Archive for November, 2009

Drive-By Conversations

November 27, 2009
Today, I ran across an interesting article in Entrepreneur magazine:  “How Twitter is Revolutionizing Business 140 Characters at a time”.  What a concept.  Now, instead of “courting” our clients over lunch or dinner, we aim to never waste more than 14 0 characters (spaces included) to get our message across.  Instead of sit down conversations, we see people having conversations via a series of short tweets.
I do use twitter – follow me at http://twitter.com/rolfecarawan – but not as a substitute for a conversation.  In fact, I aim to the opposite.  In business, as in families, churches, and government agencies, we are lacking human interaction.  We are missing out on the encouragement and support that can only be received when we are willing to spend T-I-M-E with those we hope to encourage.
In a world of quick interactions, rushed meetings on the go, and “drive by conversations”, I have committed to having more converSTAYtions.  Conversations that I am content to linger in, enjoy, and contribute to.  Conversations are the most powerful tool we have at our disposal – for marketing, for people development, for training, and for effective leadership –  and I am re-committed to making the most of each of them. I invite you to join me.
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They Just Quit!

November 19, 2009
I have long spoken about generational differences within America’s workforce and the challenges – as well as the opportunities – a multi-generational workforce presents.   In this month’s Inc. Magazine, Penelope Trunk answered this question, “How can you tell if a member of Gen Y hates his or her boss?”  This was her response:

“You can’t.  This is a non-confrontational generation. They change politics by voting, not screaming in the streets.  And they change the workplace by quitting, rather than complaining.”

WOW!  If you are familiar with the $cost$ of employee turnover, you likely read that response feeling like you were just issued a solid punch in the gut. Now more than ever, we can’t afford for this generation’s talent, expertise and out-of-the-box thinking to walk away when small changes can keep them happily contributing to our organizations.  Here’s a great way to start:

 

  • Take a “coaching” approach to leadership and assume the best about the employee you are leading.
  • When addressing performance issues, approach employees with an open mind and an open ear – rather than a previously constructed solution to a problem they may not even have acknowledged yet.
  • Recognize there may be concerns they have not addressed and are unwilling to address in a face-to-face meeting with you.  As a leader, construct additional ways to garner feedback from those you lead.

Who is Your Favorite Chef?

November 13, 2009
Occasionally, I stumble across those “cooking shows” on television… the ones where a professional chef brings you into their kitchen and invites you to  cook a great meal with themChef – virtually, of course.  They show you the ingredients, and walk you through the recipe.  But most of all, I am struck with their passion for the dish… for the utensils… for the kitchen itself.  This is where these chefs live, love, and share.  It is where they thrive.
The worlds of business, ministry, politics and education also have these “chefs” who invite you into their world.  These “expert” chefs invite you in via books they’ve written (or recommended), conferences, blog posts, media appearances, and now even through “reality shows”.  As a student of human potential, I make a point to accept their invitation.  As with the cooking shows, I am most amazed not by the “solutions”, “tips” or “tools” these experts share, but in their passion… what keeps them going…. what motivates them.. and what demotivates them, as well.

Currently, these are the business “chefs” I am following: Ferdinand F. Fournies, author of “Coaching For Improved Work Performance” & “Why Employees Dont Do What They’re Supposed To Do”; Dr. Paul Brand & Philip Yancy, authors of “Fearfully & Wonderfully Made” ; “Fish!” by Lundin, Paul and Christiensen, and of course, my good friend and inspiring leader, Congressman Randy Forbes.

The RIGHT Strengths

November 3, 2009

j0432728Many management and leadership gurus are encouraging people to operate within their core strengths.  But, have you ever doubted whether your “sovereign foundation” included the RIGHT strengths to advance your career or your business?

Just the other day, a colleague was telling me about her highschool friend who grew up in a home with a very successful, military-minded father.  One of his brothers joined the Peace Corps before going to law school.  The other brother went to Virginia Military Institute and is an officer in the Navy.  This young man, though, didn’t seem to “fit” and, while he was very gifted in several areas, none of these more “artsy” or “soft” strengths seem to qualify.   To this day, he feels like he would have to be someone else entirely in order to gain his parent’s acceptance. I can relate.

So, what about you?  Do your strengths “not qualify” at work? At home?  At church?   While there may be NO existing outlet in your life for your strengths to be showcased, there is no law against creating one!!  What do others regularly say you are “a natural” at doing?  What are you doing when you “forget the time” because you enjoy it so much?  Why not ACTIVELY look for an opportunity to operate out of THIS strength?