Pareto For Managers Building People

“80% of the results come from 20% of the effort. Focus on the right 20%.” Phil

Phil...the brain
Phil Larson

Right this minute, my desk is a mess. Multiple projects for clients and engagements in the non-profit sector press for attention. How do I decide what to pick up and what to put down? Building the people around me seems the best and most prudent decision to engage effectiveness. Those built today become power for tomorrow.

The decision mechanism of important versus urgent seems inadequate. Important plus urgent must be priority one. Important but not urgent brings best results and is priority two. Not important but urgent earns a three. Finally, not important and not urgent should go to trash bin or some holding pattern for when it changes to something that needs attention.

Executives and managers can make multiple critical decisions every hour. Sometimes it seems there are multiple decisions each minute. There is a way to sort. There is a way to prioritize and get optimum results.

Rebellion to tyranny is obedience to God. Thomas Jefferson

Maybe this quote is a little out of place for the discussion. Or is it? Is the tyranny of urgent matters as tyrannical as a king in a country across the ocean? Maybe it is closer to home and more impactful on bad and disorderly living than a governmental system could be. Somehow, I don’t think Jefferson was pointing us to Godliness as much as making a strong position for self governance. Self governance reduces tyranny of the urgent

80/20 : 80% of results come from 20% of the people. 80% of sales come from 20% of the customers. 80% of our smiles come from 20% of our thoughts. One and one we can make comparisons of 80% from 20% whether they are true or not. This is not a rule but a guideline. In the work of developing people it is most applicable when you focus on the right 20%.

The Right 20% Takes Right Approach

Stimulate Creative Thought: This is a right 20% in developing others. Don’t just allow creative thought, stimulate creative thought. Management by the book and standard operational procedure can produce quality and it can also produce stiff brained obeisance. Robot staff will not produce the right 80%.

Challenge Progress Reports: How often do you open a progress report and wonder if anything of any real value was accomplished? Do you ask questions? Do you get clarification? Are you managing for effective, right results or just results? Our desire to please others and do the expected job can cause us to use reports as promotional material instead of decision making material. Unchallenged over time, everyone can get caught in meaningless redundancy and semantic fluff.

Affirm Specifically: “Good job, Jack.” That is a lame statement. “Jack, I appreciate your taking care of the details on this report while providing a succinct executive summary from which I can make a decision.” Okay, Jack can curve his future results to match that statement and bring me the 80% effectiveness I need from 20% of his efforts.

Correct in Private: It is tough to resist correction at the time of fault.  When coaching a developing team, it was painful to watch failure after failure pile up at an event. Stupid is as stupid does. Finally, I interjected some correction. The result was an angered staffer, who was doing the best he had been coached in the past. Now, I had to get him aside, heal the pain, and get him reengaged in the success of the moment. Better would have been to take mental notes and review in a post mortem along with all of the successes.

Summary: You can get 80% of results from your staff with 20% of your effort. They can get 80% of their results from 20% of the effort. All the fancy grids and principles are useless if you are not concentrating on the right 80% and the right 20%. Those come from developing your team to target in manners that build the person not just the results. In the end, it is the person that will make the results appear within any system or process or procedure.

Champion Fathers Tourney and Luncheon
The Time is Right.

Face and Voice = Essential Communicators

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There are certain bridges that are not worth crossing, no matter what others think. Loyalty and relationships are important.  Tony Dungy, Quiet Strength

That quote jumps from every picture and presentation I’ve seen of Tony Dungy.  He never needed to say it because his face and voice always say it.  You should be like that.  Your face and voice define you.

Use your face and voice to communicate needed messages and lessons to those you serve.  Engage the power of your passion and allow the deep roots of your heart to be visible.  Common management philosophy leads to common results.  Great leaders such as Tony Dungy, legendary coach and motivator, allow face and voice to say, “Commitment counts,” even when others want to avoid transparency.

Speed of communication does not replace the need for face and voice.

Mass of communication does not replace the value of face and voice.

Repetition of communication does not replace the power of face and voice.

Face and voice communicate beyond words into value, passion, and power.

“Let’s discuss this,” announces the executive.

A gregarious and generous leader brings comforting value in communications that reaches the heart of those following when face and voice are engaged.  An opportunity to discuss with such a person is welcome.

An angry and tempestuous leader stirs anxiety through face and voice.  An opportunity to discuss may be avoided.

A pompous and persuasive face and voice bring different understanding to the same words spoken by a serving and heartfelt communicator.

The message can be the same, but face and voice provide platform.

Great leaders are masters of face and voice and command control of them at appropriate times and places.  Greatness of communications comes out of the transparency of that face and voice.  Sure there are false faces and feigned voices of politician leaders.  You don’t have to be in politics to lead politically.  You don’t have to be a political leader if you are a politician in the service of the people. Those around the false faced politician discover over time the difference and words become hollow and leadership ability wanes.

One of my great communicator friends is Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center For Fathering.  I love to be around Carey and let him rub off on me.  During one of our early conversations, upon walking up to me he said, “I remember you, you’re the one with the kind face for everyone.”  His observation shocked me and pleased me.  Certainly there are many days my face and voice communicate other stances, but this was the one he received and valued and affirmed.  It was a transparent communication back to me of what value I was bringing into relationships.  Face and voice communicated for me where letters and email might not.  Carey’s face and voice will always say to me, “open, honest, forthright, committed” framed in that and other interactions.  Every communication I receive from him will be tampered with his face and voice. (Catch Carey at www.fathers.com)

Be you.  Let that face and voice of your deepest heart come out.  Quit hiding behind emails and power point presentations. Take your face and voice out there and engage.  Of course there needs to be a compassionate and concerned heart that leads for the good of others for a servant leader, but that is another missive.

Ready to do something big in your organization?  Call me at 405-388-8037.  Let’s talk.  phil@shepherdok.com

Manage DIRFT: Quit putting out fires! 4 Attention Items.

Overwhelming issues seem to have some similar roots.  A disaster or two can send any organization or business into a spin. Resource management is challenged.  How often does the inattention to right details at right moments create the spin?  How often is the spin self initiated?

Operations can be smooth.  They must be effective.  DIRFT needs managed.

DIRFT?  Do It Right The First Time.  This simple acronym should entertain the attention of every executive and manager.  Engage it.  Paint it on your forehead.  Demand it.  Coach it.  Live it.

Control what is knowable:  U.S. Grant was an amazing manger of DIRFT.  It turned the war his direction many times.  On one occasion General Sherman wrote this about him. “The campaign of Vicksburg, in its conception and execution, belonged exclusively to General Grant, not only in the great whole, but in the thousands of its details…. No commanding general of any army ever gave more of his personal attention to details.”

Grant did not leave anything to chance.  Faced with a myriad of unknown items, he mastered doing each item under his control as a known.  By ensuring all that was under his control was handled correctly the first time, he reserved the strength of his troops for the unknown.  The mental acuity necessary to adjust is freed when the known details are handled right the first time.

Plan for the unknowable:  Our state and city has a group named VOAID, Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster.  During recent repetitive storms, this concert of concern was a first phone call.  Coordination made response quick and right.  Before federal resources had a chance to open the mail, these teams had already solved a myriad of needs.  Having worked together in other disaster situations, these folks made a difference.  Others have risen and joined ranks with them and the next disaster will be handled even more smoothly. Do it right the first time.

Quiet Time Development:  Building solutions that work the first time takes quiet time.  Avoid this and DIRFT turns into DRIFT.  The operation will drift to the loudest complaint and worst problems.  The business will loss vitality and focused expression.  Niche will become nice.  Nice operations could easily become eliminated operation as they miss the mark on needed activities and only tend to pleasing people on the surface not the deep points of need.

Sharp managers and executives use quiet times to sort the nice from the needed and the issues from the answers.  Make sure your plans fulfill the objectives of the operation established with reflective thought and right information to enable right decisions.

DIRFT!  Do it right the first time.  Inspect what you expect.  Expect what you inspect.  When a plan of operation is launched, it needs measurement points established to steer actions.  Quality control is fine if you are looking to lose.  Make plans that steer quality at each decision point instead of waiting until a job is complete to discover it is bad.  Rework is painful.  Plan DIRFT purposefully.  Teach it.  Coach it.  Motivate to excellence to prevent constant rework.  Learn some simple LEAN principles and implement them to take out wasted time and efforts so operations focus on getting it done right not finding out when it is done wrong.

Summary:  There is always enough time to do it right the first time.  There is never enough time to keep doing it over and over and over.  But, you need an operational plan to do it right.   Just giving it to people and expecting them to figure it out is a sure route to failure and frustration.  Engage them in the solution at the right moments and plan for smooth successful operation.

Have a great day doing what you do.  Operations should live in excellence.

Ready for a change?  Engage a conversation  405-388-8037  phil@shepherdok.com   www.shepherdok.net

Vitalize!: 4 Ready Executive Tools Increase Best Value

Increase asset value.  Do it.  Quit waiting. Isolate key components for value and recover.  Print communication services have declined in value as a viable business asset.  Communication channels have changed. Entrenched opinions view print as a commodity.   Look through that tinted lens and business value will suffer.   There is great value to be activated.  Right understanding and fresh vision can cause print communication to give value business results.

Think back.  What was the last department or business unit you overhauled that reaped benefit quickly?  How did you drag value out?  Did you offload a business unit with aging impact?  Why is it not working here?

Finish the quick article at GCWORLDBIZ

Vitalize!: 4 Ready Executive Tools Increase Best Value http://ow.ly/lLPe0

You Stand for What You Tolerate: Two Intolerable Stances for Any Leader

Tolerance has a clear definition and requires clear standards.  When you live with weak tolerance, you live weak.  When you live with strong tolerance, others become strong.  Any leader must have standards to define the limits of tolerance.  Those standards assist in accomplishing vision and mission in both short and long term initiatives.

Who said it, “You stand for what you tolerate.”?  I found it well said in Marlo Thomas’, The Right Words At  The Right Time Vol 2. Many would say, “You get what you tolerate”.  But I like the prior phrase.

The ancient proverbial Solomon wrote, “Out of the fullness of your heart, your mouth speaks.”  That is pretty close.  He wrote more than a few other wisdoms on the need for discipline and vision.  You stand for what you tolerate.

There are two intolerable stances for any leader.

-Tolerance without standard.  How often do we act in fear in our organizations and in front of those we are called to lead by example?  Someone points an accusing finger at another’s actions and we react in fear of some unknown legality or loss of face in the masses.  No leader can lead long without standards.  An issue arises and we allow weakness to make decisions because we do not have dedicated enough time prior to establish our priorities and principles.

A computer installation for a large company hit a standstill.  Managers had been pleading for right electrical backup in an area plagued with storms, but the company standard of “tolerate failure until it costs a fortune or breaks a visible law” was in play.  Now it was getting ready to cost a fortune.  Every worker was doing something different and the manager responsible could not direct the mess effectively.  Yes, it did cost a fortune to get out of the mess, but standards based risk policy would have deemed the situation intolerable well before the failure and have avoided major expense and exhaustion of staff.  You stand for what you tolerate and you get what you tolerate

-Standard without tolerance.  This one will strangle the best of leadership and organizations.  “Well this is the decision of the board and we will implement with no questions.”  Of course, no decision has thought through every implication or situation that will transpire.  Thinking people were dispatched to manage through the muddle.  Have you ever made this mistake.

A successful company was hard at work following the directions of the consultant.  Why would  this group not just comply?  These manufacturing based principles must work in service sectors, too, right?  Wrong.  They would work with some revision, but not straight out of the guru box.  Smart managers needed to be allowed to apply the principles in a slightly different manner than the book.  The result was a struggle.  And with wisdom, in this instance, the team managers prevailed and were allowed to make right modifications.  The result was a 40% decrease in costs alongside a service turnaround deliverable that went from 10 days to 2 days on a regular basis.  A strict adherence to the standard would have brought everything to a standstill and crushed the teams involved.  Team members were energized and worked for years coming up with improvement after improvement because tolerance was built into the standard.

Summary:  You stand for what you tolerate.  You get what you tolerate.  These two intolerable stances can cost you major progress and undermine morale and loyalty.  They are quite common.  Take a few minutes this week to mull over your standards and ensure you haven’t violated these.  If you have, you are suffering now.  The evidence may not have surfaced.  It will.  And it will cost you in ways you would not tolerate if you realized it.

 

Let us help you.  This is what we do.

Start a conversation.  phil@shepherdok.com

The Three Hats Of A Mature Manager – Syncing Yourself For The Next Step

Don’t read this if you are under 35.  It won’t make much sense.  Then again, if you read and understand it, you can improve your ability to work well with mature managers.

Professionals are intentionally developed.  Through involvement in projects and initiatives and departments through your career, the best of who you are is evident.  There is a skill to gaining enjoyment and value out of who you are.  There is an art to applying that value to your daily business endeavors.  You can be the best you, doing the most fit assignments and have a great amount of fun.  Or not.  Choose. Make sure you consider your Three Hats before you choose.  Be you.

A friend reminded me that people focus on your weaknesses because they struggle with allowing your strengths.   People are like that.  They pick at what they don’t understand in the most negative ways.   But you don’t have to let pickiness impact your confidence and connection.  You just need to work on your Three Hats.

 This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day,Thou canst not then be false to any man  

William Shakespeare

Three Fields of Play

First, let’s take a look at three fields of play.  Then we can talk about the Three Hats.

Play to your strength.  You know this.  Do what you do best.  But, you need to really know what that is.  Strength can be as limiting as weakness if not tamed.  A hard-nosed, goal-driven executive can find herself isolated by dwelling too strong on this strength.   Soften the edges of your game. Don’t dominate the play, just lead with excellence. People can mistake strength for rigidity.  That won’t help you or others.

Cover your weakness.  Of course you have them.  You’ve found them haunting you every turn of your career.   Six courses of style management can’t change these core items of who you are.  As a manager, I’ve always had to focus hard on listening.  Why?  I’m 50+% deaf since birth. So, I arrange my office for optimum face to face contact and limit noise interference.  People are usually amazed when I tell them about my limitation as I’ve mastered masking through sitting in middle spots in conferences and making sure I get directly across from those I expect to be key stakeholders in any meeting.  What is yours?  Find a cover.  Bad note taker?  Make sure a good one gets that assignment in every meeting.   Take double notes.  Find  a cover.

Build disciplines.  There are some skills that just have to be at a good level whether they are a weakness or not in your specific regimen.  Know what they are and find a way to strengthen them.  It is not an option to be weak in an area that must be strong.  Sorry, it is tough, but you need to fix it.  If promptness is hard for you, you must repair.  If attentiveness is hard for you, you must repair.  You must.

Three Hats

So what the heck am I talking about, Three Hats?   Each of us over time discovers from 3-5 core areas of expertise.  For me it is operational excellence, communication, and people development.  After working multiple companies in multiple industries, these items just keep coming back on top.  Sure, I have many skills and abilities like project management and administration and meeting management and facilitating brainstorming,, and marketing, and sales, and, and, and… But what are the Three Hats that never come off no matter what I am doing?  Find yours.  Know them.  Develop.

Hat One:  This is your core passion.  When you get up in the morning, what gets you started?  At the end of the day, what are you thinking?  What is that core?  For me?  People development.  I love to see people grow.

Hat Two:  This is your core performance.  Okay, when you example “velocity”, where does it happen.  Velocity is the ability to do the right thing at the right time that advances you and everyone around you and the business.  For me?  Operational excellence.  Seeing how to adjust an operation to perform the charter is a natural for me and advances the organization.

Hat Three: This is the core producer.  This is the trait that makes the other two shine.  What is it that you do so well that enables core performance and passion to be energized?  This is all about ‘vitality’.  This puts energy into the performance and keeps you engaged long after others would give up.  This secret brings it all together for you.  I love encouraging with communication and clarifying with communication and setting vision with communication.  Communication enables my passion and let’s others walk along with operations.

When your Three Hats are working well they become one hat.  The brim, the bill, and the band form one unit for others to see and appreciate.  That maturity developed and seen in you can be applied to your next career steps in the position you have or the one you are getting ready to have.  Just make sure the hat fits before you engage.

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Lead with Solutions: Five Key Phrases To Lead

There is power in your words, Leader.

Leaders lead.  We lead with our words, our actions, our intent, and our example.

Leaders lead.  Leading flows from the inner core of a leader outward for followers to follow.  Wisdom literature intrigues and builds me.  Two principles that regurgitate in my meditative time apply here.

  1. What is in your heart comes out your mouth.
  2. Words carry life or death.

Uncomfortable as that may be for some, it is life and energy for leaders.  Those that deny they are being led are fools looking for a place to fail.  Those that accept they are both being led and leading others have matured to a grasp of reality needed for contentedness and success.  Watching words is a key necessity of leadership.

One of the ways leaders lead is with the entry words they use in conversations and meetings and personal engagements.  So let’s look at five phrases that lead well and lead to impact and influence.

How can we lead effectively with our entry words?

Lead #1: How do you feel about this situation?  Leaders fail many times by leading with precooked answers.  Try leading with a question.  The conversation is headed a positive direction based on your quick and thoughtful lead.  Watch out for asking how people think.  That will get you 80% less response than asking them how they feel.  They will tell you what they think in response to asking them how they feel.  For the most part, people are less threatened when asked how they feel than asked how they think.

Lead #2: There could be some amazing benefit to this approach.  You just opened the other person or group up to a positive view of what follows.  Yet, you have not committed anyone to a position of yes or no.  The engagement is now open to include a description of the issue being addressed, but with an expectation of a positive outcome.  Lead on.

Lead #3: What worries you most about our issue?  Wow.  You just posed an emotional tie to the others in conversation.  It is not someone else’s issue, but our issue.  You’ve entered into a supportive stakeholder position and communicated you will be there to help work through the blips.  At the same time, you gave the other person influence in the next steps.

Lead #4: Have you considered a possibility of option X?  This is an enticing lead that suggests a solution without forcing compliance.  Leadership contains an element of power along with authority.  By opening with consideration of an option, meaning there are other options, you give power to the others in the conversation.  It can be a big win when working with a strong leader.  Some leaders place themselves in defensive stance over a position they have taken in the past.  You just graced them with a way out that saves face for them and could bring them better success than a present entrenched option.

Lead #5: Having considered many options, here is one I’d like to bring to the table for discussion.  Okay, this is a lead based on research prior to this moment.   You’ve opened the discussion to include consideration of other options and problem barbs and even rabbit trails.  It is an empowering position for all included.  Sometimes an entire room will just go quiet at this point and let you lead forward.  Be ready for that.  After all, you are a leader.

Summary:  Notice none of these leads starts with the issue at hand.  All of these communicate co-ownership of the issue and the solution and confidence in a positive outcome.  Avoid leading with the issue.  My days are full of conversations that start, “Phil, I have a problem.”  That is a position of weakness.  Sometimes the individual just wants to discuss their ideas.  Many times they are looking to offload the problem and responsibility.  Take responsibility by leading into a solution.  Leading with the solution in today’s environment can be considered pushy and too strong.  Lead with compassion and listening and strength with some key phraseology that reveals intent to engage along with intelligence and ownership.  Lead on, Leader.