Two Things To Know

There are two things to know.

  • Know-how:  That’s knowing how to do things yourself.
  • Know-who:  That’s knowing who to go to to get everything else done. 

None of us is perfect.


We each have strengths and weaknesses.


No one has all the answers–despite some big egos out there!


That’s why we all need each other.


Knowledge is great, but networking magnifies your potential many times over.


These are two things you definitely want to know. 😉


(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Teats Or Not

Bull

So I heard a new phrase from one of my colleagues recently…


He goes on about somebody (or something) being like “2 teats on a bull!”


I’ve always wanted to spend some serious time on a farm…but never really have had the opportunity to learn about that whole rural world, and I’m like what????


But I got it, and didn’t really like it. 


Sort of a harsh way to call someone out as a useless piece of [you know what]!


I’ve heard kids joke about “man boobs” and I sure you can guess what those unflattering things are on a male.


Too often, we write people off without giving them a real chance!


While perhaps, there can be useless appendages through genetics or illness, there are no fundamentally useless people (although maybe some can be troubled, dejected, in a bad fit, etc.).


More often, there are unflattering comments from others who don’t appreciate differences or see clearly what each person can “bring to the table.”


Let’s just say, if G-d created someone, there is reason and purpose to their lives, and we need to understand and appreciate them for their value. 


It may take (some) exploration, but everyone has strengths (as well as weaknesses–we’re all human) and we can find what each person is good at, cultivate it, and leverage it for the good. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attribution to Carol Von Canon)

Who Can Resist

Cigar
It’s the age old image of an angle sitting over one shoulder telling you to control yourself and do what’s right and a little devil hanging over the other telling you to indulge and do whatever you want. 



The New York Times says that regardless of the push and pull of these two forces in our lives, we can learn to show restraint and stay goal-oriented.



By seeing the long-term rewards of good behavior, we can avoid pigging out in the moment. 



With Kids, it’s called the Marshmallow Test–those who can resist eating a marshmallow for 15 minutes, get two marshmallows to enjoy later!



For adults, it may be that those who avoid the cake and ice cream today will live healthier and longer in the future. 



In Yiddish, there is the term sitzfleisch that refers to our ability to sit still and get our work done. 



The point is that if we can distract and distance ourselves from the indulgences of the moment, we can focus on the important things we really want to achieve with our lives. 



Of course, this is always easier said than done, because the two forces are both powerful and can be convincing.



For example, how many times can you hear, “Enjoy life a little, you aren’t going to live forever” or “You’ve worked so hard, you deserve a little break”, or “Come on, no one is perfect”…before you give in to a little excess? 



We are all tested in life, and we must try our best to pass as many as we can with flying colors–probably success is a healthy balance between living a little today in the here and now and working and saving abundantly for tomorrow’s marshmallows.



(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

When The Solution Is Worse Than The Problem

When The Solution Is Worse Than The Problem

Not to be crude, but we had some clogged plumbing over the weekend.

We tried everything to get it working again–plunger, snake, and even some septic tank treatment.

Nothing seemed to work, so at one point, my wife looked up on the Internet what to do, and it said to unwind a hanger and try that.

Well this turned out to be a huge mistake and I must’ve gotten too close to the chemical fumes–my eyes were burning.

I ended up in the ER with my eyes being flushed for close to 2 hours.

Afterwards, being very supportive and sitting with me in the hospital with my eyeballs hooked to suction cups and saline solution, my wife says to me, “This is a case when the solution (i.e. the results of our trying to fix the plumbing ourselves) is worse then the problem (the clog).”

I thought to myself boy was she right, and while it is good to be self-sufficient and try to fix and improve things ourselves, it is also good to know when to leave it to the experts.

How many times do we foolishly try to do something where “we are out of our league,” and actually can end up doing more harm then good.

In this case, I could have seriously damaged my eyes–permanently–and am so grateful to G-d that everything turned out okay.

Knowing our limits and accurately assessing risks can help us to know when to proceed ourselves and when to ask for some expert assistance.

It’s good do things for yourself and to try your best, but also value and know when to leverage other people’s strengths.

With my eyes irritated and burning and being flushed out for what seemed like an eternity, I had some serious time to ponder what can happen when things go wrong.

Years ago, I learned to “Hope (and pray) for the best, but prepare for the worst,” and I want to continue to work and improve on both these. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

And She Was…

Seeing and hearing the candidates continuous jockeying for the women’s vote in their speeches, debates, and commercials, it was sort of funny to see this sign hanging in a local store.

Anyway, I don’t know who the “she” is in this advertisement–but I think it refers to basically all women–and the description is supposed to be the many positive attributes they have–professionally and personally.

Regardless of the adjectives, maybe the point is to respect, appreciate, and treat women properly in every way–and not just at election session.

And to recognize that you can’t charm their vote, you must earn it with truth, trust, and equality.

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Leadership Lessons In a Pie

There is an interesting exercise that examines and trains leaders on strengths and weaknesses.

In the exercise, there are 8 primary skills written on the floor in a pie shape taped off into slices.

People are instructed to step into the slice where they think they are the strongest.

For example, some stepped into slices labeled visionaries, others into change catalysts, team building, or communication, and so on.

Then the group of people from each slice takes a turn and explains to everyone else how to become good at that particular skill, where they are the experts.

Then the exercise is reversed and the participants are asked to find and step into the slice that is the most challenging for them.

In this second part, the group of people in each slice then explain to the rest of the participants what makes that skill in their slice so challenging for them.

This is a thought-provoking and helpful leadership exercise that gives people an opportunity to examine and discuss their strengths and weakness and learn from each other.

While I wouldn’t say that they all slices had the same number of people–they didn’t, some had more and some less–each slice did some people to represent that skill.

Some thoughts on this pie exercise:

– By having to choose only one key strength (i.e. only one slice to stand in), it is humbling to realize all the other skills where you aren’t as strong, but seeing other people in spread across those slices too–let’s you know that it is possible.

– Also, by having to identify your most challenging leadership skill, the one where you need to focus the most attention on, it is comforting to see other people in the same slice–you are not alone.

– Seeing and hearing about the multiple leadership areas for people–both strengths and weaknesses–points to the importance of diversity of people and skills in the workplace–everyone can do something, but no one can do everything perfect.

– It is healthy to take a self-accounting of your strengths and weaknesses and learn where you can help others and where you can learn from others–thus, teamwork in leadership is just as critical as what is expected in the proverbial “rank and file.”

– Leadership skills are generally not something that you are born mastering–although some are labeled “born leaders” (or maybe “born with a silver spoon in their mouth” in more appropriate)–the vast majority of people learn and grow their leadership skills over a lifetime–and that is a good thing, so stick with it! 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Leading Along The Continuum

Body_lines

There’s a cliff.

At the bottom is a body.

What do you think may have happened?

It’s a matter of how you interpret what you find.

If you think the person:

1) Fell…
–then it is viewed as an accident.

2) Was pushed…
–then it was murder.

3) Jumped…
–then it was a suicide.

Three scenarios…three different interpretations.

With our personality attributes, it’s the same way–they can viewed either positively or negatively.

Is the person?
– Trusting or gullible
– Optimistic or impractical
– Caring or smothering
– Self-confidant or arrogant
– Ambitious or ruthless
– Organized or controlling
– Persuasive or pressuring
– Decisive or rash
– Imaginative or a dreamer
– Entrepreneurial or reckless
– Cautious or suspicious
– Economical or stingy
– Reserved or cold
– Methodical or rigid
– Analytical or nit-picky
– Thorough or obsessive
– Principled or unbending
– Flexible or inconsistent
– Sociable or dependent
– An experimenter or aimless
– Curious or nosy

Every good trait, can be viewed and interpreted as bad and vice versa.

When it comes to the workplace, you need to apply good situational leadership.

Apply your strengths with the right amount of measure along the continuum and you’re golden.

Lean too far toward either extreme, and you risk becoming a poor manager.

The better leader can apply their traits in a purposeful way rather than being controlled by them.

While the weaker one is a victim of their personality flaws.

So was it an accident, murder, or suicide?

The facts are there somewhere, but when it comes to personality much depends on how you apply it.

(Source photo: here with attribution to NYC Arthur)

>The Coloring Book of Leadership

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In a leadership course this week, I was introduced to the “Insights Wheel of Color Energies,” a framework for understanding people’s personalities and leadership styles.

In the Color Energies framework, there are four types of personalities/styles:

  • “Fiery Red”—The Director—competitive, demanding, determined, strong-willed, purposeful, and driving— they seek to “do it NOW.”
  • “Cool Blue”—The Observer—cautious, precise, deliberate, questioning, formal, and analytical—they seek to “do it right.”
  • “Sunshine Yellow”—The Inspirer—sociable, dynamic, demonstrative, enthusiastic, persuasive, and expressive. They seek to “do it together.”
  • “Earth Green”—The Supporter—caring, encouraging, sharing, patient, relaxed, and amiable—they seek to “do it in a caring way.”

There is no one best type—each is simply a personal preference. And further, each of us is “incomplete and imperfect”.

  • The one who seeks to “do it right” may miss the point with their “analysis paralysis” when something needs to be done in a time-critical fashion.
  • Similarly, the leader that’s focused on “just getting it done now” may be insensitive to providing adequate support for their people, or collaboration with others in the organization.

We saw this clearly in the class. After each person was asked to self-identify which color they were most closely aligned to, it was clear that people were oriented toward one or maybe two types, and that they did have an individual preference.

While no framework is 100% accurate, I like this one as it seems to capture key distinctions between personalities and also helped to make me more self-aware. (I am Cool Blue and Fiery Red, in case you ever decide to “tangle” with me :-).

Combining Color Energies with other personality assessment frameworks, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Strength Deployment Inventory (SDI), can help us to understand both ourselves and others.

With that knowledge we can work together more productively and more pleasantly, as we empathize with others rather than puzzling about why they act the way they do.

Once we start to identify the “color personalities” of others whom we know and work with, we can better leverage our combined strengths.

To me, therefore, leaders have to surround themselves with other excellent people, who can complement their personality and leadership styles so as to fill in the natural gaps that we each possess.