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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So What CAN You Control?

In the LinkedIn article I just published, I put out a challenge to everyone it reaches to approach the coming year by taking the responsibility to Control What You Can Control! I don’t believe any of us have had a shortage of crap to work through in 2020… To paint a picture of just how important it can be to keep our focus on the things we can control, I shared a story about some amazing results I saw a small group of people achieve by doing that! If you use LinkedIn, or even if you don’t, I believe you’d enjoy reading it for yourself…

With that idea in mind, I’ll issue that same challenge to you! Let’s stop waiting for SOMEONE to do SOMETHING about all the mess we’ve dealt with in 2020 and take 2021 by the horns as we control what WE can control!!!

So what can we control?

For years, I’ve heard over and over that we can only control two things: our attitude and our actions. If you share my Christian faith, I’m...

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The Why, The What, and The How!

We’ve looked at several things that anyone interested in moving their mission statement from the wall of their front lobby to the actions of their team can take action on. Now let’s remove any remaining confusion there may be between the mission and the vision.

Before digging into this, let me clarify something: I couldn't care any less as to whether we use the right term as long as we’re DOING the right things! I’ve seen organizations waste far more time differentiating which statement is which than their executive team ever invested into living an example for their team members to follow. I suppose they thought that as long as both looked good in a frame, they wouldn’t actually have to change anything they did. I believe we’ve covered that in enough detail so far that we’d be beating the proverbial dead horse to hash it out again…

If we want to truly lead our teams in building a culture that EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS in every aspect of...

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Always Check For Leaks!

Early in chapter 13 of The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, as he’s describing how important it is for a leader to provide a constant example for our teams to follow, John Maxwell says “The temptation for any leaders is to merely communicate about the vision.” Truth be told, just communicating with the team on a regular basis with even a little bit of clarity is still far more effective in gaining buy-in on an organization’s mission and purpose than hanging it on the wall or printing it on ID badges. 

But even frequent communication still presents a challenge; our team may not grasp the full understanding we need them to have from words alone. And without a crisp picture in their minds of how that purpose is achieved, there’s another risk John warns about. He says “vision has a tendency to leak.” 

Clear and ongoing communication about how each individual role ties into our organization’s mission, how it impacts the end...

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Charging Directly Toward The Mission

Before closing the loop with one final thing I’ll challenge you to consider from the mission statement we’ve been looking at, “Delivering customer satisfaction with empowered employees using continuous improvement to get it right the first time, every time,” I want to stress one last time that I’m not suggesting this this particular statement is good or bad. I am, however, challenging you to consider how it relates to the mission statement in your organization, the one you need your team to rally around, and whether or not it provides the kind of clarity they can buy into. If you’re good there, the elephant left in the room is the manner in which you exemplify the behaviors you hope to see throughout your team. And we’ll look at that a bit more over the next few days as we sift through something I read on our flight to Tampa…

A few posts back, I mentioned that I believed the ideas of continuous improvement and right the first time,...

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Empowered To Accomplish The Mission

Think back to the mission statement I shared as I opened the last post; “Delivering customer satisfaction with empowered employees using continuous improvement to get it right the first time, every time.” The piece about empowered employees sounds warm and fuzzy, but what does that really look like? What would that really require?

We hear the word empower quite often these days. As with how frequently the term leadership is tossed around in describing anyone with a title or position, regardless of whether or not they actually do anything at all that truly leads anyone, many of those folks in those roles talk about empowering their people but I’m not sure that happens all that frequently…

A quick internet search shows me that empower, a verb, is defined as “to give (someone) the authority or power to do something.” 

While simple, I believe that action can have amazing results in earning our team members’ buy-in on the mission our...

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A Solid Understanding of the Mission Ahead

“Delivering customer satisfaction with empowered employees using continuous improvement to get it right the first time, every time.”

As opposed to the one I shared in the last post, this statement is relatively clear and to the point. For that matter, it’s even fairly simple to understand and isn’t riddled with ambiguity, like value differentiated… On that note, I’d welcome your feedback on how to explain that to an employee to get buy-in… All I can picture when I hear those words is Homer Simpson scratching his head!

While the statement I referenced above is significantly more concise, and far easier to understand, I still don’t think it can stand completely on its own. I also think it’s laden with buzz words with hopes of sounding catchy…

The power in a concise statement like this really comes in how we, as leaders in our respective organizations, provide extreme clarity around each point listed within. What are the...

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Clear Instructions to Finish What They Started

As we look at this group that represents the final 25% of our equation, it’s unlikely that quality will be the issue. The folks with this Reserved and Task-Oriented behavioral style are very CONSCIENTIOUS about performing everything they do with accuracy and precision. The work that they do nearly always follows a very organized process.

That said, their CAUTIOUS approach can sometimes cause them to put too much time into an amount of detail that may not be necessary. Where the DRIVEN folks we looked at as we started this process are more likely to charge forward toward the finish line without bothering to read the instructions (yep, that’s me…), our CONTEMPLATIVE team members tend to process all the information they can get their hands on before moving forward…

Regardless of the issue we need to address with someone who’s primary style is more CAREFUL, we should be prepared to provide them with very clear instructions on what needs to be done in...

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I Appreciate You and I’d Like to Help You

Now that we’ve covered some things we can do to apply The Platinum Rule when we have those candid conversations with our folks who have those first two primary communication styles, our more Outgoing and Fast-Paced team members, we’re doing to need to dial it down a bit as we prepare to chat with this next group. In case you didn’t notice, I was very intentional about using an exclamation point in the subject line of the last post, You’re Amazing and You Can Be Even Better!... I’m being equally intentional by NOT using one in today’s subject. 

In situations where we need to provide the “Alliance Feedback” (like Jeff Henderson suggested in Know What You’re FOR) with our Reserved friends, it’s extremely important for us to manage our pace and be sure our tone is geared to their SUPPORTIVE nature. With this group that represents around 35% of the population typically being a bit more SHY than most everyone else...

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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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