Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cinderella Story: A Name Tag Recovered!

"From our ancestors come our names, but from our virtues our honors." ~Proverb

Cinderella Story: A Name Tag Recovered!

Last week, I was at a large event in the area where people were dressed in cocktail to formal attire, and while I thought there would not be name tags expected, there were, and it was good that there were, as name tags allow us to quickly "remember" those we met long ago or so briefly that age, interest or our memories are hindering us from recalling them.

Still, while the name tags are great, the sticky ones with either typed (or worse yet, hand-written) names, leave much to be desired when they fall off, end up on the back of someone's dress or suit jacket, or simply disappear...

I was tapped on the shoulder by a smiling man who informed me that his name tag fell off and apparently I stepped on it, for my four-inch heel (we were in pretty formal attire) was stuck right there in the middle of his name tag. I smiled and asked what it was worth to him to allow the situation to be funny rather than just plain awkward. We laughed, go to know each other a bit, made some silly comments about name tags and moved on. I did not mind that incident, but I feel for anyone who feels s/he must get the tag off the floor to wear it per the rules and professionalism of networking.

Oh, I agree, wear a name tag! Yes indeed, just get a name tag with your name and your company on it. This is a small investment once your logo is in the system. Get two for each person within your company, and three for those who network a lot. These are remembered (if you remember to wear them - you may want to keep one in your desk, and one in your car with the 3rd in your planner if you are a consistent networker). Put the magnetic tag on your right side (so people shaking your hand will look up and associate your name and company with your face) in between your collar bone and breast bone, and know you will be well represented, will assist others in "knowing" your name, and it won't ever be you with the Cinderella syndrome over a lost adhesive name tag!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The AGILE Leader

"There are many victories worse than a defeat." ~ George Eliot

In order for leaders to embrace change, inspire followers (who are often other leaders in their own right), and get to the end result successfully, agility is key!

Agility in a leader is not simply the flexibility to change, rather the ability to demonstrate awareness and action while not losing sight of the people, the goals and the community/company.

How agile are you? A quick assessment is below...are you:
A - Available
G - Giving
I - Interested
L - Learning
E - Effective

If you are a yes on all of these, you are likely demonstrating agility. If you reflect and find you are not available, giving, interested, learning and effective, then make some changes and get agile to improve and enhance your leadership!

Mind the Gap!

"Perhaps the best definition of progress would be the continuing efforts of men and women to narrow the gap between the convenience of the powers that be and the unwritten charter."
~ Nadine Gordimer, South-African Writer,
& Nobel Peace Prize Winner

"Mind the Gap" seems so much more civilized than "caution", "danger", or "step back"! And yet, I have only really seen it used in Europe for politely warning people of what is, in fact, a gap in the area for footing. I like it. Naturally, my mind wandered to what else we could mind...what were our American gaps?

In addition to the gaps in politics, religion and road construction, other gaps quickly entered my mind. Sticking with leadership of ourselves and others, it seems appropriate to be aware enough to mind the following gaps in order to ensure we are using our resources (time, energy, money, etc.) to the best of our abilities in order to yield positive, productive results:

* Complaining vs. Solutioning (the gap leaves positivity out and sadly welcomes negativity)
* Judging vs. Appreciating (the gap ignores differences and our strengths that combine)
* Advising vs. Friending (sometimes someone just wants an ear for listening and not a mouth full of advice)
* Snobbery vs. Exclusivity (It is not good to exclude for ill-intended reasons, yet it is smart to build and grow a niche/target)
* Demanding vs. Commanding (demanding gets compliance while commanding yields commitment)
* Expecting vs. Leading (communication, effective communication that is, is definitely not overrated)
* Telling vs. Selling (there is nothing wrong with passionately pitching an idea and getting buy-in)
* Needing vs. Wanting (need is burdensome, where want is anticipatory and focused on the results and potential outcomes)
* Hearing vs. Listening (hearing is a physical act where listening is physiological)
* Taken/Given vs. Earned (the act of realizing efforts in the form of money or accolades will likely never compare to that which is simply bestowed)
* False Politeness vs. Sincerity (people can see through the first, and long to see the second)
* Positioning vs. Interest (I said it wasn't political, but this one can cause office politics to get out of hand)
* Intent vs. Result (while intent is a consideration, results are lasting and likely tangible)

Stick with the second half, the right side, of this list, and ensure you are one who will "mind the gap" by being intentional, direct and communicative as a leader of thoughts and actions!

Friday, September 10, 2010

4 Questions

"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning."

~ Albert Einstein

4 Questions

While I often share the idea of three - seven questions to ask in certain situations, yesterday, with three different colleagues/clients, the topic of ineffective work performance was broached. When I am asked what to do/say, my mind thinks what not to do/say, as often as leaders, we tell people what we want, when we want it, and think that is interactive somehow.

Instead, an effective and revealing approach is to ask four questions of the under-performer:

1. What is going well?

2. What would you like to improve?

You have seen these first two questions many times before, and they are timeless and true, so, here are the new ones:

3. What is getting/standing in the way of you getting where you want to be/do/have?

4. As your leader, what can I do to assist you, break down any barriers, guide you, etc.?

Leave it up to them to share and communicate after you facilitate open communication. For as a leader, your role is to meet your team members where they are, and lead them where they are willing and able to go. Those four questions will uncover (or reinforce) the willing and likely the able, parts for you!