Friday, August 26, 2011

Give or Take

Ever been in that position where an opportunity is given and then taken away just as quickly?
You are surprised to be included, puffing up with pride at the thought of the involvement you will have in this project, perhaps even as the lead....and what happens?  The opportunity dissolves right before your eyes for any multitude of reasons - lack of funding, change in priorities, a more seasoned employee is on the team.
What do you do?
...find a way to duplicate the opportunity through it as if you were still in motion so that you can test out your planning and organizational skills
...discuss and see if it can be modified to a smaller version or a test/pilot - this will show your initiative along with your flexibility
...always say thank you for the opportunity and consideration - both mean a lot.

Friday, August 19, 2011

No Thank You

Working with a group of people or even one other single person, leaves you with the opportunity to say 'Thank You' at the end of the day, or project/assignment or even for a simple discussion.
The issue is that not many people realize the importance of 'Thank You'.

A friend started at a new job in the last month.  Requested to join the company because of his skill at turning businesses around, he was excited to get started.  Implementing small changes after a period of overview and understanding, he started to host daily meetings with the entire team.  The meeting was short, always started off with something that was positive, gave good information about what was in progress and coming up in the future and always ended with 'Thanks for what you are doing for XXXX in the community.  Work safe.'  He was taken aback when, after the second or third daily meeting a group approached him and said "we have never been thanked before, thank you for making our work worthwhile".  Kind of profound.  Thought I would share.

Think about how you end your day or your time with someone.  How do you say Thank You!?

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Lightbulb

When asked why you do what you do, what do you say?
...because  I make good money?
....because I get weekends off?
....because I set my own hours?
Usually not.  Usually there is something else that drives us.  Something like...
..passion for the subject-matter
....service of others
...doing good (not just well)
...enjoyment of the journey
...solving the puzzle
And knowing this, then finding this daily occupation, our life's work is really what is fulfilling.
For me, I call this 'the lightbulb'.  I love to see the 'click' in my clients.  The moment when they shift to new thoughts and ideas, the moment they see what is possible, no longer impossible.  The actions they develop after this click are rewarding for them and for me.  It is the next step on their journey.
So what is your 'lightbulb'?  As a leader, you have one, you simply need to recognize it, own it and live it.
It may mean changes in what you do or how you do it. It may be uncomfortable recognizing it...and that is OK, that is how we grow.
What do you do when you work for or with someone who does not have a lightbulb? (stop laughing, I don't mean they are dim-witted, more not following their passion)
....ask them if they are happy?
....ask them what they would do if they could do anything in the world?
...ask them their next step in changing their future?  After all, why live so unhappily.

Friday, August 5, 2011

A Lot, Too Late

Leaders are born with ears.  Most of them, anyway.  And you would think that they would use them for good instead of evil.  Well, not necessarily evil - just to do nothing.

Here is the's performance appraisal time.  A self-appraisal is requested by all team leaders to be submitted before the actual performance appraisal is conducted.  This is standard operating procedure in many organizations.  This self-appraisal helps individuals see their accomplishments and their performance gaps making it much easier on the manager delivering the actual appraisal - let's face it - we are usually harder on ourselves than our bosses are in these terms.

So the self- appraisal is handed in.  On the day of the appraisal, this leader asks his team member to attend the meeting.  And the meeting this way...the leader takes out the self-appraisal and writes checkmarks where he agrees and 'x's' where he does not.  Little discussion, little dialogue, no inkling of what the employee can do to improve for next year.

But there's more...
The following year, the leader has moved on to a different position.  A new manager is in place and it is appraisal time.  She asks that the self-appraisal be brought to the appraisal meeting....not to be reviewed by her before.  She actually does not have an appraisal written for the meeting but states that there is no increase this year because targets have not been met.  It's discretionary, she says!

What do you do?  Ask the obvious question, what is this based on as you are a new manager and no objectives were in place to measure against anyway?  The answer is - take it up with the last manager, that is the answer they provided for me to give you.

Whoa!  All kinds of issues.  Where to begin.  This employee asked for clarification from senior leaders - none ever came.  Instead what came was a barrage of visitors to the area to see if things were up to snuff.  Needless to say, there are still no specific objectives except for 'reach the goals'.

Got a story like this one?  Share here!