Skip to main content

Truth or Tales?



True story: when I was much younger I was known to tell a tale or two. They were usually rooted in reality, but I'd embellish the truth to make it more interesting. Like that story I'd tell about my trip to McSorley's in New York when I ran into John Lennon. We had a nice conversation. Except, he wasn't there. I thought of him, and he lived in New York at the time, but seriously was much more likely to be on the other side of town. Go figure.

How many times did I tell that tale? Maybe once or twice. Once to my best friend at the time. Did she believe me? Not if she knew me well enough...

How about you? Do your fish stories end up with bigger fish than you actually caught? Do you augment reality with some great tales?
I got a great gift last December from one of my good friends and fraternity brother, David Spiegel. It's a coffee mug with the saying "Keep telling the stories" written on it. I love it. I don't think that he meant "tell tales."  I think he's encouraging us to remember the stories that brought us to life and keep bringing life to us years after they've past. And (more importantly) to keep telling NEW stories of the new adventures we are creating.

Because who knows how long any of us has?

When it comes to leadership, tell your team the truth. Stories are inspiring, and most useful when they are based on truth. I suspect that none of us knows the complete, unfiltered truth. The best we can do is stop adding our own filters. Tell your truth.

The best story is no match for the truth.

So do tell the stories. And, if you want to, make the fish as big as you want. Just give me a wink so that I'll know...

-- Doug Smith

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Appreciation Builds Confidence

High performance leaders must do two things extremely skillfully: 1. Support your people 2. Challenge your people One great way to support your people is to appreciate them. Say thank you often and very specifically. Thank then for exactly what they did and why it's helpful. For example: "Thanks for getting your report in a day early! That gives me more time to digest the data and less time to worry about getting it on time!" "Thank you so much for listening respectfully even though I could tell you disagreed. When we're able to talk like this it's much more likely that we'll come up with great ideas and solutions to problems." "I appreciate the way you follow-up a good question with a clarifying response. That way we both understand what we're saying!" It takes practice. It might feel awkward at first. But here's something that I say every day because it's true: what gets appreciated gets repeated. If you like something, apprec

Adjustable Expectations

  How important are your expectations to you? Have you adjusted them lately? Or, have they been adjusted FOR you? It's important to know what we expect and manage what we expect. Too much, and you'll disappoint yourself. Too little, and you could under-perform. We control our expectations. And, we also adjust those expectations.  Problems have a way of recalibrating our expectations. it could take longer to reach our goal. It might be impossible to reach our goal. Until we solve the problem, our expectations could stall. Life, and work, is filled with unexpected adjustments. What did you expect? -- doug smith

Everything We Do

How creative are you? How about your team. One of the best, most useful skills that I ever studied is improv. Well known as a method of live theater and comedy, improv also serves in navigating business and life. It builds resilience. It helps you think on your feet. It makes you fearless under stress (well, almost fearless...) When we learn to improvise we dramatically increase and improve our possibilities -- not just in improv, but also in everything we do. -- doug smith NOTES: Pictured: Child's Play Touring Theatre, with Doug (as the rooster) Victor Podagrosi (as the Chicken Farmer), June Podagrosi (as the chicken) and Martha Murphy-Smith. We had lots of fun and certainly made good use of our improv skills, performing stories, plays and poems by children.

Developing Leadership

We are constantly developing leadership -- the work is never done. New challenges, new people, new goals. That includes how we lead and who we develop as current and future leaders. Developing leadership is a constant. What's your plan? -- doug smith 

Reflection Builds Wisdom

  We all make mistakes. If we take the time to reflect on what happened and what we would do the next time a similar situation occurs we can build on our reserve of wisdom. It's not the only way, but it helps. We also build wisdom by continuing to learn, by reading long works (not just social postings), and thru deep, vulnerable conversations.  We cannot perfect the past but we can paint a better future.  Wisdom won't wipe out what came before, but it will provide a way to endure. What is your favorite way to build more wisdom? -- doug smith

Keep Solving

It's frustrating to solve a problem only to have it re-appear. And, even if it doesn't re-appear it seems like another problem quickly pops up. Problems don't stay solved so we must keep solving. And so...keep solving. -- doug smith  

Release Resistance

  "I don't know..." "What don't you know?" "If any of this makes sense..." "You doubt the merit of the work?" "The work, the mission, the whole thing..." Doubt is natural. It's part of any important mission. Without doubt, how can you be sure? But, doubt can be paralyzing and stop the work. Doubt can be self-fulfilling. If you are sure about your purpose, if you are sure about your mission, there is work to be done. Let doubt spark action instead of resistance.  -- doug smith

Too Much Drama?

Too much drama at work? The answer is almost always "YES!"  Difficult behaviors, difficult people, conflict after conflict can cause us aggravation. What's worse is when drama is piled on top of the conflict, and it almost always is. "There's so wrong!" "She's so difficult!" "He went behind my back!" "This would be a nice place to work if it wasn't for..." You get the idea and you no doubt feel the drama. We are constantly trained to be dramatic to get what we want, to respond when we don't get what we want, or to simply get attention. It's on TV. It's in literature. It's in the movies. It's even on youtube. Drama, drama, everywhere. It's natural that we'd come to think that drama is natural. Even if it is, it is still a choice. Do you want to make something dramatic, or do you want to dial it down? Do you want to remain centered and calm, or do you want to bathe yourself and others in drama?

Connection

  Where does communication start? Before any meaningful message can be shared, before any agreement can be reached, communication starts with connection. Finding a way to share something in common with someone else. Turning toward someone and taking the chance of seeing, hearing, feeling who they are in this moment of time. Communication starts with connection. Connect, and the possibilities are limitless. -- doug smith

Hope In Responsiveness

Managing what we control is important, even as what we control is less than what we'd like it to be. But, since our thoughts are on the list of what we control, why not control our thoughts in ways that manage our actions, our words, and our emotions? Hope is a choice. We can think about hope in ways that are empowering. Not as some magic formula. More like a guiding direction. We can choose "I have hope for the future" and  "I have hope for the team" We can have hope for the resilience to figure out just enough to keep moving positively. Our hope is less in control and more in responsiveness. We hope knowing that whatever happens, we'll respond. And by exercising the control that we do have, we are much more likely to respond positively. At least,  that's how I feel this morning! -- doug smith