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Posts tagged ‘Managament’

Levels of Commitment

The 6 Levels of Commitment

       Commitment is a verbal signature of a heart and head process. Lying at the heart of the coaching process, commitment is designed to stir up excitement about possibilities and potential.


The two kinds of Commitment:

  1. Relationship Commitment- A willingness to work with the other person.
  2. Outcome Commitment- A willingness to work on a plan of action


The 6 Levels:


A highly committed person is an “activist” –someone who wants the plan or agreement to succeed. Activists will do whatever is required to make things happen in order to, “pull it off.” Caution needs to be observed as many activists have a tendency to take things too far and actually ruin the synergy of the Team


People who are enrolled are advocates to a degree. They want to achieve the plan, and work very hard to see that it is accomplished. In short, they will be low profile champions.


          Sponsors are supportive; they accept the challenge of the task, and they can visualize the benefits of doing so. They may not spend a lot of extra time and energy on the task, but they will meet the basic expectations and are valued by the group.


Actors go through the motions and make it appear as though they support the plan. Often times, the actor will give “lip service” to the task, but real action and commitment are not yet established.



Resistors don’t test at all; they don’t even want to try. Something is holding them back- apathy, lack of interest, low energy, lack of reward, fear of failure or they feel overloaded and are unable to prioritize. They likely won’t work on the plan at first, and they may take the position that no one can make them. Generally these people work under the “victim” mentality.


These are people who have no commitment or interest in seeing that the plan succeeds and may in fact work contrary to the consensus of the group. The rebel has a very clear and strong identity. They usually are proud of this identity and want to protect and uphold it at all costs.


Real lasting and deep commitment does take time to solidify and is not going to appear overnight. Just as a farmer must plant the seeds and water them, as well as allow the warmth of the sun’s ray to do their part; so too must the Coach, plant, nourish, and provide the supporting “rays” to your partner in coaching. Developing this mindset is a very satisfying process and sets a coach-minded person up for repeated success in all of their coaching relationships.

Until next time,


The Value of Others

Not long ago I was teaching a Leadership class and had touched on the fact that we need to care about the lives of those whom we lead. I wasn’t referring to becoming the employees Therapist or even their best friend, just caring about what made them tick and trying to find out a little about the issues that might stand in the way of top performance on the job. It seemed the group bought into this idea pretty well other than a couple of individuals that made the joking comment, “I don’t care what their problems are. Get to work and do your job!” We can all laugh at this and it can be a good bit of levity in a meeting setting. However, it is a motivation, profit and culture killer in the workplace!

I have worked in organizations that had that same attitude and I would like to share with you today what it feels like to be on the other side of that comment. Many of you will identify with me during the course of this blog and I would invite your comments on how you felt in a similar situation. Some, however, will be reading this and have made the comment listed above either in their mind or, (heaven forbid!) verbally. Please pledge today to never feel that way or make the comment ever again. In case you are new to this blog, my mantra is: Leadership is About Relationships! You can’t succeed without others!

When employed are XYZ Company I was young and had many things going on in my life. Often I would have issues that would distract from my production capability a little, to a lot! I knew what was going on in my head and was truly trying to not let it affect my performance but sometimes it seemed an uphill battle with no end in sight. This is a tale of two Supervisors, one we will call Tom and the other Bart.

Tom was a good man who cared about his employees and took a genuine interest in them as people, not just workers. Tom hired me and nurtured my strengths. Whenever I would have a bad day he would call me into his office or catch me out on the floor and pull me aside. He would ask me how my day was going and if anything new was happening in my life. If I did not offer anything of value up, he would tell me he noticed I was a bit different today and ask me if I thought I was acting any different. If I still didn’t give up anything he would ask me why I thought he was noticing a difference in me that day. Before long if I had not revealed what was going on in my life he would simply say, “Rod, you are not your usual self today and your production is off. I want you to remember whenever you come in our front doors to work that if you have anything you need to talk about, I’m here for your. I am not your Doctor, Lawyer or Therapist, but if you need an ear I will listen. You need and I need you to be at your best when you are on your job, so go back out there and do what Rod does best! Remember though, if you need to talk I am here. I want you to be successful and today you are not fully on that path.”

It never failed that eventually Tom and I talked. He never really gave me advise per se, but he listened and it made me feel better. He always helped me put my work/life balance in perspective and, because he cared about me, I grew in that company very quickly. Not only did I grow, but he rapidly became the Regional Manager over many locations and did very well for himself.

Let’s look now at Tom’s replacement Bart. Bart came into the picture after Tom moved up to a District Manager position. One day always sticks out to me as the defining description of Bart. As a matter of fact, to this very day, some 20 years later, every time I think of this man, I think of this one day. I had been promoted to the head of my department and it had become one of the top departments company wide through our teamwork under Tom. On this fateful day I was doing my job but for personal reasons was not on my game. Bart passed by the area I was working in and never said a thing. Which was not unusual, he never said, “Good Morning”, “Hello”, or anything of the sort when he arrived at work. Once he went by, he circled back and saw me standing and thinking. He approached and here was the entire conversation, “Long, you are a disgrace to this company! Seeing you stand there when you should be working makes me wonder why you were ever promoted in the first place! Tom isn’t here any longer to hold your hand so you better wise up or you are out of here! Now get to work and stop standing there like a tree!” Oh, I went to work alright! I soon went to work for another company!

Bart was fired after a year on his job when profits were down, sales plummeted, employee turnover was the norm and customer satisfaction was at an all-time low. Tom on the other hand, continued to rise and everything he touched turned to gold.

The simple truth for Leaders is: Leadership is About Relationships!!

Until next time, keep working on your relationships!


Common Leadership Mistakes

Experience is the name every one gives to their mistakes.
– Oscar Wilde

It’s often said that mistakes provide great learning opportunities. However, it’s much better not to make mistakes in the first place!

In this blog, we’re looking at the first 5 of 10 of the most common leadership mistakes, and highlighting what you can do to avoid them.  Contact Ascend Business Strategies to learn effective ways to avoid these costly mistakes!!

1. Lack of Feedback

Sarah is a talented sales representative, but she has a habit of answering the phone in an unprofessional manner. Her boss is aware of this, but he’s waiting for her performance review to tell her where she’s going wrong. Unfortunately, until she’s been alerted to the problem, she’ll continue putting off potential customers.

According to 1,400 executives polled by The Ken Blanchard Companies, failing to provide feedback is the most common mistake that leaders make. When you don’t provide prompt feedback to your people, you’re depriving them of the opportunity to improve their performance.

To avoid this mistake, learn how to provide regular feedback to your team.

2. Not Making Time for Your Team

When you’re a manager or leader, it’s easy to get so wrapped up in your own workload that you don’t make yourself available to your team.

Yes, you have projects that you need to deliver. But your people must come first – without you being available when they need you, your people won’t know what to do, and they won’t have the support and guidance that they need to meet their objectives.

Avoid this mistake by blocking out time in your schedule specifically for your people, and by learning how to listen actively to your team. Develop your emotional intelligence so that you can be more aware of your team and their needs, and have a regular time when “your door is always open”, so that your people know when they can get your help. You can also use a 5 min morning rally combined with spot coaching throughout the day to stay in touch with your team.

Once you’re in a leadership or management role, your team should always come first – this is, at heart, what good leadership is all about!

3. Being Too “Hands-Off”

One of your Team Members has just completed an important project. The problem is that he misunderstood the project’s specification, and you didn’t stay in touch with him as he was working on it. Now, he’s completed the project in the wrong way, and you’re faced with explaining this to an angry client Many leaders want to avoid micromanagement. But going to the opposite extreme (with a hand-offs management style) isn’t a good idea either – you need to get the balance right.

4. Being Too Friendly

Most of us want to be seen as friendly and approachable to people in our team. After all, people are happier working for a manager that they get along with. However, you’ll sometimes have to make tough decisions regarding people in your team, and some people will be tempted to take advantage of your relationship if you’re too friendly with them.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize with your people. But, you do need to get the balance right between being a friend and being the boss.

5. Failing to Define Goals

When your people don’t have clear goals, they muddle through their day. They can’t be productive if they have no idea what they’re working for, or what their work means. They also can’t prioritize their workload effectively, meaning that projects and tasks get completed in the wrong order.

Avoid this mistake by learning how to set SMART Goals for your team. Chart your course to specify where your team is going, and detail the resources it can draw upon.

Tomorrow we will look at the nest 5 common mistakes.

Until then, keep moving forward!


An Odd but True Equation

Success, often an elusive, far off land for some of us, seems so far off sometimes that we just give up and stop our pursuit of the destination we once treasured. Thomas Edison once said, ” Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”, how very true! We often let visible and invisible barriers stand in our way and then just feel like we can’t go on. Today I want to share a little equation, that if used during our life journey, will help ensure success in most everything we do. The equation is a simple one, 1+1+1= SUCCESS. Here is how it works:

1 Goal- If you start of with one well-defined Goal no matter whether in your life or work landscape, you have something to aim for. You will need to make the Goal specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound for it to have any true results. (See previous Blogs on S.M.A.R.T. Goals) To be successful in life we must have a Goal or targeted direction we are moving towards. Without this, life just happens and nothing lasting and impactful for the good ever really occurs. Then we look back and wonder why things didn’t work out better for us. The answer is simple, often, we just never set a Goal and followed through on it.

1 Moment- We need to realize that every moment of our lives is valuable and the decisions we make in those moments pattern our life direction. If we have laid the Goal of our life down and used the S.M.A.R.T. process to do this, it becomes much easier for us to make good, productive and progressive decisions in the moments of our lives. We begin to look at each decision with the question of, “Is this in line with my Goal or life purpose?” if it is, we move forward, if it isn’t we must be very careful not to deviate from our preset Goal or direction. Yes, one moment can make a difference! Think how many lives have been changed by an action done in just a fleeting moment, both for the good and the bad.

1 Small Repeated Step- This is the part that snags some of the people who made it through the other steps. Often it is taking that first step that causes us to miss success. Many things hamper that first step: fear, procrastination, smaller things that get in the way and sometimes peer pressure will cause us to back down. However, if we will take that first positive step in moving towards our Goal, we will find that obstacles mentioned above begin to appear smaller than they once did. We have to remember that at the base of most reasons why we don’t take that first step sits some type of fear. Also remember that fear is: False Evidence Appearing Real! Never be afraid to take that first step, just kind in mind that after that follows the second step. If you continue, you WILL find success!

Until next time, keep adding up to success!


Making an Imprint

In the world we are living in today it is highly important that we do not forget in either our personal or our professional life that we need each other! It is tempting in the hurry up and get it done world we live in to often try to do it all on our own. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we are doing, we forget about those around us. Often it is easy to forget to say the important things to those near us, such as a word of thanks or encouragement. In our personal lives we forget to say, “I love you!”, enough to those we most care about. We need to make sure those around us never live a day without know how valuable they are to our Team, or our personal lives. One of my thoughts each day is, “How can I make sure I reach out and have a positive impact on someone’s life today”?  

So what brings Rod down this sappy road today you might ask? I recently had the privilege of teaching some leadership principles to a group of slightly more than 50  seventh and eighth graders, and as I was talking with them and they were participating in our discussions, a thought from a book I read came flying back into my mind. In the book, “Win-Win Partnerships”, by Steven Stowell and Matt Starcevich they bring up the fact that in life we should be looking for opportunities to leave our imprint on the lives of those around us. Leaving our imprint is not changing them but leaving a little something with them so that they will always know you were there. This is true whether you are a Leader, Coach, Team Member, Parent, Friend, Sibling, Significant other, etc…. 

As I worked with these young people my mind went to how we were all connecting and sharing. It was with a warm heart I listened to them talk with each other about the topics we shared and how some related to a brief snapshot of my childhood story. Today, the President of Ascend and myself left some imprints on the lives of a group of young people. They will remember bits and pieces of what we said and the activities we shared. Maybe they will not remember everything but, they will remember the positive environment and encouragement we offered them. In reflection, could i be that leaving your positive imprint on someone’s life is what this life is supposed to be about???? Who have you left a positive imprint on today??? Remember, any successful Team or Partnership is all built around a trusting relationship. They don’t care how much you know, until they KNOW how much you care!!!

Until next time, keep leaving your positive imprint on people’s lives!!


In the Green Room

As I sit here watching the NFL Draft I am reminded of the amazing abilities that the human mind and body can accomplish! Some of the top picks in this years draft were assembled in the Green Room prior to their selection by a Team. In the Green Room the camera would show the player with their families receiving the call of a life time. They would be picked by a Team and then be informed of it by a personal phone call. After this the player would go on the stage and be given his team cap and his new team jersey. Once the fanfare was done, the commentators would begin talking about the players strengths and his areas of needed improvement.

I guess what was driven home to me was the fact that these men, who were the TOP in their positions, powerful in what they do and a force to be reckoned with, STILL need tremendous Coaching and work! Could it possibly mean that no matter how well a person does in their job, no matter how many records they may break, they could still benefit from targeted Coaching and challenging Goals?  Many times we look at our top performers and think that they have done all they need to do, or can do. This is NOT true! It is important to remember that human nature is to relax once we have reached the top and enjoy it. It is the job of the Leader to redirect the Team Member to continued progress. Indeed the Team Member needs the accolades they deserve but don’t forget to continue to challenge and encourage them to keep reaching higher.

The Players picked in the season’s draft have no doubt done great things, but now it is a new life for them in the days to come. If you are a Leader reading this I have a question for you, “Are you continually challenging, encouraging and coaching your top performers to keep achieving new Goals?”. If you are a Team Member reading this, I have a question for you, “Are you open to continued coaching, believing that indeed, no matter how well you have done or how long you have been around, you still have things to learn and goals to accomplish?”. I hope that which ever question pertained to you, you answered yes. In the world we operate in today, we have to continue to move forward and never rest on our heels. Jobs are too hard to come by and there is a pool of talent to choose from in the event your position needs to be filled. Don’t worry about that though. Just continue to grow and never look back except to learn from your experience! See you at the Top!!!

Until next time, strive to be in the Green Room with the Top Draft Picks!!


The Last One!!

Our last letter in the acronym SMART is the letter T. It stands for Timely and is critical in tying up the entire SMART package! If you get all of the other parts spot on and miss this one, you might as well have forgotten them all. Here’s why: If a Goal is going to be productive and motivating it must be time bound, it has to have the accountability factor. Nothing says accountability like a time frame to complete the Goal in. The time frame tells the Employee that they need to perform and will need to have it completed at a specific time.


Set a timeframe for the goal: for next week, in three months, in 6 months, etc. Putting an end point on the Goal gives a clear target to work towards. If you don’t set a time, the commitment is too vague. It tends not to happen as the feeling is they can start at any time. Without a time limit, there’s no urgency to start taking action now. Time must be measurable, attainable and realistic as well.

 Once you set your realistic end time, you will need to set a half-way point in the time line for a check-up. The mid-point meeting is crucial to both you and the Employee. It tells them that you care about the end result and that you are going to help them if there is any type of problem preventing them from successful completion. During the mid-point meeting make sure you review the Goal, current progress towards the Goal, ensure all resources are available and being accessed by the Employee as needed and that there are no barriers that you are unaware of with the Employee. This is also a great time to give some encouragement and show the Team Member that you are there for them and rooting them on to victory!!

Be Real!!

As we continue our journey exploring SMART Goals for Employee Coaching and Motivation, we look at the next step. A Goal needs to be Realistic, not only for you, but in the eyes of the Employee as well. Often we set Goals at a level that we, as Management, want to see them. The problem is, we have to understand that each of our Employees are different and will react to and accomplish the Goals in their own unique way. Next we need to realize as a Leader, it’s okay for our Team Members to be different and unique. All we need to do is tailor our approach and planning in that manner. Success is just a step away when we learn to work in the uniqueness of our Team Member on our journey to our Goals!!


 This is not a synonym for “easy.” Realistic, in this case, means “doable.” It means that the learning curve is not a vertical slope; that the skills and resources needed to do the work are available; that the project fits with the overall strategy and Goals of the organization. A realistic project may push the skills and knowledge of the people working on it but it shouldn’t break them.

 Devise a plan or a way of getting there which makes the Goal realistic. The Goal needs to be realistic for where they are at the moment. Start with a reasonable sales goal based on a 3 week average. Then gradually step them up over the coming weeks so that at the end of a month’s time, they have sizeable increase. The key is, “\meeting them where they are so you can lead they to where they need to be”!

 Be sure the goals that you make are ones that require some effort! Too difficult and you set the stage for failure, and it is hard to bring them back from there! Too low, though, sends the message that you aren’t very confident in the person’s abilities. Set the bar high enough for a satisfying_achievement, but reasonable enough to ensure future buy-in!!

Continuing with SMART Goals

Sorry I missed posting yesterday friends.  I had the wonderful opportunity to facilitate 7 Habits for Highly Effective People with a wonderful group in Missouri! It was an awesome day and great growth happened in us all!

So today, we will be looking at two more steps in the SMART Goals process to get us back on schedule. Today we briefly examine making Goals Measurable and Attainable. Let’s begin, shall we?



If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. In the broadest sense, the whole Goal statement is a measure for the project; if the Goal is accomplished, then it is a success. However, there are usually several short-term or small measurements that can be built into the Goal. Choose a Goal with measurable progress, so you can see the changeoccur. Remember, when you are working with Goals for an Employee, you must not forget to involve them in the process of setting the Goals. One of the classic mistakes in the Goal process is delivering preset Goals to a person and expecting them to have ownership, let alone a will to achieve them. Even if the Goal is handed down from a Corporate mandate, you as a Leader can still involve the Employee in the Goal setting process by simply asking them the ways in which they think they can meet or surpass the Goal. As you include them in the implementation phase by gathering their ideas for their personal success, you can add your guidance and promote ownership in a Goal that they had no control over setting.

Make sure you are very specific in what your Goal is so you know when you have reached it: “Sales of item X must increase by 13% over last week. This will be measured by comparing close of business numbers each day to ensure we are on track to exceed the weekly total by close of business Friday.” This shows the specific target to be measured. “I want to develop a positive attitude” is not as measurable as it is too vague. Establish concrete criteria for measuring your progress toward the attainment of each Goal you set. When you measure the progress, you stay on track, reach target dates, and experience the exhilaration of achievement that spurs the Team on to continued efforts required to reach other Goals.



When delivering Goals always indicate the importance of meeting those Goals to whomever you are speaking to. As you stress the importance of the Goals, people begin to figure out ways to make them happen. They begin to develop the attitudes, abilities, skills, and financial capacity to reach them as you Coach the journey. Soon they begin seeing previously overlooked opportunities that bring themselves closer to the achievement of the Goals.

Goals which are too far out of reach probably won’t get the commitment needed to achieve it. Although it may start with the best of intentions, the knowledge that it’s too much means the subconscious will keep reminding the Team of this fact and will stop them from even giving it their best shot.

A goal needs to stretch a person slightly so they feel it can be done, (but it will take additional work and effort!) as well as a real commitment. For instance, if the aim was to increase production 500% in one week, we all know that isn’t achievable. But setting a Goal to increase by 50% in one week, then aiming to increase a further 50%, will keep it achievable for the Team. It won’t be long before you have increased production by that 500% but it came in smaller, more manageable chunks, thus, the Team is able to stay motivated in reaching the once too large Goal. This is the way to set Goals and keep people motivated to reaching them!!



Tips for Motivation in the workplace

Have you ever wondered if employees were motivated to do their work, or to be at work, even if it appeared the work was getting done??? I have put together a few pointers below to help you know if it is time to look a little deeper into the motivational culture at your workplace. Plus, an idea or two to help you.  Take a look and see what you think!

Do you have a high turnover rate of employees? This is especially lethal if the high turnover rate includes many engaged employees. You are losing employees you can’t afford to lose. Often times you never realize there is a problem until they are walking out the door. THEN, we too many times put the blame on them for their leaving. Granted, sometimes it would make no difference what we did, they would still leave. Those you can do nothing about. However, the key to successful Leadership is to find a learning opportunity in EVERYTHING! So, take a moment and reflect on the last few terminations and/or resignations in your company and ask yourself the following question: “Did I do everything in my power to understand my employee, appreciate them,  and then empower them with the tools they needed to complete the job?” If you did, GREAT! If not, you might want to start asking this question about all of your current employees before they become FORMER employees. 

Do you have a high rate of non-engaged and disengaged employees? Remember the definition of non-engaged are those who lack enthusiasm, who go through the motions but are not involved. Non-engaged employees are essentially checked out – day dreaming – thinking of other things – making mistakes – not getting their work done – doing mainly “activities” but not “accomplishments”. Disengaged employees do as little as possible to keep their jobs and frequently cost a company a lot in lost profits. Generally speaking,  thees employees are non-recoverable. So the main thrust to steer the ship back on course is to work with the Non-engaged. You can save the majority of them and turn them towards increased performance. See the next tip on a way to make a difference with this group.

Do you have a sense that something is missing in your work culture but just can’t put your finger on what it might be??? Chances are it is motivation or there the lack of. Leaders need to be very highly aware of the level of motivation in their workplace. It is rather simple to do but seldom do we take time to do it. Here is a quick way to connect with your Team and give yourself valuable information about how to motivate each of your Team that you directly influence: In the morning, or at the beginning of their shift, have a brief 5-min meeting with them to discuss how they are doing, what’s new in their life (good, bad, and the ugly!), mutually set goals for the day and get their ideas of how those goals will be met while guiding them as needed. Finally, let them know you are a resource person for them that day and they need not worry about coming to you for help. As a Leader you are there to help them to the next level of success, thus, you do not want to be an enabler for poor performance. When they come to you make sure that the answers they get are ones that you help them see by asking questions to make them think and form the answer they need, but with your guidance! Once you do these 5-min meetings you will begin to hear a pattern of things they talk about in response to your question of what’s new in their life. These topics, such as: kids, money, personal goals, parents, hobbies, etc. are some of their motivation areas! Use these as talking points when trying to improve their performance. You will be amazed at the traction you gain in motivating your Team when you use THEIR reasons to inspire performance! 


Until next time,