Sunday, September 23, 2018

Not Quite Perfect, But...


There are no perfect people and there are no perfect processes. Still, we must improve. Performance matters and we can "perfect" that performance even though we will not achieve perfection.

Perfection is somewhere in the practice.

Practice.

-- doug smith




Saturday, September 22, 2018

Keep Working On Those Drafts


Have you ever thought that you've got this leadership thing all worked out? I've never reached a point where I thought "that does it, it's all easy from now on..." It gets better, but not necessarily easier. As the goals get bigger, the plans take longer. As the tasks pile up, the discipline must grow or it all stumbles to a stop.

Just when you think you've got your team where you want them, a star performer leaves, or a struggling performer slips even further. The work never stops. Some of it is the science of leadership (mind your metrics, facilitate your meetings, improve your processes) and some of it is art (develop your people, conduct those on-the-spot tough conversations.)

The art of leadership seldom stops after one draft.

Don't stop. Keep moving. Keep learning. Keep growing.

-- doug smith




Thursday, September 20, 2018

Clarify Your Shared Values


Companies sometimes post their espoused values. Do they really live by them? It depends on the company. It's worth asking questions, with curiosity, to see if they really do live by those values. Questions like:


  • what does integrity mean to you?
  • how do you create an environment of development and support?
  • how do you make sure that equal opportunity is an active part of your culture?
  • how do you balance competition and cooperation in your company?
  • can you give me an example of a time when your organization was tempted to do something that would have been good for profit but bad for people? what did you do?
Values sound great. Values sound uplifting and noble. It is important to make sure that they are real.

The problem with shared values is that they are so rarely shared.

Check to be sure.

-- doug smith





Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Clarify What You Think You Heard


When was the last time that you misunderstood someone? It might have been more recent than you think. We are all misunderstood sometimes. Without clarifying and confirming, we are misunderstood far too many times.

Remember, most of the time we misunderstand something we are not aware of our misunderstanding.

Clarify constantly.

-- doug smith



Monday, September 17, 2018

Dance!



I'm not a good dancer. I used to think that I was, but then I figured out that it was my partner who was such a good dancer that she could also make me feel like a good dancer. It was wonderful. And, when I realized later, when she'd moved on to a new partner, that I was NOT such a good dancer, at first I wanted to stop dancing. It was so disappointing. It was all just an illusion.

And then, I realized. It didn't matter. There are degrees of dancing. Somewhere there are people who dance even better than my former partner. Somewhere there are people who can hardly dance at all. No matter where we start, in dancing or in leading, we can always level up. Start where we are and get better. And, realize that the dance is not about us at all anyway. The dance is, and always has been, about your partners.

Your creative muse likes to dance. It will open up new roads to you. It will light you up and allow blood to flow to the places that make you tingle. Listen to that muse and walk past the edge of whatever is stopping you. It doesn't matter if anyone is watching.

Your creative muse likes to dance. Dance.

-- doug smith



Expand Your Possibilities


Do you know how powerful your goals are?

The best goals spark curiosity, which inspires creativity, expanding possibilities.

-- doug smith




Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ask With Curiosity



In every workshop I facilitate - every one - I share this important piece of wisdom from one of my mentors, Andrew Oxley:

"if you don't like the answer to a question, ask a better question."

That's profound. That's powerful. That's endlessly useful.

Often, people will struggle with that. Sometimes they ask, "How do you ask better questions? What if you can't think of one?"

Here's the answer.

Ask with curiosity and you'll think of better questions.

Stay curious, my friend.

-- doug smith