August 30, 2015

Lead in Plain Language

If you have ever spent time with a group of people from the same industry that you’re not a part of, you know how narrow we can all be at times. There are acronyms and terms you have no clue how to decipher. It’s almost as if they are speaking another language, their own language.

I was in a client meeting last week and we had to stop and realize we had become so insular we had lost the plot. One of the team members stood up and said; “Can we just speak English, please!” and it broke the ice.

We do it in our everyday lives and relationships.

We think we’re being clear but we have to understand that our thoughts may not align with others’ understanding. When we take the time to step back, breathe, and gain more insight into how others are perceiving us, we stand a better chance of understanding each other.

Technical speak and industry specifics are often needed but sometimes just boiling things down to the most basic level is the best way to avoid misinterpretation. If we take a moment and suspend our beliefs to check for understanding, conflict can be avoided and teamwork can be improved.

When in doubt, make it simple.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit
New Book out in 2016 – Details soon!

August 27, 2015

Use Your Imagination

Money and time have been the hurdles to pushing through that big idea you've had for far too long. Imagine for a moment both evaporate and you are free to act.

Every time you want to say "not", imagine for a moment you change it to "why not".

The dream was long given up on because there was no way you would be able to pull it off. People like you don't follow their dreams, you're responsible and practical. That stuff happens to other people. Imagine for a moment the story you've been telling yourself for years simply because it was easier than trying. And you take the first step.

You take one item from your wish list and put it on your action list. Imagine for a moment you take one item on your action list and get it done.

Food for thought.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

August 20, 2015

Are You Happy?

I’ve mentioned it a few times here that I’ve gone through a lot in the last 18 months but when I step back it gives me perspective that what I’ve experienced is child’s play compared to what others have endured. I have a close friend who often says; don’t compare, but our personal experience is often our most vivid perspective.

We fear losing our income; we stay in stagnant relationships because of money; we settle for good enough, and there's so much more we could do with our lives that isn't attached to wealth or stature.

Who are these people?

What is it about a small close-knit group of people living into their 10th decade on a small Island in Japan or a man who rides his bicycle into town to make a few dollars a day running a rickshaw to return to the tent city where his son greets him with a big smile and gives him joy?

American film maker Roko Belic set out to find what makes humans happy and the result was his 2011 Academy Award nominated documentary entitled Happy. I finally watched it as it’s now available on Netflix.

It's fantastic!

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

August 17, 2015

Our Shared Economy

Life isn't simple. Relationships aren't either. In our lifetime, we will fall in love, have several careers, meet many great people, break some hearts, have our heart broken, make money, lose money, make more money, deal with conflict, overcome challenges, and hopefully find some joy along the way.

In his 2009 TEDTalk, Economist Alex Tabarrok sums up our world in the last hundred or so years. It's an interesting perspective.

Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

TED | Alex Tabarrok

August 13, 2015

Step Inside Your Company

This week, I visited a new client’s business and got to meet the entire team. My contact took me around the building introducing me. I was met with warmth and firm handshakes. After two months of getting to know this organization, and more importantly the people inside it, I felt they knew I was there to help.

I’m often struck by the people inside an organization. Each has a story, each has passion and goals, and until we spend time getting to know them, we really don’t know much about what makes a company tick. Sure, great teamwork creates bigger profits and a collaborative culture garners more success but there is much more under the surface before we get there.

Beyond the Bottom Line

This is bigger than grasping that each person’s success may be measured differently. The sales department needs to drive revenue, operations needs to ensure the whole process is efficient, senior management must confirm they are keeping the team and partners happy, while the product or creative team is measured by generating and executing great ideas.

When we meet someone for the first time, it is imperative we understand that trust and openness take time. It’s critical we remember these are people, not drones or machines. We don’t want to be put into a constrained box so it won’t work if we do that to our team members.

Underneath the Job Titles

But with respect and an open mind, teams can create magic if they step inside and appreciate the people behind the work. I met some people who had worked at this company for 2-3 decades and their genuine passion was evident. People often ask me what is my ideal client and it’s this team because they are doing well, enjoying their work, but have a passion to make it even better.

Take a moment and look at your team, department, or company. Shelve the work for a moment and step inside the people involved. You may just get a revelation that has been sitting right in front of you all along.

Grab a coffee and get to know each other.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

August 10, 2015

Where Do We Start?

I was on three calls last week with company leaders who asked the same question. All three are running successful businesses but realize changes and refinements are necessary but admit they’re too close to see the forest or the trees. My years of  self-employment and as a corporate leader help me during these chats because I know exactly what they’re experiencing. I have been there. You don’t know what to do next or how you will move forward on a project or prospect.

Whether it’s a job, running a company, or a personal relationship, we do get too close to our own stuff. There comes a time in every situation when we have to step back a bit and gain some perspective. My friend and colleague Mitch Joel says he takes offense when people say; “Don’t take it personally, it’s business” as he takes his business very personally. He runs a successful agency that employs a lot of people who have to feed their families and support themselves. I agree with him.

Step Back Before Stepping Forward

I’m lucky to have some great close friends and we share deeply personal stuff, fears, hopes, plans, and concerns. The conservations aren’t always neat and tidy and figured out. And that’s a good thing. We all need safe places to share our fears and work it out with someone who can see things from a few steps back.

I am a big fan of think days. Give your team a day a month where they work but they don’t come into the office. This isn’t a “working from home” day; it’s a day to think and plan and breathe and gain a bit of perspective. We need to do that in our relationships as well. Perhaps the question isn't where do we start but something more critical.

When do we breathe?
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit

August 4, 2015

Adopting the Cluetrain Mindset

"We are not seats or eyeballs or end users or consumers. We are human beings and our reach exceeds your grasp. Deal with it."
Cluetrain Manifesto (1999)

I’ve never endorsed or sold anything on this site but I felt compelled to share a story with you about my phone. I’ve been a BlackBerry customer since they made pagers. The culture at the company hasn't been great for years but I like the phones. I’ve been a (reasonably) satisfied customer. So far.

I live half an hour from their world headquarters. I know people who work there. I also know many who no longer work there. I realize gadgets break down but this is about much more than technical issues I had with my Z10.

Time to Switch

In my case, calls would often go straight to voicemail, the ear bud connection was temperamental, others would often say they couldn't hear me properly. I would contact my service provider and they would blame BlackBerry.

It’s disheartening when you go onto the BlackBerry site and the only people trying to solve issues are other BlackBerry owners. The company was no help and lost another customer. That’s how arrogance loses market share.

We know better

This isn't about mobile devices; it's a contrast of one company understanding that customers want choice and a good experience while the other felt they built the superior device years ago and all others should fall behind them.

The moment you think your company owns the hill, listen carefully for the sound of marching feet on the way to push you into the abyss. Being a market leader is not only about profits, it’s about appreciating what customers want.

After the cash register

Building great stuff is a minimum requirement. Building superior stuff will create loyal customers. Ignoring how you got there will give customers the choice to open their wallets to a competitor. I'm enjoying my new iPhone 6. It's pretty cool.

Celebrate the fact your users, listeners, viewers, buyers, customers, or clients have the choice and ensure you are there to provide them what they need. This is not to suggest you bend until you break but their reach exceeds your grasp.

Deal with it.
Kneale Mann | People + Priority = Profit
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