Archive for failure

WHAT SUCCESSFUL LEADERS DO IN CHALLENGING TIMES by Kevin Daum / Inc.

Posted in General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2014 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate, educate and push us to think outside the box.

WHAT SUCCESSFUL LEADERS DO IN CHALLENGING TIMES by Kevin Daum / Inc.

birds-flying-leadership-1940x900_34932Given the same set of circumstances, some people create team success and others fail. Great leaders know how to turn tough times into big wins. Here’s how they do it.

If there is one thing consistent about business it’s the inconsistent dynamics of business. Great leaders can navigate turbulent business climates just as well as they can sail a calm sea of activity. Often they use those frenetic circumstances to capitalize and strip away competition. Sure, some of the successes that come from chaos are pure luck, but once you dig in to the stories you find out there were intentional key decisions that launched the team to exponential success.

Success or failure during times of peril depends on your ability to get your team moving with strength and confidence. Following are 8 examples where strength, focus and resolve will help you avoid the temptations that lead to failure in difficult times.

1. Temptation: To spread your sense of urgency and panic.

When a state of panic sets in, reactive leaders will ramp up the energy and stress. Some problems do need to be solved IMMEDIATELY. But if the boss is frantic and emotional, everyone else will be too, and efficiency will diminish.

What great leaders do instead: Learn to break the news calmly, while making the seriousness of the situation clear. Take a breath and carefully assess the situation so you can work with the team to clearly set the appropriate priorities. Then you can be effective and efficient internally as you deal with the outer chaos.

2. Temptation: To lay blame.

When something goes awry, people naturally start to ask, “Who did this? Whose fault is it?” It is good to know the root of the problem, but this often descends into counterproductive finger pointing. While everyone is focused on avoiding the burden of guilt, the situation may be going from bad to worse. A leader who allows or participates in the blame game ends up with a diminished team full of distrust.

What great leaders do instead: Help the team focus on moving forward. Ask “What do we need to do to recover quickly?” and then get the team working together to make those things happen. A team will be more successful by creating heroes who inspire others to step up.

3. Temptation: To let your emotions drive your response.

It may feel better to yell or bawl someone out when you’re angry or tense…at least it provides a momentary sense of release. But it does more harm than good in the long run. Your people become resentful or fearful and less likely to give you their best efforts, or bring you news that might trigger a tantrum.

What great leaders do instead: When your emotions flare, give yourself a moment to let your rational brain step in. Excuse yourself for a moment if you have to, or just take a few deep breaths. Find productive ways to channel the negative energy into positive results.

4. Temptation: To make assumptions.

In moments of small vexation or serious crisis, people often scramble to identify a cause, sometimes allowing existing assumptions to drive conclusions rather than facts. Do you actually know the reason the reports are not in the box? Are you sure the marketing people missed the deadline? Is IT really being lazy? If you have existing concerns or criticisms, it is especially easy to jump to conclusions that may or may not be accurate.

What great leaders do instead: Ask more questions that frame the big picture. Calm, value neutral questions allow you and others to diagnose what’s truly going on. Sometimes they know what caused a breakdown, sometimes they don’t, especially when there are a lot of moving parts in a lot of departments.Often a small issue that seems to be a choke point is only symptomatic of systemic issues that are largely hidden. Careful analysis with the team may surface core issues that can lead to exponential efficiencies.

5. Temptation: To publicly speak critically of an imperfect employee.

Sometimes we all need to let of steam or grumble a bit when someone frustrates or lets us down. Doing that in front of the rest of the team spreads dissatisfaction and mistrust.

What great leaders do instead: If you really need to kvetch, do so privately, in a journal or with someone unrelated to the office. When you’re feeling calmer, approach the employee directly and politely but firmly share the truth about how they have fallen short.

6. Temptation: To withhold information.

If the truth is scary, it can be hard to share it with everyone for fear that panic will ensue and everyone will desert the ship. But if you leave them in the dark, your people are likely to fill in the blanks with even scarier conjecture. Most people will paint a more desperate picture when uncertain about their own future.

What great leaders do instead: Give your people as much good information as the situation allows. Promise to keep them updated, and keep them focused on the work they CAN do, rather than worrying about what they CAN’T. That way you can lead them to success instead of managing their fears.

7. Temptation: To softball criticism.

Employees are people with thoughts and feelings, and it can be painful to watch them wilt under criticism. So rather than address their failings directly, it sometimes seems easier to drop oblique hints or bury suggestions under insincere praise.

What great leaders do instead: Tackle the hard stuff first, directly and without hesitation. If they don’t know they are creating a problem, they won’t know they have to fix it. You can follow up with encouragement and praise to soften the blow without muddling the message.

8. Temptation: To draw comparisons between employees.

“Try to be more like Tim.” “Adriana never leaves a customer on hold for more than five minutes.” We love our star players, and we want others to emulate them. Your employees probably know exactly what makes their co-workers shine. That does not mean everyone wants to be continually compared to the office favorites.

What great leaders do instead: Evaluate each employee on their own strengths and weaknesses, using a clear rubric that is fair and equal for all. Base your comparisons on an ideal, not any one person, as your standard. Then take the time to work with each team member to perform at their personal best. Sure you are busy, but showing the person they are a priority will motivate them beyond their fears and concerns.

by Kevin Daum / Inc.

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

RIGHTSIZING YOUR PASSION by Seth Godin

Posted in "Rightsizing Your Passion" by Seth Godin with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2012 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

RIGHTSIZING YOUR PASSION by Seth Godin

Excitement about goals is often diminished by our fear of failure or the drudgery of work.

If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big.

Do a job for a long time and achieve what you set out to achieve, and suddenly, the dream job becomes a trudge instead. The job hasn’t changed–your dreams have.

Mostly, though, it’s about our fear. Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety.

While you can work hard to dream smaller dreams, I think it’s better to embrace the fear and find bigger goals instead.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE REASON PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS DON’T WORK (As Well As They Could) by Seth Godin

Posted in "The Reason Productivity Improvements Don't Work (As Well As They Could) " by Seth Godin with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

THE REASON PRODUCTIVITY IMPROVEMENTS DON’T WORK (As Well As They Could) by Seth Godin

GTD, 18 minute plans, organized folders… none of them work as well as you’d like.

The reason is simple: you don’t want to get more done.

You’re afraid. Getting more done would mean exposing yourself to considerable risk, to crossing bridges, to putting things into the world. Which means failure.

The leap the lizard brain takes when confronting the opportunity is a simple formula: GTD=Failure.

Until you quiet the resistance and commit to actually shipping things that matter, all the productivity tips in the world aren’t going to make a real difference. And, it turns out, once you do make the commitment, the productivity tips aren’t that needed.

You don’t need a new plan for next year. You need a commitment.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAILURE AND A MISTAKE by Seth Godin

Posted in "The Difference Between a Failure and a Mistake" by Seth Godin, General Management, Life Management with tags , , , , , , , on December 18, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A FAILURE AND A MISTAKE by Seth Godin

A failure is a project that doesn’t work, an initiative that teaches you something at the same time the outcome doesn’t move you directly closer to your goal.

A mistake is either a failure repeated, doing something for the second time when you should have known better, or a misguided attempt (because of carelessness, selfishness or hubris) that hindsight reminds you is worth avoiding.

We need a lot more failures, I think. Failures that don’t kill us make us bolder, and teach us one more way that won’t work, while opening the door to things that might.

School confuses us, so do bosses and families. Go ahead, fail. Try to avoid mistakes, though.

– Seth Godin

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.

REPOSITIONING PEOPLE by Dr. John C. Maxwell

Posted in "Repositioning People" by Dr. John C. Maxwell, General Management with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 10, 2011 by Robert Finkelstein

Along with hundreds of inspirational quotes, beautiful images, recommending reading, and my own personal and business blogs, at “Behind the Scenes / Virtual COO” you will find the writings and videos of those whose intention is to inspire, motivate and push us to think outside the box.

REPOSITIONING PEOPLE by Dr. John C. Maxwell

One of the traits of outstanding leaders is that they properly place people within a team. Good leaders have the ability to see their people, sense where they are and put them in the right place. So why do so many leaders place so many people in so many wrong places? I’ve identified five reasons.

1. Failure to know the requirements needed to make a job successful.

I’m not talking about the job description, and I’m not talking about how you do a job. I’m talking about what a particular person has to do to be successful. Make a list those qualities. It could be two or three things; it could be 10. Whatever those things are, you have to go out and find people who have a giftedness to match those qualities so that you put the right people in the right place.

2. Failure to know the skills and the giftedness of the person.

Sometimes we know what gifts and skills are required for success in a particular job, but we do a poor job evaluating the giftedness of the person we place in that position. Maybe we know a particular job needs someone who is detail-oriented, but we fail to recognize that the person we’re putting in that position breaks out in hives when overwhelmed with details.

3. Failure to move people when either the job or the person is changing.

While it’s common for people to get promoted out of a job that really fits their skills, it’s also possible for them to stay in a position so long that they no longer do it well.

As a leader, you might place someone in a position that is a great match with that person’s uniqueness and giftedness, only to look up later and realize that the person’s productivity has fallen sharply.

What happened?

Something changed. Maybe the job changed. Maybe the organization changed. Maybe the person changed. Maybe you changed. Maybe everything changed.

I have found many people end up in the wrong place only because they stayed in the right place too long. They were in the right place in the beginning, but the right place becomes the wrong place if the job changes or if the person changes. So the right place can become the wrong place over a matter of time.

4. Failure to be patient.

Sometimes the person is in the right place, but they have to grow into it. And not only do they have to grow into it, but they also have to be trained and developed into it. You know they have the giftedness, they have the ability, they have the passion; but they need time and someone to help them. Smaller organizations often can’t afford to hire the best, so they have to hire young people with great potential and then train them.

In “The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork” I write about the ‘Law of Dividends’, which is, “Investing in the team compounds overtime.” As you invest in your team, especially if you have them in the right place, the team is going to compound in a very positive way for you. Of course, if you don’t have the right players in the right place, time isn’t going to do it.

5. Failure to prepare.

Many times we haven’t done enough front-end homework as leaders, so we aren’t prepared to place people where they can grow and can blossom.

When we consistently fail to place people in the right place within the team, several things inevitably infect our team like an angry parasite. Morale suffers, people lose their willingness to play as a team and confidence erodes. As a result, potential goes unrealized, progress is hindered and our competitors benefit.

On the other hand, organizations do best when the people within them are carefully put in the right places. People are encouraged and fulfilled, growth is ensured, teamwork is increased and victories are secured. And, for leaders, there is a huge reward in seeing your players in the right place, doing the right thing for the right reasons.

– Dr. John C. Maxwell

If you’re interested in a complimentary 30-minute business strategy session with Chief Operating Officer, Robert Finkelstein, or for more information, please refer to Behind the Scenes Consulting. If you have questions, please email Robert at Consulting@RobertFinkelstein.com. Your comments are welcomed below. Thank you.