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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From You, Down…

We’ve worked through some critical things we can each take complete responsibility for controlling in our own lives and with the teams we lead in the last several posts. Before we get the milk & cookies ready for Santa and prepare for New Year, assuming he’s allowed to travel this year as long as he’s wearing all of his PPE, let’s consider one final thing about Controlling What We Can Control!

I often reference the nearly 15 years I worked in behavior-based safety. And for good reason, I learned some amazing lessons then that have applied to so many other areas of leadership and life in general. The behaviors we studied so closely certainly tied directly to our overall safety performance as a company, but the same behaviors tie back to just about every other part of our lives too!

One of the things I don’t often reference from those years is the massive amount of data we collected regarding the safe and at-risk behaviors that were observed and...

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You Always Knew Where You Stood...

It was probably 2003 or 2004, when I was walking through a fairly secluded part of the facility I worked in and a friend pulled me aside to ask “Was that guy who just came through that Terry guy? I hear he’s a real &#%[email protected]!” I confirmed that it had indeed been Terry and asked what the issue was. Terry and I, along with a few other safety team members, were doing a walk-through of that entire area to identify at-risk behaviors with hopes of addressing them and preventing potential injuries. He told me that Terry had gotten on him about not wearing safety glasses, something that was in fact required in the area where he was working.

Later that morning, I was able to catch up with Terry to get his version of the story. Terry explained that the fellow who stopped me, a long term employee and all around great guy, was fastening a banding strap around a box and had his safety glasses resting on top of his head. Terry simply tapped the side of his own safety glasses as...

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Shores We May Never See Ourselves...

I closed the last post with a commitment to share an example I’ve personally seen of someone who turned their ripples into waves by selflessly serving the people around them. I’m not gonna do that; I’m going to share two… (but I could easily point to dozens more!)

Yesterday afternoon, I had a conversation with a friend I had worked with several years back. Truth be told, he was listed as my immediate supervisor on the org chart but I can’t recall a single time where I saw him use positional authority - with me or anyone else in the company! While I had a pretty significant amount of experience in the work I was hired to do, I had no experience whatsoever in the industry we were working in. He was extremely intentional about helping me get up to speed and was always quick to brag on the work I was doing to the owners of the company; it was incredibly humbling…

I had started our business around that same time. Where many supervisors and managers...

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Turn the Ripples into Waves!

In closing the last post, I shared a brief warning about the weight of the responsibility that comes with an expanded reach. Since you’ve chosen to read this, I’m going to assume you’re willing to carry that load called leadership… Well done!

So how do we turn those initial ripples into significant waves that make a positive impact on people we may never meet rather than creating an undertow that sucks some of them under and scares everyone else away? That certainly ties back to choosing the harder right over the easier wrong, but making those kinds of decisions are just a starting point!

While choosing that harder right over the easier wrong presents some challenges, it’s really the simplest part of the process - especially once you’ve determined where you’re just not willing to compromise! The tough part often comes when it’s time to back those decisions with action on a daily basis. But even that becomes more routine as...

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Expanding Your Ripple Effect...

Hopefully this comes as good news… I’m still alive! I knew attempting to squeeze in three or four messages last week as Cindy and I prepared for the in-person and socially-distanced LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg event last week was going to be a fairly tall order but I wasn’t expecting to miss the entire week. That said, I believe we had an outstanding event given the Phase 3 guidelines we’re still operating under in Virginia. I’ve posted some of the amazing images captured by Andy Sams Photography on our webpage for this year’s event, as well as the special message that Mark Cole recorded for us while I was with him in Atlanta a few weeks ago. If you haven’t been able to participate in the 2020 LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg experience yet, we’re hosting a final public virtual option on Friday, November 13 and registration is open now. Finally, I want to make a special shout-out to Andy Vanhook with Appeal Production for being such a blessing to us...

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A Ripple Effect...

As I shared in the last blog, each decision we make will result in consequences that reach farther than we typically expect. Sometimes those consequences are far worse than we ever imagined, but there are also times where the footprint we leave makes a positive impact on people we may never know!

While the example I shared last time certainly caused me to lose some respect for the folks in those leadership roles who dug their feet in on their choice to take the easier wrong instead of the harder right, it really only confirmed what I thought they were made of leading up to that decision. But let’s take me out of the equation, because I’ve been looking at the situation out of principle. Consider the ripple effect their decision will have on the 299 people they chose not to stand up for, many of whom already have been impacted financially. Did they earn influence with the rest of that group, or did they flush a significant portion of their positional credibility down the...

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You Don’t Always Get What You Want...

Assuming the Rolling Stones had it right, “if you try sometimes, well, you just might find… you get what you need…” Regardless of their financial success, I can’t say I’ve ever considered looking to them for advice on anything - especially not for how I can earn influence ethically with the people I’m responsible for leading!

In the last several blog posts, as well as a recent LinkedIn article I published called Lead From Where You Are, we dug into the idea that each of us are completely capable of becoming effective leaders for the people around us regardless of the role we currently fill within our organization. We took a hard look at whether we’re attempting to lead with Authority or Influence, how we can effectively recognize The Hardest Person You’ll Ever Have To Lead, and who we’re currently developing influence with when we’re intentional about who we’re Now Serving…

I had originally planned...

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Now Serving...

During his session as part of the 2019 Live2Lead event, Chris Hogan defined what he called a huge leadership lie. He said “The biggest lie about leadership is that it’s tied to position or title.” Chris went on to paint a very vivid picture of the difference between a good leader and a great leader by suggesting that “a good leader helps you get better at your job but a great leader will change your life!” That statement resonated so much with me that I developed an entire lesson in our Leading At The Next Level program that was based on that idea. Not only is the entire message Chris Hogan shared at last year’s Live2Lead event available as bonus content for everyone who participates in the 2020 LIVE2LEAD:Harrisonburg virtual experience with us on Oct 9, we’re also adding a coupon so each participant can get complimentary access to our new digital course, Build a Reputation as a Servant Leader that includes the lesson I did based on his...

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