Sunday, October 31, 2010

Death by Blackberry

Every once in a while, Leadership is a Verb makes a very simple observation and recommendation. Below is an email I sent to my team concerning safety:

“A car travels approximately the length of a football field in 5 seconds. The same amount of time as that to glance at an email on the Blackberry. Using a Blackberry while driving is against the law and VERY unsafe. It is not a sign of your robust virtual skills.

I believe some of you are doing it to be efficient, timely or just boredom. Please stop. Someone is going to get hurt.

Thank you for your support on this important safety topic.


As a leader, how often do you coach your people in such simple and clear manner?


Sunday, October 24, 2010

“Unconscious Incompetence”

Over the last year, I’ve noticed a trend in how certain drivers react to runners. The final half mile of my regular run takes me by the A&P grocery store. I’ve noticed there are basically four types of drivers coming into and out-off the driveways. There are those that are completely oblivious (these folks are very dangerous), those that purposefully cut you out, those that see you and slow down and those that approach cautiously as if they always drive with care. So you ask, what does this have to do with leadership?

Last week, a Human Resources professional shared the “Stages of Professional Development” provided to him by Tulin Diveriteam Associates. It also appeared in an old blog post by Benjamin Ellis on Redcatco. The model describes the continuum of professional develop in term of “consciousness” and “competence.” The order triggered with me because it completely matched the skill and/or attitude of the drivers I’ve been encountering (1. Unconscious Incompetence, 2. Conscious Incompetence, 3. Conscious Competence, and 4. Unconscious Competence). I like it when my observations are later explained based on a model. This model seems particularly helpful because it points out the importance of providing people feedback.

What are your thoughts of this continuum? Do you have situations where it applies?

David P. Tulin – President & Founder, ©2010 Tulin DiversiTeam Associates, 215-870-0349,,

Redcatco – Social Technology for Business - Benjamin Ellis – April 12, 2007 -


Sunday, October 17, 2010


The Austin City Limits Music Festival brings together 100,000 of your closest friends to enjoy a wide variety of music, art and entertainment. In the midst of the mass of humanity enjoying music on five stages, there were an unusually large number of flags being flown. There were state, university, product and homemade flags. Observing closer, they were being used to help groups find their home base and the advertise something about the group.

People within a very large organization want to be in their local tribes. They need to be part of something they understand and with like minded people. Whether it is a large concert event or a large company, leaders need to create the "esprit de corps” of a smaller team. While this runs counter intuitive to the goals of some CEOs, it is something leaders at the working level must understand and achieve.

What do you do for your team to help them be a part of something smaller?


Monday, October 11, 2010

Defend the crazy?

I was a superintendant of MD-11 Major Structures Production back in the days when that was not a very friendly place. The requirements of the position were extreme and it always seemed like people were thinking of reasons to cause us to fail. Long hours and seven day weeks wore on us all. Quality was to slow. Tooling never worked. Engineering designed the impossible. And, those Supplier Management guys lost the parts on purpose! Of course none of this was true, but unfortunately we believed it at the time.

One day my director came through and I was expecting the same butt kicking I normally got. This day was different. He asked me if I would be willing to take an assignment in Supplier Management to “straighten out those parts guys.” I was told earlier in my career to be careful what you complain about because someone will select you to fix it. Funny what happens in situations like these. The same people that thought they would be fired taught me the way I ran production caused many of the problems. I quickly learned there were good people all over trying to do the right things. I could not believe how quickly I could help the new team and improve performance. They were surprised this “crazy production guy” would actually defend them in public.

Have you experienced a change were you moved to a team you did not much respect only to find you had an incorrect perception of their capability and intend? What did you do?


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