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Time to Learn


What you learn is up to you.

-- doug smith


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Sing Your Song

The song of success contains many variations.

-- doug smith

I'm not the world's greatest singer but wow do I love to sing. And, sure enough, I cannot sing everything. Almost no one can, of course. We're all limited by our vocal range and even though we can expand that vocal range, almost no one can sing ALL THE NOTES.

And, we don't all like all the songs.

Success is like that. What one person calls success, another might think of as torture. I know some jobs that people absolutely love that would irritate me to try to do. My own definition of success has evolved over the years. As I have discovered my limitations in some areas of aspiration (oh no, I CAN"T hit that note, or OH NO I'm NOT going to be a professional athlete!) I have also discovered new horizons -- all very colorful, exciting, and new.

Success can be this simple: think of a goal, write it down, achieve it.

Of course it's work. Naturally, there's much more to it than that. And yet, the so…

Get A Grip

It's tough being a front line leader. Everyday someone challenges you on some point that you thought was obvious or long-ago decided. Every hour some customer demands the impossible. Every week some team member leaves, or contemplates leaving, sending the recruiting process into overdrive.

It's tough.

As leaders, we must be up to the challenge. We must toughen up. We must build muscle around the soft underbelly of centered leadership - not as far as the iron fist inside the velvet glove - but close.

Our goals matter. Our team matters. Our support of the organizational mission must be unwavering and courageous.

The rewards of effective leadership extend much farther than the financial, though. A leadership job well done results in more powerful people. It results in teams that achieve its goals. It results in people going much longer and farther than they'd ever imagined. Leading at its best helps people serve with joy and inspiration.

I recommend it highly.

Get a grip on …

Challenge Your Assumption

If your assumption isn't helpful change your assumption.

-- doug smith

We all make assumptions, even when we know it doesn't help. Where do these assumptions come from? They come from old data, from old experiences, from filters so clogged we fail to see what is true. But the good news is that since assumptions originate from our own thinking, we can control that. We can change our thinking. We can change our assumptions.

Let's choose assumptions that lead to success. The people on our team WILL support us. Our leadership skills ARE growing. Our customers DO have reason to like our service.

If your assumption isn't working, if it just isn't helpful, change your assumption.

-- doug smith


Turn That Problem Around

A problem is just an unfulfilled goal.

-- doug smith


I have a challenge for you. It's not that hard, but it does take practice. Here it is: instead of thinking of a problem as a problem, turn it into a goal. Instead of thinking about what is causing you unhappy results, focus on the results that you DO want and identify all of the ways to achieve those results.

Turn that problem around. Make it a goal.

A problem is just an unfulfilled goal. Take care of the goal, and say goodbye to the problem.

-- doug smith



Find the Discipline

It takes discipline to discover what is otherwise not available.

-- doug smith

How do you find the answer to building your best team? Is there a magical formula?

Teams take work and the work is never done. For a leader to find the time to talk to each team member one-on-one frequently it takes the discipline to set a schedule and THEN to follow it -- even when your boss tends to pull you away and even when you get distracted by other urgencies.

Your team members deserve your time and they need your time. Even when they do not ask for your time, they need it to connect, to calibrate, to collaborate. Give your team members one-on-one time and the payoff will be great (even if it takes a while to notice, hang in there.)

The answers to your problems, the solutions to your challenges, the magic secret sauce that differentiates your team from dozens of others that are otherwise similar, hides in the discipline of doing the work.

It takes discipline to discover what is otherwise not availab…

Be A Force of Nature

Focus on your goals with relentless persistence. When you do you become a force of nature.

-- doug smith


Working to Judge Less, Maybe Not At All

Wisdom does not judge.

-- doug smith


We're all good at judging. I judge all the time - not as much as I used to, though. My goal is to stop judging altogether because it just doesn't give me what I want. People do not respond to it. People do not change their behavior. Judgement just makes us bitter because it doesn't work.

I'm not saying that there is no place for judging. Justice is (sadly) as important as peace. You cannot have one without the other if judgment is needed and lacking. We just don't gain anything from being our own personal judges. The bitterness remains, and so does the cause of the reaction.

I'm working instead on maintaining unconditional positive regard. People will make mistakes, sometimes even on purpose. Some people will try to take away things of value. They just don't know, or they just don't care. Will my judgment change them? Most certainly, no. Will my unconditional positive regard change them? Probably not. But then I won…

The Problem With Some Problems

The problem with some problems is your adversary's failure to see it as a problem.

-- doug smith

Some problems are more like conflicts. The symptoms are clear, but the "problem" for you could be an "asset' for someone else. As long as someone is gaining from the situation, it's tough to convince them that there is a problem.

When that happens, your adversary is not going to willingly change things. You'll need to show them how the status quo is not only unsatisfactory for you, but also contains a downside for them -- maybe not now, but eventually (and decisively.)

And if you can't find that, you may need to create it - or live with the current situation.

The problem with some problems is your adversary's failure to see it as a problem. Clear the fog for them. Show the pain.

-- doug smith


Possibilities Equals Power

Are you searching for more possibilities? Are you generating more ideas? There could be more possible ways to solve your problem than you will ever think of, so keep thinking, keep exploring. Possibilities equals power.

-- doug smith



No Bullies, Please

Are you an assertive leader?  High performance leaders must be assertive. They need to express their expectations clearly and frequently. They need the courage to stand up to aggressive behavior without getting aggressive themselves. That's where the science of leadership can meet the art of leadership: knowing how much to dial up your assertiveness and knowing how much to keep steady, to keep centered.

Holding your ground and holding your own does not mean holding anyone else emotionally hostage. People will disagree. Strangely enough, some people will fail to meet your expectations. We can deal with that without getting started on raging, yelling, or berating. All of those aggressive behaviors produce side effects and none of them are desirable.

Instead, breathe. Think things through. Work on the relationship and the results will follow. Focus only on the results and the relationship could unwind.

Bullies get paid back when they least expect it. Why not treat people with respec…