Leading When Overwhelmed

Homer SimpsonIt 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

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The Whys of Business

Why QuestionInternet 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.

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Diversity, Inclusion and Respect

dogToday’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.

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Optimize the Overall Business

Picture1As 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?

NO!

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

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Think Twice and Do Once

WheelEvery 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!

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Public Speaking

Public Speaking 1The ability to speak well in public – whether giving a sales pitch to a customer, presenting at a Board Meeting, or speaking to a large group of employees – is an essential leadership skill.

  • Public speaking is fundamental for effective executive communication as a way to lead a group or team into taking some desired action.
  • For better or worse, most leaders are evaluated by their ability to speak in public.

To be a strong public speaker requires practice and keeping in mind some simple Do’s and Don’ts.

 

Do’s

  • Focus on the End Result: As a leader, the purpose of public speaking is to inform, teach or remind your audience to do something that will help them do their jobs better and drive your company to success. Eloquent speeches, no matter how insightful or entertaining, are useless unless they lead to changed thoughts and changed actions.  As such, the focal point of any speech needs to be on the end result: what do I want my audience to do?  And a call to action needs to be the last point in any speech or presentation.

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10 Ideas for Improved Organization and Effectiveness

  1. Drowning in PaperPre-planning

      • “For every 10 minutes of pre-planning you do, we get four to five hours of productivity improvements.”
      • On a weekly basis, schedule the most important tasks and activities first and build our week around them
      • “The best day begins the night before.”
        • Pre-plan day to focus on important and critical path items
        • Create the next day “To Do” list of up to 7 items
        • Set up time to “meet with ourselves” to do the most important during our “prime time.”

     

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