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NUTS ‘N BOLTS LEADERSHIP

November 12, 2012 Leave a comment

I came across this book called “How To” Strategies and Practical Tips For Leaders at ALL Levels” by Eric Harvey and Paul Sims. It appealed to me as a refresher to those of us who have been in management for a long time as well as a training tool for people just beginning in that arena.

I’ve copied some pieces of their message below:

“If you’ve been in management for any length of time, you’ve undoubtedly come   to realize that it’s a multi-faceted profession – a somewhat complex calling that includes the classic and academically described duties of “planning, directing, controlling, etc.” … and much more. 

Like a coin, leadership has two sides. There’s the proactive side – the actions you initiate to positively affect people and their performance. And there’s the reactive side – the actions you take in response to unanticipated issues and situations. The key to these equally important sides is ACTION. And the way we see it, in order to act properly and effectively in these fast-paced times, your management “toolbox” needs to be filled with solid nuts and bolts techniques.

Here are some “How To” tips that should help:

  • Address Performance Problems Early. One of the surest ways to demotivate employees is allowing people to do sub-par work. When that happens, others have to pick up the slack. You owe it to the rest of the team to address an employee’s deficiencies as soon as you become aware of them. Waiting only increases the intensity of everyone else’s bad feelings.
  • Think “Development.” Make developing the members of your team (and yourself) one of your top priorities. Besides providing formal training, pursue opportunities for building skills, awareness, and confidence that require minimal time and resources (e.g., watching videos, distributing industry publications, mentoring).
  • Always Give the “Why.” A combined lesson from Human Nature 101 and Common Sense 101: There’s a much better chance that people will be motivated and give their enthusiastic support if they understand the reason behind a goal, assignment, or decision. So, always follow the what with the why
  • Teach Business Literacy. One powerful way to get people motivated is to teach them the business of the business. The more people understand how a successful organization is run, the better they’ll be able to contribute to your overall mission and the bottom line … and feel like they truly are a part of your success.
  • Let your employees lead. Help others on your team develop by letting them take the lead on certain activities and projects. Most of us like “being in charge” – at least some of the time. It’s a great way to build skills, commitment, and responsibility.
  • Involve them in Decision Making. Have an important decision to make? Let employees decide! Or at least ask for their ideas and suggestions. They are, after all, the ones who will feel the impact the most. Besides, you’ll probably end up with a better decision – one that your people will be inclined to support because they helped make it.
  • Keep them informed.Hold regular “state of the business” meetings to keep everyone informed on what’s happening within the organization (future plans, new products or services, planned purchases, etc.). Make sure people do NOT feel “kept in the dark.
  • Spread the wealth.Rotate the drudgework so that everyone shares part of the load. Likewise, spread around the high-profile assignments so that every person has an occasional opportunity to strut his or her stuff.
  • Respect their time. If you expect employees to believe that their work is important, you have to believe it, too. More importantly, you have to behave like you believe it! Don’t expect people to drop whatever they’re doing every time you need something. Instead, ask if they have a few minutes to chat. Better yet, ask for a time when they’ll be available to meet with you.”

All of these are very solid tips that can help all of us become and/or remain better leaders for our businesses.

Andrea McAfee

Bayless Engineering

www.baylessengineering.com

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Eat that Frog!

October 25, 2011 4 comments

With more on our plates every day and time seeming to slip by at an increasingly rapid pace, this unique approach to time management from a book by Brian Tracy called “Eat That Frog! 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time” resonated strongly with me.

Get More Done In Less Time = Eat That Frog.

If you are like me, you are overwhelmed with too much to do and too little time. As you struggle to get caught up, new tasks and responsibilities keep rolling in, like the waves of the ocean. Because of this, you will never be able to do everything you have to do.

For this reason, and perhaps more than ever before, your ability as a leader is to select your most important task at each moment, and then to get started on that task, get it done both quickly and effectively. To help you and others be more effective and efficient, we must remember the story about frogs!

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long. Your “frog” is your biggest, most important task, the one you are mostly likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and resultsfor you and your organization.

The first rule of frog eating is this:
If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first.

 This is another way of saying that if you and those you lead have two important tasks before you, start with the biggest, hardest, and most important task first. Discipline yourself to begin immediately and then to persist until the task is complete before you go on to something else.

Although it’s so much easier to push off the “ugliest frog” in favor of fighting fires and cleaning up all the odds & ends and easy fixes, I think that frog eating should be my goal!

Andrea McAfee

Controller

Bayless Engineering & Manufacturing

Never get comfortable

August 5, 2011 2 comments

Over last weekend, I briefly thought to myself “it sure would be nice if things settled down at SNQ – even briefly and we had a normal day”.

So what precipitated this thought?  Well, it seems to me that since day one of the formation of Status Not Quo, every day has been dynamic, challenging, and mildly stressful due to constant change.  Granted, most of our challenges have been positive (i.e. either fall under “opportunity” or “character building” lol). 

 However, as I reflect today (I’m writing this on a Monday), I admonish myself to “Never get comfortable”.  I constantly challenge other business owners and our clients to continuously reinvent themselves, or stagnate and get left behind.  While this is always our focus, it is hectic.

 The entire year of 2011 at SNQ has been crazy busy due to a move – consolidating and moving to a corporate office.  We went from completely virtual and decentralized, to a mix of the two with stronger centralization. 

 However, not one week after I sat down at the new office, we were faced with the potential of an incredible opportunity to move into two new areas of software development by absorbing/merging with another firm.  This will expand us into a multi-office company, and very possibly into needing an international presence in South America.  Talk about Distributed to Centralized and back to Distributed (insert rising stress meter here)!

 My point is to be thankful for change, and embrace that uncertainty.  Granted, many times it stems from a negative challenge – but we must still view those challenges as opportunities to change, leverage, reinvent, and grow.  The day things start getting boring around here is when I will really start to stress.  Take a well deserved break this weekend, but when you return on Monday, challenge yourself and get outside of your comfort zone.

 Scott Capistrano

Status Not Quo

http://www.statusnotquo.com

All that I want

This is the text of my sister’s upcoming contest as a Toastmaster.  The message, as you will read, is ‘powerful’, and I wanted to share it with you.

The Rev. Billy Graham was recently asked: “Sir, what about this life has surprised you the most”?  His reply?  “Its brevity” A short time ago, I was a 17 year-old high school senior.  Now I am a 60 year-old social security senior.  I love being 60.  You see when I was in my late teens and early 30’s all I did was get married and divorced, married and divorced, and married yet again.  In my thirties, and early 40’s all I did was work.  I worked 50 and 60-hour weeks so I could buy stuff. Big stuff, little stuff, new stuff old stuff.  Your stuff.  My credit cards had skid marks and their own zip codes.  Then on Jan 4 1998, my life as I knew it ceased to exist.  My husband of 20 years, the absolute love of my life, the man I was supposed to grow old with, died of a sudden heart attack.  One minute he was on the racquetball court, and the next he was in the arms of Jesus.

Well meaning friends would often tell me. “Debby you are lucky, at least he didn’t suffer”.  No, he didn’t suffer; he left that for me to do.  And suffer I did.  Shortly after Larry died, I was in the hospital having major surgery.  Three weeks later my only surviving grandparent died. Me?  Back to the hospital, this time with carpel tunnel surgery.  The wind came along and blew the shingles off of my roof, my downstairs flooded, and the transmission fell out of my pick-up.  All this happened by August of that year.  Oh, I suffered!  I felt like the psalmist David when he cried out:” Hear me oh Lord.   Hear me Oh Lord and deliver me.”   I spent days on my knees because I had nowhere else to go.

When at last I began to emerge from that deep abyss, I realized something; I had spent the past 47 years living in fear.  You know that fear.  That “False Evidence Appearing Real”.  You see, I had always had all that I wanted and all that I needed.  Fear kept me from putting it together.  When I was busy getting married, all I wanted was to have a good marriage…All I needed was to be a better partner.  During my buying frenzy, I already had all I wanted; all I needed was to respect my possessions.  When my husband died, all I wanted was for the pain to end. All I needed was to accept that my life had changed forever.  Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.  For when I am disturbed, it is because I cannot accept some person, place, or situation and I will find no peace until I accept that person, place, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be, because nothing — absolutely nothing — happens in God’s world by mistake.  What fear is keeping you from where you want to be?  The fear: “I’m too old… I’m not smart enough… I’ve never done that before?”  All lies to keep you from doing, being, having.  Pitiful or Powerful. We can be pitiful and live in fear, or we can be powerful and live our dreams.

Yes, the Rev. Graham was right, life is short.  Yesterday I was 20, this morning 45, and now I’m 60.  Yes, my hips are wider, but so is my smile.  Things that used to be up here are now down here but that’s just gravity, so who cares?  I don’t because I am living my dreams.  Since 2000, I have been parasailing in Thailand and salmon fishing in Alaska.  I have ridden the roller coaster atop the Stratus Sphere in Las Vegas, Nevada, and have rejoiced in the birth of my great-granddaughter.

Pitiful or powerful?  Release your fears.  Live your dreams.

Denise Henderson

E-mail Marketing Tips

January 24, 2011 6 comments

Well it’s 2011 and there’s no better time than now to revisit your marketing approach, regardless of whether you play in the B2B or B2C world. Let’s focus on e-mail marketing, though, as this is the most cost-effective way to communicate your message to people.

First, let me ask you, do you have an e-mail marketing campaign? Yes, my company does…finally! Now I know most of you have an active e-mail marketing campaign or have been thinking about it, so, let me provide you with a few tips to help you be successful with your existing or new e-mail marketing campaigns:

1.       Be consistent – schedule your e-newsletter to be distributed regularly month after month. Be careful not to annoy folks by mailing too frequently. We send e-newsletters monthly.

2.       Keep them interested and wanting more – instead of writing paragraphs and paragraphs or pages and pages, provide a few sentences on a topic then provide a link for more information.

3.       Send to those with whom you have a relationship – time and time again we get e-newsletters from folks we’ve never met but they belong to the same organization we belong. A colleague of ours told us she received an e-newsletter from someone she met at a function a couple of years back. OK, so let me ask you, where’s the relationship in both these instances? Think before you add everyone. It is much better to start off with smaller numbers and not annoy folks than to e-mail the world. Remember, this is a reflection of your company.

4.       Share your e-newsletter and ask others to do the same. You can post links to your e-newsletter on your web site, Facebook page, and LinkedIn account.

5.       Don’t wait until your web site or logo or other marketing is ready. While you wait for your web site or your logo to be redesigned, you will be letting opportunities slip through your hands. Yes, it’s important to be consistent in how everything looks; however, it’s better to be known and reinforce your message about what you have to offer than to let 2 or 3 months go by without initiating any communication.

6.       Spell check, edit, and test. Send yourself a test of the e-newsletter so you see what everyone will see. Need I say more on the spell check and edit?

Best wishes for a most successful 2011!

Diana Meyer
CEO/President, Meyer Marketing Intelligence, Inc.