Category Archives: LEADERSHIP – ALWAYS!
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?
Sometimes it is beneficial to look back and try to identify the “Best-Of” actions that resulted in multiple positive/progressive outcomes. One of the areas that I believe it is important to regularly study is successful models of Creating→ Building→ Feeding The “DRIVE To EXCEL”!
What am I trying to say?
As leaders I believe it is critical to be able to identify specific actions and/or activities one undertakes to motivate co-workers to go beyond what is expected. And I do not want to discuss when their “DRIVE To EXCEL” was just a once-in-a-while thing. No… I want everyone to look internally and externally within their organizations to seek out those incidents that directly contributed to Creating → Building → Feeding The “DRIVE To EXCEL” in individuals and maybe groups for an extended period of time! So, are you confused… lost… not really getting this TRIPLE III TIME message? Well I have always believed in example-based learning…. and maybe it’s time for a customized “DRIVE To EXCEL” TOP 10!
- Send pairs of workers to one of your competitors and have them report on the pros and cons of their observations.
- Make random assignments by saying: “If you had no rules and all the money… how would you make our products/services better?”
- Encourage everyone to be a VISIONARY!
- Create special assignments for individuals with complete responsibility and short timeframes.
- Re-blend work teams all the time.
- Change seating “traditions” for every meeting, class, or training.
- Bring in non-traditional training/trainers.
- Go out in your world-of-work and ask someone different: “What do YOU think about…?” … at least weekly.
- Assume the role of a customer… and ask yourself: “Do you like what you see/hear in your company/organization?”
- Finally, take this TRIPLE III TIME message and make everyone in your organization make recommendations addressing the challenge of Creating→ Building→ Feeding The “DRIVE To EXCEL!”
What would be your Return-On-Investment?
As leaders… no matter the leadership role you assume… it is necessary to delegate/assign certain projects or duties to individuals or possibly a group. In this process it is understood that as the leader and delegator… you share your list of expectations of project completion and areas of success. It all sounds so simple… right?
But what happens when those given the assignment take an “innovation turn” and go a non-traditional route for completion? As might be expected… the results are not exactly what was planned but a great deal of learning and project alternative discoveries were reported? Given the unplanned changes, where do your instincts as a leader take you and what form of appropriate “next-step” action(s) do YOU take?
As you answer this question… I suggest the first thing you must do is ask yourself: Am I an EXPECTATION MONITOR? Do I monitor the individual or group and measure them against the way I would have completed the project? Do I evaluate their results solely against MY EXPECTATIONS of positive outcomes?
In response to this question, I need to brag that some of my greatest experiences as a leader came from making wide-open project assignments that had equally wide-open results. Individuals were challenged to be innovative and share creative visions of assignment completion. Most importantly the assigned project no longer was just MY priority… rather it was “owned” by all involved in its development and delivery.
Bottomline: It is critical to consider your priorities and if you truly believe in innovation at all organizational levels… you cannot be an EXPECTATION MONITOR. Why… because an EXPECTATION MONITOR will:
- Crush innovations
- Limit group contributions
- Lessen individual participation
- Lower agency trust
- Confirm a negative “I’ll do it myself” mentality
I guess I am encouraging you to enjoy the privilege of delegating and trust the existence of an innovative spirit!
One of my personal Inspiring Innovations, Inc. business priorities is to NEVER deliver service “reruns” to different individuals or organizations. What do I mean? I mean every consultant moment, workshop and/or training must be special and individualized for everyone. However, this week I may be breaking my rule.
Let me explain.
During my Director days I produced a TOP 10 list of Agency work/service priorities for every upcoming week. The TOP 10 could cover new projects, meetings, joint ventures, fiscal reports… anything and everything! It was a great management tool and kept everyone “in the game” of Agency initiatives and always looking toward the future!
Then after 30 years of progressive, creative and fun leadership… I found myself leaving to do Inspiring Innovations, Inc. activities full time… and without being too sentimental I had to put together my last TOP 10 for my co-workers. And only because of sincere requests for a reminder rerun, here it is.
- ACTION: Be leaders everyday… I expect nothing less. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: The road going forward for the Agency is set up to the best of my ability… pave it with good work. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Follow the visionary quote that says: “The best way to predict the future… is to invent it.” ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Keep a “family-feel” in the organization… it keeps you grounded. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: When you finally see a USDOL Performance Standard called INNOVATIVITY… be sure we score high. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Always know I will take ALL of you with me wherever I go and whatever I do… because no one goes it alone. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: When you try a new initiative, don’t do it the way Marv would… DO IT BECAUSE WE WOULD! ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Remember to always give 100% to the CAUSE. If you don’t… what are you saving the rest for? ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: If you try to hide from change… know that it will be much bigger when it finds you. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
- ACTION: Thirty years is a long time to be lucky… thank you for allowing me to be the lucky one. ACTION DRIVERS: Everyone
Thanks to everyone for seven (7) years of TRIPLE III TIME blog messaging. Enjoy the holidays.
Today I believe a leadership group getting together regularly and focusing on: In Search of Customers Lost, would prove to be valuable on so many fronts. Think about it. The group could/should look at an entity’s physical presence, marketing strategies, product/service diversity, regular/online sales, delivery methods, costs and timing issues…to somehow reclaim old and new customers.
Also during the leadership group sessions, it would be appropriate to ask a unique series of: In Search of Customers Lost questions:
- Are we disconnected with those in need of our products/services?
- Is accessibility to our products/services THE issue… or are we just assuming it is?
- Given the times do people really know what our main products/services are?
- Have we decided to just wait for improved times… and thereby really don’t feel the need to act?
- Is it leadership acceptable to have our products/services become less than essential?
- Are potential customers “relabeling” our entity in an inaccurate way?
- Could there be a means to create “strings of compatibility” among our products/sources to make them more special?
- How much work ethic, creativity, and skill personnel equity are we losing/wasting?
- Should we somehow go In Search of Customers Lost … and find out who they are, where they are and why they are a lost customer?
- And lastly, aren’t we all some form of leader in our company/organization… and comprehensively concerned about In Search of Customers Lost ?
Yes, if you counted, these are my TOP 10 In Search of Customers Lost questions. They are not easy, they do not allow for “hiding spots” … but they do ask you to accept some form/level of LEADERSHIP in devising necessary answers.