That’s Not What I Wanted…

Getting the Results You’re Looking For

I spent the early part of my career as a software developer. The nice thing about software is that it is highly predictable. Barring hardware problems, software does exactly what the developer tells it to do. Even bugs aren’t the software’s fault – it’s just doing code-944504_640exactly what some developer (either of the application, the compiler, or underlying operating system) told it to do. Not necessarily what the developer wanted, but what it was told to do. The developer’s job is to provide thorough and accurate instructions so the software behaves correctly.

If only human interactions were that straight-forward.
Continue reading That’s Not What I Wanted…

Gratitude: High Yield, Low Risk Investments

Opportunities You Can’t Afford to Miss

thank-you-490607_640This week I talked with a man who was frustrated by a boss who wouldn’t say, “thank you”. This isn’t a “high-needs” guy, but he’s self-aware enough to recognize that, like most of us, he’s energized by gratitude. Having just poured extraordinary effort into a successful endeavor, a little appreciation seemed reasonable.
Continue reading Gratitude: High Yield, Low Risk Investments

Influential Listening

Raising the Bar on Leadership Listening

Think about a conversation with someone who gives you his full attention, is genuinely interested in what you say, and doesn’t talk about himself all the time.  These conversations leave you energized and willing to do your best to help that person.Ear-Crop

Compare that to a conversation with someone who is all about his own agenda and knows you need his wisdom and stories.  Your energy and commitment to help him succeed is diminished. Continue reading Influential Listening

When “Excellent” Isn’t

Why “Excellence in Everything” Produces Excellence in Nothing

Like most people, I’m a fan of excellence. But when everything gets labelled “excellent”, rolls-royce-526054__180we devalue the word to where it doesn’t really mean anything. And it certainly doesn’t create the motivation we’re trying to inspire when we use it in our mission, vision, and value statements.

The problem is that no one can be excellent at everything. Continue reading When “Excellent” Isn’t

The Power of Informal Communication

Making Clear What’s Really Important

Paul felt his staff’s productivity was being hampered by constant disruptions giraffes-627031_640from other staff members. So he made it a standing agenda item at his weekly staff meetings to remind everyone to consider the impact on the other person before interrupting. Was the issue urgent enough to justify the disruption? He offered tips each week, like collecting non-urgent disruptions and handling them all at once instead of interrupting for each one; or using email instead of text messages if an immediate response wasn’t necessary.

After a couple of months, Paul was frustrated that he wasn’t seeing much change.
Continue reading The Power of Informal Communication

Do You Really Want to Change…?

…Or Just Wish You Wanted to Change?

The prologue to the award-winning musical, Into the Woods, starts off with the key characters reciting things they wish for, like this stanza by Jack’s mother:caterpillar-butterfly

I wish my son were not a fool.
I wish my house was not a mess.
I wish the cow was full of milk.
I wish the house was full of gold-
I wish a lot of things…

Wishing is one thing; wanting it enough to take action is something different.  Pursuing what we really want is hard because it requires us to change. Continue reading Do You Really Want to Change…?

Compliance vs. Commitment

When “Just Do It” Isn’t Enough

Leaders tend to be smart people. That’s the problem. With an abundance of our own good ideas and answers, it’s hard to give others a meaningful role in our endeavors.

Our education-rich culture leads us to expect followers to flock to us if we simply reveal our wisdom. Sometimes short-term evidence affirms that idea. People get excited by our vision and imagine themselves in the picture. But eventually their energy wanes as they realize our vision lacks room for their ideas.
Continue reading Compliance vs. Commitment

Success From the Start

Leveraging Your Personal Values

Andrew CROPOur guest blogger, Andrew, is currently serving as an intern at enLumen Leadership Services.  Andrew wrote this article about his older brother, Timothy, who continually inspires Andrew toward excellence as he pursues his career in the music industry.

Timothy was nineteen when he landed the job in Community Care, a public relations branch at Action Property Management Company. Typical kid, typical entry-level job. What set Timothy apart were the values behind his work ethic. Timothy is the sort of person who will not rest until he has done the best, most efficient job possible. From day one, he demonstrated this through his tireless pursuit of excellence at Action. Continue reading Success From the Start