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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More than Chasing the Numbers!

Quite a few of the leaders I’ve known over the years also held positions where they were responsible for supervising a group of people, managing a process, or running an entire business. Let me be very candid before I move on though, filling those positions had almost as much to do with them being real leaders as sitting in a garage does with me being a car… Since condemning the misuse of the word leadership isn’t my intent (today), I’ll stick with the regularly scheduled program…

As a supervisor, a manager, or even a business owner, there’s often pressure from various directions to ensure we’re making the numbers. While I’ve been providing this blog and A Daily Dose Of Leadership for going on five years as a complimentary service to hundreds of people across the country, I like sleeping inside and eating food as much as the next person so at times I’ll reference some of the fee-based services Cindy and I provide as well;...

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Driven to Exceed Expectations

In a large majority of the initial conversations I have with folks around the DISC Model of Human Behavior, I’m told “I’ve taken an assessment. I’m a D (or an I, or an S, or a C)” and that’s about as far as they take it. Interestingly enough, statements like that are almost always made under the assumption that they actually know how to use what their assessment told them. I won’t even go into the tirade about whether or not the assessment they took was anything even resembling accurate…

Don’t get me wrong, I believe a scientifically validated DISC assessment can provide us with some great information - but the key lies in understanding how we can effectively use that information on a day to day basis! There’s where the real value is with any type of assessment… And it absolutely should not stop at simply understanding we’re this or we’re that, we need to have a framework for recognizing how we can best...

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Lean & Mean!

For almost all of the nearly 20 years I worked in manufacturing, I had at least some level of involvement with implementing the tools most commonly referred to as LEAN. Truth be told, at least ten of those years consisted of a high level of hands-on involvement where I worked directly with teams throughout the facility to build the various tools within that methodology into the workflow for improved productivity. I even have a fancy framed certificate (that’s buried amongst a bunch of other fancy certificates) showing where I completed a customized Lean Manufacturing course at the University of Michigan… Impressive, huh…

In addition to all that, I even got to learn to concepts of Lean from a true master consultant who had read about it in a book but never seemed to be able to offer tangible examples of how any of his other clients implemented what he was regurgitating to achieve a tangible return on investment - but I’ll save that story for another day...

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Keep Making Your Decision EVERY Day!

In our microwave society, the majority of the messaging that seems to come at us on a daily basis whirls around the ideas of bigger, faster, and stronger… Before I go on, please understand just how much those messages resonate with my HIGHLY DRIVEN approach to everything I see, touch, do, and even consider! That said, a healthy portion of reality like I choked down when I tried running that mile can often help us keep things in the proper perspective.

Once we can come to terms with ourselves and accept that we’ll rarely accomplish anything significant right off the bat, then we develop dogged consistency with the action steps we can actually follow through on moving forward, we should have a solid foundation in place to build from. But as I mentioned in the last post, thinking there won’t be times where we land in the ditch on one side of the path or the other is just as unrealistic as me thinking I could walk out on that track and magically run a full mile at a...

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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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But I Don’t Even Smoke?

A little over twenty years ago, a friend of mine was promoted from his role as a machine operator in the department we worked in to supervising that same department on an off shift. In those days, even the night shift crew had a ton of seniority and experience. That company had a much deserved reputation for being one of the best employers in the area… I had been there for two years or so and was still one of the newest people in the building!

While nearly everyone had significant experience, I’m not suggesting that everyone was actively engaged and working to exceed expectations like we’ve been discussing through the last few posts… In fact, one of the most senior guys on the shift, although being a true master of his craft, was about as actively disengaged as anyone I’ve ever seen!

Let’s pretend his name was Tim… Tim was a smoker. Before I move on, this isn’t meant as a shot at anyone who smokes - it’s just the story I...

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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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I Just Can’t Take The Risk...

Over the last decade, I’ve seen dozens of situations where a senior or incredibly skilled team member has chosen not to exceed expectations. The challenge in most of those instances really boiled down to that team member actually choosing to not even meet the expectations the organization (or business owner, or their team members) had clearly defined for the role they were in.

As we looked at how failing to exceed, or even meet, expectations can impact customer retention and the organization’s overall profitability through the last several posts, it was extremely clear that average performance won’t be what separates any of our businesses from the competition. This is just as true when it comes to the culture we build internally - how tasks get done even when a customer will likely never have direct exposure to them…

Let’s be honest, highly skilled team members are hard to come be regardless of the ups and downs of the economy. That often results in...

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Like It or Not, That’s How It’s Gonna Be… Really?

Have you ever been told that by a company you’ve done business with? Like it or not, that’s how it's gonna be… Have you ever heard a supervisor say something like this to one of their employees? Have you ever been that employee???

I remember being told something very similar to that by an administrative assistant for the attorney I was dealing with about 15 years ago following a nasty car accident and the other party had a less than stellar insurance company. After being jerked around by the other insurance company for weeks and not hearing back from the attorney for quite a while too, I began calling daily until I got a response. After a few days of this, she told me “You’re not our only client. We’ll get to you when we get to you.” That didn’t go as well as she thought it would…

While I can’t say that I’ve ever been anything like that by a supervisor, I’ve certainly heard it said a few times. It’s one...

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