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Showing posts from August, 2022

Keeping those values

  People rationalize breaking their values all the time. It can be more convenient to let things slip just a little to hit a financial target, or to make payroll, or to reduce overtime, name it. Cutting corners on our values seems easy. But, how does that turn out? The cost to be paid for surrendering against our values might not even be immediate, but it will be certain and it might be profound. The proverbial slippery slope does not lead to a soft landing. It's easy to rationalize breaking a value but much harder to endure the eventual results. -- doug smith

Was It Only Imagination?

  Have you ever imagined something so much or so strongly that you believe it's happened, even when it hasn't?  Like a dream, a creative endeavor takes on a quiet life of its own. We see it. We feel it. We're sure we did our work to make it happen.  But if we didn't do the work, it didn't happen. That's why some  writers will not talk about a piece they're working on: if they talk about it too much, it already feels complete, and it's NOT. Our minds are wonderful, and sometimes they're funny. We can do that with "facts" as well. Our own inner bias convinces us that a particular view is true, even in the face of contrary evidence. We see that all over these days. What we imagine to be true sometimes gets in the way of what is actually true. It's the job of a true high performance leader to know the truth, to tell the truth, and to lead with the truth. Leaders who don't, don't deserve to be leaders.  -- doug smith

How is that plan?

  What's your goal? Is what you're doing achieving that goal? Once in a while I need to check my plan because it's just not up to the goal. There's no shame in it, but there's no game in it either to stay with a broken plan. If what you're doing isn't working -- you know what to do: something else. -- doug smith

Breathe and Begin

  Moment by moment, some moments are tough. They can fill us with challenges, they can weigh us down. Inevitably, when we apply our best focus, when we stay with our values, we prevail. On to the next moment! This moment will pass soon enough. Breathe, and begin -- start the next better time. -- doug smith

Chicken or Egg?

  Have you ever found yourself involved in a mission that feels disconnected from who you really are? It happens far too often. We start by chasing a dream, get distracted by chasing money, and get misdirected by a mission that makes no sense for who we are. Maybe it's the company's mission. Maybe it's your own mission that got lost in the fog of survival. We sometimes face a decision: keep working that mission, or listen to our heart. If your mission is forcing you into actions that make you uncomfortable from a values standpoint, you've likely reached a decision point. If your character and values can't survive your mission, abandon the mission. It's both difficult and simple. Simple in that it tells you what you already know, and difficult because the work still wants to be done, your boss still needs you to comply, your organization has already decided for you. You decide. It's your decision.  -- doug smith  

Fill In The Blanks

  Have you ever had an argument and only later on realized that maybe you didn't get it right? Maybe there was a missing piece of information. Maybe you had filtered things a bit from your point of view. It happens. When? All the time. Right or wrong, every perspective is incomplete. Sometimes we need to fill in the blanks by gaining another perspective, by hearing someone else's story. What's your rush? Get it right. -- doug smith

High Performance Leaders Are Accountable

  High performance leaders don't get to pass the blame. It's possible, but worthless, to blame someone else for your problems. Who will deal with the issue? Who will solve the problem? Who is accountable? Every problem is a leadership problem. Take charge. Forge forward. Rally the team.  That problem that concerns you belongs to you.  -- doug smith

The Challenge of Common Sense

  Have you ever wondered where all the common sense went?  What we often take for granted as easy to grasp knowledge goes unacknowledged by all too many people. What once was common has become uncommon: courtesy, flexibility, resilience, determination, perseverance...if these traits were ever common they have slipped into rare supply. Or have they? It depends on what you're looking for. It depends on what you are modeling. Wouldn't common sense be hardest to find by those who aren't practicing common sense? It makes me wonder. It also matters how we define common sense. Just because it feels right to me doesn't mean that it makes any sense to you. Our perspective does still matter. Common sense is easily confused with common bias. We see things the way we see things because that's the way we see things. That both makes no sense at all and yet defines sense-making. Or does it? What to do with all that?  Be careful about what you expect, because you'll get a lot o

Integrity First

What is it like to work for a leader who lacks integrity? Sadly, you probably already know. A leader who tells lies, who cuts corners on promises, who cheats to get ahead, who stacks the score against anyone else...the ways are endless and the impact immeasurable. It's all unnecessary. Start with integrity. Set high standards and keep them. Show the world that honesty works, and it will. A leader without integrity is deceiving, not leading. Start with integrity. -- doug smith

On Edge

The extreme of one thing is the introduction to something else. It might be better. It might be radically opposite. It will be a clear reaction. There is opportunity on the edges, as well as danger. How far is too far? -- doug smith

You Define Success

  Henry the Cat, photo by Judi Madigan It's tremendously liberating to realize that the only person who can define success for you is you. Not advertising. Not guidance counselors. Not consultants. Not bosses. You. You define success, and you also define failure. Don't let anyone define failure for you.  If you didn't achieve your goal, maybe you aren't done. Maybe your goal changed. Maybe part-way is far enough. You decide. I'm not saying to take it easy on yourself (although that's not altogether bad, either) but rather don't let others be too hard on you. You decide. You define success. Keep going until you get there. -- doug smith