Monthly Archives: September 2013

Beginning a new job. Three challenges that are really opportunities

Start-again-new-beginning-picture-quoteIt’s the first day on a new job.  You may have a new boss, new peers, or a new team. You may have arrived in this place for any number of reasons; some of them good, like a promotion, and some reasons not so good, like your company lost a major contract. Either way you are beginning something new and you are uncomfortable.

Each new beginning brings its own challenges. I challenge you to think of them as the beginning of new opportunities.

“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” – Plato

Three new job challenges that are really opportunities:

You have a new boss who doesn’t know you or your capabilities. You are beginning to work for a new boss.  You feel like you have to prove yourself all over again.  Relax, if you were great and successful before, you will shine again. Take heart, if things didn’t quite work out on your last job, now is your chance to shine.

Here is a simple formula for beginning to be successful in your boss’s eyes:  They key to being a successful employee isn’t doing what you think is right and hoping the boss likes it, it’s about finding out what the boss thinks is right and doing that well.  Remember, the boss sets the vision for the team.  The job of the team members is to work together to accomplish the vision that is set for the team.

You are on a new team and your peers don’t know or trust you yet. On your old job you had chemistry, you knew how to work together and who to trust, and they trusted you. Or maybe, your old team never had that kind of teamwork.  Now you are beginning your new job and the trust just isn’t there.  What can you do?

Here is a simple formula for beginning to establish trust between your peers:  The key to successful teamwork is to focus on understanding your role on the team and executing that flawlessly. Trust will naturally grow from there. Do your job in a way that helps the team and each of your peers achieve success.

You have a new team to manage that you haven’t worked with before. Your new team wants to know why you are here.  Every team wants to be successful and yours is beginning to wonder if you can lead them there.  It doesn’t matter if you have done this well before or not, you are starting fresh on your new job.

Here is a simple formula for beginning to lead successfully: The key to successful leadership is to achieve the purpose of your team by consistently delivering small successes for each member of your team. Each person needs to see proof that the team can be successful while at the same time seeing that they can achieve personal success.

I hope you give these simple formulas a try when you are beginning a new job. They have always worked for me.

Leaders: Follow the discipline of positive discipline

imageWebster’s dictionary provides several definitions of discipline:
-A branch of knowledge or learning
-Training that develops self-control, character, and efficiency
-Treatment that corrects or punishes

Too often we seem to focus on the third definition of discipline in a negative light and punish those who “mess up” in a effort to “teach them a lesson.”

Positive discipline removes the word punish from consideration and considers discipline an end to end process for leaders to bring out the best in their teams.

Jim Rohn has a great definition, “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” It’s the way you achieve your goals.

The three outcomes of positive discipline:

Positive discipline provides direction. Taking a positive discipline approach to accomplishing goals requires planning the steps to success. Is everyone on your team clear on what they are being asked to do and the deadline?

Inspirational author H. Jackson Brown, Jr. says it this way, “Talent without discipline is like an octopus on roller skates. There’s plenty of movement, but you never know if it’s going to be forward, backwards, or sideways.”

Positive discipline provides inspection. Successfully achieving your goals through positive discipline requires that you regularly check in to make sure that everyone on the team is on track.

Peter Drucker, world renowned management expert, coined the phrase, “What gets measured gets done.” If you don’t know that there is risk in achieving your goals, you can’t take the right actions to succeed.

Positive discipline provides correction. Yes there is correction in positive discipline, but in a positive way.

John Wooden, the great college basketball coach said, “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” This doesn’t just happen. It takes a positive discipline approach to working with your team so they trust that you have their best interest at heart. Wooden goes on to coach us on how to build up this trust, “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”



Leaders with humility succeed

newton standign on the shouldersLeaders with humility will succeed in their career.  Humility allows people to listen to, and learn from others who have been where the are going.  Humility doesn’t mean you doubt your ability, it means you respect the ability of others.

C.S. Lewis once said,Humility isn’t thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.

Here are three reasons why leaders with humility succeed:

Leaders with humility succeed  because they are open to learning from others.  Great leaders realize that there is very little they do well that they didn’t learn from someone else.  Learning from others is a strength of great leaders.  Will Rogers once said, “A man learns in two ways, one by reading, and the other by association with smarter people.”

Leaders with humility succeed because they gain knowledge and wisdom from every encounter.  Each person can learn and grow if they will determine to learn from the success of others. Bill Nye said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”

John Maxwell, the great leadership expert, uses a set of seven questions when he talks to successful leaders:

  1. What are the great lessons you have learned?
  2. How has failure shaped your life?
  3. What are your strengths?
  4. What is your passion?
  5. Who do you know that I should know?
  6. What have you read that I should read?
  7. What have you done that I should do?

Leaders with humility succeed because they surround themselves with people who know more than they doGreat leaders know that they can’t know everything.  If you want to be the best, then hire the best in every area. Leaders with humility don’t need to be the smartest person in the room; in fact it is a requirement that they are not.

Malcolm Forbes, former publisher of Forbes said, “Never hire someone who knows less than you do about what he’s hired to do.”

Leo Iacocca, Chrysler’s former CEO said,  ”I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way.”






Leaders: What steps do you take when success seems to be a thing of the past?

steps to successYour team used to be a success.  Every project was delivered on time and under budget.  Team morale was high and you were the “Go-To Team.” You don’t know what happened but success now seems out of reach.

Here are three quick fixes that you may be tempted to try:

1-Just do more of what you are already doing.  It might not be working now, but maybe more of the same will bring success.  Grow more, spend more, centralize more, decentralize more.

2-Just ignore any negative data and amplify the positive data.  And if you don’t really understand the data find away to make it positive.

3-Just do something big and bold:  change the entire leadership team, launch a bold but untested strategy, dive into a radical transformation, roll out a hoped-for blockbuster product.

In his book Why the Mighty Fall Jim Collins shared stories of companies that tried these quick fixes.  You can tell from the title of his book that these companies did not achieve success.  Quick fixes never work for long term success.

“The elevator to success is out of order.  You’ll have to use the stairs…one step at a time.” – Joe Girard

Here are three steps that you should take to return to success:

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Leaders: All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women are merely players.

working together team spirit images wallpapers quotesThe title of this blog post is borrowed from William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It. Leaders can learn a lot from the works of William Shakespeare. Their comments on society, then and now, are full of insight. This particular quote is an introduction to a scene where the character bemoans the futility of life when he goes on to say, “and all the men and women are merely players…”

Let’s take a closer look at what wisdom leaders can obtain from Shakespeare’s words; “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women are merely players.”

In the theater there are three main players: the writer, the director, and the actors and crew. Each of these three players is integral to the successful outcome of the play. The writer is the visionary who sees the end before the beginning begins. The director implements the vision and seeks to make it a reality. The actors and crew bring the play to life.

Shakespeare’s words might have been meant to say that any one player, if only focused on their part, would see themselves as merely players – not connected and not integral to the bigger stage of the world. The job of leaders is to make sure that all players know their roles and that all players know the importance of their roles in the success of the entire team.

Here are some tips for leaders on the importance of each of the three player’s roles in any successful venture:

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Every successful leader was once a diamond in the rough.

focus on your strengthsDiamonds are a naturally occurring mineral, the hardest mineral known today.  All diamonds start as carbon in its most basic form.  Only after mining, cleaning, and cutting are they ready to be used in industrial tools or polished into beautiful jewelry.

Just like the diamond in the rough, everyone is born with the potential to be a leader inside of them, but that potential needs to be set free.  Michelangelo once said, “Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.”

Here are the three steps to bringing forth the leader inside of everyone on your team.

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Future, Present, Past – Three views of a leader

Losers-live-in-the-past_-Winners-learn-from-the-past-and-enjoy-working-in-the-present-toward-the-future_It appears as if the order of the words in the title are backwards – Future, Present, Past. But when it comes to leadership this is the correct order. Let me tell you why I say focus first the future, then the present, then the past.

When you are leading a team the first question they will have is, “If we follow you where will be going?”  Your team views the future possibilities with you as their leader.

The second question they have is “Now that we are following you do I like where we are going?” Your team views the impact of you as their leader in the present.

Their last question is “Now that we have followed you, do I like where I ended up?” Your team views the past and what they learned that helped them become the leader they are today.

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