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Showing posts from July, 2020

No Point In Blaming

Do you know how it feels when someone blames you for something you didn't do? It is irritating, isn't it? And, even if you DID do it (and of course, you didn't, did you?) blaming does not help. When there is a problem, the goal is to solve it -- not assign blame. Claiming that it belongs to someone else might push it away momentarily but guess what? Like a whirling boomerang it comes whizzing back.  Shifting a problem is not solving a problem, and when it comes back to you (and it will) it's worse. Why not get started solving the problem? -- doug smith

Two Things to Do to Improve Service

Do you care about your customers? Do your customers care about you? Unless we truly, sincerely, passionately care for our customers why would they ever care about us? It's too easy to provide shoddy service. In a world where price dominates and the lowest bidder gets the gig, we learn to cut corners in order to make more time for more work because we need more work because each job pays less. It's gotten many businesses to where we are today. What if we paused long enough to think that thru? It is still true that you get what you pay for when it comes to quality. But, we control our end of that bargain. Here's what I'd like to see: As a customer, consider carefully every transaction for value instead of just for cost. As a service provider, provide the best service available from anyone at any price -- even when we're underpaid We can impact every transaction, one way or the other. Let's care truly, sincerely, and passionately about our customers and provide the

Recognize the Motivation

The motivation for a goal is as important as the goal. You can set a goal easily enough, but unless you really want to achieve that goal it will be a struggle. Find out what's in it for you. What is it that you get out of achieving the goal? How much do you care? When you care a lot you can do a lot. The motivation for a goal is as important as the goal. -- doug smith

Quick Quote: Motivation

What motivates you, moves you. -- doug smith

It Takes More...

Pretending to solve a problem does not get it solved. Ignoring a problem does not get it solved. Complaining about a problem does not get it solved. It takes work to solve a problem. -- doug smith

Turn a Problem Into a Project

Do you have a problem? Is it bothering you? Are you wondering what to do about it? I like to think about big problems as projects: set a goal, design a plan, act relentlessly on that plan, energize myself and others, and learn constantly. I don't always solve every problem. But it gets me started and I do solve most. Think of that problem as a project. A problem is just a project ready to begin. -- doug smith

When The Goal Is To Improve...

The answer to the question "is there a better way to do it?" is always yes. There are no perfect processes. Our goal is to improve them all. -- doug smith

What's Your Motivation?

How many goals can you handle at one time? For me, the number should be single digits. Oh sure, the task list is longer -- dozens of tasks -- but the goals are focused on what I really want. The goals are focused on outcomes that matter to me. I haven't always been able to limit the number this way. It comes in part from years of helping other people achieve their goals, and of even achieving goals given to me that had more to do with what other people wanted than what I wanted. It did tie together. My motivation was (and is) to serve. That can be reason enough. But a list of goals a mile long? There isn't enough time for that. How long is your list of goals? Do you know what you want from each one?  Before you start working on a goal, identify why you want that outcome. What's your motivation? Then, once you've done that, the energy will be there to actually achieve that goal. What do you think? -- doug smith

Problem Attachment

Do you ever get attached to a problem? Oh, I have. A problem can get so close to you that you don't remember living without it. It can ease its way into the fabric of your life and your work and you develop so many work-arounds that it just seems to fill a void.  You don't need to fill that void. A problem is much easier to solve if you don't fall in love with it. Let go. Look forward. Set a goal. Get busy. -- doug smith

Start With A Question

How do I know when I'm wrong? Have you ever thought about that? I know when I'm right -- don't you? But, there's my question. Don't I always feel like I'm right? Why else would I feel what I feel? Why else would I think what I think? There have been times -- well, OK, YEARS when I have clung to an idea that I thought was completely right only to discover later that it was not as clearly right as I thought. Things are usually more complicated than we give them credit for. What once made sense, over time, can take on new meaning or change completely. We're going thru a LOT of that now. Things are changing faster and faster. Ideas are morphing and transforming and fizzling and sizzling all over every day. What do we do with all that?  The more we cling to something that is wrong (inaccurate, unhelpful, disrespectful) the less good it does us or anyone else. Why do we do it? Sometimes, we don't know what we don't know.  It's like a moment in time, on

Why Do We Need Coaches?

Who has been your most valuable coach? I've been so lucky to have worked with fabulous, focused coaches. A great coach helps you stay motivated. An attentive coach holds you accountable. I haven't always been happy with what my coaches have had to say, but I have always benefitted from their feedback. We need coaches because it's so easy to neglect our goals. When, what we want, is to work those goals. Keep working. Listen to your coach. -- doug smith

Make the Solution a Goal

Is there a problem on your mind? What if that problem is just a prompt for a goal? Then you know what to do: - set the goal - get busy -- doug smith

Room to Breathe

The best goals give you room to breathe. Set a goal. Work the goal. Stay flexible and nimble in the process. The best goals give you room to breathe. What goal are you working on today? -- doug smith

Creative Spark

Tease a little creative spark out even when darkness covers over you and that spark will light the way. -- doug smith

Commitment Outranks Brilliance

Have you ever known someone who is brilliant and yet doesn't get stuff done? They have wonderful ideas. Their concepts are fascinating. Their insights might even be useful. But until someone actually does something, brilliance is just a tease. In project management, problem solving, achieving your goals - in LIFE, commitment outranks brilliance. How committed are you to your goals? -- doug smith

More Than Ambition

What does ambition give you? I suppose that it depends on what you want, but it certainly gives you a start. It doesn't get it done, though. Ambition needs fuel. Ambition needs attention. Ambition needs work. Ambition responds best to seriously hard work. How is that working for you today? -- doug smith

Quote: Finding the Best In Others

"You bring out the best in yourself by looking for the best in others." Gene Bedley

Goals Need Action

Goals are achieved thru clarity, persistence, assistance, and action. What have you done on your most important goal today? -- doug smith

Fail Fast

I've been following Pat Flynn's income stream whenever I can lately and learning much about online businesses. He often says that we need to be comfortable going from "disaster to master" in our efforts to build success. Before you get to mastery, you make a bunch of mistakes along the way. And, he's right. My experience has been that you WILL make lots of mistakes along the way. We learn, we grow, we do better the next time. Overcoming the urge to be perfect before moving has been one of my biggest challenges. Imperfection is part of the experiment. We try, we fall, we get back up. We learn, we grow, we do better the next time. It never stops -- and that's half the fun. -- doug smith

A Good Four-letter Word

won't ask what your favorite four-letter word is. Let's keep it clean. But I will share my favorite four letter word: DONE After a great project, with hard work, and shared effort, checking that punch list last box brings a smile to my face. DONE After that, I like another four letter word (no, not that one!) -- GOAL. Setting goals, working goals, helping people achieve their goals: it's what I do. All of that means that to hit that great word DONE in connection with your GOAL you've got to do the work. Act relentlessly on your plan and navigate the trouble that's bound to come. Come to think of it, that's another great four letter word: WORK So there you have it. Set the GOAL. Do the WORK. And get it DONE. Waiting for someone else to do what needs to be done does not get it done. It's up to you. -- doug smith

How Is Your Toolbox?

Do you rely on the same methods of work over and over again? Have you been using the same tools for years without reflecting on why? My dad was a weekend woodworker. He worked in a glass factory as a supervisor most of his life, but he was also a skilled craftsmen. He even built our house. He didn't know everything about every craft, but he found ways to learn. He mainly learned by helping. When the contracted plumber installed the plumbing in the house he was building, he helped the plumber. When the electrician installed all of the wiring and circuits and kept everything up to code, my dad helped. He followed orders. He did the heavy lifting. He listened attentively. And, he helped. Not so that he could install plumbing or electricity in future houses (he never did) but so that he could FIX whatever malfunction occurred later in his own home. He saw which tools he'd need. He learned how to think thru a problem. He found the boundaries of his knowledge so that he'd know wh

Redirect to the Center

How have you been lately? Disrupted, interrupted, upset? It's a journey through more surprises than any of us figured on. Predictable perhaps, planned for, umm, no. We deal with one crisis after another, day after day. As a dear friend of mine once said (and I paraphrase) "you can have a problem and your upset, or you can have your problem and no upset. Either way you have to deal with it. Why not deal with one problem instead of two?" Things will throw us off-center. There's no benefit to getting upset about being upset. Instead, redirect back to the center. Breathe. -- doug smith

How Will This Affect Your Customers?

When you make a leadership decision, what factors do you consider? Impact to the bottom line? Impact to your team members? Whether or not your boss will appreciate the decision? That's all important. That's all worth considering. But there's something else, isn't there? A key question for every leadership decision: how will this affect my customers? Because after all, where would you be without your customers? -- doug smith

Coaching Is...

What is coaching? High performance leaders do lots of coaching. If you asked your team members which would they prefer more, coaching or commanding, what do you think they'd say? Probably, coaching. Coaching is helping someone improve their performance without crushing their spirit. Coaching is providing candid feedback without causing scars. Coaching is knowing how much to push and how much to hold up. Coaching is a balance of challenge and support. Coaching is encouraging, and when necessary redirecting. If you want to lead in ways that people respond, coaching is you're calling. Who are you coaching today? -- doug smith

Controlling Anger

Do you get angry? Doesn't everyone? A temper is a terrible thing, because it harms the owner the most. When we are angry, our target may not even know it. But, we sure do and that energy feeds on itself. I do not like being angry. I've had too much practice. Anger has hurt me and it has hurt others I never wanted to hurt. While anger can have its purpose -- defending someone in danger who has been abused or gathering the energy to right a wrong -- most of the time it is energy that could be better spent in repair. Better spent in building rapport. Better spent in building relationship. Anger fools us. Anger taunts us. Anger misdirects us. We might tied to work just to make sure that our anger is not part of the reason for our anger. Because many times, it is. What should we do? I humbly offer this distillation from wise advice of others. Breathe. Pause. Breathe again. Give your brain time to quiet the defensive posture and clearly see what's going on. What's going on? B

Stay Dignified

I have a friend who likes to mess with her enemies. She enjoys mind-games that create an curiosity about what she is being so nice when her "enemy" has clearly tried to cause her problems.  She'll say the nicest thing, with complete dignity, like the finest most savvy diplomat. I can't do that. Well, maybe I could but I try not to. Not that I'm judging, I just think you can get the same affect by maintaining respect and dignity. Even when the other person is doing their best to be your enemy. Even when they show no dignity of their own. We are each in charge of our own dignity. It takes practice. It takes sincerity. It takes mindfulness. And yet, it's powerful.  Dignity does not require permission. -- doug smith

Let the Past Go

What NOT to do: wish that you'd done something differently. Learn from it? Yes. Focus on it? Probably not. Clinging to the past will not bring it back. -- doug smith

When You Fail...

Do you ever beat yourself up emotionally about something you did or didn't do? Maybe your performance wasn't up to your expectations. Maybe someone else was unhappy with what you did. For me, that's hard to let go, and yet holding onto it is virtually useless. It's better to let it go, so that I can pick up something else and get working. Work hard. Learn. Move on. Do your best and forgive the rest. -- doug smith

Leadership Affirmations: Beyond the Crisis

Wherever you are, this is a good moment to create a positive direction. This is a good moment to support yourself, to raise yourself, to energize yourself. I offer you three humble affirmations for you to whisper to yourself with confidence: You've made it this far proving that you can make it as far as you make up your mind to go. Your strength has only just begun to emerge. When you respond with courage, people respond to you. -- doug smith

Stay With Hope

We all know what it feels like to give up. We all know how to muscle through a tough time. When the tough times seem relentless, it's all too easy to give in to despair. I've learned to avoid giving in (well, I'm working on it.) How about you? We always have a choice. What we think does matter. When the choice is hope or despair, I go with hope. Hope is stronger than despair. -- doug smith

Everything You Say...

Do you talk a lot? Do you remember everything you say? Is it possible that you might have said something that: a) inspired someone b) motivated someone c) bored someone d) insulted someone Possibly. Probably. Sure. Even beyond the point of your remembering what you said. I've said things that I later regretted long after being able to remember what it was that I said. The feeling remains. Someone else retains the message (even if it's not the message that was intended.) Everything you say is remembered by someone. How do you want to be remembered? -- doug smith

Show Your Team That You Care

Does your team know that you care?  How? If you have told them today (and I do mean TODAY) then good -- that's a great start. What if you showed them as well?  How to show your team that you care: support learning provide training conduct one-on-one conversations with each team member every week smile! recognize good performance correct poor performance keep your promises What ways can you think of to show your team that you care? Your team won't know that you care unless you show them. Now is a good time to start! -- doug smith

Enjoy the View

A great person, who used to be a friend of mine, once wrote a song called "Slow Down and Enjoy The View." It was a wonderful song but at the time, neither one of us really had much to slow down from. We had time, we had music, we had friendship, we smiled all of the time. Then we got busy. Life got busy. Work got busy. Does it ever feel to you like you're just too busy? Even in the middle of a crisis, it can feel like there is too much busyness to take care of business.  The other day I was taking a walk and after several minutes realized that I was hardly experiencing the walk at all because I was thinking so intently about work. I physically stopped in my tracks, took a deep breath, and started walking again. It was time to slow down a moment, see what was around me, and breathe again.  Slow down.  When I worked at GE we had an expression, "sometimes you've got to go slow to go fast," and while that meant something slightly different than simply slowing do

Share the Happiness

Are you happy? As tough as times can get, are you happy within those times? We don't ask for the times we are given, we are given the choice of how to respond. How are you responding? Are you doing the work that matters, that matters to others as well as to you?  Something that I've learned from working over forty years is that the work that I do always (yes, always) has opportunity for joy. I didn't grow up to be a basketball star, or a rock star, or a movie star. But, I've been blessed to have been given meaningful work that makes a difference for other people. What I've learned is that when my work serves others, it serves me best.  That makes me happy.  What if what makes you happy is what makes other people happy, too?  Do that. -- doug smith

Say What's In Your Heart

Did you ever need to say something, but didn't.  Maybe it even felt like you couldn't. That's happened to me. The words were in my head. The words made the trip as far as to my mouth, and there they stayed, unspoken. It wasn't diplomacy. It wasn't discretion. What was it? Fear? Anxiety? Doubt? If that has never happened to you, you are lucky in that regard. If that has happened to you, and you know you don't ever want it to happen again, resolve yourself to talk. To say what's on your mind and in your heart. When the moment passes, it may be gone forever. Communication gets harder the less of it you do. Talk about it. -- doug smith