If you make decisions by consensus, you waste a lot of time. But if you make decisions without sufficient involvement, you won’t gain the cooperation and commitment you need for subsequent steps and successful implementation. How do naturally clear leaders thread this needle? They consciously, or intuitively, follow these seven rules: (more…)
The California State University system is very lean in comparison to other university systems. Our staff is tasked with multiple responsibilities and cannot waste a second in order to deliver our mission to our 500,000 students. Ann Latham provides an opportunity to our employees through her three breakthrough dimensions of productivity and met our needs to help reduce wasted time. Ann is a fantastic presenter and ‘walks the walk” by facilitating her content to our audience in the one hour restriction we had available for our broadcast. We received great feedback after her presentation and many request to view the recording which proved her value. Thank you, Ann, for your succinct collaboration.
Sr. Director, Systemwide Professional Development, California State University
If your organization is at all on top of things, your production line is lean and mean. The processes used to produce and deliver value for which customers are willing to pay are well-defined and reliable. You measure productivity in widgets per hour and expect 99.9% uptime and nearly zero defects. Priorities are clear. Routines are well-established. Roles are well-understood. Employees know exactly what to do, how, how well, with whom, when, and in what order. When necessary, they make decisions with confidence and without delay because they understand the objectives, options, and trade-offs, they have appropriate authority, and they know where to turn for additional information. In other words, they are Radically Clear. As a result, they are ultra productive. This is the region marked by the letter A on the graphic.
Now consider what happens outside that region. As you move away from production and into ‘The B Zone,’ clarity takes a dive! And with it goes productivity! (more…)
I finally got a FitBit and I can’t resist sharing what I’ve learned–the good, the bad, and the ugly.
First of all, I love the hourly reminders to get up and move if I haven’t walked 250 steps in the hour. I smile when I earn fireworks and silly badges for hitting 10,000 steps and exceeding my other goals. I was tickled pink the first time I wore it hiking and watched more than 21,000 steps, 11 miles, and 158 floors tick by. I love the fact that I am using it to push my activity and heart rate levels.
But then there was the day I worked at my desk all day. The weather was lousy. I had lots to do. I was so engrossed, the hours slipped by. I didn’t get up each hour to move. I ran out of time to exercise. Pretty much the only calories I burned are the ones attributed to living and breathing, not moving. Instead of my usual 20 – 40 floors, I climbed only 8. I took fewer than 3000 steps. My heart rate may never have broken 60 bpm. I just kept working. And the resulting numbers made me sick.
When I start putting too many tennis balls into the net, I know it is time to return to the basics.
- Am I keeping my head down and watching the ball leave my strings?
- Am I moving my feet and getting into position early?
- Am I bending my knees?
- Is my stroke smooth and solid from back swing to follow through?
I do the same thing whenever my business isn’t going as well as I’d like. You should do the likewise.
Even if you are just feeling frazzled and maybe a little out of control. Even if you are an employee with internal customers only. When you aren’t winning, it is time to return to the basics. (more…)
Strategies fail more often than they succeed. Occasionally it’s because they are stupid strategies. Most of the times the cause is a lack of clarity – a lack of specificity about where you are headed, how you will get there, and what must change. Consider these examples of typical failures: (more…)
Since it is summer reading season, I thought you would like to know that my daughter’s trilogy is on sale this week for just $.99 each. I think she is a wonderful writer, but I could be biased! Nonetheless, at this price, you can’t go wrong, can you?
If you like adventure, Vikings, Norse mythology, hearty characters, and a dash of fantasy, these could be just what you are looking for!
If you read any of her books, let me know your thoughts! Better yet, post a review on Amazon. That is what young writers desperately need to get their credibility ball rolling. Every review helps, even one word reviews. Did you know that Amazon won’t accept reviews from mothers and other close family members? I didn’t either until mine disappeared. The nerve! 🙂
While we are talking about books and honoring the familial fiction gene that clearly skipped me, my brother’s 15th thriller is now available for preorder. I like his books too and can’t wait until August 1st when this new one arrives at my doorstep.
For those of you with no time for fiction, here are some of my recent Forbes posts that you may have missed:
As you undoubtedly know, my passion is clarity. And I’m on a mission to stamp out the confusion that erodes profits, productivity, and morale in companies like yours. Today, I want to share a couple of stories that demonstrate the power of clarity. Specifically, the power of clarity to empower! These stories involve competent, dedicated employees. People just like you. People who could have been empowered by clarity. But weren’t. People who suffered, while wasting time, thanks to a lack of clarity.
A coaching client of mine recently bemoaned the fact that he had been waiting three weeks for feedback from his vice president on his marketing plan. I asked him what he had asked for. He had asked her to review the plan. I asked him what he needed. He needed approval to implement. He hadn’t asked for what he needed! That’s not clarity! And it empowers no one!
The next day he asked for approval. Guess what happened? (more…)
Strategic planning isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean most organizations do it well! Here are the most common mistakes I see:
1. You do strategic planning because the calendar tells you it is time.
Why? What does the calendar know about your business and changes in your market?
2. You haven’t done strategic planning in several years and think it would probably be a good idea because you know you are supposed to do it more often than you have been.
If you are relying on external triggers like peer pressure and calendars, you are out of touch and don’t understand the purpose of strategic planning.
When I hear The Star Spangled Banner, whether at a hockey game or on the 4th of July, a tear or two of pride and appreciation for the sacrifices of others appear in the corner of each eye. Today, as red, white, and blue pop up everywhere in preparation for the nation’s birthday party, my feelings are more complicated. Frankly, I am quite horrified by the divisiveness in which we seem to be swimming, maybe drowning.
Strength, wisdom, and greatness come from finding common ground and working with others to make things better.This is true for individuals, businesses, families, and governments. Making it happen for businesses and non-profits is basically what I do for a living. United we stand, divided we fall. Furthermore, we need all the brain power and cooperation we can get.
But it isn’t happening in the US right now. I’m not seeing any effort to find common ground. Nor to formulate some kind of shared vision for what we want this country to be. I’m not seeing an effort to work together either, though we will never, ever agree on how to make things better if we don’t first agree on what “better” looks like. (more…)