda but are always given focus by the life experiences concerning each of his GIVING FORWARD “adoptees”. Money and personal finances may be a topic…but never an expected benefit action.
Bottomline: The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage everyone to consider a GIVING FORWARD action with someone. It’s a great learning example to end our year with…and an example to think about starting in 2022.
This week we are going to talk about “The Importance of KEY WORDS!” that describe you, that you use as a means of making a priority point, or that possibly drive you to take professional action on a particular issue. I believe everyone establishes a unique form of communication through the use of KEY WORDS while on the job.
What do I mean? Well let me provide two personal examples. First anyone who has ever worked with me knows very well what I mean when I USE the word “cause”. They understand that I am referring to the mission of helping people, helping businesses and/or the community to be better. Likewise, when I HEAR the phrase: “We have never done or tried to do this before”…colleagues know my innovation instincts kick into high gear and drive me to take on a new professional challenge!
The goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage everyone to pay professional attention to The Importance of KEY WORDS! that describe/define YOU! Think about the KEY WORDS that communicate who you are…what you stand for…that people use to describe you…and label you in your world-of-work. Are they positive and progressive or passive and uncertain? I even ask candidates that I interview for jobs or project assignments: Give me three KEY WORDS that define/describe you.
Give some quality time to understanding The Importance of KEY WORDS! in communicating your status as a person and worker. Let me know your results.
One of the most critical responsibilities in running a business, organization, school and/or governmental entity is going through the process of implementing a new program, project or service. Helpfully in most cases there are pre-determined administrative planning guidelines and tasks to complete that will hopefully move you toward successful implementation. But what about assembling the right people? Who should be at the implementation table to ensure the strongest new initiative is prepped and ready?
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is dedicated to describing the 5-M’s of Implementation Essentials with regard to personnel necessary for GREAT new initiative start-up and operation. The 5-M’s stand for: Movement (Innovation)-Money (Finances)-Marketing (Customers)-Management (Staff)-Maintenance (Accountability). I believe it is vital to have strong leaders from within your group that specialized in each of these areas to help design and facilitate the best implementation plan possible!
During my career I was very lucky to have representatives from the 5-M’s of Implementation Essentials involved and committed to “across the board” effectiveness, efficiency, unity and performance everyday…EVERYDAY. Did we always agree on everything…NO! But the ever present drive to find and deliver a product that was better than anything currently available…was always a solid motivator.
Bottomline: When it is time to build the right implementation plan and process for ANY new endeavor, be sure to gather dedicated personnel from the areas of Movement (Innovation)-Money (Finances)-Marketing (Customers)-Management (Staff)-Maintenance (Accountability)…and I know you will be very pleased with the future you build together.
This year my Dad would have been 91. And I will openly admit that there are many times each week that I think about what he might say or believe about “the state of everything”. I contend that his comments would be brief and to the point…but in the most unique way…each statement would qualify as: “Subtle Leadership”.
So in my fun TRIPLE III TIME way…here are my DAD’s TOP 10 “Subtle Leadership” 2021 reflections:
- Mask or no mask…there’s work to do so get out there and do it.
- Only take stuff with you that you know you will need…the rest will get too heavy to carry.
- Make a note about what you need to get done…otherwise you will forget.
- If you say you already know everything…why am I telling you something you need to know.
- People get scared sometimes…and that’s ok.
- Do you listen or sing a few of the songs we used to play…and then smile.
- If people tell you they have not tried farming a certain way before…try it and be the first.
- Make time for feeding young and older calves and cows…you need them all.
- It’s OK to go out and work a field later at night…it gives you special time to think.
- Remembering only negative stuff can take up a lot of space in your brain.
Yes I can almost hear him say each of these TOP 10 “Subtle Leadership” points. Read them a couple times and think about how they may help you too.
Many times those in leadership positions make statements or write notes and assume everyone hearing or reading them “gets” exactly what is being requested or explained. Assuming people can “read a leader’s mind” is often an operational weakness that if not addressed can have a huge spread of inaccurate information and directives throughout a business or organization. This challenge of achieving solid UNDERSTANDABILITY is even more pronounced if a leader has that “innovation-spirit” blended into their mode of operation. So how do we achieve a communication balance with regard to Leadership & Understandability?
I believe the majority of the responsibility in addressing this issue falls with leadership. First they must establish a culture of innovation understandability within the overall group. This means ENHANCED COMMUNICATION…openness for asking questions and freedoms for anyone to question the viability of proposed actions. Next in an effort to combat the inability for people to read the leader’s mind phenomenon, additional detailed WRITTEN-DOWN IDEAS must be a standard leadership practice.
Finally effective leaders must retain a high level of PERSONAL ACCESSIBILITY. This means that those in charge need to employ a schedule which allows co-workers and colleagues adequate time to share and converse. There is no way to totally measure the value of ensuring regular accessibility as a leader. However, operating in an always distant manner will undoubtedly create production and quality voids.
Leadership & Understandability are inevitably linked as important personnel management skill sets. Emphasize understandability. This action will enhance your leadership experience on all levels.
Think about leaders you have worked for, collaborated with, admired, disliked or just plainly didn’t understand. More specifically consider the different strategies they used to make important decisions, create partnerships, turn down an opportunity or motivate employees to move forward to a greater service level. Can you recall any leader using Inaction As A Strategy?
Inaction As A Strategy is a very simple course of action. If there is a problem, conflict issue or progressive decision that needs to be made…and the leader is not ready to address it, inaction is often an accepted strategy. But is Inaction As A Strategy a good one? How about if we toss out a TOP 10 list of evaluation questions that measure it?
- Is choosing to do nothing sending a progressive message?
- As a leader will people understand your position if inaction is your plan?
- Are you automatically falling behind as an organization if you stand still and be inactive?
- What about customers…do they benefit from inaction?
- If the New York Times was doing an article on your use of Inaction As A Strategy would the article be a positive one?
- If now is not a good action time…what would make a later time better?
- Can you give examples of using Inaction As A Strategy that were beneficial?
- If your Board used Inaction As A Strategy for any issue…would you be happy?
- Do all the changes in technology make Inaction As A Strategy more or less appropriate?
- Finally, would the leaders you admire most be proud or sad if you used an inactive strategy on a critical issue?
Yes…yes I can hear all the voices reminding me that no two issues are the same and maybe waiting to make a decision/take an action would be most appropriate.
Regardless, my TRIPLE III TIME advice: Re-read the TOP 10!
This week we are “analyzing” job descriptions. Have you looked at yours…or anyone’s job description lately? When you read through it…do you feel it provides you with work limitations…or does it serve as a guide for setting priorities for solidly performing your day job? Finally does a review of your job description leave you with a feeling of empowerment…or an ability to proclaim in so many areas: “Hey that’s NOT my job!”?
Too many times in too many workplace situations the wording contained in a job description drives down creativity and innovation. Think about it. Do people really look at their job description to measure WHAT ELSE they could be doing…or determining the limits of what they have to do? And even when you see that little sentence that says: “All other duties as assigned by leadership…isn’t it sad to believe that you have to be told to do a little extra?!
This weeks TRIPLE III TIME message: Job Descriptions: Setting Limits or Setting Priorities is intended to impact both employers and employees. First don’t use job descriptions as “its not my job” hiding places. There truly isn’t a more continuing improvement defeating phrase. Second, leadership should not construct job descriptions that contain words which lead to employment limiting interpretations. Instead use terms that encourage assuming additional assignments and suggesting professional improvement.
I understand job descriptions have a valuable purpose. My questions is: Do your job descriptions limit employee potential or provide priority guidance for growth and opportunity?
This TRIPLE III TIME message is targeted to every employing business and organization… and inclusive of both the private and public sectors. And as you read along, think about whether your Personnel Policy Handbook has a small section totally devoted to Job Shadowing? In these times of worker shortages and the multiple efforts to identify new, good employees, consider how open your group is to allowing Job Shadowing?
I believe the simple action of offering Job Shadowing in your workplace is a totally over-looked opportunity by future job candidates and every employing organization. Most people really have very little knowledge about what happens on a day-to-day basis and the production expectations of jobs in all fields of employment. This knowledge/awareness gap is even magnified today given the heightened workplace health concerns and increased use of technology.
What am I recommending? First consider the following questions:
- Do you/your company really, progressively employ Job Shadowing opportunities?
- Does your business have a written policy promoting it?
- Can you even name one (1) person as a past Job Shadowing example?
- Where do you promote/advertise that we (our organization) endorse Job Shadowing?
- Is our Job Shadowing policy open to everyone or maybe just high school and college students? (Why limited?)
Today I think all employers need to adopt a pro-active approach to Job Shadowing. Do NOT wait to be asked if someone can job shadow in your workplace…ADVERTISE IT! Also do NOT assume people know what work gets done inside your workplace… ACCURATELY TELL THEM. Job Shadowing may be a key short and long-term recruitment benefit!
In our new in-person versus remote on-the-job workplace situations, the leadership responsibility for true DELEGATION Through TRUST has become clouded and incomplete. What do I mean? I am suggesting that as leaders today it is more difficult to share experiences, offer guidelines, learn professional habits and gain necessary insight in order to feel an appropriate level of delegation confidence.
DELEGATION Through TRUST is always deeply linked as a component of quality personnel management. Call it a “two-way-street” of communication, understanding or building an organizations operational future, DELEGATION Through TRUST must be developed and accomplished everyday…EVERYDAY!
Therefore, in order to obtain confidence in the DELEGATION Through TRUST arena, it is critical to address the pitfalls. First understand that a 24/7 communications world has directly weakened the links to this responsibility. Next realize that extra DELEGATION Through TRUST example-setting efforts must be made by both parties in order to attain positive professional growth (i.e. SHOW ME whenever you can!). Finally, be considerate of the variances in distractions that may be occurring in a remote workplace. In-person workplace settings most often enable you as the leader to control distractions…but remote locations…???
Bottomline: Great leaders are not just good at “their” jobs, but are also great at addressing DELEGATION Through TRUST! So, make a commitment to be a GREAT LEADER and apply necessary additional thought and assessment time to your future DELEGATION Through TRUST actions.
Does your design style and methodology for “getting-the-word-out” regarding your products and services sound/read more like a survey of a piece of property instead of the OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME!? Does your promotion presentation of your products and services look similar to what it did 5-10-or maybe even 20 years ago? Do you place consistency and regularness ahead of creativity and innovation…and employ an “Off The Shelf” principle for describing what’s available in your store/business/organization?
Well this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is all about taking a step or two out of what might be traditional in your business world. Today I want everyone to think totally about a “NOT” Off The Shelf promotion plan!
I believe…no matter your product or service…that there are new ways of drawing new or renewed interest from potential customers. I also believe progressive newness is not always going to cost more money. Think about:
- Allowing people to customize their service/product in some way.
- Creating a series of different choices…that are customer driven.
- Blending product/service options together to solve bigger challenges/needs.
- Using alternative packaging/signage that tells customers that your intent is offering “NOT” Off The Shelf opportunities.
Bottomline: We all need reminding that successful businesses and organizations have customers that brag about their unique…special products and services.
Do your customers brag about you?