Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wacky Wednesday

How often do you hear the words "Not my job?" How about how often do you say it? Well, I think we have a winner for those words. Let me know if you have a better example, but I think this will be hard to beat. Enjoy!

Now go do your job!

Monday, July 26, 2010


In order to lead you need to have a goal. A goal is a developed idea.  That idea has to come from somewhere. It needs to be Conceived.

This is the first step in every activity in leadership: an idea becomes a goal; which leads to a plan; that requires metrics to ensure the plan is progressing; and of course how you will celebrate when the plan is complete. Each of these starts with Conceiving it.

One of the most common forms of a developed idea is the Mission Statement. I am hoping that this will be a future topic in this blog, but I wanted to share a famous one with you today:

I shall not fear anyone on earth.
I shall fear only God.
I shall not bear ill toward anyone.
I shall not submit to injustice from anyone.
I shall conquer untruth by truth.
And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.
-Mahatma Gandhi

Mahatma Ghandhi said this everyday, setting himself up for what actions he would take. It guided him and provided clarity in what he was trying to accomplish. He practiced it everyday. But before it can be practiced, it needs to be developed. Before it is developed, it needs to be conceived.

Now, once an idea is conceived it isn’t over. Unfortunately ideas need to be flushed out, communicated, executed and finished. In fact Jack Welch from GE said:

“Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion”

The first step in creating a vision is conceiving it. In the following weeks, we will talk about communicating it, commanding it, and completing it.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Friday's Food for Thought

A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.
Author: Unknown

How often do you pay attention to your shoes? You could consider that an odd question based on the quote above, but I am going somewhere with it.

When you are a leader, your team is most likely much more observant than you think they are. Have you ever walked by a safety violation? Somebody not wearing his/her safety glasses when they should? How about a moment when the entire team knows a person went the extra mile (landed a big account, created a new tool that saves a lot of time, whatever) and you didn't recognize it? Or maybe you did catch the safety issue and publicly congratulated the person for good work. The point is that your actions are noticed. If you missed the safety glasses, then your team may think you don't care about safety and start getting lax about their glasses (or other things). What if the person who went the extra mile is recognized, the team will know you value the extra work that people put it, and work that much harder and smarter.  

As a leader you are leading every time you are out there, in front of your team or not. And the actions you take or don't take can and will impact your team; whether the impact is intentional or not. My point is: Try to pay attention to the details, because your choices will impact where the team thinks your priorities are.

Still wondering about the shoes? Are they polished? Are they scuffed? Are the non-slip soles worn so thin that they now can be used on a slip and slide? What message are your shoes sending? Is it the message you intended for your team? Little details can really impact how you are perceived. Take a moment to go over your appearance and choices; and ask if that perception is what is intended. Then pull out the shoe polish, and put a nice shine on your shoes this weekend.

Have a good one, Monday we will talk about what Conceive means!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Wacky Wednesday (1)

For all my friends in IT! Sorry folks, you will have to read the subtitles; but if you ever worked at a help disk, you will love this!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why C4?

Greetings, and welcome to the first blog post for C4 - Explosive Leadership Tactics. I would imagine that many of you wonder why I picked C4. Well, there are two reasons.

First, C4 is a plastic explosive that can be molded to fit many different shapes and situations. As little or as much C4 can be applied as needed to complete the job. During my time in Iraq, I saw it do some really interesting stuff. Leadership is the same way. A leader has to decide how much or how little to apply, but when done correctly, the results (like the plastic) are always explosive.

The second reason is that C4 actually stand for 4 C's: Conceive, Communicate, Command, and Complete. These, I feel are the basic steps of leadership. Over the next four weeks I will blog on those topics, so I don't want to go into too much detail here; but I think most people would agree that each of these C's are  necessary to be an effective leader.

I do have to give some credit however to my time in the Army. When I was a lieutenant, the Army taught us about the 2C's: Command and Control. Later somebody (probably a Colonel looking for a bullet point in his evaluation) started using 4C's: Command, Control, Communicate, and Computers. I loved the first 3, but Computers? I am in technology, and I had to wonder... why Computers? From my standpoint, they provide information and analysis... Sounds like Communication and Conceiving ideas (more on that later). And I wondered why this anonymous Colonel didn't put the 4 after the C's.

Anyway, the 4C's from the Army are what got me thinking. I started to break down what I thought was in leadership, which is where I came up with my own list of C's. Hopefully, over time we can journey down the road of my experiences, where I can describe how each one impacted my decision making process. I hope that you will join me in this experiment, and feel free to comment with your own insights and experiences. After all, a large part of Leadership is Communications!