Leaders Plan

People who plan tend to develop an organized course of action, setting clear expectations and deadlines. The alternative is to improvise – figure things out as you go, without much planning and preparation. I used to teach jazz. I assure you that I was nothing like the guy from “Whiplash“. But improvisation is important. And … Read more

Leaders Explore Implications

People who explore implications show patience in evaluating ideas to determine potential benefits and drawbacks. I stayed in a brand-new hotel recently, and noticed something odd; the bathroom door was spring loaded to swing shut. Furthermore, when I checked in, the bathroom light and fan were on and running. This meant that when I entered … Read more

Success Pointers from the Non-Profit World

Non-profits often have the challenge we explored last week: constraints. Constraints include lower budgets, impact of economic downturns on funding and volunteer efforts, and cycles driven by major programs. For these reasons, they come up with creative ways to maintain success and engagement. Even if you don’t lead in a non-profit, many of their ideas … Read more

Leaders Celebrate Constraints

When I was a band teacher, we experienced a staff cut. In 10 years, the department went from 7 teachers serving about 500 students to 5 teachers serving 600. The superintended gave us that left-handed compliment that’s supposed to reassure us while also keeping us quiet: “If anyone could do this, you can. We believe … Read more

Use Micro-Management as a Learning Tool

Micromanagement gets a bad name. Deservedly so – you will alienate your best people if you tell them how to size the columns and what font to use for the Tracking Performance Spreadsheet reports, and really make them feel like children when you stand over them to dictate the angle of the staple when they attach … Read more

Leaders Ask “How Would I Put Myself Out of Business?”

I heard a great question from Des Moines business leader Nora Everett of Principal: “How would you put yourself out of business?” Whether you apply it to your entire business, or your team, you can come up with some great improvement ideas from exploring this question. I applied it to my own business and came up with … Read more