Confessions of an Accidental Leader

The Titanic Effect pt. #1

Don’t Continue to Blindly Go Full Steam Ahead, or You Could SINK!

Business men assembling the pieces of a puzzleMake this one change and you’ll be able to keep your finger on the pulse of your business and be able to truly assess things appropriately. If you don’t, I can guarantee you’ll be the last to know there are problems that could have been averted if you had only known.

We’ve all done it at one time or another, used the fatal flaw of coming to conclusions prematurely, before we have ALL the facts. When we do this, come to conclusions with partial, incomplete, inaccurate information, we end up coming to misconstrued, wrong conclusions. And when we do this we end up creating our own disaster for ourselves, and those around us! However, we can change this if we will slow down and take the time to investigate by inquiring into all the FACTS of the matter, and then double checking to be sure they are accurate! One wrong piece of information or partial fact can engender misinterpretation, therefore wrong conclusions. How am I so well versed in this? Because I’ve been the worst offender!

You see, our actions are a direct result of our assumptions. If an assumption has been made without double checking to be sure we have all the facts and that these facts are correct, we could be making assumptions that are dead wrong. From these wrong assumptions comes a subtle corruption of our judgment. Now, to really understand the gravity of ill gained conclusions, just think of the Titanic. This is an amazing example. It was built with the most advanced technology of the day, taking what they thought was every precaution to avoid sinking. They used the most advance methods of their day, but because of the excessive opulence it gave them the illusion of being the safest ship to have ever been built. Or so they thought. These conclusions were effectively sold to people in 1912 in the guise of the ship being utterly UNSINKABLE! They unequivocally believed that the 70,000 ton vessel would NOT SINK. Harland and Wolff, the Irish shipbuilders insisted they never advertised that the Titanic was unsinkable, but that people misinterpreted their articles in their Shipbuilder magazine and the Irish News. They also attest that the myth was inflated after the accident. To learn more about how the assumptions were made that IT WAS UNSINKABLE go HERE

However it was done, affluent people came from far and wide to experience the trip of a lifetime, the maiden voyage. So, the actions that were taken as a result of the thinking it was UNSINKABLE are pretty wild to look at.

BECAUSE THEY BELIEVED THE SHIP WAS UNSINKABLE THEY:ST.THOMAS AND PRINCE ISLANDS-1998: Edward John Smith and Titanic

• Sailed with “reckless abandon” into dangerous waters that were infested with ice bergs.

• Only loaded 20 of the 64 lifeboats on the ship

• Never conducted a single lifeboat drill

• The crew didn’t even know how to lower the lifeboats safely into the ocean

• Were dulled by the lies they believed, so the crew felt the jolt, but no one was alarmed and instead life on the boat returned to normal within just a few minutes

• When another ship, the California just a few miles away, stopped in the treacherous waters, and began sending out warnings to the other ships, (the Titanic received 6 warnings) these warnings were completely ignored

The MAIN issue I encounter in businesses that are struggling is that they’re moving so fast that they don’t take the time to properly, appropriately check in with people to see how things are going, or check for the facts and then correctly evaluate the situation accordingly.  We then make judgments from faulty information or hear say. When this happens we then come to flagrant conclusions which are mistakenCome to conclusions in this manner, making fast assessments without all the facts, and I guarantee impending disaster is right around the corner.  So to be sure YOU are assessing things correctly you must:  

PART #2  in the next post!

What are your thoughts so far?  Have you experienced this yourself, or in an organization or business you’ve seen?  I’ve love you’re honest thoughts below!

You Can Set the Tone for Greater Productivity, But You’ll Never Believe How!

Are You Kidding Me?  Take a Break Every 52 Minutes for 17 Minutes, Really?

If you have to concentrate deeply in your work throughout the day, is it true that you should take more, longer breaks? And if this is true, can it really be possible that you will then have a better work-force who is more accurate, sharper, and creative? Will they really have greater focus while being less likely to burn out? As a Business Coach I had to ask, could it really be true? It sounds crazy to me, even counter-intuitive. In fact, it goes against the almighty American “Hard Work” ethic. Don’t we seem to view people who:mission and purpose in life

  • Work long hours

  • Sacrifice their lunch time to keep working

  • Stay up all night working just to finish a project 

  • Come in to work no matter how sick

as THE “RESPONSIBLE” ONES? But is it? The research I discovered regarding productivity totally debunks this time-honored perception. In fact, one article I read (link) states, “Frequent breaks throughout the day give a person better focus and creativity”. Then, a study done by the University of Toronto regarding lunch break patterns found that when people skip lunch THEY LOWER THEIR PRODUCTIVITY. The article goes on to say that John Trougakos, associate professor of Organizational Behavior and HR Management, found that our brains have just so much” psychological energy”. Use it up and you’re less productive. As I continued reading I discovered, and found it was validated scientifically, that you need to take a break every 52 minutes, and the break needs TO BE FOR 17 MINUTES of quality time off. Unbelievable, this was just too much to believe, but after the 3rd article sighting similar findings, I began to be convinced, especially with the scientific evidence pointing to the effect on the brain, including pictures! (link) What if these articles are really onto something? If your employees could be more:

  • Productive

  • Alert

  • Sharp

  • Creative

  • Able to make less mistakes

all of which will bring you greater ROI from their productivity, isn’t that worth it? That is unless you’re like one of my clients, who is paid by the amount of time their employees log for their clients. In this case it’s going to be a challenge to meet both demands, but still possible with some creativity! Besides this, it’s just not good to sit all day.  So let me encourage you, check out these articles for yourself. Do a trial experiment either on yourself or by tracking and observing your employees. If you can have them do better, faster, more accurate work, along with the ability to be more energized and feel your trust, why not! So, here’s to your success and greater productivity in all you and your employees do! And if you test this out for yourself, let me know, I’d love to hear the results!

Hang Up Those New Years Resolutions, Make S.M.A.R.T. GOALS INSTEAD

Grow Yourself and Your Business Using S.M.A.R.T. Goals and a Coach!Goals are Your Solution

Everyone began as a baby.  Everyone had teenage years where they were “RIGHT” about “EVERYTHING”, and they knew everything. Every great sportsman began learning their skills one small step at a time. To grow your leadership, management, yourself as an owner or overall person, begin by setting basic strategic goals. Get your foundation down, then set up greater goals, make a plan, and lastly find a way to hold yourself accountable. To get started,

BEGIN HERE:

By chunking down S.M.A.R.T. Goals.  This is an acronym with a powerful plan! Begin with S for Specific:

  • A. Specific – Who, What, Where, Which, When, Why

You don’t want to go for a general idea, such as lose weight. Instead be clear and make it precise, explicit! Instead of “read more”, you put “read one book in my industry a month,” beginning now. Instead of “learn to use video”, it could be something such as: “learn to shoot a 3 min. video and know how to upload it onto YouTube”. See the difference?

  • B. Measurable –

Figure out the amount of items and time. Measure progress according to the established criteria you determine in this step. Ask yourself:

i. How much? ii. How many? iii. How will I know when it is complete or accomplished?

  • C. Attainable –

Is it within my scope of skills, talent, knowledge, and financial ability. We’ve all had dreams. However, if you dream of being a famous musical performer but you’re tone deaf, that’s just not attainable. Ask yourself: Is this within my abilities and skill sets? Is it something I can really learn? Yes, stretch yourself, get out of your comfort zone, but not so far out it’s inconceivable and unattainable!

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One Vital Skill to Leadership Competency – Mastering the Art of Small and Talk Making Others Comfortable with You

Do This and You’ll Never Be Blindsided by Your Best Employee Leaving- or Before There’s a Major Conflict in Your Midst!

Leadership influence is asking questions and attentively listeningI’ll never forget the evening my husband and I were standing around the pool at a work party, when the CEO of the non-profit where my husband worked walked by. We greeted him, exclaiming how nice the evening was. As he walked past us he responded, “I’m sorry, I don’t do small talk.” I was stunned! We had held him in such high esteem. Both being in our early 20’s we had considered him our mentor, so I’ll never forget how that comment made us feel, as he went over and stood talking to a millionaire in our midst. This is one of the incidence that put the fire in me to coach, train, and develop leaders and their staff with the people skills  that will cause them to valued and care about one another, while fulfilling their calling and mission through their business.

“There’s hardly a higher compliment you can pay an individual that to help that person be useful and find satisfaction and significance.” by John C. Maxwell

So how do you do this, learn to genuinely care about people? You begin by asking questions, while attentively listening. As a leader, this is an imperative skill to master! Believe me, when people feel their leader is interested in them and their growth, they’ll be more engaged, more dedicated and produce more. So overall it’s just good business to attentively listen, and care about the needs of your employees!  

“Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!

Begin first by asking questions to learn the key elements of people’s lives. Where they grew up, how they fit into the family constellation, what kind of hobbies they have etc. You can then effectively follow-up with sincere interest and concern for them. This can be done one-on-one, during a round table discussion, at a team-building exercise, standing around at an event or when beginning a business meeting. I used to play a game seeing how long it would take, and how many questions I would h”Napoleon Bonaparte knew every officer of his army by name. -He asked about their home and discussed maneuvers and battles he knew that this officer had been involved in.  It’s no wonder their devotion to him!ave to ask before I would find some kind of commonality or connection with the person. Asking questions is a magical tool.

“What’s worse than training your workers and losing them? Not training them and keeping them.” Zig Ziglar

listen attentively,care about employeesQuestions are the answer when engaging in small talk. In fact, you don’t have to say a thing, just listen and ask another question, while giving them the physical cues that you are listening attentively. Such as stopping everything you were doing to pay attention; turn toward them and look straight into their eyes; even checking for their eye color. And by all means, don’t take calls, or allow interruptions from text messaging etc. As much as possible, for a few minutes, look at their eyes, and nod periodically throughout the conversation saying:

                     * hmmm . . .                      * Interesting. . .                                 * I understand. . .                      * Really?                      * Is that right?

I’ve been told you can learn a new skill if you’ll be willing to get out of your comfort zone and practice for 15 minutes each day. Try starting conversations with the clerk at a counter, while standing in line, when you’re in a group waiting. Work on making others feel comfortable with you. No, I’m not suggesting you become a Chatty Cathy, or attempt being the “High I” behavioral style if you aren’t one naturally, just practice being hospitable on a daily basis!

A GREAT LEADER says, How can I make those around me more successful?

The most successful executives have mastered the art of small talk! It is essential to their effectiveness and influence!

As an Executive or Business Owner, Are Your Employees Driving You Crazy, or is it That Someone is Out of Position?

business meeting - woman ceoLove ‘em or hate ‘em you can’t live without ‘em.  If you want to build your business to levels that will pay while you’re retired, you will have to maximize your time and hire employees to delegate work to.  However, if you don’t take the time to thoroughly follow a process to hire the “right” person for the appropriate job, everything will decline from there.

When you have an employee positioned incorrectly in a job, believe me you’ll know.  The tell-tale signs are:

  • Do they avoid doing the very thing they were hired for?

  • Is their performance less than adequate?

  • Are they unhappy?

  • Do they make those around them miserable and FRUSTRATED?

  • Do you constantly have to explain the fundamentals of their responsibilities?

  • Are you ready to pull out your hair?

Then you may have an employee who is misplaced and out of position in the workforce.  You’ll do yourself and them a favor if you’ll either find the right fit for them, a different role, or let them go!  (Personally I’ll go the extra mile to help make it work for them to stay!)  However, I hear it all the time, “Being let go was the best thing that ever happened to me.  I would have never left on my own, and I wouldn’t have found this work that I love, without being let go from the position I was in.

If this post sounds familiar with you, but you’re still not sure, give me a call. As a Business Coach and Executive Coach,  I can spot an out of position person in no time!  And, we can use the  “DISC Profile” to be absolutely sure.  With the profile, I can coach any employee to discover for themselves where the best fit for them will be.  You’ll be glad as a leader/manager you did!  It’s the first main responsibility of managing people.  Making sure their behavioral style fits the requirements of the role they’re in!

Does this sound like your story?  If so, please share it with us below!   We’d love to know. . .

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Confessions of an Accidental Leader
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