Category Archives: LEADERSHIP – ALWAYS!
One of the toughest leadership challenges is addressing Co-Worker Conflict. In many instances it (conflict) is the result of just plain personality differences… and are those really changeable? But even more critical to an ongoing Co-Worker Conflict is its very negative impact on the delivery and effectiveness of quality Customer Service within and outside of an organization!
Co-Worker Conflict can negate inter-organization clear and concise communication. It can spread an “illness” of non-cooperation among staff. Co-Worker Conflict can limit or even destroy any plans for a new, cool innovative product or service. And this list can go on.
One of my most effective Leadership actions to deal with Co-Worker Conflict was to remove the decision-making authority on a challenge issue from the “conflictors”. My directive sounded something like this: “If you can not resolve this issue between yourselves…I WILL MAKE THE DECISION AND NO ONE WILL BE PLEASED…EXCEPT ME!” And fortunately most times a new sense of maturity and need for progress prevailed…and we moved positively forward.
Co-Worker Conflict/Leadership/Customer Service are sometimes mixed together in ways that require clear, timely, corrective action. Leaders need to NOT sit back and hope the Co-Worker Conflict resolves itself and co-workers need to remember professionalism matters and move forward for the sake of Customer Service.
As we all slowly evolve out of the pandemic strain, its limitations and elimination of our “business-as-usual” routines, many groups are considering new Strategic Planning initiatives. This means getting leadership and employee representatives together to consider future product, service, location, workforce and yes maybe even special innovation opportunities for their business/organization’s future. And as a consultant that has worked specifically in the strategic planning arena, several have asked for my general input on what I consider the most critical issue(s).
My direct answer is: The Time Factor!
Typically Strategic Plans look at the world from a distance of about 3 to 5 years in the future. The goal is to try to project what the needs of the business/people/community/marketplace/education sectors may be. There are always multiple opinions, options and ideas about the ideal time frames for achieving effectiveness and efficiency in all planning projections. So what are MY recommendations regarding Strategic Planning & The Time Factor?
Well I must admit that my approach to Strategic Planning has not changed much over the years. I believe planning 1 to 2 years ahead is the most logical and cost effective approach. This recommendation is based on:
- The speed of technological advancement
- The time required to train and retrain employees.
- The global marketplace impacts
- The action of “getting too far ahead” can be as problematic as “getting too far behind”
- The process of obtaining, fine-tuning and retaining quality product/service partnerships cannot be Time Factor driven.
Please remember this is MY Strategic Planning recommendation. Topics, issues, money and politics all may alter the best Time Factor. Also, consider the fact that personal and professional patience has lessened in recent years. Therefore, one size will never fit all.
In the past year I have had the opportunity to view a number of organization charts from agencies large and small… and even a few private sector companies. Keep in mind that I was only able to look at them just for awareness purposes. However, my “always a better way” mind almost instantly took me into that “I wonder if they would let me innovate this” zone!
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message will use my TOP 10 format to raise some innovation zone issues with regard to Organization “Charting”. Our times and purpose are so different today. Does YOUR chart reflect the change factor?
- Does your chart only change when employees change?
- When was the last time you audited your Organization Chart for accuracy?
- Are the positions still valid… the same?
- Are the chart’s service/product divisions appropriate for the times?
- Do the lines of supervision and reporting still make sense?
- Would the Board of Directors understand/support the structure the chart represents?
- Do the job titles correctly represent up-to-date employee responsibilities?
- Is your Organization Chart confusing, overwhelming, not enough or too much information?
- Can you easily see gaps in employee accountability?
- Does your Organization Chart feel like it needs to be a constant work in progress?
The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to simply encourage everyone to review/assess their Organization Chart. Does it give a feel of “where you have been”…or an energy of “where you are going”?
Take a hard look!
Leadership is and continues to be an ever-learning professional skill area. Even when you think you have “mastered the art” of understanding and implementing great leadership strategies, a new, different, 21st century challenge arises.
Recently a great friend and colleague passed along highlights from a leadership training series her group sponsored. The workshops were presented by Lou Rabaut and here are several self-improvement reminders he shared:
- An emotional (psychic) paycheck is important to an employee’s job satisfaction.
- It isn’t always what is said, but how it is said that influences your team.
- Emotional intelligence is something that can be learned and developed, and will add value to anyone’s leadership and other relationships.
- People who are more emotionally intelligent tend to be more self-aware, self-confident, empathic, curious, passionate, optimistic, adaptable, grateful and balanced. They also tend to be deeper thinkers, change agents, and can discern wants from needs.
- You cannot influence people unless they trust you; trust happens when a person is competent, acts with character and connects with others.
- When engaged in conflict resolution with your team members: define the conflict as us versus the problem, identify shared values/beliefs/concerns, separate opinions from facts, and actively listen.
- Consider using an O3 (one-on-one) meeting with your team members: a regularly scheduled meeting between the employee and the leader, is managed by the employee, sticks to an agenda, keeps alignment/focus, and helps prevent emergencies.
- Remember that not everyone learns the same way you do.
- An effective on-boarding process for a new hire leads to greater probability of retention.
Thanks Jackie for helping all of the TRIPLE III TIME readers benefit from one of the leadership opportunities you arranged for your organization.
Growing up in a caring family and eventually spending my entire career centered in assisting people/businesses/organizations to “be better”…has caused me to realize that recent times have pushed everyone to try and help even more quickly/completely than ever before.
Think about it.
Our governments are sending millions of dollars to all areas of our economy to help and improve our country. Technology experts are designing and sharing faster, more efficient computer programs every day. Local schools and colleges are blending and modifying learning/training opportunities that quicken the process of education progress.
So how are we doing?
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is a simple answer and recommendation that we all try Slowing The Rush To Help responsibility. What do I mean in everyday practical terms? I mean we need to give the same amount of time to LISTEN to those needing help…as we do prescribing a help solution. Next as we consider an opportunity to help we need to offer assistance based on the TRUE NEEDS of a customer and not help in a way that “fits” our own professional convenience. Finally by Slowing The Rush To Help we may realize that more money or specialty services may not be the best help option. Instead applying PATIENCE, maximizing non-routine OPPORTUNITIES, recruiting additional RESOURCE PARTNERS, and CUSTOMIZING helpful action steps may prove more beneficial.
If we begin Slowing The Rush To Help…time and timing will be on our side.
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.