January 28, 2015

Accepted Behavior

8:13 Tuesday morning

Glen is late again for the weekly sales meeting. It’s the third week in a row. He says there’s a lot going on in the morning with day care and school buses and making lunches for the kids and traffic. So the sales manager surveys the team and discovers four other members are dealing with similar issues. She carefully asks the entire team – so to not hinder those who don’t have kids – whether it would help if the meeting was moved to 8:30. Everyone agrees.

8:42 Tuesday morning – four weeks later

Glen is late for the third time. What would you do as sales manager? Most fall into two categories – yell at Glen or ignore it and hope it goes away. Neither is wise. People have kids, families, life outside of work as they should, but the sales meeting is 8:30 Tuesday mornings – moved because Glen couldn't make it for the original 8am time – and if everyone else can make it, so can Glen. There will always be exceptions, but the sales manager and Glen should deal with it and not inconvenience the team again. Or Glen may need to have his future freed up to find somewhere else to meet.

I was speaking with a colleague this week about deadlines. She says a member of her team is habitually late on projects. I asked for clarification whether it was every deadline and she said yes. Every time her colleague is given a target, she misses it.

Several Options

First, you could fire her, which is a bit rash. Second, you could create fake deadlines that are ahead of the real ones so the rest of the team isn't negatively affected by the person who is always late, which is a bit ridiculous. Third, talk to her and tell her if she is late again, refer to the first option. Or fourth, dig deeper on why she’s late – what is the deep rooted reason for this behavior?

It’s easy to say she doesn't respect the fact she’s holding everyone up by being late, but there could very well be a deeper issue here. One thought, she may have never been reprimanded for missing deadlines so her motivation isn't there. It's hard to believe she simply doesn't respect the rest of the team but that can't be ruled out either. Or she may think deadlines are for others and not her.

Two Perpetrators

The person missing the deadline and the person who accepts the behavior own this situation. We don't have difficult conversations because they are difficult but while avoiding a firm chat with one member of the team, the rest will know you’re avoiding the issue and may decide to miss a deadline or two themselves since it doesn't seem to be important. That would be a shame and create a much bigger issue.

Years ago I had to finally let a team member go after he was late seven times. He showed up on that last occasion with a fresh take-out coffee which was a nice touch.

The behavior we accept is often what we continue to receive.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Progress


January 26, 2015

Snow Day Revisited

As the US East Coast gets slammed with another “storm of the century” we can reflect on two things – leadership and technology. I have a friend whose boss demands she is at her desk every weekday no later than 8:30am and cannot leave the office any earlier than 4:45pm. That may be helpful if you’re working on an assembly line but frankly I think it’s short-sighted.

We are connected through email and mobile devices, webinars and virtual teaming technology, and if you look at the forward-thinking companies in the world, people aren't measured by the number of hours they spend warming their office chair.

No School Today!

Of course the words “snow day” were joyous when we were kids. It meant that school was closed and we all get a free pass to go play in the same snow that canceled classes. Now we see a big storm crush the city and the commute to that seat to keep it warm is longer, dangerous, and frustrating.

If you are experiencing this latest storm, stop and think of how your work is being done differently this week. Less people may be able to make it into the office, many will have to work from home, email and phones will be utilized more, and fewer will be as concerned about punching some imaginary clock to put in their hours.

Now remember this in six months when the sun is baking us and these same options are available. Productivity is not about the numbers of hours we spend in an office. But if you are forced to be there.

Be safe!
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


January 21, 2015

Introverts vs. Extroverts

You may know that there seems to be a growing introvert movement going on at the moment. It’s not that there are more introverts in the world, but they seem to be speaking up for themselves which is a very good thing. There are books and seminars, and workshops and websites on introvert leadership, finding your inner extrovert, dealing with chatty people, navigating the business world in your own quiet way, etc.

First, introverts aren't quiet. And they aren't one homogeneous group who share all the same traits. Clearly an extrovert gave them that label! A friend nailed it with one sentence. If introverts are supposed to learn to be more extroverted, why aren't extroverts expected to learn how to be more introverted?


I think it's exciting and necessary to embrace the variances in your relationships and teams and work and life. But when someone decides to label you like it's a four-letter word, remember who you are, what you want to improve for you, how you want to work on parts of your personality, and celebrate all the gifts you bring.

Introvert, extrovert, talkative, quiet, thoughtful, processing, speak your mind, heart on your sleeve, keep it to yourself, keep being who you are and how you are and when in doubt, consult Dr. Seuss because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind at all. Or we could always imagine a world where everyone is the same.

Wouldn't that be boring!
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


January 16, 2015

Inspiration Redefined

In her 2014 TEDTalk, Stella Young discussed inspiration in a frank, open and funny talk that may make you rethink your perspective.

Sadly, Stella passed away suddenly last December. Watch this and let her inspire you, even though she may have claimed it was not her purpose in life.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

TED | Stella Young

January 13, 2015

What if?

Those are two fairly innocuous words put together to make a powerful question. It can lead us to possibilities and doubt, options and concern, but if we can park the negative for a moment and focus on the curious, let's see what happens.

As an example, you may be looking at making a career change for a hundred different reasons. It could be financial, the situation, lack of advancement, a bad boss, etc. But you are not as happy as you think you could be if you stayed where you are now.

Perspective changes

If you ask the question – what if I get a worse job? – that could keep you where you are but if you ask the question – what if I open myself up to a whole new network of people and possibilities – the view changes dramatically.

Web comic and NASA roboticist Randall Munroe fields what if questions from visitors to his site. These may open up ideas for you or you may just find them interesting.

Watch this.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

TED | Randal Munroe

January 8, 2015

Labels are Dangerous

I'm an extrovert introvert who enjoys collaborating in team and group environments but also needs and enjoys some chill time on my own to recharge. I’m an ENFP (Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception) which means I focus on intuition and external connections. But there is a strong internal piece which is key to process how I feel about things and how they fit into my value system.

I live in the world of possibilities – which can trip me up on follow through – but I see life as a gift and literally wake up every day looking forward to the possibilities. I have my share of down times and self-doubt which again is typical of someone driven by emotion and connection.

Mix it up

When I look at the 20 or so people I spend the most time with, it’s a mix, which is typical of an ENFP as I get energy from others and the varied traits they bring. And some of the closest people in my life are actually introverts. If you know one or are one, you know the label isn't completely accurate. The ones in my life are incredibly personable, engaging, and funny. Introvert means shy and withdrawn and I disagree with those broad labels.

I have a colleague who is an introvert and prefers to solve issues at work one-on-one in plain language through conversation and collaboration while her boss wants every report in triplicate to outline the effectiveness of the analysis of the plan. One gets energy from relationships while the other can’t operate without reports and structure. Sadly, the highest ranking official wins the day and the organization loses an opportunity for both to thrive.

Person to Person

One of my best friends – who is definitely an extrovert – is a very successful investment advisor who does most of his work on the phone or with clients rather than sitting in his office doing paperwork. His energy comes from being with and helping people and he does it all day long.

So if you have someone on your team who isn't like you, celebrate that, celebrate them, and get to know their way, their perspective, and their view on the world.

Teamwork and culture are not achieved by insisting everyone homogenizes into one sanitized process but rather by respecting personality traits and gifts. The combination can be magical which is why open collaborative leadership is critical.

Labels are for clothing not people.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


January 5, 2015

January To-Do List

Today marks the first full week of work after the Holiday break. This is the time to get to all those things you put off until, well, now. You know that report, the proposal, the meeting, that call, those emails, and all that stuff you pushed forward in December? Those are on your plate right now.

There seems to be a lull between December 15th and January 15th where things wind down and wind back up but while you are sifting through your do it in the New Year pile, how can you get a jump on this ahead of everyone?

Less is way more

One way is to take a few moments today and carefully look at every item. Then determine which can be completely eliminated from your life. The ones that won’t make a single difference if you do them or not can deleted before you dive in.

They may have been important items at the end of last year but with some time, you may discover they aren't anymore. Check with who you need to check with and encourage everyone on the team to do the same. The results may surprise you.

It will make the January to-do list less daunting. 
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit


January 1, 2015

2015 – Now What?

It’s a new year, fresh ideas, clean slate, and a list of resolutions this time we mean to keep. But how critical is today in our lives, really? Is it the fact we need the first day of a year to mean something to push us to make those changes and improvements we've always wanted to make? But while we're here, perhaps it's as good a time as any to set and reset some goals. Here are some questions to ponder.

Will we...

Change the self-doubt narrative?
Not over think and take the shot this time?
Learn from the past and improve on the present?
Stop stopping and go through with it?
Not let naysayers slow us down?
Believe our ideas are just as valid?
Focus on what we want and do what it takes to get it?

There’s only one way to find out.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

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