What do your employees or subordinates feel when you ask the question “can I give you a little bit of feedback?"
Do they lean forward, eager for some morsel of insight that will bring light to a dark corner of their self-awareness or do they sigh inwardly and prepare themselves for the infliction of death by 1000 character flaws and stuff-ups?
I was leading a workshop for a group of GMs & CEOs recently when the subject of strategy came up. It appeared that within the group there were strategies for everything – we had personal effectiveness strategies, time management strategies, strategies to stop smoking and even strategies to de-clutter and simplify life. Then there were sales strategies, marketing strategies and customer service strategies to name but a few. But there was little actual strategy.
I was talking to a client this morning who had a classic case of the ‘overwhelms’ and even if you haven’t suffered from it, you’ll probably have seen the symptoms in others. It's that feeling that the problems you’re facing are so big and so complex that the temptation to do absolutely nothing is, well, overwhelming.
Almost every time I speak or run any sort of leadership development workshop I hear some variation on the same two questions. The first is “do you know Bear Grylls?” and the second is “what’s the difference between the SAS and the rest of the Army?”
The answer to the first question is “not any more” and the answer to the second is “just one percent”.
With the pace of business today it can be very tempting to finish a project and then rush off to the next one without even so much as a pause - after all there’s always a backlog of ‘stuff’ clamoring for our attention.
The way I see it, that ‘stuff’ can, and should, wait just a few moments more.
OK, so not everything in business has to be about innovation, creativity and 'thinking outside the box'. Sometimes rigid processes and rules are really useful for both the organisation and the customer. This wasn’t one of those times.
If you want your business to be efficient and streamlined, give your staff processes and procedures. If, on the other hand, you want your people to be innovative and creative in how they solve problems and create customers who are raving fans, tell them when it’s ok to not follow them.
So, there I was, playing golf with my son a few days ago - both of us playing to win. Nothing strange or noteworthy about that. Except my son was a few months shy of 3 years old and the first and only time I have EVER played golf was a month ago and involved more slicing and swearing than a Gordon Ramsay cookery show.
As readers of my previous post will know, I
was on holiday last week and it was two weeks of utter relaxation. I flew back into Melbourne last Sunday and
headed off to find our taxi. Picture two
parents with two large bags and a pram holding a less-than-happy child waiting
for the lift. The lift arrives and the
doors open, as do the cargo area doors at the far end of the lift whereupon a
security guard enters, holds up his hand in the style so beloved of traffic policemen
everywhere and orders us to “just wait”.
I think to myself that perhaps he missed “Dealing With The Public (Who
Pay My Wages) Skills 101”.
So, there I was lying beside the pool at my
favourite hotel in Fiji – the Fiji Beach Resort on Denarau Island – and the
waiter approaches. Nothing unusual about
that but then he casually informs us that a tsunami is on the way and could we
start making our way to reception for more information.
I overheard an interesting conversation on the train a few days ago. I don’t normally eavesdrop private conversations on public transport, however on that day my headphones were buried deep in my bag and this girl had a particularly penetrating voice. Then she made a startling proclamation that stopped my attempts to ignore her – I simply had to know more!
Here’s a question for you – who captained Australia in the 2011 Rugby World Cup?
Easy enough – it was James Horwill, and even if you spent the Spring of 2011 in total isolation then a quick look on Google would have thrown up the answer (actually 207 million answers, or thereabouts).
Now something a bit more difficult – who was Horwill’s vice-captain? His “right-hand man”?
Legislation unveiled in Victoria recently will allow students to sue their education provider for a ”failure to deliver training”. Now I’m all for holding both individuals and organizations accountable for their actions, but where do we draw the line?
This post is dedicated to a complete stranger on a bicycle.
I ride into the office most days and I like nothing better than to feel the satisfied glow of having pushed myself physically as hard as I can every time – it’s been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember.