The Best Way to Be Authentic, Even Within a System

Several years ago, Cindy and I were leading a group through a fairly in depth study of John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates, Few Connect when one of the folks in the group expressed concern about how applying the five principles and five practices outlined in the book could be viewed as manipulative. My response was simple… The best way I know to not come across as being manipulative is to not have a manipulative motive when you’re applying the principles or practices. When we’re genuine in our intent, the people we’re interacting with usually sense that. But when someone is trying to slip something by us, don’t we typically sense that too? Even the best principles and practices only work over the long haul when our motives are right! As a quick side note, while I do still like the individual who shared that concern, I have seen them do several things in the years since that have come across as manipulative...

Last time I shared about how much of...

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More than Readin’, Ritin’ & 'Rithmetic!

It seems like for every year older I get, there’s at least a half dozen new tasks that are added to my daily routine! While that may not actually be the case, I’m guessing you can relate in one way or another… And what if we’ve accepted responsibility for leading others? Those half dozen additional tasks could easily double to a dozen - or more!

That ever-increasing pressure makes it even more important for us to consider everything we can that could help us be more productive - at work and at home, and it drives home the importance of building systems we can use in the process! Even when we do everything we know to do, there are still times where others around us appear to get so much more done than we do; at least that’s sometimes the case for me!

I read a blog article recently called 18 Habits of Highly Productive People: What Efficient People Have in Common that opened by saying, “We’ve all known that person who always seems to be...

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The Importance of SOP’s

Building on what we looked at last time about our cultural obsession with productivity, I’ll share an example of something I learned as I was working to implement Lean Manufacturing initiatives in the facility I worked at for nearly twenty years…

We all tend to have our own way of doing certain things, right? While that’s typically true, that can wreak havoc on a manufacturing process! If each person who attempts to complete a task takes a different approach, it can be extremely difficult to produce a consistent product or nail down a reasonable expectation for how much labor is required. When quality and pricing shift with the wind, repeat business isn’t very likely. And that doesn’t even touch on how complicated these different methods for producing the same product make training new team members, especially when that training occurs on multiple shifts… Regardless of what industry we’re considering, some sort of standard operating...

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How to be More Productive - at Work or at Home!

One of the first things I saw the other morning as I checked my LinkedIn notifications was a post from a friend who has a whole bunch of children, many of whom he and his wife adopted, showing the clean and organized kitchen he came home to the evening before. Now even if you’re single and have pizza delivered on a daily basis, you know maintaining a clean and organized kitchen is no small task! But for a mom to accomplish that on her own with several kids, that’s nearly an act of God!

After I recovered from the initial shock and was able to read his entire post, I realized the point he was making was tied to how important it is, for kids as well as us adults, to have responsibility for specific tasks. My friend and his wife had been intentional about making sure each child was assigned something to do in the process and they understood what was expected of them. As a family, they had developed a system for breaking what can often be a daunting task down into little...

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Don’t Make Jack a Dull Boy...

Through the last several posts, we’ve been working through the importance of enjoying each step of the journey rather than resting on the hope that fulfillment will come once we reach that ever so important goal we’re chasing. I even used the last post to share an example of just how badly I’ve failed at doing just that…

In an attempt to be as corny as I can possibly be, I believe the saying may actually be true: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!

As I prepared to put this final post together and wrap up this Don’t Wait Until You Get There idea, I found myself thinking about what John Maxwell teaches about the Three R’s in the Law of Priorities: What are we required to do?; What gives us the best return on the time we invest?; and What provides us with the most reward?

Nearly every time I reference these questions, it’s around making the most effective use of our time as leaders. But truth be told, that can often be done with...

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LA via Omaha...

If you were a fan of the late Charlie Daniels, the subject line of this message may ring a bell. While I often reference my taste for guitar solo-laden tunes by 80’s hair bands, I always enjoyed CDB (the Charlie Daniels Band), not to be confused with all the hype today around CBD - although I’d expect many of the musicians I was fond of engaged in their fair share of CBD-like substances… (A line in Long Haired Country Boy comes to mind immediately as I share this…)

I remember the first time I introduced Cindy to the song Uneasy Rider. We were parked on I-81, just north of the JMU exit in Harrisonburg and headed somewhere south. I pulled that amazingly fun ballad up on my phone, hopped off the exit as soon as I had the opportunity, and took every back road possible to keep moving in the general direction of our destination. Shockingly, Cindy didn’t like the song even a little bit - to which I still question her sanity. She was also less than pleased...

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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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The Hardest Person You’ll Ever Have To Lead Is...

Before I dive into how we can handle the hardest person any of us will ever have to lead, I want to share a link to a video I posted on our social media channels a few hours ago calling attention to the amazing work that’s done by the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and why we’re so excited to be able to work with them again this year as Community Partners for LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg!

I also want to share a link to a blog post I just read from The John Maxwell Company that ties right in with what we looked at in the last blog I posted, what we’ll be working through here, and what we’ll be digging into with the next few blog posts. Their post was called Leading from the Middle: I’m Not the Boss! You Do the Leading! I won’t speak for you on this, but the fact that this is something they’re addressing as well tells me that the misconception that you have to have authority in order to lead is pretty widespread!

How will you recognize the hardest person...

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Kind and Reassuring, or They’ll Disappear!

Unlike the last two groups we looked at who like to see things moving along fast, this more Reserved group won’t appreciate being rushed through the process - especially when tension is building! While we can expect confrontation from the DRIVEN group and often a sarcastic comment (or fifty) from the INSPIRING group, the folks who tend to be more SHY are more likely to do all they possibly can to avoid ruffling anyone’s feathers. And in many cases, this very SUPPORTIVE group will accept the loss and be on their way.

With the exception of what I dealt with just this past week, I’ve rarely ever been in a customer service situation where the person tasked with handling the issue wasn’t trying to find a resolution as quickly as possible. Not only did the folks I was interacting with seem unconcerned about the amount of time it was taking, they clearly had no real interest in solving the problem either… The typical approach of fixing the issue as...

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Doing It and Making Sure It’s Done Are Two Very Different Things!

In the last blog, I shared a story with you that still makes me squirm a bit. It seemed like every minute of every day was packed as full as I could possibly handle. From the time I walked in my office, usually around 6a, until I left for the evening around 6:30 or 7p, I ran as hard as I could and usually scarfed down some leftovers at my desk while catching up on voicemails or emails… It was nuts!

Clearing those time and attendance system exceptions weren’t necessarily my responsibility but addressing any given one of them was far faster than taking the time to fix what was essentially broken in the process. I’ll re-emphasize what I closed that last blog with: I didn’t discipline myself to invest enough time into fixing that process so I found myself losing exponentially more time each week patching it because I thought doing it right once would be more than I could handle. Ugh!!!

In that scenario, I didn’t have anyone else that I could pass any of...

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