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Friday’s Big Eight # 7: Decisions

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Your ability to continuously solve problems and make decisions better insures that you, the team and organization are less likely to get behind the curve when it comes to changes taking place in today’s world.  Keeping the pace is essential to remaining viable, profitable and relevant.  Your ability to decide accurately and quickly and to take decisive action can be a big asset.  Or course, so is the ability to be flexible and change your mind as needed.

Here are three primary ways to approach decision making:

Subjective – Working with known information.  Usually revolves around asking yourself or the team questions that identify the problem, causes and possible solutions.  I credit the Dale Carnegie Course and Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living with helping me become a better decision maker beginning in my early 20s.  Still relevant.

Objective – Needing more and better intelligence.  There are times when you don’t’ have all the info you need to make a good decision.  Generally Objective decision making calls for research, analysis and reporting one’s findings.  In group decision making situations it’s often recommended to have a third party facilitator who uses some sort of ideal or results oriented group process.

Intuitive – Intuition is that Flash of Insight that comes as a vision in your mind’s eye, little voice in the back of your mind or a gut feeling.  Individuals may receive intuitive insights or hunches differently but, most would agree, when they follow intuition things work out.  When they don’t follow, things are likely to go sideways or south.  Generally speaking, people are not trained or conditioned to use intuition here in the western world, so one must make the effort to recognize and respond to intuition when it’s at work – versus just using intelligence to make seemingly rational choices.  Both are valuable, but intuition is often disregarded by individuals in this left-brained culture.

Making Decisions is # 7 in Friday’s Big Eight    

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills training and coaching programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 30 years. More about Rich and his coaching programs at: Drinon & Associates      

Friday’s Big Eight # 6: Change

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The ability to navigate change has become one of the most important areas of competence over the past few decades due to shifts in our technology driven global society.  The leader needs to predict, plan for and promote change in a manner that brings about next steps and a new normal.

Predicting change is becoming a more exact science due to the massive amount of information available to analyst and decision makers.  Big Data, carefully scrutinized, can give those with the ability to decipher and put it to immediate use an incredible edge in today’s marketplace or battleground – or at the polls.  Read The Naked Future: What Happens in a World that Anticipates Your Every Move? by Patrick Tucker –  if you haven’t already.

With accurate, faster and more powerful ways to predict changes, patterns and opportunities, those in competitive situations must learn to plan for change more quickly than before.  To recognize changes that impact people globally, regionally, locally and personally and plan products, services and marketing, promotion or sales campaigns often takes “turn on a dime” agility and “0 to 60 in five seconds” speed.

And, of course, the leader must be able to get others on board by effectively promoting change.  You can predict change and plan quickly but if you can’t persuade all hands to get on deck to turn the ship you will still be headed in the wrong direction with the possibility of running aground or sinking before reaching a better shore.  I highly recommend reading Rick Maurer’s work.  It’s helped me tremendously as a business owner.  Rick works with companies across the globe.   Several articles are available at his website:http://www.rickmaurer.com/

Change is # 6 in Friday’s Big Eight      

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills training and coaching programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 28 years.

 

Friday’s Big Eight # 5: Results

4863-BWLast Friday I wrote, “In the workplace you’ve heard it said, “It’s all about relationships.”  And, to a large degree, this is true.  It’s hard to accomplish your objectives without the help of others.”  You’ve also heard it said, “It’s all about results.”  And this is ALSO true.  As a leader you were hired or promoted into your position with the expectation you would deliver results.

It’s important for you to set goals, establish priorities, schedule time and manage your work space on a personal basis.  And, perhaps more importantly, it’s vital for you to achieve results THROUGH others by learning to convey expectations, delegate work and give performance feedback while planning for improvement with your entire team and individual members.

The tension between those who are geared towards achieving results versus those who are more relationship-oriented is a historic point of friction in the workplace.   It’s important to understand your own preferences and tendencies and make adjustments in accordance with your position as leader.   Those who are more oriented towards goals, results or tasks often need to develop communication, relationship and people management skills.  Usually those who are more people or relationship-oriented must get past the need to be popular or liked, and learn to be more direct, assertive and skilled at holding others accountable.  Learning to coach others for engagement and results is an important training topic for both types.

Plan your leadership development accordingly!

Results is # 5 in Friday’s Big Eight      

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills coaching and training programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 30 years. More about Rich and his coaching programs at Drinon & Associates

 

Friday’s Big Eight # 4: Relationships

4863-BWThe story of an oyster cultivating a pearl is a great analogy for persons developing relationships. With the oyster, an irritating grain of sand is covered by layers of a mineral substance called mother of pearl until a beautiful gem is produced. Between humans, that grain of sand is usually a speck of commonality that begins the process of rapport and discovery until, over time, relationships of varying degrees are produced.  Some are distant, some closer.  Some are acquaintances.  Some friends.  Some lovers. Some never launch – but a few become beautiful gems.

In the workplace you’ve heard it said, “It’s all about relationships.” And, to a large degree, this is true. It’s hard to accomplish your objectives without the help of others.  Relationships with customers, vendors, examiners, collaborators and employees are all critical to your success. Well known polls on employee engagement continue indicating that the relationship a worker has with his or her direct supervisor has a lot to do with how productive and happy that individual is in the workplace.

If you’re a natural born relationship type, this art of cultivating mutuality with others may come easily for you. You do and say all the right things that contribute to ongoing relationships. Sometimes to your detriment in the case of those who would take advantage of you.  If you’re a more goal or task oriented type, geared towards goals, results, tasks or things – or more towards logic than feelings – it may require work on your part to develop new relationships.  Even if you’re a very outgoing, spontaneous people person – cultivating deeper, longer term and meaningful relationships can be elusive until you buckle down and make a commitment to the idea and elements of a committed relationship.

Relationships is # 4 in Friday’s Big Eight

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills training and coaching programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 29 years. More about Rich and his coaching programs at Drinon & Associates

Friday’s Big Eight # 3: Competence

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Today’s follower wants competence in a leader.  During my work life (more than 40 years) competence has become an increasingly important issue for leaders. Things that were popular when I was entering the workforce, such as charisma, have become less so.

When speaking of competence I’m talking about both perceived and real capabilities.  Perceived competence, for example, could be how well you present yourself to groups so they read things into you such as intelligence, confidence and ability. But this doesn’t necessarily mean you can DO the job! Real competence, however, may be visible to others or not. If you’re a quiet, behind the scenes achiever, instigator, motivator or peace maker, others may not readily recognize your talents due to the low key nature of your style. One would hope, that over time, others would come to recognize and value your areas of competence. Or you may have to blow your own horn!

Research leads me to believe there are four key competencies a leader must be concerned with in this present age. These are: building relationships, achieving results, navigating change and making decisions. Supporting these four key competencies are vital things mentioned in the two previous Big Eight blogs – communication and credibility.  And, of course, there are many other important leadership skills that most likely fall under these four:

Relationships: You’ve heard it said, “It’s all about relationships.”  And, to a large degree, this is true.  It’s hard to accomplish your objectives without the help of others.  Relationships with customers, vendors, examiners, collaborators and employees are all critical to your success. Well known polls on employee engagement continue indicating that the relationship a worker has with his or her direct supervisor has a lot to do with how productive and happy that individual is in the workplace.

Results:  You’ve also heard it said, “It’s all about results.”   And this is ALSO true.  As a leader you were hired or promoted into your position with the expectation you would deliver results.  It’s important for you to be able to set goals, establish priorities, schedule time and manage your work space on a personal basis.  And, perhaps more importantly, it’s vital for you to learn to achieve results THROUGH others by learning to convey expectations, delegate work and give performance feedback while planning for improvement with your team and individual team members.

Change: The ability to navigate change has become one of the more important areas of competence over the past few decades due to the shifts in our global, service and technology driven society.  With change the leader needs to be able to predict, plan for and promote change in a manner that brings about next steps and a new normal.

Decisions:  One’s ability to continuously solve problems and make decisions better insures that the leader, team and organization are less likely to fall behind the curve when it comes to all of the change taking place. Keeping the pace is essential to remain viable, profitable and relevant. Your ability to decide accurately and quickly and to take decisive action can be a big asset. Of course, so is the ability to be flexible and change your mind as needed.

Competence is # 3 in Friday’s Big Eight  

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of communication skills training and coaching programs for hundreds of leadership executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 32 years. More about Rich at Drinon & Associates

Friday’s Big Eight # 2: Credibility

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Although communication is the leader’s greatest ally, credibility is his or her greatest asset.  Like any asset, credibility has value that can be invested and redeemed – and must be protected at all costs.  When thinking of credibility, consider the root word of credit – or having credit with others.  When you need something from someone else – either an individual or a group of people – credit is a great thing to have!  Having credit usually stems from things you’ve done for others in the spirit of mutuality or a “give and take” relationship.  Credibility is also tied to words we use regularly to rate others, including ethical behavior, character, reputation… and trust.

Trust is the leadership bridge between my first two Big Eight points of communication and credibility.  For example, you can be a great communicator but if someone doesn’t trust you they are less likely to invest in you, believe you, follow you or vote for you.  People are less likely to “have your back” not knowing if you truly have theirs.  Others are hesitant when it comes to taking action at your behest which can result in lost opportunities or greater costs in terms of execution time or deployment of resources.

Credibility is # 2 in Friday’s Big Eight

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills training and coaching programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 29 years. More about Rich’s leadership communication coaching at: Drinon & Associates

Friday’s Big Eight # 1: Communication Skills

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I’ve asked this question thousands of times, “If you can’t communicate, how can you lead?”  This is also the name of my flagship coaching program, which focuses on leadership communication skills for managing relationships, results, change and decisions.   While credibility is certainly a leader’s greatest asset, communication skill is his or her greatest ally.   More specifically, and in line with the theory of leadership I embrace, it is your verbal skill that sets you apart from others and allows you to pass on knowledge, information and wisdom to your followers and those you mentor.

So much of what you do as a leader is carried out through verbal ability – directing, inspiring, supporting, informing, correcting,  you name it.  In these high tech times, of course, it’s also important that you be able to express yourself effectively through virtual means of email, texting, blogging etc.

If you communicate well in a variety of settings or through various means people are more likely to perceive you as a competent or capable leader.  Those settings include one-on-one, small intimate groups, the board room, small conference or the larger stage.  In addition, written skills for documents and virtual communication are essential for you to be heard and understood.

Communication is # 1 in Friday’s Big Eight  

Rich Drinon, M.A. has conducted thousands of leadership communication skills coaching and training programs for hundreds of executives and management teams throughout the U.S. and Canada over the past 29 years.  For more info on Rich’s coaching programs for individual executives and management teams visit Drinon and Associates .