Avoid Being Stranded

“The past is a place of learning, not a place of living.” – Roy T. Bennet

I am a zealot of daily personal reflection. The process has revealed many opportunities for me in past years. Reflection helps process the past and improve the future.

Recognize that when we stay in the past we become stranded. For reflection to be effective, it must allow us to move forward rather than to be stuck in yesterday. The power of reflection materializes when we determine a more valuable plan for tomorrow.

The mistake I have made is failing to act on the improved plan. When I spend time in reflection, I may find many alternatives or options for moving forward. Without an effective process, you may lose sight of these options in the coming days.

Upon reflection a the path forward may seem strikingly clear. But when you fast forward a day, a week, or even months, how do you remember the new plan? Under the stress of day to day challenges, it may be difficult to implement the ideas you developed.

Capturing lessons learned is one method that helps me. I write them in a journal or in a spreadsheet. I document the actions and options that I need to pursue. This reflection, capturing, and remembering cycle that helps me grow from yesterday, and move to the future.

I have been stranded before, it does not feel great. And the longer you stay stranded, the harder it is to move forward. You have heard it said. We are best defined by our future rather than our past.

Keep moving. Find a process that works for you, and keep moving. Our future lies in what can happen, not what has happened. Each day becomes an opportunity to improve and move forward.

 

Boost Your Team’s Performance

Sometimes we are so busy, we forget to pay attention to the basics of teamwork. From my experience, here are three things you should be doing consistently and constantly to maintain a high-performance team.

1. Be transparent and explicit about expectations. When we get busy, we assume our team knows what to do and that they are busy also. The busier we get the less we communicate. If you want your team to be fully engaged, you must continuously communicate about the goals and their responsibilities. Being able to link an employee’s responsibility directly to a goal is powerful.

2. Provide feedback to individual team members at least weekly. We improve when we take time to reflect and adjust our actions. Your team is no different. Feedback will trigger reflection and help them improve. Work to provide feedback that is supportive and challenging.

3. Help your team achieve the goals. Be a part of the team. Do not isolate yourself as a leader. You can help with the required tasks or you can help by removing problems and roadblocks for others. Contribute as much as you ask others to contribute.

Even if you feel you are busy, these activities should be on your agenda. They seem very basic, but I have seen many times leaders that drift away from these basics. Try to boost your focus on these actions, and watch your team overachieve!

Loyalty

Loyal is defined as giving or showing firm and constant support or allegiance to a person or institution. A pet dog is a great example of loyalty. Your dog always greets you when you arrive in your home. It happily displays its love and loyalty.

We can be loyal to a person, an idea, a custom, a cause, or a duty. We would like to believe that loyalty does not waver regardless of the situation. We cannot be partially loyal to something, can we?  How should we handle loyalties that are in conflict with each other? The truth is a situation can affect your loyalty.

In my experience, I find it useful to always step back and view things from the perspective of my values. Loyalties develop based on external factors and experiences. But values are more basic. they have already been internalized and built into your daily actions.

If you find yourself in a situation where your loyalty is being tested, be sure to reflect on your values before you decide your next action. Be authentic. It helps.

Being a Leader in the Workplace

As a leader, defining organizational values and culture is part of your responsibility. How do you define values to your team? Do they understand the expectations of their work?

The controversy this week between the President and the NFL has captured many headlines. Reflecting on this issue, how do you feel leadership in the NFL has responded? As a leader, would you want your employees to publicly protest in their workplace? How steps would you take to resolve the issue?

I admit, I do not know enough to help negotiate through the NFL issue. But it is a great case study.

I believe that defining the culture and the values that you expect of your organization is the first step. The more difficult step is being a living example of the culture you define every single day.  Isn’t it true that your leadership is tested the most, when you least expect it. Are you ready?