Latest podcast, covering big picture ideas of purpose and vision as well as the nitty, gritty day-to-day disciplines like daily planning and recording accomplishments.
One word more than any other seems to sum up what’s really important in the leadership coversations I’m having just now.
Not, ‘Here’s what I would do if I was you’
‘Based on my current experience of the world, I’m going to assume yours is the same, or at least similar, and treat you accordingly.’
Tell me about how things are for you at the moment. How can I help? Let’s agree together on the best way to organise / manage / communicate / deliver.
Last week Roisin and I recorded another podcast discussing all things leadership in the midst of the ongoing lockdown due to Covid-19. We hope you enjoy it.
In clearing things out yesterday, as many people are doing these days, I came across this plaque that my dad received in 1986. He worked for the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) for all of my childhood, I think about 25 years in all, starting his own businesses just a couple of years before he died in 1991.
In our home I remember we had DEC towels, DEC pens, DEC bags and we went on DEC holidays! Occassionally we still come across some old DEC merchandise in an old cupboard!
As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my goal is simply to write each day, not knowing exactly where it will go but practicing the discipline and building routine. I see this post going down two distinct paths.
Firstly, the personal one. We lost my dad when I was 16, he was 49. Not ill, just gone suddenly due to undetected heart disease. There are many times over the years when I would have especially loved to be able to chat to him, this being one of them. My response it to be grateful. My family are well. We are restricted in what we can do but the five of us are well and in the same house. We can talk. Let’s make sure we do that. Live deeply. Connect. Don’t just exist in the same space and look back one day wishing we had lived deeper. The very precious gift of time and proximity is not to be unappreciated.
The second is the Leadership pathway. DEC is a tragic story in many ways, from the world’s second largest computer company when I was a kid, to rapid decline and extinction in a very short space of time. There’s a good review of the story here.
Simon Sinek also talks about the DEC decline in one of his books. I can’t remember it was Start With Why or The Infinite Game (both are excellent reads by the way). Fundamentally, it seems, that DEC leadership failed to adapt to a changing world with a clear vision of their part in the future. I would love for that company to still be around and to feel proud to own DEC stuff – a tangible connection to our family history. They had the opportunity and resource to be a key player in the new and emerging digital world, but they failed. It reminds me also of the Wright Brothers story compared to their well-funded rivals at the time to launch the first successful manned flight. Passion, purpose and commitment trumped ‘corporate wealth.’ In my business now, as with every other, as leaders we need to lead well. Be clear. Inspire. Take brave decisions. Communicate clearer than ever. Be human. Empathise. Set direction. Exude passion and purpose.
That’s all for today. More tomorrow. Have a great day.
I have been having some really interesting conversations with my counterpart leading the LMI organisation in Ireland…so good in fact that we decided to record them and join the podcast revolution!
It’s called So What About Leadership? and we’ve done two episode so far:
- Personal Productivity
- Personal Leadership
You can listen to both here:
Do you use phrases like these with the people you lead? Does your manager use these with you?
“My door’s always open”
“Come and find me anytime you need help”
These are great sentiments, genuinely appreciated and, for sure, sincerely meant…but I do regularly encounter some problems with this approach. Here are three common ones:
- team members don’t seek out their leader as often as they should, wasting time and effort ‘working it out themselves’ when they could have really been helped (we don’t want people to become leader-dependent but regular effective guidance can help a lot).
- when the leader has to instigate a conversation about some kind of correction / refinement / improvement, it feels like a big deal, akin to being called into the headteacher’s office!
- opportunities to praise, encourage and recognise progress and victories are missed.
I think the last of these points is huge and is a major reason why I am a huge advocate for ‘keeping it regular’. There is so much to be gained by the simple act of setting up regular, routine communication both one-to-one and with the whole team.
And what should be first item on the agenda….every time?
- Progress & Victories
Both the team member and the leader can contribute to this agenda item. Team member shares what they think they’ve achieved, has gone well and moved things forward positively. The leader also shares from their perspective the progress and victories they’ve noticed, tangible results-wise as well as attitude and behaviour.
If you’re not already doing this, I’d urge you to try it and see what impact it has. I’ve seen many managers and leaders instigate this as a regular practice and report back staggering results in terms of trust, motivation, positivity and productivity.
If you’re the leader, make it happen. If you are the team member, suggest to your boss that you give it a go.
It doesn’t have to be hours out in meetings. 20 minutes once a fortnight might be enough!
It’s half term so there was no major rush getting everyone out the house this morning.
As I thought about the wonderful opportunity this presented for me to get my kids to do loads of useful stuff whilst they have all this time on their hands, that’s when the jolt of empathy hit! Don’t put adult expectations on 14, 12 and 10 year old children.
I used to love school holidays, especially the first morning. Lazing around…reading a bit…playing on the computer….all with no stress at all. Nothing to do and nowhere to be.
Yet here I was loading them up with my agenda of things to do! Don’t worry, I’ll still get them helping out with stuff…just with a bit more give first! I know that if I’m not so self-absorbed and enter into the joy of their world first, both they and I will get a much better result – more help, more willingness, less resistance, less conflict, more fun etc – than if I just launch ahead with what I want them to do.
I hope the jolt I was hit with might help you avoid making the same mistake I was rushing headlong into.