Gaining Perspective

Gaining Perspective

Are there times when you feel you are just trapped in the weeds? You have strategic and operational meetings on the calendar but do they seem to be taken up by things like formal project reviews that your team knows are coming but treat as if they were surprises? Does it seem like your calendar does not allow room to think?

Carrot or Stick?

Carrot or Stick?

Does it sometimes seem that praising an outstanding performance is not as effective as calling out a bad performance? Is that true? You’d think people would want more praise than they do the discomfort of being called out. Let’s take a look at what happens when we praise a good performance and call out a particularly bad performance.

Difficult Performers

Difficult Performers

Difficult conversations are the ones we try to put off. They are the ones we go into being too defensive. They are the ones we go into under a full head of self righteous steam convinced of the sanctity of our position. They are the conversations we tell others we can handle but truthfully we dread. How do you go about preparing for a difficult conversation? 

Amazing Grace

Amazing Grace

Have you ever tried to give candid and helpful feedback only to have things backfire on youYou were trying to help and instead of getting a receptive ear you got pushback. Perhaps someone failed to deliver, made a mistake or failed on accountability. Has someone used your efforts to coach as a means of seeking advantage, excusing their failures, put you in a bad spot, thrown you under the bus? We all have experienced this at some point. How do you react? Did you feel frustrated or angry? How do we turn ugly into progress?

Maybe We Should Call a Meeting

Maybe We Should Call a Meeting

How many meetings are you in each week? A lot? What percentage of your time does sitting in, preparing for, or following up on meetings consume? How productive is your meeting time? Is that time expended for something more valuable in return? 

In many organizations meetings may seem like an acceptable alternative to getting work done. How did it ever get to that? Somewhere back in history there must have been an era when meetings had value or we would have not allocated the perishable resource of time to them.

 

Let’s Plan, Do, Check and Adjust It!

Let’s Plan, Do, Check and Adjust It!

Most of us realize that no plan remains intact as written following its first introduction to reality. Those who do not know that are not paying attention. So what do we do about that? 

Edward Deming articulated a process now referred to as plan-do-check-adjust (PDCA). The following explanation of Mr. Deming’s cycle would probably cause him to blanch. PDCA is based on the same rational approach as the scientific method:  observe, gather data, hypothesize, and test then repeat until you cannot disprove your hypothesis. 

 

Critical Praise

Critical Praise

You are trying to develop your team. You have been coaching them to improve their performance. You have been careful to stay focused on issues and not on their personal idiosyncratic differences. You even tried praise as a motivator. The problem is you usually see improvements in performance when you criticize problems. When you praise the good performance people seldom repeat it. Doesn’t it just make more sense to criticize, for the good of the team’s performance?

Strategic Structure

Strategic Structure

What is your strategic structure? What is strategic structure?

We could go on with more questions but unless we define structure the question may not stir any thoughtful consideration. Structure is the relationship of elements composing something to the other elements in the whole of the composition. Strategic structure would be the relationships between the different elements of strategy.

Why Commit So Much When We Know So Little?

Why Commit So Much When We Know So Little?

Let’s picture this. An executive team is in one of a series of discussions on what the key efforts should be for the coming year. The focus is on creating the new and different. They need something that is going to differentiate them and create an advantage that will sustain them in an increasingly competitive market. 

The discussions are converging on five ideas. The problem is that resources for development are limited. Each idea represents a course of action the company has not pursued before. A decision must be made for the plan to be completed, for the budget to be finalized, for the teams to be chartered and for the work to begin. How can we commit to a course of action at a time when we know so little?

Did That Blow Your Mind?

Did That Blow Your Mind?

One of the challenges of coaching others is balance. How much do we direct and how much do we coach by way of question? When should we let our team members make mistakes and learn and when do we step in? How much is too much? This is not just a philosophical question. How we perform as coaches has a direct impact on organization performance. We never get it all right but we need to get it close enough to hit our targets.

Whats Your Strategy?

Whats Your Strategy?

How do we know we have a strategy? What does strategy look like? What does “strategic” mean?  If something is not strategic what is it? 

Strategy describes the planned journey from where you are to a place you want to go. In the end the value of the description is measured by the outcomes resulting from strategy’s execution. In other words, did we get the results we were seeking? What properties does a strategy need to be executed?

Transitional Learning, Part One

Transitional Learning, Part One

Have you had one of those changes where you fully invest in training and workshops because you know this is new and different only to find out that the change took longer and cost more to implement than you had planned? Okay, so a few hardened cynics and pessimists are shaking their head but for many of us that can be a source of frustration and performance robbing drain on our outcomes.