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The Team You Build

Do you love your team? I've been so blessed and lucky in my life to have been part of some truly outstanding teams filled with people who challenged me, supported me, and made my life (and work) better. I have loved the people on those teams and many years after working with the people on those teams I still think of them fondly almost every day. The team pictured here was one of my early teams at the Ryan Insurance Group. The talent on that team, and on other teams, astounded me every day. We had our struggles, but they were hard working, brilliant people and I miss every one of them. There have been other great teams of course. Today I think about this group and what it grew into as we expanded, improved, and grew as people and as a business. I was not a perfect boss, and I'm sure I sparked more than a little frustration now and then, but they patiently dedicated themselves to achieving the goals of the team. I'm proud of that team. I invite you today to reflec

People First

High performance leaders always remember that people are the reason we do what we can do. Take care of your team, and your team will take care of you. Make your goals centered on improving things for people first, and people will respond. -- doug smith

How to Stay On Track

How often do you review your goals? My experience, and my studies, show that it's best to review your goals every day. Even if you don't review all of your goals (some people have dozens of them!) it is helpful to review your top five. Keep them in front of you. Remind yourself why they are important. Reinforce your motivation to achieve those goals. And then, work on them. Goals can keep us on track when we are otherwise distracted. What are your top five goals? Have you reviewed them today? -- doug smith

Solve Those Supervisory Problems

Front line leaders either know that they can't hide or they soon learn it the hard way. You can't hide, and you can't hide your problems. Performance problems, attendance problems, quality problems, morale problems, skill problems, motivation problems...nearly any and every team has more than its share. Why should yours be any different. Pay attention. Talk about it. Get your team to collaborate. Find the root causes. Explore possibilities. Solve those problems. Everyone knows when a supervisor is ignoring a problem. ...and there's no payoff to ignoring a problem. The payoff is in the solution. Solve those supervisory problems. -- doug smith

No Excuses, Ever

High performance leaders are not swayed by excuses. -- doug smith

Does Your Team Hear You?

How we communicate is how we lead. High performance leaders communicate clearly, creatively, courageously, and with compassion. Clear, so that the message is understood. The mission is strongly centered as the focus. The goals are clearly aligned with the mission. The leadership actions support the goals. Creatively, because problems are not easily solved and do require new ideas. Because people prosper better in a creative environment. Because growth is the preferred direction. Courageously, because the more important your work is the more resistance you are likely to encounter and it takes guts to overcome that. It takes courage to stand your ground against the temptations to cut corners and shave ethics. It takes courage to keep going when it feels like your cause is lost. It takes courage to stand up to your boss in support of your own team. Compassion, because while high performance leaders must deliver on their goals and produce increasingly outstanding and high qual

Video: Tom Peters - Appreciate

A short video from one of my top influences in leadership development, Tom Peters.

Find the Magic

A high performance leader is tough without being abusive and tender without being soft. Find the balance and the magic is yours. -- doug smith

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from our place to yours! -- doug smith

Attention to Details

High performance leaders pay attention to details. Sure, we must be strategic. And yes, it does make sense to delegate as much of the details as we can. Still, we can never let the details slide. Just a few of the details that we must tend include: are your customer happy? are your team members energized by the work AND by each other? are you showing the appropriate levels of respect for the people who work around you? is your cash flow headed in a positive direction? is your core business still viable? is your work environment conducive to building and engaging collaborative teams? Details matter. No matter how high you rise in the organization, the details will either sustain you or drain you. Work for the side of sustaining. High performance leaders pay attention to details. Are you? -- doug smith

Meet Your Standards

Does every single member of your team understand and follow your team standards? Leaders can get lazy about the behaviors they accept and the behaviors they tolerate. It can feel like a hassle to remind team members that they must keep your team norms and meet your expectations. Remind them anyway. It's tough to tighten up loose standards -- do it anyway. Where is your team headed with sloppy, loose, carefree standards about what is acceptable and what is expected? Down. That's not for you. That's not what you want. Meet your standards. Remind your team how to meet your standards. And keep quality (and morale!) high. It's something that high performance leaders do. -- doug smith

Achieve That Goal

A problem is just an unfulfilled goal. -- doug smith