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Learn Leadership Now!

Fast, affordable leadership training



Here are four ways to develop your leadership skills now:
Leadership tool box - Click on any of the labels for any entry on this site to find more useful content, much of which will contain suggested actions for developing your skills and leadership calls to action to prompt you. Teleclass Appointments - You do not need to wait for a teleclass or webinar to be offered to sign up for it. Using our teleclass appointment system you can schedule the teleclass you want, when you want it. Just click here.Supervisors Coaching Calls - Attend our group coaching opportunity for front line leaders to discuss your leadership goals, action plans, insights, and challenges. Designed as a way to extend and apply the learning from previous workshops and teleclasses, but this coaching call is open to anyone who is working on developing leadership skills -- and for a limited time it's free! Register to participate here.Supervising for Success - Bring our live, in-…

Who You Are...

Who you are effects how you see everyone around you. While that feels obvious, it's often mysteriously invisible.

-- doug smith




Supervisors Coaching Call

Training is a process, not an event. If you've attended one or more of our workshops or teleclasses, we'd like to help you extend the learning with our group coaching calls.

For a limited time, it's a free benefit to our workshop and teleclass participants. Attendance is limited to ten people so be sure to register early.

When: Fridays at 12:00pm ET
To participate, please register by scheduling an appointment:

Schedule Appointment

Not a participant? You're welcome to join us anyway to get a taste of our training and coaching style.

-- doug

This Week's Coaching Call Agenda:Guidelines & AgreementsIntroductionsWarm-upThis Week's Coaching QuestionsNext steps for you
Call time is approximately 30 minutes

This Week's Coaching Call QuestionsWhat are you most proud of this week?What are you most grateful for this week?What leadership skills are you working to develop?What is your most ambitious goal?What is your biggest challenge to achieving your most ambitiou…

Keep Developing!

Have you ever seen a leader so effective that they couldn't get better? Me, either. Unless we are constantly developing we are falling behind. Let's keep growing.

The best leader you can be is still there ready to be developed. Keep going.

-- doug smith




Supervisor's Playbook: Track the Work

Tackle that feeling of overwhelm using a practice, simple tool.

Situation:
Overloaded with tasks. Getting delegated to from multiple sources and you suspect someone may be overloading you.

Bonus:
Helps you prioritize based on who assigned the workAllows you to add and identify what you own because you assigned it (to yourself OR to others)How it works: Add a column for "Per" for the person who assigned you the task.
For example:

Priority Scale: A = Urgent, important, and due today B = Important but not urgent C = Not due soon, more tactical than strategic D = Delegate or delete these
Additional Uses: A way to show the people who assign you work how much they assign you and also what else you are working on.Makes you assign a realistic priority value instead of calling everything an A (urgent AND important.)When deployed among your team you can see if the distribution of work is optimal or needs adjusting.
-- doug smith


Here You Are

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live at a different time? Do you ever long for old times when things seamed simpler?

Of course, none of us has any choice in the matter of time. The time is now. What we have is now.

And there's good news. Now is the best time (to think any other way is to cause yourself unnecessary grief.)

We each live in a time and place designed to bring out our best.

Let's smile, roll up our sleeves, and get moving.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action
Just for fun, and a little easy motivation, draw a smiling face in today's place in your calendar or planner. If you don't use one you can draw in, insert an emoji. Smile. Today's for you!



The Benefits of Coaching

High performance leaders are also coaches. There is no avoiding the need to give your team members feedback. The most robust way to develop a culture of feedback in your team is to coach - not just a little - but constantly. Coach, coach, coach! Lead with inspiration of course, and also lead with coaching by sharing deep conversations with your people about performance. Appreciate the good work. Redirect the sloppy work. Fine tune the vast amount of work that fits somewhere in-between.

It's good for your team, and it's good for you. There are so many benefits to coaching, including:

Better performanceMore comfort at giving AND receiving feedbackStronger relationshipsMore effective communicationFaster response time on urgent team needsA closer, more cooperative team You can probably think of even more benefits to coaching.
Any time we coach another we are also coaching ourselves -- and that is enough of a benefit to keep coaching no matter what. When you help others improve, yo…

Telling The Truth

What makes it so hard sometimes to tell the truth? Maybe because people will react, and then we have to be ready for that reaction. But if the reaction you want is trust, understanding, and belief, then keep on telling the truth.

Before you give your honest answer, make sure it IS your honest answer. Someone might believe you.

-- doug smith




Learning Activity: Spoons

Purpose:
To provide a fast-paced review of a topic (such as Leadership or Project Management).

Materials:
One deck of cards for each small group (about one deck for up to six people)
Plastic spoons (one for every person in each small group, minus one spoon)

A deck of cards for each small group (about one deck of cards for each four or five people.)   One plastic spoon for each person in each group, minus one spoon. (For each group there is one less spoon than the number of people.)Place the spoons in the center.Deal six cards to each personThe person to the left of the dealer begins by drawing a card from the center. They either keep that card or discard it to the person on the left, or discard another card from their deckto the person on their left.The object is to gather six cards in the same suite.When you have six cards all in the same suite, grab a spoon.Once a spoon has been grabbed, any one else can grab a spoon until there are no more spoons. This will leave one person without a…

Keep Improving

Maybe you've heard someone say this, "I never get the training that I need..." or "There isn't enough time to learn what I need to learn..."

Hearing it is rough enough, but living it is too limiting. We're all challenged. We're all taxed. We're all over-whelmed. Still, the need to keep learning never goes away and the more we ignore it the more we become overwhelmed.

You don't ever have to wait for someone else to improve for you to improve. It's up to you.

Keep learning.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action: Check your action plan for a goal that requires a skill that you're still learning. Do something to help increase your learning at that skill today.





Supervisors Coaching Call

Training is a process, not an event. If you've attended one or more of our workshops or teleclasses, we'd like to help you extend the learning with our group coaching calls.

For a limited time, it's a free benefit to our workshop and teleclass participants. Attendance is limited to ten people so be sure to register early.

When: Fridays at 12:00pm ET

Sign up here:


Schedule Appointment


Room to Grow

I suppose that if a problem is easy to solve that it isn't even a problem. Just solve it and be done with it. A problem like that is more like a decision than a problem.

We all have bigger problems than that, though. We all struggle at times to solve what feels like an unsolvable problems. Some problems truly can't be solved, and must then be managed. How can we tell the difference?

We need to ponder the possibilities. We need to change the problem into a goal and figure out how to bring that about. The difficulty is like a framework for building something we haven't thought of before. The problem stands there, a form waiting to redirect our notions of what is possible.

Tough or not, solvable or not, a problem creates a space for traction.

A problem you can't solve is give you room to grow.

Grow.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action Create a list of three problems you have not been able to solve.

Next to each problem, write the one leadership skill or strength that…

Stay Willing to Solve That Problem

Leaders don't usually ask for the problems they are confronted with, and yet there they are. Busy lives lead to a kind of numbing busyness that can detract focus from what is most important. For front line leaders, what is most important is solving problems and achieving goals.

Avoiding problems keeps them growing. To solve a problem we must first be willing. That takes time. Time to stop, breathe, and analyze the problem. Time to gather the will and resources need to first convert that negative problem into a positive goal and then to get busy solving it.

Solving a problem is mostly showing willingness to solve the problem. Are you willing?


-- doug smith


Call to Action:
Write down three problems you've been avoidingCircle the one that troubles you the mostConvert that problem into a goal: what do you want instead of that problem?Get started solving it For more help in a process for solving problems:
Follow the links in the Leadership Toolbox on Solving ProblemsAttend (you can …

The Best Leaders Laugh

Think about the best leader you've ever worked with. Now, think about what it sounded like and felt like when that leader laughed.

I'm thinking that the best leader you can think of laughed often. Wouldn't you think that a great leader would be happy in their work? And wouldn't you think that happy leaders laugh a lot?

That was true about the best leaders that I've worked with -- they all had hearty and ready laughs. They took work seriously, of course -- AND were completely capable of laughing at themselves when they caught themselves taking things too seriously.

Laugh. And when you make a mistake, learn from it fast so that you can laugh at that, too. It'll be a good story someday, and a good laugh, too.

If you can't laugh at your own mistakes you're missing the best laughs.

-- Doug Smith




Video: Lightning Fast Problem Solving

This video uses a similar process to one that I share in my workshops. The video is around 12 minutes long but can save you hours of toil and trouble in your future problem solving sessions. I like that they call it a jam. As a musician, I can relate to the collaborative tools used, even though much of it is in silence (which, incidentally, gives your quiet and reflective team members equal footing.)




Each of the steps is described in writing, and there's another link to the video here.

You'll need lots of sticky notes, whiteboard space, dots (two sizes) and markers. Always have extra markers whenever you use dry-erase markers because you don't want to run dry.

I recommend reaching agreements at the beginning on moving forward without taking anything personally, respecting each other, and following directions from the facilitator because this is a rapid process and any hurt feelings or excited debate will just slow you down.

 There's a great use of one of my favorite to…

Four Powerful Words

Four words that cut thru tons of nonsense: it's up to you.

-- doug smith


Video: How to Manage Time With 10 Tips That Work

Entrepreneur Magazine frequently offers useful time management tips. Here are 10 that are helpful. Don't worry too much about the revolutionary declaration that most time management advice is useless -- that would make THIS advice useless, too. It's not. It all depends on how you apply it, particularly with the discipline that you apply it.

All time management tips depend on people DOING them with the discipline to say NO to distractions and low-payoff items. Focus first (and most) on the HIGH PAYOFF items and you are likely to be happy with the results.



Here are the tips for additional review and application:


Carry a schedule and track all of your activities, conversations, actions, and even thoughts  - for a week. Identify your productive vs. non-productive times.Assign time for your important activities. Put it in your schedule!Plan to spend at least 50% of your time in the activities and actions that produce most of your results.Schedule time for interruptions. You know the…

Video: 20 Quick Time Management Tips

High performance leaders must take care of their time. Here's a quick video with 20 quick time management tips.


Since the video does go quickly, here are the 20 tips:
Create a daily planPeg a time limit for each taskUse your calendarUse an organizerKnow your deadlineLearn to say "no"Target to be earlyTime box your activitiesHave a clock visibly placed before youSet reminders 15 minutes beforeFocusBlock out distractionsTrack your time spentDon't fuss about unimportant detailsPrioritizeDelegateBatch similar tasks togetherEliminate your time wastersCut off when you need toLeave bugger time in between Video Source:

Keep Asking Questions

One of my mentors, Lester T. Shapiro, taught me that the primary role of a leader is to ask relevant questions. If we get that right, leadership becomes much more influence and much less pushing an agenda. Stay curious, keep learning, and keep asking questions.

And when the questions lead you to a conclusion, maybe remember this:

Every conclusion contains many more questions.

Keep asking.

-- doug smith


Centered Is Not THE Center

Making yourself the center of the universe is bad for you, and the universe doesn't care.

It's bad for you because, ahem, you're not. I'm not. We don't even know WHERE the center of the universe is. I'm fairly sure it's not my town, my country, or even this world. That's that and that's that.

The universe might have a sense of humor, but that's stretching a metaphor and anthropomorphism to the max. Stretch, yes -- but be careful of those metaphors. They have quite a recoil.

-- doug smith




Take the Feedback

Feedback can be hard to take but far worse to ignore.

Take the feedback. What you do with it is your business, but take it. Hear it. Stay curious. Move ahead.

-- doug smith


Get Excited About Learning

What's your favorite question? Mine is this: what have you learned today? We are blessed with learning opportunities every day from the workshops that we attend to the books that we read to the audios that we listen to and even the youtube videos we watch. We even learn from our mistakes. Learning is a major part of leadership and the whole game when it comes to developing leadership.

People who get excited about learning stay energized.

Stay energized. Keep learning.

-- doug smith

Patience Takes Patience

If your boss is rough on you, that could affect how rough you are on your own people, but it should not. Leaders don't get to hand down the trouble. Abuse shared is multiplied, not diminished.

Having someone lose patience with you is no reason to lose patience with them. Centered leaders focus, breathe, and maintain. It's what you'd want, and therefore what to deliver.

-- doug smith


Lead for More Than Money

Money is important. High performance leaders must pay attention to money and how it effects their team. When you can, make sure that your team is positively impacting the larger organization's bottom line. That keeps you in the game.

And -- there's more. Much more. What is it about your team's work is transformational? How much are you improving the lives of others? Is your team helping to create a better world?

We can care about money and still be noble. We can focus on important areas such as service, helpfulness, safety, truth, happiness, heath, quality -- whatever it is that is there for your team to prosper, drive, and deliver on.

The bottom line is not the only line worth measuring. It's not even the most important.

Define your most important bottom line, and make money subordinate to that.

-- doug smith


Goals Are There For You

The trouble with assigned goals is that it's within our nature to avoid them. That's true even if YOU are the one assigning the goal.

The first question for any goal is: what is your motivation to achieve it? What will you get out of it? How will it make you feel?

If those answers come hard to you, it might not be a goal for you.

Question any goal that doesn't promise to make your life better.

-- doug smith

I help people develop leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. To explore how we might work together, start the conversation in the comments below or contact me:

doug@dougsmithtraining.com


Embrace the Problem

You didn't ask for the problem, and yet it's here.
You could ignore the problem, and yet it's still here.

What if that problem is here for you to grow? What if you can make more of yourself by helping someone else?

A problem is a platform for your advancement.

Ready, set, go.

-- doug smith



I help people develop leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. To start a conversation on how we might work together, contact me here: doug@dougsmithtraining.com

Are You Waiting for Permission?

Permission is a tricky thing. It can be important in an organization. Leadership has its needs, and one of those needs is order. Too much recklessness -- by the leader or the team, can lead to a chaos that spins out of control.

Get permission when you need it. Breaking rules will almost always catch up to you, and the price is always higher than expected.

But -- and this is an important condition to consider -- don't wait for permission when you don't need it. If you have been empowered to take action, take action! If you have discussed your strategic move with those affected and reached consensus, take action!

I've gone so far as to wait silently for permission, as if my boss could read my mind and anticipate the situation. How silly. Instead I've learned to take action.

Waiting for permission, when it is neither needed or implied, is wasting time. Let go of the fear and move. Cautiously, perhaps -- but move!

Don't let "waiting for permission" become an…

Free Training Needs Analysis

Do you have leadership development needs?

Whether it is for yourself, your team, or your whole organization, we can help.

By answering a few questions on our Training Needs Analysis form and scheduling an appointment to chat with Doug we can identify the best, most direct, and most effective way to train you and your people.

The conversation usually takes about a half hour. After that you can decide your next steps. I'll be happy to make recommendations (and they don't always mean training with us -- if your needs call for using another source, vendor, or method I will be straight forward with that type of recommendation.)

To schedule a needs analysis phone call, start here.

-- doug smith

I help people develop leadership with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion. To talk about your leadership development needs, contact me here.


Start With Yourself

Do you know a difficult person? Of course you do. We all do. Some people just make life harder than it needs to be. It's that person who misses the deadline, every time. It's the person who won't return your messages. It's the person who rolls their eyes when you speak in a meeting. You know one or more of them, I'm sure.

We can't fix them. Even high performance leaders can't fix difficult people because people are not processes or machines. We make funny noises. We stutter and moan. We grunt at customers when we should be patient and kind. But that's not how it needs to be.

We can make a difference. As leaders, we don't need to surrender to a bad day or even a bad moment. We're here to serve. Even difficult behaviors can spark better behavior of our own - habits we develop to better serve each other and so to also serve ourselves.

By taking care of ourselves. By taking those deep breaths when we need them. By developing a sense of perspective …

Take Charge of Your Own Learning

Are you getting all the training that you need?

As a leader, are you able to schedule all the training you want, whenever you want it?

It's tough to do with budget constraints and time limitations. I can think of dozens of leadership programs I would have LOVED to attend when I was working in corporate life and, while I was truly fortunate to be able to attend many of them, some just feel outside of our time or budget constraints.

That's why I'm now offering a flexible alternative. Lean, focused teleclasses that you can schedule, just like an appointment. I call them Teleclass appointments. Schedule one, or schedule the whole bunch. Each one is fairly priced and sharply focused. In thirty minutes you will learn a key skill or explore a high impact tool which you can than apply.

The very affordable price ($30 for most of them) is payable when you make the appointment. Book it just for yourself or invite a friend to share your line at the same connection and it's still …

Your Team Needs You

Successful leaders find ways to develop the talent on their team so that the tasks of leadership (mainly, management tasks to handle the day-to-day operation) can be shared with other team members. Until you can delegate you are stuck doing the same old tasks. Sharing the work frees up the team leader while also developing the team members. It's the right approach.

Still, your team does need you. Even developing your team to the point where nearly every major task is handled by the team (even scheduling, delegating, assessing, interviewing...) the team leader provides a sense of direction not obtainable any other way. The team leader sets the tempo AND the temperature of the team. The team leader sparks the pulse, ignites the flame, defines the lines.

Just because your team can function without you doesn't mean that your team can function without you.

Stay in the game. Stay in the team. You are in charge.

-- doug smith


Leadership Call to Action: 
Success team leaders do these …

Find The Flaw In Your Thinking

How does it feel like when your mind is foggy? For me, fogginess happens when there are an overwhelming number of choices, or possibilities, or the problem seems to cut so deep that only a tourniquet will help. Fogginess can also come from incomplete thinking - we stop at a place that makes sense to our unseen bias, and move forward without looking for other facts.

Flaws in our thinking develop when our thinking is misdirected (it was true about something else so it must be true about this), polluted (that advertisement is just SO convincing), corrupted (it might not be exactly right but it's good for me), and any of dozens of factors that fog our thoughts.

The flaw that blocks you knocks you off center. The flaw that deceives you leaves you without a real solution.

Find the flaw in your thinking while you can still find it, or the problem is yours to keep.

-- doug smith


Level Up It's challenging to think about what we think about. Our minds don't always see the shortcuts…

No Need to Blame

What does anyone get out of blaming anyone else?

It's easy. It's even reflexive. It just doesn't help.

Find the problem, identify the issues, and solve it. There's plenty of responsibility to go around. Work together as a team, and the team will work better together.

Team members who give each other the benefit of the doubt do much better when stress intrudes than any team that finds it easy to blame.

-- doug smith




Teleclass: How to Communicate More Effectively: Oct. 23 at 12:00pm ET

When: Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2018 at 12:00 Noon ET $30 / 30 Minutes


It's on every list of key leadership skills. It's on the minds of every recruiter, manager, executive, and team member: communication.

How to Communicate More Effectively is 30 fast moving minutes for you to explore key levers that will immediately improve your communicate skills. We'll explore and practice five key communication skills that, once practiced, will give you:


Deeper conversationsMore productive meetingsMore powerful presentationsBetter relationships Join with me in exploring the CLUES to Success model for developing and sharing more communication effectiveness.
You'll get a downloadable learner's guide plus 30 minutes of instantly usable skill building.

Preview and download the Learner's Guide here.

(This event has already occurred. Please watch for additional available times, or schedule your own teleclass appointment here.)



Give Your Team Your Best

Supervisors can't insist on everything. Your people have lives. Your people have limitations. You do want to get the most out of your team. You do that by making reasonable demands and framing somewhat ambitious yet achievable expectations.

Push your people, don't break them. Inspire them without tiring them out.

Building your team is a process. Some of it is in the group dynamics, and some of it is person by person. Give it your best, and see what you get from the rest.

No one has to give their team everything as long as everyone give the team their best.

-- doug smith


Teleclass: How to Achieve Your Goals, on Oct. 11 at 11:00am ET

Thursday, October 11 11:00 am ET to 11:30 30/30 Thirty Minutes, Thirty Dollars

Discover a five-step process for achieving your leadership goals. In thirty fast minutes you'll be on your way to setting and achieving high performance goals. The hand-out is filled with information and activities that will direct you toward a faster, much more fun path toward achieving your goals.

You can preview, and download, the Learners Guide here.

To book this teleclass, contact: doug@dougsmithtraining.com


Teleclass: Ten Keys to Leadership Success

Upcoming teleclass:
Wednesday, October 10 at 11:00am ET
Only $30
SOLD OUT!



Ten Keys to Leadership Success

Explore ten key ways to quickly improve your leadership performance. But it's more than a list. You'll also hear how to implement these keys in your leadership role. Perfect for new leaders and people who have recently been promoted to leadership (or expect to be soon!) And, even if you're NOT a new leader, it's never too late to get yourself on track for truly high performance leadership.

Next session: Wednesday, October 10 at 11:00 am ET
Only $30
SOLD OUT!

Download the Leaders Guide here






Paint Your Masterpiece

Have you painted your masterpiece yet? Have you utilized your gifts to their fullest and produced something that will last?

High performance leaders consider their legacy as they work and build toward a future where that work is remembered. I am thrilled by how much we as leaders can integrate our various skills into the work of leading. It's all connected. Find ways to connect what you love with what you do and you will always love what you do.

As a trainer and consultant, I am constantly finding new ways to blend my enthusiasm for the arts into my work. Maybe it's a song, maybe it's a collage, maybe it's a bit of acting in a story that I tell -- it's all part of the tapestry of the work. I may not have painted my masterpiece yet, but I am practicing every single day.

How about you?

-- doug smith



Workshops of The Week

I enjoyed working with two great groups this week - one in Freehold, NJ and the other in Baltimore, MD.


Keep Your List of Goals Brief

You may not know what your limit on goals is, but the ones you can't remember won't get done.

Keep your list of goals brief.

-- doug smith

Leadership Call to Action:
Read thru your list of goals. Prioritize your top three. Focus on those today.









What If There's a Flaw In Your Thinking?

It's humbling and it's happened to me, so I would not be surprised if it has happened to you. To be so sure, so certain, so already decided about something -- completely convinced -- only to discover that there was a flaw in the logic, there were facts not in evidence, there were perspectives unseen. There have been times when realizing that I was wrong about something rocked me more than the original problem. To find out that it couldn't be solved in the way that I was sure would work was shocking.

What I learned was, do not be that certain. Yes, there are times when you know that you are right and you ARE - but they feel just like the times when you know that you are right and you are not. It's like coming out of a dream that goes in a direction that did not even seem possible.

Our brains are human. Our minds are fallible. It's hard to evaluate the instrument at work with the instrument at work. It's so convincing in it's built-in bias. We need to step b…

Could There Be More to the Truth?

My goal is to tell the truth. All of the time. That's more difficult than you might expect, given our daily temptations to tell little lies of convenience -- especially when we consider that NOT telling something a truth they are entitled to hear is a kind of lie of omission. No one is perfect, but with a little work and a clear intention, we certainly CAN tell the truth. It's a habit worth developing.

Once you get into that habit, of telling the truth all of the time, you may find yourself insisting on hearing only the truth from others. That's even more difficult. Some people lie so much that they don't even realize it. Some people lie so much that they come to believe their own lies. What do you do with that?

All we can do is to start by telling the truth. All the truth we know. We may later learn that we didn't even know all of the truth, or that someone else's view of a situation is different from ours (and just as true.) Still, let's start with telli…

Details Matter

Attention to detail thwarts a thousand problems.

-- doug smith

Keep Looking

Should we stop looking, once we've found what we're looking for?

Or, should we savor having that precious moment while also remembering to look onward. Keep looking. Keep building. Keep growing.

Find the dream you're looking for and then keep looking.

-- doug smith



Listen First

How quickly do you make up your mind about whether someone is right or wrong? Is it possible that you sometimes make up your mind too quickly? It happens frequently. That proposes an additional challenge of forcing someone to defend a position before they know for sure that it's THEIR best option.

I've done it. You've probably done it, too. I've decided to turn away a sales offer that clearly could have been a benefit to me. Why? I'd made up my mind not to buy. I've also turned away great invitations just because I'd already decided to keep a time free, instead of staying open to new opportunities. The new opportunities MIGHT have been fantastic, but once I stopped listening it became impossible to tell.

How about you?

The fix to this problem is simple and easy: listen. Before you make up your mind, listen with genuine, sincere curiosity. Maybe you know, and maybe you don't -- listen.

It becomes harder to listen when we become convinced that someone is…

Improving Performance Starts with Feedback

Sometimes people get better on their own, and sometimes they do not. High performance leaders don't take the chance that people will get better on their own. The key starts with feedback.

When people know exactly what they did, it's possible to do it better the next time. Are your people meeting their metrics? Are they delighting customers? Are they inspiring you?

Share your observations. What did you see, hear, smell, feel? What was useful about what happened? How could it be even better.

We all benefit from feedback. Successful supervisors make sure it happens.

-- doug smith