Top 5 Tweets from Week 10 & 11 @ 2015

Here are what I consider to be my most relevant Top 5 Tweets of the past week.

#1: Why the Most Important Success Metric in SaaS is Misleading (@OpenviewPartners) It’s unfortunately too common for most organizations to investigate no further than face value of the metrics they’re tracking. Every metric tells a story, and so I always encourage you to turn several pages & look deeper into the story that’s behind the first set of numbers.

#2: Questions of Priority (@Zenhabits) I often say that “if you don’t have your own plan, then you’ll be the servant to someone else’s plan”. In addition to making sure you know what your priority is for the day, take a quick break (at least by noon) to check-in with yourself on how you’re progressing on that priority. Don’t be surprised, especially at first, if you find you’ve got to make a change in your activity in order to nail that priority you had established.

#3: 7 Traits of Companies on the Fast Track to International Growth (@HBR) Very simple attributes that help you grow internationally & scale. How many of these are on your radar?

#4: The Power of Silence for Effective Communication (@CloudMcBride) 5 very effective behaviors that you can adopt to become a better communicator. Don’t be discouraged if at first you don’t succeed at all of them. Try practicing one at a time until it becomes an ingrained new habit. And remember that it’s practice that makes perfect.

#5: LinkedIn’s Culture of Transformation (@wadors) Very powerful & simple example of establishing the cornerstone behind any success story. Culture always starts with a WHY & is followed by a WHAT (“who we aspire to be” in this case). In todays workforce, if you’re not starting with WHY, than you’re already fighting an uphill battle in trying to get your team consistently engaged & hold themselves accountable. Values (HOW) are what help people ensure they’re executing with right behavior.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve added the source of each article included in the tweet as depending on the status of your subscription to these online publications, you may have difficulty in following some or all of these links.

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Top 5 Tweets from Week 8 & 9 @ 2015

Here are what I consider to be my most relevant Top 5 Tweets of the past week. Followme Twitter

#1: When and Why to Part Ways with a Customer (@HBR); because sometimes we forget how beneficial it can be to simply fire a customer that’s not delivering value.

#2: How to energize and engage your team at work (@Resultsdotcom); There are 2 forces at work in this post, physical & emotional energy. Time Out For Renewal & Ability to Focus are physical and simple to resolve, whereas Feeling Valued & Having a Core Purpose are emotional a more complex to resolve. These emotional anchors that drive our energy & engagement, are what Christine Comaford calls mattering issues in her book Smart Tribes.

#3: 5 Common Misconceptions That Make You Bad At Networking (@FastCompany); great outline, and in summary, it’s all about the value you bring to each new relationship.

#4: The power of “small wins” (@Resultsdotcom); because making progress is the next best thing to achieving your goal. And it’s the only way to achieve your potential, one small step at a time.

#5: Use Behavioral Economics to Achieve Wellness Goals (@HBR); there’s great wisdom in appealing to our intrinsic motivators, such as these below. Forget for a moment that the originating article is about wellness, and how could these core behavioral science principles move your employees to action toward higher productivity & over achieving your goals?

  • Instead of giving a reward only to people after they meet a goal, give it to everyone in an account that they can see (like an online bank statement or even a physical gift card that isn’t yet activated). And take it away only if success is not achieved. This approach makes the reward tangible and within reach today, when the action needs to happen. It also takes advantage of our natural aversion to loss (people work harder to retain something than to earn it).
  • Use separate checks or gift cards to deliver benefits that would normally be buried in a pay stub. In short, make the smaller incentives easier to see and, therefore, more influential.
  • Construct teams so that individual efforts become group achievements. For example, rather than merely encouraging individuals to walk more, create teams whose success depends on each member walking a minimum amount (say, 7,000 steps a day). Teams would also compete against each other for prizes or bragging rights. By enlisting social norms, you capitalize on the most powerful of human motivators.
  • Turn repetitive activities, like taking medication, into a daily game in which people are eligible to participate only if they took their medication the previous day. Such an approach effectively pairs the routine with engaging and emotionally positive experience.

 

DISCLAIMER: I’ve added the source of each article included in the tweet as depending on the status of your subscription to these online publications, you may have difficulty in following some or all of these links.

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Leadership is an everyday activity

154890642In reading the leadership post “6 Ways Leaders Step Back But Don’t Step Away“, I was left to reflect once again on how a One Page Execution Plan (OPP) can be vital for you to effectively lead across an entire enterprise on an ongoing basis.

To borrow on the words of my colleagues at ThoughtLeaders, the objective is to “step back” but not “step away.” This is called working ON-your-business vs. working IN-your-business. It’s the balcony view of the dance floor, required for one to understand what’s really going on & how to best keep it growing in harmony. Once this “space” is created, a great leader supports the organization through the following actions:

– Future Domain: Sustain ongoing conversations with employees and others in the organization about the future. Don’t get stuck in the past or present. The rhythmic retrospect & forward planning cycle facilitates you to constantly launch conversations into possibilities, and see them as living entities that create the future for the organization.

– Interrogate Reality: Do not fall prey to existing mental models. The Agile Workforce & Lean Start-up practices of the OPP encourage the views of others in order to challenge mental models and paradigms. It helps you naturally interact with employees by making proposals, checking for understanding, and checking for agreement. Avoid directing; that is not the leader’s job—managers do that. The cascade planning methodology of the OPP leaves the invitation open for people to speak about the ever-changing environments in which they operate. That’s why it’s effective, and that why it’s the engaging predecessor to accountability.

– Behavior: The OPP is read left to right, values being purposefully positioned to filter activities, so that you model the behaviors that others will adopt. A leader’s behavior is contagious in the organization. It is either a turbo charger or a short circuit. It can ignite passion, evoke trust, and inspire success. But, it can also be like a rock followers cannot get out of their shoe if the right behaviors are not adopted. Actively manage behavior throughout each day. Courage, integrity, and tolerance are paramount. Be seen as self-aware, calm, in control of emotions, passionate about the organization, and one who treats people with special care relative to their needs. Look for common ground.

– Messaging: Never lose sight that the leader’s relationship with the organization is driven by the messages inferred from what they say and do. Congruent messages about direction, performance, and boundaries must exist from the top to the bottom of the organization. Your messages will not be believed if your credibility is impaired. You must always be diligent about managing integrity, with no gaps between where you stand and where you aspire to be. Leaders do not have all of the information for all situations, but they generously share content and context to help employees deal with the situations they encounter. Through the reverse hierarchy practices of the OPP, you will be open, allowing yourself to be vulnerable, and establish the trust through which success is created.

– Monitor Performance: Maintain a system of regular performance conversations with key delivery managers. This is the opportunity to test for emerging interferences and help people with interventions. Course corrections are often required due to changes in the environment, complexities, and new uncertainties. Conversations are key to unlocking new potential and protecting what exists. OPP’s Agile practices require varying degrees of tactical & strategic conversations on a daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly basis throughout the entire organization. It’s how everyone stays on the same page, and does away with the outdated, ineffective & antiquated system of formal (as we currently know them) performance reviews.

– Support: 99% of the leader’s conversations involve an opportunity for coaching. Through these conversations support is created and emulated throughout the organization. Always meet people where they are emotionally, with attentive eyes, giving freedom, engaging through questions, co-creating development possibilities, and acknowledging an employee’s effort and inner character. View everyone as a “high-potential.”

Disclaimer: The original text / post is re-represented above almost within it’s entirety. I have simply interjected references to the OPP & it’s methodology / practices for clarity & context.

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Top 5 Tweets from Week #7 @ 2015

Followme TwitterHere are what I consider to be my most relevant Top 5 Tweets of the past week.

#1: How to Manage Remote Direct Reports (@HBR), and these simple rules are actually universal, which means they’re just as relevant with your local teams. What the Experts Say that one of the biggest misconceptions about managing remote workers is that it requires an entirely different skillset. “We have a tendency to overcompensate and approach remote workers and virtual teams as these mythical beasts. “But you shouldn’t think about them in a fundamentally different way. They are still people working in an organization to get stuff done. Treat them as such.” That said, managers must put in extra effort to cultivate a positive team dynamic and ensure remote workers feel connected to other colleagues.

It requires a proactive & purposeful approach, comprised of basic principles like effectively setting expectations, communication & team (mattering) environment.

#2: When You Give Your Team a Goal, Make It a Range (@HBR) because it creates an effective & powerful communication / expectation as it gives both a minimal expected achievement & a stretch goal that inspires.

#3: How Do You End a Meeting? Asks Two Simple Questions (@LinkedIn & @work_matters)

  1. Have we made any decisions in the room today?
  2. And (if we have) how are we going to communicate them?

The first lesson is that, even though everyone may be at the same meeting, they often have clashing perceptions and opinions about which decisions were made (or not made) during the gathering. If you lead a meeting, your job is to make sure that every decision made is crystal clear to everyone present before the meeting ends. The second lesson is that leaders must make sure that decisions made in meetings are communicated to, and ultimately implemented by, their organizations.

#4: 8 Characteristics of Successful People (@LinkedIn)

  1. When challenges occur they do not panic
  2. They look on a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow
  3. They never give up when faced with a challenge
  4. They do things they are afraid to do by stepping out of their comfort zone
  5. Focus on the future rather than on the past
  6. Spend time visualising what they want and actually having what they want
  7. Do not attempt to take shortcuts to success
  8. Continually work on improving themselves

#5: HOW ONE SIMPLE CHANGE CAN MAKE YOU A BETTER LISTENER (@FastCompany), because this is the ONE trick that will immediately make you a better listener, and therefore bring more value to the next conversation you have. I’ve learned & applied this practice myself, and have taught it for many years, originally inspired by the book The Lost Art of Listening by Michael P. Nichols. The trick is to resist our natural instinct to think about your reaction to what has been said so far, and plan what you are going to say next, because there are several problems with this habit.

First, you haven’t given the other person a chance to fully say what they wanted to say completely. It’s possible that the last thing they say will change the tenor of their earlier remarks, and you’ll miss that if you are focused on your next turn. Second, and to me most important, by focusing on what you are going to say, you are paying the most attention to your own perspective on the conversation and disengaging from an effective listening / understanding mode. That can make it difficult to see things from another person’s point of view. By trying to understand the context in which someone else makes a remark, you can often get a deeper understanding of the issues they are facing.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve added the source of each article included in the tweet as depending on the status of your subscription to these online publications, you may have difficulty in following some or all of these links.

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Hierarchy & Scale

After reading a post from my good friend Stephen Lynch from Results, I wanted to add value by complementing his most recent post with my own 2 cents.

Effective hierarchy is about engagement & not about control

We’ve heard the stories about Google & Zappos leaderless initiatives, but if you’re to analyze that further, you’d realize that one didn’t get rid of hierarchy. They simply found an effective way for hierarchy to work. Not to complicate things, but I’d like to throw in a word called convergence (i.e. Convergence Theory). More specifically, when the outcome is to gradually diminish intrinsic barriers &  ideological differences, leading ultimately to a consensus of the right thing to do. This is also a variation of agreement vs alignment, when the greater good of the whole supersedes an individual need to be right.

In order for “a crowd” to execute flawlessly they need a vision to follow. In the absence of a hierarchy to set & communicate an inspiring vision, only chaos & inefficiencies can result.

The purpose of hierarchy

I like the statement “a well-managed hierarchy is among the most effective weapons for getting rid of the friction”. This is what the number 1 job of any supervisory role (regardless of its place in hierarchy), to remove any friction that impacts progress toward success.

Summary

The role of an effective hierarchy in growth & scale, which is needed in every fabric of our society, is to..

  • Create & communicate a compelling & inspiring Vision
  • Cascade effective communication engaging focus on the right set of priorities to achieve Vision
  • Facilitate an ecosystem that is focused on the removal any friction that impedes progress toward Vision
  • Recognize & celebrate every success along the road to, and when Vision is achieved
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