LeadershipTips

Transformation begins with small but mighty changes.

Determining Success

“Your growth determines who you are.  Who you are will determine who you attract.  Who you attract determines the success of your organization.” – John Maxwell

What do you value? What does your organization value? How will those values lead to success?

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Bright Ideas:

Complacency develops for many reasons, with one being a perception that new ideas are unwelcome or even rejected. To combat complacency, consider ways you can encourage ideas from employees at all levels. Allowing employees to submit Bright Ideas to a peer group for review and implementation honors employees’ ideas while simultaneously improving the organization.

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Cast Vision for Change

Help your team members envision a brighter future, with the change in action. While being transparent, consider what positive outcome we can all focus on as a result of the change.

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Anticipate Conflict

High performing teams, and teams of individuals who are just getting to know each other may have different ideas, visions, and opinions. As the team leader, be prepared to manage all voices and conflicts that may occur as teams are beginning to build trust and execute together.

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A Journey

It’s easy to think that an organization can “arrive” at excellence and then take a breather. In reality, organizational excellence requires a constant effort and process of reflecting on where you are and where you need to be. Having a framework and set of principles to guide this effort keeps teams moving forward and aligned.

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Outside Perspective

Not sure what to change or if change is needed? Invite a critical friend to observe your meeting and offer feedback. An outside perspective can provide valuable insight.

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Check in with Stakeholders

Schedule time each quarter to connect with a few external stakeholders. Ask for feedback and perceptions about the organization’s progress. Directly ask if there are any trends to which you should be paying close attention.

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If You’re in a Hole Stop Digging

Communicate about a crisis as openly and honestly as possible. Don’t try to leave out information, mislead the public or the media, or avoid owning up to the crisis. The crisis may feel detrimental at the time. However, in the long-run, the attempt to cover it up can leave an organization’s reputation in shambles.

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Remember Why You Started

Don’t forget why you started on the path of continuous improvement. Regularly remind yourself and your team why changes are occurring, particularly during the tougher phases.

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Tackle Problems One by One

When working on a Fishbone diagram, you may find that there could be several problems related to your project that need to be addressed, but do not attempt to answer them all using one diagram. Give each problem its own diagram to reach individual root causes.

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Reach Out & Learn

Have someone you would love to learn from? Approach them! Be ready to make the commitment to bettering yourself and your career today.

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Stop What Doesn’t Work

Revisit your organization’s processes every 90 days and decide if it is effective and efficient or if the process could be improved or stopped altogether.

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Decide When Adjustment is Necessary

Have a look at your compliance standards. Where are you allowing variance, and should you?

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One Step at a Time

Review the strategic actions of a current goal and break the actions into smaller steps to be measured with more frequency. This will create the opportunity for small, achievable wins that build momentum and confidence within the team.

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To Be Great, Innovate

Nothing new or great is achieved by doing things the way they have always been done. Leaders that apply a results-focused approach are not afraid to experiment and take risks while understanding the importance of celebrating small steps of success.

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Find Opportunities to Grow

Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions, drive, and your effect on others. To improve your self-awareness, observe how you react to mistakes. Do you apologize when appropriate or do you become defensive and blame others? Ask a critical friend to be brutally honest when it comes to your growth in self-awareness. Adopt the mindset that coaching is caring. Challenge changes us for the better, look for opportunities in your daily routine to stretch yourself and grow in areas where you are not an expert.

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Paint a Picture with Your Team

Fully activating a strategic plan and engaging all employees includes setting the stage and helping your team visualize the destination. How can you paint a picture of what the future will look like once the vision is accomplished? How will you inspire your team to enthusiastically embrace the vision and the strategic plan? Create a story to help your employees visualize your organization in 5 years and use your employees in the starring roles. Include in the storyline, what right looks like, and ask each employee how they see themselves supporting these goals. What actions will they take?

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New Leader to the Organization?

Spend as much time as possible observing and learning.

  • Review all of your organization’s content possible such as training manuals, and reports
  • Set up meetings with employees at all levels of the organization
  • Seek to learn and understand as much as you can about practices, processes, the organization’s culture, and the employees personally
  • Discuss what’s working well, areas that could be improved, and personal and professional goals
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Recognize Silos Taking Place

Symptoms of silos include:

  • Lack of information or knowledge sharing across teams,
  • Major projects are a surprise to people outside specific divisions,
  • Infrequent communication from leadership,
  • Inconsistent communication from leaders,
  • Multiple departments are working on similar projects or research simultaneously creating a duplication of work.
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Do What You Say

Follow through with your crisis communication plan after the crisis has blown over. Do what you say you will do to overcome the obstacle. Continue to keep the community updated about progress the organization is making or changes to the plan. Continue listening to your stakeholders to support rebuilding relationships and trust. After the crisis, analyze what worked well and areas the organization can improve their response before the next crisis.

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Don’t Ignore a Crisis

An organization’s reputation will fare better during a crisis if the organization can get in front of the messages being released in the media. Controlling the messages rather than allowing speculation and rumors to spread helps the organization maintain its reputation. Don’t ignore a crisis or requests for information from the media. Silence will only increase the problem.

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Prepare for a Crisis

How will you respond when a crisis hits your organization? What information needs to be communicated to employees? to stakeholders? to the community? Outline and know the process for handling a crisis within your organization. If there isn’t one already, assemble a team to develop a crisis communication plan.

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Consistent Poor Performance

We give people every opportunity to improve their skills and choose to change their behavior through coaching, performance conversations, and development opportunities. When people aren’t compliant, don’t live the standards, or become toxic to our organization, it’s time to take steps to transition the individual off the team. If you’ve had multiple performance correction conversations with the same individual, take the next step today to moving them out of the organization.

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Prepare for Tough Questions

When leaders are communicating with employees about goals, strategy, or organizational change, employees often have tough questions. When cascading communication to leaders, anticipate the tough questions employees will have and include key-worded responses to establish a consistent, clear message throughout the organization.

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Win Vs. Loss

When we’re trying to accomplish really important goals, it’s easy to forget to celebrate progress. For one week, keep a tally of the number of times you point out a set-back and a tally of the number of times you celebrate a win. Do the wins win? If you proclaimed the negative more often, try again next week. Build a habit of celebrating wins that matter.

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Build Culture Daily

Use quick huddles or short beginning of shift meetings to culture build by highlighting one of the organization’s values or standards. Tell a story about the value or standard in action and discuss common barriers to living the value. Let a different team member lead the conversation each day.

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Make the Application Process Easy

Candidates spend a lot of time looking for the right jobs, reading job descriptions, and filling out forms to apply for positions. The easier the application process is for your potential candidates, the more likely you are to get more highly qualified applicants. High performing job seekers who are currently working will appreciate the efficiency of a straight forward, easy application process.

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Role Model Ownership

Leaders lead by always owning the organization in good times and in challenging times. State the mission/vision of the organization early and often to employees and invite discussion about what it means to bring the organization’s mission and vision to life daily. Model owner behavior daily and particularly in times of challenge. Maintain emotional control and maintain the focus on reaching goals and achieving the mission.

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Stretch Yourself

Identify a new challenge you would like to take on or a new skill you are passionate about developing. Are you an aspiring leader who would like to gain more experience? What area could you develop that will get you closer to your career goals? Create a plan for the next 90 days to challenge yourself.

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Where Are You Going?

If your organization isn’t providing a formal career map or development plan for you, take ownership and create your own. What do you want to get out of your career? In what areas would you like to advance your skills?

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Build on Your Strengths

What are your greatest work successes? What are your talents and strengths? Think of one way to increase the use of your talents and strengths, that have lead to past successes, in your work now and implement it.

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Meet with High Performers Monthly

50% of high performers say they expect at least a monthly sit down with their managers, but only 53% say their manager delivers on their feedback expectations. High performers want feedback. They want dialogue with you as their leader. Make monthly meetings with high performers a priority.

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Create an Appreciation Board

Write one thank you note thanking one employee for extra effort at work, post the note on the board, and provide blank cards and pens for others to add their own notes. Intentional expressions of gratitude by leaders provide opportunities for peers to express gratitude and help employees reconnect to purpose and worthwhile work.

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Change Begins with Honesty

To affect change, we must be honest with ourselves and with others. Explain to stakeholders why their feedback is important and necessary to help the organization improve.

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Leaders in Service

Team leaders and organization leaders set the example for how customers are treated. When leaders connect with employees, employees learn how to connect with their stakeholders. Connect with at least one employee each day this week.

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Find a Copilot

A copilot mentoring relationship is reciprocal. Both parties can rely on each other for help navigating the personalities in the workplace, talking through projects, and holding each other accountable. Think of a copilot that would help you improve your engagement level and the quality of your work.

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Work for Good

Does your organization benefit society while also doing business? If your organization operates in a sustainable way or benefits humanity, it’s important to create a strategy for communicating that with the public. Choose at least one way to convey honest, open information about how the organization operates that will be most meaningful to your customers.

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Commit to Monthly Meetings

Employees want leaders who are approachable, work alongside them, provide training and development opportunities, build a relationship with them, and utilize efficient systems. These needs can be met by participating in one-on-one monthly meetings with individuals you supervise. Make a commitment today by scheduling monthly meetings for next month.

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Talk Yourself Up

We can be our own biggest critic if we let ourselves. An internal monologue of negative thoughts can be detrimental to self-esteem. Even if we don’t realize it, we are in control of our thoughts. Today, focus on letting negative thoughts pass and replacing those messages with a positive statement instead.

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Stay True to Your Organization

Employees feel valuable and motivated when they are recognized for their contributions. Authentic, consistent, and specific recognition aligned with the organization’s values is the most effective. Aim for recognition that feels organic rather than forced.

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From Feedback to Actions

Identify 1-2 specific, high-leverage next steps from stakeholder feedback that will make the biggest difference to those you serve and drive the results you aim to achieve.

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Develop Norms for Emails

Create organizational standards for email communication. Should the sender receive a response within 24 hours? Are your employees expected to answer emails after-hours? After email standards have been created, leadership will set an example by role-modeling the expected behaviors.

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Plan for the Future

Reflect on where you see the organization going in the next five years. Is that where you want it to go? What actions can you take to align the organization with your five year vision?

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Be Prepared

Research what’s trending in your industry and anticipate what problems you will encounter for the projects you’re currently working on and brainstorm 3 potential solutions for each scenario.

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Keep Your Cool

Avoid adding to your pain and suffering by being overly sensitive. Don’t over-react to minor things or take things too personally.

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Connect by Relating

Relate, don’t compare. During every meeting and interaction this week, identify how you can transfer and implement an idea or best practice to your team.

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Invite New-Hires into the Story

Stories build legends and legends build legacies. Share the stories that shaped your company and values with a new-hire.

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Leadership is a Choice

Being a leader is a choice you make each day you come to work. Choose to listen better, set and role model higher standards, and provide more clarity to your team.

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Everyone’s a Leader

Think about how you impact the culture and climate of the organization. Identify and commit to role modeling an element of your culture today.

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Best Practices Out-Perform

Identify a best practice that’s currently being used by another unit or department that your team can implement to improve performance.

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Priorities Align to Values

Analyze your actions for today and determine if they are in line with the mission and values of your organization. Identify what actions will lead to the most results and spend your time accordingly.

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Live Your Values

Identify what it looks like to model one of your organization’s values for all of your employees. Values shouldn’t live on paper. They live in your actions. Your core values set the expectations for behavior for everyone to model.

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Start Small

Start moving barriers today by writing down your top three obstacles. “Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.” – Michael Jordan

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Craft your character

You cannot pick your talents or IQ, but you can choose your character. You can’t separate a leader’s character from his or her actions. As you live your life and make daily choices, you are continuing to create your character.

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Create a Vision

People follow leaders that can see beyond today’s problems and visualize a brighter future. Show your team the connection between today, the future of the organization, and how they fit in.

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