Leadership, Sales, Collaboration and Picking a Place for Dinner

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Leading, selling, collaborating, and choosing a place to go to dinner with your partner tonight are essentially the same. They all require understanding what the other person ultimately wants, having them understand what we want, and creatively finding a way to satisfy both sides.

When we take this particularly helpful perspective, we can easily master all four activities.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: IMG_0011-1-3 via photopin (license)

delegate

What Delegation Really Means

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
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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

criticism

The Best Way to Receive Criticism

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Like buffaloes walking toward storms to reduce the duration of their exposure, we can best weather criticisms by heading right for them.

Try this. Ask the people who matter in your career (and life) what they think you do well and what you could improve. Thank them for their candor. After gathering their input, select just one thing to work on. Then go back and ask these people who matter for ideas and tips about how you can improve this one thing. Respond simply, “Thank you,” to each suggestion. Put into use the best ideas you hear. Check in again with the people who matter once every 6 weeks or so to ask about your progress and their further insights.

Exposing ourselves to criticism and asking people who matter their opinions about how we might improve feels uncomfortable and vulnerable, yes? In fact, seeking criticism and suggestions like this usually improves people’s opinions of us. Soon, we will have improved and they will know it.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: People who matter include peers, clients, bosses, friends, family, and (bonus points if you use them) enemies.

 

Today’s photo credit: Wise Old Bison, Yellowstone, 2011 via photopin cc

I'm all ears.

To Change Someone’s Mind

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, We=All Who Matter
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In order to change someone’s mind, start where their mind is now. Should we start with our position–by convincing, educating, lobbying, telling, fighting, begging, tricking, arguing, ordering, or whining–they will raise shields. We must, instead, ask good questions and listen. They must first agree that we have heard their thinking before they will let us change it.

And, no, we don’t get free pass here if we are parents, bosses, employees, partners, citizens, or nations.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Tambako the Jaguar via photopin cc

wow

Our First Reaction May Be Wrong

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence
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We may be reacting incorrectly when we want to move others. In our desire to lead, sell, or influence, our knee-jerk reaction usually is to tell, impress, explain, or justify.

Yet we never need to pitch, wow, push, or convince. We do not have to impress people with who we are, what we have done, or what we are good at.

Instead, we listen. We invest our time to understand who they are and what they need, want, desire. We then explore with them how we both can have our needs, wants, and desires met by working together. This way is less stressful and generates much less friction between them and us. It engenders respect, relationship, and results.

Let this be our first reaction to move others.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: onkel_wart (thomas lieser) via photopin cc

jump in

Jump In

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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We often think about doing something new (starting a business, making a product, taking a stand, making a difference) and stop because we lack confidence.  We say, “I’ve never done this before. I don’t know how to do this. I am not sure I have what others have when it comes to doing this.  So I had better not.”

While experience can give some confidence, it can’t be all of it. Consider: if only people who have done a thing before have the necessary confidence to do it again, who did that thing the first time?

It turns out that confidence really comes from recognizing that we already have most of what’s needed. We can handle it even if we’ve never seen it before. We draw confidence from such already-there skills as determination, listening, asking, focusing on others’ wins as well as our own, handling deftly whatever happens, and learning.

Jump in.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: theunquietlibrarian via photopin cc

really?

Willingness

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Will=Our inner game
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How do the leaders we admire do what they do? What trait best predicts success? People have tried for ages to figure this out. Best I can tell, it’s willingness.

We could say that all these willingnesses matter: the willingness to set a clear, compelling direction. Or the willingness to trust, to speak. And the willingness to allow others to win, the willingness to plan and to adapt your plan. Being willing to change, to fail, to be wrong. And to accept success–yours and others’–with delight.

Really, though, the most important is the willingness to give up control. Good leaders have figured out that their job is not to make the right things happen the right way. That’s crazy-making for all involved. Good leaders know their job is to foster an environment where others make it happen. The leader (with or without title), helps them learn, grow, and make everything happen better and better and better.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Are you, good leader, willing to give up control? Maybe even just a little bit at a time?

 

Today’s photo credit: thebarrowboy via photopin cc

burden

Carrying the Burden?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading
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Our role as leaders is to create an environment where the people on our teams can succeed. If you accept this premise, then your job is to give more and more responsibility to them. If you don’t accept this, then your job will be to end up with all the responsibility. The former leaves you with the time and headspace to work on the big picture things. The latter leaves you stuck, overwhelmed. Which would you rather have as your job?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Thought so.

 

Today’s photo credit: LaurPhil via photopin cc

leaf

Change

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Organizations
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Change is turbulent. Be clear, direct, and persistent.
Change is tough. Be encouraging.
Change takes time. Be understanding.
Change is complex. Be thorough and adaptable.
Change hurts. Be the one who believes in them more than they do.

After all, if you were part of an organization in change, wouldn’t you want your leader to be all that?

It takes a certain caring steadfastness to create change in an organization. We need not be the CEO (though it helps). Any of us can spur change with compelling vision, a win-win approach, coaching low-stress-highly-effective action, and a quiet knowing that we will succeed.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: AMANITO cc

up

Get Out of the Weeds

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Leading
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To grow the revenue, outcomes, impact, and relevance of our organizations, we as leaders must get out of the weeds. Wherever we are doing or managing the work, we are creating serious limits to our growth. To the extent we focus on leading, we will grow.

Leading means hiring the best people, stewarding the SweetSpot of the organization, constantly showing people how they contribute to the overall goals and SweetSpot, and building the capacity of the organization through systems, rhythms, norms, and culture.

If, in the last 24 hours, you corrected someone’s work, came up with a better idea, overrode a decision, or did work that another could and should do, then you have been in the weeds. What can you do today to become the kind of person who builds the environment where others can succeed at doing and managing the work?

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Rudolf Getel cc