Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Over the years I have lost count of how many useless meetings that I have sat through with colleagues listening to countless KPI numbers, reports, financial updates, and other meaningless reports. We all nod as if we understand and that the information is meaningful. Sound familiar?
Too many leaders spend time pouring over numbers and creating reports that lack clarity, relevancy, and actionable information. The new book by Karen Martin Clarity First offers strategies, guidance, and examples of how we should be mining and presenting clear information for our employees, customers, and leadership teams. Karen introduces us to some lean and value stream processes that are useful and manageable without overwhelming with statistics and mumbo-jumbo that goes over the reader’s head.
Karen addresses five key areas that need to be addressed to bring clarity to organizations and teams. Here are the five Ps:
Organizations that lack clarity drive waste which prevents leaders from achieving goals and only brings confusion. Surprisingly, many companies avoid clarity because it means “putting” everything out there. Lack of clarity alienates employees, stakeholders, and leaders. Everyone within an organization should be encouraged to champion clarity and make it a vital part of the company culture.
Not enough leaders realize that clarity can unleash the power of employees by empowering them. If encouraged, they have unleashed potential, insight, innovation at various levels, and encourage every single person at every level.
Clarity First is a must-read for leaders at any level. Here is what clarity can bring:
• Highlighting organizational purpose
• Set achievable priorities because clarity exists
• Deliver better customer service and value
• Encourage transparency
• Build stronger problem-solving skills and capabilities
• Develop personal clarity to individuals
Clarity isn’t something that should be feared. Every organization should embrace transparency and clarity as a key factor to success. Write relevant reports. Share the good and bad with clarity. Manage transparency at all levels with a variety of data points. Encourage people to bring clarity to work with them every day. Clarity First by Karen Martin can start you on your own clarity journey.
Sunday, October 14, 2018
Too many leaders today are leaders in title only. They don’t possess relevant skills, and they read book after book or attend seminars to tell themselves that they are indeed strong leaders. These leaders lack conviction in their teams or often fail to see how their misuse of their “leadership skills” only demoralize or make teams feel powerless and unappreciated.
What Are Your Blind Spots? Conquering the 5 Misconceptions that Hold Leaders Back by Jim Haudan and Rich Berens is one of my favorite leadership books that I have read in quite a while. They acknowledge that too many “leaders” don’t understand how they are holding themselves and their teams back. Sadly, these same leaders have no idea what the top leadership misconceptions are and what to do about them. By not recognizing how they are holding others back, entire teams and companies are underperforming and lack the ability to empowering people.
The authors offer tools, strategies, and stories about how blind spots have an adverse impact. Only 30% of our workforce is actively engaged, and that hasn’t changed for years. It won’t change until authentic leaders recognize their blind spots and engage in restoring purpose, engagement, and connection.
Here are the 5 leadership misconceptions that hold leaders back:
1. Purpose: Too few organizations operate purposefully. This adversely impacts people, profits, and growth. The authors share how to build a strong purpose statement that will resonate with teams and aren’t just words. Make purpose personal and be passionate about the purpose, not the numbers.
2. Story: Too many companies think that they have an unusual and compelling story to tell that everyone wants to hear. You don’t. Leaders have it in their heads but can’t articulate it to anyone else. What do you need to do? Proactively close the gap between what you say and what you mean. Also, don’t let your stories kill your strategies. Last, don’t place foolish emphasis on WIIFM.
3. Engagement: Let’s face it. Enough companies today encourage little to no participation within the organization or with teams. They don’t listen to what their people want or even really care. ASK what your people need. Focus on the emotional versus the rational. The authors suggest using dialogue to reach the hearts and minds of your people. Last, flip the switch for your people. Take the challenges of the organization to your teams and listen.
4. Trust: Too many leaders think that people won’t do the right thing unless what they are told what to do. Make priorities clear, invite people to use their strengths, and embrace human variability rather than reduce it. Clear-headed leaders clarify hard lines, guidelines, and no lines to make the complex simple.
5. Truth: Let’s face it. Many leaders don’t want to hear the truth. They feel safer living in a world where what they think is right and think they know what is best for everyone. Wrong. Teams need to feel like they are heard and leaders care. People want to know the truth. Don’t let rumors and a lack of communication rule the day. Use humor every day because it breaks down barriers and walls. People feel safer. Make it a priority to create a truth-telling culture. Be committed and don’t waver. As Haudan and Berens share, “To thyself be true, and others will follow.”
Leaders at all levels need to understand their leadership strengths and weaknesses. Too many fear to see the truth. We all need to be aware of the leadership misconceptions that plague us every day to grow as leaders and bring our teams along as authentic leaders. Pick up a copy of Blind Spots today!