The Hidden Leader
as one of the Best Business Books of 2015. Thanks to all of you who have bought copies for your employees and invited me to speak at your meetings.
Ideas to Improve Your Performance
- As a leader, your effort in clearly defining the work that needs to be done for your organization is ultra high value and what keeps teams focused. That is the key to being strategic and what will prevent you from having to do unproductive micro managing.
- Spend time this week defining the work for those who work for you with clear objectives, milestones, and performance measures. It doesn't need to take a lot of time, but I see it neglected far too often in favor of long lists and flipcharts, full of stuff to frenetically get done.
If You're Explaining, You're Losing.
A close friend of mine has worked in the advertising industry for the last 20 years and I remember him sharing this with me a few years ago. The idea that if you're explaining you're losing. The essence is that when you are justifying, defending, and debating, odds are whomever you are talking to whether it is a group or individual, isn't likely being persuaded. That's not to say that your position, product, service, or approach isn't terrific, or that it doesn't deserve or need to be explained. But it has a lot to do with the tone and tenor in which it is done.
His experience was that when creative approaches and designs needed to be explained too much, they were likely in a losing situation. But what really exacerbated the situation was if the explanations took on a tone of defensiveness, or worse, a sense of "this is right or best" and you are wrong.
It's a common mistake. I see it made too often by executives, sales professionals, political pundits, and fantasy football junkies. Sharing what you are selling, your point of view, or your approach with conviction and strength is undoubtedly powerful. It works best though, when you've done a good job of understanding, comprehending, and truly grasping the perspective of the other side. Seeing from the vantage point of the other side of the table, helps you to be thoughtful about what might be most valuable*. You still may not persuade them, but your odds of a successful discussion are exponentially higher.
*None of this will matter if simply having the actual debate is the objective, versus opening someone or some group to a new idea or new way of thinking (e.g. which political party is right, whether football is more interesting than baseball, or if U2 still has it or not.) Sometimes just having the discussion is the point.
A slice of life balance
- Take a digital break. We spend a lot of time looking at screens. Sometimes obsessively. Try taking a 24-hour break from them. Then just spend some time noticing. You may be surprised at some of the things you miss while your eyes are fixed on your email. I know some people who have screen-free Saturday's. Start with once and see what you learn. (I've done this a couple of times recently and it is harder than it sounds.)