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Human Resources Today
Thursday
Jan252018

Let me teach you about The ONE Thing

What's the opposite of stress?

I am leading four complimentary webinars to answer this question at 6:00 a.m. PST Mondays, February 5, 12, 26, and March 5.

Don't miss it. Register here.

The opposite of stress is feeling like you are in control, achieving objectives.

How do you do it? You only achieve control over your workload when you (1) choose to work on the right priorities, (2) make timely, difficult decisions, and (3) fully commit your schedule to complete the right priorities.

This webinar series will in-part be based on one of my favorite business books, The ONE Thing. It is written by Gary Keller, the founder of Keller-Williams Realty.

Part of our journey out of stress and into fulfillment is to ask ourselves Gary's premier question:

"What is the ONE Thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?"

Isn't 2018 time for a significant, positive change?

Reserve your seat now

Gary's ONE Thing approach is awesome, it is a great starting point for anyone interested in being more productive. I have some tools that can help you achieve your ONE Thing more systematically, easier, and more consistently.

The only way we move from stress and being stuck in bad habits is to make a commitment to do something different.

Here's your chance. Register here. Join me bright and early at 6:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time for wisdom that will change your life. (Applying The ONE Thing is changing mine.)

Thursday
Jan182018

Avoid Using Broken Shovels

President Abraham Lincoln once commented, "Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe."

We regularly survey employees of Clients to assess the strength of an organization's culture and leadership systems. The survey has 50 statements. Participants are asked to agree, disagree, or label the statement "neutral" if they are ambivalent about it.

One negative answer used to surprise me, but no longer because the negativity in this area is surprisingly common.

The statement is, "My company provides me with everything I need to perform well."

Every question in our survey ideally should be answered as, "Agree" or "Strongly Agree." However, this statement is often assessed as, "Neutral," "Disagree," or "Strongly Disagree."

One critical responsibility of leaders is to give our people the tools they need to do their job. Great tools are necessary to work and compete effectively.

Therefore, prudent investment in high quality tools is just good sense. It is a requirement for your organization to thrive.

For instance, would you require someone to dig a ditch with a broken shovel?

No "broken shovels"

Of course not! No wise leader would demand a ditch be dug with broken shovels. It would be foolish or cruel, or a combination of both.

Does that mean you have to only buy the best? Not necessarily.

For instance, if you provide company cars to salespeople, should everyone be driving a Tesla?

No, unless your competitors are driving a Tesla and you cannot identify an alternative, lower-cost vehicle that reinforces the image that your organization offers the best value, expertise, and wisdom for your clients' needs.

Why should you worry about "broken shovels"?

Because most leaders assume their people have the tools they need to succeed, yet some or most of their employees disagree.

This disconnect is hurting your results.

Time for a REALITY CHECK

It is time for a reality check. How can you know for certain that your employees have the tools they need to be their best?

Ask.

In meetings with individual teams, simply ask the question:

"Are we providing you with everything you need to perform your best?"

Have the discussion as a group, because when you ask individuals they may not have the guts to tell you the truth. Also, discussing the issue with others means one person's comments may remind another person of a need they keep forgetting to mention, or have been afraid to share.

Giving your people the best tools achieves the following:

#1 - Communicates you care about them and value them as a member of your team. This demonstrates Sincere Gratitude, the third strand of 3strands LEADERSHIP.

#2 - Providing and maintaining the best possible tools for your team is part of Systematic Power, the second strand of 3strands LEADERSHIP.

#3 - Increases employee engagement, and results.

#4 - Increases employee retention.

#5 - Makes your company more attractive to top performers who consider making a career move to your organization.

Thursday
Jan112018

The 4th and Final Secret is Sanctuary

On November 30th last year I explained how to define killer TARGETs that enable you to achieve more than ever.

Then on December 7th, you learned how to avoid unnecessary drama by defining clear expectations.

On December 14th, I shared the secret of having employees define a business plan for their success - employee strategic plans.

But I promised 4 secrets to make 2018 INCREDIBLE.

Sanctuary is a combination of mental retreat, strategic planning, and self-accountability so you stay on track to achieve your best, not just something good... or "okay."

1 Degree off-course means missing your destination

Dozens of websites explain that if you are heading off into the sunset, pursuing your dreams, yet are just off-course by only one degree, then you are in deep trouble.

After you move one foot, you will miss your target by 0.2 inches.

Not a big deal, right? But you keep moving...

After 100 yards, you are now off-course by about 5.2 feet.

Just a few steps off, but more noticeable.

After a mile, you are off by about 92.2 feet - over 30 yards.

Most of us have to travel thousands of miles to reach significance.

Let's first consider a common trip: Racing from San Francisco down to Los Angeles is about a 400 mile trip. 1 Degree off-course means you will miss the address you are trying to reach by about 6 miles.

Are you getting the picture? Staying on track is more important than speed. Focus is more important than multitasking.

Here's one more: If you fly from San Francisco to the White House in Washington, D.C. to complain to the President, but are 1 degree off-course, then you arrive on the other side of Baltimore, Maryland, about 42.6 miles away the President's security team waiting to meet you at the front door of the White House.

So how do you stay on-course?

Sanctuary

Lee Iaccoca led an effort that saved Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy decades ago. One of the leadership disciplines he credited for helping achieve that success was every Sunday evening he would separate himself from the family to spend two hours in his study.

He was alone. No interruptions. No email. He held himself accountable. Being inspired by Iacocca, at the end of each hunting season (week) we should do a simple three-step accountability process:

I. Score: Did I accomplish my weekly WIN this past week? (See WIN below.)

II. Help: Where do I need help, or to make adjustments to stay on track? This can be tasks, people, resources…

III. Hunt: What should be my key objectives ("WIN") for the upcoming week?

Achieving TARGETs is primarily a function of (1) Focus; and (2) Time management. Therefore the best thing you can do is to have a weekly time to focus yourself.  I call this time, Sanctuary, because it is without interruptions. (You have to make it that way.)

There can be daily and weekly times of Sanctuary. (More on this is below.)

Do NOT open your email, instant messenger, or other communication program. Turn your cell phone face down to avoid texts. Do not answer the phone. Eliminate all distractions.

Sanctuary is a reality check of each weekly hunting cycle as you strive to hit your TARGETs.

If you are on a multi-day, or week hunt it is an expedition. Sanctuary time is crucial for you to pull out your “map” and confirm you are on track to your destination. Being “off track” focusing on less important activities is deadly to your mission.

Here are some example agendas for Sanctuary time:

Daily Sanctuary / Evening

(5-15 minutes)

  1. Self-accountability for the day. How well was each task and activity completed in my plan and schedule?
  2. Review schedule with key objectives defined for the next day.
  3. Have a reality check.
  4. Make adjustments as needed.

Weekly Sanctuary

(15-120 minutes)

Self-accountability for the week

  1. Success Rate: How well was each task and activity completed in my plan and schedule?
  2. Score: Consider my score for the week of Complete versus Incomplete tasks and activities. Learned from the result, then apply what I have learned as I continue with my accountability exercises and planning for the upcoming week.
  3. My TARGETs: What needs to be in my calendar this upcoming week so that I am on track for all of my TARGETs?
  4. My Team’s TARGETs: Review the TARGETs and/or strategic plan of each direct report. Email follow-up, add to the agenda for our upcoming meeting, and/or add to my schedule for the upcoming week anything I need to do to help them achieve their TARGETs. (ADVICE: I do not have to review our Company TARGETs because they are all covered in the Leadership Team’s SP’s, however, based on my review, I may need to update some Company TARGETs as Complete, or note activity.)
  5. Expectations: Is there anyone on my team who might think I am not meeting their expectations? Is anyone on my team failing to meet my expectations? (Define tasks/activities to take action to correct, or discuss, and then take action to correct. Schedule actions in my calendar.)
  6. Cornerstones: Where did I provide clear examples of how to live out our company culture cornerstones? Where did I fail? When did I encourage someone else to demonstrate our cornerstones? (If necessary, move this to a daily check to more fully immerse myself and my team in the strengths of our culture.)
  7. 10X-100X ROI: Recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I need to spend my time doing what will grow our team / organization 10x-100X. Where did I waste time last week by not focusing on activities that have the highest return? What needs to change in the upcoming week for me to better play to strengths and eliminate weaknesses in how I am spending my time? (Define it. Calendar the activities.) Plan my schedule for the upcoming week...
  8. Review my current schedule with key objectives defined for the upcoming week.
  9. Have a reality check. Can I actually get all of this done? Do I have a healthy balance of family time and exercise? Is there anything else I can delegate? Have I forgotten anything that needs my follow-up for accountability?
  10. Make adjustments as needed.

Download my free TARGETs guide. A full explanation of Sanctuary time starts on page 14. (Part of this guide is above, but there is a lot more.)

I waited until this week to share the 4th secret, a change of plans, to hopefully avoid missing people who were on various vacations.

Our Certified LEADER launches this afternoon. It is technically full, but we can squeeze 1-2 more people in if you are interested. Learn more here.

Wednesday
Dec272017

The value of a smile at Christmas

The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends.

Dale Carnegie decades ago wrote about the value of a smile at Christmas.

Let's consider Mr. Carnegie's wisdom as our holiday brings many of us our deepest lows, as well as some of our warmest moments.

The Value of a Smile at Christmas

It costs nothing, but creates much.

It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.

It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.

None are so rich they can get a long without it, and none are so poor but are richer for its benefits.

It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in a business, and is the countersign of friends.

It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and Nature's best antidote for trouble.

Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody till it is given away.

And if in the last-minute rush of Christmas buying some of our salespeople should be too tired to give you a smile, may we ask you to leave one of yours?

For nobody needs a smile so much as those who have none left to give!

From Dale Carnegie's book: "How To Win Friends & Influence People," which will always be on one of my bookshelves.

May you and your people be blessed this holiday season, and in the year ahead.

Thank you for allowing me to share some thoughts with you!

Thursday
Dec142017

Employee strategic plans

Job descriptions are dead because they are static documents that died on completion. Into the file folder they go... never to be seen again.

Instead, why not create a success plan for every team member?

Last week I explained how to avoid assumptions. The week before I shared secrets on how to better hit your TARGETs in 2018. Today is the 3rd of my 4 secrets to make next year, your best year.

Consider this statistic from the Gallup State of the American Workplace released in September 2014:

“Managers who focus on their employees’ strengths can practically

eliminate active disengagement

and double the average

of U.S. workers who are engaged...”

What percentage of your employees are fully engaged in pursuing a clear plan for success?

According to Tony Schwartz in The Harvard Business Review, over 100 studies conclude only 20% of your employees are fully engaged.

Kind of makes you want to puke, doesn't it?

My 4 secrets can help you turn the tide... You help them set meaningful TARGETs. You avoid assumption drama with clear Expectations.

Now let's get all of this into a strategic plan for each team member.

The Process is Simple

Here is a brief overview of the process to create and manage employee strategic plans ("SP"):

Download a complete sample employee strategic plan (Word | PDF)

#1 - Team members draft their strategic plan for success.

#2 - Meet to agree on the plan. Focus on meaningful win-win's.

#3 - Manage the plan weekly or biweekly. Stay on top of it.

#4 - Follow-up without fail.

#5 - Evolve the plan. Learn from mistakes; evolve as needed.

#6 - Celebrate accomplishments.

#7 - Renew commitment. Update plans annually.

Check out our sample plan above. Use the Word templates to create your own.

The information in the header and graphics on the first page are from our MANAGEtoWIN Talent Assessments.

Thursday
Dec072017

How to put expectations in writing

Last week I explained how to better hit your TARGETs in 2018. Today is the 2nd of my 4 secrets to make next year, your best year.

A major problem in the workplace is assumptions are made between coworkers, and between bosses and their direct reports.

The bad habit of making assumptions wastes time, increases conflict, and causes setbacks.

My Expectations exercise is an adaptation of a process developed about 20+ years ago by leadership consultant and author, Jud Boies, a friend of mine.

Written Expectations define how a professional relationship between individuals, individual and team, or between two teams will work.  

Here are three ways writing effective Expectations and its execution is similar to baking a cake:

1)  Recipe:  You need a proven, easy-to-follow recipe to bake a beautiful cake that tastes amazing.  The recipe replaces assumptions and guesses with a step-by-step process that define clear measurements.  Similarly, my Expectations Guide has 15 examples and explains the process of writing and following-through on expectations shared between two or more people.

2)  Mix & Bake: Following a sequence to get things done is often overlooked and steps are skipped in a rush to get to the final product.  This results in poorly baked cake.  Similarly, you must follow the process when writing and following-up on Expectations with others.

3)  Enjoy:  When baking a cake, you set the oven temperature and time to cook it. Otherwise the cake does not rise properly, or is under/overdone. Similarly, set a schedule to agree upon mutual Expectations with your partner/colleague/friend, and stick to it. If you do this consistently, your relationship will "rise" positively as expected.

When writing expectations, you can:

  • Describe tangible things you need from the other party to be more productive. This might include properly working equipment, reports, and other items that resolve recurring problems.
  • Define how you expect the other party to behave in your work relationship. Your list should be more than just negative behaviors that you expect the other person to correct.  Make certain your Expectations also reinforce the behaviors you appreciate and want the person to continue to demonstrate.

The Bottom Line

Do not assume the other person knows how you want them to behave. Define the behaviors you need from them to perform your best.

There is more to learn. Download my free Expectations guide. You will not only define your goals more effectively, but achieve them faster.

Email us if you need help.

Why accept anything less than the best you can be?

P.S. Next week I will share my 3rd secret to make next year your best year. It is a great reminder that you get what you expect.

P.P.S. We now have only 4 openings left in our Certified LEADER class beginning the week of January 8th! Learn more here.

Friday
Dec012017

What's the ONE thing for great leadership?

Deloitte says high leadership maturity leads to 37% higher revenue.

QUESTION: How effective are your leaders?

What's the ONE Thing that develops your young or less effective leaders to "high leadership maturity?"

TRAINING

Check out some of the key benefits of high leadership maturity from Deloitte:

Consider the cost of doing nothing, versus the benefits of developing your leaders...

We have a unique solution for I.T. managed service providers: Our Certified LEADER program that begins the week of January 8. Learn more here. There are still a few openings, but not for long...

Poor performing employees are the result of leaders with bad habits.

Improve your leaders to increase employee productivity and engagement.

Thursday
Nov302017

Set 2018 TARGETS now

2018 is one month away. In the next 4 weeks you can learn my 4 secrets to make next year, your best year.

Let me start with goals, which I call TARGETs.

T.A.R.G.E.T. goals (a "TARGET" or "TARGETs") are clear, measurable objectives with due dates that are pursued systematically to completion with encouragement, assistance, and accountability.

The acronym T.A.R.G.E.T. helps you write a clear, measurable goal with a due date in a sentence that everyone understands. Here is a quick overview:

T        To (the preposition)

A        Action verb

RG      Realistic Goal to be achieved

E         Effectively measure whether the goal has been achieved

T         Time or date for the goal to be completed

TARGETs are consistent with the SMART method of goal writing, however, TARGETs are easier to write because the acronym TARGET defines how to write the objective in a sentence. 

Here is an example of a clear, measurable TARGET: 

To increase consultant utilization rates to 78 percent for the quarter. 

To begin:                         To

Action verb:                     increase*

Realistic Goal:                  consultant utilization rates

Effective measurement:   to 78 percent average

Time bound:                     for the quarter.

ADVICE: Drop the "To" at the beginning of the sentence after you define the TARGET. Starting a TARGET with an action verb challenges people whenever they read it. For example, the TARGET above becomes: 

Increase consultant utilization rates to 78 percent for the quarter.

ADVICE: Do not write goals negatively. For instance, the TARGET above could be written as a negative: Do not allow unbillable time to exceed 22 percent average for the quarter. Instead, always develop your TARGETs to emphasize a positive contribution.

NOW LET'S MAKE IT FUN

A target in competitive archery has 10 evenly spaced concentric rings with values of 1-10, plus an "inner 10 ring" or "X ring" in the center. Striking the inner 10 ring is considering a "bullseye." Scoring values equal the number of the ring you strike. For instance, hitting the 3 ring, the third ring in from the outside, is valued at 3 points.

For our purposes we define TARGETs as:

Bullseye: Start by defining an important, clear, measurable, time-bound TARGET.

Inner Rings: List the 1-5 metrics, tasks, and/or milestones that lead to achieving the bullseye TARGET.

Outer Rings: If you want, add 1-5 metrics, tasks, and/or milestones that lead to achieving an inner ring, and ultimately the bullseye.

Here is an example:

Configure a server without errors on my own by October 30

  • Gain manager-defined experience with server administrative duties quarterly
  • Study four or more hours towards my certifications weekly
  • Share something I learn in my certification study with my team weekly
  • Achieve Microsoft MCTS: Windows 7, Configuration by end of Q2
  • Achieve SonicWALL Security Administrator (CSSA) by end of Q4
  • Actively participate in applicable Company-sponsored training activities

The TARGET: Configure a server without errors on my own by October 30.

Inner Ring example: Gain manager-defined experience with server administrative duties quarterly.

Outer Ring example: Study four or more hours towards my certifications weekly.

There is more to learn. Download my free TARGETs guide. You will not only define your goals more effectively, but achieve them faster.

Email us if you need help.

Why accept anything less than the best you can be?

P.S. Next week I will share my 2nd secret to make next year, your best year. It is a great reminder that you get what you expect.

P.P.S. We still have a few openings in our Certified LEADER class beginning the week of January 8th. Learn more here.

Tuesday
Nov072017

How the best stay focused

If you are flying one degree off-course you miss your target by 92 feet for every mile flown. For every 60 miles of flying you are one mile off your target.

That is just one degree off...

How do you stay on track to achieve your most important TARGETs, objectives, goals?

Sanctuary

Lee Iacocca led an effort that saved Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy decades ago. One of the leadership disciplines he credited for helping achieve that success was every Sunday evening he would separate himself from the family to spend two hours in his study.

He was alone. No interruptions. No email. He held himself accountable. Being inspired by Iaccoca, at the end of each hunting season (week) we should do a simple three-step accountability process:

  • Score: Did I accomplish my weekly WIN this past week?
  • Help: Where do I need help, or to make adjustments to stay on track? This can be tasks, people, resources…
  • Hunt: What should be my key objectives ("WIN") for the upcoming week?

Achieving TARGETs is primarily a function of (1) Focus; and (2) Time management. Therefore the best thing you can do is to have a weekly time to focus yourself.  I call this time, Sanctuary, because it is without interruptions. (You have to make it that way.)

There can be daily and weekly times of Sanctuary.

Wednesday
Nov012017

Keep waiting... and build into 2018

Have you ever considered that you are in a race? The longer you wait to enter the race, the farther others are ahead of you.

No comprende? Let's try it again: Professionally, you are in a race, whether you like it or not. The truth is, others are ahead of you.

Reality can be depressing.

However, there is light amidst our darkness. Some of your competitors left early, before the "starter's gun." Therefore they may be taking a path that leads to a different destination, one that accomplishes less than your vision.

Or they are not headed to your destination at all.

Technically, they are ahead of you, but that may not matter.

Also, each individual or team with whom you are competing has a different combination of strengths and weaknesses than you, and your team have.

Toe-to-toe or head-to-head, you may have an advantage.

However, this is only true if you get in the game. Procrastination is quitting before you play. Are you going to play, or procrastinate?

Often the difference between a winner and an average player is the winner got started, while the average player waited too long.

2 Months To GO - What's Your Plan?

Remember all that leadership stuff you wanted to do at the beginning of 2017, and how you wanted to address the toxic areas of your company culture?

How much progress have you made?

Now with two months left in 2017, what should you do?

ONE SOLUTION: Take a "Goldilocks approach" to address any disease infecting your leadership team and company culture during November-December 2017.

#1 - Do not go too slow

Yes, you need to have knowledge before you act.

However, knowledge without action achieves nothing. Often, it is actually a setback because it leaves you vulnerable to negative impact of your organization's (or personal life) disease(s).

Gather enough information about your most critical issues so your actions are focused on healing your true diseases, rather than distracting, emotional dramas.

#2 - Do not go too fast

Yes, you need to take action.

However, action without knowledge can cause more problems.

Prioritize the issues you want to address, clearly, specifically, and with deadlines. Create clear TARGETs in a simple one-page plan.

#3 - Goldilocks speed

Balance the research you need to do to confirm the most critical issues and timelines for resolution, with a clear, all-in commitment by your entire team to change.

Start your work now so you have momentum going into 2018. This gives you the opportunity to make next year, your best year ever.

Isn't that what we all should want?

Everybody wants to win, even though we may have different definitions of a "win." Vince Lombardi said, "Winning is a habit." Life proves that lesson to be true.

Build better habits so you can be the best leader you can be, employees can have fulfilling careers, and your clients are thankful for your services.

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