Wednesday, February 23, 2011

YOU are the New Leader

You are starting in a new high level leadership role in a new company. You have industry knowledge and know the top leadership from your previous company. How do you get started? I have been watching your organization’s attempt to work through restructuring, redeveloping itself to be more competitive in the marketplace.

Here is what I see - The new leader will bring in their own team. It has already started from the top level, that’s why you are here.

• My question about this is why, if you left a company are you bringing them all with you? Hopefully you have prepared new challenges for this team in the new organization to develop their talent as well as the talent within the organization.

• My next question is how did you evaluate and eliminate current team members to bring in your own replacements? Did you look at performance on paper, in the field, hear from colleagues, peers and their reports, or was it simply from the last leader’s notes and information?

• My last question is how are you going to replace the cultural/tribal knowledge that has now left your organization? Or does it even matter to you? Are you trying to be seen as the new, innovative, sharp-shooter who is ‘laying down the law’, ‘shaking things up’, setting an example for everyone? Good try.

The way I see it, you have a lot of work ahead of you. You need to win over the current team or whoever is left. You are making a great case for a mass exodus of talent and knowledge. You are setting up your clients for disappointment with ineffective follow up and service when everyone is replaced and time is required to get processes back in place.

Chin up Buddy! You were brought in for a reason – perhaps you should get the chip off your shoulder and step back, getting a good view of the whole picture before you get cracking.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Find Purpose

Here is a quick story. The leader of a team of 5 people has not communicated with one member of the team in 28 days. The team member has sent the usual weekly reports, emails etc. All not acknowledged, not responded to and absolutely no oral communication, not even a meeting scheduled. The leader used to have weekly meetings and at one point in the beginning of the year, completely wiped out all meetings from his calendar and so it also wiped out the meetings on his team’s calendars.

This tells a story of purpose. What purpose did this leader serve if business could operate as usual without any communication from them? What purpose was there for the leader to not communicate for such a long period of time? What purpose is there for submitting reports that are not acknowledged? All is time wasted. And left behind is also a bad taste in the mouths of the team, lack of recognition and the potential for sub-par performance.

How did the story end? The team performed well without the leader because they felt more empowered and less micro-managed, although they were guessing the fate of their leader. The meetings were cancelled because the leader was moved into a new area – though the team was not told until later in the month. Then all the actions made sense.

In the end, it left the team wondering what purpose they served....if they were not important enough to be included in the conversation earlier so they could redirect their inquiries.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Freight Train

Do You Run Full Speed Ahead?  Are you the leader who is really a freight train in disguise?  You speed through everything and hope that everyone is on board.  You wonder why, at the end of the line, that the train has lost it's load or the cars have been left behind and you are there alone?

It is easy in this life to move quickly. Especially in our work lives. Take a few minutes to examine how fast you are going and what you may be missing.

Does Haste replace of quality?

Do you create a Flurry of activity and not necessarily progress?

Is it Necessary to win every battle, not letting others feel listened to?

Do I look at my priorities or my stake, or involvement only and not the impact on others or for their input?

Do I Weigh my plate before accepting or adding more?

Do I Keep a project planner and balance it?

Do I move to completion before all ends are securely tied up, just because the due date it here?

Do I Get all obstacles eliminated before I say I am finished?

Do I ask for and Clean up every last question?

The questions above could help you slow your pace a little, or at least check in on productivity versus execution. Speed can be beneficial if taken with the diligence that is required to create good work. Speed is not to be confused with sense of urgency....that is an attitude and mind-set, not a velocity

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Equal VS. Fair

The Difference Between Equal and Fair

Many new leaders have difficulty with the concepts of equal and fair.  Some believe that everyone needs to be treated the same while others believe in treating others as individuals.  Looking at the difference between equal - every one is the same, versus fair - everyone is taken care of in the manner that works best for them, is the eye-opener that new leaders need.

Poor leaders forget this altogether and may never see the injustice they are doing to themselves and others.

How I see 'equal vs fair' in action, is that equal is a division into parts, everyone/everything is the same on all sides.

Fair is about how people feel about the outcome of a specific situation. Were all parties satisfied with the results? This may not mean happy about the results, but satisfied that all areas were looked after and treated with dignity and respect. It is more about listening and understanding the situation as opposed to making a blanket statement to cover everyone.

Pay attention to the decisions your are making. Are they fair? Or are you focusing on equal to save time and feel better about yourself in the decision, instead of feeling good about the decision itself?