Archive for November, 2011

Choosing the Right Person

29 Nov

“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint to keep from meddling with them while they do it.”         Theodore Roosevelt

 

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Character

20 Nov

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

— Abraham Lincoln
 

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The Three Signs of a Miserable Job

18 Nov

Miserable jobs are found everywhere: schools, professional sports teams, retail stores, factories, consulting firms and, unfortunately, even in churches. You name the situation and you’ll find people who have miserable jobs.

Everyone knows what a miserable job is. It’s the one you dread going to and can’t wait to leave. It’s the one where Friday can’t come too quickly and Sunday afternoons are dreaded because Monday is just ahead.

And, in the same venues, you will find people who love their jobs.

Once again, Patrick Lencioni masterfully crafts an engaging story while introducing practical leadership principles. In his book The Three Signs of a Miserable Job, he contends being miserable has nothing to do with the actual work, it has to do with three conditions: anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement.

Anonymity: people cannot be fulfilled in their work if they are not known; everyone needs to be understood and appreciated.

Irrelevance: everyone needs to know that his or her job matters to someone . . . anyone. If the connection cannot be made between work and the satisfaction others are impacted by their work, people will not find lasting fulfillment.

Immeasurement: if people cannot gauge their progress and level of contribution, they cannot be fulfilled in their work since success is intangible and subjective.

“Whether you are an executive looking to establish a cultural competitive advantage, a manager trying to engage and motivate people, or an employee searching for fulfillment in your work, The Three Signs of a Miserable Job will provide you with immediate relief . . . and hope.”

 

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The Fallacy of Consensus

17 Nov

I have served on many committees and most tried to achieve consensus when members had opposing points of view. Consensus has always been considered an amicable compromise . . . a way to avert an impasse and move on with business. Getting members that disagree to ‘go along’ with the decision of the majority, thus reaching consensus, accomplish this.

Unfortunately, we mistakenly equate consensus with 100% agreement.

Consensus is in conflict with the purpose, goals, and working approach of real teams. This may sound confusing and conflicting but stay with me.

The objective of a team (identified by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith as a small number of people with complementary skills who are committed to a common purpose, performance goals, and approach for which they hold themselves mutually accountable) is to achieve a purpose that a group of people working independently could not accomplish. And, the most powerful force for effective teaming arises from a common performance purpose, common team goals, and a commonly agreed upon working approach.

The key is in the word ‘common.’ And common is quite different from consensus since it integrates the best of opposing viewpoints to accomplish the vision, the common goal.

Consensus results when opposing viewpoints are expressed but disagreeing members are encouraged to ‘voice agreement. There are two specific dangers: 1) each member is given ‘veto’ power at any time, and 2) members opposing the consensus decision agree to agree in word only.

Another danger is that consensus leads the members to accept compromise solutions instead of working to integrate the best of opposing views, which requires team members to learn that common and shared directions, clear goals, and disciplined working approaches do not require 100% intellectual and emotional agreement.

In essence, if a group of individuals call themselves a ‘team’ yet fail to commit themselves to a common purpose, common performance goals, and common approach, they really are not a team and leave themselves open to members not supporting consensus decisions once outside the room.

Don’t be fooled into working towards consensus. The results are always less than optimal.

 

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Personal Mission Statement

11 Nov

During a recent teaching session, one of the students shared their personal mission statement – written over 20 years ago.

“To constantly seek more knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and develop an ever increasing relationship with Him. To teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ when given the opportunity while being a living light of His love and salvation. I will strive for excellence in all aspects of my life through transformative leadership, commitment, integrity, truthfulness and dedication. To view life as a learning/growth continuum; striving for higher knowledge heights while lifting as I climb by first exhibiting those things I learn in my life and then by teaching everything I learn wherever and whenever possible to whomever is willing to listen.

To believe in the power of people; that people together can accomplish many great things. Finally, to concern myself with the well being of every person I encounter by believing that WE is always more important than me.” 

Long . . . but well stated. We are blessed to have this individual as a member of the masters program in management and organizational leadership.

 

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