10,000 Mistakes

We most certainly learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes.  Having made more than my fair share, I can tell you that those are the learnings and experiences that make you a better leader, better manager, better mentor and a better person.

No one is successful without failure. The inventor Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” If you learn from your mistakes then you did not fail. You learned.

Are you Failing or Being a Failure?

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If you do not fail, it means that you are not taking enough risks.  If you are not taking enough risks, why not?  Are you afraid that you will not get that 2% salary increase at your annual review? Do you not trust your manager? Does the company you are working for punish risk takers? How can you possibly get better with all of these restraining forces?

Go ahead, take a risk. Make a mistake.  Learn from it.  Share it with others so they don’t make the same one.

And now crank up the volume and enjoy this fine tune from 10CC.  Enjoy the weekend.

4 Key Traits of Great Leaders

What is leadership?  Do you know it when you see it? How many great leaders have you worked for?  What has made them great?

Great leaders know how to prioritize, communicate, define a path to success, change course as conditions warrant and stay focused on the end game. They know how to drive you to do your best, to challenge you to do more.  They can reach into your soul and find what motivates you. And when you win, there is no feeling in the world like it.  You take the experience with you. It becomes a part of who you are.  It raises your expectations for all other leaders.

Found an awesome visual on blog.readytomanage.com that identifies the 4 key traits of a great leader.

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How does your boss stack up?  How about you?  What are you doing to become a better leader?

Webman

Meet the New Boss – Same as the Old Boss?

Will definitely not be like the old boss.  That one you worked with for years, learned the ropes, had some success, some failure; built a bond, war stories to share, had a beer or two.  Over time you built trust and mutual respect.  You had a camaraderie, a cadence; you were in your comfort zone. Nice!

All gone.

A friend of mine just got a new boss.  As we know this is one of the more stressful times for an employee.  Who is this person? What are they like? Can I work with them?

So what do we do now?  We check out their Linked In page. Find out what makes them tick. See how many contacts we have in common.  Zero was not what you were looking for.  Called a couple of co-workers. “Hey, do you know anything about my new boss?”  The responses intrigue and worry you.  Mostly worry.

You start off hopeful, giving them the benefit of the doubt.  And then it happens.  They contact you for the first meeting.  You exchange pleasantries, start to feel each other out, kind of like the first round of a boxing match.  “Hey, that went OK I think.”

You are then invited to your first team meeting.  You are the new kid on the block, focused, on your best behavior, mostly listening because you do not yet know the rules of engagement. The learning has begun.  You repeat to yourself, “Hey, that went OK I think.”

After the meeting, the new boss calls you into the office and asks how did the meeting go?  You say that you learned a lot and that you felt like it went pretty well. Then your new boss says, “You need to change the look on your face because you are coming across hostile.” And you think, What the F are they talking about?  Is he/she crazy?  This is just not going to go well.

This type of situation happens everyday because the manager and the employee did nothing to gain each others trust. Without first establishing a level of initial trust, the relationship starts off negative and will not likely ever become what it could have been.

To get a new work relationship started the new boss and employee need to work together to establish an initial level of trust. This is easily accomplished by establishing a “dialogue of partnership”, learning about each others professional and personal experiences, sharing past successes and failures, identifying areas that you might have in common and gaining an understanding of your personality type and work behaviors (Myers-Briggs, DISC, Kolbe e.g.).

Learning about each other upfront in an open, honest and non-confrontational way will get the relationship off to the right start. What happens after that is up to you.

And now for a little Who – 

#leadership #communication

5 Ways to Empower Your People

This is the third installment in the series from JetBlue CEO, Joel Peterson.  I have once again hit the highlights for you.  Thank you to Mr Peterson for a great series!

Our best performances are nearly always spurred on by colleagues and leaders who have empowered us – that is, trusted us with the freedom and resources to excel.  Low-trust organizations have trouble giving their teams the latitude to do much. Wary ofeveryone, they often don’t trust even their most trustworthy people. Instead, they rely on thick compliance manuals for even the most trivial matters, and reward tattlers as a way to prevent rule breaking. This suspicious atmosphere kills initiative and creativity, and worst of all, it stifles any potential for trust.

Here are a few things to consider if you’re aiming to build a culture where people are empowered to do great work:

1) Bet on people. Allow people a chance to prove they can take on more responsibility. A leader who trusts others to grow inspires the best in people and can ignite trust.
2) Take action.  Try out ideas, don’t just talk about them.  Walk that talk.
3) Move On.  What worked before is not today’s answer. High-trust organizations don’t rely blindly on old rules. Instead, they trust their teams to figure out the new ones.
4) Expect mistakes. Even the best efforts can, and do, fail. Find out why quickly, learn and move forward with renewed vigor.
5) Don’t be paranoid. Giving up power is a great way to create more power.  Get everyone on the same page and make great stuff happen together.

A little Aretha Franklin to jump start your day.

Enjoy the day.

Webman

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Building a High Trust Culture

Second installment in the series from Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways. As we did last week, I will summarize and add some thoughts.

Some headlines for you:

  • Personal integrity is the foundation of trust in any organization. If you say you are going to do something, just do it.  Don’t make your team or your manager ask you about it.  Tell them it is done before they ask you.
  • Leadership is critical. Leaders show and encourage respect when they empower team members, celebrate their contributions, and help them learn from missteps.  Command and control leadership does not support building trust.
  • Positive always beat negative.  Going negative reveals a general lack of respect and self-control. Your culture will be better served by celebrating what your own team is doing.  Be a leader – do not go negative!
  • Respect is an investment. You want to build a great team based on trust?  Nothing gets better results in team coherence, employee satisfaction, and organizational momentum than advancing the best interests of the your people.
  • Root out disrespect. Vigilant leaders are always looking to nip disrespectful practices in the bud. That means no tolerance for talking behind people’s backs, letting problems fester, or failing to give people the feedback they need to improve.  If this is happening, you need to act quickly and put an end to it.
  • Respect isn’t the same as being nice.  Disagreement is key yo great decision making. People in high-trust organizations feel secure in their ability to disagree – because they know how to disagree with respect.

Well done Mr. Peterson! Full article can be found on LinkedIn
http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140109080301-11846967-building-a-high-trust-culture-2-invest-in-respect?goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&trk=prof-post

Enjoy the weekend.

Webman

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Are you awake?

Focused on expanding my horizons the last couple of week by reading about some topics that I am not familiar with.  One I focused on was the concept of being awake, living in the moment. Being awake you say?  But I am awake 12+ hours a day you say!

Are you really awake or are you just going through the motions?  Do you live in the past, present and future all at the same time? When you are engaged in a discussion, are you thinking about something that has previously happened or other things that you need to do? Or are you truly focused in the moment with all attention on that one idea, thought, person or event?

Initial thoughts:

  • Focus solely on what you are doing – this will not be easy at first but keep trying
  • Look people directly in the eye and listen hard to what they are saying – As my friend Brendan says, God gave you two ears and only one mouth, so listen twice as much as you speak
  • Give the gift of attention – focus on the present/the moment

I will spend more on this topic moving forward.  If you want some further information now, please visit http://freedomfromtheknown.com/living-in-the-moment/

And for you music lovers, let’s go to a song that you can sing and remember as you embark on your new journey of focus.

Enjoy the day and your new found focus 🙂  Wake up!

Webman

Leadership Integrity and Trust

Happy holidays!  My best wishes for a terrific 2014!

I recently started to follow Joel Peterson, Chairman of JetBlue Airways on Linked In.  I follow a number of exemplary business leaders on LI, but was very impressed with Mr. Peterson’s perspective on Leadership Integrity and Trust.  As a practitioner of this management approach, I feel strongly about the value of these attributes to leadership and to the troops that go into battle together every day.   This is the way it should be. http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20131223065401-11846967-building-a-high-trust-culture-1-it-starts-with-integrity?goback=%2Enmp_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1_*1&trk=object-title

All of the content below is sourced directly from Mr. Peterson’s post.  I could not say it any better.  I have modified the original content to shorten this blog post.

In firms where people trust their leaders and colleagues trust one another, there’s more innovation and better business outcomes. Mistrust and politics are expensive, time-consuming and dispiriting. Like most things, business works better when the energy spent on doubt, fear and suspicion are reduced.  When teams feel encouragement and support, rather than fear of retribution or embarrassment, they tend to take the kinds of risks that can lead to breakthroughs. In an organization where team members have earned the trust of their supervisors, they can have confidence that if they don’t nail something the first time, there will be a second. Empowered workers can sense they are trusted. For most people, the feeling of being trusted leads to an increased desire to be trustworthy. 

Trust Principle #1: It Starts with Integrity

The foundation of any high-trust organization is the integrity of its leaders. Having integrity means, among other things, that the gap between what you say you’re going to do, and what you actually do, is small. I call this a “say-do gap.” Leaders in high-trust organizations must serve as living examples of integrity and trustworthiness – and not just at the office and during business hours. Here are a few ways to think about personal integrity as a core building block of trust:

1) A business is only as trustworthy as its leaders. The people who run things must show – by their actions – the way they want business to be done, and the way they want people to be treated. Talking doesn’t cut it. Leaders must embody the spirit they want the team to adopt. People pick up on phoniness. They trust authenticity. Just as kids look to parents for an example, team members watch their leaders. So, miss an opportunity to be that example, and you miss a chance to raise the level of trust.

2) Personal integrity matters. No matter a leader’s competence, charisma, or authority, she’s either trustworthy or she’s not – in all parts of her life. Trustworthy people are trustworthy when it comes to family, friends or colleagues. Obligations to show respect, to consider the welfare of others, and to keep your word don’t end when you leave the office. Leaders who fall short with commitments to friends, family, or close associates are unlikely to establish enduring trust with colleagues, suppliers, or customers. You just can’t fake character.

3) Integrity is a habit. Leaders who strive to do the right thing under all circumstances know that being trustworthy takes effort, awareness and work. Trustworthy leaders have generally worked long and hard on their own character building. They’re often quite intentional about fixing things about themselves, about receiving feedback and about learning from it and making changes. In the same way a mechanic keeps a car in top running condition, high-trust individuals monitor and tune their behavior, always striving to do better by team members and customers alike.

Anyone wanting to build a high-trust organization must start by looking in the mirror. Personal character is the foundation for interpersonal trust. And organizations in which leaders have integrity stand a much better chance of building trust from the top down, and bottom up.

Enjoy your holiday season.

Webman

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