Monthly Archives: April 2010

//April

Never done a days work in my life

I don’t know what it is that drives me on, that makes me want to get up and creep down to my home office before the household awakes?  “Are you working again?” “ No dear, just checking some e-mails…” I don’t like my job, I love it.  And because of this I don’t always know when I am working or not.


For a self employed person work can be measured by the amount of invoiced hours.  But in my case, the little gaps of time I set aside somehow become filled with unforeseen tasks that will not rest until they are put into action.
For employees, there is the addiction of not being able to resist reading emails on the company mobile phone, or thinking about work during leisure moments while in the company of others.  So what is it that drives busy people on?  What is it that tells us that our work is never done?

At school I was a lazy boy.  Full of dreams, I filled my days with visions of an adult life full of fun and freedom.  But somewhere between then and now my dreams have largely become my work.

Everyone talks about getting the balance right, about being able to switch off and relax.  I can do that, but I cannot keep it up for long.   Sooner or later the nagging foreman of life taps me on the shoulder reminding me that playtime is over; that there are bills to be paid and a group of people waiting for me back in the office.  But are they?  ‘The graveyard’, I am told, ‘is full of irreplaceable people’. 

If work means continuing to do something against my will then I am not sure I know what work is.  It seems that sooner or later I end up enjoying whatever it is that I do.  That’s why I have never done a days’ work in my life.  Sure there were the nightmare student holiday jobs; endlessly washing up in a greasy kitchen or filing insurance claims in a dull building in a bright new city, but that was long ago and even they were not that bad. 

Have a good week,
Harley

2016-11-17T08:25:18+00:00 0 Comments

Sometimes excellence means being able to do the same thing day in day out.

Most leaders love taking on new challenges; working in new environments, in new locations and in new industries.  For them ‘variety is the spice of life’.  However what if their leadership role needs to be focused on simply keeping the status quo?  What if their company or team has got everything just about right and improvements can only be measured in fractions of a percentage point?

For those companies that have reached a point where further expansion is pointless and where consistency is the overriding management driver, keeping everything the just the way it is can be the hardest challenge of all.  What might seem to many as a mundane nightmare, can in reality prove to be a challenging leadership task.

‘Never change a winning team’ is the favorite motto of many.  But ask any coach and he or she will tell you that that statement is a naive hope of over simplification.  Winning teams quickly become complacent and with complacency comes de-motivation and the increased likelihood of loosing.  The upward pull of the vortex of motivation is just as powerful as the downdraft of the vortex of depression.

In order to keep a team performing consistently, one must be prepared to make constant tweaks and changes:  A new initiative here, a minor improvement there.  You might, for example, need to re-deploy a ‘comfortable’ manager (even initially against his or her will) into a new challenge before they become complacent.  And you certainly will need to spend a great deal of time inventing endless variations of personal rewards for same level company performance!

A manager that has consistency as their main objective quickly learns just how tough their task can be.  Any competent leader can lead a team to victory, given the right team and the right circumstances and a bit of luck.  But only the toughest leaders can keep their team in the number one spot year in year out. 

So the next time you find yourself thinking that running a consistently outstanding company or department is much easier than turning around an under performing one, think again.  If a company that has experienced year on year double digit growth ever hits the number one spot in a flat market, trust me, they will need to replace most, if not all, of their management team!  The challenge of trying to stand still, even at the top of the mountain, is an objective too great for most.

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:25:18+00:00 0 Comments

Trust me I am a doctor!

The basis of any relationship where an instruction is given and an action is expected in return, is trust.  Whether in management or in leadership, be it in the office or at home, trust is the most important component of the foundations upon which our lives and relationships are built.  But where does trust come from and how do we install it in others?

When two strangers pass one another, be it in an office hallway or even on the street, it is customary to acknowledge one another in some polite way.  This simple act puts us at our ease and allows us to relax and continue on our journey comfortably in the belief that the other person will not harm us.  This is the very basis of trust.  Believing that another will not harm or let us down.  Trust is earned incrementally, step by step, bit by bit.

Leaders can win confidence quicker depending on the level of trust the people they lead had in the people that appointed them in the first place.  However the team’s natural skepticism can only be overturned by the leader acting in a way that installs a high degree of trust, not just through their actions but also through their past and present results.

Because all succesful leaders have a very high degree of confidence, they feel comfortable to delegate and to trust others to deliver what was agreed.  By demonstrating their skills and quickly acknowledging the skills of others, sustainable trust is progressively formed between the leader and their colleagues.  But leaders have an additional burden when it comes to trust.  They have to win the trust of all those that are under their guidance.

Weeding out your non believers. 

There are always people that will distrust you no matter how hard you try and demonstrate your worthiness.  This should not concern you too deeply as long as the doubters still believe in the vision, if not in you.  In this case the doubters will more likely than not come round in time.  However, a leader is not a leading if he or she allows non believers to straggle on continuing to spread doubt after a reasonable time has passed. 

Winning teams win because of their ability to align to a common held belief and shared commitment.  In this scenario, no one is bigger than a team, not even the leader.  Therefore trust is one of the most powerful elements that a leader needs to install in their team and this is only done by balancing all of the five elements over a prolonged period of time:  

  • Intellectual Curiosity to inspire and inform
  • Confidence to motivate pride, ego and self belief
  • Adaptability to show there is a strategy and plan for all circumstances
  • Pragmatism to demonstrate that the strategy can be implemented
  • Emotional Intelligence in order to get the maximum performance by knowing how far the leader can push and motivate the team and each of its individual before their break points are reached

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:25:19+00:00 1 Comment

Is your ego becoming a problem?

It is a sad fact of modern life that the word ‘Ego’ is beginning to take on a negative connotation. People with big ego’s are considered somehow bad and those with absent ego’s as good. Of the various dictionaries I use, I think the Collins says it best “Ego: a person’s opinion of his or her own worth”. If we accept this definition then the word ego is linked with the word pride.

Whether we like to admit to it or not, our sense of self worth is very important. Without it we lose confidence and motivation. Any leader without a big ego is unlikely to lead for long. The question to keep in check is, “is it too big”? But before attempting to answer this question a secondary question is needed; “too big for what”? In situations where self confidence and pride are an absolute necessity it is almost impossible for any ego to be too big. The very nature of the self belief expression ‘I can do this’ is built solely upon oneself, i.e. ‘ego’.

However, in a counseling group or at home on the weekend with the family, the career ego needs to remain in check. This can be difficult as it requires the balancing of three different elements; adaptability, emotional intelligence and confidence. For this reason it can be very useful to have one’s place of work a short car journey or (better still) walk from one’s home. If the journey is long enough to tie up the loose ends of the working day and to re-focus on the needs and pleasures of our loved ones, then the distance is just right. Very few people can switch from work to home between the garage and the kitchen.  For those working from home a dog can come in handy here; a short walk every morning and evening is good for both hound and master.

So my advice is; worry if your ego is too small rather than too big. Worry, if you do not feel proud of your achievements and of who you are. Worry, if you do not make the time to turn negative feelings into positive plans for reconciliation and improvement.

Have a good week,

Harley

2016-11-17T08:25:19+00:00 0 Comments