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High Performance Leaders Are Accountable

  High performance leaders don't get to pass the blame. It's possible, but worthless, to blame someone else for your problems. Who will deal with the issue? Who will solve the problem? Who is accountable? Every problem is a leadership problem. Take charge. Forge forward. Rally the team.  That problem that concerns you belongs to you.  -- doug smith

The Challenge of Common Sense

  Have you ever wondered where all the common sense went?  What we often take for granted as easy to grasp knowledge goes unacknowledged by all too many people. What once was common has become uncommon: courtesy, flexibility, resilience, determination, perseverance...if these traits were ever common they have slipped into rare supply. Or have they? It depends on what you're looking for. It depends on what you are modeling. Wouldn't common sense be hardest to find by those who aren't practicing common sense? It makes me wonder. It also matters how we define common sense. Just because it feels right to me doesn't mean that it makes any sense to you. Our perspective does still matter. Common sense is easily confused with common bias. We see things the way we see things because that's the way we see things. That both makes no sense at all and yet defines sense-making. Or does it? What to do with all that?  Be careful about what you expect, because you'll get a lot o

Integrity First

What is it like to work for a leader who lacks integrity? Sadly, you probably already know. A leader who tells lies, who cuts corners on promises, who cheats to get ahead, who stacks the score against anyone else...the ways are endless and the impact immeasurable. It's all unnecessary. Start with integrity. Set high standards and keep them. Show the world that honesty works, and it will. A leader without integrity is deceiving, not leading. Start with integrity. -- doug smith

On Edge

The extreme of one thing is the introduction to something else. It might be better. It might be radically opposite. It will be a clear reaction. There is opportunity on the edges, as well as danger. How far is too far? -- doug smith

You Define Success

  Henry the Cat, photo by Judi Madigan It's tremendously liberating to realize that the only person who can define success for you is you. Not advertising. Not guidance counselors. Not consultants. Not bosses. You. You define success, and you also define failure. Don't let anyone define failure for you.  If you didn't achieve your goal, maybe you aren't done. Maybe your goal changed. Maybe part-way is far enough. You decide. I'm not saying to take it easy on yourself (although that's not altogether bad, either) but rather don't let others be too hard on you. You decide. You define success. Keep going until you get there. -- doug smith

You Might Need Both

  Where does YOUR motivation come from? It's worth checking in on that occasionally. When your motivation is energized, you can do so much more. When you really want what you're working on, you work that much harder. Maybe it's the goal. A great goal can energize you.  Maybe it's the motivation: getting you going to FIND and then achieve a great goal.  The goal can bring the motivation and the motivation can bring the goal -- you might need both. Why not get both going right about now? -- doug smith

Fragile Judgment

  When is a good time to judge? More often than not, NOW is NOT the time to judge. People do not crave or request judgment. They can benefit from feedback, but judgment leaves most people cold. Every judgment is a brick in a wall that has no foundation. It separates. It falls. It builds more walls. Judgment seems firm and strong, but more often than not it is fragile. Stay curious instead. -- doug smith

What Gets Appreciated Gets Repeated

  I say this a lot: what gets appreciated gets repeated. Have you ever done someone a favor only to have them forget all about it?  Have you ever felt under-appreciated? Many people do now, all over. Neglected, disrespected, unconnected. Yuck. High performance leaders grab every possible opportunity to thank someone for something great that they did. You can't do too much of this.  High performance leaders take the time to appreciate a goal achieved -- and the person who achieved that goal! -- doug smith Personal Note: The car pictured in this meme is a Ford Mustang that I once rented for a few days on a business trip. It was one of those "take any car you like in the row" deals and I very much liked the Mustang. A convertible! It wasn't mine to keep. It wasn't mine for long. But, I sure did appreciate it while we were together.  Your team members are a bit like that -- they aren't yours to keep and in many cases they aren't yours for long but while you ar

Excellence Matters

  Are you good at your job? Have you spent the time, invested in the training, and practiced the necessary skills so that you deliver excellence on the job? It's hard work. There's no easy shortcut. And, it makes all the difference in the world. Do you want to really love your job? Then, get good at it! -- doug smith

What are you missing?

  Leaders make mistakes. Oh wow, do they make mistakes. At question is, are we learning from those mistakes? Can we manage our emotions? Do we redirect our misdirection? Do we serve instead of pander? Leadership is hard. That's why people are asking you to be in charge. Learning constantly will make it better, but it will always be hard. When it stops being hard, ask someone what is it that you're missing -- because you are definitely missing something. -- doug smith

Confidence

I like this quote about coaching, and I think it applies to much more than coaching. Maybe, just maybe, everything. Where does confidence come from? Well, you might be able to drum it up or talk yourself into it but that's shallow and not so resilient. True confidence comes form competence: knowing you can do what you say you will do, and doing it. It's reliability. It's sincerity. It's thousands of hours of practices and service. Phil Jackson had a lot of success in his career. His teams oozed confidence. And you know what? They were also really, really good. Build that confidence. Develop that competence. Learn constantly, every day. -- doug smith