Archive for November, 2008

27
Nov
08

A Thanksgiving Tradition

Well, it’s Thanksgiving morning and it’s time to think about all of the Thanksgiving traditions that you may celebrate.  I’m guessing it probably includes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, turkey, football and a nice, healthy nap.  At least that’s what my day consists of!

One tradition that our family started a few years ago was to call one person each Thanksgiving and tell themblog-pics-005 that we were thankful for them.  Thanksgiving gives you the opportuity to really focus on, well, what it is that you are truly thankful for.  That can be anything.  Your health, job, friends, family.  Take your pick, but I’m willing to guess that the things that you are really most thankful for are the things that you can’t buy.  It’s the people in your life that make the difference.

I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving holiday!  I have to go because I’ve got a phone call to make!

26
Nov
08

Thanksgiving-Leadership Style

It’s Thanksgiving Eve and everyone is getting ready to spend time with family over the next few days.  If you’re like some (ok, most) you’re probably not getting much done around the office because, well, it’s the day before Thanksgiving and you’ve already mentally checked out and already have mentally devoured your first plate of turkey and stuffing.  Anyone ready for a nap yet?

But hold on.  Before you reach for the pumpkin pie, take a moment to think about what you are thankful for in your workplace.  Thankful at work?  Yes, thankful at work.

If you are currently or have ever been in a leadership position, WHAT have you accomplished this year?  More importantly, HOW did you accomplish it?  MOST importantly, WHO helped you accomplish and reach those goals?  I’m willing to bet, that it wasn’t all you or your stoic leadership style that got you to where your organization is now.  The people that make or break you, are the people that take up the cause, embrace the vision that you set forth, and follow your leadership.  For better or worse, they have demonstrated what Dr. John Maxwell calls the “Law of Buy-in”.  If no one is following you as a leader, than you are merely taking a nice walk–by yourself.

So, now that you’ve come to grips that maybe you’re not the center of your organization’s universe, how do you say “thank you” to those that follow you and your leadership?  Here’s a couple of ideas:

  1. Tell them early and often-One thing that I started a few months ago was making a goal to tell my team what I truly appreciated about them from the past week.  Sometimes it was the way that they handled a tough phone call, the way that they exhibited professionalism in a tough circumstance, or sometimes it was as simple as thanking a team member for demonstrating that they truly caught and embraced the vision of where we were heading as an organization.  If you want to know exactly how I did this, email me and I’ll give you more specific details.
  2. Believe in them–Let’s be honest.  Down deep, we all have those days that we doubt ourselves.  If you have them, you can bet that your team members have them as well.  Over the past few months, there has been nothing more rewarding for me to know that someone, somewhere appreciates my skills and abilities and believes in me.  My team has demonstrated their belief in me and for that I am truly thankful.  I think this in part, is because I unabashedly, shamelessly, believe in them.  One way to demonstrate this is to share with them WHAT you would like to have accomplished, but not necessarily HOW you want it accomplished.  If you’ve hired the right people to be part of your team, the results will astound you.  This allows your team members to have ownership into whatever project they are working on.  You let them put their personal stamp on a project.  They can confidently and proudly say, “I did that!”
  3. Be specific–When you tell your team members what you appreciate about them and what you are thankful for, be as painfully specific as you can be.  Instead of, “I like the way you answer the phone”, try this, “I appreciate how you always answer the phone with a smile and greet each person that calls like you’ve known them for years.  That sets the tone for each person we talk with to have a pleasant experience when they call us.  Thanks for setting the tone and making our customers feel welcome.”  See specific, not general.

So, there are a few quick ways to express appreciation and gratitude for those that you work with everyday.  Not nearly an exhaustive list, but at least something to start with.

As for me, if you can’t tell already, I’m wild about my team.  The past few months that I’ve had the  opportunity to serve with them has been some of the best of my professional career.  Thanks for coming along on this ride with me.  I can’t say it enough–thanks!

21
Nov
08

Success by Seuss

if-i-ran-the-zoo-cover

 

 

As a child, I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Seuss books. His unique mixtures of poetry, alliteration and imagination have sparked the creativity and imaginations of youngsters for generations. In fact, many adults still enjoy reading Seuss books, and, like me, often find new meaning behind the rhyming, chiming words on the page.

One evening, I was reading “If I Ran the Zoo” to our son. The book focuses on a young boy’s dreams of what kind of animals he would have at his zoo. Upon my  more mature reading, I noticed that tucked away in the middle of the book was a bit of career advice. While Seuss probably didn’t intend for this to be used in such a way, its simple yet poignant message merits review:

And that’s what I’ll do,

Said young Gerald McGrew.

If you want to catch beasts you don’t see everyday,

You have to go places quite out-of-the way.

You have to go places no others can get to.

You have to get cold and you have to get wet, too.

 

So, what significance do Seuss and Gerald McGrew hold for you?

You are chasing something better.

Gerald McGrew was chasing exotic and imaginative beasts for his extraordinary zoo. You are chasing dreams and goals for you and your family-a better job, a pay raise, greater quality of life.

You are traveling to places on your journey that others will not.

Young Gerald noted that to catch the beasts he sought, he would have to go unexpected places. Everyone’s journey to obtaining their goals can vary greatly. One person may have to work their way up the corporate ladder to achieve their goal.  Another person may have built a vast network for professional and personal connections that can help them along in their journey.  Whatever your situation, you have chosen to embark on a journey that not everyone is able or willing to take.

 

You will do whatever it takes to reach your goals.

Gerald McGrew endured extremes to find what he was searching for. While you won’t have to get cold and wet, you will face the challenge of balancing the everyday demands of life: work, family, school, extracurricular activities, and more. These can quickly become unbalanced, but you are willing to make the adjustments necessary to keep priorities in check and complete tasks responsibly.

You are committed.

Gerald wanted an out-of-the-ordinary zoo that would contain beasts like no others ever seen before. He showed his dedication to this goal by exclaiming, “That’s what I’ll do!” Above all, he was committed. Like Gerald, you are showing your commitment to your development and your goals by creating time in your busy schedule to complete your degree.

Take a lesson from young Gerald McGrew-don’t be afraid to dream wildly and pursue the opportunity to live out those dreams. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!