Who Keeps You In Line?

That’s an interesting question, huh… Who keeps you in line? If you know me well, you know at least one person who’s done that for me over the last twenty-plus years has been my darling bride! And that’s often been more than a full time job for her… But thankfully, she hasn’t had to do it all on her own the entire time.

In the last post, I shared how important I believe it is for each of us to identify the people around us who can serve as living, breathing professional development examples that we can study to make our own journey smoother and more effective. And while that certainly provides us with a solid starting point as we move into each new role throughout our career progression, simply observing and asking a question here and there won’t likely always be enough to help us really separate ourselves from the masses. That’s where the value of strong mentorship comes into play; more specifically, having access to people who are...

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Accountable for Results

Once we’ve been intentional about defining leadership development, our work should be done! Right?

Before you fall completely out of your chair, laughing at that ridiculous statement, I’ll challenge you to show anything of significance that’s truly that simple… If we want to achieve significant results, especially the tangible results that make a measurable impact on our organization’s bottom line, we’ll have to be sure to see it through - not just issue a statement and call it done…

For close to 15 years, I worked for a Human Resource Manager who was always very vocal about what he expected from me anytime I attended any type of class or conference. I was required to report back to him, and often the entire management team, showing I had learned and what steps I would be implementing in the process I led. I was also responsible for seeing this through and for showing a tangible return on the investment that had been made for me to attend...

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I Am Responsible!

Let’s dive right in where we left off in the last post with an experience I had recently while helping my mom with something. We had attempted to use an online service to fill a very specific need that should have been fairly simple. We took the necessary hour or so to work through the questionnaire tool on the company’s website and received a message that we’d be receiving the legal documents we needed within a few hours. Simple enough…

Except it wasn’t!

In reviewing the documents, almost none of the details we provided were included. For that matter, the title of what we received didn’t even resemble the selection we made when we started the online process. I submitted a help ticket clarifying what we were looking for and received a response from what seemed to be a real person almost immediately outlining the exact step necessary to get what we were looking for. The only problem was that those were the same steps we had taken on our own to...

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Who’s to Blame?

While I know the same thing can’t be said for everyone on the planet, those of us who are blessed to live in the United States have very few reasons for pointing a finger at someone or something as the cause of our limitations or failures. Not only do I believe that we have some of the most amazing opportunities on the planet, I also believe that the resources we have direct access to - many at no cost whatsoever - are second to none!

Let’s pretend for just a few minutes that what I’m fairly accurate in this assumption… How many people do you personally know who absolutely refuse to take advantage of the tools that are almost always at their fingertips in order to drive positive improvement in their personal or professional situation and constantly point a finger of blame for their lot in life?

Please don’t respond to this with their names! That’s not my goal here… I just wanted to get you thinking. That said, I do genuinely appreciate the...

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It’s Not My Fault!?

Be it a job we didn’t get, a performance issue in our department, or we just busted our tail on a patch of ice in the parking lot, a fairly natural inclination is to look for someone we can assign the blame to. And in many cases, we’ve even built fancy processes to guide us in doing just that; 5 Why, Root Cause Analysis, 6 Sigma just to name a few…

Oh, I know… The real intent behind each of those problem-solving tools is actually identifying breakdowns within a system in order to prevent recurrence and produce better results moving forward. But is that what typically happens? 

And this issue certainly isn’t limited to corporate cultures, the barrage of personal injury attorney commercials on the afternoon TV we play to keep our dogs from barking at every single noise in the universe drives that point home daily! Nearly everywhere we turn, something in society points a proverbial finger of blame… This has become such a common issue that...

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Control the Effort We Put In!

As we consider each area that we can take responsibility for controlling that we’ve worked through to this point, there’s one thing that ties back to every single one… And without being very intentional about how we control this final thing, the control we’ve assumed for each of the others is likely to have a very limited impact!

In the last post, I referenced reaching out to the manager of the company to provide a heads up about our friend’s experience. I shared that he took responsibility for the issue, even though it wasn’t something that he had any direct contact with. I also mentioned that he asked me to pass along an apology on his behalf, which I did. 

Here’s where that final thing we need to control comes into play....

In his role, and with the issues that industry has dealt with over the last several months, he has an incredibly full schedule and I believe he works extremely hard. As Cindy and I teach on the 3 R’s and...

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Controlled Response

In working through the importance of controlling our delivery in the last post, I stopped just short of detailing the scenario in question. Without going into specifics and tossing anyone under the proverbial bus, I’ll touch on that briefly now as it tees up the topic we’ll look at this time…

A business associate who was doing some work for a friend we referred to them had been asked to make a few changes in some documentation. In a normal world, those changes may realistically take an hour or two to get knocked out. The request was made on Dec 1. On Dec 14 or so, our friend was told that the changes still weren’t complete but would be no later than Dec 21. That day came and went without the changes being made. On Dec 23, our friend received an email saying that the person responsible for making the changes had decided to close their office until Jan 4 without providing any detail on when the changes would actually get some attention.

Hey, I get it....

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Controlled Delivery

When I made the last post, I thought we’d be turning the page from Controlling What We Can Control and looking at an entirely different topic when we picked things up again. As Cindy and I discussed a few recent scenarios where we had referred family members to a few different business associates, it became clear that there were indeed a few more things that each of us can control on a daily basis. Unfortunately, the places we had referred business to had not done that…

Before I go on, please understand that this and the next few posts aren’t to slander anyone specific, but to illustrate the importance of controlling the things we can control when so much of the world we live in seems like it’s spinning out of control. (If you don’t think things are spinning out of control, GOOD FOR YOU! You’ve clearly not bought into the nonsense the media is shoveling…)

The other thing I’ll stress before diving into today’s topic is that...

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Rip That Band-Aid Off!

In the last blog post, I shared a story about a fellow who thought the owner of the company rigged the soda machine to squeeze a few more nickels out of him. Then I shared a little bit about how the negative comments he made about the owner openly in front of his supervisor and many of the team members he worked with every day can impact an entire organization’s performance. Even if he had been the hardest working and most productive guy in the bunch, those comments weren’t OK. But he wasn’t…

I emphasize again here, he was remarkably knowledgeable in the work he was doing; I can’t take any of that away from him. Truth be told, I’m not sure anyone in the company knew how to perform the job better than him!

All that said, having knowledge and applying it in a way that exceeds expectations are very different things…

For the sake of the point I’m driving, let’s just pretend his actual performance was hitting the mark; one time,...

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What Are You Willing To Risk?

In the last blog post, I Just Can’t Take The Risk, tiptoed around the edges but stopped just short of defining what that perceived risk was… With limited time right now, I’ll touch on the perceived risk quickly and toss out a few other risks that many managers or business owners may not recognize until it’s too late. 

Don’t worry though, I won’t drop the ball on you! I’ll circle back with the next few posts to cover some things we can each do to effectively handle each of the risks we look at now.

The risk I’ve seen so many supervisors, managers, and business owners work so hard to avoid is the potential for losing a long term, highly skilled team member to the competition after addressing an issue with them. In many of those situations, that person is truly a master of their craft. But from time to time, even the best in the business get lackadaisical… But there are also times where a senior team member can begin to...

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