Monday, December 11, 2017

Leadership Quote - Ovidius Naso

Created for by Erin Morey
A ruler should be slow to punish and quick to reward
- Ovidius Naso

Rulers don't really exist today, but leaders do! And in today's business culture team members are smashed for every mistake. In fact, most companies are so afraid of risk that they only make incremental improvements rather than taking the bigger risk and trying something new. Why do you think so many start-ups supplant established businesses. Well, this is a fairly significant contributing factor!

How are you treating your team? Do you allow them the freedom to experiment, make mistakes, and learn or are you expecting perfection and punishing severely? Work with your team to grow, plan around the possibility of mistakes (risk management) and let the team grow. Don't drop the hammer the moment an error happens, but instead seek to learn from it. And if you must punish, do so in private, behind closed doors, rather than in public.

On the other side of this quote, reward quick, reward often, and reward in public. If a team member does a great job, acknowledge it. Goes above and beyond, provide a benefit. Saves the company millions or has a brilliant idea that makes millions? Reward them!

Too often we find the situation reversed. The hammer drops too quick and no matter the end result there is no reward. Fight the standard and help your team. By being slow to punish and quick to reward they will love you for it and work all the harder for you!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - SCIENCE!

My youngest son is getting more and more interested in science, and we are thinking about how to encourage that around the house. In the interest of research for my son, today I share 16 easy science experiments you can do:

Which one are you going to do? I think some of the battery ones look pretty cool.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Leadership Quote - Napoleon Hill

Created by Erin Morey

A classic from Napoleon Hill, author of the classic and still applicable Think and Grow Rich (affiliate link). If you haven't read it, I highly recommend picking up a copy. As the book was written in 1937 one might think the lessons are out of date, but some things never go out of style.

Like this week's gem:

Whatever the Mind Can Conceive and Beleive, It Can Achieve.

This is even more true today than in the 1930's. Computer systems, Artificial Intelligence, the wealth of knowledge on the Internet, 3D printers, all of these things were foreign concepts when this quote was first put to paper (let along a computer screen capable of being shared instantaneously around the world). As leaders often our job is to Conceive (one of the Cs in the C4 Formula) an idea, a dream. To give it enough depth, life, that others will believe in the dream and work towards accomplishing it.

Which is what makes the picture even more appropriate to the quote. In case you don't recognize it, these are the thrusters for the Saturn V rocket, the vehicle that brought the American Astronauts from the Earth to the Moon. This dream was inspired by an American President: John F. Kennedy, who said these immortal words that inspired a nation:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to this earth. 

John F. Kennedy Conceived a dream that inspired a nation and Communicated (yet another C in the C4 Formula) it clearly and often. Sadly he was assassinated prior to his dream becoming a reality, but a reality it did become. Before the end of the 60s, Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon and he returned home safely.

So what can you Conceive for your team, or for that matter, yourself? What dream inspires you and them? Can you see the end state? Can you Communicate it with your team? Then you CAN achieve it!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

As we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving today in the United States, I would ask that our readers not only think about what they are thankful for with their families and personal life but also show appreciation and thanks to the teams they lead and people that they interact with. Take the time to write a couple of handwritten notes to key team members and be thankful for everything they do too. I hope all my readers will have a great day and enjoy the company of friends and family today!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wacky Wednesday - Thanksgiving Turkey Fail

As we prepare for Thanksgiving in the United States, I know that many people have decided to deep fry the turkey for that day of thanks. While this method of turkey prep is very tasty, it can also be very dangerous. If the oil boils over the top of the pot, you might have a less thankful time:

Please, everyone, be careful and have a great holiday!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Leadership Quote - Bernard Baruch

Created by Erin Morey
People don't often realize the difference between hearing and listening, especially when all most people tend to do is listen just enough to formulate a response rather than determine the intent behind the communication. Communication is extremely difficult most of the time, even before a leader starts trying to determine a response between his/her own ears (which by the way there are two of for a reason...).

Most (but not all) successful people know that they are (probably) not the only smart person in the room. Other people see things from another's perspective, and can often provide solutions or responses that a leader hadn't considered. While working on some of the more complex projects in my career, I've realized that I cannot be an expert in everything, and as such need the expertise of my team to complete most stages of the project correctly. Even with that realization, I often struggle with this, as I like to think of myself as smart and able to determine a lot of answers. This means that I often jump into a conversation with a proposed solution rather than hearing everyone's thoughts. This also means that I influence the conversation and may even have shut-down thoughtful responses in the past due to my passion and position. I've started trying to cultivate the habit of speaking last rather than first so that I can hear the opinions/comments of my team and then learn from them. It's a habit that is hard to maintain when so much training, instinct, and years of perhaps the wrong approach are in conflict, but I strive to be better. What are you doing to improve your listening skills? How can you be more effective with your communication? I would be very interested to know, so please share below.

Bernard Baruch was an American financier, philanthropist, and political consultant. He was a key advisor to Presidents Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Sacrificing the Long Term for the Short

In the last couple of years, I've started seeing more and more books and articles about the fallacy of shareholder value as the primary responsibility of a business exacerbating the drive to meet the monthly and quarterly numbers at the sacrifice of long-term goals and plans. Organizations are so concerned with hitting the short-term metrics that they are literally leveraging the businesses future to reap today's bonuses; even when it hurts the long-term health of the company and foreseeable impacts the ability to hit the future numbers. Unfortunately, this is an issue I've seen up close and personal several times.

I've worked across multiple ERP implementations, for Oracle and Microsoft Dynamics AX solutions. As is the case with most of my projects, I am typically not on the ground when the projects start but instead work to fix the projects after errors, missing change management, and difficulty with expectation management have driven the projects off the rails. In this particular case, as I conducted Lessons Learned, I realized the company made the exact same mistakes twice (once during a Finance implementation, and then again during a Sales Order implementation), and the cause of the mistakes was a focus on hitting the current monthly/quarterly numbers rather than planning the resources and strategy to ensure a smooth deployment of the new ERP system, which would impact the business for years to come.