Monday, December 31, 2012
Friday, December 21, 2012
- Reading your Smartphone during meetings and presentations.
- Going radio silent on topics to avoid controversy.
- Not asking clarification questions to gain understanding.
- Thinking about what you are going to say next when the other person is still talking.
- Multi-tasking (it is really high speed serial processing).
Saturday, December 1, 2012
This week when I had a strong opinion on something, I continued to share the example with trusted colleagues until I found someone who disagreed with me. Guess what happened – they were also right and I tailored my view.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
This time MastersinLeadership.org published their 100 Exemplary Sites for Future Leaders list and LiaV was 9th of 100! Thank you for the ideas, concepts, observations (good an bad) and inspiration.
You make LiaV what it is. Thank you.
Monday, October 29, 2012
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Saturday, September 29, 2012
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The day after I presented a leadership lesson on "Delivering Results" I got this note of appreciation from one of the participants. “Thank you for your leadership lesson. You successfully reduced your value.” Out of context, you might think this is a very questionable complement.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
What are you doing to build the strongest intergenerational teams? How do you maximize the contributions of each generation?
Generation/Attribute Summary (Source: Australian Institute of Management):
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
I live in both real and virtual worlds. My job involves leading a culturally diverse team spread around the globe. Multiple time zones, languages and environments make the use of technology a must to be efficient and timely.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Thursday, May 17, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
Sunday, April 15, 2012
LiaV does not sell or endorse products or books, but now and then something hits me in the head like a 2X4. I’m generally a Tom Peters fan based on the simplicity of his message. A colleague shared Peter’s 1999 book “The Project 50 (Reinventing Work): Fifty Ways to Transform Every Task" into a Project That Matters!”
The message in the book is so easy. It is about the work. It is the leader’s job to make the work worth doing. We have all heard the story of the two masons. One is mason was endlessly adding bricks to a wall and the other mason was building a cathedral. Communicating the big picture is a leadership challenge. Making the work worth doing is another. Having written so many LiaV blog posts on effective leadership, this book was a great reminder that it is not always about the leader.
How do you communicate the big picture to your team? Do you eliminate work not worth doing?
Sunday, April 1, 2012
Why do teams that least need audits and management reviews want them the most and the ones that need them the most want them the least? The C-17 program is a high performing organization that has won the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award twice. They viewed audits as opportunities to improve and management reviews as a chance to receive free consulting.
I was in India last week to review progress on two start-up projects at critical inflection points. Each asked for relief from the next management review in terms of timing, length and intensity. What causes this dichotomy? The difference seems to result from the cadence maturity of the organization. Some teams refer to this cadence as their operating rhythm or battle rhythm. Simply put, it is the normal report and review schedule conducted on a program. It seems the teams that look forward to the reviews do so because they are always ready (i.e., tour-ready, review-ready, etc.). They do not prepare to discuss about their performance metrics, progress, achievements and challenges.
Have you experience this same dichotomy? How have you helped teams mature to the review-ready state?
Sunday, March 18, 2012
The train Saturday was standing room only and most everyone was wearing green. Some were going to their first and others go every year. Many have heard of it, but the event flies under the radar.
Saturday was 17 March and the event was the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. 2012 was the 251st celebration of the oldest, largest and most attended parade in New York City. We all know about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and probably assumed this event held these honors. It is a celebration for the Irish and those who want to be Irish for the day. There are no outside influences, advertisers or national TV coverage. It is just fun for those that attend.
There is definitely something to be said for flying under the radar on occasion. I’ve seen many teams accomplish amazing results only to be benchmarked and told there are better ways. I’ve seen teams achieve outstanding employee engagement scores only to be questioned about how hard they work. Sometimes good results should be allowed to be just what they are. No more.
Have you seen a good deed go punished? Are there situations where you think it is ok for a team to not advertise amazing results?
Sunday, March 4, 2012
You have to draft a written response to one of the following scenarios:
Scenario 1: The new proposal was drafted by a team of people that do not fully understand the technical situation and have a goal of creating issues for your progress.
Scenario 2: The new proposal was drafted by well a intentioned team wanting to be transparent, but they just don’t know what they don’t know.
It is easy to see how each scenario would create a very different written response on your part. What if I told you there is almost always someone that can tell you exactly which situation is the most accurate. I had a recent situation similar to this and almost selected the wrong choice. This would have hurt feelings and likely caused my objectives more harm. I asked an unlikely source and found the truth. I changed the nature and tone of my response and was very successful.
How often do you take that extra time to learn the context of the messages you receive? How often when you don’t, do you get it wrong and create more harm than good?
Sunday, February 26, 2012
The national park ranger leading the tour of the Thomas Edison estate described the vestibule painting as very expensive, risqué and the equivalent of today’s centerfold hung in a family gathering area. As he shared other noteworthy points and concluded his comments, he asked if there were any questions. The little boy in the front of the crowd asked, “What is a centerfold?” It was humorous to see the ranger’s reaction and how fast the boy’s mother said she would explain it to him in the car.
That witty exchange made me think of the many times we as leaders say things that we think are being understood, but really are not. This is particularly acute on the international stage. Sport analogies are the most common. Push it over the goal line. In the red zone. Hook slide. Slam dunk. In the chucks. They are endless, but what if the people you are talking to do not share the same enthusiasm for sport that you do? Do you take the time to ensure the things you say have enough flavor to be interesting but also understood?
What types of communication issues have you experienced and how have you solved them?
Sunday, February 19, 2012
“Can you believe I got a 2 on the “Communication” competency on my review and he couldn’t even explain what it is I don’t do properly?” Sound familiar? I hear it every year, so every year I re-publish this “Where’s the Gift?” posting.
It’s February. Plus or minus a few weeks and many people will sit with their boss and have a performance review discussion. Hopefully this was preceded by many candid conversations and career exploratory talks. While we will all be focused on the numbers or ratings, I’d encourage you to look for the real gift in the discussion – those 1 or 2 things you can do differently or better to really excel your performance. Nigel J.A. Bristow (“Where's the Gift? How to achieve phenomenal success by discovering the gift in all feedback”) shares that we often are not looking for the gift, sometimes do not like the way it is wrapped or we find it hard to identify in the packaging.
The two worst types of feedback are “you’re doing great, keep doing what you’re doing” or “you need to step it up” but without anything specific to improve. We need to want candid feedback. If your boss does not automatically provide it, ask for your “gift”. Just as important and as uncomfortable as it may seem, we need to make sure we make bosses feel the feedback is desired and we are going to do something with it.
How do you make sure you get real performance feedback?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
In a world where CEOs are super heroes or mass villains, it is often easy to forget the little things that make great leaders great. A colleague emailed me this Harvard Business Review “The Idea” interview with Doug Conant, former CEO of the Campbell Soup Company.
What caught my attention is the simplicity of Mr. Conant’s engagement priorities. Be real and make sure people know what you’re doing. There is little more real than receiving a hand written note from the boss. When he does his MBWA (management by walking around – Tom Peters), he puts on his “walking shoes” so people know he is walking around. You have to love the simplicity.
Do people understand your messages? Do they wonder what you stand for? How have you successfully delivered your message?
Sunday, January 29, 2012
“Schools teach you to imitate. If you don’t imitate what the teacher wants you get a bad grade. Here, in college, it was more sophisticated, of course; you were supposed to imitate the teacher in such a way as to convince the teacher you were not imitating, but taking the essence of the instruction and going ahead with it on your own. That got you A’s. Originality on the other hand could get you anything – from an A to F. The whole grading system cautioned against it.” (Robert M. Pirsig, “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”, 1974)
I’m reading this philosophical novel and crossed this paragraph. The situation that Pirsig was describing in the classroom is very comparable to the workplace when it comes to leaders. Leaders step out and try new things. They are often misunderstood by their peers and bosses because it is hard to separate the results from the methodology. Leaders often do things in a different and more productive way. This confuses people. The results get lost in the discussion. The blog post “Pioneers are lonely” from November 2009 shared this same sentiment in a different setting.
Do you encourage your people to be just like you or to reach and try new approaches? Are you willing to support those different methods when put under pressure?
Sunday, January 22, 2012
In July I blogged about meeting Charlie, the over-confident kid that brought his game to the local basketball court. I said at the time this kid was one to watch.
Well, Charlie showed up at the local Sunday pick-up games. He was about a foot taller and told me he made the local high school freshman team. Charlie was confident as ever, but he was playing his game the same way he played it when he was at the lower level. He was reaching on defense rather than moving his feet. He was watching his shots rather than crashing the boards. He was jogging the fast break rather than running full out.
Charlie will be fine, but it made me wonder if anyone actually told Charlie the game at the next level is different than the one he dominated. This situation happens all the time in the workplace. As if experienced managers want the newly promoted to learn by mistake the way they did. What a waste of time and resources. I always try to inform the newly promoted the two or three things they have to change on day one at the next level. I identify the things that made them successful which will cause them failure at the next level in the organization.
Do you pro-actively guide the newly promoted to navigate the pitfalls you know they will encounter? What are the few you have noticed are the most helpful?
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Have you ever making an on-line purchase and during the check-out process a surprise “handling fee” turns you off so much you cancel your purchase?
I heard a commentary this week on the radio where the commentator (sorry, I did not catch the reference to give appropriate credit) compared this handling fee to the “baggage” we are bring into the workplace. You know, “John is an amazingly smart guy that delivers the goods, but he can be...” Whatever our handling fee, we should what it is. How much work do we create for our leaders? Jack Welch refers to this as using up our “political capital” in his book “The 4E’s of Leadership”. In baseball this is referred to as the player’s contribution in the clubhouse.
I suppose some of us think we are just super people that are effortless to lead. Something tells me this is just not the case. I thought about myself. I really do not want much from my leaders. That said, this in itself might be a challenge because there are very few external motivators that influence what or how much I do. It is all internal.
As leaders, how do you balance the great work of a teammate that has a high handling fee? Do you know your handling fee and are you worth it?
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Whether you are presenting an accomplishment, negotiating for more budget or selling a great idea, the effectiveness of your message often ties directly to your ability to summarize and present your data. Data is only mildly interesting until it becomes useful information.
In March 2009, I posted a blog (“Turning data into information”) about Professor Hans Rosling’s work at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. While his TED video was about national statistics, it was his ability to present information that captivated me. Dr. Rosling is back and with some technology friends. Together, they are really pushing the edge of effective presentations.
It appears LiaV was not the only group to recognize his keen ability. He had made the transition from impressive researcher to effective presentation guru.
What techniques have you seen help smart people improve their presentations?