Several years ago, a medical surgeon, Atul Gawande, wrote a best-selling book, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, that discusses the advantages of using checklists in all types of activities from surgery to disaster recovery to business.
As leaders, we need to follow his advice and use checklists regularly to help improve our companies.
Our words matter.
As leaders, we spend much of our time communicating with others through our actions, our body language, and especially our words.
Unfortunately, all too often we do not use our words well leading to poor communication and poor performance.
Some thoughts on using words well:
It happens to all of us.
- A direct report either gets promoted, quits or gets fired, and we have to manage his or her direct reports in addition to all of our other duties.
- We are assigned to a special project or task team and are expected to continue to do our regular job.
- We have to get into the details to turn around an under-performing operation while keeping all other operations moving forward.
For many leaders, leading when overwhelmed leads to deteriorating performance. We try to work in the same way that we did before we took on all these extra duties and responsibilities. Nevertheless, it does not work.
- Important tasks do not get completed
- We are not holding our direct reports as accountable as we should because we do not have time for our usual interaction
Internet entrepreneur, Simon Sinek, has a popular TED talk on asking why. His primary advice in building a successful company is that:
People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.
Unfortunately, while I admire Mr. Sinek, I cannot fully agree with this principle. Like most Americans, I generally buy from companies based on the quality, price and service of what they provide, not based upon why they do what they do.
Today’s workplaces are more diverse than ever with more work being done in teams. To ensure that everyone is working together well, companies need to be inclusive and embrace diversity and individual differences.
The core element behind a diverse and inclusive workplace is respect – each employee giving and receiving respect from other employees, management, customers, and suppliers.
As business leaders, we strive to have each of our areas improve its efficiency and effectiveness. Accounting, Sales, Marketing, Engineering, Operations, Project Management, Customer Service – each of these parts of the business needs to be as effective as possible. Likewise, each of us needs to be as efficient as possible in getting our work done.
Isn’t that right?
As business leaders, our goal is to optimize the whole. Only by doing what is best and most effective for the overall business will we have as successful a business as possible. Continue reading
Every Do-It-Yourselfer knows the carpenter’s advice:
Measure twice cut once.
In successful businesses, a similar recommendation holds true:
Think twice and do once.
To so many of us, immediate action appears to be essential:
- We are just doing it!
- We are making it happen!
- No ‘analysis paralysis’ here!