Leadership Lessons – If You Aren’t PLOCing You Ain’t Leading 3

Chickens do it, good managers do it and leaders need to do it too. If you’re not PLOCing – you’re not leading. If you’re not PLOCing you’re just wishing and hoping things will turn out all right. When managing or leading others you can’t leave things to chance. You have to be both an efficient and effective PLOCer.

To be a good PLOCer you need to be able to do three things very well. You need to be able to communicate, educate and delegate both effectively and efficiently. You can have one without the other – but that’s not going to get you to where you and your organization need to be on time and on budget. You can be effective in completing a task or reaching an objective but not efficient because it took you and your team too long to accomplish it – or you had to redo it because it wasn’t done satisfactorily the first time.

Worth Remembering …

“For all the fashionable hype about leadership, it is unfashionable management that is being practiced and its fundamental characteristics have not changed.” – Hales

Learn to PLOC your way to success.

Plan:  You need to be very clear on what you want to accomplish and then put a plan together that will accomplish that task. If you can’t explain what you want to do and how you want to go about doing it to a 5-year-old – than you don’t understand it well enough yourself. However, keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect plan. Don’t wait for perfect before you start. You can tweak it as you go along. Stop procrastinating and get doing.

Lead: You need to lead by example. Your team is looking to you for direction. You set the pace – You set the tone. And you can’t do that by sitting in your office. Leaders need to be both seen and heard. Manage by walking around. Be prepared to roll-up your sleeves when the situation warrants it. You shouldn’t ask someone else to do something that you aren’t prepared to do yourself. However, good leaders allow others to lead if there is someone else on their team who can perform a task better than they can.

Organize: Productivity is still the name of the game. You must minimize the input to maximize the output. You need to ensure that you are getting a significant return on your most precious resource – your time and your team’s time. Start off each day knowing what needs to be accomplished that day – who is going to do it – how it’s going to be done – how long it’s going to take to complete the task and when it needs to be completed by.

Control: People do what you inspect not what you expect. Your job is to monitor your team’s performance and remove any obstacles that are getting in their way. You can control the outcome by making sure they know what is expected of them. You can control the outcome by making sure they have all the tools they’ll need to do the job and complete the task on time and on budget. You can control the outcome by making sure you have the right people, doing the right task – at the right time.

Remember to Communicate often – Let your people know how they are doing (good or bad). Educate them by making sure they know how to perform the task and if they don’t teach them how. And Delegate the task to those who are capable of accomplishing what you set out to do. And then get out of their way and let them do it. (Resist the urge to micro-manage)

PLOCing may be for the birds – but, it’s good for managers and leaders too. 😉

Life Lessons – Selling Yourself is a Contact Sport

Everybody sells. We are always selling something.  Selling involves one person communicating with an individual or group to make a sale – to persuade a client to buy something  – a product, a service, a good idea or something that satisfies your needs or their needs on a personal level , or on a business level when an individual is purchasing for a company. David Ogilvy, one of the fathers of modern advertising, said it best: “We sell or else.” If you don’t ask – you don’t get. But to get – you’ve got to learn to ask for what you want the right way.

When you think about it – your life is a series of sales presentations. Children develop selling skills early on in life to get what they want. When you want something or someone to do something, you use your selling skills. When you attempt to get a date, ask for a pay raise, provide cost-effective solutions to solve a clients problem or deal with customer service representatives, you are using your personal selling skills. (Mind you some are better at it than others)

Selling is about making a personal “Connection” with your perspective client. Selling is about building a relationship with the person you want to do business with. Selling is a contact sport. If people aren’t buying what you’re selling – than you need to re-evaluate your sales approach. You need to figure out how to get people to like you. (People do  business or hang around with people they like)

Successful salespeople are no longer adversaries who manipulate others for personal gain. Successful salespeople are consultants, partners and problem solvers. A successful salesperson’s goal is to build a long-term relationship with their clients. The most important characteristic for establishing a lasting relationship with a client is a salesperson’s willingness to provide service. Your only competitive advantage to separate yourself from your competition is the level of customer service you provide. It’s not your products, (Everybody is selling a comparable product) – it’s not your price (Someone is always willing to sell theirs for less)  – its service. Customer loyalty is established over a long period of time. Your clients must believe that you truly care about them and their welfare. Clients must believe that you have their best interest in mind.

How do you get someone to like you? The first thing you do is run out and buy a copy of Dale Carnegie‘s  book ” How to Win Friends and Influence People” What was true back in 1936 when he wrote the book – still holds true today. Treat people with respect and they will respond in kind. Keep in mind that respect is reciprocal. It’s not something that you can demand. It is something that you earn. You’ve got to give it first before you get it back.

Keys to Developing Personal and Professional Relationships Built on Mutual Respect and Trust

  • Different is just that – different. Just because others go about doing things differently than you – it doesn’t make it wrong. Embrace and celebrate the differences in people.
  • Listen to the other person’s point of view and don’t interrupt. (I listen to understand not necessarily to agree)
  • Be open-minded. Try to see things from the other persons point of view.
  • Be flexible. Does it have to be your way or no way? Will their way of doing it get the same results? Resist the urge to micro-manage.
  • Don’t argue – don’t try to bully the other person into agreeing with you. You are adults. You can agree to disagree.
  • Don’t be condescending or talk down to the other person. You are dealing with an Adult – treat them that way.
  • Don’t resort to name calling and putting the other person down – especially behind their back.
  • Don’t verbally or physically attack the other person.
  • Treat the other person the way you want to be treated.
  • Respect the fact that they have an opinion and they have a right to express that opinion – even if you don’t agree with it.
  • Effective communication takes two – the sender and the receiver. Make sure you are communicating with the other person in a style that they like.

One more thought worth thinking about. You communicate 93% of the time non-verbally. (38% by the tone of your voice and 55% of the time by your body language alone) Your words and actions must be as one or the other person will believe the non-verbal to be more accurate.  If you are sincere and truly want to build relationships with others that last – then it will be reflected in the way that you treat them. If what you are currently doing isn’t accomplishing that – then you need to change what you’re doing and try something else. Trust me – they don’t need to change – you do.  – Cheers. 🙂

Leadership Lessons – When Smoke and Mirrors Just Won’t Do 3

I’m a political junky. Watching both the Republican and Democratic conventions over the last two weeks was a real treat for me. I speak for a living so I took special interest in observing  how each Presidential Nominee presented their party’s position as to why they believe they should be elected the next President of the United States.  The Republicans have always been the very best at creating positive spin. After all they where able to get George W. Bush elected twice. (Enough said)  However, in this election – the voters are an educated voter thanks to the internet and the fact checkers. So this time around  smoke and mirrors just won’t do. Both parties will have to do their homework and get their facts straight. Social media will help bring honesty and integrity back in vogue.

Worth Remembering …

“It is better to be defeated on principle then to win on lies” – Arthur Caldwell

The events and conditions each of us experience during our formative years helps define who we are and how we view the world. We are a by-product of the environment we grew up in, we are influenced and shaped by our family and friends and their values which are passed on to us, and in turn we pass them down to our children. Values like honesty, integrity, a sense of fair play, being consistent – knowing the difference between right and wrong and acting on it – knowing what is acceptable and what is not and holding yourself and others accountable. These are the values that should be passed down to the next generation. And these are the kinds of enduring principles that we should be looking for in our leaders.

Worth Remembering …

“Before the issue of integrity can even be raised we need principles of behavior – moral convictions about what is and is not appropriate – judgements about right and wrong action. If we do not yet hold standards, we are on too low a developmental rung even to be accused of hypocrisy” – Nathaniel Branden Ph.D

Ethics is best described as a set of moral principles or values that defines what is considered right and wrong behavior for a person or group. Ethics and behaving ethically is a bit of an oxymoron these days if you take into account the corporate bailouts and the propping up of the world banking system whose collapse – to some extent – was caused by excessive greed, lack of moral convictions, and by not doing what was right. Are there two kinds of ethics? What does it say about you as a person if you behave one way at work – but behave a different way at home. Is it OK to con your customers and employees, but not your family or neighbours? I believe you are either ethical or you’re not. You may not want to lead – but you do get to decide the kind of leader you want to follow.  Choose wisely. 🙂

(c) Copyright 2012. Brian Smith-PLD. Not to be reproduced without permission. http://briansmithpld.com

Managing is a Team Sport – Park Your Ego at The Door

You and I both know that there are a number of ways to accomplish the same task. The more that you allow others to be part of the process; the more likely it is – that they’ll be interested in the results. It shouldn’t be just your way – solicit their input. Always keep in mind that you need others a great deal more than they need you. You’re going to look pretty silly trying to manage things by yourself. Remember – Managing is a team sport so park your ego at the door.

Worth Remembering … “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously” – Norman Vincent Peale

Now don’t get me wrong – it’s important to have a “healthy” ego. Trust me – I have enough ego to fill up any room I walk into. (After all I’m the ultimate Control Freak) My ego has never been in short supply but, I’ve also come to know that too much ego can become a weakness. It’s like stress. A little stress in your life is not necessarily a bad thing. Without a little stress in our lives we’d turn into couch potatoes and would never be motivated enough to do anything. But we also know that too much stress in our lives can be unhealthy. I think of ego the same way. A little ego gives us enough self-confidence in our own abilities to want to step up and take on a certain tasks or roles. However, if you have too much ego you may volunteer to take something on that you aren’t totally prepared for and then have too much pride that you won’t admit that you’re over your head.

Worth Remembering … “Bury your ego. Don’t be the star. Be the star maker” – Bud Hadfield

No one is successful by themselves. You are only as good as the people around you. Learn to build collaborative teams and establish partnerships. Both our Men’s and Women’s Olympic Gold Medal winning hockey teams didn’t start winning gold medals and world championships until we changed our way of thinking. Years of coming up short by stocking our teams with superstars and letting them do their own thing – independently of each other wasn’t getting the kinds of results that we expected. It wasn’t until everyone on the team parked their ego’s at the door and committed themselves to playing a team game did we find success. It wasn’t until everyone on the team committed themselves to playing a team role – did we start to win.

Worth Remembering … “Desire for approval and recognition is a healthy motive but the desire to be acknowledged as better, stronger, or more intelligent than a fellow being or fellow scholar easily leads to an excessively egotistic psychological adjustment” – Albert Einstein

Think of your ego as an outward expression of your internal thoughts. Your ego is a combination of self-esteem and self-confidence. If you are deficient in ether one it will express itself in the way that you act and treat others. Managing is not about being right. Managing and leading is about doing all you need to do to accomplish the task and reach the goals you’ve established for your department or business. If that means letting others have a say – and incorporating some of their thoughts and ideas into your plan – then do it. And if it means letting them do it their way – then that’s what you need to do. As long as it gets the desired results – on time and on budget – then it makes no never mind how it was accomplished. If that requires you parking your ego at the door – then so be it. 🙂

* (c) Copyright 2012 – Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Not to be reproduced without written permission.