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Leadership 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.


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Energize with Priorities

Your team can't do it all. I know how it feels to leave something undone, it's not fun. The harsh reality though is that we cannot do everything and neither can your team.

That's why it is urgently important for you as a leader to let your team know what's most important. When you are clear about your absolute priorities, your team can focus on what matters most and finish the highest impact work.

It's a choice.

Energize your team around what's most important and then the unfinished unimportant tasks can be forgiven.

Let them know.

-- doug smith


No Giving In

Are you ever tempted to give up?

I don't mean in the big scheme of things -- of course you should not give up on that -- life is a beautiful gift and meant to be meaningful and joyful. But, on the smaller, less grand things. I am often tempted to give up or give in because:

a) I want to be cooperative and in-service to others, and
b) I do not like conflict

The trouble with giving in is that you don't get what you want. And while it's easy to see that is not your best outcome, it's also not great for those who must work with you.

Think about it. If you yield to every autocratic order barked your way and every bureaucratic nonsensical procedure how much would that slow you down? It might slow you down to, oh say, zero.

We must sometimes confront the thing that stands in our way. Stands in our way of justice, stands in the way of our freedom, stands in the way of our dignity. (You could build a wall of all the bricks of injustice that stand in our way.)

Leaders don't…

Dealing With Mostly No

Have you ever noticed that a lot of people default to no?

If you ask them for something -- no. If you offer something for sale -- no. If you promise a truly great experience in exchange for a small investment -- no.

We are hard wired to say no.

The trouble with that is that we miss yes.

One of my favorite movies is "Yes Man." I know that it is a silly movie. I know that it's broad and insane and not at all realistic. But if you haven't seen it, give it a chance. Say yes. It's all about a character played by Jim Carrey who is in the habit of constantly saying no. Then one day he goes to a Yes Convention (or something like that.)  And of course, since it's a seminar, his life is changed. He begins to say yes. At first very reluctantly, but once he gets in the flow of it he says yes to everything -- too much in fact, putting himself in danger. Of course he does, it's a movie.

I like the yes man in yes man better than the no dude.

I do not say yes all of the…

How to Deal With Change You Don't Like

Who likes change?

At one time or another (and probably MOST of the time) we resist change. It's causing us to do something differently and that is an effort we probably did not ask for. If it's not your idea, change is an aggravation.

I don't like it when my phone decides to upgrade. Every single new release for the past two years has been worse, not better than the previous one. And yet, I have no control over it other than to switch to another phone that will likely offer the same aggravation. My current choice is to get over it and move on.

If I control something, I make the changes that I want (most of the time.) New car? That's up to me. New coffee cup? Ditto. New client? That's in an area of influence, but not control.

That's why the flow chart I've created. Do you control it? Then do that.

Can you influence the change? Then get busy and build more influence.

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Be Direct and Clear

Sometimes, with good intentions, leaders provide incomplete directions. Then what do the followers do? Usually, they follow with incomplete results.

It takes a moment longer. It takes a bit more thought. It's important. When you're delegating, when you are providing guidance, when you're giving directions, make them complete, direct, and clear.

If you want someone to use the stairs instead of the elevator, how about telling them where the stairs are?

-- doug smith


Insist on Results

Do you insist on positive results?

Team members will struggle sometimes. As high performance leaders part of what we must do is to teach the people who need teaching. And guess who needs teaching? Everyone! Including us!

Every day, part of what leaders do is teach. Through intentional as well as spontaneous coaching, mentoring, prodding and motivating, our role is to help other people achieve their goals, and in so doing achieve our own.

We teach -- patiently, persistently, even unrelentingly. We teach -- and then we need more. We need progress, performance, and results.

Leaders are teachers who insist on results.

Remember to teach. Remember the output.

-- doug smith



Video: Key Points in Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

As a bonus, I finally learned how to pronounce this author's name. As a practical use of 8 minutes this is hard to beat - a great video with fascinating visuals and an easy to understand summary of a book that's not an easy read.

I'm sharing it so of course I can remember to watch it again later. It's also time to read the book again.

Here's the video:





Four Important Factors:

FocusFreedomFeedbackFour % Challenge It's well worth checking out the other quality material available at The Productivity Game.

Delegate for the Right Reasons

Do you delegate?

Many leaders struggle with delegation. Some don't delegate enough because they worry that the work will not be done to their satisfaction. That's a case for developing both the leader and the people the leader could delegate to. It can be overcome.

Some leaders struggle with delegation by only delegating work they'd NEVER do -- mundane, routine, or nasty tasks that the person getting the work doesn't want either, they simply have no choice. That is no way to endear yourself to your team.

We do need to delegate though. And sometimes the work that we delegate is routine but simply needs to be done. During the time that I worked there, my team leader at Whole Foods once told me, "we don't pay supervisors to wash the dishes." She did go on to say that handling the dishes for 15 minutes set a good example, but washing them the whole shift simply kept the supervisor from leading.

A more powerful form of delegation is done for developmental of …

Initiate the Tough Conversations

Do you avoid tough conversations? If we know that we need to talk something over, but avoid it because it makes us uneasy, the difficulty remains unresolved. If we avoid talking with someone because THEY are difficult to talk with (maybe they sulk, or yell, or roll their eyes...) the problem remains stuck AND it remains ours. That's not what leaders want.

Taking the time to learn how to better communicate in those tough situations helps leaders to reach their team members, assert their needs with their bosses, and collaborate more successfully with their peers. It's a win for everyone when communication prospers with clarity, courage, creativity, and compassion.

It's not easy. That's what differentiates high performance leaders.

High performance leaders initiate the tough conversations that others avoid.

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One Thing to Let Go

What's your reaction if someone on your team makes an excuse for failing to achieve a goal or complete a task?

That's what I thought. I don't like it, either.

And here's the thing -- no one believes excuses. There is zero payoff to an excuse.

We might as well break the habit, face the facts, and tell the truth. We completed the task or we didn't. If we didn't, there is no-one but ourselves responsible.

There are no believable excuses. We might as well stop trying to use them.

-- doug smith