Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Where Do You Spend Your Time?

The one thing in the universe we cannot buy back is time. We are here for a limited time and then we are gone, which means we should try to make the absolute most of our time. But our time is under a constant barrage of constraints, requirements and requests; to the point where we often feel overwhelmed and not sure where our time went.

Dwight Eisenhower wasn't only the 34th President of the United States. During World War II he was the Supreme Allied Commander, responsible for the actions of the United States, British, French, and (arguably) the Russian military organizations. Can you imagine the amount of requests on his time? Military strategies, political maneuvers, and anything that he wanted to do. General Eisenhower had to build a model in order to determine how to address the requests on his time. What he developed was the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, which has found its way into the management lexicon. In fact, Steven Covey included it in one of the most popular self-help books of all time Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. 

As I built my C4 concept, I realized that an understanding of the Decision Matrix is critical for Conceive, mostly because Leaders don't know where they are spending their time and need to be aware of where they get the most bang for their buck. In fact, this is more of a preamble to Conceive, as Conceive is largely a Quadrant 2 activities (but I get ahead of myself). As I researched the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, I tried to find a graphical representation which would properly illustrate the concept, but what I found was a lot of quadrant diagrams with a lot of words, require too much explanation. So instead, I worked with my graphic designer (who happens to be my wife, so lucky!) to build a graphical representation of the Decision Matrix that should allow understanding without a lot of explanation (but I probably will over-explain the images during this blog). I now present the C4 Leader version of the Eisenhower Decision Matrix:

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Leadership Quote of the Week

Another picture with a personal connection to my past. My other set of grandparents lived in Vermont, and my parents retired to Vermont. Near the house of my parents is an old covered bridge that I loved to walk down, made me feel like I was in a Robert Frost poem.

The quote comes from Charles Lauer is a keynote speaker who has a background in healthcare and is a public speaker and author. "Leaders don't force people to follow, they invite them on a journey." Hopefully, if you are doing your job right, you have set a vision and laid out a path that people would want to travel. Just like the old adage "You can take a horse to water, but you can't make him drink" we are well past the time where you can force followers to travel your path. Instead, invite them to participate. A strong leader will find himself or herself with a strong group of other leaders, and the accomplishments will amaze!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wacky Wednesday - Coworkers

One of my more popular posts in previous years was about the different type of coworkers you interact with. College Humor has a great video for some more coworkers you will interact with (or may be guilty of becoming)!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Leader's Most Common Mistake?

I see it over and over again. A person moves into a Leadership role because he / she was a superstar when working alone, knows the technicals, gets work done and might even show strong communication skills. But once they are in the role, they flounder. Even experienced Leaders can suffer from this as they are given more responsibility and bigger roles.  What’s the problem?

Honestly, identifying the answer is easy; fixing it not so much. Most Leaders have proven themselves to be self-reliant, self-starters to begin with. Before becoming a Leader, they’ve learned how to get things done and are completely comfortable taking care of work themselves. They know how to plan and execute their work. They are already Superman or Wonder Woman in their own minds.

Photo by Jeroen van Oostrom,

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Leadership Quote of the Week

This is one of my favorite pictures, because it harkens back to my childhood. My Grandparent's house was in a small town named Chatham in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where every weekend a local band would play music from the gazebo while people relaxed on the green grass. It was called "Band Time in Chatham," and always included a trip to a candy store with homemade fudge or maybe an ice cream cone, glow sticks, balloons, dancing, and games of tag with other local children. My wife and I visited Chatham a couple of years ago, and I absolutely LOVE this picture.

To the quote of the week. Stakeholders, regulators, noisy neighbors, weather, whatever can all cause distractions for yourself and the team. As a leader, your primary responsibility is to the team (even if there are others that will enjoy the result). This means that you need to focus on what the team is doing, not what the stakeholders are doing. The exception to this is if the stakeholders are detracting from your team, but the first indicators of that will come from your team! Avoid the distraction, and focus on the team to get the best results.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wacky Wednesday - Communication

The last two weeks we've discussed Communication. As Monty Python proves, sometimes no matter how clear you are, other people may not have the capacity to understand. In these cases, find someone who can!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Communication: How Hard Can It Be? - Part 2

What we’ve got here is… Failure to Communicate.
– The Captain (Prison Warden)  Cool Hand Luke, 1967

There are a lot of factors that contribute to a “Failure to Communicate.” As we identified last week, one of the primary reasons is that people don’t finish the Communication Cycle. You might remember this image:

Included in that image is a graphic of a couple of wavy lines:

Those wavy lines don’t just represent the noise or static in the environment when communicating. It also represents the internal noise or static of the Communicator and the Receiver. A message has to pass through all of those items before it can be processed and understood. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Leadership Quote of the Week

As I continue to adapt and adjust my business, as we prepare for the reboot, I find myself drawn to this quote. So often we are unsure what lies beyond the horizon, so we are afraid of making the step. The truth is that each step educates us, however, meaning we can grow more and see more. Sometimes we just need to get to the success we can see, in order to see the success we deserve.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wacky Wednesday - Hump Day

Even though it's a short week in the United States sometimes it's the short weeks that are the hardest:

From Buzzfeed

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Communication: How Hard Can It Be? (Part 1)

We talk, text, email, call, and converse nearly every day of our lives, and yet Communication is hard. In fact, I would say that Communication is the most often misunderstood job of a leader. How often have you misread an email, or added context to a text message? Listened to a voicemail that makes no sense? Or been part of a conversation that apparently had no point?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

C4Leader Quote of the Week - Steve Maraboli

Thank you to Erin Morey for this image
This is the first Image Quote of the Week. There are many other people who've said similar items from Antoine de Saint-Exupery to the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland (their quotes may appear later in the Quote of the Day shared with my Social Media groups). In the end the result is the same. It's great to have a vision, but you need to be able to define in detail the end state, so that you know what you are working toward. and how you know you've arrived. This is why SMART Goals or KPIs can be so important. The trick is to make sure that the definition is actually something that will meet what you need.

This is why my first C in the C4 Leader concept is Conceive, because if you are going to lead a team (or yourself) then it is critical that you not only define the "Exactly Where" but also the path to get there.

So WHERE are you Going today?

Click here for more information on Steve Maraboli

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

HD vs. Black & White


A significant portion of the United States populous owns an HDTV. I would ask you to take that item and imagine a more immersive experience. Imagine being completely enveloped in HDTV, with supporting sound and effects. Can you conceive what Avatar would be like? Or Gravity? Life of Pi? Inception? Imagine being immersed in a world with that level of crispness and awareness for a year. How awesome would that be?


Now take that away, head down to your grandparent's basement and find the old black and white cabinet TV and turn on I Love Lucy. Would you yearn for the HD experience? Could you tolerate the black and white? Could you learn to love the black and white? Now imagine trying to explain the HD experience to people who've only experienced the black and white cabinet TV. What words would you use? Could you even make the attempt?