Friday, October 28, 2016

Urgency or Purpose?

I must admit, I’ve always been a fan of creating a sense of urgency to help propel certain projects forward. Creating a sense of urgency revolves around deadlines, countdowns, some nagging, explaining WHY something is important over and over again, along with some type of reward at the conclusion of the project.

Recently I read an article by Kimber Lockhart who is the Chief Technology Officer at One Medical Group. In her article, Lockhart challenges her readers to foster a sense of PURPOSE, rather than creating a sense of urgency. (CLICK HERE for entire article) She goes on to explain that creating a sense of purpose gives the team a deep understanding and the reasons behind the effort. It allows members to be immersed in the cause, motivating action in a mission that is seen clearly by all those involved.

The article gave me pause to ponder. Indeed it should be the objective that drives the activity. Creating a sense of urgency can become the goal in itself rather than the true purpose. As leaders we must continue to articulate purpose and vision, hire and retain the right people to get the job done and help everyone understand the impact of their labors.

Creating a sense of PURPOSE…yea…that’s the ticket…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, October 21, 2016

So...what did you learn from THAT?

Those who know me well, know that one of my favorites questions is, “So…what did you learn from that?” It’s a question I ask when people come and confess a “sin” or a situation that “went sideways.” I have a firm belief that failure is not an option, but a necessity for growth. That being said, I was asked recently what mistakes I’ve made from which I’ve learned the most. There were many from which to choose, but here are some highlights of things learned.

1. To be silent, gives tacit approval.

2. The most unequal thing we can do to those around us is to treat them all equally.

3. Sometimes the PROCESS is more important than the final product.

4. Failures are an opportunity to grow…not shrivel up and die.

5. Most times it is better to listen then it is to talk.

I’ll let your imagination run wild with the types of mistakes I made…over and over again before coming to these epiphanies, but it’s from my mistakes and what I have learned from them that have helped mold me into the leader I’ve become.

So…what have YOU learned??? Just askin…

Be good to yourself.

Friday, October 14, 2016


Meetings…meetings…meetings…it seems as though they consume our day, and in part frustrate us more than energize us.  Harvard professor, Nancy Koehn estimates that 11 million meetings are held each day in the US.  11 million…let that resonate for a moment…not sure of the average meeting size, but for simplicity let’s just say 10…and just for the sake of discussion, let’s assume that just 15 minutes of each meeting is a waste of time…11,000,000 meetings  X 10 people X 15 minutes wasted time….staggering isn’t it???

Kevin Kruse recently published the Anatomy Of A Bad Meeting in his blog, which outlined 5 common mistakes that are easily remedied to have productive meetings.

Mistake 1:  Starting meetings late.  Whatever the excuse, starting meetings late is simply a terrible practice which is  result of unprofessional behavior, fueling a cultural phenomenon training people to come late. Talk about a waste of time…
The Fix: Start ON TIME and END on time. Many of those in YOUR meeting are scheduled to be somewhere AFTER your meeting. VALUE people’s time. My personal mantra has always been, “Start on time, leave a bit early!”

Mistake 2: The wrong people are at the meeting and have little to nothing to offer. Choose your members wisely.
The Fix: When in doubt…leave them out!

Mistake 3:  Spending too much time on trivial issues, nitpicking and debating while the least amount of time is spent on the most important issues.
The Fix: Jeff Bezos at Amazon opens his meetings with 30 minutes of silence where members of his team read summaries, think, make notes, and prepare for meaningful discussion.

Mistake 4: Meetings are scheduled at the wrong times interfering with the natural flow of the workday.
The Fix: Poll your team as to best time of day or best day to meet. Consider a workday Wednesday where NO meetings are allowed (Click Here for Quip on Workday Wednesdays)

Mistake 5: The wrong people dominate the meeting as by their nature, the overconfident, and the extroverts tend to take over the agenda.
The Fix: The facilitator must be a master of drawing everyone into the dialogue using thoughtful, discerning, open-ended questions.

If bad meeting culture isn’t addressed it can spread like a terminal disease throughout your organization. But identifying the symptoms and root causes, a reflective leader can begin to apply the correct cures.

Be good to yourself…

Friday, October 7, 2016


What value do you place on making sure those around you feel appreciated for their efforts?  I know…they get PAID…isn’t that enough? Apparently not. In a recent Gallup poll, only 1 out of 3 workers felt strongly that their efforts were appreciated, while the other 2/3 were disengaged and were twice as likely to say they would leave the company as compared to those who felt appreciated.

Interestingly, recognition costs nothing, yet its value is priceless. It encourages people to do well again, builds morale, and engages your organization to outperforming non-engaged organizations by 167% according to the results of the poll.

A word of caution however, as praise and recognition are only valuable when the accolades are meaningful, authentic, and honest.   Consider the “PRAISE” model:


When these elements are included the praise is well-received fostering employee engagement, increasing motivation and pride in the organization.

One final note. According to the poll, it is significant who offers the praise. While 24% responded that the praise was best received by the CEO, 28% said it was from their direct manager that the praise was most memorable.

As leaders, we should look to provide positive feedback, encouragement, and recognition to help fuel employee engagement and productivity.  I costs nothing, but it can produce significant returns…

Be good to yourself...