Category Archives: Leadership

How To Fight The Quality Of Life Deamons and Win

While others are wasting time making new year’s resolutions to lose weight and fail, you can set a better new year’s resolution: to improve the quality of your life.

Say No To Others

People will always be offering you new projects (because you’re so good at your existing ones) or new social opportunities- just say no if you don’t want it.

Say No To Yourself

As a high achiever you will always want to do more. Just say no to yourself unless it directly helps you achieve your goals.

Set Aside Me Time

When you set aside time to do things you enjoy don’t give up that time. Don’t let your other tasks bleed into your time.

Watch Your Goals

At all times you want to keep on eye on your goals. In every action be mindful of what you ultimately want to accomplish.

Take Enjoyment From Everything You Do

Live in the moment. Look for opportunities to enjoy what you do.

Make The Best Of Your Situation

After years of hard work a friend was recently promoted to a senior role in his organization. Now he’s complaining the challenge is gone because the team he assembled can handle everything. So he’s thinking of going to another company so he start the fight again. Rather than moving on he should seek the challenges in his current role. Try to double revenue. Try to make the company better. Try to make the world better. With the machine he’s assembled he can achieve a lot more.

Happy New Year- beat those deamons.

Vote for Success

It’s election day. There’s been so much negative talk and misinformation about both campaigns that it’s depressing.

The Solution on Who To Vote For

It would be great if there was a web site that listed the candidates in a grid and compared their positions objectively (in numbers or yes/no answers as much as possible) so you can say “I agree with this candidate” or “I agree with the other one” and you can decide based on the grid: “I choose candidate X”.

Throw Out Candidate Character

Character and personality is important when you have to live with the person. But even Mother Theresa would be shown to have a lowsy character in today’s politically charged environment. So how do you know what’s real or a media fabrication? I’d argue that if someone convinced his party and half the U.S. to vote for him then his personality is good enough- it’s just his positions that will bear out if he’ll be using it to go in the direction you want.

Actions Not Words

Don’t just go by the rhetoric. A candidate may say they are for a certain position but their voting or actions may show otherwise. The grid should reflect this- and hopefully cause the candidate to correct his actions or clarify his position.

Get Rid of the Lies

Every time a candidate mischaracterizes his opponent incorrectly- it should appear on this grid in a box for honesty as a negative point. After a whole campaign if one side is more lopsided than the other you should have some good data of who is more straight and who is fighting dirty. I’d hope that this would compel the candidates to stop this and focus on their issues- not negative campaigning.

In short, vote for who will bring you success and improve the world.

I don’t have any candidate in mind as I write any of this.

That was as political as you’ll see me, now back to work.

The MiniReview- Keep Your Employees (or Yourself) Motivated and On Target

Each year, usually around December, organizations across the globe mandate an Employee Review. This is where managers review the progress of their subordinates and specify the goals for the upcoming year. This is helpful as it keeps employees on target so they know what the company wants them to accomplish. It motivates the employees because typically bonuses and increases are tied to the review. (If your company doesn’t do this then run and do it now.)

The Problem
There are some problems with the above system- there are too many opportunities for surprises and not enough direction. This means there’s a whole year without talking about growth or guiding your employees.

Action Steps
We’re at about the half way point of the year. Do a review now. If you’re an employee ask for a quick meeting to make sure “I’m on the right path”.

The Final Question
If you’re the manager performing the MiniReview always end with the following “What can I do to help you succeed? What can I do to make your job/environment better?”

If you’re an employee ask “What can I do to improve?”

After the MiniReview go over what you’ve discussed. Make sure each of you knows what follow-up steps you’ll do based on the discussion.

Dazzle Your Boss: Solve the Problem, Not the Request

How often does your boss come to you with a very specific question/request? If you’re like most good employees you’ll try to work on it quickly and answer his specific question (bad employees will not even take the time to understand the request). I’m here to tell you that’s not a good idea!

Many times your boss is just trying to simplify the problem for you and he glosses over important details. Or worse, he doesn’t know exactly what he wants but comes to your with confidence asking for the wrong thing. What you need to do is to find out what he really wants not what he says he wants.

How can you do this? Simple, ask questions to ensure you understand what he really wants to accomplish.

I had this relationship with one of my bosses. I kept asking questions so that he stopped just giving me a quick command. Instead, he spent a minute or two explaining the background. Sometimes I had some good suggestions, other times it really was a simple request. Through all my questions an interesting thing happened- my knowledge of what was happening around the company increased. I gained a better understanding of projects my department was working on. I was able to take on more complex projects because I knew the background that gave me a foundation. In short, I became a more valuable employee because I knew more and I solved problems.

Did you ever give your boss what he asked for only to do it over again once you found out what he really wanted? Stop and ask. Comment below on how your situation turned out.

Lessons for Leaders: New Projects

As you know I think it’s very important to “think“. Thinking can lead to ideas which can help your business succeed, lead to harmony at home or even change the world (E=MC2).

Once I came into my manager’s office and started my thoughts “I thought of a new project”. He cut me off and said “If you have time to think of new projects you don’t have enough work.” The last thing you want is for your boss to think you don’t have enough work. He’ll start doubting the validity of your effort and will overload you with more tasks. But I was undeterred.

I went on to explain “I thought of a new project for the intern.” I explained the project. It used the intern’s skills, required minimal training, would save a lot of time from a more senior member of the team and was strategic in nature. Basically, it was the perfect project for an intern, with a huge upside for our company. My boss agreed and the project worked out well.

The conversation left an impression on me and gave me a few lessons for my future:

  • Create an environment where people are free to give you new ideas.
  • Let people finish their thoughts.
  • Encourage thinking.

Would people come into your office with ideas? Do you allow your spouse or kids to give you ideas? Do you let people finish their thoughts? Do you take time to think?