Take It to the Limit?

How fast can a person ride on a bicycle? How fast have you gone on a bicycle? I know I’ve broken 50mph (downhill, of course).

In September 2016, Denise Mueller set a new women’s bicycle speed record, 147mph.[1] And she felt that if she had a course two miles longer, she could have beaten the men’s record. Was your top estimate anywhere close to that? I haven’t even gone that fast in a car!

High speed bike

Denise did not place any artificial limits on her potential as she trained. She had realistic goals, proper equipment, and a team that supported her. At the same time, there were certainly risks involved. We can probably draw some leadership lessons from the lead car. I’ll save those for another post.

The Bike

As leaders, we continually set goals for ourselves and for our teams. Our chief aim is continued improvement: we want our performance to become better over time. But are we ever guilty of aiming too low, and holding our team back?

We know that greater expectations lead to improved performance. But have you ever had a leader who tried to limit your expectations? It can be a frustrating experience.

Yes, as leaders, we must help our teams set realistic goals; but this doesn’t mean that we should place artificial limits on our talented team members. We may have some record-breaking talent, but if we restrain them, they will never have a chance to break records.

Mark Sanborn discusses that the human tendency is to limit our disappointments by limiting our expectations.[2] If we expect too much, we will frequently become disappointed. But disappointment rarely follows low expectations.

Sanborn says: “One of the keys to continual improvement is the willingness to risk disappointment, to see disappointment not as a bad thing to be avoided but as proof positive we are aiming higher and striving to get better.”[3] He concludes that highly successful people are more often disappointed than are other people. Why are they successful? They don’t let their disappointments slow them down, or hold them back.

As leaders, we should feel empowered to help our teams become better than their best. We must remember that this improvement is incremental. Elite Olympians don’t double their performance overnight. Frequently their coached improvements come as tenths of seconds are shaved off from their best times.

As leaders and coaches in other fields, we might ask these questions:

  1. What are the best metrics for evaluating your team’s performance? Hint: it is rarely money.
  2. What degree of improvement is appropriate for the tasks performed by your team? Remember the Olympians: the increments should be appropriate for the task and the team.
  3. What type of motivation is most appropriate for your team, including rewards for achieving the objectives? Sometimes a simple “thank you” is sufficient; other times it will be grossly inadequate. On the other hand, if you feel you must hover over your team and crack a whip over them, you will need to examine your “motivational” techniques.
  4. What is an appropriate time frame? It is important to balance the potential for disappointment with the potential for growth, and create a realistic time frame.
  5. Are you risking your own job by risking disappointment? This is a difficult situation for a leader: you may need to temper your risks, but don’t eliminate them.

Now some personal questions from Sanborn[4]:

  1. How do you imagine yourself becoming better than you already are?
  2. How do you overcome the limitation of your experiences?

You cannot help your team grow if you are not growing yourself. Coach Lou Holtz is fond of saying “You are either growing or you are dying.” Choose growth.

A good leader enables his team to become better than their best by setting them up to excel.


Pictures courtesy of Project Speed, via Velo News


[1] For details on how she did it, follow this link: http://www.velonews.com/2016/09/news/ca-woman-rides-her-bicycle-147-mph-a-new-world-record_420507#2gpxGMoWiLSm285y.99.

[2] Sanborn, M. The Potential Principle, p. 9. 2017.

[3] Ibid., p. 9.

[4] Ibid., p. 9.

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Presidential BHAG’s

Footprint on moonAs I reflect on those who have served as President of the United States in my lifetime, there have been the good, the great, the mediocre, and the others. The perspective of history will sort that out.

An unspoken expectation is for each President to lead the nation. While each led in some manner, some exhibited strong leadership skills; others were weaker.

We have had the opportunity to visit the Presidential Libraries of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, and while at each one, my thoughts were drawn to President John F. Kennedy. He did something that none of his successors have done, and honestly may not do again. What did he do? He challenged the people of the U.S. to meet a difficult goal. This challenge unified the nation, and we ultimately succeeded.

This challenge was extended to a joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961. Said Kennedy: “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”[i]Mecury-Atlas 4

A good leader gives challenges that help his people grow. There are elements to his challenge that leaders can draw from.

  1. Kennedy did his homework. He had some background knowledge. He gave specifics in his challenge. He had an estimate of the costs involved, and was aware of the technology that existed as well as what was needed.
  2. Kennedy knew he could not accomplish this on his own. In fact he lacked the skills required to execute the actions he was proposing. He empowered those who had the necessary skills and challenged: “every scientist, every engineer, every serviceman, every technician, contractor, and civil servant” to give “his personal pledge that this nation will move forward, with the full speed of freedom, in the exciting adventure of space.”[ii] He urged Congress to provide them with the resources to do what he asked.Apollo 11 engineers
  3. He provided a unifying rationale. “Now it is time to take longer strides–time for a great new American enterprise–time for this nation to take a clearly leading role in space achievement, which in many ways may hold the key to our future on earth.”[iii] Remember that this was in response to the Soviet Union developing manned space capabilities, in connection with the Cold War.
  4. He set a deadline for the project. The time frame was demanding, and the goal was not a simple one. But this created a sense of urgency, and work began immediately, and continued in spite of disappointments and disasters. He said that the “risk enhances our stature.”[iv]
  5. He created a spirit of competition. And then he said it wasn’t exactly a competition: “This is not merely a race. Space is open to us now; and our eagerness to share its meaning is not governed by the efforts of others.”[v] This served to motivate everyone involved. And all Americans were involved, in one way or another.Gemini 7 rendezvous with Gemini 6
  6. Kennedy appealed to our patriotism, our “team spirit.” In a speech at Rice University in 1962 which served as an update on progress (another important element) and an announcement of what would become “Mission Control” in Houston, he said: “The exploration of space will go ahead, whether we join in it or not, and it is one of the great adventures of all time, and no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.”[vi]
  7. He asked for a firm commitment. This is absolutely critical in achieving a goal, especially an overwhelming goal like Kennedy’s. “Let it be clear that I am asking the Congress and the country to accept a firm commitment to a new course of action, a course which will last for many years and carry very heavy costs.”[vii] There was absolute transparency in his request, long before we started demanding transparency of our leaders.Apollo 14 launch
  8. Finally, he issued a call to action, and a request for all to make the necessary sacrifices to achieve this goal. He knew this was a hard thing to do, and asked us to do it because we do hard things.

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”[viii] He continued, “Space is there, and we’re going to climb it, and the moon and the planets are there, and new hopes for knowledge and peace are there. And, therefore, as we set sail we ask God’s blessing on the most hazardous and dangerous and greatest adventure on which man has ever embarked.”[ix]

Armstrong descends ladder

What was amazing to me as a child now seems somewhat commonplace to most people. There were 135 Space Shuttle missions, and numerous trips to the International Space Station that no longer capture the imagination of the public. But this would not have become so ordinary if President Kennedy had not set his BHAG[x] in motion.

A good leader gives challenges that inspire his people to stretch and grow; a great leader gives challenges that unify and motivate.

——————————————————

Special thanks to NASA for the images from the gallery at https://images.nasa.gov.

————————————————————————–

[i] Speech before a Joint Session of Congress, 25 May 1961. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/United-States-Congress-Special-Message_19610525.aspx

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid. Many of the technologies we take for granted were developed for the space program and later found use in civilian life. Examples include personal computers, microwave ovens, freeze-dried ice cream, and even the satellite systems we rely on for weather and for locating ourselves.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Speech at Rice University, 12 September 1962. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Rice-University_19620912.aspx

[vii] Speech before a Joint Session of Congress, op cit. Remember that he proposing an expenditure of $7-9 billion per year on this project, a fittingly astronomical amount for 1961. At Rice, he proposed an expenditure of $.50 per week for every man, woman and child in the U.S. to continue this endeavor.

[viii] Speech at Rice University, op cit.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Big Hairy Audacious Goal. This idea came from the book, “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. Their acronym refers to a long-term, usually large-scale goal that changes the very nature of an organization.

Have You Lost Your Leadership Jingle?

antique_christmas_sleigh_bells_on_a_leather_strap_615af543

This morning, I heard an old Christmas song playing a store: Bobby Vinton singing “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle.” His recording was released in 1964, but it was written by Burt Bacharach in 1957.[1]

This is a corny Christmas song with a moral, which was a popular genre in the 50’s and 60’s. It is in the musical style of the song factory writers of that era.[2]

But today, a line at the end of the first verse caught my attention: “The bell that couldn’t jingle: it had nothing there inside.” It’s an interesting thought. Most bells have a clapper or a ball to create noise. The poor bell in the song had nothing inside.

How are you jingling as a leader?[3]

Is there something there inside? You may have noticed that at times there truly is “nothing left inside.” Can you recognize when that happens?

How can you regain your lost jingle?

In the song, Santa has Jack Frost freeze the little bell’s teardrop and put it in the bell so that our hero could jingle happily on Santa’s sleigh.[4]

jingle-bells

Here are some suggestions.

  1. Reevaluate and update your goals. If your goals are dated or unrealistic, they can cause you to lose your jingle. Current, relevant goals that are meaningful to you can help bring back some of your jingle.
  2. Reevaluate your motivations in life. This ties in with looking at your goals. Why do you do what do? Is it enough to ring your bells?
  3. Seek feedback from trusted colleagues or a supervisor. Sometimes a second or even a third pair of eyes can help you find out why your bells aren’t jingling. Sometimes your spouse or significant other can chime in and help.
  4. Take time to recharge. Everyone needs a break to regain perspective. Whether you are in search of your lost shaker of salt or your jingle, you won’t find it if your nose is always to the grindstone.
  5. More cowbell. Just kidding. Or maybe not. Sometimes your bell has to be struck from the outside. There are days when we need external help to make our noise.

more_cowbell_grande

If you recognize that your jingle isn’t jingling, take the necessary steps to get your jingle back. Don’t be a ding-a-ling about it.

A good leader can jingle all the way.

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[1] Other recordings include Bobby Helms (1965), Burt Bacharach himself (1967?), and Herb Alpert (1968). Vinton’s was the B-side of Jingle Bell Rock.

[2] I have nothing against Bacharach. His songs are timeless, and he was a good composer with a distinctive sound. But his was among the music that our parents listened to in the 60’s. Need I say more?

[3] I am not referring to the times when the jingling gets annoying.

[4] See, I did say it was corny. And because I live in Southern California, that bell would lose its jingle again when Santa gets here.

Teachable Moments

Some great thoughts on leadership as a parent, a coach, and as a professional!

I Refuse To Follow Your Blog

teachable

I hear a lot of stories in my office that typically leave me shaking my head in disbelief.  One such story took place this morning while two guys were discussing why their daughters decided to quit playing sports.  

Both of them expressed that their children were demoted from starting positions on their respective volleyball teams to second string, and since these little high-school darlings thought they were so much better than the coaches opinions, neither of them wanted to play sports anymore…

so they both quit.  

What left me shaking my head wasn’t that they quit, it was when I heard these two fathers express their views about their daughters.

For some reason the “two most pathetic dad’s in the worldcondoned the actions of their daughters and praised them for standing up for their right to play.

Seriously?  

What’s more, and what I find ironic is that the two pathetic dad’s are…

View original post 600 more words

Hello, My Name is Bob—and I’m an Egomaniac

I love the concept of servant leadership. I believe that this is applicable in any leadership situation. I have even seen military leadership blogs that have discussed its importance in leading the troops.
Blanchard has made this a focus of many recent posts, and this one really resonated with me. Especially the question about recalibrating oneself.
The original post can be read here.

How We Lead

I want to share a method for getting your ego out of the way and clear your path to becoming a servant leader. There are two sides of the human ego that can cause trouble. One is false pride—when you think more of yourself than you should. When this occurs, you spend most of your time looking for ways to promote yourself. The other is fear—when you think less of yourself than you should. In this case, you spend time constantly trying to protect yourself.

I love to start meetings with an Egos Anonymous session. It is a simple but powerful opening activity with a format similar to one used in many 12-step programs. Individuals stand up, introduce themselves, and then share an example of how they have let their ego get in the way of being their best. For example, I would say, “Hi, I’m Ken, and I’m an…

View original post 397 more words

The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

In the seemingly endless Presidential campaign in the U.S., we are surrounded by chronic complainers. Countless friends complain about the choices (or the lack thereof) available to us. Venom and bile are flowing thick and fast. People become hateful and more and more angry.

But the one constant I have noted, regardless of party affiliation, is that among all the complainers, no one is offering any solutions. The ceaseless yammering is not accomplishing anything, except for fomenting more anger.

Not a very productive activity.

Do you know a chronic complainer? Do you have to work with one? Are you responsible for one?

No one likes being around complainers; we all become uncomfortable when we have to listen to too many complaints. 

How you deal with this as a leader? Dan Rockwell shared some ideas.

This is a repost of his blog post on Leadership Freak.


The 4 Hidden Agendas Concealed in Complaints

The “make it go away” fairy doesn’t exist. Ignored complaints fester.

Uncover the real dissatisfaction before solving complaints.

chronic complainers want to look caring and innocent while talking mean and ugly

The 4 hidden agendas concealed in complaints:

  1. “You should have ….” You caused the problem because you dropped the ball.
  2. “What are you going to do about this?” Whiners want – no expect – you to make it better.
  3. “I’m not happy.” Chronic complainers don’t own the real issue. They want something for themselves.
  4. “I want to look good while I talk bad.” Complainers use compassion as camouflage. They’re complaining because they “care”.

Establish the intent of complaint conversations:

  • What outcome would you like from this conversation? Don’t have conversations when intentions are undeclared, obscure, or unknown. If they don’t know what they want, have them come back when they do.
  • Are you looking for a solution or time to vent? (Ask this when you know and trust each other.) Some issues are solved with an ear.

Second venting sessions are complaints. It’s time to design solutions.

Explore the hidden agenda:

#1. If we could go back…

  • What should have happened to prevent this problem?
  • What could you have done to prevent this problem?
  • What could I have done to prevent this problem?

#2. What would you like me to do about this? Asking doesn’t mean you’re going to do it. It’s the beginning of a conversation about real solutions.

An alternative: What would you like me to do for you?

#3. What needs to happen for you to feel good, when our conversation is over in twenty minutes?

#4. If you don’t mind me asking, “What makes you care about this?” Explore assumptions and values.

Nagging issues intensify with time.

What hidden agendas might complainers have?

How might leaders deal with underlying issues?


The original post may be viewed here.

Equip your crew with the right tools

The question What's in Your Toolbox? asking if you have the skil

As a young Boy Scout, I had the opportunity to lead a group of my peers as a Patrol Leader in the Flaming Arrow Patrol. We developed into a strong patrol, and became good friends. But when I was elected Senior Patrol Leader, it became apparent that I hadn’t ensured for proper leadership succession. In fact, at age 14, I wasn’t even aware of the principle.

On the first campout with the new Patrol Leader, everything was going well until they realized they had forgotten a spatula to turn their pancakes. Since they had already mixed the pancake batter, and were hungry, they came up with a novel idea: scrambled pancakes. The pancakes were stirred with a fork, just like scrambled eggs. The result did not look appetizing, but the guys were hungry, and ate it anyway.  Ask any member of Troop 592 from that era about scrambled pancakes, and you’ll have a good laugh.

And the Flaming Arrows never forgot to have the proper cooking utensils again.

 

The important lesson from the experience is that in order to perform a task effectively, the right tools are necessary. If an individual doesn’t have the right tools, their assignment is destined for failure.

RightTool

Although different tasks require different tools, there are some common tools that must me be available in order to succeed.

  1. Empowerment When given an assignment, whether it be installing a new faucet or leading a team, an individual must be given the authority to perform the task and to make the necessary decisions that will be faced along the way. Without this empowering, the task cannot be completed.
  2. Expectations If you cannot clarify expectations, don’t make the assignment. If I am installing a faucet, the basic expectations are: properly mounted, tight connections, hot water on the left and cold on the right. But what if the client has additional expectations that weren’t conveyed to me?
    In leading a team, some basic expectations will be obvious as well. But what is the ultimate goal? Do I follow a marked path or must I discover my own? If these and other questions are not clarified, the leader may not meet the unspoken expectations.
  3. Education A certain degree of training and orientation is necessary for any job. In any field, it may be assumed that the individual has a basic knowledge of the task at hand. But unlike the journeyman plumber who has installed thousands of faucets, and has access to a basin wrench and other devices to facilitate the job, the new leader may not even have a toolbox, much less the necessary tools to complete the job.
    Education ties in closely with empowerment and expectations. When a new leader is asked to lead a team, the supervising leader should determine the extent of the new leader’s knowledge and make certain to fill in the gaps.
  4. Evaluation How do we measure success? What tools do we use for this? How frequently will the measurements be taken, and how frequently will constructive feedback be given? Just as educators use rubrics to help define success for their students, the elements of success should be well-defined for the new leader.
    When a faucet is installed, the apprentice plumber will require more evaluations than the experienced journeyman will. The expectations at each step should be understood.
    When leading a team, sometimes the specifics are harder to define. But the new leader cannot succeed without understanding what will be evaluated.

222130-a-construction-inspector-pointing-with-concern-to-his-report-on-this-clipboard-isolated-Stock-Photo

If a new leader is not equipped with the right tools, he may be doomed to failure. Whether it be a pancake turner, a basin wrench, or a thorough understanding of the assignment, the right tools are critical for completing the job.

030711feature_f2_1

Are you giving your crew the right tools? A good leader will ensure that a well-stocked toolbox is available.

The 5 Times Your Leadership Is Guaranteed to Fail

Lolly Daskal is another leadership blogger whom I have been following for some time. Her frequent posts have given me food for thought as I lead, and as I observe others lead.

In this post, she names five key characteristics of a good leader. Everyone has their own list, but I think that these five points are absolutely essential. Read this and see if you don’t agree.

The 5 Times Your Leadership Is Guaranteed to Fail

Posted on 17 May, 2016 by Lolly Daskal

Missed target

We all want leadership to be successful. But some circumstances are reliable pointers to failure. Learn what they are and how to avoid them.

Done right, leadership is difficult. It brings great rewards, but at great risk. You have to put yourself on the line—so when you do, you want the best possible odds of success.

In some situations, though, failure is all but guaranteed. Here are five of the most common. Get to know them so you can steer far clear.

  1. When there is no trust. Leadership is about credibility and reliability; to be an effective leader, your followers must have trust in you. That’s why it’s critical to always take responsibility for your actions. Make sure your people feel guided and supported in their work and show that they can trust your leadership.
  2. When there is no character. Leaders build excellence—helping their team become all that they are capable of. To reach that level of excellence requires leadership that is grounded in character. Excellence starts with leaders of strong character who model doing what is right, not what is easy.
  3. When there is no communication. No one ever became a great leader without first becoming a great communicator. Successful leaders connect with people on an emotional level every time they speak. Their words build relationships, teach, and inspire others. Great communication also means listening well and treating your team with candor and honesty.
  4. When there is no respect. You can’t lead anyone who doesn’t respect you, and it’s hard to lead those you don’t also respect. Respect must be first given before its earned. That means thinking about every small thing you do as a leader and how it is perceived. Leaders who know how to give the utmost respect will receive respect, in the form of loyalty and performance.
  5. When there is no ability. To be successful requires tactical and technical proficiency. In any organization it is the leader’s capabilities and performance that set the tone for the team’s engagement. Leadership is empty without an understanding of the work at hand, and the best leaders work constantly to improve their expertise.

How is your own leadership looking? Are you doing what it takes to propel it forward?

Lead from within: Decide what kind of leader you going to be—the kind who is content to think of themselves as the best, or the one of the few greats whose leadership achieves the highest levels.

The original post may be found here.

15 Phrases You Need to Say to Yourself More Often

This is another post that I felt I should share in its original form. Lolly Daskal is a regular contributor to Inc. and Forbes, and has a great deal of good advice to leaders at all levels. This article is full of just plain good advice for anyone.
Discover how positive affirmations and encouraging phrases can keep you on point.
CREDIT: Getty Images

Careers and lives are too often hectic these days, making it easy to lose touch with who you are and who you want to be. Just as you’d speak positively to someone else to help keep the person on track, talking to yourself is a way to guide and motivate yourself. Positive affirmations and self-talk can be a powerful force in reminding you of the most important things.

Here are 15 phrases you should say to yourself more often to create the kind of life that will help you become the best version of yourself.

1. I would rather be kind than be right. You don’t always have to be the smartest or sharpest–sometimes the best thing to do is to be kind whenever you can, realizing how much strength and restraint it sometimes takes. When you make kindness a habit, it will be returned to you 10-fold.

2. I’m never too busy. The most successful people have time for others; it’s those who have a hard time getting things done who are too busy to spend time with colleagues, friends, and family. Keep your priorities in order and work to become the kind of person who says, “I’m never too busy.”

3. I will say what I mean and mean what I say. Make it an absolute policy to give people the information they need rather than expecting them to know the unknowable. Communication is the key to great relationships, and lack of communication is the source of a huge amount of conflict.

4. I am tough and yet I am patient. Be tough and be patient, because someday this pain you are going through is going to be useful; one day your struggle will make sense. Pain is a sign that something needs to change, a wake-up call that guides you toward a better future. So keep your heart open and do what it takes to stay tough and patient.

5. I am a student. Prepare for success by keeping your mind conditioned to always be curious, open to questions, wanting to learn. Remember if you stay ready, you don’t have to prepare when opportunity knocks.

6. I will stop being a fixer. How often do you find yourself wanting to fix things for others, giving constant advice and interference? Then at the end you discover that you’ve turned out to be an enabler rather than a helper. People need a listening ear more than advice; they want to know what they’re capable of, not what you can do to fix them.

7. I will stop judging and criticizing. Everyone is fighting some kind of battle, and frankly you don’t have a clue what most people you encounter every day are going through–just as they have no clue what you are going through. If you don’t want to be judged or critiqued, stop doing it to others.

8. I will be consistent in my choices and my daily actions. Live your life in a way that leaves no room for regret; never let the odds keep you from doing what you know in your heart you are meant to do. Continue to make consistent choices and take daily actions and work hard at what you love, no matter what the challenges are.

9. I accept that my mistakes are a big part of being successful. We all make mistakes, but you don’t have to make your mistakes your fate. Instead, realize that mistakes are part of every successful story. If you learn from them and adapt with them, you can make mistakes a source of learning. What can you do to make your mistakes OK?

10. I will stop making promises I cannot keep. If you say you are going to do something, do it. It’s easy to make promises, much harder to keep them. If you want people to trust you, underpromise and overdeliver on everything you do.

11. I know my experience is my best teacher. Don’t chase the experiences of others or try to memorize their lessons. Learn from others, of course, but remember that this is your life and your circumstances. Learn for yourself from your own experience, determine the best practice, and then do your thing.

12. I will allow my character to speak for itself. Make sure you live in such a way that if someone decided to speak badly about you, no one would believe it. Allow your character to speak for itself.

13. I cannot control everything, but I can always control my response. We cannot control many things, but we can control one thing–how we respond. Instead of trying to change what you cannot control, work on controlling your own attitude and actions. Say to yourself, I am in control of my responses. They can either be good for me or bad for me, but that is my choice.

14. I will stop comparing myself with others. No two people are alike, with the same gifts or strengths. At the end of the day, you are competing only against yourself and no one else. The sooner you understand this, the better off you will be.

15. I will work on the relationships that matter to me. All successful relationships require work; they don’t just happen. They exist and thrive when all parties put their hearts and minds in it. In human relationships, the distance is not measured in miles but in love. Two people can be right next to each other and ignore each other completely. Resolve to stay in daily touch with the people who are important in your life–not because it’s easy or convenient, but because they’re worth the effort.

The original article may be found here: 15 Phrases

How to Become a Light in the Fog

Dan Rockwell writes some great blog posts on leadership. This one resonated with me this morning, and I thought I should repost it. Thank you, Dan!

I’ve heard managers complain, “These people just don’t get it.”

Poor management is the reason people inside organizations are in the fog.

confusion is your opportunity to become a light in the fog

Impose the job of creating clarity on yourself. Stop complaining about people who don’t get it. Confusion in others is your opportunity to become a light in the fog.

Lean into confusion, not away from it.  Confusion is your friend.

Managers who embrace and then solve confusion move forward. Everyone else is lost in the fog, even if they’re working hard.

Ron Wallace, former president of UPS International has a plan for lifting the fog.

4 ways to become a light in the fog:

#1. State your expectations and then follow up.

“There is nothing more frustrating for motivated people than not knowing exactly what is expected of them.” Ron Wallace in Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver

  1. Describe the results you want.
  2. Explain the standards the results must meet.
  3. Define the deadline. (Is it flexible or set.)
  4. Set the budget.
  5. Identify resources.
  6. Relate any constraints (sacred cows to avoid).
  7. Establish the when and how of reporting progress.
  8. Outline how performance will be measured.
  9. Make yourself available to help.

#2. Translate expectations into deliverables.

Explain expectations. Don’t tell talented people how to deliver.  “You placed these people in positions because they know how to do it.” Wallace

#3. Hold people accountable.

“If you don’t follow through with both inspections and acknowledgements, it is easy for people to think that what they’re doing isn’t important.” Wallace

#4. Check your own progress regularly.

“The gap between a leader’s expectations and a follower’s actions is usually more about their relationship than it is about matters of substance.” Wallace

You find success by delivering results through relationships.

How might leaders/managers create greater clarity?

Original post can be found here: Light in the Fog