All posts tagged: leader

Leadership Powerups

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageIn almost every video game, there are special bonuses that convey advantages, such as more strength or firepower. These powerups can heal injuries, increase supremacy and accelerate a character’s ability to achieve the objectives and win a level or even the entire game.

Real-life powerups are available to leaders who foster interdependent relationships between all parties—managers, employees and co-workers. Interdependence creates a healthy dynamic where each individual does his or her part, versus a dependent relationship where one person, often the manager, shoulders all of the responsibility for making sure tasks are remembered and completed.

Powering up in this fashion requires:

  • Setting and communicating clear and reasonable expectations, since leaders are responsible for defining the objectives.
  • Instead of always telling people how to meet those expectations, asking instead how they plan to do it. Employees take greater ownership when they participate in determining how work gets done.
  • Once team members take responsibility for doing something, they keep it. Leaders undermine employees when they attempt to serve as their long-term memory.

True power as a leader comes not from how a manager wields authority, but in how he or she makes each person powerful by fostering personal responsibility, requiring people to keep doing the next right thing.

Scott WintripLeadership Powerups
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Achieving More by Doing Less – The Lean Approach to Success

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageWhile less is more is a popular statement, many people find that saying it is much easier than living and working in this manner. Achieving better sales, recruiting better talent, and being more effective as a leader requires doing less while focusing on always taking action on the next right thing.

Here are the three steps to create the space and focus needed to become a leaner and more proficient leader, salesperson, or recruiter:

  1. Identify which aspects of your job you are attempting to perform at or near perfection.
  2. Instead of investing the extra time on getting each item done perfectly, focus on just getting each of them right.
  3. Repeat as often as possible.

Perfection is overrated and often takes time away from getting other equally important things done. Focusing on success, not perfection, not only gets the job done, and done well, but allows for doing much more in much less time.

Scott WintripAchieving More by Doing Less – The Lean Approach to Success
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The Choice Between Effective or Defective Leadership

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageA leader need not be brilliant to be effective. Efficient leaders always do three things:

  1. Set clear and reasonable expectations.
  2. Succinctly communicate what is expected.
  3. Unwaveringly hold people accountable to these expectations.

These three behaviors, consistently executed, are the hallmarks of a simply effective leader. The difference between these individuals and those just getting by is the development and utilization of these traits regardless of market conditions.

Companies led in this manner create a culture that workers clamor to buy into and, in turn, they sell more and recruit better as a result of their belief in the organization and the accountability fostered within the system.

All three traits can be learned, honed, improved, and even mastered. Which means, effective versus defective leadership is a choice between continuous improvement or accelerating decline.

Which direction are your actions, or inaction, taking you?

 

Scott WintripThe Choice Between Effective or Defective Leadership
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The Alternative to Strategic Planning

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageLike a computer with a well functioning operating system, companies that perform exceptionally well year after year have a well planned Renewable Operating System (ROS). Better than a strategic plan, an ROS creates a better way of doing business with speed, agility, and reduced effort, similar to the powerful processors in today’s technical devices.

The first step I initiate with every leader with whom I work to create an ROS starts with the current “code.” Just like rewriting an entire software program is overly labor intensive and often unnecessary, rewriting how a company does business is often a complete waste of time and resources. Instead, one of four actions, based upon the current circumstances, is the quick and nimble way to go from here to an even more profitable there:

Reboot: A solid plan for running the business was in place, but wasn’t followed. A reboot allows for a fresh chance to work the plan from beginning to end, while also evolving it into an ROS that eliminates the need for future reboots.

Reset: Parts of the previous plan weren’t followed, requiring only a reset on those portions of the plan. Without having to completely start over, momentum continues as the missing elements are integrated into a better, more sustainable operating system.

Reconfigure: The last plan was worked correctly, consistently, and completely, but the result didn’t meet expectations. Without overwriting the entire system, only the elements of the plan that were causing the shortfall need to be reconfigured when developing the ROS.

Redesign: There was no plan and, no surprise, nothing good has come of that. Redesign allows for learning from this oversight, creating an ROS for moving forward based upon what was learned in the process.

Rather than relying on a strategic plan for next year that may end up in the bottom of a drawer, program a fresh approach based upon where you’re at today. By having an operating system that benefits from the lessons of previous successes and failures, you can plan for an even better future.

Scott WintripThe Alternative to Strategic Planning
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Avoiding Leadership Dependence

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Scott's Monday Morning MessageLast week I watched a common example of one individual serving as the intellect and conscience for another. It happened at Publix, our local grocery store, where my 17-year-old son Benjamin decided to apply for a job. Standing at the application kiosk was a couple, painfully going through the questions, discussing and debating each response. The woman, who was the one applying for a job, was insecure answering the questions on her own, instead, running each one by “her man” as she referred to him several times. Makes me wonder, if she gets the job, if he’ll be tagging along then, as well.

Leaders create an unhealthy, codependent relationship when they do something similar with employees. This practice is often caused by the open-door policy of many managers, who too often position themselves as being the go-to authority. As a result, the practiced dynamic is one in which the employees don’t have to come up with their answers, always relying on the boss for ideas and input. What often makes this worse is employees’ fear of being wrong or making a mistake.

Leadership Dependence, an all too common reality in companies, has caused leaders to be even more overwhelmed than ever and employees to be less self-sufficient. The alternative, Corporate Interdependence, promotes personal responsibility for doing the next right thing and engaging in collaboration where it’s actually needed.

To shift into Corporate Interdependence, managers simply need to ask more questions versus giving out answers. Saying “What would you do,” or “What’s the first step you could take,” begins to empower people to be more engaged, more responsible, and even more satisfied as they gain confidence in their own abilities. And often, leaders learn a few things themselves when employees come up with even better ideas.

Scott WintripAvoiding Leadership Dependence
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Can Parents Be Effective Leaders?

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In today’s Financial Times, Luke Johnson poses the question, “Can you be a good father if you are running a business?” While this is a relevant question in this day and age, it should bother all of us that we even need to ask this question.

Maybe, just maybe, this is one of the reasons why the culture in the US Secret Service is so dysfunctional. In a report this morning on NPR (National Public Radio), ex-agent Dan Emmett mentioned some of the family events he missed while working long hours, at times going as many as four days without sleep. Do we really want overly tired individuals, who could be distractedly pondering a missed recital or football match, tasked with such an important job?

Whether a leader is a father or mother, there are some sacrifices that don’t have to be made. Take, for instance, two staffing companies, one large, one small. The CEOs of both were tired and ready to be done with their unbalanced cultures. So, both instilled a leadership approach, that I provided to them, to permanently change their cultures. That structure is:

  1. Plan around your family
    All leaders, from the top down, are required to plan their work calendars around family commitments.
  2. Make room on the fly
    Accommodations are made, as they come up, for unforeseen, important family-related events.
  3. Cover and counter
    Leaders look out for one another, covering for planned and last-minute events, countering anything that could interfere with this important family time while also ensuring that the business is run in an effective way.
  4. Repeat 1, 2, and 3
    This process is never treated as a one-time event, instead, being an ongoing way of doing business. In addition, this same methodology is filtered down to staff level roles, as well.

Both companies are having an incredible year. Revenues and profits are high with turnover being at its lowest levels in the histories of both companies.

The skills employed by parents often translate quite well into leadership roles. That is, if those leaders are being mindful of priorities, setting a positive example, and expecting that their direct reports do the same. For parents, this begins with being responsible about the most important aspect of our lives, our children and our families.

Scott WintripCan Parents Be Effective Leaders?
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