Showing posts from 2018

Hustle and other keys to success

Recently, I came across an image online about "hustle" that said:
HUSTLE - Verb - 1. The only controllable pillar of success
Seeing the word hustle reminded me of when I played Pop Warner Football as a kid in grammar school. The coaches would frequently urge us to "Hustle!"
I took it to mean "Get moving!"
Looking up the word in the dictionary, hustle has several meanings, including: to proceed or work rapidly or energetically; to push or force one's way; to aggressively pursue a business aim While I don't agree that hustle is "the only controllable pillar of success," I certainly salute its inclusion. Other pillars of success over which we have a great deal of control include:
Attitude - What is your attitude right now? Henry Ford once said, "If you think you can do a thing, or if you think you cannot do a thing, either way you are right." If success is what you are after, then a Can Do attitude is a vital component.
Conduct - …

On the Art of Influence

The project manager is like a samurai who comes upon a tiger in the forest. If he turns and runs, he will surely be eaten by the tiger. If he stands and faces the tiger, the outcome is uncertain. What do meeting facilitationproject management, and the art of influencing others have in common?
In a nutshell, everything.
For the client, the art of influence is the ability of the project managers to work effectively with diverse stakeholders in a highly complex organizational environment, to reach consensus, make wise decisions, and move forward toward strategic aims.
What goes into this capability? Probably much more than we had time for, but here are a few of the points that emerged: Integrity - The project manager must operate from a foundation of integrity. This is the beginning of building strong relationships. Integrity stems from knowing oneself, one's values, and being aware in-the-moment of the choices that one can make. Trust - Building trust with stakeholders is essential.…

It's All About the Client

Way back when during the TQM movement, I was trained to be one of my then-employer's Quality Facilitators. Part of that role included teaching the 8-step quality improvement methodology to teams across the businesses.
This particular methodology had been selected by the new management that had recently taken over the company. The method came from an outside vendor.
During one of the training sessions, a participant put his hand up to ask a question. He said, "Just a comment about Step 1 of the process you are teaching."
Step One was "Define the problem."
"Go ahead," I said encouraging him to make his point.
"Wouldn't it make sense to have a prior step?"
"A prior step?" I echoed.
"Yes, a step where the client establishes an improvement goal for the part of the business, or the part of the process, that we are going to address and attempt to improve. For example customer service."
It was a learning moment for me. From …

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 3

'Action is the foundational key to all success. ' - Pablo Picasso It is often said that we "lead by our example." Or as my pastor Fr. Doug would say, "Everything you do teaches." For me, this leadership principle says, Teaching is more than just words. Your actions speak just as loudly. If you want to "lead by your example," then watch what you do. In view of this principle, an effective leader is highly mindful of his or her own behavior, actions, and choices. Everything you do, everything you say, has the potential for leaving a lasting impression. This impact will influence what people do as a result: If a manager wants improved communication, he needs to communicate effectively.If a manager wants improved engagement, she needs to be engaged in her work.If a manager wants his people to take pride and ownership in what they do, he must model the way. Whatever you do (or don't do) speaks volumes . . . and teaches. So here are six things that l…

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 2

"Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality." - Warren Bennis Recently, in a workshop on team leadership, an operations manager said, "It starts with a vision. Then you guide your team along the path to reach the goal." So well said. It reminded me of one of my favorite definitions of leadership. The late great thought leader Warren Bennis once defined leadership as the ability to translate vision into reality. Twenty years ago, there was a lot of discussion on leadership vision. Someone coined the phrase "the vision thing" to sum up the importance of having and communicating a vision. This is nothing new. Thousands of years ago, Solomon understood this. In Proverbs 29:18, he said: Where there is no vision, the people perish. Whether you are a leader of others, or a leader of Self, vision is the start of any undertaking, any change, anything new. And it starts with the man or woman in the mirror. ~ Who are You? ~ What do you stand for? ~ …

Team Leaders, How are you doing? Part 1

I often facilitate training programs on leadership for my client companies. One* of the key points of exploration is that leading is all about relationships.  With this in mind, some years ago, I was inspired to create this acronym for leaders: RELATE for Leaders: Respect - Effective leaders have a deep respect for their followers. They show it by asking for input, by listening, by speaking the truth, by keeping promises, and by building trust. The best leaders honor their team members. Engage - Effective leaders practice lively engagement with their people, seeking their involvement in change initiatives, seeking their ideas and opinions on improvements, having frequent two-way conversations, and making them feel like they are part of the very heart of the business. Listen - Effective leaders are great listeners, opening up to everyone's perspectives, even making sure that dissenting voices are heard. By listening well, leaders learn. Acknowledge - Effective leaders notice and apprec…

A Career of Change

Throughout my career, I have often found myself in the midst of organizational change, such as...
reorganizationstakeoversmergerstechnology rolloutsdownsizings I've been involved in turnarounds, in culture change initiatives, and in new business idea development. As an Organization Development consultant, I helped facilitate needed change.

On top of these organizational changes, I have been personally touched by change, losing jobs on several occasions when my employers decided to make cuts in the workforce.

This "career of change" has molded me into a something of an expert on change. I even wrote a book on the topic some years ago, called Change for the Better.

Now, at this stage of my journey, as a career transition consultant, I bring my "experience of change" to help people who are going through the difficult passages of career upheaval.

I was once asked: "What are the top 3 qualities of a successful Organizational Change Agent?"

My answer: I'…

The Devil's Approach to Change Management

Have you ever read The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis? It's a little book about a junior level Devil who is being mentored by his uncle, a more senior Devil named Screwtape, on the ways to tempt and entrap a human soul. In the spirit of Lewis' classic, here are some fiendish tips from another Devil on some of the worst ways to lead people through organizational change. "Off with their heads" - In an M&A, make the first order of business a massive blood-shedding. Immediately eliminate all the old management that could threaten or block progress. "Ram it down their throats" - At the first Town Hall meeting, make it crystal clear that "it's a new day" whether you like it or not. And you had better get with the program. "You people suck" - Round up the "survivors" of the downsizing and herd them into an intense indoctrination session where the facilitators belittle and demean everyone in the room. "Leave the workfor…