Category - Continuous-improvement

10.06 20170


It’s the golden anniversary of Aretha Franklin’s gold single --- RESPECT. The queen of soul powerfully demanded … R-E-S-P-E-C-T -- find out what it means to me. The song found meaning for those needing empowerment in not only personal relationships but also in political movements. Fifty years later, what does respect mean in today’s workplace? Respect is a frequently stated workplace value. It is many times lauded in corporate visions and mission statements, but do we truly live up to our stated values? I had a couple of conversations recently about respect that got me thinking. Some people overlook respect issues in a work environment due to fear of losing their livelihood, but I feel strongly that if respect issues on teams are not timely addressed, then there is a risk of total deterioration of the productivity of the team. I believe respect is essential to success for all parties involved in a situation. If you do not receive respect, then your ability to respect yourself suffers. If you do not respect yourself, then your ability to respect others suffers. Tolerating a disrespectful situation creates a vicious circular cycle of lies, fear and anger. Bill Bradley stated, “Respect your fellow human being, treat them fairly, disagree with them honestly, enjoy their friendship, explore your thoughts about one another candidly, work together for a common goal and help one another achieve it. No destructive lies. No ridiculous fears. No debilitating anger.” What does this mean … Fair Treatment – treat others courteously with empathy and the golden rule in mind no matter if they are customers, vendors, or employees. Honest Disagreement – promote transparency by eliminating the fear of opposing others views; however, remember that you are disagreeing with the ideas, not the person. Enjoyment of Friendship – foster trusting work relationships. A large part of life is spent with those with whom we work. To have a good life, we must foster the relationships with the people in it. Candid Exploration of Thoughts – be open to discussions of ideas that are very different than the current situation. Innovation can only come when we break free of what it is that we are doing today. If we keep doing what we are doing, we will keep getting what we are getting. Work Towards a Common Goal – make honest promises. Have a vision to strive for and be honest about where you are as a group in achieving it. Helping One Another – a greater height and an enhanced range of vision are achieved by lifting others up to stand on our shoulders. As an agile coach, I work with teams promoting the agile values -- Individuals and Interactions, Customer Focus, Working Product, Openness to Change. In order to build high performing teams, we promote the pillars of transparency, inspection, and adaptation. There are no limits to what can be accomplished by a focused group of like-minded people situated in a friendly, fair, respectful environment -- unafraid to disagree, explore new ideas and help one another. Annie Gottlieb stated, “Respect… is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.” In order to truly appreciate others’ uniqueness, first seek understanding and then to be understood. In your environment… Stop, Look and Listen. Each person you encounter comes to the situation with their own set of unique individual capabilities. The best and most creative solutions will harness the capabilities of the individuals of a group to create positive interactions that allow for the creation of new experiences for the whole. Integrate the strengths of the group to benefit the whole by respecting unique individual contributions. John W. Gardner said, “If you have some respect for people as they are, you can be more effective in helping them become better than they are.” In agile coaching our goal is always continuous improvement… to become better than we are today. However, don’t just focus on changing what you think is wrong… focus on making the most of what is right. In order to advance any cause, we must first inventory our team for their strengths, respect their capabilities and use those capabilities as a launching place to create a better situation by growing together from a position of strength. R-E-S-P-E-C-T… this is what respect means to me.

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01.12 20140

Think of the Possibilities…

If I could change the world… I would make it more peaceful, kinder, more intelligent, more creative, more grateful…fill in the blank. We believe that the world is wrong the way it is. It is wrong because it not the way we want it to be, not like us.   The real truth is that more than not being like us, the world is not the way we want ourselves to be.   Leo Tolstoy in one of his many moments of great wisdom remarked that everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself. Our view of the world is distorted by how we view ourselves rather than the ills that are in the world. If we can stop directing blame to others and deal with the reality of who we are, then we can begin to have huge impacts. What if it is not the other guy’s problem after all? What is it our own problem that is at the root of the troubles we are having? Can we deal with that? The truth is that we can deal with our own problems more easily than we can deal with the other guy’s problems. We have no control over others and what they have done or will do. We only have control over ourselves. Our next move is entirely our own. If we move away from the blame shifting mentality, then our next move can be onward and upward. Our limitations in the world are not due to some innate problem with the world. Our limitations are not due to limited possibilities, but rather our limitations are due to our own limited thinking and desire to control others rather than perfect self control. If we would like to create magic this holiday season, then it will not come from creating peace on earth, but from creating peace within. We can achieve peace within by promoting self accountability at its highest. The belief that our actions have impacts and that we control our actions is one of the strongest belief systems of effective individuals. If we cede control of our actions to others or maintain the false belief that things happen just because that is the way the world works, then we are self-limiting our impact in the world. If we mind shift to purposeful thinking, we begin to have impact because our focus is not on what we can not change, but rather on what we can change about ourselves. Leadership involves encouraging others to believe in what is possible for them and helping them to direct their possibilities on the right course. All things are possible; pass the word on.

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31.07 20140

Trading Passion for Glory

It’s hot out there. The late summer heat feels like a jungle. Sometimes it feels like we are in a jungle even when it is not hot because the world can seem to be full of predators. A tiger is one of the most vicious predators of the jungle.   A tiger is fast, smart and ferocious. Keepers of captive tigers always have to be on guard for sudden attack. Tigers are tricky.  A tiger has a keen understanding of its prey’s weakness and waiting for the exact moment of that weakness being exposed to attack. Once the tiger’s eye is trained for attack, its strength and tenacity are directly targeted at its prey’s known weakness. When the eyes are seen, the tiger is about to attack, and the battle must be fought based on strength alone verses evasive action. How does prey become the tiger’s fixation? Many times it is our own arrogance and complacency that puts us under attack. Most of us strive to be in a place of glory, to be esteemed as great at our chosen ambitions; however, ironically, achievement of this desired greatness often is the catalyst that leads to our own demise. Passion helps us win; it drives us forward, but when we win, we can become consumed with arrogance. Arrogance causes us to revel in the glory of winning which can lead to complacency and loss. Don’t forget history. He who forgets how he came to a place of achievement is doomed to repeat the process. This is true for great companies and true for individuals as well. We operate in an increasingly competitive environment where there is no room for complacency. There is a song called “Eye of the Tiger.” The song talks about staying alive by focusing on your passion, always in a state of ready. There is a saying that success breeds success; however, in some cases we short change success by becoming complacent. Instead of continually challenging ourselves to move forward, we linger a bit too long in the limelight and don’t see that the eye of the tiger has targeted us. When you let adoration go to your head, you lose your passion for greatness and allow for the kill. Survival is of the utmost importance when you have become the target of attack because even after a significant loss, there is an opportunity for the come back… we don’t have to lose dreams of the past; “we have to fight to keep them alive” … to know that we can push forward in any circumstance. Don’t enjoy successes too much… don’t wallow in failures either. Each is part of life and a temporary state. It is the desire to continually challenge and better ourselves with the situations placed before us—good or bad-- that allows us to stay alive and passionate. Rise up to the challenge by “staying hungry” and developing the ability to survive. Hunger for new strength, new understanding and new skills. Enjoy the thrill of the challenge. Keep your passion … don’t trade it for glory. It has been said people are only truly great when they act from their passions.

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