pause

Before Jumping Into Action Today

Just a quick reminder to pause before jumping into action today: take time to find thoughts that physically feel good to think. Spend about 5 minutes. When we do, we become more resilient and will have a more productive day. Bonus: our good-feeling approach will rub off on everyone else making their day and our day even better.

Simple, yes?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Leo Reynolds cc

wall

Throwing Tasks Over The Wall

Delegation, especially to people new to us or to the work, is not throwing tasks over the wall with the briefest of outlines of what’s needed. We cannot expect that others will understand what we want, know everything we know, and do things the way we do them. Nor can we blame them when things go awry.

We must set the standards or measures of success, let them give it a try, regularly review their progress against the standards, take time for training, and encourage them to become better and better.

In short order, they will become more competent, confident, and in sync. Then we can start lobbing things their way with assurance that they will do it better than we could.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Iwan Gabovitch cc

delegate

What Delegation Really Means

Delegation does not mean simply handing over a task. Nor does it mean getting other people to do a task the way we would. It means setting up an environment where they can do it better then we can.

This includes setting the standards or measures of success (“Here’s how we’ll know you’ve done it well… “), letting them give it a try, regularly reviewing their progress against the standards, taking time for training, and encouraging them to become better and better.

Yes, this takes time. But the alternative is worse. The alternative is that we freak out when they do it wrong. We think, “It’s quicker if I do it.” Then we take back the task and continue to do it and all the other tasks ourselves. Don’t we already have enough on our plate?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: And how can we expect to grow if we keep doing all the tasks ourselves?

 

Today’s photo credit: Carsten Senkfeil cc

wrong

The Right-Wrong Maelstrom

“I am right and you are wrong,” is a pervasive, destructive subtext in many of our conversations at work and home. We fight each other, sometimes in very clever ways, just to avoid being wrong. It’s a big problem that tends to drag us down and down. I have seen it rot individual relationships, harm careers, disable teams, scuttle projects, and even hobble a multi-billion-dollar company.

Yet there is no need to fight over right or wrong.

We can replace this need entirely with the win-win-or-don’t-play principle. First, we listen. Then we clarify and confirm our understanding of what outcomes (as opposed to specific approaches or actions) they seek. Next, we help them understand what outcomes we seek. Finally, we put our heads together to find solutions that help us both win. Or, if we can’t, we choose not to proceed together on this opportunity. In this approach, there is no room for fighting to be right.

Next time you catch yourself arguing, positioning, countering, fighting, or even avoiding others for fear they may try to be right/make you wrong, try changing the dynamic by learning what outcomes the other person really wants.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This version of right-wrong is distinct from merely seeking the truth about a matter. For example, the following conversation is most likely about the simple truth.

“The sine of pi is 1.”
“No, it’s 0. Look at this graph.”
“Ah, yes. Thank you.”

We can tell by how it feels. If we feel bad (maybe challenged, disrespected, rejected, or threatened) while discussing whether we are right of not, we are not merely seeking truth.

 

Today’s photo credit: στρατός cc

writing

Write Something

A written “to do” list (or “not to do” list) is more effective than one we keep in our heads. If we write down our thoughts about a confusing topic, they become clearer. Fears, uncertainties, pains, and doubts become weaker and much more manageable when we write them down. And wishes, hopes, and goals have an odd way of just appearing in our lives after we’ve written them down.

Writing works so well, in part, because we are slowing down and taking the time to think things through. And because our thinking about the outside world is usually much clearer than our thoughts about ourselves. Writing lets us put that greater clarity to good use on  personal topics.

Writing can take most any form: prose, poetry, lists, or pictures. You can use good old paper and pen, whiteboards, or something digital. It’s all good.

Write something.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: urbanworkbench cc

anticipation

Why This Great Secret Remains A Secret

There are two kinds of expectation. The first is like an angry demand: “I expect you to do your homework. I expect people to listen and do what I say.” The second is like the kid in us anticipating a wonderful party: “Oooh! This is going to be fun.”

One of the great secrets of success is to expect what we most want. That is, find a way to be excited in anticipation–like a that kid. When we are in this state, we don’t fret the “hows” or worry what might go wrong. We look forward, feeling good.

I think the reason this remains a secret is that many people assume we mean the first kind of expectation.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: FYI, leader: the excited sort of expectation is contagious and nutritious. And most people in your organization are starving from lack of it.

 

Today’s photo credit: Tim Ebbs cc

sunshine

Don’t Be Seduced By The Cruel

No matter what you hear or read in the news, the world is getting better and better.

But, you might ask, aren’t there atrocities? Isn’t there great suffering? What about all the destruction? Isn’t there war, corruption, malfeasance, murder, and mayhem? And what about my own struggles? Doesn’t all this horribleness count?

Yes. And none of it is to be tolerated. But there is much less than there used to be and much, much less than we all fear. Don’t be seduced by the cruel.

Take time today to notice, consider, and appreciate how much is going well in our lives and in the world. For every horror story we hear, recall all the happy stories we don’t hear. It feels good when we do.

Thus, dear leader, we live better lives and have much more energy and smarts available to give help where it is still needed.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Monteregina (Nicole) cc

ignore

For Big Change, Ignore the Naysayers

If we want to influence a big change, we need not spend much time trying to convince the naysayers, the haters, the opponents. They will change or not. And they are only a minority.

Instead, we concentrate on the lovers, the crew, the vanguard. They are also a minority. But once they are inspired, we can help this minority create win-win buy-in from the once indifferent majority.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Of course, the opponents will try to sway the neutrals their way. Your sustainable, secret weapon is the win-win: “let’s find a way for us both to have our interests met.” The opponents will likely use fear tactics that alienate.

 

Today’s photo credit: Lainey1 cc