Saturday, August 18, 2018

Calls to Action

Values evolve over time. If values are ever true, they refine without denying what once was. They grow. They distill. They find ways to self-generate the results they aspire to.



Here are some values I've refined into calls to action. I don't just agree with them, I expect to do them. To show them. To act on them. Sometimes it goes well, and often I fall short. The journey is a long one, so keep going.

Here are my current calls to action:


  1. Be your best
  2. Stay curious
  3. Turn toward all offers (bids) to start
  4. Challenge yourself
  5. Reach out with compassion
  6. Expand your possibilities
  7. Appreciate
  8. Play nice, work hard, stay smart
  9. Learn constantly
What are your values? What are your calls to action?

-- doug smith




Friday, August 17, 2018

Inspiration: Get to Know Your Team


How well do you know your team?

Leaders spend a lot of time with their team members, but sometimes don't get to know them very well. If you asked them what their dreams were or what they thought about at night before they went to sleep, would it surprise you?

High performance leaders expand their capacity of knowing their team. They learn what they don't know and explore at deeper levels what makes their team members excited, what makes them worried, and what makes them feel valued.

When a leader can let the team members know that they are valued, their value increases.

I don't know anyone as well as I think I do. I'm going to work at getting to know them better.

How about you?

-- doug smith



Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Think About It


It is possible to agree too quickly. Talk about it to make sure that you understand the agreement.

Is it really what you want? Will you be able to live with this as a decision? Do you support the likely result?

An agreement is a choice. Make sure it is the right choice for you. Then, once you have made the agreement, keep it.

It's what high performance leaders do.

-- doug smith

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Honor the Absent


Do people in your organization gossip?

It's not harmless chatter. Gossip creates problems with reputations and generates disrespect. Without a person there to defend themselves, gossip is a poisonous mix of half-truth and hyperbole. It's bad stuff.

When I worked at GE we had a guideline that made perfect sense: honor the absent. If you wouldn't say something if someone was sitting right next to you, then do not say it. Honor their absence and their humanity.

Whether or not we agree with the goings-on and accounts of someone, if they are not there to defend themselves, maybe silence is the nobler path. Smearing them, swearing about them, and telling stories that are at least partially (and possibly, completely) untrue are behaviors that are beneath us. It's better to avoid gossip completely.

High performance leaders know that to communicate for results it pays to stick to the truth AND to respect the people involves. Respect your audience, respect your topic, respect the dignity of your organization.

It is possible to honor the absent without defending them. Tell your truth, without disparaging the reputation of someone not there to defend themselves.

What do you think?

-- doug smith


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Video Case Study: The Psychology of Tyranny - Alex Haslam


Did Milgram get it wrong?

This video raises some intriguing questions that are relevant to our studies of high performance leadership. It raises issues around obedience, control, leadership, followership, context, and even evil.

Watch the video (17:49) and then reflect on the questions below.




Reflection and Discussion Questions:


  1. What meaning regarding obedience have people commonly concluded based on Milgram's  research?
  2. What are the factors in play that effect the participant's willingness to continue with the experiment, even though it appeared to be inflicting pain?
  3. How did the context of the experiment effect the outcomes?
  4. What additional information was mentioned in the video that we don't usually hear about when it comes to this famous experiment?
  5. What is the surprising conclusion to this research when examined thru the lens of this talk?
  6. Given the circumstances as you understand them, would you have continued to administer the shocks past the point of safety?
  7. How did the subjects react when given direct orders?
  8. What does this tell you about the nature of influence and leadership?
  9. Could this knowledge be used for both noble and for evil intent? How do you respond to that? 
  10. As a leader, what use can you make of this information?





Friday, August 10, 2018

Respect Anyway


Do people need to earn your respect?

Some people do believe that it is necessary to prove yourself worthy of respect before someone should grant you respect. What's the problem with that? When we put ourselves into the position of judge we also open the door wider to being judged.

Can people tell when you respect them?  Undoubtably. We seem to have an inner radar that differentiates respect from disrespect -- or worse, disregard. We can tell, and we care. Deeply.

Whatever a person has done in the past that we might question, it is still possible to treat them with respect. Kindness, compassion, even love know no limits.

Respecting someone does not mean that you agree with everything that they've ever done -- or even with what they are  doing or saying right now. Respect means that you treat them with human dignity, fairness, compassion, and honor.

I know that it can be tough to show respect in the heat of an argument or when someone is not acting in a likable manner. It can be tough to respect someone who irritates the crap out of you. Hey...respect them anyway.

I will do my best. How about you?

-- doug smith