Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bailout DeMotivation

I imagine everyone knows about the Wallstreet, etc Bailout, by now. All of those companies getting bailout money should be somewhat motivational for employees. You work for a company that's falling in the market and jobs are looking more and more endangered. Uncle Sam comes along and gives you money to pull your bootstraps up. Should be kind of motivating right? Here's all of this money to get your company moving, lending, and prospering again. Great. You can rest a little easier.

Then you have companies like Citigroup who gets $45 billion of taxpayer money (part of which comes from the employees of the company) who turns around and lays off 75,000 workers and completes their purchase of a $50 million company luxury jet. Hello!!!! How can anyone at Citigroup interpret that as motivating? It's de-motivating, reducing dedication, productivity and customer service.

Yesterday on Fox Business Happy Hour, I heard a Senator talking about how these large companies should be able to keep their jets because otherwise the people who fly and service them, etc will be loosing jobs - including people who manufacture them. Hello again!!! This Citigroup jet was built in FRANCE. The last time I checked, France was not in The U.S. of A.

C'mon guys, lets take some responsibility and stop the expensive jets, the $1.2 million office makeovers, and the pre-bailout bonuses and start thinking about your employees.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What Is A Leader?

What is a leader? A question that can bring a miriade of answers. But in this forum, you're going to get mine. A leader is someone who influences others lives. A leader can help you grow by exploring new capabilities and strengths. A leader builds people.

One of the jobs of a leader is to be a guide - guide teams from formation through operation. For that, he/she also must be a mentor and facilitator. You must understand that learning never ends. We are always building and strengthening our knowledge. As a leader you have to be constantly alert to any opportunity you have to do so.

To be an excellent leader means you have the ability to "read" people. How do people react differently to various situations? The ability to be flexible helps you in dealing with and relating to people. We're not all the same - other people won't want the same type of response that you might.

In John Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You, he lists seven "deadly sins" that excellent leaders avoid:
  • trying to be liked rather than respected,

  • not asking team members for advice and help,

  • thwarting personal talent by emphasizing rules rather than skills,

  • not keeping criticism constructive,

  • not developing a sense of responsibility in team members,

  • treating everyone the same way, and

  • failing to keep people informed.
Integrity, vision, optimism, responsibility, motivation, and communication. That's what makes a successful leader.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Habit of Excellence

With my holiday break over now, it's time to get back into the swing of things. Sometimes that's difficult to do unless you have some good habits. Excellence, for instance.

Aristotle said, "We are what we repeatedly do . . . excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit". You must practice at being "excellent". Practice at obtaining knowledge. Know that you need to constantly increase your understanding of what, how, and why something needs to be done. All of this will lead to new or improved skill sets which with repetition translates into habits. Those habits then translate into excellence.

As an example of how this works, think about learning a new language. Learning a language in a class is good, but it's limited. What happens when you go to visit the country or even live there. How far do you think the classroom instruction is going to get you? Sure you'll be able to ask for a taxi or where the bathroom is, but that will only get you so far. Fact is, you'll have a lot more learning and practice to do in order for it to become an involuntary "habit" - before you become an excellent linguist and able to hold a meaningful conversation.

Put these types of habit forming applications to work in your organization and see how much further you go. You'll be surprised. It will not only benefit you, but also your team and your organization. The habit of excellence brings with it a better attitude, higher levels of commitment, and a better chance for advancement and responsibility. You can't wait for excellence to come to you or be given to you - you have to go after it.