Monday, February 24, 2014

A Great Weekend

I had a great weekend. I met a lot of new people, made some new friends and contacts, and spent time working on some leadership and communication skills. At the moment, I'm still processing the experience, and assessing the aftermath. Look for an update later this week to see some of what I learned, and some new actions items for myself.

In the meantime, I had some interesting conversations during the weekend, and thought I would reiterate something for anyone who found there way over to my blog. One of the hardest and most important things a Leader can do is COMMUNICATE. There are severeal reason why this doesn't tend to happen, but perhaps the largest is that people have a tendency to think that we all Communicate the same way. 

In reality, that is not the case. You've probably heard of the Meyers Briggs personality test (which I posted a little about here). That profile is interesting, but it is too cumbersome.  A leader should be able to read his or her people and adjust the communication style based on that. There is another personality profile: the DiSC profile. 

D: Dominance
i:   influence
S: Steadiness
C: Conscientiousness

This is easier to identify, and there is a book that helps identify the personality of the members of your team as well as yourself. It then tells you how to communicated with them. The book is People Styles At Work by Robert and Dorothy Bolton (Affiliate link below):

A bit of clarification: People Styles uses different terms (with DiSC profile types listed in parenthesis):

D: Dominant (D)
E: Extrovert (i)
An: Analytical (S)
Am: Amiable (C)

This is a book I give to friends, loan to co-workers, and encourage my mentees / coachees to read. Why? Because it not only helps you nail down your Communication style, but that of your team as well.

How important is that?

If you can't Communicate with your team in the manner they need, they will shut you out. You need to flex to the receiver of the Communication and ensure that the message transmitted is received.

Start with this book. Then build from there.

And more lessons from my weekend to come!

Friday, February 21, 2014

In One Step: How to Ensure Leadership Development Works - Forbes Magazine

Jack Zenger is a contributing author to Forbes magazine. Back in October he wrote an article titled:

In the article, Jack explains that he experienced two groups of leaders who received the same training. One group increased their leadership 360 scores, the other decreased. Why? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wacky Wednesday - Leadership

One of my favorite shows is Band of Brothers, and perhaps I should do some write-ups about the leadership shown throughout the show. But for Wacky Wednesday, I share perhaps the worst example of leadership I've seen in the show:

Found here

Monday, February 17, 2014

Slow is Smooth and Smooth is Fast

First, I apologize, I will not post about Cub Scouts next week, but I just have to be the proud papa for a moment:

Maben is a Tiger Cub and he won the Pinewood Derby for not just for his Den, but had the fastest track time in the Pack.
Here he is with his trophy:
 His Car:

And us working on his car:

If you want more details about the cars the family made for the pinewood derby (everyone but I had a car), go to my wife's blog.

Before you think that this isn't a leadership lesson, I did teach my son something while working on the car:

Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast

We researched how to build a winning car (there are plenty of websites and books). Then we designed the car based on the research. We spent the time to layout where the weights would be, and how to make the axles smoother and the wheels encounter less friction. Then we executed the plan, taking the time to ensure each step was performed accurately. In the end, the car was one of the cleanest, smoothest cars in the race. People couldn't tell where the weight was, or how the wheels were tuned. It was a thing of beauty. 

This was a lesson I learned during my days in the Army. You did things Slow and methodical (according to the Conceived plan) so that you didn't make a mistake, hence Smooth. And because we were not making mistakes, we didn't have to fix anything, hence Smooth is Fast. Perhaps you've heard it's antithesis:

We don't have time to do it right, but we have time to redo it.

People today are so quick to "just get it done,"  that they do it with lots of mistakes. Then they spend a significant amount of time fixing the mistakes. In fact, they may spend significantly more time fixing the mistakes then if they did it right the first time.

Leaders have a tendency to jump right into the "actual work" and worry about planning as he or she goes along. That is a mistake. Goals and plans need to be Conceived (flushed out to the point of having a life of it's own). In some cases, plans can take almost as long to build / flush out as the actual activities that need to be done. 

After the plan is Conceived, you need to Communicate it (and that means ensuring that the plan is understood) to you team, them take Command (have metrics, and ensure progress is being made with minimal mistakes) and them Complete (ensure the steps are complete, compile lessons learned, and recognize major contributors).

When the stages are rushed, then the plan isn't fully flushed out. The team doesn't understand the requirements, the metrics, or the end goal. The work is performed, but not performed correctly. The end state often ends up looking very different from the perceived goals, and the goals are either abandoned or significant work / cost is invested to fix it. 

In the long run: Slow is Smooth, Smooth is Fast means better projects with less cost. The next time you are going to jump in, slow down. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Beginnings Part 2

Earlier in the year, I stated some goals in a post, and I have made some progress towards them. Not as much as I would like, but progress all the same. Some updates:

1. The Website: I have a friend building a new site for me. Here is a screenshot:

Hopefully, the initial version will be up and running in a week or two, and then we will progress adjust, and refine in the coming months as C4 grows.

2. The Facebook Page: I haven't quite made the 3 times per week I was hoping for. At the moment, it is more like once a week. But I think I found a tool that will help with this, so more to come. 

3. The YouTube Channel: I have a new banner on the page, and started getting into more of the features. I also bought better lighting and backdrop, so the videos will at least look professional (okay, a little more professional). Look for a welcome video in the next couple of weeks, as well as more videos on Leadership, and less on speeches for contests. I have some ideas to continue to grow this channel, but would love to get questions I can respond to on the channel.

4. The Twitter Feed: I've created a channel, and will start with leadership quotes during the weekdays, followed by articles and thoughts over the course of the day. Look for the first quote tomorrow!

5. Products: Just attended an NSA meeting in Houston, where the main topic was product creation. Got some really good ideas, and I can't wait to share them. Should have something on the site in the next couple of weeks / month. 

I hope you are as excited as I am for this. I think it will be a good way to get started, and I can't wait to hear what everybody thinks.