September 26, 2016

Are You Cobbling Through?

We all suffer the fate of the cobbler. It's the story of the shoemaker who works hard but has no time to make shoes for his own children. He's too busy to get any more done. Customers are waiting; others need their shoes. His will have to wait.

It's also the story of us. It's the story of how we feel the need to constantly keep up, have more meetings, be on more channels, do more stuff, meet, check email, and keep busy busy. One hundred years ago, there was the same number of hours in the calendar week yet we foolishly think we can cram more into it and still be efficient.

Take a Number

Customers were waiting for their orders so the cobbler will have to wait until tomorrow to fix his children's tattered boots. There's a meeting at 10 that conflicts with a conference call at 10:30, but you can't move it to 11 because there's a client coming in, so your 1:30 will have to be changed to tomorrow because the boss is going over every single client file which will take well over three hours to resolve nothing. But you answer four more emails on your way to grab a coffee before the meeting.

The shoemaker has one more order then he may finally make a pair for himself. But the familiar bell rings on the shop front door and those shoes will have to wait.

Like the cobbler, maybe we'll get to that tomorrow.

September 22, 2016

Wisdom and Inspiration

Tell me and I'll forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I'll understand.
Chinese Proverb

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people,
but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.
John Buchan

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.
Steve Jobs

Don't waste a single second.
Just move forward as fast as you can and go for it.
Rebecca Woodcock

The price of greatness is responsibility.
Winston Churchill

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
concerned citizens can change world.
Margaret Mead

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers,
who can cut through argument, debate, and doubt to offer
a solution everybody can understand.
Colin Powell

If you want anything said, ask a man.
If you want anything done, ask a woman.
Margaret Thatcher

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
John F Kennedy

Never hold too closely to your idea but be open to change and innovation.
Jean Chong

The led must not be compelled; they must be able to choose their own leader.
Albert Einstein

When you accept a leadership role, you take on extra responsibility
for your actions toward others.
Kelley Armstrong

If you're not confused, you're not paying attention.
Tom Peters

Take successes and failures as they come,
since things often change at a moments notice.
Juliette Brindak

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more,
do more and become more, you are a leader.
John Quincy Adams

The road to success is always under construction.
Lilly Tomlin

Leadership is the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard;
the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
Peter Drucker

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.
Mother Teresa

September 19, 2016

Three Things...

Three is a manageable and attainable number. There's a symmetry to it. There's flexibility and stability to a series of three items. Perhaps we can apply it to various aspects of our lives? Do three good deeds without anyone knowing about them.

Pick three business objectives. Write down three things just for you. Do three on your to-do list. Help three ideas grow. Delete three that slow you down. Remove three negative influences in your life.

Call three friends.

Eliminate three unnecessary possessions. Identify three personal strengths you will share. Remove three excuses. Select three colleagues you believe deserve a shot and offer a hand. Flush out three thoughts that may have a legitimate shot.

What are your three things?

September 16, 2016

Change vs Changed

Change is a concept that seems to drive us, win elections, look great on a t-shirt, and create stress. We hear the word and feel two immediate and visceral responses: things will improve for us and everyone will need to change but us. Things need to change around here, but I'm fine!

We love the idea of it; the cozy non-committal nature of talking about it. It's as if the world was covered in magic dust and all is well. "They need to change." "We need to bring about change." "Change is gonna come." It all sounds so good, doesn't it?

Someday does not appear on the calendar 

To most, change is about control and standing still while others make the shift. You may be one who thrives on change but be careful when you want to instill it on others. They too may like the theory but will define it to fit their own convenience. Who among us admits to be part of the problem?

We want things to change but often under our rules and our guidelines. And whenever you include anything or anyone outside of your own mind, the grip must be loosened or collaboration becomes a challenge.

Actual change verses talking about change is the key.

September 13, 2016

Six Important Words

We all have tools to choose from but let's not forget to focus on people. Much has been and will be said and written about the social web; we can't forget the human web.

Business owners and managers may understand that certain tactics and channels will help their business but through research, data, and measurement, we can look at outcomes more accurately.

It takes more than counting beans

Having lots of "likes" on your Facebook group, comments on your Instagram post, views on Snapchat, and a lot of page views on your website without commitment to engage your customers won't magically bring in revenue.

And it begins by engaging your own people. Strong internal customer service happens long before anyone outside your company even cares.

Do you know how you help?

September 10, 2016

Facing Danger

Manage risk, financial risk, reputation risk, market share risk, relationship risk, shareholder risk, the risks of risks, the risk of focusing on risks, the discussion of risks, the endless what if's that stall our journey risk.

Perhaps we perceive it will be difficult or worse, not successful. We often fear our own abilities and guts to take that ride. One of the worst emotions I think we can possess is regret. The idea we didn't act on can often be the one that stops the flow. The safety of inaction becomes our comfort zone.

Risk often focuses on what will, would, or could go wrong. It's a preemptive strike, a proactive measure, to protect the outcome. The biggest risk is when we use it to endorse inaction. I know of what I write only too well. Maybe you can relate.

The biggest risk is the bet we fail to make on ourselves.

September 6, 2016

Learning for Life

Summer vacation is over. It's time for a new semester, new topics, and new learning. I had some great teachers when I was a kid and helped shape my curiosity to this day.

I had Mr. Balcaras four times for science in high school. He taught us how to dissect a frog and explained how much energy was inside a peanut by setting it on fire. I can still see the periodic table on the wall by his desk. Ms. Young was my grade one teacher. A woman in her 60’s who was like a second grandmother. It was grade one, we weren't doing much, but she was cool.

Lasting impressions

I had Mr. Peters for grade six. I ran in to him years after high school and he still remembered me. I never did ask him if that was a good or a bad thing. The delightful (and hot) Ms. Rolo was my grade ten English teacher who had patience with a fidgety geek who was bored with English. I'm glad she persevered.

Replace the word teacher with coach or mentor and have a look at your career. Give some thought to those who have helped you. Now give some thought to those you’ve helped along the way.

While we lament the near end of summer, increased traffic, and a full fall work schedule, let’s salute teachers, leaders, and mentors today.

Are you ready to teach?

September 2, 2016

Three Questions

We all know we are flawed and make mistakes. We know we don’t have it all figured out. And we know there's work to do. But part of finding clarity is discovering the joy in work rather than the seemingly unattainable finish line.

Clutter makes us nervous and stressed. It can derail us from our goals. Clarity can help us find our baseline and silence some of that unnecessary noise.

To gain clarity, there are three questions you can ask yourself

1. What do you stand for?
2. What will you not do?
3. Why do you do what you do?
© Kneale Mann people + priority = profit
leadership development business culture talent development human capital