Time makes elephants fat

September 18, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog  Article

How To Confront Situations You Should Have Dealt With Sooner

“If you think it’s difficult to have a tough conversation today, waiting makes it worse. Time makes elephants fat, complacent, and harder to confront.

Patience: It’s not patient to tolerate poor performance. It’s neglect.  Poor performance, bad behaviors, and difficult situations continue until leaders speak up. Be patient after you bring up issues.

The conversation you should have had:

Kind candor and courageous vulnerability chart the path forward, when you should have said something sooner.

#1. Don’t lay the law down. Delay elevates frustration. Anger fuels courage. You end up sharing a piece of your mind you can’t afford to lose.

#2. Don’t speak to the whole team when there’s one offender. One person habitually leaves early, arrives late to meetings, or misses deadlines. Have a one-on-one, even though group comments feel safer.

#3. Meet resistance with courageous vulnerability. Tom habitually misses deadlines, for example. When you bring it up, he protests. ‘Why didn’t you say something sooner?’

Tom is right. Don’t defend or explain. Apologize. ‘You’re right Tom. I apologize for not bringing this up sooner. Tolerating this wasn’t fair to you or the team. I’m dealing with it now. Can we fix this?’ Wait for Tom to say, ‘Yes.’

Resistance turns to participation with “Yes”.

4 Tips:

  1. Build positive relationships. Have lots of positive conversations.
  2. Bring up issues when issues are small. ‘I notice you missed your last deadline.’
    1. What are you learning?
    2. What will you do next time?
    3. How can I help?
  3. Take excuses seriously. When Tom says, ‘I’m terrible with time management,’ ask, ‘What would you like to do about that?’
  4. Develop a plan to solve issues. Don’t simply declare that you expect things to change.

Patience with poor performance eventually becomes permission to perform poorly. Approval becomes abuse.”


The single most important question

September 18, 2017

By Todd Ordal via cobizmag.com   Article

Wells Fargo ignored the single most important question

“Regulators recently pinched Wells Fargo, the country’s largest bank, for ‘scamming’ some customers — signing them up for services they didn’t order. Management fired 5,300 people over a five-year period …

The activity that caused the dustup was ‘cross selling’ products, e.g., ‘Would you like fries with that burger?’ If I were in management at Wells or any other bank, I’d promote the same thing. Customers have multiple needs, and addressing them profitably and to their benefit is good business. Ever bought a new suit and not have the salesperson ask if you needed a tie to match?

The challenge is the voracity with which Wells went after this objective, with some managers holding several meetings a day to review goals.

When you pay people for an activity, it works. When you push people for activity, it works. When you push people too hard and tie their pay to certain activity, it often produces an unintentional, unwanted variety of creativity.

It’s easy to fault Wells Fargo’s management folks, and they deserve it. However, it’s not easy to draw the line between effective compensation and goal-setting and pressure that causes cheating. The pressure, of course, can be internally as well as externally imposed. Remember Lance Armstrong?

Unintended consequences are by definition hard to plan for because they’re unintended! However, if you push too hard for certain behavior or tie compensation (and continued employment) extremely tightly to behavior, you’d better have thought through all the ways that someone can achieve the objective, whether legitimate or not!

In the bank’s case, the question the scammers and management intentionally ignored is, ‘Is this the right thing for the customer?’

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf said that those who were fired had violated the culture. My definition of culture is the ‘accumulation of the behaviors that you reward and allow.’ It has little to do with posters and platitudes.

What you do is more important than what you say. Senior management owns culture because they set the tone. Firing 5,300 people for violating the culture should indicate to senior leadership that the ‘real’ culture is screwed up.

Grey areas are fascinating! Compensation, goal-setting and performance management are critically important to think through as a leader. Even the right programs and policies when pushed too far become dangerous.”


Yes, and… vs. No, but…

September 18, 2017

By Pascal Finette via read.theheretic.org   Article

“Yesterday I had the great fortune to sit in on one of Google’s internal Design Thinking workshops where the participants were reminded of the incredible power of saying ‘yes, and… as opposed to ‘no, but…’

It goes a little like this: Highly trained, intelligent creatures we are, we often instinctively go into ‘let me point out the flaws in your idea’–mode when presented with an idea. What sadly happens in this way is that we shut down ideas instead of building on them and making them bigger, bolder and better. We say ‘No, but…’ — which might feel good at the moment (as it demonstrates our intellectual capacity) and sadly does little to the idea and person presenting said idea.

Instead train yourself to use ‘Yes, and…’ as your instinctive answer. ‘Yes, and…’ acknowledges the idea and builds on it — enabling and fostering an environment teeming with creativity.

Try it out for yourself: Have someone come up with an idea or suggestion, say for example an idea for a summer team outing. Answer with ‘No, but…’. Let the other person come up with another plan and repeat the ‘No, but…’ rebuttal. Repeat this a few more times and see how frustrating the process becomes. Now switch it around and respond with ‘Yes, and…’ to the same idea — building on the notion you heard and let the other person react to it, upon you respond again with ‘Yes, and…’ You will quickly sense how empowering, creative and powerful this process is.

‘Yes, and…’ is one of the most powerful tools in your portfolio to foster creativity and breakthrough ideas in your team and environment.”

Gratitude changed my life

September 18, 2017

By Dan Rockwell via leadershipfreak.blog   Article

How A Successful Leader Had The Best Year Of Her Life

Janice Kaplan cried on New Year’s Eve. She snuggled with her husband and watched a movie before the crystal ball dropped in New York City. She didn’t want her year to end. I can’t think of a single New Years when I cried because I didn’t want the year to end. Nothing special happened during her year. One thing made her year remarkable, gratitude. She chronicled her journey in, The Gratitude Diaries.

‘Gratitude changed my life.’ Janice Kaplan

The benefits of gratitude make it seem like snake oil. Better health, longer life, less stress, and more restful sleep to name a few.

Cicero wrote, ‘Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others.’ Gratitude makes you a better person.

  1. Gratitude makes you beautiful. Ungratefulness is toxic.
  2. Gratitude answers arrogance and nurtures humility. Something most of us could use more of.
  3. Gratitude chokes greed.
  4. Gratitude leads to generosity.
  5. Gratitude lets others know they matter. All leaders can take this one to the bank.

4 reasons we don’t express gratitude:

#1. One leader said that he withholds gratitude in anticipation of people falling short next time.

#2. It’s hard to be grateful for people who fall below our own greatness.

#3. We just don’t have time to express gratitude. We’re in a hurry.

#4. There’s a lot of stuff that could and should be better.

4 suggestions:

I’m reminding you of something you already know, but don’t always practice.

  1. Put a gratitude list on the fridge. Add one item a day.
  2. Say, ‘Thank you,’ for small things.
  3. Write a thank you note.
  4. Take a gratitude walk-about. Pat people on the back.”

The power of the pause

September 11, 2017

By Sylvia Lafair via inc.com   Article

The Greatest Communicators Have Mastered the Power of the Pause

 “Silence can speak louder than yelling. If you really want to be heard, if you want to enhance your leadership skills to the next level, learn the power of the pause. … 

That afternoon, I was facilitating a team meeting at a client’s [Susan’s] office that was filled with anger and upset. The air was so thick you could, as the saying goes, cut it with a knife.

… I nodded to her and said aloud, ‘Susan, how would you like to handle this?’… She stood up (standing to make a point is for another post). Then she took a deep breath and opened her mouth to speak. Closed her mouth and took another moment for another deep breath and looked around the room.

That moment of her pause was all they needed. All eyes on Susan, all ears ready to hear what she would say, all bodies at attention. Next, she did not blame, attack, or justify. She used the power of three words to underline her concern.

‘This is why [another millisecond pause], this is why we are stuck.’ Susan is a woman who talks rapidly. She did not slow her speech. She simply paused. That was all she needed to do to show she was in charge.

Observe the power of the pause:

  • It conveys emotion: Sure, Susan was stressed. You would be, too. Just don’t add to the noise.
  • It controls the pace of the discussion: Don’t slow your voice, slow the action.
  • It creates room for health: You can get more oxygen to your brain and give yourself more time to think about your response.
  • It gives time to engage others: Everyone can gather their thoughts more effectively.
  • It breaks the old pattern: People can’t keep up the old complaining that is now just background noise.

After she sat down, it was eerily silent for, oh, about 20 seconds. Then someone started the real dialogue. ‘I guess I was part of the noise before. I apologize.’ Someone else said, ‘We won’t ever get where we want to go if we keep pointing fingers at each other. I’m also sorry.’

It’s like a virus...only this one is positive. Once someone becomes accountable for his or her behavior, it’s infectious, and others become compelled to also come forward. Don’t believe me? Take a moment to pause at your next contentious meeting and see what happens!”

Don’t find ‘the best person for the job’

September 11, 2017

By  Alan Murray via fortune.com   Article

“… much of the conversation at Fortune Brainstorm Tech isn’t about tech at all, but about people—and how you build organizations that can deal with the complexity and the velocity of change facing today’s corporations.

Target CEO Brian Cornell continued the theme on Tuesday morning at the second day of our conference. … when asked later by Susie Gharib what the best leadership advice he ever received was, he said: ‘At the end of the day, it always comes down to people, and the values and empowerment that create a great team environment.’

… The topic was business transformation, and around the table were twenty top executives and veterans of transformation efforts at storied companies. I asked them for lessons learned, and while I can’t quote them by name, I can pass on some of their wisdom:

— ‘Overweight the future’ – to counter the fact that organizations tend to protect the past.

— ‘If you try to establish a vision for the future, you will fail. The question isn’t what you want to do in the future, but what you would like to do now, and can’t.’

— ‘Never get too high on the highs, and never get too low on the lows.’

— To develop great talent, don’t find ‘the best person for the job,’ but the ‘best job for that person.’

— ‘If it has a different business model, it needs to be under a different roof—and maybe have a different bathroom.’

— ‘Not everyone is going to come along for the change. You can’t be shy about shooting people who don’t come along.’ Or, as another participant put it, ‘at some point in time, you have to burn the ships on the shore.'”


Toward dumber

September 11, 2017

By Seth Godin via sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/   Article

“If you want to reach more people, if you’re measuring audience size, then the mantra of the last twenty years has been simple: make it dumber.

Use clickbait headlines. Short sentences. Obvious ideas. Little nuance. Don’t make people uncomfortable or ask them to stretch. Remind them that they were right all along. Generate a smile or a bit of indignation. Most of all, dumb it down.

And it works.

For a while.

And then someone comes along who figures out how to take your version of dumbness and go further than you were willing to go. Until everything becomes the National Enquirer.

While this downward cycle of dumb continues to be passed from hand to hand, a few people headed in the other direction. Measuring not the size of the audience, but their engagement, their commitment and the change that was possible.

This is an upward cycle, a slow one, a journey worth going on.

Dumber is an intentional act, a selfish trade for mass. It requires us to hold something back, to avoid creating any discomfort, to fail to teach. Dumber always works in the short run, but not in the long run.

Don’t confuse dumber with simpler. Simpler removes the unnecessary and creates a better outcome as a result. But dumber does little but create noise.

Everyone owns a media company now. Even media companies. And with that ownership comes a choice, a choice about the people we serve, the words we use and the change we seek to make.

It’s only a race to the bottom if we let it be one.”