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Go Slow to Go Fast

What happens if a leader goes too fast for the team? Does it do any good to leave the team behind? High performance leaders remember that they are ahead of their team. It may take a minute for them to catch up. It may take some convincing to get everyone on board. You might need to slow down to gather momentum. Otherwise a leader could miss something important. Travel too fast and you'll see too little. Stop. Breathe. Maintain your balance. Center yourself and your team. You'll see (and do) so much more. -- doug smith

Upcoming Workshop: Improv for Everyone

Anyone who knows me well knows that in addition to facilitating leadership workshops and helping people solve problems and achieve their goals, I am also a creative artist enthusiastic about improv. If you're in or near Bucks County, PA, here is a great chance to explore and practice improv. Sign up  here

Solve Problems for Yourself AND for Others

When you are solving a problem, do you consider the impact your solution will have on other people? I've seen leaders who impose solutions on their teams that make the job worse, not better. While some degree of resistance to any solution is natural, your problem has a much better chance of staying solved if the solution you pick is supported by your team. Does your solution make the job easier? Does your solution make your customers happier? Is your solution elegant and simple and yet robust enough to solve the problem? The purpose of problem solving is to make life better for you AND for others. Centered problem solvers consider the needs of everyone impacted by the problem AND by the solution. Don't let your solution damage your solution. Change management is part of your task. Centered problem solvers do the whole job. Do the whole job. -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: Before implementing the next solution you come to, check with the people who

Uncover the Lies

We all tell lies. In my workshops I often ask the question "Who do we lie to the most?" and the answer follows quickly as "ourselves." We lie the most to ourselves. Weird, isn't it? How can we even fool ourselves? But someone we do. It's so easy to lie to ourselves that we usually don't realize that we're lying. Take a moment. Breathe. Give yourself the truth test once in a while (say, every day!) You CAN handle the truth. -- doug smith

On Problem Complexity

Break it down. Work it out. Analyze the root cause of the problem. Involve the people who are involved. Take the time it takes to take the problem seriously. Complexity is no excuse to avoid solving a problem. -- doug smith

Let It Go

As soon as something is gone let it go. -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: That thing that's been on your mind but has long since left your life? Let it go. That team member who was disruptive or lazy and is no longer on your team? Let it go. Let it go.

Your Team Cares About Your Character

What does your team think of your character? Do they know and understand your values? Would they say that you are living those values, every day? We work hard at what we do. Leading has its glorious days and it has its tough days. No matter how hard you work, unless your character -- how you behave -- is trustworthy and noble, people will know. If your character turns people away, who will you lead? People will forget your work if your character flaws get in the way. No people are perfect -- not you, not me -- but I do my best to live each day with character and integrity. How about you? -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: Have a three-part conversation with someone on your team today about one of your values. How to do the three-part conversation: Small talk Talk about one of your values and what makes it important Appreciation for something that team member does that demonstrates that value or some aspect of that value

Leadership Affirmations: Positive Or Not

Once we start leading we encounter resistance. Some people are in the early stages of learning how to follow. Others find it uncomfortable if they are not in charge. Often, it's just a habit of negativity driving the moment. High performance leaders stay positive, whether the team is positive or not. You are a mighty performance force - stay positive. You have a mission worth working on - stay positive Your goals are your goals, whether people are positive or not. You are positive! -- doug smith

One Goal Too Many?

The boss gave goals. Lots of goals. The strategy was to stretch everyone on the team beyond their capacity, beyond their expectations. And, sometimes it worked. Until it didn't. People do need to stretch. People do need to grow. But high performance leaders don't break them. One goal too many could result in none achieved. -- doug smith

What Elements Make Up An Effective Team? | John Lyden | Expressworks Int...

This brief video poses the theory that in order to build an effective team it is important that the people on the team get along. Interpersonal dynamics are important. While this may seem obvious to anyone who has worked with many teams, it is still important. How well do the people on your team get along? What are the interpersonal behaviors that your teams needs and wants? Why not explore that idea at your next team meeting? It's cheaper than a retreat, requires no trust falls or zip lines, and might just be the best thing you do for your team this month. -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: Gather your team. Plan a substantial portion of your meeting (or maybe nearly all of a meeting) to asking your team members the following questions. Make sure that someone is capturing the answers on a group memory (white board or flip chart or similar display.) What interpersonal behaviors do you find most helpful when working with others? What habits or behaviors ar

Honor Your Past

Have you ever worked for a leader who is totally dedicated to tearing down what was before in order to move ahead with a new agenda? How did that feel? When you're in favor of the agenda, it could feel fine. But, for at least some of that leader's constituents the tearing down of the past felt like cruelty, like heartlessness. It causes people to dig in, to resist change, to do whatever it takes to repeat past processes rather than proceed past them. High performance leaders have a heart. It is completely possible to build an exciting future while also honoring those parts of the past that got you where you are. There are no perfect organizations. If you care enough to lead a team, please do care enough about that teams heritage to honor the work that came before. It's not a way to get stuck in the past. It's a way to move forward with dignity. Honor your past so that you can avoid repeating it. -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: Be your best.

No Running Away

It's tempting. It seems so easy. A little hiding here, a little running there and who would notice? You'd know. You'd feel it. That ache would still be there to solve that problem before it unwinds you. The problem with running from our problems is that they are usually attached. Rather than run, why not solve that problem? -- doug smith Leadership Call to Action: What problem have you been avoiding? Today, do something about it! Things you could do right away: Convert your problem statement into a goal Talk with a friend about it Make an appointment with a professional about it Draw a root cause mind-map to uncover the root cause Silently write a list of one-hundred ways to solve your problem The possibilities are endless. Do something.