It’s been about three or so weeks since the state of Texas was impacted by hurricane Harvey and about two weeks since hurricane Irma followed its path of destruction across the length of the entire state of Florida.
None of us will ever forget the “live” images of destruction brought on by both storms. The storms are now gone and the states and the many first responders and utility workers are starting to make progress in restoring power and the other daily services to all of the residents.
That’s right, fire yourself! This act will probably be the most important thing you can do for your business and your career. Make sure you do an in-depth exit interview so that you understand completely the reasons for this harsh but necessary action.
Oh! Don’t forget to throw yourself a “going away” party and buy yourself a gift (not too expensive). You will want to take this occasion to tell the boss (you) exactly what you think about them…and what you would do if you were in-charge! And, when you’ve done all of these things, figure out what you need to do and who you have to be to re-hire yourself.
Here’s where you need to tell the boss (that would still be you) what needs to be done. First, what areas or skills does the boss need to enhance or even develop to be able to lead more effectively? Is it leadership, delegation, better communications, etc? Next thing is what should the boss (still you) stop doing or do differently going forward? Continue reading →
The other day in a conversation with a colleague, one of my favorite books – The Art of Racing in the Rain – a 2008 novel by Garth Stein came up in our discussion. The novel became a New York Times best seller, remaining on the list for more than 156 weeks. What makes it different is that it is told from a dog’s (named Enzo) point of view.
I read the book about four or so years ago, having selected it from the shelves at Barnes & Noble strictly by its cover. It had a face of a golden retriever on it, so it immediately caught my attention. What I didn’t know, at that time, was that after I read it I would’ve learned several important success and life’s lessons.
Through Denny (the dog’s owner who is also a race car driver seeking success on the track and in life), Enzo gains tremendous insight into the human condition. He sees that life, like racing, isn’t simply about going fast.
Back on August 4th, the Wall Street Journal ran article about how the Board of Avon Products Inc., pushed out their CEO – they fired her – as a result of her 5 years of disappointing results.
If you’re the CEO or leader of your company (regardless of its size), you are ultimately responsible for what goes on. Why? Because, as the leader, you are paid to deliver (get) results – period! In essence, you’re the CRO; that is, the Chief Results Officer.
So now you’re thinking that you’re not a public company and not subject to a Board or shareholders. Make no mistake, whether you are a publically or privately held company, your customers have a say in how well you’re doing with respect to the quality of your results.
If your results don’t meet your customer’s expectations, they have a very simple way of telling you: They go elsewhere! And, when they leave you, they tell others about your performance. At some point this customer exodus will threaten the very existence of your business. Your customers not only expect, but demand, that you continually get better and consistently deliver results that are valuable to them! Continue reading →
Recently, I was having a conversation with my youngest son about a meeting he attended and he described one of the individuals in the meeting as having “verbal muscle.”
I was intrigued by his use of the term “verbal muscle” and I asked him to explain what he meant by it.
He said to me, “Dad, a person with verbal muscle is an individual who is not bashful about stating their position and intention as to what they want to accomplish, staying focused on achieving it, without being argumentative, abusive or obnoxious.”
He went on to say that an individual with “verbal muscle” isn’t afraid to speak their mind, in a respectful way, to get something (usually the right thing) done regardless of those who might disagree. Further, he explained that an individual with verbal muscle is usually someone who doesn’t look for confrontation, yet doesn’t shy away from it either if that’s what’s needed to get clarification or resolution of an issue.
So, I thought more about this and concluded that verbal muscle is an important skill for anyone wishing to achieve success. It would be an especially important skill for someone in a leadership position to acquire when you consider the importance of communication skills in achieving the right results through your team. Continue reading →
Peter Drucker is universally known as the “father of management theory.” After his death in 2005, Businessweek magazine called his work “a blueprint for every thinking leader.”
Over the last 6 months, I have spent a significant amount of time re-acquainting myself with his work. I had first read many of his works while I was growing in my career at USLIFE.
From this recent review, I learned or re-learned many things. However, two of his statements were very interesting to me. They were:
“Executives spend more time on managing people and making people decisions than on anything else – and they should. No other decisions are so long lasting in their consequences and so difficult to unmake.”
“Of all the decisions an executive makes, none are as important as the decisions about people because they determine the performance capacity of the organization. Therefore, one should better make sure that these decisions are made well.”
The best leaders know that problem solving comes with the territory. In fact, whenever they solve a problem, they earn the right to solve a more difficult one in the future.
Working our way to solve a problem can be like traveling through a maze – with wrong turns and dead ends. However, when the problem is solved we grow (as a leader), from: what we learned from the experience, new skills we developed, and existing skills we enhanced.
All leaders want to be known as being able to solve problems efficiently and effectively. Earning that reputation is directly related to the process you follow from problem identification right through to its correct solution. Continue reading →
At the risk of dating myself, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate,” is a classic line from the 1967 hit movie “Cool Hand Luke” starring Paul Newman and Jackie Gleason. This line has been used over and over to summarize, at any given time, relationships between spouses, employees, friends and most frequently between parents and their children.
Communication is a critical skill in every aspect of our personal and professional lives. How you communicate plays a major role in how well you do—in anything. Poor communication causes frustration, anger, misunderstandings, mistakes, friction and broken relationships. Nothing good comes from poor communication. Good communication, on the other hand, keeps everything moving forward as smooth as possible. When good communication exists, the right things just happen on a consistent basis.
Graduations have come and gone and now it’s time to enjoy summer – so with the pressure of finals, etc. gone maybe that graduate will be open to some advice.
As you begin your life’s journey, you will come across more things that you will not like before you find that one thing that “clicks.” That search is a good thing because you are learning a lot as you go.
You’re at a great time in your life and it’s time to “get in the game”. Here are several points to keep in mind: Continue reading →