Knowing is the Easy Part. It’s the Doing that’s Tough!

In his Forbes article, Peter Bregman commented “I’ve never seen a leader fail because he or she didn’t know enough about leadership. In fact, I can’t remember ever meeting a leader who didn’t know enough about leadership.” But knowing and doing are two very different things, huh…?

During the dozen or so years I oversaw a behavior-based safety process for my home facility and traveled across North America training folks on that process in other facilities, one of my responsibilities was to attend an annual conference on the topic so I could learn about new developments in the field while bench-marking with my peers from other companies around the world. I always left that three day event with pages of notes and dozens of business cards for people I could connect with moving forward to bounce ideas around. The challenge was always in having time to ensure the rubber met the road… Between the travel/training schedule and the full time...

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It Won’t Just Magically Happen!

We started defining leadership development in the last post by looking at the importance of truly serving our team members rather than barking commands. While that’s quite the noble concept, it’s far from natural for almost anyone moving into their first position with leadership responsibility. I’ve rarely seen someone promoted because of how effective they’ve proven to be in serving the people around them. Unfortunately, that kind of servant leadership prior to being in a position of authority is often overlooked completely or taken for granted. Have you ever heard anyone say “nice guys finish last”?

In almost every scenario I’ve seen where someone earned a promotion to a position where they now had responsibility for leading a team of people, it was based primarily on a strong ethic and excellent technical skills - both of which are extremely valuable in any field! But having those two important traits doesn’t necessarily translate...

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Defining Leadership Development

Through the last several posts, we worked through just a few answers to the question Why is leadership development important? In that process, I share some statistics from a few different studies citing costs organizations encounter when they don’t put a priority on developing the people filling their leadership roles; costs that are rarely tracked and even more rarely understood or tied directly back to a failure in developing leaders… If you missed any of that, you’re welcome to circle back to a page I put together compiling it all

Let’s take the next step through by clearly defining leadership development… Promoting someone into a leadership role doesn’t make them a leader anymore than selling them at McDonald’s would make them a hamburger! (I considered substituting milkshake for hamburger but I think it’s been years since a milkshake machine has worked at any McDonald’s worldwide…) And hearing a group...

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Don’t Just Get It Right, Get It Correct!

Before we close the loop on what we can do to exceed expectations for the folks with the final primary behavioral, I’m going to insert a quick plug for the complimentary session Cindy and I are hosting on Friday, Feb 12 at 2:30p on How Top Leaders Set the Tone for Recruitment & Retention. Whether you have a SHRM or HRCI credential that you can use the approved continuing education for or not, the only reason I can imagine this not being a relevant topic would be that you just don’t mind hemorrhaging money due to turnover. And if that’s the case, no worries at all. But if that topic will be of any value, here’s the link to register at no cost

Now, let’s look at some things we can be sure to do to really exceed expectations when we’re serving the 25% of the population who are Reserved and Task-Oriented; our more CAUTIOUS friends…

While the folks who have this CONTEMPLATIVE style will approach things with a slower pace, it’s...

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Just be Nice...

As I closed the last post, I referenced one primary difference between the folks with either of the last two styles we looked at and these final two styles we’ll be working through; the need to tone it down a bit as we work to exceed their expectations…

Before going too far with the style we’ll focus on today, let me stress that there’s not one right or wrong primary style. Well, I suppose that’s not completely accurate. There’s definitely a right style for me and a right style for you, and that’s the unique style blend we have. This should never be about making someone feel like they need to change into something they’re not; it’s about gaining an understanding of who we are and how we’re wired AND being able to recognize the behavioral styles of the people we interact with so we can serve them at an even deeper level.

Now let’s get to how just being nice can help us exceed expectations when we’re serving some...

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Extra Energy and Excitement

While exceeding expectations with the DRIVEN folks we looked at in the last post will often involve less sizzle and more steak, the next 30% - the INSPIRING ones - may actually enjoy the sizzle! Once we have that clear picture of what they expect, we can go above and beyond with this Fast-Paced and People-Oriented group by being as energetic and entertaining through the process and with the end result we provide.

By making the process fun for them and doing what we can to include their team, we’ll show them that a level of value that can easily be overlooked if we happen to be part of the 70% who don’t share their INTERACTIVE approach. Another thing we can do to really serve them is to provide them with opportunities to be INVOLVED in as much of the process as we possibly can. Showing them that they’re INFLUENCING the outcome will show our desire to IMPRESS them.

These customers, clients, or friends will typically be quick to share lots of ideas and feelings about...

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Aligning Intentions with Perceptions

Even after doing all the things we’ve looked at through the last several posts to ensure we’re on the right track to being able to exceed expectations with each person we interact with, there can be a huge gap between what we intend and what they perceive! Nearly all of us have grown up hearing just how important it is to follow The Golden Rule by doing unto others as we’d have them do unto us. But there are times with even the purest of purpose, things can go awry…

Have you ever met someone who seems to view the world through a pair of rose colored glasses? You know, one of those folks who can find the best in any situation… Hope about someone who can brighten just about any room simply by walking out of it? I’m not sure what color their glasses are, but they probably don’t have that same rosy tint!

Cindy and I were in a training session a few years ago where the instructor divided us into small groups and challenged each group to review...

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Not On or To Them, but FOR Them!

I got my first taste of behavior-based safety in late spring or early summer of 1998. Cindy and I had only been dating a few months at that point so I was still teetering on the edge to say the least… By the time I went through the two day training process required to conduct behavioral observations in January ‘99, we were nearly a year into a pretty solid relationship so some of my extremely rough edges were beginning to get at least a little bit smoother. Looking back, I can see so many places where God’s hand was moving in my life at that time but I’ll save those stories for another time.

For now, I’d like to share a subtle but crucial lesson that I probably should have pulled away from those two days of training. Truth be told, it took a few years for me to really get it!

You may have heard me reference this before but I’ll hash it out here again. One of the core tenets of behavior-based safety is that employees are trained to watch their...

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What Do You Expect from ME?

Once we’ve worked to ensure we’re very clear about exactly what it is that we provide for our customers, our clients, the team members we lead, or even our family, we’d each do well to invest some additional time into making sure we understand just what it is they’re really hoping to receive through their interaction with us. 

Gosh Wes, why would I need to do that if I’ve already put so much into clarifying what I can offer in each of those situations? Shouldn’t that be enough?

I remember hearing a story about a couple who were going through marriage counseling. The wife was upset because her husband wasn’t communicating with her. The husband was upset because he just couldn’t figure out how to please his wife. As the counselor asked the wife a series of probing questions to really dig into what her husband wasn’t communicating with her about, she finally said “he hasn’t even told me that he loves me since the...

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What Do YOU Expect?

So before we really dig into the specifics of those questions I outlined in the last post that we all need answered in order to EXCEED EXPECTATIONS on a regular basis, let’s take a look at one critical thing we each need to consider in this process.

Having hit on this idea of EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS from quite a few angles over the last several weeks, there’s been one common theme: nearly everything I’ve shared on the topic has been from a perspective of how this impacts so many levels of the teams we lead and the community we serve. While building this approach into our entire organizational culture, ensuring the company is known for exceeding expectations, can make a tremendous impact at so many levels, there’s one thing we need to really take ownership of to have any real hope of it ever becoming part of our team’s culture.

We need to take personal responsibility for exceeding the expectations of each individual we serve on a daily basis; not...

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