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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Attack the Issue, Love the Person!

We’ve been looking at different scenarios where team members aren’t performing to the level they’re capable, whether that be through their words or their deeds. In some cases, it can be very intentional. But there are certainly times where they’re just not aware that more is needed. 

For the most part, supervisors, and owners have great relationships with the people around them. That’s how it really should be, right! Solid relationships lead to long term working relationships, but that can also make it pretty tough to have a candid conversation… That said, not addressing a situation can lead to all kinds of yucky business down the road!

One of the fundamentals I learned early on with behavior-based safety, more specifically when addressing at-risk behavior with a peer, was to be very intentional about pointing out the potential for injury from that behavior and be very careful not to question their ability or intent in the process....

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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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Was That What You Were Hoping For?

Spending time in a garage won’t make you a car any more than sitting in a nice office will make you a leader… I closed the last blog by promising to dig into some of the consequences we can expect to see depending on whether we choose The Harder Right or the Easier Wrong when we’re forced to make decisions in a leadership role. And while a nice office or our title won’t define whether or not we really are leaders, the decisions - more specifically, the consequences of those decisions - will!

In the last blog, I shared a few of the details of a scenario I’ve watched unfold (you may even say unravel) over the last several weeks. The folks who held responsibility for the final decision chose an immediate easier wrong by allowing one person to violate a very clearly defined code of conduct and the guidelines they themselves signed off on for the 300 or so folks in the mix. 

Opting to go with that easier wrong allowed them to avoid holding that one...

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The Harder Right or the Easier Wrong?

I worked with teams across North America for more than a decade, providing them with practical tools that would help them interact with their coworkers in a way that could lead to changing behavior and reducing the risk of workplace injury. Where safety was involved, it nearly always boiled down to choosing between the harder right or the easier wrong… I’d love to take credit for that statement, but it was something I heard one of my mentors say literally hundreds of times as I worked with him. Putting on a pair of gloves or safety glasses always took just a little bit longer and added at least a small degree of discomfort versus not wearing them at all. Going through the proper steps of completely de-energizing the equipment (LockOut/TagOut) always required extra time…

While skipping those basic steps may seem crazy, the constant pressure (actual or perceived) of meeting productivity demands often led employees to choose the easier wrong! And if a metric on a...

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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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