Building Businesses and People to be the best they can be!

Posts tagged ‘Paradigm’

I See More Clearly Now….

Recently I had a discussion with a newly promoted Leader facing a very difficult Leadership issue that should make us all stop and recheck how we lead. His Company was and has been hurting and choices were having to be made, change was unavoidable, but how to approach all the change that need to happen was the issue. In every business the Leader is responsible to make sure that the Team he/she oversees as well as the organization they lead is taken care of at the highest level of individual ability. The problem comes when taking care of one conflicts with taking care of the other. When choices for the positive growth of the company seems to be in direct opposition of the positive growth of the Team, what do you do???

Come along on this journey and maybe we can help “John” figure this out together. The bottom line of a business is simple, success= profitability! However, many business guru’s hold to the fact that the key to a successful business is purely relational. Build the right relational culture in your company and success, profits will be a natural result. Okay, so which is it? Where do you focus your energies on a daily basis, relationships or numbers? Dollars and cents, or people and culture. Undoubtedly there are many of you standing on each side of this conundrum! Let me share with you what I have believed, and recently become even more re-affirmed. What if every decision you make as a Leader took both relationship/culture, and the profitability factor, rolled them together, and made a WIN-WIN outcome? That is the goal, or should be the goal of every Leader out there. The question is how do you achieve it? Granted, this is just one man’s opinion but here we go:

It appears to me that no matter how one slices this issue in the professional world we exist in right now, a company has to error on the side of developing and taking care of their people. A quote I read recently helps me keep my focus on this issue, “But I like to think that a lot of managers and executives trying to solve problems miss the forest for the trees by forgetting to look at their people — not at how much more they can get from their people or how they can more effectively manage their people. I think they need to look a little more closely at what it’s like for their people to come to work there every day.” Gordon Bethune, Continental Airlines  

This leads me to this quote, “Long-term success is the result of relationships built on a foundation of trust. People get more value from those they trust.” – Garrison Wynn. If you keep the culture of your Team the number one focus, over time, your profits will rise. Time and time we see companies that are teetering on the edge of closure come rising up from the ashes to highs of success that they never thought possible. What do we generally find at the root of this recovery? Most always you will find a Leader that realizes the time they invest in restoring the faith and loyalty of the Team will be the key to making a long-standing and thriving company. A Leader that comes in with great plans to cut costs, reform compensation and make quick, broad moves are generally sitting in their offices 6 months down the line wondering why things aren’t any better, or even worse than they were.

John, take your time and stay true to your people despite the up and down numbers. Don’t be crazy, you will have to make some cut of those that don’t get on board with the rest of the family, but whatever you do, make all of your decisions based on one thing while trying to recover your company: What is the best move to heal my people and make them stronger, more loyal and feel the most valued? This John, will pull your Company up, give them hope, direction, a sense of purpose and value. Your Company will rise with the days of under performance and low profits will be a thing of the past. Just remember, it will take time. Hang in there John and don’t give up on your Company, your Team or yourself!

Until next time, lead with your people in mind first, your profits will come; history proves it!

Rod

Push or Pull

Today I had the opportunity to witness something, that not only have I done, but Leaders have done for years on end. Have you ever gone up to a pull to open door and pushed on it? Perhaps you approached a push to open door and pulled on it. Either way, the result was definitely not what you had planned as you came up to that door. The comical thing is when the person does it again as if to say, “If I do it harder this time, it surely will work!” Once I tried the door four times before stopping to see what was wrong and corrected my method!

The reason people do this is because we often move through life in a very assumptive mode. Working on a form of auto-pilot not really paying attention to what we are doing until the “door” does not do as we thought it should. Leaders often fall into the push/pull syndrome when they fail to take time to pay attention to the ever-changing environment around them and to the people who make up their Team. Too many times Leaders are so determined to push when they need to pull, or pull when they needed to push, that they strongly move forward convinced that their way is correct and if they just put a little more effort into it, it surely will work. Then to top off the ill-fated effort, when the mistake is brought to light, they frequently do not accept responsibility for the incorrect move, shift blame to the “door” or worse yet, simply ignore it and their credibility goes into a downward spiral.

Even though the push/pull syndrome happens daily across our great business world, there is a remedy. First, the Leader needs to take time to properly plan their moves and be aware of the people and happenings around them on a daily basis. Review at the beginning of the day the events of the previous day and the challenges of the day ahead. Then plan for success in that days activities. Second, once you have a plan and are prepared for what you know the day will bring, work the plan, but be flexible as the situations may call for last-minute changes. Third and finally, once you work the plan, review either your success or identify your area for growth in the plan. Then make the changes in your future plans when confronting similar issues in the future.

We all make mistakes and often we are slow to recognize when we are working in the wrong methods.  If you fall victim to the push/pull syndrome, don’t be too hard on yourself if it is just an occasional happening. The key is to identify it early, change it quickly, plan and then adjust the course as needed for the future.

Until next time, watch out for that door!

Rod

Adaptability- A Must

An old Chinese proverb says that the wise adapt themselves to circumstances, as water molds itself to the pitcher. Now, like no other time in recent history has adaptability been more important to a Leader’s success. Adaptability – the ability to change (or be changed) to fit new circumstances, surroundings and people mixes – is a crucial skill for leaders, and an important competency in emotional intelligence.

A 2008 study conducted by the Economist Intelligent Unit, entitledGrowing Global Executive Talent, showed that the top three leadership qualities that will be important over the next five years include: the ability to motivate staff (35%); the ability to work well across cultures (34%); and the ability to facilitate change (32%). The least important were technical expertise (11%) and “bringing in the numbers” (10%). This is one of the reasons why this blog touts relationships and motivation for the growth of a Leader! This willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changes, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders.

Here are a few tips for developing adaptability.

  • If you catch yourself shooting an idea down, take a moment to consider what mental scripts you might have developed, which are influencing your thoughts. Mental scripts are ways you have been patterned to think over the years through experiences and life, whether voluntary or involuntary.  They are so automatic that you have to be intentional to change them and improve your leadership.
  • Do you habitually insist on going “by the book”? Is this actually necessary for every issue? You can have a great effect on your Team’s productivity if you paid more attention to the effect that this might have on the people involved. What would happen if you applied creativity to standard procedures?
  • Consider that when we push the envelope, when we intentionally put ourselves in situations that are outside our comfort zone, we grow. Are you trading on old knowledge? Do you need to update your skills? Are you relying too much on your title as the sign of authority? In today’s working environment, surrounded by highly intelligent and specialized knowledge workers, this no longer works. We can adapt by continually evolving and reinventing ourselves.
  • When we are in a position for a length of time, we may tend to become accustomed to the status quo and fail to challenge the process in order to continue to grow and improve.Here is a question to ask yourself:  “If you left tomorrow, what would your successor do to improve things?”  Now consider making these changes yourself, today!

Until next time, free yourself to accept and lose the potential of your Team!

Rod

You Can Read Along

In today’s blog I find myself writing to myself, but you can read along with me and see if you find something to help you as you travel along your journey.

What has become of all I dreamed of doing? I have  achieved some of the dreams I had when I was younger, but not nearly all.  Now, is it worth it to continue dreaming and think that others will come true??

Indeed! I must dream on! Without dreams, passions, or desires, my life will be dim in color, less exciting, and less interesting. Although life would rather push me down and try to discourage me, I must dream on!

Even though we all have unfulfilled dreams, desires and goals within us, should we allow those unfulfilled dreams to stop us from continuing to dream ? No!

Some dare to dream and make those dreams happen. We call them, Leaders.  Others leave those dreams behind, choosing instead to ignore what could be within their reach – and they often become frustrated or give up, thinking “If only…” or “What if…” Worse yet, they spend life constantly looking at what is not “fair” that is happening to them. Leaders recognize that things will not always go their way, in fact, they seldom do; but Leaders dream on!

There’s a wonderful little book called “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” an allegorical story about a seagull who dares to dream of a better life – and then does everything he can to make it happen. The author, Richard Bach, says, “You are never given a dream without also being given the power to make it true. You may have to work for it however.” Leaders recognize this and learn to work smarter, not necessarily harder. They empower their Team and enable greatness to rise out of great synergy. Thus they forge ahead to their dreams. and the organization’s dreams.

How could my life and my Leadership be better today, if I would believe and adopt the above statement ? If I were prepared today to take action and make my dreams a reality, what would that give me? What would it give to those around me?

Ponder this with me and until next time, DREAM ON and DON’T GIVE UP!

Rod

Work Culture

Culture is around you at work all of the time. Culture shapes your work enjoyment, your work relationships, your work processes and your overall satisfaction with your job. Culture is something that you as a Leader must be constantly aware of, and improving upon. Culture begins with you!

In many ways, culture is like personality. In a person, the personality is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, interests, experiences, upbringing, and habits that create a person’s behavior. Culture is made up of the values, beliefs, underlying assumptions, attitudes, and behaviors shared by a group of people while being stirred and mixed daily by the tone set by the Leader.

Professors Ken Thompson (DePaul University) and Fred Luthans (University of Nebraska) highlight the following seven characteristics of culture.

  • Culture = Behavior. Culture is a word used to describe the behaviors that represent the general operating norms in your environment. Culture is not usually defined as good or bad, although aspects of your culture likely support your progress and success and other aspects impede your progress.A norm of accountability will help make your organization successful. A norm of spectacular customer service will sell your products and engage your employees. Tolerating poor performance or exhibiting a lack of discipline to maintain established processes and systems will impede your success.
  • Culture is Learned. People learn to perform certain behaviors through either the rewards or negative consequences that follow their behavior. When a behavior is rewarded, it is repeated and the association eventually becomes part of the culture. A simple thank you from an executive for work performed in a particular manner, molds the culture.
  • Culture is Learned Through Interaction. Employees learn culture by interacting with other employees. Most behaviors and rewards in organizations involve other employees. An applicant experiences a sense of your culture, and his or her fit within your culture, during the interview process. An initial opinion of your culture can be formed as early as the time the applicant inquires about employment.
  • Sub-cultures Form Through Rewards.. Employees have many different wants and needs. Sometimes employees value rewards that are not associated with the behaviors desired by managers for the overall company. This is often how subcultures are formed, as people get social rewards from coworkers or have their most important needs met in their departments or project teams.
  • People Shape the Culture. Personalities and experiences of employees create the culture of an organization. For example, if most of the people in an organization are very outgoing, the culture is likely to be open and sociable. If many artifacts depicting the company’s history and values are in evidence throughout the company, people value their history and culture. If doors are open, and few closed door meetings are held, the culture is unguarded. If negativity about supervision and the company is widespread and complained about by employees, a culture of negativity, that is difficult to overcome, will take hold.
  • Culture is Negotiated. One person cannot create a culture alone. Employees must try to change the direction, the work environment, the way work is performed, or the manner in which decisions are made within the general norms of the workplace. Culture change is a process of give and take by all members of an organization. Formalizing strategic direction, systems development, and establishing measurements must be owned by the group responsible for them. Otherwise, employees will not own them.
  • Culture is Difficult to Change. Culture change requires people to change their behaviors. It is often difficult for people to unlearn their old way of doing things, and to start performing the new behaviors consistently. Persistence, discipline, employee involvement, kindness and understanding, organization development work, and training can assist you to change a culture.
It is highly important for the Leader to be aware of the above contributing factors in Culture development. A Leader, through just a few encouraging acts or words can move a Culture quickly in a positive, uplifting direction. Conversely, a few unkind, destructive words can crash a Culture just as fast if not faster than the uplift from the encouraging Leader. Be cautious of the Culture you emit from your Leadership style. Remember, Leadership is about relationships and relationships build Culture!
Until next time, build an awesome Culture where you are!!
Rod

A Look at Self-Motivation

Motivation is direction or focus toward a goal or mission that is fueled by energy and enthusiasm. It is the key to success in any venture. Motivation is like the motor in a car. The car is not moving unless the motor is running. Unless, of course, the car is coasting or being towed! True motivation comes when your own internal motor is driving you toward your goals, not when you are coasting or being pulled along by another’s direction. Let’s take a closer look at the key aspects of personal motivation.

Motivation and Personal Leadership
True motivation comes from within. The highest levels of motivation come when we are in tune with our sense of mission. This is personal leadership. Our mission statement defines what we love and our purpose for being on this planet. When we are in touch with this true calling, we are maximizing our motivation and functioning at our highest capacity. Without this true sense of purpose or mission, one cannot be fully motivated. The answer to motivational problems is personal leadership, or the deep belief in a vision of who you are.

Maximum Production
Being in touch with your true calling unleashes a tremendous amount of energy that, when combined with focused direction, results in the highest level of motivation. Three of the most important qualities of a highly motivated person are clarity, focus and persistence. The more clear the focus, the greater the energy toward your goals. Motivation is visualizing success and moving toward it.

Motivation in the Workplace
Very few people are highly motivated at work. Most people work at only a small fraction of their actual capabilities. Imagine a workplace where everyone worked at even 80% of his or her potential. The key to being motivated at work is in understanding that it is not the responsibility of your employer to motivate you. He or she can only create a motivational environment. It is up to you to motivate yourself even if the environment you work in isn’t the most motivational. Look to why you are working. Is it for the money (see below why money is not the best motivator), your family, no matter the reason you are there, you can use that to help motivate yourself to do well. 

Self-improvement and Motivation
Self-improvement is one of the best motivators. Increasing your knowledge and learning new material pushes you beyond boundaries and brings greater rewards. Work to improve yourself every day and your motivation will increase. Allow yourself to expand beyond your personal comfort zones. 

The Personal Barometer
We all have a personal barometer that guides our comfort zone in response to our levels of success. Why do some people successful and others not? It has to do with how they see themselves. Any disharmony in this area will motivate actions to get back in balance. Motivate yourself by raising your own personal barometer. Expect more from yourself!

Positive Environment
It is very important to create an environment that motivates you. You should get a charge from where you work, not a drain. Also, the people with whom you interact affect your motivation tremendously. Spend time with those who build you up, support you and avoid negative people. If you don’t receive positive feedback, do a personal assessment; there may be a reason for it.

Money Does Not Motivate
Beware of false motivation, such as money. Money, as a motivator, is a very tricky proposition. People adapt to the amount of money they are making; as a result, motivation is short- lived. People work up to what they expect to be paid, based on their personal barometer of what they are worth. When they reach that level, fixed pay adds no additional motivational value. Be careful that you do not place too much emphasis on money. Your mission comes first and then the money will follow, sooner or later,  in direct proportion to the service you have provided. The key is to provide the service that is your true calling.

Self-motivation is personal leadership via your own vision, goals, values and your own unique definition of success. A commitment to personal leadership with a high level of motivation is a long-term process. It will take time for behavior to change and be sustained, and longer for the rewards to come. However, when the rewards do come, it will have been well worth it. The key to this process is: It is an everyday process. You must do an everyday mental tune-up to allow yourself to be the very best that you can be. Realize that you are worth the very best in life, not just in the pursuit of material items, but in the wholeness of you!

Take time today to see if you are following the suggestions above to motivate yourself to be your very best!!!

Rod

*Parts of the above article have been adapted from Motivational Speaker Thomas Young.