5 Ways to Help a Decision Maker Decide

My client, Laura, had invited me in to observe the spectacle. I watched as she carefully articulated her research findings and presented her “no brainer” suggestions to Mark. Each time Laura’s ideas were met with a similar response, “Thanks so much,” followed by a bogus reason of why the idea wouldn’t work.

The conversation was the equivalent of Laura saying, “I’d like to give you 100 bucks. No strings attached. I just found a way to save the money and I’d like to give it to you.”

And Mark saying, “Well, thanks for making the effort, but I’ll have to think about that for a while, talk to some other folks and see what they think, and then get back to you.”

Mark was clearly afraid to make a decision, even if it was obviously a good one.

Perhaps you’re dealing with Mark or his doppelgänger. If so, here are a few ideas that can help

5 Ways to Help a Decision Maker Decide

1. Ask More Questions

If you’re met with resistance, stop selling and start asking questions to understand why.

  • How do you think this change would impact the customer experience?
  • Have you ever tried anything like this before? How did it go?
  • What’s driving your hesitation?
  • Who else needs to be involved in such decisions?
  • What do you think would happen if we implemented this approach?
2. Provide a Clear Path Forward

When presenting an idea to a guy like Mark, don’t just talk conceptually. Be crystal clear on what your idea would take to implement: specifically who would need to do what by when.

Folks like Mark are often afraid of change because it just sounds like too much work. Show how moving forward with your plan is easier than sticking with the status quo.

3. Make it Reversible

One of the biggest reasons for decision paralysis is that it feels so permanent. Find a way to let them taste the impact of the decision in a way that can be easily reversed. Got a new process? Try it with one team. Worried about the customer experience? Try your idea out with a small subset of customers and carefully monitor the experience. It’s a lot easier to sell-in a pilot, than to convince a risk-adverse decision maker to make a “permanent” change.

4. Include Others

If Mark suggests a need to socialize the idea with others, offer to tag along. Chances are if he’s afraid to make a decision, he’s equally afraid of expressing his opinion to his boss or other stakeholders.

Offer to support him with an enthusiastic, “Awesome, I’d love to join a quick call to help you socialize the idea.”

5. Don’t Give Up

It’s true that it’s hard helping some people. But stay humble. This isn’t about you or your Mark, it’s about doing the right thing. There’s nothing more convincing than someone passionate about doing the right things for the right reasons.

Give Mark a chance to sleep on it, and give it another go.

stage fright

How to Overcome Stage Fright

I was deeply worried that my Dad was right, there would be no way I could hold it together to sing at my Mom’s funeral. I envisioned myself as a weepy mess at the front of the church. But for me, singing is a prayer, and after the hundreds of concerts my parents attended to support me over the years, not singing felt wrong. I’m normally not a stage fright kind of girl. I always love a good microphone. But fear was showing up in all its glory, and I almost gave in.

Then I realized that this fear was a gift. I needed to be humbled by stage fright, to better serve my clients and students who ask me for advice on how to overcome theirs.

4 Ways to Overcome Stage Fright

Here’s what worked for me. I hope it can help you.

1.Remember WHY you have the mic

If you’ve got a mic in your hand, I’m going to assume you’ve got something important to offer. Remember that stage fright is about you, not your message. Fear is not humility. Connecting with your message and remembering your purpose takes your ego (and the fear that’s trying to protect it) out of the equation.

2. Find some scaffolding

My scaffoldiing came in the form of people. My first text was to my cousin Katie, a professional folk singer and one of the happiest people I know.  Now we had a duet. Mary is a rock star on piano, so I knew if we got into trouble she’d just keep playing.  When Al, who I hadn’t sung with since my wedding, showed up at the funeral home, we added one final touch to the scaffolding for the next morning–guitar.

For you the scaffolding may be a clever prop, slides that prompt you through the tough parts, or a podium to put a barrier between you and the audience. Find what will make you feel more secure.

3. Practice until it “gets into your body.”

Award winning speaker and coach, Patricia Fripp, advises speakers to practice a speech until it “gets into your body.” She rehearses on a treadmill, so I decided to take my song for a walk in the woods. I got a few strange looks when I stumbled upon a fellow hiker, but what the heck.

4. Visualize success

As corny as it sounds, that morning I spent some quiet time picturing myself in front of the familiar terrain of the church I grew up in. The stained glass, green carpet, and the harmony that needed to surface.

Here’s a 30 second glimpse of the outcome.

Need help with communication, leadership development, or a funeral singer (just kidding), give me a call 443-750-1249.

When fear leads to deception

When Fear Leads to Self Deception

On the grand scheme of deception I suppose this ranks low on the Richter scale. But early tremors are deceiving, and reveal important indicators of our fault lines.

The Backstory

Sebastian (for those just tuning in, my youngest son, age 9) came out of the womb running. The son of two marathon runners and triathletes, he was tousled in the womb and spent hours sleeping and giggling in the baby jogger, so much so that we needed a new set of tires.

So when he came in second as a kindergartener on the “most laps around the school in an hour walk-a-thon,” we thought of the small pond and kept encouraging humility. The next few years he continued to improve his lap count and eventually won.

Which brings us to this morning (3rd grade), the dawn of the annual event, when Sebastian announced, “I’m not going to run this year, it’s important that I just walk with my friend Sammy, we have a lot to talk about.”

Now, it’s ABSOLUTELY true that Seb and Sam, best friends like brothers, have lots to talk about.

Both of their grandmothers are dying and they have both been actively involved in one another’s scenes. Their grown-up conversations in the back seat of my car trump the sincerity of most grown-ups I know.

They have also lived like brothers in one another’s homes, accelerated by our need for collaborative child-care during both our scenes. They talk day and late into the night.

So yes, I buy it. And I don’t.

Glad To Have a Why-er in the House

As luck would have it Uncle Luke was spending the night, visiting from Seattle on a business trip. I quickly called in the breakfast-time reinforcements.

He asked a few “Why” questions, and before we knew it, we heard of the new contender, ironically also called Luke, who was the sure bet to win.

The Bigger Conversation

When Sebastian admitted his Luke-fear, the real conversation began.

He didn’t want to risk his legacy of the kindergarten wonder… easier to be the cool guy who no longer cares.

He was getting ready to be a one-hit wonder.

At 9.

The Race

He ran the race. Luke came in first. Both won.

For You and Me

It’s so easy to revel in our wins and declare victory.

Are you stuck at your best year?

What’s possible next if you don’t care if that reputation is destroyed?

Why not blow it up for something bigger that will really change the game?

5 Leadership Priorities During Times of Crises #BaltimoreRiots

“It was only a matter of time before Baltimore exploded,” Michael Fletcher explains in his excellent Washington Post article digging a level deeper into the rioting and destruction in Baltimore this week.

He stated,  “Baltimore is not Ferguson and its primary problems are not racial.”

There’s a huge economic divide that has been eating away the infrastructure of our city for years.

The city has changed dramatically in my lifetime. The once safe-feeling row house neighborhood where my father grew up now faces many of the economic issues underlying the protests.

What Baltimore needs next is strong leadership.

In yesterday’s post, I asked the LGL community to offer their insights on what must happen next in Baltimore. The response was tremendous. I look forward to continue to collect your comments to take forward to Baltimore leadership to instigate change.

5 Leadership Priorities Baltimore Must Address

The main idea was that the problem is aggravated by a lack of shared vision of what must happen next, and an unwillingness of leaders on both sides of the issues to take a united stand, roll-up their sleeves and send a clear message on a path forward.

1. A Unified Leadership Front

We’ve got glimpses–gang members from rival gangs working together, 100 church leaders marching arm in arm through the burning rubble asking protesters to stop the violence, and Orioles COO, John Angelos tweeting about decades of inequities underlying the eruption of violence.  But it’s not enough.

We need elected officials, fire chiefs, gang leaders, church leaders, student leaders, COOs, and celebrated athletes coming together to say “STOP: THIS IS OUR CITY AND WE CAN’T DESTROY IT!” along with a clear commitment to get in a room and work it through in a collaborative way.

2. A Deep and Candid Conversation on the Issues

Violent demonstrations such as this happen when people feel their voice isn’t being heard.

We need to follow the lead of other cities like Chicago who have engaged collaborative conversation through appreciative inquiry and structured conversations.

I’ve been disappointed at how many key leaders have been told “not to comment.”

I was even asked, “Are you sure you want to get involved in this? Is it good for your brand?”

My brand is authenticity, and leading with confident humility. If not on important issues like this, when?

Leadership that matters will always annoy someone.

Honestly, what has surprised me most is all the emails coming in in lieu of comments. Folks who have something important to say, but somehow only want to say it to me.

3. Swift Action

Leaders need to take swift and bold action to make some crucial decisions.

I don’t pretend to understand why the mayor vetoed the body camera bill last year, and what was different about her proposal this February that is still swirling. I do know that quick action in this arena would be a sincere step toward additional transparency.

4. A Clear Path Forward

Citizens are looking for guidance on what to do. Thousands came to Baltimore to support the clean up efforts, because someone organized it. Many churches in our area (including my own) are holding special services and prayer vigils. We could get these concerned citizens to “pray with their feet” if we just told them how, and offered scaffolding that made it feel safe.positive baltimore

What we need is a place where the anger, heartache, love, and hope can be put to good use. Outside of the broken souls who ransacked stores and scrambled through the streets last night with as much booze and stolen goods as they could carry, I don’t imagine anyone turned on the news last night and said. “Good. Let it burn!” I even saw a young man, who claimed to be Crips leader quoted as saying, “This is our neighborhood, but we can’t control it now…”

But where do you start? How can you help? I’m a middle class white-guy, born in Baltimore, but raised in the suburbs. I love the city and like to consider myself from there, but I can’t claimed to have lived it. I’ve been a spectator at best. What should I be doing? Should I grab a shovel and start scooping out the ashes of CVS and the dozens of mom and pop shops that may never recover? Maybe. Should I stand with the non-violent protesters on Eutaw Street? I probably should have done that two days ago, but I don’t know that that would have helped and the truth is we don’t know exactly what happened to Freddie Gray. It’s an injustice to be sure, but a vague one that presents little course of action other than outrage. So, most of us do nothing. We shake our head at the news and then move on with our day.

I suppose what I would say to our leaders is that the outrage, the sadness, and the concern are wasted resources. There are many who will help if given clear direction. Tell us what to do and where we’re needed. Clear a path to the greater good and build a better city than the one we had. It’s not about one night or one issue. It’s about creating an environment where last night is impossible.

5. Admitting Mistakes for Proactive Action in Other Cities

It’s hard to know what to say and do in such scenes.  God only knows I’ve said some stupid things under fire. The mayor’s “room to destroy” comment is distracting the media from the real issue. She can make this go away by saying, “Yup, poor word choice. I am sorry. What I really meant was_____.”

Here’s what one concerned LGL tribe member shared:

From an outsider’s perspective (though, an outsider that experienced something similar during Hurricane Katrina) it seems that a simple conversation between community leaders could not only resolve this, but also serve as a model for communities dealing with similar issues across the US and even the world. I think Baltimore would be smart to capitalize on the opportunity to help the world take a big step forward.

Our worst times in history are aggravated or improved by the leadership response. My hope for Baltimore is that we will have more leaders leading with confident humility, setting egos and agendas aside and rebuilding our city to be so much better than before that no lives, property or effort was wasted.

*Pics shared with me by Civic Works Baltimore a non-profit strengthening Baltimore’s communities through education, skills development, and community service.

I was delighted to share a bit of discussion on Canada Talks Radio last night. You can hear the audio here., as well as an interview with Matt Tenney in the Huffington Post. 

Riots in Baltimore: Why I Need You to Help Me Write My Next Post

I don’t usually write on Tuesdays, but it would be irresponsible to not write in the midst of the chaos brewing in my hometown, Baltimore. For my international viewers, Baltimore has joined the cities featured on CNN and the morning shows due to their looting and protest-related violence as a response to the Freddie Gray tragedy.

As I write this, the sun hasn’t even set. We’re all deeply worried about what will manifest overnight. I’ve lived in the Baltimore area my whole life. I have great childhood memories of sitting with my grandpa with the radio on listening to the Orioles game and the cheers from Memorial Stadium (precursor to Camden Yards) coming across their backyard.

I watched our Inner Harbor go from a place you feared, to “opening day” at Harbor Place with my uncles and feeling like we were in Disneyland.

And tonight we watch our city being torn apart by divergent opinion. The issues are real. People are getting hurt. Those sticking up for what they believe on both sides are suffering. Those working to express their concerns calmly are being overshadowed by violence. As the wife of a firefighter and a good friend of several police officers who I know are deeply commited to ensuring everyone is treated fairly, I worry extra hard about those working to keep the peace.

There are good guys on both sides hurting, expressing, risking.

If there was ever a need for leadership in Baltimore this is it.

What would you do next if you were in charge?

Even if you’ve never commented before, please lean in.

My next post will work to gather your important ideas into themes.

Namaste.

5 Ways to Ensure Your Voice is Heard

In the Q&A after my keynote the other day, a woman (ironically after refusing to use my microphone) asked, “You know that part where you talk about Professor Lupin and facing your fears? What if your biggest fear is that you won’t be heard… how do you make that feel ridiculous?”

We chatted for a moment about really considering what “the worst thing that could happen” was in this scenario. And what would happen if she didn’t speak up at all, which would ensure her fear had come true.  And then she said, “But what if they use the same idea when someone else says it?”

I then I understood that her question was less about fear and more of a “How do I?” question (see also David Dye’s “Leaders Are You Answering the Wrong Question?”).

Eager eyes awaited my response. Apparently she wasn’t the only one facing that challenge.

5 Ways to Ensure Your Voice is Heard:  The VOICE approach

First, when someone offers you a mic, take it. If someone else has to repeat what you say, you’ve already lost some impact. Sometimes the mic is metaphorical (like pulling your chair up to the table if you’re sitting on the sidelines). Here are a few other additional tips.

VVisualize

Visualize what you are going to say and how you’re going to say it. Include it all–the eye contact, the sitting up tall with an open stance, strong projection and confident tone. Visualize their receptive response. It’s much easier to feel confident when you’ve practiced.

O- Organize 

Organize your thoughts in advance. Make an outline if needed. Consider the key points that will support your point of view. Know your opening sentence, so you won’t be tempted to start with a pre-apology (e.g. “This may be a bad idea, but…”)

I- Inquire

If possible do your homework in advance and be aware of other’s opinions on the topic. If you’re responding spontaneously, then ask for feedback. (e.g. “How do you think idea could impact our project?”)

C- Consider

Listen carefully to the opinions and ideas of others. Thank them and respond appropriately, building on and integrating their ideas if possible.

E- Energize

Stay energetic in your delivery. It’s hard to ignore someone is genuinely passionate about their point of view.

Most importantly, be sure you believe what you have to say. If you’re unsure, your audience will be equally skeptical.

Leadership credo Spring 2015

The Power of a Change of Venue

It’s tricky for all of us. I’m teaching the only leadership course these accounting students will take as part of their masters programs. The class runs from 5-10 PM after most have worked all day in their internships, and we’re crammed into a room too small for the big moving around that is critical under such conditions.

All but a handful are on visas from China. This is their final semester, and most who are not finding a job, face a fast-ticking clock that matters.

A good number name public speaking as their greatest fear, and of course it’s a leadership class, and it’s me, and it’s five hours…everybody needs to talk.

Which brings us to tonight, where each student was asked to present their leadership credo (if you want to try this click here, or heck, let me come help you 😉

Now, this is a Karin Hurt classic. It never fails. Until tonight, or so I thought.

The Power of a Change of Venue

It was time to present the credos–the student’s “This I believe” on leadership. Each student sat straight up in their seats. I could see glimpses, so I was optimistic of effort, but nearly everyone had their credo turned face down on the desk.  I invited volunteers to share their credo. I was met with crickets. Then two brave souls came forth with rock star quality presentations— followed by (you guessed it)–more crickets. The class looked at me with big, longing eyes waiting for me to move on. I offered a prize for the creativity folks most admired–not helpful.

Perhaps it was the tenacity to not let this fail, or the panic I felt realizing that this exercise should fill an hour and “We can’t be done in two minutes!”–but, I regrouped.

“I can see you’ve got great stuff by the glimpses I caught as you entered the room. I also see most of you don’t feel comfortable sharing in a crowd.

Let’s go into the hallway.” 45 students formed two circles and I quickly arranged a “speed dating” kind of sharing.

The energy level went up about 10 times, and I quickly realized my previously shy students had something important to say.

One minute in, it was clear, we were disturbing the surrounding classes.

I interrupted. “That’s the spirit! But, now ironically, we’re too loud.” Would anyone object to going outside? (It was sunny but a bit chilly.)

And off we went. You would have thought I had started serving cocktails. Bystanders  were staring as they walked by to see what we were up to.

They shared and admired and celebrated their leadership teachable point of views.

As we returned inside, I shared my “teachable moment.”

“My leadership was failing. I tried to get you to follow and you refused. I had to take a step back and regroup and change the approach (and in this case the venue). If no one’s following, blaming it on your followers may feel good, but it won’t work. If you’re really blowing it, step back and try again.”

And then the magic happened. The class selected one of their quietest members as their “winner” for creativity and content. And then, classmates who had never participated started sharing their credos. The rest of the evening went a whole lot quicker. Ahhh the remarkable power of #confidenthumility.

3 Ways to Avoid the Slippery Slope of Inconsistency

Kendra is late because she was at the hospital with her sick child and barely got home to take a shower… got it. Every now and then managers must make exceptions, no doubt. But now, John is late too, and you feel bad saying something to him, since you just let Kendra off the hook. Before you know it, late is the new black… to work, to meetings, and the envelope is being pushed in other arenas as well.

Or, you’re a Sales Director implementing a new customer information system. Your rock star, Janice, refuses to use it, and you figure it’s no big deal. You don’t want to push her buttons, and she’s got a system that works, so you leave her alone about the requirement. The challenge is everyone wants to be like her (particularly the new guys who need the system the most). Pretty soon, no one’s using the investment and all the incremental sales you baked into the business case are a pipe dream.

3 Ways to Avoid the Slippery Slope of Inconsistency

When people REALLY need an exception, they need an exception. But, most of the time they yearn for consistency. Here are three ways to show up as a human and stay true to your vision.

Explain Your Leadership Viewpoint

Try something like this: “I believe in situational leadership and doing the right thing for people in trying situations. I can’t always disclose WHY I’m chosing to make an exception, but please know that if I do, there’s a private matter at hand that we’re working through. Other than that, I’ll be working to be as consistent as possible. I trust that you will understand that so I can maintain the same flexibility when you have an extreme situation. In order to make this work, I need everyone staying true to our game plan.”

Know Consistency is Valued

In every company I work with I hear a consistent theme in focus groups:  “I wish our managers had tougher and more consistent standards. We’d be so much better if they consistently reinforced the requirements.” I hear that 10 times more than “My manager is too hard on us.”

Chances are everyone is rooting for you to take a stand.  Be human, but often the most fair and reasonable answer is to say “No” to deviant behavior.

Invite Your “A Players” to Be Role Models Not Exceptions

Your “A Players” feel they deserve special treatment. Give it to them. Invite them to help you solve the bigger problem, not stay on the outskirts. If you doubt this can be done, call me. The biggest turnarounds have always involved getting the prima donnas to help for the greater good.

Once your team is headed down a slippery slope, it’s darn impossible to get them moving uphill. Your team is yearning for leadership, parameters and consistency, with the occassional human exception. Approach these situations with the confidence that your vision is important, and the humility to know when their situation warrants an exception.

Do you need help preparing for an important turnaround? Call me for a free consultation. 443-750-1249.

The Surprising Way to Encourage Disengagement

Within three years, Mike had gone from an excited, creative new hire full of passion, energy and ideas, to a guy with one foot out the door with disengagement like carbon monoxide: invisible and impossible to smell. Here is his story.

My first year, my ideas and alternative views were “refreshing.” I was quickly viewed as a rising star and invited to the right meetings. I was pleased to be rewarded with the coveted “exceeds expectations” rating. I was constantly looking for ways to improve our processes and make the company better. The next year, I guess I got a little too comfortable with sharing my opinions. In hindsight, I could have positioned them better, but I was saying what needed to be said. And every time I left a meeting the level above (except my boss) would thank me for speaking the truth. I just cared so much about our cause and was attached to our vision.

I received a “developing rating” that year.  That’s when I knew I was going to have to leave, but I wanted it to be on my own terms. I decided the only way to survive was to just stop caring. And that’s what I did. I buried my passion and I went along, even if I knew a better approach. And that year, I was once again given the rating of “exceeds expectations.” I “exceeded expectations” by caring less, offering less, and doing less.”

Mike’s boss made a point to chime in on the appraisal with a comment: “It’s nice to have you back.”

Mike is convinced his secret was subtle, but I doubt it. I imagine other box 9 candidates with great ideas vicariously got the “settle down” message and stiffled their enthusiasm as they polished their resumes.

It’s easy to think of engagement as everyone singing along with a merry smile.

Dig deeper. Your most engaged players may be the naysayers. They may need some polish, but be careful not to rub off their passion and value in the process.

Who Decides Your Future?

It’s been a long day, turning into tomorrow, but I can’t get her out of my mind.  Ling (not her real name) bravely raised her hand in my Masters level leadership class tonight. “Professor, I see how these techniques would be important for someone who could accomplish something great, but it’s hard to apply for someone like me…”

I gave more examples and stories of how these basic techniques are easily used in motivating frontline teams or to stand out in an interview.

Again, Ling shook her head.

Let me step back and paint a picture. Ling is early in her career, from China, taking a masters level curriculum completely in English. Life is tricky. Visas are uncertain. She’s a rock star contributor– thinking deeply and expressing great insights. She cares, she tries, she knows a great deal. She’s scared.

Someone like me…

I paused to hear more.

Ling continued, “I’m not going to accomplish anything like THAT.”

Next, a few more few anxious nods. Not from the men.

And I’m left with the nagging question so many of us feel.

“Am I someone who could accomplish something great?”

Who, or what, limits our belief that we can be great?

What’s the right level of audacious hope?

I’m sure she’s thinking, “For God’s sakes Professor, just give me enough practical advice to land a job.”

We’ll go there. But I’m not sure that advice will work.

“One notch above” won’t differentiate or lead an employer to go the extra mile to take on immigration.

Being remarkable takes bold moves, differentiated thinking, and a really strong “why.”

In an uneven playing field who defines remarkable?

How do you build audacious confidence amidst a chorus of assimilation advice to “just fit in?”

This is not just Ling’s story.

Her journey is hard. Yours is too. You can be the guy who “accomplishes something great.”

In fact, we’re counting on it.

Karin Hurt, CEO

Other LGL News

I’m delighted to announce I’ve signed a book publishing contract with AMACOM with co-author David Dye. Working title is Winning Well:  How to Lead Your Team to the Top Without Losing Your Soul.  We’re headed for an early Spring release, stay tuned for ways to get involved.

I also had fun this week with a feature article on Yahoo:  What to Do When Your Boss Drives You Crazy

Are you looking for a keynote speaker or some support in taking your team to the next level? Please give me a call for a free consultation. 443 750-1249.

5 Ways to Ensure Your New Program, System, or Idea Is Adopted

From my perspective, the new system was genius. Instead of our enterprise customers typing in their service orders in an email for call center reps to retype them into our systems (which almost always contained errors) the customers now had an easy interface that would “flow through” to the backend systems. Faster, with higher quality, and an added bonus of working on weekends.

Only one problem, the reps (and their union) HATED it. And they had a point. What about white glove treatment for high-end customers? What about relationships?

The truth is both points were true. Large Enterprise customers wanted efficiency AND differentiated service from THEIR kind reps, like Kenetra. It wasn’t either/or. It wasn’t them or us. It was about working together on building a customer-focused adoption strategy.

And that’s why our Region led the Nation in “Flow Through.”

Although I give some tongue-in-cheek credit to my rendition of “The Flow Through Happens Tonight (to the tune of The Lion Sleeps Tonight). Thank God this silliness preceded YouTube.

If your program, system, or new idea isn’t gaining traction, don’t push– involve.

5 Ways to Ensure a Smoother Roll Out

1. Be Honest about the Benefits

ALL employees care about is WIFM (‘What’s in it for me’) is BS. Sure, employees want to know “What’s In It for them.” They equally want to know what’s in it for you and for THEIR customers. Leaving that part out just leaves them to fill in the blanks and make assumptions (i.e. the next thing you’re going to do is downsize). They want to know you’re thinking this through with your brain, and not just your pocketbook.

2. Start Small

Don’t start advocating for a system that’s not ready or full of flaws. Test it first with a small group, take their feedback seriously and get it right. It’s tough to regain credibility. “Oh yeah, I admit it sucked before, but now it’s better,” only leaves the masses wondering why some bozo made a choice to sing praises for a system that was full of problems in the real world. Even if you think it works well in the IT war room, field test it first. Yes, this takes time. Go slow to go fast.

In the example above, we worked the kinks out with one team and gave headquarters feedback until I’m sure they were sick of hearing from us (actually, me… never make your team be the bad guy). Take the risk of making some waves to make it easy for your team. We were slower out of the gate than most regions. But no one remembers that part of the story.

3. Establish Easy to Access Listening Posts

This is perhaps the most important part. Really listen to what your people are saying. Most importantlly, respond to feedback with solutions–not selling. When you fix something, communicate it back five times, five different ways.

4. Gather Reluctant Testimony

Lift up as many testimonials as you can. Get your most excited employees showing how your new idea, system or process changed their world. Your most influential stories will come from the least likely suspects: the sales guy who never bothered with this crap before; the new rep who’s now running circles around the old timers because she uses the system; the supervisor who got her entire team (including the union steward) doing Harlem Globe Trotter tricks with the system.

5. Involve the Team in Key Decisions

No one wants stuff done TO them, or even FOR them. WITH them goes a lot further. What’s working well and how do we leverage it? What enhancements do we need? Where should we head next? All these questions go a long way.

Are you facing a vital strategic change? Please give me a call at 443-750-1249 to discuss how I can best support you through consulting and speaking. Together we will achieve breakthrough results.

Experts Share Advice on Inspiring Breakthrough Results: A Frontline Festival

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. Our March Festival is all about inspiring breakthrough results. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Festival is all about “Spring Cleaning” for your leadership or team (e.g. renew, refresh, planting seeds). New contributors welcome.

The Internal Side of Breakthrough Results

The achievements of an organization are the result of the combined efforts of each individual. – Vince Lombardi

Wally Bock of Three-Star Leadership reminds us that breakthrough results and business success take more than smarts. Guts and discipline count, too. Follow Wally.

Michelle Cubas of Positive Potentials reminds us that breakthrough results are often like “overnight sensations.” We all know or heard of people who have come “out of nowhere” and were the next big thing. Stop there—Not true. See why . . .  Follow Michelle.

Chery Gegelman of Simply Understanding points out that breakthrough leaders are curious.  They enjoy turning rocks, are willing to get dirty and courageously face the squiggly things they discover.  And those discoveries inspire change and results.   Follow Chery.

Bruce Harpham of Project Management Hacks helps us learn how George Washington laid the foundation for breakthrough results in the American Revolution and beyond. He mastered these four career hacks before he turned 25. Follow Bruce. 

Barbara Kimmel of Trust Across America advises that breakthrough results can be achieved by companies that proactively build trust into their business strategy. If you don’t think a business case for trust exists, this article may change your mind. Follow Barbara.

Scott Mautz of the Make It Matter blog helps us discover a formula that expresses how an organization’s energy is derived, and provides the four questions leaders can ask themselves to avoid sapping precious energy from the quest for breakthrough results. Follow Scott.

From  Matt McWilliams of MattMcWilliams.comThese four words are what helped a shy assistant nearly set a company record for sales…in her first week. Less than two years later, she scored in the top 1% on the SHRM exam as she transitioned into HR management. It all started with these four words.  Follow Matt.

Jennifer Miller of the People Equation explores what happens when you’re just plain stuck. Try these four tips to help you break through the mental clutter.  Follow Jennifer.

Michelle Pallas of Michelle Pallas, Inc. asks and answers: “Want breakthrough results? Change you!” Follow Michelle.

Alli Polin of Break the Frame  shares that you can’t achieve breakthrough results until you have the confidence to show up and lead from your truth, not from behind an illusion of perfection.  Follow Alli.

LaRae Quy of Mental Toughness Center observes that when we stop striving to do our best, we become complacent. We settle into a comfort zone that produces mediocrity, and it takes mental toughness to break out of that rut.  Follow LaRae.

The External Side of  Breakthrough Results

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited gives pointers on setting goals with your team that will achieve breakthrough results. Follow Beth.

David Couper of Improving Police suggests that to inspire breakthrough results, a leader must: deeply listen to others (including dissent), oversee a quality training program, model an engaged style of leadership, create a system of improvement, be data-driven and sustain improvements. Follow David.

David Dye of Trailblaze, Inc. shares the most important five minutes you’ll spend to get clarity, accountability, and breakthrough results after your team stumbles upon a breakthrough idea. Follow David.

From John Hunter of Curious Cat Management Improvement blog: Breakthrough results don’t always require remarkable innovation or even radical change.  Often incredible results are the result of creating a system that is continually improving and over time hundreds of actions build and help achieve breakthrough results.  Building such a management system takes great care. Follow John.

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference shares that as leaders we can get caught up in the hard-core metrics when we’re measuring results, but what if we also focused on heart? Heart delivers a confidence to make the places we work and live better with each week, month and year. Follow Jon.

Skip Pritchard of Leadership Insights shares, “Have you ever seen the massive pumpkins that compete for the world’s largest title? Thousands of pounds, these champion growers credit the good seed, good soil, and good luck. What I learned about breakthrough results mirrors what I learned from these monster pumpkins!” Follow Skip.

Jesse Lyn Stoner of Seapoint Center points us toward research study into teams that create breakthrough results, identifying these six benchmarks of high performance teams. How does your team stack up? Follow Jesse Lyn.

Linda Fisher Thornton of Leading in Context shares how respect is incredibly important. In the quest to create workplaces where people can find meaning and do their best work, she believes that we need to aim much higher. Follow Linda.

frontlinefestival-300x300-300x300Call for Submissions. The April Frontline Festival is about Spring Cleaning for your leadership or team (e.g. renew, refresh, planting seeds). Please send your submissions no later than April 10th. New participants welcome. Click here to join in!