are the loud voices silencing the others

Are the loud voices drowning out everyone else?

It was a stunning day. Clear blue skies and not a cloud anywhere. I went outside with my dog to enjoy a few minutes of the day. My large cedar tree was a brilliant green against the backdrop of the blue sky. The birds were chirping and frogs croaking. I couldn’t see them, but their chorus indicated they were many. Then my dog let out a few loud barks and the chorus stopped.

That’s the thing about a loud voice. It can drown out or silence the group. Creating balance in your organization so all the voices can be heard is an art. How are you doing at creating the conditions for all the voices to be heard?

Fifth time is a charm

Fifth Time is a Charm

A few weeks ago, it was snowing nearly every day. And if you’ve ever driven in the snow, you know how dirty your car gets. Finally, the snow went away and the sun came out. So, I went to the car wash. As did everyone else. The line was around the corner and down the street. That length of line was likely to take 30 minutes to get through. I drove off and planned to come back later. I did come back later that day and over the next few days. It was the fifth time that the line was reasonable and I was able to get my car washed.

In business and in life, things don’t always work out the first time. Commitment and persistence is necessary to get what you want. Are you persisting?

you are not as good as you think at multi-tasking

You are not as good at multi-tasking as you thought

The studies are clear. Multi-tasking is not effective. It reduces productivity dramatically. And yet, many do it regularly and think they are good at it. But they aren’t. Booking travel on the wrong day, not hearing something important, and making errors are just a few symptoms of multi-tasking.

Want to be more effective in 2019? Try eliminating multi-tasking. Focus on the task in front of you and get it done. If you pay attention to what you missed while multi-tasking vs what you got done while not, you’ll realize the difference not multi-tasking makes.

hearing vs understanding

Hearing vs. Understanding—A Major Point of Frustration and Conflict in Business

It is a common point of contention in business. One party shares their expectations about how business is conducted. Could be an owner, a lender, a partner, or a customer. The conversation seems like it went well. But then, things don’t go well and frustration increases because it seems the person didn’t hear what was being said.

The problem isn’t that the person didn’t hear. It is usually that they don’t understand what the other meant. They don’t have the same point of reference, so they think things are going well and don’t understand why there is an issue.

The trick is to create a picture that both parties clearly understand to discuss expectations.  Don’t assume the point of reference is the same.

Are you actively working to ensure understanding in your agreements? What else can you do to make sure you are on the same page?

Check out my new book, Leading the High-Performing Company. You’ll find more tips about how to lead your organization to new heights.

take your foot off the brake

Take Your Foot Off the Brake!

About once a week, I see a driver on the freeway with their foot on the brake. They’ll drive for miles with the brake lights on. Everyone around them sees the brake lights, but they are oblivious to the drag they are creating.

It’s easy to have your foot on the brake in business. It can show up as risk aversion, being comfortable or not bringing something new to your customers. Others will notice and it will impact your business. If this is you, it is time to take your foot off the brake!

Check out my new book, Leading the High-Performing Company. You’ll find more tips about how to lead your organization to new heights.

Are you compelling enough?

Are you compelling enough?

The dogs two doors down were barking, so my 75 lb yellow lab decided it would be fun to join in. She was having a grand time barking and running back and forth across the fence line. So when I called her, she really was not interested in coming. She was having too much fun and was enjoying herself. My offering of a treat was just not that compelling.

That’s the thing with motivating people. If they are having a great time with what they are doing, and are enjoying themselves, doing something different is not compelling. Even if they aren’t having a blast, if there is no promise that doing something different will be better, there is no motivation to make that change. Change has to offer something better—people need to understand why they will be better off. It has to be compelling.

How are you making change compelling in your business?


Have you actually established trust?

are you establishing trustEach time I head out of town, I take my 75 lb yellow lab to the doggie hotel. They do a great job there and she is well cared for. But, she is a rescue dog and I’ve only had her a year and a half. I don’t know her history, but clearly she was abandoned. The last two times I’ve dropped her off, she shrieked at the top of her lungs while I walked out the door. I know I’m coming back. And even though I have eight or so times, she doesn’t yet trust that I will. Each time I drop her off, that trust is broken a little bit and needs to be rebuilt.

It takes a long time to establish trust—much longer than you think it will. And it is really easy to lose. As a leader in business, your promises and actions either establish trust or break it. And even though you state you promise to do something, it takes keeping that promise a number of times before people actually trust that you will. How are you establishing trust in your business?

Take a deep breath and don’t panic

Don't panic and take a deep breathAs I write this, the Dow just dropped more than 1,500 points and it is happening quickly. This following significant declines last week—on good news (jobs growth and higher wages). Concerns about inflation and the impact of a new Fed chair are getting a lot of focus, as is the impact of electronic trading. Opinions vary between “there is a lot of upside in the year” to “a correction is overdue.” Sometimes it is better not to panic and just take a deep breath. The thing is, it will eventually go back up. And there may be a few opportunities along the way.

In your business there will be times when panic and inertia take hold. The key is to keep focused on the fundamentals and not to panic. As a leader, you can bring calm. And in that calm, you may find a few opportunities. How are you making sure panic doesn’t gain hold in your organization?

Finding Success in a Belly Flop

the belly flopIt was one of those moments where you watch in slow motion, make a face and think “that must have hurt.” My 75 pound yellow lab was running full speed toward the stairs to take a flying leap. She hit the rug at the bottom of the stairs just wrong enough to make the rug slide. Her legs slid sideways and she hit the stairs on her chest and belly at full speed. She stood up, took a few deep breaths, looked me in the eye then took another run at full speed and accomplished her mission.

Launches don’t always go right. Sometimes there is something that goes a bit sideways the first time. If you take a look at your approach, you may just find that course correction that is necessary to make it a success. How are you creating the conditions in your business to drive success?

Getting a word in

can you get a word in?It was meant to be a discussion around the table, a dialogue to further the understanding of the group. The discussion leader asked people not to raise their hands, rather, just ask a question or throw out a thought. It always seems like a good way to handle a conversation, rather than making it an academic exercise. As the discussion proceeded, people began to ask questions or further the point before the person finished speaking. He wasn’t rambling and was concise. To get a word in, you had to stop listening and think about what you were going to say.

How often does this happen in your meetings? Are you getting only the thoughts of the people who jump in first? Or are you making a conscious effort to include all of the people who have something to say? If you don’t let people finish their thoughts, you may not get key points. How are you creating an environment where everyone get a word in?