Brainstorming & a Shock Test

In a little over an hour, my leadership team and I will gather in a room to start a brainstorming session.  We’re going to talk about how we can become better/do better.  But instead of talking about ethereal topics, we’re going to put a timeline on our path to improvement.  We’re going to get specific on how we plan to improve.  We’re going to own our journey and our results.

MS Leadership TeamLast week, we all attended the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17, #fwgls) here in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  We were exposed to a lot of great content.  It’s time to put that content to work for us.  Today’s brainstorming session will kick-off this process.

Shock Test?  Yes.  We’re going to discuss what we would do/be differently when a deadline is applied to something we are expected to provide every day.  More on this later…

Today is about being intentional, creative, and influential.

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It’s about leadership.

Global Leadership Summit – Day 2 Highlights

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Here are some of my notes from Day 2 of the Global Leadership Summit (#gls17) from this past Friday.  I attended the remote site in Fort Wayne, Indiana (the largest remote site in the world).

lazloLazlo Bock (former VP of People Operations at Google)

“Often there is a gap between the values leaders talk about and the values they live.”

“Find the best people, grow them fast, and retain them.”

“The experience of our work should have purpose. Give work meaning.  Have a mission that matters.”  Lazlo cited a survey that found:

  • 30% of employees feel their work has meaning
  • 30% of employees need to work solely for the paycheck they get
  • 30% of employees feel work is kind of fun
  • 10%  (he didn’t mention them – they’re probably outside on a break….)

“We must remind our teams of our mission all the time.  It’s not a one-and-done thing.”  How?  Lazlo said that the best way to get our mission into our team members’ heads and hearts is through story-telling.  But not just any stories – LIFE-CHANGING stories.  These kinds of stories make a personal connection with our mission (I bet this work with our customers, too).

The Meaning of our Mission Matters.  Here’s a way to uncover how we are connecting our mission to the people who carry it out as well as to our customers:

  • Ask:  “Why do I do what I do?”…everyday.
  • Ask others why they do what they do.
  • Have customers share their stories.  Make it easy for them to do this.
  • Repeat this process often

“Instead of giving quick answers to a team member’s inquiry on your opinion on an issues, ask them first: “What do you think?”

“Hire people better than I am.”

julie funt

Julie Funt – CEO, WhiteSpace at Work

“When talented people are too overloaded/busy, work suffers. We tolerate overload.”

White Space – that strategic pause taken between activities to reflect and think.  Great leaders use white space.  It can take the form of a personal retreat to an hour break to minutes.”

What White Space is not:

  • meditation
  • mind-wandering
  • mindfulness

“White Space is the permission to think the unthought thought.”

“We must ‘de-crap-i-fy our workflows.”

“Lollipop of Mediocrity – lick it once, and you’ll suck forever.”  Brian Wilson

Mental Filters to help simplify our lives using White Space:

  • Is there anything I can let go of?
  • When is good enough good enough?
  • What do I truly need to know about this?

Use this codes in dealing with emails (a major factor to overload):

  • NYR – Need Your Response
  • NYRT – Need Your Response Today
  • NYRQ – Need Your Response Quickly
  • NYR-NBD – Need Your Response Next Business Day

marcus buckinghamMarcus Buckingham – Author and Founding of the Marcus Buckingham Company

“You learn nothing about success by studying your failures.”

“At work, we need more BEST teams.”

When it comes to performance reviews, one size does not fit all.  One size fits one.  This is how we need to view performance reviews.”

In writing a performance review, these are key goals:

  • Give your team member a chance to use their strengths.  Encourage this!
  • Help them clearly understand what is expected of them.  They want to know this!

As leaders/managers of people, practice frequently (weekly) “Strength-Based Check-Ins” about “near-term” future work.  This is done in a brief 1-on-1.  Ask:

  • What are your priorities this week?
  • How can I help?

Do not give feedback in these brief 1-on-1 meetings.  People want “coaching attention”.

Asking great questions will help them get better!”

 

 

Become More Valuable

A few days ago, I shared how to create a great customer experience.  Today, I want to use those same steps to show you how you can become more valuable – to add value – to your team and others in your company.

LISTEN

When a team member or colleague brings you an issue, problem, concern, question…take time to truly listen to what it is they are saying.  Don’t jump to a conclusion or give them a fast answer.  Listen carefully.

ASK

Ask great questions to get to the core issue.  Avoid asking yes/no questions or “why” questions.  Asking great questions will get you to their core issue the fastest.  It also demonstrates that you are actively listening to them.

FEEL

If the person in front of you is frustrated, angry, tense, etc., take the time to empathize with them.  Don’t merely sympathize (“oh, I’m sorry”).  Don’t make light of their situation (“today sucks to be you!”).  Feel what they are feeling and identify with that.

THINK

Once you have the core issue clarified, think.  What resources do you have that can help resolve your team member’s issue?  What resources do you know about that can help?  Who else can you call on for assistance?  Think.

ACT

Once you’ve listened carefully, asked great questions, empathized with the person, and really thought about the best way to help, then (AND ONLY THEN) act.  Far too often people jump into action too quickly.  Act with intention and purpose.

FOLLOW-UP

Following up a couple of days later says that you care about how the resolution is working or not working for the person you helped.  This can be a great learning opportunity for you.  It will create stronger relationships at work as you demonstrate your willingness and ability to invest in someone else.

Make your work interactions better.  Follow this process to add value to your team and your company.

Remember, when you get better, your company gets better.

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What Great Mentors Do

I attended a meeting a week or so ago on mentoring.  At this meeting, several people shared about mentoring from different points of view.  One of the speakers was a young man, Brad Thomas.  He shared how being mentoring has changed his perspective and life.  His presentation was outstanding.

He shared that he believed a great mentor does 4 things for their “mentee”.  Here is it:

Great Mentors

So, leaders, are you a mentor?  If not, find someone today!  Our company promotes this and many of us are actively mentoring.  When you get this privilege, don’t forget Brad’s words:

  • Expand – a great mentor will expand someone’s world-view.  They will expand knowledge and help point to resources.
  • Engage – a great mentor will cause the “mentee” to think and act.
  • Encourage – a great mentor will build up the “mentee” and help them build on their strengths.
  • Empower – a great mentor will reveal to the “mentee” that they have power to act and make an impact.

Make the investment to pour yourself into the life of another.  It is so worth it!

A Great Customer Experience by Jim Johnson

If you are in business, you deal with customers all the time.  You want to provide a great customer experience, I know it!  And your customers want a great experience as well.

But it doesn’t happen automatically.

Providing a great experience for our customers must be done intentionally.  I created the following to help my team understand how they can deliver a great experience with our customers (we call them members at credit unions).  Does this make sense in your business environment?  Comment below.  We all would love to read your insights.

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Intentionally Value Others by Jim Johnson

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At the end of May, I had the opportunity to speak at the NACAAP Annual Conference in Denver.  In one of my sessions, I spoke on how leaders can add value to customers, coworkers, and their communities.  Part of what I shared was based upon John Maxwell’s writing.  Here’s a snippet of what I shared…

Remember, our work is not about quotas or reports.  Our work is about PEOPLE.

We tend to focus our work on data, reports, spreadsheets, etc.  When we do this, we miss the most important part of our day – the people around us.

So we need to intentionally value others.  How do we do that?

For me, one of the most effective ways to value others is to intentionally verbalize my appreciation of them and speak potential into them.

I have observed leaders are sometimes hesitant to verbally value their team members.  In fact, years ago I had a boss tell me, “I won’t tell you that you did a good job. Want to know why?  Because if I do that, you won’t try any more.”  This person knew nothing about me or people.  Regardless of your position, we all like to hear “job well done” from time to time.  It does motivate people.

I have been pushing myself to make the time to look a team member in the eyes and tell them “thank you” for their efforts.  I’m working harder at verbally giving them kudos.  I’ve also been intentionally speaking potential into others (i.e. sharing my vision of where I see them growing and ways I will help them get to their goals).

Last week, I gave a leadership book to an emerging leader and challenged them to read it.  I’ve offered that after each section, I would take him to lunch to discuss what he’s been learning.  Intentional.  Purposeful.  Direct.

I’ve had leaders in my life who have done this.  An independent grocery store chain owner did this for me almost 30 years ago.  “As I watch you work, I’m convinced there’s nothing you can’t do if you set you mind to it.”  Those words were (and still are) gold to me.

The founder of an international music organization taught me that anything is possible.  Don’t accept “no” as the final answer – there is always a way to make something happen. These words helped me maneuver through tough situations in Indonesia and in Communist-controlled Estonia (25+ years ago).  I apply this mindset in my life today.

I speak potential into my own son during baseball season.  I’ve seen my own words become reality to him.  I hope he holds on to these words.

There is no down-side in speaking value and potential into another human being.  But we miss out on changing someone’s life when we withhold empowering, encouraging words.

Today, speak value to someone else.  Speak their potential.  It will change them.  It will change your team, your company, your community.

Leaders truly value others – and it is intentional.