An amazing thing happened to me recently at work: I realized I was failing at an important project. Even though our momentum is good and trending more-or-less in the right direction, I received a lot of feedback from other leaders and project members that the system we (my team and I) put in place is not working, and ultimately will not work in its current incarnation. In short, we are doomed to fail if we don’t change course.
Interviewing for a new job is almost always an uncomfortable experience. By definition, you are being judged by others who don't know you. Some interviewers take it to an extreme and seem to enjoy their temporary leverage over you in an almost sadistic way. Others might be more collaborative, or empathetic, and seek to ease your discomfort.
No matter the temperament of the interviewer, I think most of us can agree that interviewing for a new job is generally unpleasant. So let's discuss how to make your next job interview less miserable, and help you increase your chances of landing that next job.
There is no shortage of people willing to give advice in this world. The internet has only accelerated that tendency. I don't want to give advice, but I did receive one tip from a colleague long ago that has stuck with me when all other advice has faded away. Something that 'sticky' deserves to be shared.
Cultivating a Great Culture is Your Biggest Leadership Asset
I sat back in my chair in the conference room amazed at what I heard Reid saying. He was committing to a customer that he and his organization would design and deliver a complex software feature in an aggressively short time period.
Due to my role in the meeting, it wasn't possible for me to contradict Reid's proposal. I recall thinking at the time that Reid was crazy to make such a promise. Our customer would then count on him to fulfill his commitment, and any failure to deliver would endanger our relationship and potential future business.
The true reason I was disbelieving was because I had interacted with Reid's organization before. They had many talented professionals, but their organization's culture was toxic. It was sadly full of blame games, silos, protectionism of people's own resources, information hiding, ass-covering, and lack of a solution-oriented, team-first mindset. More than once, I saw Reid craft a brilliant strategy for his product area, only to have the organization fail to execute due to their unhealthy culture.
Don't be like Reid. Invest in your organization's cultural health and gain the ultimate competitive advantage!
Your Company Wants You to Be Awesome
Your company wants you to be awesome. Trust me, they do. I'm a manager in a large company and I want 100% of my employees to be awesome. And by awesome I mean being so good you continuously amaze those around you.
Receiving feedback well is not complicated, and is a skill that can be learned. So why do so many of us do it so badly?
Let's walk through the four simple steps to receiving and making the most of the gift of feedback.
How to Decide What to Focus on When Improving Your Operations
Picture this scenario: you are appointed to a leadership position in an existing organization. Before taking the assignment, your boss tasked you with the vague mission of "making the operation better".
As leaders, sometimes we are lucky enough to get clear directives. More often, we are expected to simply "make things better". What does it really mean to "make the operation better"? How can you as a leader succeed with such a vague assignment? And how do you know where to start?
Read more to understand a model of organizational maturity and for prioritizing improvements.
Use Research Fellowships to Involve Employees in Your Strategy Definition
In a fast-paced business environment, it can be difficult for us to progress with our strategic work. At times, the best we can do is to survive each day and not let our task lists get too out of control. In fact, if we are not careful, it is possible to go weeks or months without giving any quality time to our strategic agendas because we can't free ourselves up long enough to think strategically.
We will discuss a strategy for how to delegate a portion of your strategic work, to allow you to make progress on your strategic goals, despite all the distractions of day-to-day operations.
Short-term Versus Long-term Thinking
Recently, a professional friend of mine asked me "How do I know if I'm achieving the correct split of my time, energy, effort between short term needs and long term goals?"
**It's a great question**, and at the time I didn't have a great answer. In this post we step through two questions you can use to guide yourself to a productive split between short-term and long-term thinking.
How to Be More Productive Processing Your Email
For a guy who doesn't like spending time with email, I do seem to be writing a lot about it lately.
My last word on email (for the foreseeable future at least) and the last piece of the email puzzle we need to discuss is how to actually process your email. We should be aware that there is no perfect email system for everyone. People have different work styles and demands and what works well for one person may be a detriment to another person. However, here are a few suggestions that will improve your performance at processing your email backlog effectively.
Ditch Your Archaic Email Organization Routine
Several months ago I sat down with a colleague, Steve, at their desk to jointly review some slides I was going to present the next day. Previously, we'd decided to have an ad-hoc meeting to walkthrough and review a draft of the material I sent him several days before.
It was then that I discovered a common email issue that afflicts many. Here's how to overcome it.
Use the Birthday Technique to Show Your Employees You Care About Them
I was having a rough day at work. It was years ago, while I was living in China and my wife and family were in the U.S. vacationing for the summer. I was feeling lonely and melancholy.
I typically used these opportunities of having no familial responsibilities to dive even deeper into my work. However, on this day I was having trouble getting my mind focused on the chaos and troubles at work. I guess I was just feeling a little down.
And it was my birthday.
My Email Manifesto
I have a fundamentally different philosophy to email management than most people I know. Like anytime I differ from the mainstream, I'm often asked 'why' by many people. This manifesto is my answer.
3 Simple Steps For Approaching Yearly Objective Setting
Now is the time of year when managers and employees all around the world sit down to discuss employee’s plans for the coming year. Normally, as in previous years, you would follow your company’s prescribed yearly goal setting process like an automaton. But not this year.
How to Protect Your Goals, Even When Life Doesn't Help
Despite our best intentions, life has a tendency to get in the way of executing our carefully designed plans. This type of disruption might come from any direction (personal, professional, health, etc) but the impacts will likely be felt in every aspect of your life.
Disruptions don't just happen to the unlucky few; they happen to everyone. If you find yourself disrupted, here are five steps you need to take minimize the negative affects on your goals.
Monthly 10 Minute Challenge - September 2015
I love improvements.
I like talking about improvements. I like brainstorming new improvements. I like collecting data to measure existing improvements. In fact, you could say that I'm an "improvement guy". But amidst all of this activity, there is a common trap that improvement oriented people like me often fall into: we only think about incremental change.
Take the Road Less Travelled, and Enjoy the Ride
When my wife and I, together with our two small kids, boarded the first of several flights on our journey to Sweden, we were equal parts excited and apprehensive. We were naïve about living overseas, and not yet aware of the profound impact moving abroad would have on our lives, our worldview, and ultimately my professional career.
If I were given the choice to go back in time, I would change several aspects about our overseas experiences, but I wouldn't change our decision to go abroad.
Organizing a Superstar Hunt to Upgrade Your Organization
In a previous organization, one of my most valuable employees was Sue. I didn't hire Sue personally. In fact, when I entered the organization, she was buried from view by layers of management and project bureaucracy.
When I finally noticed Sue, I promoted her. Why? Because Sue is a superstar. The only help she needed from me was a chance to prove herself and she took care of the rest.
Today, we're going to talk about how to get the most out of the superstar talent buried in your organization.
Monthly 10 Minute Challenge - August 2015
This month's 10 Minute Challenge just may change the way you approach your job and your life.
I regularly hear the the word's "I didn't have time" used by my coworkers. Several years ago, I vowed to remove that phrase from my vocabulary, and so I did. After that, each time I hear those words I cringe a little. What I'm really hearing is someone lie to themselves and those around them.