It Takes A Village

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I wanted to share some good tidbits about effective management, collaboration, and engagement that I heard this week at a Partnership for Public Service event.


It Takes A Village – No I don’t mean the book by Hillary Clinton, but rather the idea that no one person is an island and no one can do everything themselves. Rather, we need the strengths and insights that others have to offer; we need teamwork; we need each other!


2-Way Communication – Traditionally, organizations communicate from the top-down or center to the periphery (depending how you look at it).  But that doesn’t build buy-in and ownership. To do that, we need to have 2-way communication, people’s active participation in the process, and genuine employee engagement.


Get Out Of The Way –  We (generally) don’t need to tell people how to do their jobs, but rather develop the vision for what success looks like and then get out of the way of your managers and people. “Make managers manage and let managers manage” and similarly, I would say, hold people accountable but let people work and breath!


Things Change – While it’s important to have consistency, momentum, and stay the course, you also need to be agile as the facts on the ground change.  “Disregard what’s not working, and embrace what is.” But you must stay open to new ideas and ways of doing things.


This is our world of work–our village–and either everyone helps and gets onboard the train or they risk getting run over by it. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Arguing The Negative

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I thought this was an interesting sign this gentlemen had.


It says:

“Those who reject Jesus do so because of sin, not science or evidence.”


Overall, religion is a matter of personal faith not to be argued, but rather when based to good, to be wholly respected. 


This argument though was basically saying, not to reject this particular tenet of faith of a major religion because there is “not science or evidence” from which to reject.


But usually, don’t we look for science or evidence to accept or do something. 


In other words, the default usually is that if you want me to believe in something or somebody, prove to me why I should


It’s a bad argument when you ask me to prove to you why you shouldn’t believe in something. 


Very often this is the same argument people use in relationships and in organizations.


We do the same thing everyday or over and over again, and we often don’t ask ourselves why we do it this way or believe this is a good way of doing something…we just do it. 


And in fact, when someone new comes in with “fresh eyes” and questions why we do it a certain way or have we considered another approach, we ask them to prove to us with “science or evidence” why their way is better, rather than reexamine our own ways and means.


I’m not in any way questioning here G-d or religion, but rather simply our approach to self-examination, introspection, and betterment.


Don’t ask me to prove to you why you should reject something, but rather be prepared to defend your hypothesis. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Overcoming Resistance To Change

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So have you heard of the 20-50-30 Rule when it comes to change management?


20% of the people are open and friendly to change–they are your early adopters.


50% are fence sitters–and they hold a wait and see attitude. 


30% are resisters–these are the people that will be the roadblocks to change. 


_____


Total 100%


Some will resist openly and loudly. Others will disguise their resistance in a politically correct way.  And finally some may work subversively to block change. 


The keys to overcoming the resistance is by working through the head, heart, and hands model, helping people to understand the following:


Head (Intellectual) – What is changing. 


Heart (Emotional) – Why it’s changing (and what’s in it for me–WIIFM).


Hands (Behavioral) – How is it changing.


This means changing the mindset, motivating people, and shaping behavior to effect change. 


Change and resistance to change are facts of life, but how we approach it can either mean failure or amazing transformation. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Balancing Change and Stability

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So new leaders frequently want to come into town like a knight in shining armor riding speedily on their white stallions to “save the day.” 


Being new and needing to prove themselves, change and quick results are the imperative.


The problem is that fast, quick wins can be mistakenly and superficially achieved while sacrificing longer-term organization success.  


We push people to hard, too fast, and without the underlying care and emotional feeding to duly support the rainbow in the sky changes being sought. 


People are human beings that need to be brought along in a unified manner and with a solid infrastructure and not plowed over for the sake of some short-term gains.


You can push for change so hard–you can crack the whip and you can demand what you want when you want–but rest-assured that you are leaving a great pile of destruction in your wake. 


Performance results are built by maintaining a sane balance between change and stability–pushing others to do more with less has to be replaced instead with getting out front yourself and pulling the organizational weight at a measured pace so that workers aren’t trampled by the raw, unbridled ambition of the leadership. 


You may have a great scorecard of accomplishments, but they may be the tip of what is otherwise an iceberg of discontent and disaster beneath. 


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Turning To Love

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Just an observation about love today.


But it seems that it’s far easier and more frequent to see love turn to hate and resentment than vice versa.


It’s a lot easier to destroy a relationship (or any success) than to build it to begin with.


Even as we talk about forgiveness and loving thy neighbor, it seems that more often than not negative feelings are at best turned to acceptance or neutral feelings rather than back to true endearment.


This state is often accompanied by such fears or protectionist sayings as “leopards don’t change their spots” or “love once lost is lost forever.”


While we may be willing to turn the other cheek for a moment or even a while, bad feelings and distrust towards another does not make the leap back to closeness and an endearing, loving relationship all that often.


Of course, there are exceptions where through trust building measures and “easing of sanctions” or hostilities, we can over time rebuild a relationship and become allies or partners again.


However, it is far easier to break trust and lose love then to ever rebuild and recover it.


All the more reason to cherish our meaningful relationships and make love count, sing, and dance for us every moment of every day. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

You Changing My What

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So change agents are some of the most sought after…yet most abhorrent individuals on this planet. 


We all recognize that things can be better, and on one hand, we want someone to come and help us make it so…a change agent!


However, change is painful and frequently results in unintended and unwanted consequences, and so on the other hand, we hate change agents. 


Many change agents may not just change things that need to get changed and fixed, but they may change a lot of things that were working just fine before, thank you.  


Can anyone say reorganization? 


Moreover, change agents may not be changing things for the right reasons like the good of the organization.


Instead they may be self promoters, control freaks who have to do things their way, or they may be serial job hunters–next stop change everything and get the heck out of Dodge!


Change agents may work with people to get requirements, input, and vet the issues and the solutions or they may just be paying lip service to others, only to really shove their or someone else’s agenda down your throats. 


You see there is healthy change that is based on genuine learning, growth, and maturity, and then there is change that is destructive, diabolical, and selfish. 


When you decide to change something, what’s your motivation and your goal–is it to right the wrongs in the organization, reengineer business processes, and introduce new technologies or is it to change for change’s sake alone. 


Yes, we did something. Check the box. Tell the management committee. We earned our keep and oh yeah, then some. We changed something, anything. Hip Hip Hooray. Bonus time!


So either you’ll get an award and promotion or you’ll get asked accusingly and threateningly, “Who told you to change that?!”


Change which has no real support or merit is dead on arrival (DOA), and will be gone, gone, gone long after the change agent is gone.


So don’t freak out–the b.s. changes are either going to kill the organization or simply end up in Fresh Kills landfill.


The real changes may actually make you stronger. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Superman Leadership

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This guy’s socks were very cool.

If you can say that socks make the man then perhaps this is it.

Superman that is!

No special shirt, underwear, or cape required–the socks communicate it all. 

For the man of steel or one in the making (if worn at workout time).  

Then again, I was trying to imagine someone actually having the guts or nuttiness to wear these to the office.  

If they would, it probably be with the following in mind: 

I can do anything helpful to get the job done–

1) Rolling out cutting-edge systems and business process improvements faster than a speeding bullet

2) Creating positive change more powerful than a locomotive

3) Able to leap with integrity over organizational obstacles, red tape, and naysayers in a single bound

It’s a change consultant. It’s a corner office bureaucrat.  It’s a “superleader!”

Up up and away…it can be done (even without the socks). 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)