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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Lesson Learned: Am I Behaving Like a Teenager?

March 5th, 2009 No comments

Let’s call this executive Steve, he is a  senior level executive, in his early 60’s.  He is very well respected by the people in his organization in a large part due to his extremely calm demeanor.

Steve’s directs are all VP’s in the company and they had been struggling with an issue for close on 7 weeks and were all frustrated.  To make matters worse, these execs had allowed the issue  to impact their interpersonal relationships with some of them having their little versions of the “cold war”.

So during a meeting in the boardroom, Steve watched with mounting displeasure as his directs expressed their frustration at not being able to solve the problem.  Each of them proceeded to provide excuses or point at some or other reason why they could not address the issue on hand.  Steve demonstrated his patience and calmness again by allowing each of them to express their opinions. He then asked them how they were working together on addressing the issue.  Again they behaved in like ducks with watertight backs.  Steve then asked them about what they would do if they were in his shoes?  Again they had many words and Steve slowly stood up.  Some of his directs paid attention but others did not.

However, when Steve slammed his hands down on the table, the loud clap drowning out the expletive that he had just uttered.  All of his directs stared at Steve, dumbfounded, and then he said something:  “If I wanted to hear reasons why this cannot be done, I would have asked my teenage son!  I am paying you significantly more to solve problems.  So why don’t you stop behaving like teenagers and act like the professionals that I am paying you to be!”

Needless to say, his directs had a solution ready for him four hours later.

So the Lesson that I Learned from this, has changed how I approach things.  Now, when I am moaning or bitching about something, I simply ask myself:  ” am I behaving like a teenager?”  If the answer is yes, then I modify my behavior and to ensure that I am adding value.

hire the best

February 24th, 2009 No comments

I recently had a conversation with some managers regarding their hiring criteria.  They were looking at candidates that could fulfill the role that was advertised. I presented them with a different perspective that has caused much followup discussion.

hire_the_best_iIn the graphic above, the yellow dot indicates the work capability of the team.  The blue dot is meant to indicate the expected contribution of candidate.

hire_the_best_iiIn this graphic, the green dot indicates another candidate with what we expect to be able to contribute more than the blue dot.  Bringing someone into the team that is capable of a higher level of work output also tends to raise the output level of the whole team.   One of the people that benefits significantly from this addition, is the team manager.  The higher the level of the people on the team, the more the manager can delegate, thereby allowing the team manager to expand into other areas.

Therefore simply by bringing in a more capable person into the team, the productivity of the team expands beyond the yellow to include both the yellow and the orange.  And over time, it will only increase.

change and stress

January 6th, 2009 No comments
change stress distress graphic

impact of change on us

Based on my experience of dealing with people across the globe, I believe that change always has an impact us.  The actual change event can be fairly small, the impact on us manifests itself as stress. In the change-stress-distress graphic, the black circle is the actual change.  The perceived impact of the change will cause stress, which is shown in green.  The stress level is still fine because it has not crossed our tolerance level, shown in red.  This is key because when the stress expands to more than our tolerance level, the stress becomes distress.

when the stress becomes distress

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distress

As you can see in the graphic on the left, all that is visible is the red, which means distress.  For people in this situation, it is now a rescue situation where the first priority is to rescue the person from the distressful situation.

stress

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.Unfortunately just because the person is no longer in distress, it does not mean that we can work on the change yet.  Looking at stress graphic on the right, we still cannot see the change and therefore we cannot work on the change.  We still need to get the stress under control and only then can the change be addressed.

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