Culture Is The Game

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Until I came to IBM, I probably would have told you that culture was just one among several important elements in any organization’s makeup and success — along with vision, strategy, marketing, financials, and the like… I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.

Lou Gerster
former CEO of IBM
Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? (2002)

Our job as leaders is culture. That is, our job is to constantly steward the idea what value we will pursue, build the team the deliver it, ensure the systems are in place to support that delivery, and have everyone’s predominant focus be on what’s right and what can make it even better.

That’s the whole game.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s image by IQRemix from Canada (FIFA Women's World Cup Canada 2015 – Edmonton) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Which Camp Are You In?

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Faced with a change, most of us fall into the “yeah, but” camp. Getting a direction from our boss or seeing a new threat or opportunity out there, we resist.  Without much thought, we use our foresight and intelligence to prevent consideration. We enumerate and inflate the obstacles and we argue for our weaknesses. For example, “Yeah, but, that’s hard. It’s expensive. That’s not who I am.” In the “yeah, but” camp, our motto is, “No.”

Yet we can all easily move to the “yes, and” camp. Here, our motto is “Yep.” It takes just a pause and a bit of thought whenever we get a new direction, idea, or opportunity. We first commit to it. Then we use our foresight and intelligence to work around, over, or through the obstacles. That is, “Yes, I/we can do that. And here’s how we can do it…”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: In case you’re wondering, we have much more fun over here at Camp Yes And. Our s’mores are tastier, too.
Today’s photo credit: `James Wheeler After Dusk via photopin (license)

The Secret Key to Dealing with Difficult People

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Here’s the secret key for dealing with difficult personalities at work: don’t.

The drama is rarely worth it, dear leader.

Instead, generously help them change the one behavior that would make all the difference. Or, generously help them find another job that’s a better fit for them.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Finntasia Grumpy Little Owl via photopin (license)

The Danger of Focusing on What’s Wrong

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Just look at everything we have to do.

-Every leader

Though there is so much to do, fix, and improve (and we will never, ever be done), we can focus too much on what’s wrong. Then we and those around us will feel bad (resistant) and everything will be much harder to accomplish.

The cure? Focus on and give praise for (1) the vast majority of things that are going right and (2) how much better things will be with each fix or improvement. Then the doing, fixing, and improving will feel good and go swimmingly well.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Norbert Eder Grumpy Cat via photopin (license)

Quietly

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Here’s an unusual but powerful way to add value: when the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the people in the meeting) are flying off the handle, we can remain calm. We need not say anything. We only need to stay present, breathing. They may not acknowledge or even recognize what we’re doing. But the impact can be profound.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: CarbonNYC [in SF!] Good Lucifer: My Friend Michael via photopin (license)

Leading When Beliefs Go Rogue

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Labels, judgments, yeah buts, and other beliefs about the way things are can help but often stop helping us. They go rogue.

We can tell that a belief has gone rogue on us in two ways. First, we feel bad when we think it. We often attribute the bad feeling to whatever we’re considering. “I feel bad because she’s this way, he’s that way, I’m this way, and things are going badly the other way.” But it’s really a signal from the wiser parts of us warning that we’re thinking about things in a less than helpful way. Second, we aren’t getting the results we want.

Our hard work as leaders is not in making things happen or getting people to do good stuff. It’s in tuning our thinking–especially long-held but rogue beliefs–to what feels better.  And this makes way for people to do good stuff and for good things to happen.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Yes, you are that powerful, dear leader.

 

Today’s photo credit: johnrothiemurchus Over the parapet via photopin (license)