Achievement

CATCH PEOPLE WINNING

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It is easy to find fault – with ourselves and with the work of our teams.  A critical eye is what allows leaders to find the opportunities and correct the liabilities in their people and processes.  Everyone can miss a deadline, miss the point, or miscommunicate.  Everyday something goes wrong…and we focus on it so we can fix it.

The challenge is this:  what we focus on grows.

If all we focus on is what is missing and what was missed, we rob ourselves of the chance to develop in our people their biggest asset:  their enthusiasm.  We also fail to give people the chance to know, clearly and specifically, what works.

Catching people winning is not the same thing as offering praise.  “Atta-Boy”, “Congratulations!”, and “Thank You” are not enough.  When I encourage clients to catch people winning, I ask them to take intentional time, every day, to stop and:

·       notice

·        name

·       appreciate

something specific that is being done right.  When someone does something well; meet a deadline, make good progress on a project, develop a strong plan, or deliver a great performance in a key meeting, and we let them know on the spot, specifically, what went right, we Catch People Winning.

When we catch people winning we feed them two essential ingredients for success: enthusiasm and wisdom.  Offering specific feedback when people get things right increases their energy and grows their wisdom and insight.  They learn what you value and that you notice the efforts and advancements they make.

Why does this matter?  In a word: Trust.  People trust people who notice and acknowledge the work they are doing.  Catching our people winning grows their inner confidence and grows their trust in us.  They have greater assurance of their own skills and greater confidence in themselves and trust in the relationship they have with us, their leader.  Trust develops and trust is a key ingredient to achieve exceptional pace, productivity, and performance.

When people on our teams experience us noticing and celebrating their achievements, they begin to believe we are invested in their successes and, as a result, our credibility grows.

Catching people winning arms leaders with trust and credibility, offers our workforce a dose of enthusiasm and, together, these create the ideal environment to develop and coach our people for better and better performance. 

The dividend of Catching People Winning is their responsiveness.  It is much easier for our people to act on new challenges when they have strong enthusiasm for their work.  It is much easier for our people to hear difficult feedback from us when they believe we are interested and invested in their success.  Catching People Winning creates the environment for performance excellence.

All we have to do is stop and notice what is going right.  It is happening around us all the time.

Catch someone winning today.  Go find 3 great things and recognize the person today. You will feel more successful yourself when you do.

The Pastor and the Comic

It is not every day you have a completely new experience. Especially once you hit midlife. (And often, in midlife, those new experiences are not mountaintop experiences, but instead new experiences like, “Wow, now I need to wear glasses if I want to read anything.” But I digress.)

Recently I had one of those completely new experiences. I spoke at an event in another city and shared the stage with a Stand-Up Comic turned Motivational Leadership Speaker.

Steve Rizzo has been on sound stages in LA and New York.

I have not.

He has been featured on television specials.

I have not.

He flies first class.

I do not. But I digress.

I met him when the car that was taking both of us (thank you Charles!) to our first event of the day pulled up. I walked out, hopped in the back seat and into my new experience:

My Pastor Meets Comic experience.

(Yes, I am a Pastor. I served as Senior and Executive Pastor of congregations in southern California, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon. Until I woke up one day and didn’t want to be paid for ministry any more. I seem to have too much candor and conviction and too little patience for the church. But I digress.)

Back to this week, this day in my life story. It was a great day.

I met a generous man with a big heart and a mission to make a difference and leave a wake of success in the lives of the people who cross his path. Steve spreads joy and laughter, as well as a bevy of tips and tales that help people to create success mindsets, so that they can find opportunity in the obstacles and options that lie before them.

Here are a couple of takeaways from my time with Steve (These are not quotes capturing what he said. These are things I saw him do.):

  1.      See the world through the eyes of the people around you as often as you can.
  2.      Act on what you see.

When I met Steve the first words out of his mouth after we were introduced were, “Why don’t you come sit up here and I’ll sit in the back. You are tall, and you need the room.”

I deferred and thanked him.

When we returned to the car after the first stop, he went directly to the back seat and sat down.

He didn’t ask. He acted. I enjoyed the legroom up front for the rest of the day. Thanks Steve!

When the leader goes first and acts with generosity, warmth and unrequested thoughtfulness, the leader earns something valuable: trust.

It was a small gesture with a big impact.  He demonstrated he cared about my experience, more than his own. It was kind, and I appreciated it.

People trust you when you notice and act on your observations about their situation.

I have a lot of stories that would make you laugh about my day with Steve Rizzo.

If you have a chance to hear him speak, do so! And know that a generous man is behind those words, listening to his audience, caring about how to best communicate what he’s learned about living a life that matters, and enjoying the moment we are living right now.

Leaders, we are at our best when we are generous advocates, both behind the scenes and onstage, caring about and equipping people to see and seize opportunities. We are at our best when we allow ourselves and others to savor the process of living our lives, as we travel through shared valleys of turmoil and turbulence to our next mountaintop moment.

So, be present. Notice others’ circumstances. Act on what you notice. And laugh some along the way.

WHAT I DIDN’T DO ON MY SUMMER VACATION

It’s summer. It’s that time of the year for harmonic convergence known as “summer vacation.” School is out. Days are long. Kids are bouncing off the walls with excitement as they anticipate summer fun on their family vacations.  Queue up Chevy Chase and Lindsay Buckingham, “Holiday Road”!!!!

Remember when you were those kids bouncing off the walls? Where did you go and what did do? I sure do. We spent weeks in the summer at a place called Sylvan Beach. Sylvan Beach is on the eastern shore of Oneida Lake in upstate New York. It was home to a turn of the century amusement and theme park. It had all the essentials: the “Hammer”, the “Tilt-a-Hurl”, Haunted House, Wild Mouse, “Barrel of Fun”, Bumper cars, the “Mother of All Carousels” and yes “Skee Ball”. We would take our boat (the orange “tri-hull”) about 30 miles across the lake and run it right up onto the beach next to the vacation cabins we stayed in. I can still smell the fires on beach!

But I digress. Now, fast forward to our present-day world. The challenge is to “Manage Out!” This means planning what we will NOT do on our summer vacation.  At Voltage Leadership, we apply a management tool called “the 5 Gears” (by Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram) for those who really need to be present when there doesn’t seem to be enough time. One of those 5 gears is First Gear. First Gear is defined as 100% completely unplugged. This means no “smart” phones, PC’s or internet period. Is that realistic I today’s world?

Only you can answer that. Here are some tips and tools to help you try to achieve First Gear.

·       Planning - Planning builds anticipation and anticipation builds excitement. Plan your vacations well and revel in thinking about what you’ll do. No bigger bummer than a vacation that fails to deliver.

·       Domestic Outsourcing - Housekeeping and childcare are inevitable if you’ve got little ones. Build in some adults only downtime. Bring along a best friend who can be a built-in babysitter. They will become family.

·       To Work or Not to Work -That IS the question. How much control do you have over the situation?  Are you taking calls because your boss is making you? If you must connect, set limits on when and what you will do. For example, working a half an hour each morning before the rest of your family wakes up may be a good compromise.

·       Email Does Not Get its Own Lounge Chair on Your Vacation. Agree upon and communicate beforehand your out of office accessibility before you leave the office. This includes your boss or any other key contacts. Is it a 15-min check in once in the AM every other day? Is that too much?

·       Stop Thinking that the World Revolves Around You - It can make you feel like you are trapped in a cage with lots of pressure. Remember, for this brief period of time, your Family revolves around you. Name a delegate for you before you leave that can handle things in your absence. This not only helps you but can be a development opportunity for them.

·       Have Some Fun – Do you remember how?

For a deeper dive on tips to achieve First Gear while on vacation, check out this episode of the VoltCast radio show, Illuminating Leadership.
                                                                    

ARE YOU A PERSON OR AN OBSTACLE?

I am working with an executive team that is having a challenging time with one another.  The team members have started to land in camps and defend their areas.  They think of themselves as marketing, operations, finance, HR, sales, etc. and they have lost sight of their greater purpose.  Additionally, most of the team members see the other team members as obstacles in the way of achieving their results. Consequently, the team also thinks that the CEO is an obstacle who is not changing the strategy and culture fast enough.  Wow, sounds like a lot of fun!  The funny part is that individually they are really great people, but they have just become objects to each other.  Does this sound like your team?  Have you ever been on team like this?  I know I have and it was no fun!

I led the team in an offsite recently and the first thing I had them do was to write down two things they admired or respected about each team member.  I then had them go around the room to each person, share their feedback and then receive the feedback from their peers.  I can see some of you rolling your eyes already!  No, we did not sing Kumbaya or do a trust fall next.  However, there were some tears, flushed cheeks and some mumbling.  Why did I start with this exercise?  I wanted each person on the team to re-see the people in the room as human beings and not as objects or VP of Sales.  They had lost sight of the fact that each person was trying to do their best work.  Most of the people thanked me for the exercise and said they could not remember the last time they had received positive feedback or given positive feedback to their peers.

Next, I worked with them to learn about Outward Mindset.  This concept comes from The Arbinger Institute and I highly recommend their new book, The Outward Mindset.  

An Outward Mindset exists when you are able to see the other person as a person and you work to understand their needs, objectives and challenges.  You then demonstrate behaviors and agree upon objectives that meet the collective result of your organization.  The stakeholders can be your direct reports, your manager, customers, peers, the Board, External Partners, etc.  

In contrast, an Inward Mindset exists when you demonstrate behaviors that focus on your or your department’s needs at the expense of others.  The inward mindset results in seeing others as obstacles, irrelevant or vehicles to accomplishing your goals.  The inward mindset leads to distrust and an inability to see possibilities.

Back to the original team:  it was clear to them after the discussion that most members were demonstrating an inward mindset.  We went through an exercise of describing the type of behaviors that would demonstrate an outward mindset (listening, collaboration, shared goals and successes, sharing of talent, etc.)  We also talked about how they felt when they were doing their best work together (invigorated, challenged, healthy conflict, aligned and fun.)  The team is not perfect, but they are working hard to see their teammates as people trying to do their best work.  They grant each other some grace now if there is a mistake or a miscommunication.  I hear a lot more “we can do this” vs. “they did this to me, my area, etc.”   I believe they are on the path to success.

Here are a few questions to ponder:

       Today, what would happen if I simply focused on helping others succeed?

       Who am I working with that I could be more helpful toward?

       Who is one person who needs more from me than I am currently delivering?

Good luck and go tell someone two things you appreciate about them and see what happens to the relationship.  

 

MOTIVATING AND ENGAGING OUR SUPERSTARS

“Hey, Jill, you got a minute?” Amy asks.

Jill wearily glances up from her email and turns to see Amy, her superstar employee, in her doorway.  “Sure, I guess.  I am a bit busy with the latest fire drill for senior management.  What do you need?”

“Well, there is no easy way to say this, but I am resigning.  I am going down the road to work for Greener Fields USA.”

Jill, now fully engaged with Amy, says, “I am shocked!  What made you want to do this?  We love you here and your future is so bright.”

Amy says, “Well, it just seemed Greener Fields might offer more development and the work is interesting and exciting to me.”

Has this ever happened to you?  I know it has happened to me and there is nothing worse than losing a superstar.  The worst part is that, when I reflect back, there was so much more I could have done to keep this person with our team.  What about you?  Were there signs?  What would you do differently?

Let’s chat about some ways to retain and engage our superstars.  First, we have to know they are superstars.  Many of us are scrambling through our tasks fighting fires and we do not even notice outstanding performance.  Additionally, we spend an enormous amount of time on our bottom 20% performers; fixing their mistakes, corralling their underperformance, or living in their drama.  Thus, the first question is:  “Do you know who your superstars are?”

Daniel Pink outlined key ways to motivate your team in his book, Drive.  Here are 3 keys:

·       Purpose.  Can you connect your superstar’s work to the company’s core purpose?  If not, why are they working on what they are working on?  When you recognize their performance, connect it to making a difference for the organization, the customer etc.

·       Autonomy.  Are you giving your superstar the room to create their own solutions?  Superstars need some guidance, but they also love room for their creativity so they can grow and develop.

·       Mastery.  Are you allowing your superstars to master what they are working on?   Many times we move our superstars from project to project and burn them out without allowing them time to get great at something.

The biggest complaints I hear from superstars that I coach are that they do not feel recognized for their efforts and that there is not a focus on their development.  The literature suggests that we recognize our team at a rate of five compliments for every one piece of corrective feedback.  Most superstars report about a 1:1 ratio of positive to negative feedback.  Put time on your calendar to recognize all team members, but concentrate some time for your superstars.

The last thought for today is dedicate time on your calendar to provide feedback, coaching, and development for your superstars.  They are doing great work and they want to do even better.  However, we tend to cancel their 1:1s or never quite seem to have enough time to spend with them.  Take time to mentor your superstars and see what happens!

CATCH PEOPLE WINNING

It is easy to find fault – with ourselves and with the work of our teams.  A critical eye is what allows leaders to find the opportunities and correct the liabilities in their people and processes.  Everyone can miss a deadline, miss the point, or miscommunicate.  Everyday something goes wrong…and we focus on it so we can fix it.

The challenge is this:  what we focus on grows.

If all we focus on is what is missing and what was missed, we rob ourselves of the chance to develop in our people their biggest asset:  their enthusiasm.  We also fail to give people the chance to know, clearly and specifically, what works.

Catching people winning is not the same thing as offering praise.  “Atta-Boy”, “Congratulations!”, and “Thank You” are not enough.  When I encourage clients to catch people winning, I ask them to take intentional time, every day, to stop and:

·       notice

·        name

·       appreciate

something specific that is being done right.  When someone does something well; meet a deadline, make good progress on a project, develop a strong plan, or deliver a great performance in a key meeting, and we let them know on the spot, specifically, what went right, we Catch People Winning.

When we catch people winning we feed them two essential ingredients for success: enthusiasm and wisdom.  Offering specific feedback when people get things right increases their energy and grows their wisdom and insight.  They learn what you value and that you notice the efforts and advancements they make.

Why does this matter?  In a word: Trust.  People trust people who notice and acknowledge the work they are doing.  Catching our people winning grows their inner confidence and grows their trust in us.  They have greater assurance of their own skills and greater confidence in themselves and trust in the relationship they have with us, their leader.  Trust develops and trust is a key ingredient to achieve exceptional pace, productivity, and performance.

When people on our teams experience us noticing and celebrating their achievements, they begin to believe we are invested in their successes and, as a result, our credibility grows.

Catching people winning arms leaders with trust and credibility, offers our workforce a dose of enthusiasm and, together, these create the ideal environment to develop and coach our people for better and better performance. 

The dividend of Catching People Winning is their responsiveness.  It is much easier for our people to act on new challenges when they have strong enthusiasm for their work.  It is much easier for our people to hear difficult feedback from us when they believe we are interested and invested in their success.  Catching People Winning creates the environment for performance excellence.

All we have to do is stop and notice what is going right.  It is happening around us all the time.

Catch someone winning today.  Go find 3 great things and recognize the person today. You will feel more successful yourself when you do.