The Speed of Trust and the 3Cs

Good leaders surround themselves with good leaders.  Good teams submerge themselves in good practices.  Good people doing good action with good processes produce great results.   It works.  Great results flow. They don’t take onerous work. The people, the action, and the process make it happen.

So what does a great flow look like?  Trust builds on competency, chemistry, and character.  Trust greases the skids of great and right results.  Look for trust.  When it exists, the 3Cs are most likely in place.

There is one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world – one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.  Stephen M.R. Covey on Trust

What does trust look like?

Loyalty:  When trust exists the backdoor bickering is silent.  Ever have a cohort who constantly bickers?  Character prevails. Loyalty extends in every direction.  A disloyal worker will bring strife into every decision.  Loyal people listen and learn and run with direction.

Rapid Results:  When trust exists people are busy doing the next thing.  The constant questioning goes away.  Vision is caught and integrated into daily action. Chemistry is activated.

Right Action:  When trust exists the team knows they can run and make mistakes.  They are responsible to keep each other informed and know what to do.  Competency is not a question.

Do The Hard Thing:

Team Building:  A manager asked me recently, “Phil, what do I do when these three seem out of sync constantly?  I have solid processes.  The people are trained.  Communication is constant.  Yet, we just can’t get the flow moving?”   Answer:  Look for the weakened link.  Somewhere, someone has lost vision or never had it.  They are not with the team.   Check out my series of TEAM articles on Shepherdok.net .  There are some tips on structure, action, accountability, adherence, and alliance.   Find the person out of sync.

  • If they are in a slump and have been faithful in the past, see if you can discover their angst and help them solve it. You can’t solve the issues of the soul.  You can provide the right environment to heal if it has been damaged.
  • Do not attack them. Many managers make this mistake and lose quality team members. Not only will you lose a friend and supporter, this is an act of treason on your part.  The rest of the team will sense your disloyalty to one member and you have become the joint out of sync.
  • If they have never shown faithfulness, release them to follow their heart. They are not with you and will destroy the rest of the team.  Let me be strong here.  If you have done your best and a team player resists, release them.  They will not become happy because you are a great person.  They will tear at the rest of the team’s joy and trust and productivity.  Release them and your team can go forward.  Their passion is elsewhere.  Help them get to it.  Be graceful and firm.

Stand strong. Build a great team.  Build a better organization forward.

Common Grounds: Razor Sharp Relationships – 10 Risk Taker Tips

Every executive, director, manager and minion is tasked with developing increasing levels of intimacy in right service relationships.  Intimacy?  Yes.  A satisfied customer can become a delighted customer.  A satisfied customer can become a dissatisfied customer.  An emotionally distant and dissatisfied customer is on the way to another shop.  A customer, who is an intimate associate, will stay with you and work through dissatisfaction.  So how do you move customers from fringe relationships to intimate foundational associates?

Like all common grounds notes, this one came from a client.  His particular struggle was intimacy with clients.  That is a tough subject.  Most of us like to separate our business relationships into a compartment of mistrust.  “Caveat vendor” and “Caveat emptor” pervade.  Getting to a trusted win-win relationship confidence assumption requires exposure and intimacy and increasing levels of personal revelation.  Sound risky?  It is.  Risk brings reward.

Trust=Risk=Growth 

A good friend in the business took me into his back office and showed me a project recently that is a highly competitive move for him.  He exposed himself.  He knows I also work with his competitors.  Trust means I can do a better job helping him as I understand his needs and focus.  Trust means no one knows but me what I saw.

With one client, when I took an antagonistic department head into the inner workflow of the shop, I was frozen with fear.  Surely they would tear the client apart in front of some executive over a small disagreement of approach.  On the contrary, they reciprocated and let me into their workflow.  We built a cooperative system of workflow that ended up in our locking shop and customer into a 100% provider relationship.

Another client took me into their private conference room with a group of key decision makers.  This was a culturally and politically tense situation.  Without trust and intimacy this discussion would be over before we started. The executive could lose a lot of face if I did not relate to each person in the group well.  She was staking business strategy for the next three years on this discussion. The pressure was on.  In a few minutes one of the key stakeholders and I discovered a common interest in the field we were discussing and the group took off into a vibrant and open discussion.

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior.”  Stephen M.R. Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

Developing successful relationships from fringe to friend to familiar to faithful to forever is a principle I work to instill in every organization. The Road to Human Loyalty   It applies to staff relationships and customer relationships and community relationships.  There are a few “caveats” in this path and you need to take time to understand them, but they are deeper than starting out with a lack of trust.

So as you work on your plans for the next 18 months and consider your customer relationships here are a few tips.  Sure you will meet some disappointments when you apply them.  However, you will find you gain much more than you lose.

  1. Take time to listen deeply and unplug the filters of prior expectation.
  2. Be slow to judge motivations for the heart is a complicated web.
  3. Give yourself 20 seconds to consider and weigh before you respond to any situation.
  4. Reaction to medicine will kill you.  Response will heal you.  Choose response.
  5. The space between stimulus and response is filled by choice.
  6. Believe in your customer.
  7. Believe in yourself.
  8. Think of ten good actions you could take in response to a request before making a decision when feeling like you are being used.
  9. If you consider all your relationships as well, think again and be realistic.
  10. Do the thing you fear the most, give trust.

ROI - ROE COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what you do.

This article focuses on Sales and Marketing level of the operational pyramid.

Let’s talk: Phil Larson or Shepherd Consulting OK

Manage Well: The 3 Questions

Bring a team into high productivity and positive morale with “The 3 Questions”.  Managers must master these.  Imbed them into your psyche.  Repeat them in your sleep.  Make them your meditational mantra.  Get it.

What is the down-line impact of this action?  How often do you have problems in production or sales or finance because of an inadequate exploration of this question?  What will happen in accounting if we promote this new product line at 5% markdown?  What will happen to other product lines?  Can marketing adjust in time for the sales season?  Will production be ready to handle sales volumes?

Put off this question at maximum risk of failure.  Even the simplest action in a sequence of workflow has to pursue an expanded understanding before change.  If we print this at a new size, will the finishing team be able to handle it?  If we promote a new advantage to our product will it meet compliance guidelines?  When we implement this change to our computer program for billing will it cause extra workload at 3am that affects another unrelated cycle?  There is no end to implications of one actions on other team action.  No one can know them all.  But you need to ask.

Who else needs to know?  How familiar is your team with the interaction of what they do with others?  Do you have workers living in a vacuum?  Have you taken time to educate them about interplay with other departments, people, teams, divisions, customers, and vendors?  When you change the usage of a machine, it might be wise to include the manufacturer in the discussion.  Ask often, “Who else needs to know?”

What is your information plan to include them?  When do they need to know?  Do they have access to enhanced information that might help you make a better decision before advancing?

Work with a production team with large dependency on delivery cycles proved out value here.  The delivery team was constantly a day behind.  They were only being informed at the time of pickup.  By moving the information to them at time of beginning of production, a day was cut out of delivery cycle to the customer and orders increased with increased customer satisfaction.  The sales team also needed to know at the same time instead of being informed only after delivery.  This enabled them to engage the customer along the path with pertinent and reliable information.  Who else needs to know?

What is the best use of my time right now?  After you ask the first two questions, answer this one.  Too often we ask this one and answer it only considering what we know and what we are doing.  We need to consider what others know and what they are doing.  A project launch could falter due to conflicting priorities in the organization.  A customer order may not be deliverable as requested due to a supply shortage and should be renegotiated.  After considering the plans and availabilities of others and related resources, we may want to work on an entirely different project or action and time this one in front of us into another day or week.

Summary Simplicity:   These 3 questions are priceless practice for any manager for self decisions and for training team members in their decisions.  After working with a team for a season on these, you will find they become masters of the top manager rule.  What is the top manager rule?  NO SURPRISES.  These questions eliminate the element of surprise and provide a foundation for a self managed team.

Ask them often.

What is the down-line impact of my action?

Who else needs to know?

What is the best use of my time right now?

Be Busy Building Better Business,

Phil

Phil@shepherdok.com

405.388.8037

Vacation Reverses Progress: Reinforce Routines on Return

After a few days of rest, the human mind plays an ornery trick on managers. Staff members have a frustratingly human characteristic of change reversal. Ignore it and you will continually lose ground. Leadership management considers this rule and makes adjustments to reduce impact.

Here is the rule: Humans tend to revert to the deeply ingrained pattern of behavior that existed prior to the last major change under stress, duress, or rest.

Here is an example: Manager X implemented a new routine for checking work quality in line with the process in March. The results have been good. All staff have adapted and are working under the new approach. Prior to this, many production orders had to be returned to the beginning and rebuilt. The shop standard had been to only check product at time of packing and shipping. Problems at this point required many hours to fix and a great waste in complete orders produced multiple times. The changes implemented to utilize steering controls along the production path had resulted in an 80% reduction in waste as problems were caught in time to correct and make adjustments along the path.

Over the July 4th holiday, many staff members took extra days of vacation and enjoyed themselves immensely. Manager X was surprised and happy to see the team enjoy time with family and friends and morale looked better than in years. But, waste was creeping back up to last year levels and customers were complaining of late orders. On a walk-through, it was obvious that a few of the colleagues were not performing the steering controls that had been implemented and stabilized into the production process. In fact, it seemed that every staff member was skipping some control point at random. The team had reverted to depending on the last check point to catch errors before they impacted the customer.

This was not a purposeful sabotage. This was human nature. Upon return from vacations, orders had picked up. Customers came back from vacation with a backlog of rush orders. Suppliers were slow with needed inventory. The new production checkpoint pattern had not had time to fully integrate into a subconscious activity. The team had been good at performing, but had not subconsciously integrated the process. That takes many months. Each person had reverted to a different pattern of work that was a mishmash of prior procedure and present process.

What To Do? An astute manager is aware of this phenomenon. School systems are working to address this across the United States. They notice students returning from Summer vacations seem to have lost major portions of knowledge they had been taught in the last semester. Some schools have shortened Summer to attempt to address. They may find that the amount of time off consolidated may have little effect on the phenomena. The biggest effect is brain rest and disconnect. That can happen in a few days. The difference between one month and three months is probably negligible. But, what does a manager do? How can he or she keep production running smooth?

1. Get ahead of the vacation curve. Right before a major holiday make a concerted effort to reinforce training on any critical changes made within fours months of the holiday. Bring it fresh to mind and communicate priority immediately before vacation.

2. Notice those on your team that do this most frequently. Spend some time with them on return from vacation or other time off to reinforce changes. Give them time to ask questions and rethink through routines before they run back to the production floor. If you can’t pull them away, at least show up at their workstation and ask how the modified routines are working. Put priority on the changes by asking questions about them.

3. Don’t use banners or wall posters or email to get this job done. Get personal. Presence communicates priority. Your face and voice in the mix will mean a lot and can do a lot to stir good adherence to right routine. Those other methods are okay to reinforce personal involvement, but will never get the job done by themselves.

4. Consider holidays into project plans when implementing major changes. Don’t put a change into place too close to a holiday. Make sure major changes are implemented at least two to three months prior to big holidays, when you know you will have many staff members taking time away from the job. Give people time to integrate change before the rest periods.

Summary: Managers manage change. There are rules of change that are attached to human nature. Ignore them at great pain. Acknowledge them and see better results in your teams.

Build Better Business… Manage Well… Best Wishes, Phil

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Fix The Plumbing

Don’t hand your customer toilet paper for a messy problem. Fix the plumbing.

Creative managers create solutions alongside staff. Duct tape and WD40 and vise grips may be all that is needed to do small jobs around the house. That won’t do in a productive and viable business. You need to fix the plumbing. You need to eliminate the repeating problem. You need to take responsibility instead of putting the issue in the customer’s hands. Don’t make them clean it up.

Good service management attends to a few items. There are incidents and service requests, problems and changes. Keep clarity between items. Address appropriately.

Incidents and Service Requests: These two items make up the bulk of customer service.

A service request is what we live to do. A customer asks for a product or service to be delivered. So do it. Do it with excellence and alacrity. Do it with pizzazz and punctuality. Do it. A service request may ask for an altered product or service or a new product or service. That means we have to jump into the area of change and that is another manage well article.

An incident is what we wish would never happen. While delivering a product or service, something is not right. Color is too light. The size is too big. The pizza came with pepperoni instead of black olives. The customer wanted 250 and we delivered 1000. While working with a client, every other email returned an error. My service provider was experiencing incidents. Thankfully they cleared the issue, but not before my customer had to wait extra minutes waiting on reports to be delivered as I had promised. Incidents need to be restored to proper service levels immediately and product or service delivered.

Problems and Changes: Confuse these and your customers will suffer unreasonable delays and constant delivery disruption.

Problems are incidents that won’t go away until a change is installed or a fix applied. A fix is just a fancy name for a change. When the plumbing backed up into my house through the shower drain, it impressed me something was tragically wrong. All the paper towels and mop buckets would not resolve this. When a problems occurs you need to look for root cause of the issue and determine a resolution or change to be made to stop the incidents from coming back. The sewer main had collapsed at the saddle in my back yard blocking all drainage from the house. The city came, sent cameras down the lines, and claimed it was an incident, it was my incident, and they were going home. I don’t think so. A friend and I dug seven foot deep in my back yard until we found the collapsed connection leading to the major collapsed connection. The city came back and repaired at much expense and then paid to restore my house to right order. Their paper towel and toilet paper solution was not going to fix my backhoe and major plumbing problem. Full repair and restoration was needed. The root cause had to be determined and a change made to get us back on track.

Changes move the nature of the service into a different order. Replacing the main saddle in my back yard not only restored right water flow out of the house, it took care of a sinkhole that could have swallowed one of my children. No one knew the sink hole existed until we dug up the yard. There were bigger problems looming that the change repaired. Changes fix things for good. Not necessarily forever, but for good. And they have potential to adjust the nature of the product or service. By handing me a toilet paper solution the city was setting us all up for some major pain.

Kudos for the city. The next time I had a city potential issue, the service manager came out, inspected, found a crack in the line feeding water to my house, repaired it, installed a new meter, and made me a happy man. It was a different experience and one for which I am grateful. Oh, they also reversed charges on my water bill even though the leak appeared to be in my pipe not the city pipe. That is service. They took responsibility for a debatable item and went an extra step. I love my city’s service.
Summary: Get your customer back to service as rapidly as possible. And then look deeper to determine if a problem exists that will cause service to be impacted again. Find the root and fix the plumbing. Work on your shop processes. Look for machine malfunctions. Examine reporting routines. Do whatever it takes to eliminate repeating incidents. Your customer will appreciate. Your business will grow.

Be Busy Building Better Business  Have a Great Day!

Phil

========================================

I need your help. I need you to join me for lunch.  (It is okay if you want to just give to the work also if you can’t come.)

Register now. http://www.championfatherstourney.org

On Sept 16th at 11:45am join Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, Hon. James Lankford, U.S. House of Representatives, Chuck Bowman, Larry Campbell, Imagenet+ Consulting, R.K. Black, Kimray, Tom Hill, keyevado, Shepherd Consulting, Willow Creek Golf and Country Club and others.

Your registration goes directly to works in progress at Tulakes Elementary in North OKC, Epperly Heights Elementary in Del City, East OKC, West OKC, Dad’s University, and Matamoros families. Through the support of a friend, lunch expenses are covered. That means your registration goes directly to the work.

You can join for golf afterwards, if you would like. But, I need you to join me for lunch.

You can sponsor more, but, I need you to join me for lunch.

Register Now: http://www.championfatherstourney.org/

Exceptions Are Not Rules: 3 Safe Guards

The life of a manager would not be complete without that wonderful day where she finds herself stumped as to why a staff member acted in a certain manner inconsistent with policy.  After several months of training a colleague, you find them going a different direction than guided.  It is inevitable.  It will happen.

The next surprise is when they tell you it was  your idea.  What?  My idea?  What incredible bump do you have on your head that caused such a thought?  Have you lost your mind?  Where did you get that idea?

Then you remember.  You remember the question you answered last week in the middle of a major emergency.  A customer needed an exception to your normal policy for a critical project.  You authorized the team to process the job in a different manner.  It was an exception needed and specific to that day and that job and that customer.  Now, it is a rule.  Now, it is embedded in the minds of staff as the way to cut a job short.

Of course, if you take this exception route on a routine basis you will lose all your profits, mix up customer work orders, and generally destroy the business.  One time on a special project is okay with manager discretion.  Any time on normal jobs with a staff discretion is chaos.

Every manager must understand exceptions, communicate them clearly, and contain expanded usage.

Understand Exceptions

The impact of an exception on the minds of team members is big.  They watch you, manager.  They take clues for action from your action.  When you step out of the normal, they believe it is okay to do the same anytime they so choose.  Get it?  Get it!  Guard it.

Understand your own decision.  You cannot simply make an exception without understanding and being able to explain to someone else.

Exceptions are not meant to be rules; however, if you don’t take the next two steps, they will become rules.

Communicate Clearly

Exceptions will cause a problem.  They will.  You have order and rules to prevent problems.  Okay, accept that and be prepared to contain the problem.  Of course, you accommodate for that in your decision.  Explain the problem.  Explain the accommodation.  Explain why this is a onetime decision.  Be prepared for questions and distrust.  Yes, you worked hard to communicate why you would never do what you just did and then you did it.  But, it was an exception, right?  You really did have a reason other than you just wanted to do it?  Right?

Let your leaders and decision makers know this is an exception, why you made it, and how they might follow your logic in their next decision.  Logic?  You had some, right?

Contain Expanded Usage

After an exception, reinforce the rule.  Take time to pull documentation if necessary and explain why this is a onetime decision and why not to do it with any regularity.  Be honest.  Did you do it for political purposes?  Then explain the urgency of the situation and protocol you followed.  Did you do it to prevent  Don’t hide behind, “Because I said so.”  That is weak and lacks open communication to the team.

Summary:  Do these three things when you make an exception and they won’t become a rule.

Be attentive and cautious when making exceptions that they really fulfill your direction.

Always enjoy managing the exceptions and the disciplines.

Be Busy Building Business  Have a Great Day!

Phil

========================================

I need your help. I need you to join me for lunch.  (It is okay if you want to just give to the work also if you can’t come.)

Register now. http://www.championfatherstourney.org

On Sept 16th at 11:45am join Carey Casey, CEO of the National Center for Fathering, Hon. James Lankford, U.S. House of Representatives, Chuck Bowman, Larry Campbell, Imagenet+ Consulting, R.K. Black, Kimray, Tom Hill, keyevado, Shepherd Consulting, Willow Creek Golf and Country Club and others.

Your registration goes directly to works in progress at Tulakes Elementary in North OKC, Epperly Heights Elementary in Del City, East OKC, West OKC, Dad’s University, and Matamoros families. Through the support of a friend, lunch expenses are covered. That means your registration goes directly to the work.

You can join for golf afterwards, if you would like. But, I need you to join me for lunch.

You can sponsor more, but, I need you to join me for lunch.

Register Now: http://www.championfatherstourney.org/

Are you a PMO or a PCO?

Entitlement breeds discontent.  There really is no productive way to look at entitlement.  Don’t read this if you like entitlement organizations.  Don’t read this if you enjoy getting something for existing.

“The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”  Margaret Thatcher

Business, NGO, and government must face the question.  Are a PMO or a PCO?

“You have to do your own growing no matter how tall your grandfather was.”  Abraham Lincoln

PMO – Poverty Maintenance Organization

PCO – Positive Change Organization

PMOs proliferate under social thrusts.  The easy part of being a charitable organization is asking people to give for compassionate repair and reparation and life needs.  Food, clothes, housing, and basics are all needed.  People will give to maintain a certain level of poverty in another’s life.  Poverty is the mentality that there is never enough resource and my efforts will never be rewarded adequately.  Poverty is a codependent focus instead of an interdependent cooperation.  Poverty is not an economic condition.  Lack of economic resource is a result of poverty mentality and living.  Societies and organizations that promote systemic adaptation to low rewards encourage economic, moral, and mental poverty.

PMOs proliferate under corporate mentality.  Oops, you thought this was about charities.  Any business that purses entitlement mentality of ‘get the minimum done to get paid and get benefits’ is as life force destructive as a charity giving out groceries to people who need growth.  Businesses that emphasize fun and frivolity and fairness and equality usually end up with a work force bent on work avoidance and entitlement expectation.  Those are all good things.  They need to be built alongside productivity and profitability.  After all business is about a fair return on investment.  Jobs happen when profits happen.

PMO is the way of life of the government.  Government consumes more and more of the community resource as laws get added and modified and bureaucracy grows and grows.  It is impossible for all the government entities to pay off the exorbitant early retirement programs that are inequitable and inconsistent with business productivity.  More and more cities, states, and nations have reached bankrupt points of no return.  PMO.

How do you become a PCO when you are a PMO?

Positive change organizations proliferate under reward and recognition.  Now, reward and recognition do not mean everyone gets the same dole or the longest tail gets the  biggest piece of the pie.  In a PCO, reward comes in relation to present contribution not position or power or political expertise.

In parenting theory we call that love and logic.  Raising children in a positive environment keys on establishing positive and negative consequences for behavior.  Reinforce that environment consistently and a productive citizen is formed.  Oh, that is also a great system for correction systems and addiction recovery.  Entitlement is an addiction.  I used to believe nicotine was the hardest addiction to break.  Entitlement is tougher.

So how do you change from PMO to PCO.  This little graphic maps the path.

entitlementtoconsequenceDocument the state of entitlement.  Confront the facts.  Identify where behavioral consequences are missing.  Quantify the cost to your organization of death by indecision. Decide which battles you are willing to fight.  Any reversal of entitlement will be met with violent resistance and revolt.  Better to build with encouragement and consequence systems, but PMO happens.  So be real and be honest.

Communicate change repetitively to those involved.  Give plenty of lead time to the change but not so much that griping and groaning have time to build barriers.  That is a fine balance.

Start rewarding productive behaviors before removing entitlement doles.  This won’t change anything, but it will establish a new thought pattern in those affected.  It might have been so long since they had positive reward for productivity that they have forgotten what dignity feels like.  Entitlement strips dignity and inner drive.  Dignity based on reality has to be instilled fresh.

Move to consequence and positive reward.  You might find this difficult.  Your management team may have no idea how to identify positive and productive behavior.  They are used to promoting entitlement and systemized to zombie workplace.  Dilbert might be their favorite cartoon for a reason.  Of course, as the executive leader admit your guilt in leadership.  You will have to change, too.  The greatest failures of organizations wanting to make this move is that top leadership credits the workforce for being more powerful than the executives and blames them instead of the mirror.  Truthfully, it takes combined efforts of management and work team to enter entitlement and to exit entitlement.

Measure Shock and Fear.  This will be large.  Get ready.  Get poised.  Backbiting, blaming, and bickering will explode.  But it will pass if you hold ground.  Keep focus on where you are going, encourage the afflicted, and do not let this stop you.  If you stop here, you will find it doubly difficult to work on this in the future.  Many companies sell out at this point and leave the issues for the new owner.  They may scuttle great managers and executives as sacrifices to the masses.  Don’t doubt in the dark what you know in the light.  Keep moving forward.  Plan to run.  Run the plan.

Productive Behavior and Growth.  Here is where you land.  Here is where you focus.  Here is where you want to be.  The Positive Change Organization promotes, inspires, and realizes productive behavior and growth.  Not everyone can exist in this environment.  Yes, you may lose some people you had believed to be key.  Not everyone wants to change.  Try to salvage them, but don’t sink productivity in the process.  New leaders will rise.  They’ve been poised for this new environment and potential was shadowed in the old system.  Now you can see them.

PMO or PCO?  You decide every day with every decision what environment you wish to build.

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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.