Sunday, April 27, 2014

Delaney’s Data

“How do you spell “pierce,” Delaney asked her dad.  Once getting it right, she disappeared.

She is the cutest and smartest seven year old you could possibly meet and I get to call her my niece.  She was contemplating an earlier discussion she had with her mom about the possibility of getting her ears pierced during her next doctor check-up and wanted more data. When she was next found, she was on the internet watching videos of kids getting their ears pierced and tracking how many of the little girls cried versus not.  She had divided a paper into halves and her research data indicated that about half the girls cried.  Ultimately the data did not prove or disprove her intuition.

Leaders need to have great intuition and vision to be successful. They also need a way to test their theories to understand the resulting success probability and/or the nature and difficulty of obstacles they must overcome.  Leaders who master the ability to visualize and test intuitions are likely to increase their chances of success and have the backing of the teams they lead.

Do you have a track record of testing your hypothesis?  How do you do it?


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Did I remember to say…

I’m not a big fan of “manufactured holidays” or those so bloated by industry that they lost their original meaning.  But then again, it is SO important to thank the people around us.  This is particularly true of people contribute so much toward our success and get little credit.

Yes, I’m talking about the administrative support we depend so heavily on.  While I would like to think I am good at remembering to thank people, it is probably not likely the case.  We can all be better at it.  A few years ago, I chose to add a new thank you into my tool kit.  Every time things were particularly tense in the office area, I would ask the office manager “Did I remember to tell you how much I appreciate your support lately?”  This little statement of appreciate did wonders for breaking the tension and conveying a message.  You have to mean it if you’re going to say it thou!

Today is Administrative ProfessionalsDay (23 April).  If you are not good at remembering to thank your folks, this is a good reminder.  Thank you again Sandy, Patti, Darleen, Gail and Doris.  You all contributed so much toward the success of so many!

What tools do you have to remember to thank people?


Wednesday, April 16, 2014


For the longest time, I’ve coached and mentored people on the use of the “3E’s” (Education, Experience and Exposure) as the key components for self assessing your career situation.  I learned them from Deane Hislop originally and then saw the CISCO Career Makeover video (quite funny) where it was also used.

An odd coincidence happened as I was on my way to watch the NCAA Final Four basketball games.  I read a career mentoring article (sorry, I cannot find it now to properly credit the source) and their guiding principle was called “BASKET.” While the name might have been what originally caught my attention, I ultimately liked the six elements:

·         Behavior – the way you act (includes verbal and nonverbal communication)
·         Attitude – your internal guidance system (this can make up for less talent)
·         Skills – specific techniques (these are learned through repetition)
·         Knowledge – this would be similar to the Education E (formal education and training)
·         Experience – actual time in position (the opportunity to succeed and fail)
·         Talent – the natural things you are born with (can be a negative if used wrong)

While I like the simplicity of the 3Es, I also love bringing Attitude and Behavior into the discussion.  We have all met very talented people who turn us off!

What do you think of this coaching/mentoring model? Do you think LiaV should transition to using it as the primary model?


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

“Expectations remain the same”

Kansas University basketball coach, Bill Self, said “the faces change, but the expectations remain the same” on a TV advertisement.  At long last I thought I found an analogy where coaching sports did not align with other forms of leadership.

Self was describing how the KU basketball program has certain long term expectations and the players come and go. The longest a player stays is four years.  In business, it is the managers that come and go quickly and the “team” is in place for the long haul.  Each leadership regime comes in with their own set of programs, goals, methods and expectations.  On the surface, it sounds inconsistent.

After more thought, the expectations of the team did not change as much as it might sound.  In the aerospace industry, quality, safety and precision are the foundation and independent of who is the leader. The same concept is true in the customer service, high technology and entertainment industries.  The expectations at the top level remain the same.

Do you ensure your teams understand the top level expectations and create a culture supporting these expectations?


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