In 100 Words: How to Discourage a Team

March 16th, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

Team Leader Seminar – Five Sure-Fire Tactics Guaranteed to Dishearten Any Team!

1. Confidently claim your answer or solution is the best.
2. Don’t solicit input. BONUS – Learn the art of ignoring or deflecting ideas the team does happen to share with you (TIP – reinforce with tactic #1).
3. Give more attention and opportunity to team members who don’t align with the organization’s values or buy in to the team’s purpose but are clearly more talented (TIP – talent trumps values).
4. Criticize and correct subordinates work.
5. Publicly joke about subordinates’ weaknesses and failures.

Purposeful, regular application of these tactics yields the best results.

“Many a true word hath been spoken in jest.” William Shakespeare, King Lear

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In 100 Words: Maximize Trade-offs

January 31st, 2019 by AdvisorCatalyst

A perfect option does not exist for many choices we make. Rather, the decision involves a trade-off between a set of upsides and downsides; advantages and disadvantages. We try to balance the trade-offs. Oddly enough, though, we sometimes become concerned when the expected downsides occur. Hoping for a better solution, we work to amend the negative trade-offs without realizing we may miss the full benefit of the positive trade-offs in the process.

Don’t waste energy on the downsides if you want to maximize decision trade-offs. Identify the trade-offs. Get comfortable with your decision path. Enjoy the upsides of the trade-off!

“There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.” Thomas Sowell

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In 100 Words: Gift of Kindness

December 15th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Certain seasons or events of our life heighten our awareness of both blessings we enjoy and the needs of others. Caring about someone else more than ourselves sparks kindness. Kindness can be displayed simply – smile and say hello; share encouragement and appreciation; or help someone with an obvious need.

Leaders initiate words and acts of kindness because they realize:

• Kindness is infectious – it’s easy for people to imitate.
• Kindness is relational lubrication – we more easily overlook people’s irritating behaviors.
• Kindness, regularly practiced, strengthens organizational culture.

Kindness is a gift everyone deserves to receive … and a gift everyone can give.

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” Aesop

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In 100 Words: Success Anomalies

November 1st, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Success anomalies are difficult, if not impossible, to replicate. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop leaders from attempting to repeat a success without first verifying a pattern exists. This over-confidence can result in large investments that don’t return. Organizations can have success anomalies and then stumble as leaders try to repeat past performance in important areas such as:

• Entering new markets
• Hiring senior level people
• Making acquisitions (statistically, the majority fail to deliver expected results).

Make significant investments only where there are clear patterns of positive outcomes. In other cases, make guarded resource commitments since you could be building on an anomaly.

“Everything has its limit – iron ore cannot be educated into gold.” Mark Twain

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In 100 Words: Pattern or Anomaly?

September 14th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

How well do you distinguish between patterns and anomalies when assessing an issue? Sometimes we approach anomalies as if they were patterns and waste resources. Two types of anomalies should give us caution – problem anomalies and success anomalies. Our key risk with problem anomalies is we end up increasing complexity, frustration and cost by adding processes across a broad array of activities in the organization to ensure “X never happens again.” Create process solutions to problems that exhibit a pattern. Train staff to navigate anomalies as they arise – greater freedom and less process.

Success anomalies will be next edition’s topic.

“To understand is to perceive patterns.” Isaiah Berlin

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In 100 Words: Savoring Quiet

August 1st, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Reflection time is a luxury many people find too expensive. Consequently, the skill of quiet thinking can be under-developed. We live in 24/7, visual-rich, noise-saturated, media-stimulated environments. Who dares unplug and go quiet? What might we miss?

Physiologically, our minds don’t function well “always on.” Reflection time is where our minds work subconsciously connecting stored dots of information.

Practice quiet.

• Turn off devices
• Sit or stroll outside – nature is conducive to mental meandering
• Close your eyes – other senses awaken

When we are thirsty we gulp. To savor a drink, we sip and swish. Reflection is savoring quiet.

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” Albert Einstein

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In 100 Words: Be Patient with Pivots

June 15th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

The pace of market change has many organizations currently in some stage of a business model pivot. To successfully execute the shift leaders should actively:

1. Engage deeply in early conversations and projects with customers. Listen closely and iterate quickly.
2. Shape the “Why and How” message to people inside the organization. Repeat yourself frequently.

It will require patience to see the full pivot… the change will likely take longer than initially anticipated. People need time to adjust their thinking and behaviors. It also takes effort to build new capabilities and the related inter-linking delivery systems. Give the pivot time.

“The strongest of all warriors are these two — Time and Patience.” Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace

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In 100 Words: Hourglass Leaders

May 1st, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

No, this message isn’t about using time wisely. The hourglass is a metaphor of something passing through a bottleneck. Specific to leaders, one chokepoint is our need to weigh in on too many different issues and decisions. This desire to review and provide input leads to final approvals stacking up in our inboxes. Speed of execution slows. There is an inverse correlation – the greater the amount of decisions and issues piled up on our desk, the less amount of work our teams are accomplishing. Determine where you can pass on decision authority. This will widen the neck of your hourglass.

“So much of what we call management consists in making it difficult for people to work.” Peter Drucker

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In 100 Words: Obsessing Over Big Ideas

March 15th, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Big Ideas are grand! Some leaders obsess over finding the next Big Idea. The latest company that races from concept to billion-dollar valuation captures our imagination. Strategy conversations spice up the humdrum of business. Leaders can become distracted pursuing new Big Ideas. Take note, there is a little secret with Big Ideas – you only need a few because the right ones remain true over time (e.g., faster delivery, more individualized service, exclusive prestige). Clarify your existing Big Ideas which will remain true over time. Invest to increase capabilities around those Big Ideas. In short, obsess over executing your Big Ideas!

“A company shouldn’t get addicted to being shiny, because shiny doesn’t last.” Jeff Bezos

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In 100 Words: Position Well

January 31st, 2018 by AdvisorCatalyst

Where do you produce your greatest value and are you positioned to do so? Do you know what activities lead to your best work? Do you orient your time accordingly? If not, start a time log.

Identifying what keeps us out of position is a good first step toward contributing our best. Many of us don’t properly structure our work activities. Maybe we haven’t given thought to which activities yield the highest returns. Possibly we hold onto work that should be delegated or stopped altogether. Then, there are those pesky distractions.

Evaluate how you can reposition to deliver higher value.

“There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.” David McCullough

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