Back in my Director days…it was always fun to go to Lansing or Detroit or Mt. Pleasant for some form of agency meeting and show up at the office the next morning with at least one new cool concept. I would use different methods to give the idea a “trial-run” with the gang…just to measure the engagement – level with each person. And it was always fun to have them believe that the concept/idea was somehow generated by inspiration I attained from the meeting/training I attended.
Guess what…rarely was that the driver. Instead, it was the special quiet, lengthy Thinking & Dreaming Time I had while driving to and from the event.
I believe one of the most valuable/critical/motivational professional development tools is DEDICATED…PERSONAL Thinking & Dreaming Time. For me I used the one-two-or three hours of drive time that was available every week. During that period, I was on the job…but I allowed myself to regularly go beyond what was…and dream about what could be. There were no interruptions (remember this was before cell phones took over), so my thoughts and dreams had no limitation influence and I just allowed myself to go way beyond anything that was considered regular.
Bottomline: Thinking & Dreaming Time is a development activity that must be individually organized and managed totally in order to be effective. Professional development is a personal responsibility, so carve out quality Thinking & Dreaming Time…use it well…and appreciate the results.
This months Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENT focuses on the “new-age” skill needs of future Emerging Leaders. As you listen you will realize that I don’t believe there are a brand-new set of leadership learnings for the 21st century. Instead, it is just necessary to appropriately evolve familiar skill areas to keep ahead of today’s more quickened operational and developmental business pace. Please listen closely to this month’s LEARNING MOMENT.
One of the most critical skill sets that every leader should have is the strong ability to effectively Read The “ATTITUDE METER”!
What do I mean?
I believe that there should be a special workshop/training session totally devoted to developing a methodology to assess and Read The “ATTITUDE METER” of individual coworkers or groups…quickly! Too often unrealized “attitudes” tend to become “elephants-in-the-room” that negatively slow or even cancel the best project/initiative efforts.
So, wouldn’t it be cool if a workshop/training session helped you read and deal with attitudes like:
- We tried this kind of thing before and it didn’t work.
- No one ever tells me what’s going on.
- I have 63 more important things I could be working on.
- I hope this doesn’t last into lunch time.
- Will we have enough breaks so I can check my cell phone for emails/texts?
- I hope I don’t have to work with <<?>>…we just don’t get along.
- Certain people monopolize these meetings…someone should say “shut-up”.
- I wish he/she would quit bringing up last week’s problems…it’s old news.
- I don’t feel good so everyone will just have to deal with my poor attitude.
- None of what we are talking about is my job…why do I need to be here?
Well by now you can feel the slight bit of sarcasm in this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message. To Read The “ATTITUDE METER” of people means you can read their minds…not possible?! So maybe the single most important workshop/training session leadership directive would be to tell everyone: LEAVE YOUR ATTITUDES AT THE DOOR….because I need your TOTAL attention on this progress issue NOW!
Simplicity does matter.
When I first started the weekly TRIPLE III TIME blog project…INNOVATION and promoting it was my major purpose! But then based on colleague discussions it branched out into multiple professional development areas. However, make no mistake…INNOVATION is still my favorite topic.
So, this week I would like you to check out (and maybe read more than one) online article from the Innovation Excellence Weekly entitled: “Change Management: Combating Resistance and Driving Adoption Through Innovation” by Tamara Ghandour. It outlines an excellent strategy for change attainment and leaves you with a GREAT summary statement.
Organizations both public and private spend a great deal of time and money targeting strategic planning and continuous improvement. These forms of progressive development are very, VERY important with regard to providing quality goods and services…and of course excellent customer service. However, this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message asks us all to go back to the beginning and assess how good is our new staff/worker orientation process.
Think about it in terms of those fun TV ads that make the point: “Is Just OK Good Enough?” When was the last time your orientation system/tools/processes were upgraded? Is your new staff orientation inclusive of top personnel representing programs, products, sales, quality control, policy, payroll, etc.? Or is it Just OK and delivered by a couple of long-term staffers? Are new workers offered a glimpse of the future by organizational leadership…. or Just an OK story of what gets done?
Building A “Good-To-Great” Foundation requires a strong, inclusive, team-feeling, something to look forward to staff orientation system in your organization. Too often the orientation is not given the “Foundation-Building” attention it deserves…nor the “Good-To-Great” personnel impact it should encourage.
Remember you only get one first chance to deliver the Building A “Good-To-Great” Foundation first impression message. Don’t be Just OK!
People often ask me about the most important piece of advice I would pass along to anyone and everyone as they do what they do in their world of work. Well…my single suggestion would be: REINVENTION!
What do I mean by REINVENTION?
REINVENTION is one of those progressive positioning points-of-view that requires that no matter what you do…who you are working with…or when you are providing strategic help…that your advice must always be somehow new! People, organizations, and businesses all need FRESH observations on what to do next. This does not mean that they should change who they are (because authenticity is important), but instead, they should always be looking for that REINVENTION suggestion that allows them to somehow find that “new special” in their service, product or action.
REINVENTION just like innovation…just like entrepreneurship…is a unique approach to blending thoughtfulness, intelligence, professionalism, creativity, and authenticity into a new road map to your future. REINVENTION is also one of those life recipes that require appropriate time to season, blend, and appropriately mature.
Do you understand?
Have you, your company, or your organization ever been part of or offered the opportunity to participate in a “full-blown” case study? If so was it a good experience…or were you totally concerned about what an in-depth case study would show? Did you try to control what information was studied in an attempt to control the outcome? Or did you just decline the opportunity and conclude: “What I don’t know won’t hurt me!”
Well, I believe that as our economy, workforce, customer-base and technologies fluctuate and change (faster every day), the value of at least conducting your own Self-Evaluation/Case Study is a prime time responsibility. The level of “formality” that you employ is totally at your discretion…but in an effort to motivate everyone, here is a TOP 10 list of real-time Case Study areas.
- Are the same number and type of customers coming through your doors for service?
- If there are differences in the customer-base…what have you done to respond to these differences?
- Do you use available technologies to maximize your effectiveness and efficiencies?
- Would customers exiting your business/organization be able to identify/describe/show the product value(s) of your service?
- Are “seasoned” employees up to date on product/service/procedure issues?
- Are new employees fully oriented to feel “complete & competent” in their positions?
- Would data reflect that your current marketing techniques are effective?
- Would customers describe you/your business/your organization as indispensable to your service areas?
- How would you/your employees rank your/their satisfaction with “how things are going”?
- If an economic development professional was assigned to you/your company/your organization as a result of the outcomes of a Self-Evaluation/Case Study…what would they recommend as improvements?
The questions are tough…so is professional discomfort. But cool progress is priceless.
If someone asked you to offer a “talk” about YOU…where you grew up…your time in school…the job decisions you considered…the mistakes…the achievements…the special times…could you do it? This month’s Inspiring Innovations LEARNING MOMENTS podcast explains and encourages why Telling Your Career Story…is priceless. Listen closely and I know you will agree.
Today one often hears comments about work ethic and how today’s young people don’t seem to have the same level as generations past. True or false…these types of observations have caused me to reflect on who had the greatest impact on developing my work ethic.
Quality: My Grandfather Nick, who would hoe a field of beans over and over so NO weeds would ever be found.
Responsibility: My Dad who only gave an order once…and YOU knew what your job was and who was expected to get it done.
Efficiency: Frank, one of my early “Bosses” who made you learn on-time/multi-tasking early and often.
Effectiveness: My first “real” job with a community action agency where I tried to make a positive difference for every person I served.
Specialness: Creativity, innovation and the pursuit of establishing YOUR SPECIAL was encouraged by my long-time friend and mentor Dr. B.
Leadership: My core leadership work ethic principles were “planted” by a quiet-spoken, country-style small county commissioner…Cal. He prioritized getting and keeping everyone involved.
But wait…wasn’t/isn’t the topic: Work Ethic MAINTENANCE!
As you mature in the world-of-work I believe your work ethic time-appropriately evolves and is now principally maintained by YOUR PERSONAL EXAMPLE SETTING. Yes, you will still look for examples of Quality, Responsibility, Efficiency, Effectiveness, Specialness, and Leadership, however, the work ethic spotlight now falls more on YOU to set and be a great example.
Therefore, as always…don’t waste this legacy building opportunity!
Sometimes great, appropriate TRIPLE III TIME message topics just seem to present themselves…even though you quickly realize a certain professional development issue has been right in front of you for quite some time! So, this week addressing the necessity of effectively Defining & Executing Expectations as a leader in a business or organization is our prime-time mission!
First, I want you to think about and be very self-critical when you ask: How clear and direct are you when defining your work expectations? Given the expanded methods of job-related communications and the volume of information shared everyday, the likelihood of confusion and misdirection by your co-workers during execution is extremely high.
Next consider the multiple management personnel levels of directional interpretations that often are attached to numerous expectations. No one is a great mind reader! So the probability of not understanding and meeting the expectations of all involved in executing a service delivery change is an almost logical assumption.
Third, it may sound odd…but offer a VISUAL whenever you can. For example, as I recently provided final exam instructions to my college students on essay question answer quality, I held up a two-paragraph long document to make clear the expected minimum length of an acceptable “correct” answer. This visual was far more clear on the length of what was expected in their written answers than any words I could have used. (P.S. Great execution followed)
In today’s fast-paced, hi-tech, information overload world, it is leadership critical to apply SIMPLICITY when Defining & Executing Expectations. I am NOT suggesting lowering your expectations…rather spend extra up-front time more simply defining what you want accomplished and then apply a similar simplicity plan for execution. I believe you will be pleased with the outcomes.