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Spend Time With Your Team


Are you working on building your team? If you're not building your team, it is slowly falling apart.

One of the best ways to build your team is to get to know your people. Spend time with them. Create deeper conversations. Talk about what's important to them.

To be a better leader, get to know your people.

-- doug smith


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You Know About Assumptions

Assumptions are short cuts. Assumptions are lazy paths to uncertain places. Assumptions get us lost more often than they get us found.

You know about assumptions: don't make them.

Like many simple concepts, that's easier said than done and yet completely necessary. I'm so good at making assumptions and making things up that I have to constantly remind myself not to do it. The best habit to prevent assumptions is to ask questions. Clarify, clarify, clarify. Get the real facts. Discover the honest feelings. Clarify, confirm, test those assumptions!

Assuming you know means that you don't. Communicate better by asking.

-- doug smith



Where Is Your Team Headed?

Have you ever seen steps to nowhere?

Since I travel a lot, I occasionally see a building with stairs that appear to lead nowhere, at least no where safe. Access is only semi-blocked, so the danger exists even if the destination is sketchy.

Does your team have a destination? Have you updated your team's mission this year? Things are changing so quickly that what may have seemed important as recently as a year ago could be out of date now (or soon.) Is your team up to date? Do you have a vision for a vital future?

Avoid those stairs to nowhere. Plan a vital, energized, noble future for your team. Get them involved. Show them how a high performance leader leads.

-- doug smith


Video: Gain Respect by de-escalating the drama

From Don Miller, author of StoryBrand, who shares brief, useful videos he calls Business Made Simple Daily. I find the insights so useful that I recommend subscribing. Most are only a couple of minutes long and can get your day off to great, ambitious, energetic start.

This video is about gaining respect. One fast way is to deal more effectively with drama. Too often a situation is overly dramatized and while that can get attention, it can also lose respect.



The fast way to gain respect? De-escalate drama and tension. Remain calm, pull away slightly, and imagine the least dramatic solution to the problem.


Should You Talk About Your Problem?

How often do you share your problems with other people? There was a time in my life when I kept everything to myself, considering it too personal and figuring that no-one had time to help me with my problems. But, you know what? Sometimes we share problems even when we don't share. People can tell. Problems effect performance. Problems effect service, Problems rob us of happiness and sap us of our energy. We need to solve our problems, not hide them.

You might not solve that problem by talking about it, but what if you did?

Centered problem solvers create dialogue. They listen and share in order to reach mutual understanding. The first step to mutual agreement on the solution to a problem is to understand the problem AND each other.

Got a problem? Talk about it.

-- doug smith

Should You Do a Team Building Event?

Team building is great and can be a true morale booster -- if your team is ready for it. If the team morale is already low, though, a team building event might be the last thing you need. How do you know?

Before scheduling a team building event, check to see how each team member would feel about it. That means spending time with each of them, one on one, to discover how things are going. How are the dynamics? Does everyone enjoy working on the team? What are the challenges and the issues?

You could even introduce some low risk team building activities into your regular meetings. You don't need a zip line or trust falls in the wilderness to get closer as a team. Sometimes, just a warm-up question before a meeting is enough to start the bonding. Questions like "if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?" and "if money were no object, what would you do?" and "if you could make one fundamental, game-changing change to our business,…

Video: Regression to the Mean

Fascinating video on the impact of feedback on performance and how our expectations are often deceived. Is positive feedback more effective, or is negative feedback a higher impact to performance?




Refection Questions What do you think?

If regression to the mean (falling back or rising up to the average) is to be expected, which type of feedback do you think is more effective - negative or positive?  Why is that?








Attention to Detail

High performance leaders pay attention to detail. They know what matters most and they manage it precisely. They eliminate distractions and focus on the main thing.

Do you manage what matters the most to your organization?

Is your organizational house "tidy" and in order? If you want to empower people, make sure that you have the best processes in place to allow the flexibility they need. When there is a right way to do something, train your people that way.

Attention to detail. It makes a difference.

-- doug smith



Video: Four Words - Tom Peters

In this brief video, Tom Peters explains two key ideas: 18 seconds (the average time before a doctor interrupts a patient) and four words (a powerful way to keep you listening.)



Video: Summary of "Crucial Conversations"

I do recommend reading the book. It will help you handle conversations that feel like confrontations and to do it in ways that honor everyone in the conversation. In the meantime, watching this quick summary video from The Productivity Game will give you immediately useful tips on navigating those crucial conversations.












Share What Motivates You

If we don't share what motivates us we shall certainly share what de-motivates us.

Energize yourself to energize your team.

-- doug smith