Friday, June 22, 2018

Tell the Truth -- to Yourself

Who do we lie to the most?

Ourselves. We talk ourselves out of things we want to do (or don't want to do...) We lie about our abilities, our authority, our status. Maybe we lie because it is safer than taking a risk. Maybe we lie because the truth is so harsh. Who are we fooling? When we fool ourselves, you know what that makes us.

I might not be able to eliminate lies, but I do not have to believe them.

And...whenever I lie to myself I try to laugh a little and move on.

How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Learn from the Past

The next time someone asks you to fix the past, let it go. Relax. You know that you can't fix the past. What you control is right now. What you do right now determines your present, and to some degree your future. Fix the here and now -- that's plenty of work for anyone!

-- doug smith

Monday, June 18, 2018

No Excuses

Any excuse will do, but none are true.

High performance leaders have no appetite for excuses. Front line supervisors are patient with their people and also need to stay persistent on their insistence for positive results.

We all make mistakes, but making excuses is a losing proposition. Own it, learn from it, and move on.

No excuses accepted.

-- doug smith

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Forgive Yourself

Forgiveness isn't free. It costs the loss of the sense of self-righteousness that sometimes feeds our feeble ego. We don't need that, but like candy, it feels like we do. Let it go.

That's harder to do when it is ourselves who we need to forgive. Then, it isn't self-righteousness that clings to the anger but something else. Something deeper, less secure, less righteous. Let that go, too.

Forgiveness isn't free. And self-forgiveness isn't easy. But my friend, forgiveness is necessary.

Let it go.

-- doug smith

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Book the two-day workshop: Supervising for Success

Give your front line supervisors two days of training that will pay off in improved performance, engagement, and motivation for years to come.


  1. Developing leadership capacity, strength, and flexibility
  2. Ten keys to leadership success
  3. Achieving your supervisory goals
  4. Communicating for results
  5. Building your team
  6. Motivating yourself and others
  7. Manage your time without driving yourself crazy
  8. Coaching to improve performance
  9. Facilitating highly productive meetings
  10. Solving team problems collaboratively

Supervisors are challenged in every direction. They usually don't get the training they need and end up with more problems and headaches than they'd ever imagined possible. It doesn't have to be that way.

The key tasks of a supervisor can be learned. Our time tested and field tested training methods get your supervisors to explore, discover, and practice the key skills that will make a positive difference in their performance, their teams, and their lives.

How to bring this workshop to your location:

We're located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and if you are, too you'll find this workshop surprisingly affordable for your organization. All you need is a conference or training room and five or more participants. 

For more information, contact us here:

Friday, June 8, 2018

Stay Positive

Every once in a while I will meet someone who is content to remain out of control. They refuse to believe that they can change anything because "the culture is so bad here" or because "my boss would never go for that" or because "that's all fine and good but it wouldn't work for me."

What can you say in response? "You're absolutely right. At least, as long as you think that." Then I try to avoid saying one of those favorite consultant answers, "how's that working for you?" because, clearly, it isn't.

Positive leaders believe in empowerment. Positive leaders believe that regardless of opposition or culture or challenges galore, the better route to achievement takes a positive approach. Do what we can. Challenge where we need to. Support each other all the way thru.

A positive leader builds a positive team - a team that collaborates, cooperates, and cares. Of course the work is hard -- that's why it's yours -- easier work is for someone else.

Stay positive - the results are better.

-- doug smith

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sometimes Leaders Get Out of the Way

If you've ever had a leader slow you down, you know how frustrating that is. Not enough resources, not enough support, even undermining your efforts. That's not leadership - that's obstruction.

Leaders provide guidance. Leaders provide direction. Leaders provide training and inspiration. At some point, high performance leaders need the trust to delegate and stay out of the way.

My limitations have no business slowing you down.

How about yours?

-- doug smith

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Learning Activity: Team Building Pictures

Each participant's smart phone.

Share with us the last ten pictures in your phone and tell us what they say about you.

Each person on the team shares.

Use a lower number of pictures if the team is larger than ten people.

What pictures should be in there but are not?

What does this say about the team?

What have you learned?

Go Forward

Why do people get stuck in their anger?

Anger feeds on itself. It's contagious. It spreads only ill feelings and seldom accomplishes value.
It gets in the way. I understand where it comes from. I feel angry myself sometimes. But it does not help us most of the time.

We all make mistakes. We change, we grow, we cross boundaries. We even hurt feelings. Let's let the feelings heal. Let's learn and move forward. You'll make mistakes and I'll make mistakes and the more passionate we are about what we do the more likely we are to cross those hard to see boundaries.

If you can forgive my mistake I can forgive your anger. Then we can both let go and go forward.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Challenge Your Fears

It's natural to feel fear when we're faced with a challenge. What if we fail? What if it's more than we expected? What if we're not up to the task?

We should be cautious. We should focus on doing what is achievable. And yet, so often what is achievable but challenging frightens us into immobility. We can become overly respectful of our fears to the point that they control us.

Let's try something different. Challenge your fears, don't worship them.

You are bigger than your fear anyway. So am I.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Keep Your Agreements

A broken agreement often breaks hearts.

Keep your agreements.

As you achieve your goals, as you solve your problems...

Keep your agreements.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Chaos Screams: Prioritize!

I'm still looking for someone who can do everything. Every task on their list, every task on their boss's list, every goal in their endless stream of goals.

I still haven't found them.

I'm still looking for the person who can finish everything they've started, who can achieve any goal while tackling all goals, and who never gets nervous in the process.

I still haven't found them.

No one can do everything.

Not even you.

Chaos comes when we try to do everything. Chaos comes when everything looks like it's as important as everything else. Chaos comes, and it screams.

Do you hear the screaming? Do you enjoy the screaming?

Chaos screams! Prioritize.

Prioritize and chaos will settle down.

-- doug smith

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Chaos Cleaner

Life gives us chaos to clean out the unimportant and make room for significance.

-- doug smith

Go Big!

Make sure that your goals for each day give you something to feel good about achieving.

If your goal doesn't make you feel good, it's too small!

-- doug smith

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Friday, April 13, 2018

Clear Enough May Not Be Clear Enough

How clear is your message?

You'll know it's clear when it's understood. You'll know it's understood when your intended audience communicates it back to you, meaning and tone and urgency intact.

Clarity requires constant clarification. Chances are you're not done.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Listen Without Judging

Listening seems easy until you try it without judging.

We're trained to judge from an early age. We judge nearly everything. We like it, we don't like it, we have our reasons our logic our standards and so we judge. Like a celebrity judge on a talent show we judge with confidence and assurance that of course we are right and entitled to judge. Completely.

And yet -- what is the point? Do you know anyone who wants your judgement? Do YOU desire anyone else's judgment?

Go ahead and judge if you want to, if you must. Here's what I know: if you truly want to listen, listen without judging. Listen with curiosity, as if you don't know the answer already.

Because maybe, just maybe, you don't.

And, by listening without judgment, you might actually hear.

-- doug smith

Friday, April 6, 2018

Listening Is A Survival Skill

Are you an active listener? An active listener makes listening for understanding the focus of a conversation. You'll have plenty of time to express yourself. First, listen.

Listening is a survival skill.

I have never regretted listening to understand before responding. Plenty of times I have regretted speaking too soon. Listening can keep you out of trouble. That conclusion you jumped to? Perhaps a moment more of listening would have clarified the situation.

That insult you didn't intend? Could more listening have alerted you to a sensitive area in your conversational partner?

That breach of etiquette, that spilling of confidential information, that career limiting rant -- so many communication mistakes can be prevented by curious listening.

If you want to communicate for results, you have to first know what your audience hears. You get there by listening. Listening to the words, the tone, the body language, the in-between-the-lines nuances of emotions.

Listening is a survival skill.  Are you practicing today?

-- doug smith

Thursday, April 5, 2018

There Is More To The Truth

Who knows everything?

I don't know everything, do you?

No one knows everything. Now, before we break out into song, maybe the best thing I can offer on this incomplete version of the truth is this:

No one can tell you your truth, AND your truth alone is incomplete.

It's true for me, it's true for you.  Or, is it?

If you allow your truth to grow, to change, to evolve, it will stop getting in your way and instead will open up more possibilities. And possibilities are the super fuel of success.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Start Prioritizing With Your Goals

It feels harder than ever these days to prioritize. We get pulled into so many directions it's hard to know what to do first. Every day feels like life on the edge of (or in the middle of) chaos. What to do?

Common sense says priories. Decide what is most important and focus first on that. Build the future you want by working on it today.

The place to start?

The place to start prioritizing is with your goals. Limit how many you have. Rank the ones you have set by priority, and then focus your efforts accordingly.

We all have to start somewhere. It might as well be with our goals.

-- doug smith

Monday, April 2, 2018

Test Your Assumptions

When was the last time one of your assumptions was wrong?

It's so easy to jump to conclusions. We fill-in-the-blanks so many times in so many ways because it's just part of being human. But, when we assume that things are not going in our favor, when maybe there is no reason to, we do ourselves no service.

This is a picture of a recent training room for one of my workshops. It was day two of the two-day workshop and since the hotel staff had in the past forgotten to unlock the door to my room. I arrived, and sure enough the door was locked. Rather than get upset (something I might have experienced in the past) I calmly contacted the hotel staff and politely, yet assertively, asked to have my door unlocked.

"I can do that, sir," said a polite maintenance gentleman, "but you could also just walk in thru that second, open door..."

"Oh. Gee. Thanks!"

That was just a little embarrassing. Just about fifteen feet from the locked door was an open door. My assumption ("I'm locked out!") was completely incorrect.

I know better. You know better. And yet, every once in a while it is so easy to jump to a conclusion that I do. And often, when you jump to a conclusion, you've fallen into a trap.

Test your assumptions. The answer you're looking for might be right there all along.

-- doug smith

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Say It With Kindness

"What do you mean, it isn't true?"
"It isn't yet at its best until it's kind."
"But, it can still be true..."
"Is incomplete still true? Is it still true if it does not return the best possible result?"
"It's the results that I want, I'm just in a hurry. I don't have time to be kind!"
"Maybe. But also, maybe you don't have time NOT to be kind. Think of the reactions. Think of the changes. Think about whether someone feels resentment instead of contentment. No matter how well you say it, won't it sound better with kindness?"

-- doug smith

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Not All Failure Is Equal

I like the theory that says "there is no failure only feedback" that comes from NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming.) There is much truth in that. But, like all truth, it applies and then it doesn't. Context matters.

There are mistakes that we can make that we do not learn from because there is no second chance. Some mistakes, life threatening or relationship ending, offer no other chance.

So as the sarge used to say at the beginning of every "Hill Street Blues" episode, "let's be careful out there."

-- doug smith

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Say What You Mean

When I was much younger I was so shy that I often would not say what was on my mind. Who am I kidding? I hardly EVER said what was on my mind. I later learned that a) no one could read my mind, and b) I didn't get what I wanted that way.

Since then I've been working on speaking assertively. Making the request. Stating the view. Clarifying my perspective. It's a work in progress. We're all a work in progress. Here's how I plan to make more progress: talk about it.

There's no point in waiting to say what you mean -- you may not get the chance again.

Say what you mean as truly as you can, with kindness.

What do you think?

-- doug smith

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Tell Them

We live at a time defined by our differences. Arguments prevail. Dialogue, once so vibrant, is often disturbed by the percussive discussions of differing views.

These differing views could lead to valuable insights, if we were just able and willing to examine our differences. What if we could share our perspectives without judging each other?

It could start by opening up, by telling more about who each of us really is inside. Where do the things we say come from? What makes us who we are?

Tell your story. Tell your views. Share your perspective. When we can do that with an open mind, any level of communication becomes possible.

Who will know who you really are unless you tell them? Talk about it. Then, listen.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Talk About It to Get Closer

When we speak our hearts and minds fully, and also listen deeply with curiosity, we build relationships that otherwise might falter. Talking helps us connect. Conversation can draw us together so that collaborating, cooperating, and working together become easier -- even enjoyable.

What could possibly bring us closer than deep unfiltered conversation?

Talk about it.

-- doug smith

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Start by Telling Yourself the Truth

I often ask the question "who do we lie to the most?" and the answer is nearly universal: ourselves. We lie the most to ourselves.

What a disservice. What an encumbrance. What a waste. Tell the truth, and start with yourself,

Once we can tell the truth to ourselves it's easier to tell it to others.

I'm going to work on that. How about you?

-- doug smith

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Do You Criticize Emotions?

Do you like it if someone criticizes your emotions? Or, how about those times when people minimize the emotions going on as unimportant?

Judging emotions does not help whatever situation is provoking that emotion. Blaming the person in the middle of an emotion for their emotions is not helpful.

It doesn't do any good to criticize anyone's emotions. You can stop that now. It doesn't help you, or the person feeling the emotion.

Instead, stay curious. Stay helpful. And mostly, just listen.

-- doug smith

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Keep Learning, Again and Again

Our best is not our end. It's a platform to our next level. Learn, and level up. Learn and do better.
Let's keep learning.

-- doug smith

Friday, January 19, 2018

Too Many Goals?

If it feels like you have too many goals, that could mean that you have too many goals that were given to you from someone else. If a goal is yours -- if you set it based on your long range plan -- rather than resent it, present it. Find help. Build excitement. When you find the excitement, the help appears and the goal sails. If no help appears, maybe you know now which goals to trim.

-- doug smith

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tell Yourself the Truth

Do you ever lie to yourself?

Most of us do. Of all the lies we tell, we lie to ourselves the most. And for what? Toward what aim?

Lying to ourselves is fruitless. Lying to ourselves is damaging. Lying to ourselves is no way to achieve our goals or to communicate effectively.

Your truth will matter more to others when it matters more to yourself. Tell yourself the truth.

-- doug smith

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Monday, January 8, 2018

Truth or Lies?

quotes on truth and communication - doug smith

When was the last time that you were lied to? Maybe you know, and maybe you don't. It could depend on the lie. The person who lied to you could be so good at lying that you still don't know. Or, maybe they didn't even consider it to be a lie -- but it is.

Lies cause hardship and heartbreak. Lies damage relationships and distort results. And yet, we all lie.

Maybe because we don't realize the extent of the harm that lies cause. Destroyed trust, broken promises, unfair distribution of limited resources, lost opportunities...

If we knew -- really knew -- how harmful lies really are we might stop telling them.

You could stop today.

I could stop today.

Let's stop.

-- doug smith

Be Impeccable With Your Word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love. 
-- Don Miguel Ruiz

"Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others."
-- Fyodor Dostoevski

Friday, January 5, 2018

Find a Better Way to Ask

Sometimes the answer is no, and we don't like the answer.  We could give up. Oh well. Or -- we could ask a different way. Maybe our expectations were not clear. Maybe our intensity was not clear.

Get clear. Stay persistent.

Not all the time -- it still makes sense to remain open, curious, and able to be influenced. But when you've got to have what you've got to have, and you are struggling to get it -- try a different way.

Some suggestions:

- find the value in what you want from the other person's point of view
- show how NOT getting what you want impacts the other person negatively
- ask in a different way
- add humor (gently)
- use analogies ("On a scale of 1 to 10, this is a solid 10 for me!)
- find the mutually beneficial outcome. It could be something different.

There are always more possibilities. How do you know there are still possibilities? If you haven't gotten something you like yet.

What ideas do you have?

--  doug smith

On Regrets

Regrets are meant for learning, not suffering.

We all have regrets. There are so many mistakes we make that we believe we could easily solve given one more chance. But could we? Really? Or would it be like some lost episode of "The Twilight Zone" where our actions simply triggered new mistakes, new circumstances, and repetitive results?

We can't go back anyway. As of this moment in time, there is no time travel (and if there were EVER any time travel, wouldn't it apply to always?) I have things that I have regretted but here's what I've learned. Easy or hard, painful or trivial, just get over it.

Regrets are meant for learning. There's no reason to keep beating ourselves up about it.

Do your best. Make amends. Move on.

-- doug smith

Thursday, January 4, 2018

You Can Handle The Truth

Who tells lies?

That's not a trick question. We all lie.  There may even be some circumstances when lying seems appropriate. The trouble is when we lie we convince ourselves that the circumstances warrant lying, even when they don't.

It makes it hard to know when anyone's telling the truth. It makes it hard to make and keep agreements.

It doesn't have to be that way. We could simply tell the truth. Always. Some conversations would take longer. Some conversations might contain more conflict than we'd like. But, imagine what a boost your level of trust gets when people realize that you can be relied on to always tell the truth.

Not just when it's easy. Not just when it's convenient. Always.

Wouldn't you rather live with no more lies? Tell the truth. You can handle it.

-- doug smith