Skip to main content


Test Your Assumptions

Can you remember the last time that you were wrong? How did it feel to discover your mistake? Do you remember the cause? Could your actions have been built on a false assumption? We all make assumptions from time to time. It's when we live in the world of assumptions that we really get into deep trouble. The more we assume, the easier it is to take comfort in our assumptions. But, our assumptions are often wrong. When we're leading a team, developing performance, running a project and doing the important work of a leader we need to check our assumptions at the door. We need to test our thinking and clarify our expectations. High performance leaders identify and test any assumptions before launching a project or reaching a major decision. After all, isn't it better to spot your mistakes before you make them? -- Doug Smith

Bust that Barrier

What stands in the way of achieving your biggest goal? There's always something. It might seem bigger than it is, but it's there. It might be hiding in the field like a clever little rabbit ready to jump out and bite with the force of a wolf, but it's there. And, the very thought that it's there can sometimes keep us from going through that field. Sometimes our fears of the barrier are bigger than the barrier. Get past the barrier. Go around it. Go over it. Go right thru it if you can. Get past the hold, the clasp, the fence, the fear. Get past the barrier. Sometimes a barrier is simply testing how much you want to achieve your goal. You do want to achieve that goal, don't you? Get past the barrier. -- Doug Smith

Set Stretch Goals

Set the goal high enough that you have to stretch to reach it. That creates growth. That creates momentum. That creates energy. Great goals propel you forward. What's your current stretch goal? -- Doug Smith

Know What You Need

Do you ever confuse what you need with what you want? It's so easy to focus on what we want first. When what we want is a noble goal or a focused vision, that helps. When what we want is to play when we should be working, or to eat when we should be exercising, or to gossip when we should be supporting, that can be a problem. Sometimes what we want doesn't match what we need if we think what we need doesn't matter. What we truly need does matter. Neglected, it matters even more. Are you meeting your needs first? -- Douglas Brent Smith

Show Faith in Others

What does faith mean to you? Without getting into too deep of a philosophical discussion, I like to keep in mind that my faith has more to do with how others will perform than it does about my own performance. Sometimes we can get burned expecting people to do more than they do, but for the most part people's performance depends much on what our expectations are. Faith is more about your hope for others than for yourself. Your hope for yourself does include faith, and also hard work, constant learning, and openness to feedback. Who are you showing faith in today? Do they know it? -- Doug Smith

Notice the Brilliance Around You

Have you ever been pleasantly surprised by someone's brilliance? They say something profound. They accomplish something amazing. They articulate a fabulous vision. Isn't that worth paying close attention to? Isn't that worth stay open and attentive to? A key part of mindfulness is stay alert and aware to the what's wonderful around us. Centered leaders follow their vision and stay open to the visions of others. People can cause us problems AND they can sometimes brighten our days with their brilliance. Let their lights shine! -- Douglas Brent Smith What have you learned today?

Create a Better Future

Who is the future up to? Someone else? All of us? Today, this moment, I want to think about some problem that I can help solve. Some person that I can comfort. Something outside of myself that will make a difference. How do you feel about that? Solving problems is about creating a better future. That's something each of us can do, and needs to do, to see that better future come. What do you think? -- Doug Smith

Solve One Problem At A Time

Are you ever over-whelmed by working on too many problems at once? Jeekers, it can rock us right into standing still? And stasis is not for you. We mean well. We work to make a better world. But, oh there is so much to fix! We can stop pretending we know how to fix the world once we start really solving one problem at a time. Let's take it one problem at a time and put our creative problem solving skills to good use. What do you say?

Leverage Your Conversations

How much of your daily conversations do you find useful? So much of what we say to each other is small talk. We make friendly banter, or not (more and more we see people simply staring into their phones). How much more could we get out of our conversations? How much deeper could we go? Every conversation is an opportunity to solve a problem or achieve a goal. It just might not be your problem or goal. It could be someone else's. It could be your conversational partner's. Are you willing to leverage your conversations more and accomplish more in the process? Or is that phone calling you again? -- Doug Smith

Create CLUES to Success

What are your clues to success? What works best for you when you find that you are communicating successfully? Over many years of training, supervising, managing, and facilitating, I have found these following five factors extremely useful as clues to success. When they are used and shared, success is assured. When they are ignored, success is elusive. CLUES to Success - Create agreements - Listen with curiosity - Understand the facts and feelings - Express yourself positively - Share responsibility for success Much of my work is focused on helping people communicate more effectively by embracing and using these clues to success. I'll be occasionally writing about these five clues in the context of creating better conversations, powerful presentations, productive meetings, and creative writing. I invite you to explore these ideas with me and whenever the urge occurs, to add your two cents. What are your personal and professional clues to success? How do you communica

Listen to Communicate

How good are your listening skills? If you listen first, communicating your message becomes much easier. When does listening matter? Listening comes first when you want: -- More productive meetings -- Deeper conversations -- True dialogue -- More powerful presentations -- Coaching -- Conflict resolution -- Creative writing Listening matters. How will you listen more effectively today? -- Doug Smith