What Kind of Facilitator Are You?

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Have you ever found yourself sitting in a meeting, wondering when you can get back to doing real work? Maybe you’re one of the 73% of meeting attendees that brings other work with you. Or are you part of the 39% that is asleep?

While meetings are a necessary part of collaborating with others, they don’t have to be ineffective. A successful facilitator can help direct the conversation to ensure that the end result is valuable.

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4 Election-Inspired Strategies for Driving Employee Engagement

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Like many Americans across the country, I spent over an hour on Tuesday waiting in line for the opportunity to have my voice heard. This provided me with plenty of time to observe those around me. One thing that stood out was that the turnout was much larger than usual, which naturally led to a much longer wait.

While many voters expressed clear displeasure at the length of the line, I was filled with a sense of pride in my community. I’m happy to live in a community full of people that care about the country and want to do their part to help improve it in whatever way they feel is appropriate. They were willing to take an hour or more out of their day and invest it in the future of our government.

If only we could get our teams to be this engaged. We’ve covered in the past the best way to measure employee engagement as well as some strategies for engaging our teams and getting them to speak up. Today I would like to cover some thoughts from the voting line that can be applied to our teams and workplaces.

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Learning How to Persevere From a 108-Year Journey

108 years.

It’s hard for me to wrap my mind around.

108 years of striving and hoping. 108 years of falling short of the ultimate goal. It has been an incredibly long journey.

Granted, I am not a member of the 2016 World Series Champion Chicago Cubs (I love typing that). But this has been a dream of mine almost as long as I have been alive.

The journey for this team, however, really got started back in 2009 when the Ricketts family bought the Chicago Cubs and set their plan into motion. They set their sights on the long-term goal of winning a championship, knowing it would take years to accomplish.

The process involved totally overhauling the leadership and philosophy of the organization through the hiring of key individuals such as President of Baseball Operations, Theo Epstein, and manager, Joe Maddon. The entire roster was transformed with the new philosophy, The Cubs Way, in mind. The culture of the organization needed to be totally transformed to achieve their goal of a World Series Championship.

After enduring years of losing baseball, the hard work has finally paid off. The team did not deviate from their plan. They stuck with the process that was set in motion at the beginning and trusted that it would help them achieve their goal.

We can learn from this example if we are facing a daunting task. If your team is pursuing a long-term objective that seems impossible, take a deep breath and prepare for the journey.

There will be ups and downs along the way. Challenges will continually pop up. You will be tempted to deviate from your plan or try to find shortcuts. Significant change is never easy.

It takes time to get the right people on board. You may have to temporarily be content with less than ideal results. At times it will feel like you are making no progress, or even going backwards. That’s normal.

As you pursue your goal, focus on the steps you need to take today to keep moving forward. Trust your process. Celebrate the small victories along the way. Know that if you continue to persevere, the day will come that you get to celebrate the achievement of your ultimate goal.

Speaking of which, I’m going to get back to enjoying this victory.

Go, Cubs, Go!

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Not Sure What to Improve First? Start with Safety

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While driving through town this weekend, I smiled as I passed a local school preparing for a fun event for their students. My smile quickly faded as I noticed an unassuming line of orange cones. Thoughts of a tragic accident that occurred in the past year at that intersection flooded my mind.

I imagined the difficult conversations that must have occurred in the wake of the accident. The second guessing. The questions of what could have been done to prevent it from happening. What should be done to prevent any future recurrences? The cones were no doubt placed there as a result of these discussions.

While I appreciate the efforts made to prevent future accidents, I have one question that I can’t get out of my head: Why did a tragic accident have to happen before any changes were made?

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Are You a Reckless Leader? Four Damaging Behaviors to Avoid

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On my way into work today, I observed what has become a routine occurrence during my daily commute: reckless driving. One driver in particular caught my attention. I don’t know what he was late for, but he was obviously in a hurry. In an attempt to get ahead of traffic, he kept swerving from lane to lane, accelerating any time there was even the slightest opening. The most entertaining part of the whole affair was that after 10 minutes of working really hard to get ahead of traffic, this driver found himself behind me, even though he started in front and I didn’t change lanes once.

I see this kind of behavior all the time. Aggressive lane changes, tailgaiting, gunning it from one stoplight to the next. While it may feel to those drivers that they are getting to their destination faster, they are actually contributing to the traffic problems and creating an unsafe environment for everyone.

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Become an Innovation Broker to Be More Creative

 

A photo by Tim Arterbury. unsplash.com/photos/VkwRmha1_tI

“You can never solve a problem on the level on which it was created.” – Albert Einstein

Have you every found yourself working on a difficult problem, but at a complete loss for how to solve it? You’ve tried everything you can think of, but keep running into dead ends. Your brainstorms are more like a light drizzle. What can you do when you run into the problem-solver’s equivalent of writer’s block?

Conventional wisdom would tell you that you need to “think outside the box”. This is easier said than done. While there are numerous tips available for helping you to jump start your creativity, it is still something that most of of struggle with.

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Want to Sell Your Idea? Stop Trying to Convince People

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One of the most frustrating things I have experienced as a parent is the inability to get my kids to cooperate. There are many times when I need them to do something that they have no interest in doing, and it needs to be done now. In these situations, I have a choice to make in how I approach the situation. Do I give direct orders? Try to convince them that they should cooperate? Guilt them into it?

I’m always trying to evaluate the situation and choose the approach that is most likely to get quick compliance with my demands. Unfortunately, the initial reaction is almost always “No”.

Clean your room.
No.
Put your shoes on and get in the car.
No.
Do you want a hundred dollars?
No.

They don’t even listen before saying no. It’s a reaction, not a rational decision. No amount of logic or reasoning will change their mind because they aren’t even thinking. Continue reading