Saturday, August 18, 2018

The New "A" Word


We talk about it, we say we want it, we say people need to be held accountable, but what does accountability really mean?

I recently had a inspiring conversation with a very good friend of mine.

"Mary*, how do you define accountability?"

Mary paused at first and then explained...
 "First,  lets talk about integrity. Integrity is who we are, what we believe about ourselves. If we have integrity we are honest and will do the right thing even when no one is watching.
 Accountability is being responsible for an action.
 Integrity is talking the talk, accountability is walking the talk."

She continued to say... "Accountability needs to have consequences.
The consequences can be good or bad, but without consequences,  accountability is meaningless.
And... I believe accountability is an act of love."

I interrupted... "Really?   Love?"

 "Yes, you have to love someone to hold them accountable, even if they do not love you back.
Hold them accountable because that's whats best for them. By doing this, you will create an environment where performance is expected, enjoyed, and honored.
Circling back...Integrity is in their hearts, accountability is in their actions. When actions are fulfilled, so will be the heart."

* Mary is a award winning educator, a successful entrepreneur, and a gifted coach.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Challenge Is In Our DNA.

Challenge is in our DNA.

We are born to challenge ourselves.

As babies, we see everyone else what do we do?        We try to walk.

Do we succeed immediately?......NO!    we fall, we stumble, we fall again, we cry, we hurt, we fall...eventually we figure it out and learn to walk.

You could also say the same about potty training, learning to talk, reading, riding a bike, etc....

So why is it that only 34% of people in business like challenges. Only 34% like to set goals, step into leadership positions, and only 34% enjoy taking on a challenge that is outside their comfort zone?*

I say, your environment. "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." ~ Jim Rohn

Are you hanging with winners? .... or are you surrounded by the Average Joe's?    You know, the naysayers, the yea but-ers, Negative Normans, Debbie get the point.

As infants, we are cheered on by families to succeed, our families are the leaders... then it happens... we become adults, and we are on our own.

Now we need to lead ourselves.

Leadership is getting people to do things they may not necessarily want to do, but need to do...including ourselves.

Take a look at your environment...the 5 people you spend the most time with.... and do what you need to do.

*Harvard Business Review


Sunday, June 3, 2018

How to Change Culture

" Culture Eats Strategy for Breakfast"   ~  Ivan Misner

If you want to change the culture, you need to change people. 

If you want to change people, change what they believe about themselves.

If you want to change what people believe about themselves, you need to be a great leader.

Great leaders do not change people, they create environments where people change themselves.

Leadership is giving; giving people the opportunity to do things they may not necessarily want to do, but need to do. 


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

No Fire-hosing...Less is More

The other day a client of mine asked me for some leadership tips that he could immediately put into to place for the upcoming month.
He added, "Only give me three, if you give me too many, I won't do any"

Here they are:

*** Spend more time exploring options and less time talking about problems.
 Example: "I hear what went wrong. What might we do about it?"
After the first suggestion say, "What else?" two or three more times.

*** Don't rely on email when things get heated.
Solution: Pick up the phone when things get hot. Better yet, meet face to face.

*** Allow people to talk theory in meetings, but end with actions.
Solution: Ask, "Who does what by when?" --- repeat.

 After implementation, be open to feedback from your team.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Rennerdale - Leadership Lessons from Cousin Nan

1963 was the last time I saw my cousin Nan. She was 7 years old, I was 8.

Yesterday (4-19-18) we met for coffee at the same corner store in Rennerdale PA. where we bought  and shared penny candy 55 years ago.

For two hours we shared our stories. From family, to business...good times, sad times... loves found and lost... I was captivated by the experience, our experience.

Five decades have separated us, yet we both were in sync in how we viewed the world, our world.

Three leadership lessons I learned from Nan:

 1. Back in the early 70's she was the first women sales manager in her company. Was she scared?, Hell yes! "Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is not accepting fear as an excuse."

2. Nan journeyed through five serious relationships. Never going without blaming herself for some of the failures. Finally she found the love of her life a few years ago, he died suddenly last year.
 "He always wanted me to to get my Masters Degree, and now at the age of 62 I'm going to do just that."
I've never said, why me?... you can not change what happens to us, we can only change what happens within us."

3. After her fourth serious relationship ended in divorce, Nan decided to fulfill a dream of her's since she was a kid, become a professional motorcycle racer.
From 1998 to 2005 she picked up a few sponsors and formed a racing team. She broke a lot of records, several which remain in place today.

And yes! Nan is a veteran. She served during the Cold War.

As we said our goodbyes, I was overwhelmed with joy as I remembered what she said...
"I'm not sure if life is all about,  what is meant to be... I do know that what I do, I mean to do it. I take all the responsibility and embrace every emotion life gives me."


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

TEAM 101

Team dynamics fundamentally never change.
Yesterday I was reading an article about team dynamics, first published in the 1940s. Though the experts, yesterday and even today, don't agree on exactly how many roles there are and how to name them, 10 general personality types are consistently identified.

I personally witnessed this at a Client Leadership Training last week in several team exercises I facilitated.

*Here they are:

Task Leader. May or may not be the designated leader; a nuts and bolts, roll-up-the-sleeves-and-get-busy-type.

Social-emotional leader. Concerned with emotional heartbeat of the group; good at solving interpersonal problems.

Tension-releaser. "Breaks the ice" with appropriate humor at the right moment.

Information provider. Has research skills that stand out above all others. Could end up doing unfair amount of work.

Central negative. Always plays the devil's advocate role in discussions but in a non-threatening manner.

Questioner. Constantly seeks clarification and more information.

Silent observer. Speaks little, observing and taking in all information. When he or she speaks up, people listen.

Active listener. Listens attentively, sums up others' points of view. Good for keeping discussion on track.

Recorder. Has good recording skills and little interest in participating in group discussion.

Self-centered follower. Constantly questions opinions is a non-supportive way. Unlike the central-negative person, the self-centered follower is concerned only about personal interests.

So...which one are you?


Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Worth Repeating 2

 Worth Repeating 2 :

1.  Stop saying, "I should have.... " or  " I could have..."   or  "I wish I would have..."
     -The path you didn't choose is a fantasy without disappointments. 

2.  Talk Less, Listen more.

      - The best thing to hear after asking penetrating questions is silence, especially your own.
      - Talent goes to sleep when leaders give all the answers.

3.  Specific is terrific when delegating responsibilities.
     - Ambiguity is the enemy of accountability.

italics ~ Dan Rockwell