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Showing posts from July, 2023

Prioritize First

What happens if you start working before you have set any priorities for the day? It might cause you to miss a high priority item. What happens if you always prioritize work over your own needs? Well, you decide that, but often it leads to dissatisfaction, trouble in the home life, and burn out. Your work matters, of course. Your own well being matters even more. Your work matters most when you matter first. Better you = better results. What do you think? -- doug smith  

How Can I Motivate My Team?

It's a question that is asked constantly  -- How can I motivate my team? So many ways. I can certainly provide training that will help you do a better job of motivating your team. Here's a shortcut (you should explore other ways of course, but maybe start with this...) Two key points: If your employees feel like they need to unionize to get what they want and need, you're failing as a leader. Fix that. And, When all of the rewards go to the top, the team stops caring. Fix that, too. Absolutely get to know your team members. Provide opportunities for growth. Demonstrate some emotional intelligence around them. Communicate clearly and often. Find the clarity you need to maintain your direction. Demonstrate compassion with those who need it. Think and act creatively in all that you do. And ponder those two points above.  -- doug smith

How Much?

I once had a boss who had higher standards than me. Every day seemed like a challenge. There just wasn't any pleasing this boss. I'd get to a new level and she'd urge me to raise the level again. "Keep learning," she'd say. "Keep developing. Make your customers unforgettable and they will never forget you..." She was right. The chase is endless. The effort is unrelenting. And the joy, ah the joy becomes inexhaustible. If your boss has higher standards than you do, raise your standards.  -- doug smith  

Right Where You Are

"I'm looking for my dream job." "What exactly is that?" "A job that makes me happy." "You think it's up to your job to make you happy?" "You know what I mean -- meaningful, rich, rewarding work where I can advance my career and be a success." "How does all that happen?" "That's the search." Yes, there is meaning in the search. And, yes we all want meaningful and rewarding work. Here's what I've learned about that: Find the joy in work and you'll find fewer things to complain about. Every job is a dream job when your dream is to serve willingly and with joy. It's simple, but not easy. Oh, and it is still up to you. If you want to you can find your dream job right where you are. -- doug smith 

Stay Strong

It is a balance. If you want peace, you have to make room for justice. If you want calm, you've got to be able to weather the storm. If you want to support the weak and the needful, you must be strong enough to help. Seek peace but stay strong. Because those who do not seek peace will exploit any weakness. -- doug smith

Your Habits Matter

What do you do every day that helps you achieve your goals? Keep doing that. What do you do every day that stands in the way of your goals, slows you down, distracts you, and keeps you stuck? Do less of that! Bad habits are the biggest obstacle to success. Good habits facilitate success. Find the habits that work, practice the discipline to stay with them, and watch your results improve. Need more help on this? The best source of help I've found is the book Atomic Habits by James Clear . Honestly, it's one of those books I should probably read once a year, but if you haven't read it yet, you probably should.  -- doug smith Note: I'm not sure where I found this graphic on Atomic Habits -- most likely from my Pinterest feed. 

Feedback Takes Practice

How good are you at providing feedback? If you're not sure, ask your team members. If you are good at it, they'll tell you. If you're not good at it, then maybe they will and maybe they won't. Feedback does not come easy. Skillful, useful feedback that improves both performance AND self-esteem is a delicate balance of recognizing positives and occasionally providing insights on areas of improvement -- all placed into the context of why it matters. Without the "why" -- why the feedback matters, why the improvement matters, why the performance matters, all the feedback you can muster will only fluster whoever you provide it to. Tell them what they did that was great, ask how they could make it even greater, and share with them why it all makes a difference. Because unless it really makes a difference who cares? Feedback, like any skill, takes practice. -- doug smith  

Coming Thru

Have you ever gotten stuck pondering the nature of things and wondering about all that work in front of you? Why do it now? What does it matter? Is anyone paying attention? Performance isn't everything but it sure does pay the bills. Be the poster for productivity, the best example your team members can think of for getting things done, and they'll get more done to. If that's what you get paid to's up to you to come thru. -- doug smith

Obvious Time Management Tip

If you can do more when you're not interrupted then go where you won't be interrupted. Another room. Another building. Another floor. Go for a walk. Go for a ride. Find a place where you can hide. And then -- get stuff done. Will people object? Maybe...but only until they realize that is how you get stuff done. -- doug smith

Listening to Our Enemies

Anger. Resentment. Pain. Things get in the way of listening when we see an enemy in front of us. Even when we did not choose the enemy because the enemy chose us. Listening to our enemies is tough. Is it necessary? What are the comparative risks and costs: listening to not listening? It's hard to listen to our enemies and it's so much harder when we don't. When we don't listen to our enemies we miss opportunities to understand the thinking behind their moves. We miss hints and signs of trouble. And, we miss the ability to reach shared meaning and perhaps shared understanding. Even if compassion is not instantaneous, leaders have an obligation to keep it possible. Listen. It is a slow way to peace, but so much faster than fighting. -- doug smith  

Future Learning

It may sound weird to plan for future learning, and yet we should. We should plan to keep learning confidently.  There are more lessons to be learned ahead of us than all of those we think we've learned already. Bigger lessons. Better lessons. Built on the lessons we've learned from before. What will be your next great source of learning? -- doug smith  

Raising the Stakes

We're taught to constantly raise the stakes, but raising the stakes also raises the risks. And, raising the risks causes more harm. We need to calibrate more carefully. We might gain a bunch when we raise the stakes. Or maybe we are stretched enough.  Maybe the stakes are fine right where they are.  -- doug smith

Even Stronger

Is strength relative? The limits on strength are imposed by forces not sympathetic to your strength. You can do better. You can be stronger. I can be stronger. We all can develop our strength. No matter how strong you think you are, you are stronger than that. Just look at that muscle... -- doug smith  

Conflict Needs Agreement

How do you resolve a conflict? It's not a trick question. It is a tough question. And, in the end, some conflicts can only be managed until something gives -- we gain understanding, or our opponent gains understanding, or the cause of the conflict becomes irrelevant. Most conflict, though, seems to fall into the win/lose trap until we can skillfully pull it out into mutually shared understanding. Until we can find an outcome that is good for everyone -- what Fisher  & Urie call in "Getting to Yes" mutually beneficial outcomes.  Conflicts don't end without an agreement. As long as there is any shred of loss, the conflict continues. Even if what we imagine is the enemy is completely wiped from the face of the Earth, the source of that enemy remains and will re-appear somewhere down the road. Find the space for agreement. Find the mutually beneficial outcome. Work on what will matter most to everyone concerned: a truly fair resolution. -- doug smith  

Strength On Demand

Some people are strong all of the time, or appear to be. They built that strength over time, thru a series of challenges, difficulties, and misses. Tension and pressure produces strength, but the effort is so big that many of us miss developing our strength or increasing its capacity. It takes courage to take something on when you do not have the strength. You aren't fooling anyone, you can't really fake it until you make it, but you can increase the strength you already have. Every time you test your strength against that tension and pressure, you get stronger.  There's no getting that by ducking out. It comes from facing the problem with courage. Courage creates strength under pressure.  With that increased strength -- more becomes possible. Leaders need the courage it takes to build the muscle you do not have, until your strength matches your courage.  -- doug smith

Yay Encouragement!

I get a charge out of encouragement -- both when I encourage someone else and when someone else encourages me. It doesn't take much energy to provide encouragement, and the payoff is huge. A brighter day, a bigger smiler, a repeat of a task that was done correctly. Encouragement is free and the impact immense. However much you're encouraging others, what if you did it even more? -- doug smith  

Maximize Your Impact

Quick -- what can you do to immediately and dramatically increase your impact on your team? Encourage them. Provide as much positive feedback as you can. Listen to their ideas. Spend meaningful time with them and stay with them thru their mistakes and troubles. You didn't hire perfect people and they won't ever BE perfect -- when they are good and better than good, take notice. Share your enthusiasm, because they cannot read your mind. Encouragement is free and the impact immense. Maximize that impact. -- doug smith

Where to Start...

"What's your goal?" is a good place to start. First figure out what you want, and then figure out how to get it. That's your goal. -- doug smith

Jazz It Up

Jazz it up! No, I don't mean add piano, saxophone, bass, and drums or whatever other instruments come to mind when you think of jazz -- I mean to spice it up, add some pizzazz, give it some drive. Give that goal the energy it needs by finding the real benefit to achieving the goal. What is it that you really want? What will this goal lead to? More influence? More power? More self-esteem? A better team, a better organization, a better world? Motivate that goal. A goal without motivation is a chore. A goal with motivation is...magic. -- doug smith

Help, Not Control

Do you take your goals too seriously? That may seem like an odd question for a coach to ask, yet if you are coaching someone -- or if you are reflecting on your own habits -- it is worth asking. Do you take your goals too seriously? Goals are important. They propel us forward. Goals keep us going when we might otherwise lose our way. Still, I do my best to remember that goals are created to help us, to serve us. While it does take a solid plan and relentless pursuit of that plan to achieve our goals, we should also consider: a) are those goals contributing to our purpose, and b) are those goals contributing to our happiness? Your goals are there to help you, not control you. Fair enough? -- doug smith

Yes, Love

All the good we do is because of love. All the bad we do comes from missing love. When in doubt, love more. -- doug smith