Archive for May, 2009


May 25, 2009

Encouragement has the power to inspire your team to face challenges head on, the willingness to find intrinsic value in overcoming, and the hope that our ability to truly thrive is only found in struggle.

As leaders, we are all up against some tough circumstances.  It may seem that rather than being a professional in the Human Resources field, you are a professional “fireman”… putting out fires wherever you go, and wherever you go, putting out fires.  This leaves very little room for strategic and innovative action.  But, maybe we can change that – by building a culture of encouragement.

Far too often, we see a lot of things wrong, and seek to “fix it”.  But this approach can cause resentment and a pessimistic “there’s nothing I can do” attitude.  A far more profitable approach is in increasing your recognition, acknowledgment and acts of appreciation.

So, instead of saving the forest by putting out fires, you can go about the task of planting trees.  I ask each of my corporate clients to commit to the following:

For the next two weeks, how about deliberately building a culture of acknowledgement?   Let your people know that what they do is being seen and appreciated.  Show them that you seek to reward productivity.  When possible, recognize your team in front of people….  Go out of your way to recognize them in front of their families when possible..  (A simple phone call on their day off will suffice!)


Confront the Fear

May 22, 2009

Fear is an immensely powerful thing that can paralyze us, diminish productivity, and high-jack our emotions.  In times of change and transition, which demand innovative action, fear can cripple us and bring our organization to a grinding halt.  The first thing we can do to Run to the Roar is Confront the Fear.

Have you ever seen a really skillful attorney at work?  Their eloquent ability to yield the power of words always amazes me.  One way to confront your fear is to skillfully debate whatever you are afraid of.  Fear results from threats that are both real AND perceived.  Far too often, we waste time being paralyzed by fear over possibilities that (fortunately) never materialize, and are unlikely to occur.  But, even when we are confronting the fear of a very likely possibility, it is beneficial to confront it head on.  Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Given the circumstances causing me this fear, what is the WORST thing that can happen?
  • What is the BEST thing that could happen?
  • What is the MOST LIKELY thing that WILL happen?
  • Based upon all of the information we have gathered, what seems to be our best course of action?

You are very likely to find that FEAR loses it power when it is skillfully and boldly “debated.” The most important thing to remember is that fear is temporary.  When it is confronted, it can quickly disappear.

Resist The Urge to Pull Back During Tough Times

May 11, 2009

Today, I am in Malaysia, getting ready to speak to the Human Resource Development Congress on how to become Tougher than the Times.  It is such an honor to be here, because I am surrounded by members of an organization whose goals irritate the status quo and defy natural tendencies.  You see, each person here is here to GROW and EXPAND… rather than simply to “survive”.

The natural tendency in tough times is to pull back and protect boundaries rather than courageously taking new ground.  However, by “scaling back”, we impose the biggest risk of all to our organizations.  Tough times require MORE from each of us…but especially from our leaders.

Tom Peters has been known for his advice on managing during bad economic times since the 1980’s.  In fact, he recently wrote the following about running a business in a time of “significant and sustained economic disarray”:

“Instant, mindless cutting of R&D or training in the face of a downturn is often counterproductive – or, rather, downright stupid…. [This] panicky across-the-board slash and burn tactics… de-motivate and alienate the workforce at exactly the wrong moment.”

I couldn’t have said it better and I couldn’t agree more.  In fact, my personal clients who are using this time to do MORE are accomplishing MORE… seeing MORE sales… and grabbing MORE of the market … Essentially, they are taking customers away from companies that are DE-motivating their employees and doing LESS for their customers.  In this way, the strongest companies will again rise to the top.

What are YOU doing to move your workforce FORWARD?  HOW are you equipping them to be “tougher than the times”?