Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

In 100 Words: Inadvertent Bad Advice

Thursday, June 15th, 2017 by AdvisorCatalyst

“Bring me solutions, not problems!” can be poor advice. We want people to be pro-active so the adage applies at times. Leaders, however, deal with many complex and challenging problems which either require, or benefit from, collaborative work. Collaborative work entails conversation between two or more people to surface and debate alternative solutions. One person alone will not get to the best decision.

Some people disguise complaining or laziness by merely pointing out problems. Other people, though, raise genuine issues with a desire to be actively involved in collaborative work on a solution. A wise leader discerns between the two.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

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In 100 Words: Dear Meetings,

Monday, May 1st, 2017 by AdvisorCatalyst

I love you, I love you not…

Time we share together can be so energizing when we are engaged and collaborative. Good ideas flow and build. Conversations are relevant. Debates are healthy. There are clear decisions and follow-up. I want to see you again!

I must confess, though, much of our time together is a waste of my precious time. It’s maddening to experience glowing screens of distraction, conversations without preparation, and boring report-outs. I simply can’t go on meeting like this!

Tell me, am I alone in my feelings? I beg you, can we rejuvenate our relationship?

Yours Truly

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” Friedrich Nietzsche

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In 100 Words: Your First and Best Time

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017 by AdvisorCatalyst

Why do we spend time setting the top few quarterly priorities (a.k.a. Rocks) only to put off working on them until we get some free time? Free time will not simply appear in our schedules. To accomplish Rocks we must put in the time. This doesn’t mean all, or even the majority, of our working time has to be dedicated to Rock work.

We should, however, invest our first and best time – our first and best time each day and week. Watch results accelerate when you commit the first hour of your working day to the Rock you are leading.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell

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In 100 Words: Time for Strategy Planning

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

As leadership teams craft strategy plans for the upcoming year, they should remember the following lessons:

• There are no formulaic answers, however, you can benefit from a systematic approach to both your preparation and strategy planning conversations.

• Markets are dynamic so be disciplined in your strategy thinking. Challenge and test your basic assumptions – even if they are producing good results. Things change.

• Strategy requires clear choices and resource commitment. Each decision either reinforces or weakens the whole. The strength of how the decisions weave together form the fabric of compelling business models (think IKEA, The Container Store and Southwest Airlines).

“Unless commitment is made, there are only promises and hopes… but no plans.” – Peter Drucker

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In 100 Words: Language is Important

Thursday, September 15th, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

Is your speech betraying you? I use the words speech and language loosely – I mean to encompass all personal communication. The actual words we speak account for less than 10% of our communication while the remainder is tonality and physiology – the nonverbal elements.

Language reveals our mindset and attitude about the other person(s) and the situation. Particular words, phrases or nonverbal communication can make or break outcomes of relationships, deals or projects. I try to remind myself to adjust my mindset and attitude toward the other party before engaging in communication knowing that my speech is likely to betray me.

“People may hear your words, but they feel your attitude.” — John C. Maxwell

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In 100 Words: Being Present

Monday, August 1st, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

How well do you concentrate your mental and emotional faculties on the situation at hand? Can you tell when someone else in a conversation is “miles away?” Here are four reasons why being present is a difficult skill to do well in our person-to-person interactions:

• we are naturally self vs. others focused
• we allow distractions (phones, email, etc.)
• we aren’t emotionally invested
• our minds wander

If we cultivate the mindset of being present we will have greater impact in the current situation. More importantly, we send people the message that they, and the tasks at hand, are important.

“The mind is never satisfied with the objects immediately before it, but is always breaking away from the present moment…” Samuel Johnson

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In 100 Words: The Adversity Advantage

Wednesday, June 15th, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

Great accomplishments have a history of adversity. Our response when asked the question, “When have you grown the most in your career?” is frequently connected to times we were stretched to an uncomfortable level. The struggle of adversity is likely to produce stronger personal character as well as better performance. Character growth is seen in the form of greater personal humility, more graciousness toward others, and increased work ethic. Performance improvement comes through investing extra effort, developing our skills and figuring out new solutions. In the end, adversity provides the necessary edge to accomplish more than we first thought possible.

“There is no education like adversity.” Benjamin Disraeli

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In 100 Words: Don’t Fly Solo on Quarterly Rocks

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

Flying solo is a major accomplishment for a learner pilot. It is, however, a poor approach for a Quarterly Rock Champion. The Rock was selected because the leadership team thinks it will have significant impact on the organization’s future if it is accomplished during the next 90 days. This typically requires deep work and focused use of resources.

A Rock Champion should set up a strong team and utilize project management disciplines. Along the way, keep the leadership team regularly apprised of the status so they can: generate ideas, challenge the work, and commit resources necessary to complete the objective.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” Thomas Edison

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In 100 Words: Success > Satisfaction > Stagnation

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

Success is challenging to sustain. I believe one key reason for this stems from the cycle indicated in the headline. Too often we lose intensity when we are experiencing success – we become too satisfied. Here are two disciplines I use to help maintain my intensity and desire to keep setting and accomplishing new objectives:

• Purpose – focusing on the WHY of my work motivates me to keep improving because I realize my work is far from complete.

• Pace – alternating my periods of production intensity with meaningful downtime keeps me from flaming out and exhausting my resources.

How do you maintain intensity?

“The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease.” Nathaniel Hawthorne

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In 100 Words: The Overreaction File

Monday, February 1st, 2016 by AdvisorCatalyst

We have all seen people overreact. We usually think, “Easy…, it’s not that important.” If we’re honest, though, we overreact ourselves at times. This is especially common with our first (often too quick) response in stressful circumstances – irritation and frustration boil over. Abraham Lincoln exercised a unique habit in moments of frustration – he vented by writing a scathing letter which he promptly filed in a drawer and never sent. Do you have a file for your initial responses in testy situations? Favorable outcomes are more likely when we take time to settle our minds and emotions before replying.

“Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” The Epistle of James 1:19, The Holy Bible (ESV)

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