20 Things You Should Never Assume

For Goodness Sake, Stop Assuming!

As I look back at my journey, it’s amazing to me how many leadership failures came from poor assumptions. Success, greatness, breakthrough, liberation and overall peace are all at risk when we assume.

So here are 20 things you should not assume in the future, in no particular order: Read more

Telling Your Time Where to Go (Instead of Wondering Where it Went)

Big Picture: Just as budgeting your money allows you to be in control of your finances, time budgeting allows you to be in control of your time (instead of the other way around). This post shares some practical tips to help you be more in control of your time.

“A budget is telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Dave Ramsey

We typically think of budgeting from a money perspective. Many of us have a love-hate (or even a hate-hate) relationship with the practice. Regardless of the emotions that surface when the subject comes up, however, most of us would admit that budgeting, when done right, is a useful tool for taking control of your finances.

The same can be said about your time. Think of it this way… “A {time} budget is telling your {time} where to go instead of wondering where it went.” Sounds nice, doesn’t it? When is the last time you wondered where your time went? With some proper planning and intentionality, you can begin to take more control of your time. And, as we look to start the new year right, this is a perfect opportunity to “tell your time where to go”.

Here are some tips on better managing your time in the new year:

ADMIT YOU DO HAVE CONTROL

Admitting is half the journey. When I ask people where they spend most of their free time, however, a common answer I get is, “Free time, what’s that?!” I can understand that. There are days that get away from me and weeks where I’m exhausted just trying to keep up with my calendar and workload. But there is an important designation that we need to make. Free time isn’t empty time.

Free time isn’t the moment you tell yourself, “Wow, I’ve got three extra hours today that I have no idea what I’m going to do with!” (Does that even happen?) We always find things to fill those empty spots. Unless you’re on vacation, most of the time you’re not going to have empty time, and that’s okay because that’s not what we’re talking about.

When I talk about free time, I’m talking about time that you and I have control over. You are the one who is going to make the decision about what you will or won’t use that time for.

We all have time that other people control, don’t we? We have an employer/work time where we’re responsible to somebody else who pays us for our use of that time. We may have family time where we’re responsible to a spouse and/or children and others in our family for. But each of us also has time that we determine how to spend.

You do have time you can control.

IDENTIFY TIME BARRIERS

Let’s consider what free time looks like. Use the following questions to think about how you use it…

  • Where do you spend most of your free time?
  • The last time you had a choice about what you did with your time, what did you use that time for?
  • Think through your typical day. What do you typically fill your available time slots with? (It might be good to walk through this process with both a typical week day and a typical weekend day.)
  • Make a list of the top five things that take up the time you control.

Now, consider the following… “What are five things that you wish you had more time for?”

Compare those two lists. Why do you wind up spending time doing the things on the first list (the things that take up your time) instead of the things on the second list (the things that you wish you had more time for)?

  • Oftentimes, the urgent things in life squeeze out space for the important things. When did you last experience this?
  • Make a list of the top five things that steal the time you control away from the things you wish you had more time for.

After walking through these questions, you should have a good idea of where your biggest time barriers are. Be more aware and intentional this week to recognize those barriers and work to take control of them.

CONSIDER YOUR IDEAL WEEK

Another helpful exercise is to think through your week and block out what you would love your ideal week to look like. Author Michael Hyatt has written a great article walking through this process (he even provides an Excel template you can use). You can check it out at the link below. Natural seasonal change points (like a new year) are a great time to review how you would like your days to look and to be intentional in setting up your schedule with purpose.

Read: “How to Better Control Your Time by Designing Your Ideal Week” by Michael Hyatt.

PROTECT THE FLOW OF YOUR DAY

Even when we have an idea of how we would like our days to look, our reality doesn’t always match. Most of us don’t have the luxury of completely dictating our schedules without the input of others. There are obligations and meetings that demand time from us that we don’t have as much control over. Even when we do have a certain level of control, unexpected interruptions can derail us quickly. Here is how I have experienced this in my life…

I oftentimes would get completely sidetracked and sapped if I had days that wound up looking something similar to…

  • Meeting
  • Short window to work in-between
  • Meeting
  • Short window to work in-between
  • Meeting

It was hard to re-engage in what I was working on when meetings kept interrupting my days. I would usually get to the end of those days and feel as though I had accomplished nothing or very little.

To avoid this, I decided what times I wanted to be meeting-available times, and then I blocked everything else off on my calendar. This was as straightforward as scheduling a meeting for myself, calling it “No Meetings”, and then setting my availability status to “Busy” during those times. This meant that when people wanted to meet with me and went to schedule the meeting, they only saw my ‘meeting available’ times. My focused work blocks were preserved, as was the flow of the day that I was seeking.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Question: What time hacks do you use to be more in control of your time? Share your tips and best advice on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

5 Best Practices Great Teams Follow

From tee-ball to backyard football, some of my earliest and fondest memories center around the dynamics of team. Tracking forward and reflecting upon nearly 5 decades of this reality, I have had the opportunity to play and serve on countless numbers of teams. Some were very good, while others I would classify as marvelous discipline-shaping endeavors.

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Many articles have been written about what takes a team, either in sports or in business, from good to great. As a student of the art and science of teams since the late 1980’s, here are the truths that stand out clearly from my experience and study

They Problem Solve Effectively – High-performing teams have an incredible ability to transform conflict into value.

Application Questions:

  1. What consistent vocabulary and language does your organization have “readied” to effectively problem solve?
  2. How competent are the leaders in your organization to leverage tools in framing and solving problems

They Are Clear and Committed – Is everyone on the same page? Are we clear and committed to the tasks it will take to get us to our vision? Great teams set individual goals aside for the benefit of the greater good.

Application Questions:

  1. Does your team know the way to win and have the plan to execute?
  2. Does your team acknowledge and accept the direct consequences (positive and negative) that their actions will have on the team and the organization?

They Are Collectively Accountable to Results – When teams have a high bar they are working to collectively reach, the barriers between individuals seem to thin.

Application Questions:

  1. Does your team think of initiatives as “our work,” or So-and-So’s project?
  2. Would your team’s attitude be more like business owners or divisional managers?
  3. Are your organizational goals developed to incentivize teams or individuals?

They Are Transparent Communicators – In times of plenty and in challenge, great teams calibrate support and shared truth equally.

Application Questions:

  1. Does your team communicate in ways that make it more effective and efficient for goal attainment?
  2. Do your team members have the relational capital to speak the truth in love?
  3. Is authentic communication frequent or reserved only for the quarterly retreat?
  4. Do you and your teammates have access to the information to make reliable decisions?

They Trust – Great teams have mutual respect for each other and strong camaraderie. Central to all high-performing teams is the foundation of trust. For that to happen, teams must know and respect each other well.

Application Questions:

  1. Do your team members feel they can be open and candid with the truth, while maintaining respect for each individual?
  2. What intentional efforts are invested to allow team members to build and foster authentic relationships?

What questions do you have about building your team from good to greatness? For more information visit: giantworldwide.com or email me at joseph.hill@giantworldwide.com.

 

Maximizing Leadership Energy

What is your most precious and personal asset as a leader? As I toss this out in various circles, I often hear the response, “time.” While the majority of you may concur and find the clock to be your nemesis, I would argue individuals and teams can manage time well and still find themselves exhausted, stretched, and unable to concentrate due to the shortage of an even more precious resource — energy. Leaders have access to a number of tools to help manage calendar and clock, but how many of you have a system for energy management? The path to power, productivity, success and satisfaction is paved by the leader’s skill of energy management.

To maintain a powerful pulse in our lives, we must learn a tempo, balance, and focus of engagement and renewal.

Maximizing Leadership Energy

Flavius Philostratus, ancient Greek philosopher and famed Olympic coach, was the first to discover the benefits of rhythmic workout pattern founded upon exertion followed by rest. The idea was simple: the body uses biochemical resources when it works, and must rest to replenish them. When athletes struggle, it is often caused by a disproportionate training-to-rest calibration. You may not be an Olympic athlete, but the same principle holds true for those looking to compete successfully in life and leadership. Too much energy expended, with insufficient rest and recovery, leads to breakdown. Full engagement depends on balancing between full activity, rest and recovery. It is not a secret that the whole universe spins on a similar cadence – sunrise, sunset; high tide, low tide; full moon, new moon.

The heartbeat of engagement ought to be a bottom line priority. The unfortunate reality is that organizations frequently stumble and squander unnecessary resources. In fact, an alarming trend indicates that nearly 70 percent of Americans are reported to be less than fully engaged at work. Further perplexing is the fact that even a larger percentage report being disengaged from home due to an increasing and overbearing load at work. This is the maniacal mess of our age. We are neither here, nor there.

Owning Your Zone of Engagment

Training for full engagement involves purpose, self-awareness and intentional tempo, balance and focus.

  • First – Deeply define what drives your existence on the planet. What is your purpose and how might this purpose be fulfilled within each of the 5 Circles of Influence (Self, Family, Team, Organization, and Community).
  • Second – Examine yourself. Create a baseline by identifying how you now manage your energy.
  • Third – Face facts squarely. Rituals and routines are intentional actions you invest to build healthy patterns and break bad ones. Be precise, specific, and positive about new tendencies you need to onboard to securely manage between the daily challenges of stimulus and response.
  • Forth – Chart the course.  Examine yourself daily to track your growth and progress.

People around the world struggle with work/life inefficiencies. It is difficult to be productive and manage the relational dynamics of staying connected with others while finding routines to keep our batteries at full charge. The 5 Gears book project came to light as Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram masterfully applied from their experiences in working across all global sectors of leadership over the past two decades. The 5 Gears is a powerful concept that has the ability to radically change the way you live, lead, and serve. Check it out at http://5gears.com/book/.

Energy management makes full engagement possible. Take action today. Join the Liberating Leaders Movement to accelerate your team’s health, alignment, and capacity.

3 Letters Separating Smart Leaders From The Smartest

I was at an event last week where the keynote speaker used a term that caught a member of my lunch table by curiosity. He leaned over to ask me, “What’s a PLN?”

In response to his query and perhaps yours, the term “PLN” stands for “Personal Learning Network” and its origins are found in the Connectivism Theory. (Siemens, G. & Downes, S., 2005)

A Personal Learning Network is a vibrant, ever-changing roundtable to which leaders go to both share and learn. These groups reflect similar values, passions, yet may be widespread in terms of experience and expertise. Leaders build PLNs the same way they build any network — by investing time to find and connect with people they trust and have shared interests, values, and passions. My personal PLN includes a number of organizational leaders representing varied communities and thought leaders who support and challenge my capacity to live, lead, and serve. My PLN also provides a wider perspective to help reframe and successfully problem-solve the challenges encountered when dealing with the universal leadership realities of complexity, isolation, weariness, and fatigue.

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Like many of you, I am in-tune and active within the global social network of technology. While the web can be an efficient medium for networking, the true vehicle to build healthy connections is through the power of face-to-face professional relationships. Let’s explore further the process of landing your “fit” within a PLN:

Step One: Find Your Professionals

Imagine you were moving to a new city. Initially, you would seek professionals to trust with home repairs, health, and even dry cleaning. You might find these people by asking neighbors and friends or using an online resource like Angie’s List. Similarly, finding professionals for a PLN begins by connecting with organizations whose mission statements and resources align with your personal beliefs and preferred future.

Step Two: Find Your Niche

In addition to establishing your professional contacts in a new community, you might begin to frequent places connected to your personal interests, like a gym, church, or coffee shop. In these places, you will likely find others who have shared interests. These places make you feel comfortable. In a PLN, these comfortable places are those where people gather around similar passions or experiences. For organizational leaders, those places can vary based upon roles and lines of organizational authority and responsibility.

Step Three: Find A Trusted Coach

It’s important to have a facilitator/coach in your PLN who you respect highly and who will help you grow. Thought partners are those people who you feel connected to because they “get” you and are “for” you. These trusted coaches become the foundation of any vibrant PLN and often become friends for life. These are the individuals who are respected to support, challenge, and expand your natural tunnel vision, transform your perspective, and encourage you when stress and pressure are on the rise.

Getting Real

The best part of a PLN is that it is personal. A “professional learning network” is ultimately a “personal learning network.” It’s important to explore your PLNs in a conscious way that makes you feel comfortable. Leaders gravitate to networks from all corners of personality and experience. Gelling as a collective of professionals may take some time as each member gradually begins to step from behind walls that preserve what he or she is superficially trying to prove or hide from.

Looking for a trusted PLN? Now is a perfect time to consider joining a network of smart, humble, and hungry leaders who will help you grow to become Leaders Worth Following. Similar to moving into a new home, the hardest part is the initial step of journeying outside of your comfort to meet the neighbors, taking new roads to explore your surrounding, or joining a club or study group. All of these require risk but community is essential for growth, happiness, and wellbeing.

If you want to be intentional about your personal and professional development while breaking through to a higher capacity of health, alignment, and overall leadership influence, it’s time to step into a PLN.

And to that end, here’s an exciting opportunity through GiANT to join a professional global network of liberating leaders. It’s called XCore, and it’s a 12-month program specifically designed to improve the ability of leaders to create an apprenticeship culture, raise your personal capacity to lead, and accelerate the health of your organization. Interested? Visit www.giantworldwide.com/xcore to learn more.

Dominator or Liberator: What Kind of Leader Are You?

If you share the room with a dominator, you know it. How, you may ask? When this person takes the head of the table they take all the energy, while others around them grow dim. This style of leadership is trending quite alive within the corporate habitat today and isn’t just bad for those at the table, it’s bad for the entire organization.

Contrastingly, leaders who are liberators rapidly advance the capacity of their followers, increasing the competence of individuals while accelerating capacity for organizational productivity and innovation.

Research shows that Liberators draw more effort, energy and achievement from their teams than those who clench and dominate. They don’t just access the best people have to offer; they “stretch” the best people have to offer.

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Answer these questions:

  • Do you view competence and credibility as something just a few people possess?
  • When you engage others, do you tend to find only those who are proven, that you might gain an edge from?

If you answered “no” to the above, congrats! You have most likely pushed beyond insecurity and are aptly followed as one “for others” and one others want to follow.

An answer of “yes” in my book is not to be scorned, rather celebrated as a test of honest character, while also pointing to some securing to be done to course correct a “for me” culture where others have to follow.

This distinction matters. Liberators and Dominator types may equally treat customers with the same level of care; they both might even understand organizational planning at high levels. However, each have traits differing fundamentally in the ways they approach thinking, talent, challenges, decisions, and ownership within their influence.

It isn’t about your team’s competence, it is how much of that competence the leader can draw out and maximize for the good of the organization.

Dominion Builders

Because “Dominion Builders” tend to fall within the Dominator band of behaviors, they have a different relationship to talent. These leaders can attract it, but they do little to improve talent once it reports for work. Instead, they build up a workforce to bolster their own agendas and images. Talent under this leader’s influence goes unnoticed and is rarely nurtured or promoted. People who work for Dominion Builders lose their edge and have a difficult time finding empowerment or their next opportunities.

To avoid the pull of Dominating Behaviors and Dominion Building tendencies, follow the Liberator approach to strengthening your bench:

  1. Stay on Watch– Liberators know competence comes in many flavors and types. Sample them all to deal most productively with the range of problems that challenge your organization.
  2. Find the Natural Genius in Your Team – Learn your team’s natural wiring and what skills come easily to them so you can identify contributions they can make without exhausting their time, energy, and passions.
  3. Build Team Capacity– Once you know the areas in which your people excel, give them responsibilities that tap into it. Set them free to do their best work.
  4. Avoid Trip Wires– Health Warning: When you are intentional to build relational apprenticeship to personally coach and invest in a teammate, know that the “herd of insecurity” may see this as a threat. Stay aware of the resisters who may stand in your way or those passively hiding behind self-protecting walls of preservation.

Liberators Fight For the Highest Good In Those They Serve!

 

Interested in learning more about transforming your leadership team culture? Contact us hello@giantworldwide.com.

How to Know if You Did A Good Job

Do you know someone who always thinks things in their area are going really well, even when they’re not? They self-report that everything is great, and you don’t hear them describe struggling with any significant challenges, yet you and others know that’s not quite accurate. How can you serve them and help them realize they are actually not doing a good job without being a jerk? You don’t have the capacity for a complete work study in their area, and yet you care too much to keep letting things go on the way they have been. How can you help them see what it’s like to be on the other side of them? They need a doable plan that will force intentional, critical evaluation.

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One of the skills I’ve been wanting to grow in recently is the capacity to evaluate effectiveness with greater accuracy and specificity. I’ve come across the US Army’s After Action Review (AAR) process and have found it really helpful. Very simply, it’s a tool to review what did and didn’t happen during a mission or an event, and is intended to help those involved make performance improvements. This certainly does not cover every aspect of an evaluation, but if you begin asking those you are leading to utilize a process like this, it will help key management components surface in a variety of areas, such as leadership, organization, time management, lack of clarity and redundancy.

The AAR is a way to evaluate effectiveness. During the AAR, you ask questions like: What was good? What wasn’t quite so good? What are we going to do about it? The technical components of an AAR include the following:

Initial object. What were our intended results? What was planned?

Reality. What were our actual results? What really happened? What we learned. What caused our results? What is the take away?

Goals. What will we sustain or improve?

Experiments. What are some upcoming opportunities in which to test our hypotheses?

3 tips for doing an AAR with your team:

1-Do this formally and informally: AAR’s could be formal, and scheduled on the back end of an initiative or project deadline. They can also take place informally, through casual conversations around your office. Both are vital, but to get the ball rolling you’re going to need to request a formal AAR on the back end of a particular project or task.

2-Take off your Hat: For others to fully engage in this process, and for it to be effective, you’re going to need to flatten things, where hierarchy and organizational structure are concerned. You want honest feedback for all those participating, so everyone involved needs to take off their hat for the conversation, meaning setting aside their title or role and inviting honest feedback and engagement. Remember that leaders go first, so model what this looks like for your team and show them how and what to do by giving feedback first, without your hat.

3-Be Specific: Keep things as specific as possible during AARs. The more specificity, the more clarity, and the more concrete suggestions you can offer, the wider the door opens for the possibility of improvement. Those you lead can’t do a better job without actually knowing, first, if they are or aren’t.

Give this idea a go and let it open new insights and thoughts about how to help people reach their potential.

A Model for Transformational Leadership

Are you experiencing high talent turnover and struggling to match performance with your competition? How would you describe your organization’s overall health?

a) 100% healthy?

b) 80% healthy?

c) Less than 50% healthy?

You would be surprised how often I hear answer “c” from the leaders and teams we serve.

Most of us have routine cycles of maintenance scheduled to keep our vehicles in good, safe working order, but I find it curious how often leaders don’t apply that same thinking to the teams they lead. My question: How intentional are you in caring for your team?

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In a recent post, I posed a challenge to consider how and when the three types of organizational change should be activated and the degree of transformation impact:

  • 1.0 – Standing Change: Improving upon “what is” by tweaking an existing method, skill, or standard.
  • 2.0 – Active Change: Shifting to a new state to improve upon “what is” through the investment of new structures, business processes, and/or technical systems.
  • 3.0 -Transformational Change: A radical shift and fundamentally different approach, mindset, and method.

Investing in Standing and/or Active Change is important in maximizing effectiveness and efficiency. These mid-flight adjustments are common and don’t necessarily require gutsy nerve, just clear and agreed upon instructions. Conversely, Transformational Change is complex and and has the potential to create a ripple effect of impact across all facets of organizational life. Rather than a shift, it is a metamorphosis from current state into something fundamentally different, which supplants all that was known and experienced previously.

The High Waterline of Leadership

Leadership expert James McGregor Burns first introduced the concept of transformational leadership in his 1978 book, “Leadership.” He defined Transformational Leadership as a process whereby “leaders and their followers raise one another to higher levels of morality and motivation.”

Bernard M. Bass further developed the concept of the Transformational Leader. According his 1985 book, “Leadership and Performance Beyond Expectations,” this kind of leader:

  • Is a model of integrity and fairness.
  • Sets clear goals.
  • Has high expectations.
  • Encourages others.
  • Provides support and recognition.
  • Stirs the emotions of people.
  • Gets people to look beyond their self-interest.
  • Inspires people to reach for the improbable.

Roughly thirty years after these seminal publications, Transformational Leadership is well argued to be the most important attribute of leaders who are worth following.

Becoming a 3.0 Leader

Transformational Leadership is far from a linear process but it does have a number of reliable touchstones for leaders to imitate.

  1. Create: Inspiring Vision of the Future
  2. Motivate: Teams to Engage and Deliver Upon Vision
  3. Develop: Clear Operational Strategies
  4. Build: Strong, Relational Cultures

Step 1: Create an Inspiring Vision

Individuals need to feel compelled to follow. This is true for exercise routines, musical performers, a restaurant chain; everything! A compelling vision springs from an organization’s purpose and values while giving hope and confidence to those being served.

Step 2: Motivate Teams to Engage and Deliver Upon Vision

A leader’s call to action is to appeal to people’s personal values and to integrate these core beliefs within the “why” of the organization. The use of positive storytelling and sharing “real time” impact for your customers is important. Linking vision to individual goals, values, and tasks give it a real texture and context allowing others to more readily channel-in and contribute.

Step 3: Develop Clear Operational Strategies

A vision is of no use and falls pathetically short if it is only a high gloss token of memorabilia from an event but never internalized. It must become part of the water system and reinforced repeatedly. However, many leaders put most of their energy into the design of vision but not putting in the hard and often mundane work of operationalizing it. Warren Bennis says it succinctly: “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.”

Step 4: Build Strong, Relationship-Based Cultures

Transformational Leaders empower those they lead. They intentionally and deeply invest in their people and they work tirelessly to calibrate both high support and high challenge. If your job title hints that you are a leader, then tag: You’re it! Your ultimate duty of care is to build and maintain relationships, earn trust, and create opportunities that allow your team to grow and develop, which, in turn, builds teams worth following.

Transformational leaders inform when they must and inspire whenever they can. Inspiring great loyalty and trust is the leadership standard of excellence and significant in securing 100% team health, engagement and capacity.

So how about you? Are you ready to grow and become a 3.0 Leader? Perhaps it is time for a leadership upgrade. I’d welcome the opportunity to talk to you more about how GiANT can partner with you to transform your leadership. Email me at joseph.hill@giantworldwide.com.

How to Learn More, Better

There is a segment of Marine Corps boot camp where recruits head out into the field to learn the proper use of what is called MOPP (Mission-Oriented Protective Posture) Gear. MOPP Gear is protective gear utilized in the midst of a toxic environment such as a chemical strike. The day my platoon was led out for this training is forever etched in my mind. As we sat on the metal bleachers and the instructors began to explain the importance of the gear and how specifically to put it on, I fell asleep. The rigor of Marine training made dozing off a common occurrence for many recruits, and we were committed to policing each other to ensure all were alert. The method of awakening a sleeping recruit was a hard slap on the back of the bald head. As payback for an earlier infraction, my good friend and platoon leader saw that I had dozed off and decided to let me sleep through the training.

I awoke to a loud shout: “GAS, GAS, GAS!” I was flush with anxiety as actual CS gas began to fill the area and I realized we were to put on the MOPP gear as quickly as possible—as we were just instructed to do. My friend laughed heartily as he watched my panic increase as I struggled to put the gear on correctly amidst the gas and smoke of the explosives and the noise of dummy rounds simulating an actual combat scenario. I had missed a critical learning opportunity.

Leaders worth following are lifelong learners who stay awake to identify their key areas of growth. Learning is an essential quality of leader who are fully alive as it results in transformation and satisfaction. Are you alert to your learning opportunities?  What is the school of hard knocks trying to teach you these days? You’re not meant to continue on status quo with enough just to get by, you are a leader worth following.

This week I want you to learn more, better. To get there, here are two challenges for you to embrace;

1-Prioritize Your Learning

Our information age can be overwhelming. You’ve got more options through blogs, MOOC’s (massive, open, online courses), and the latest free pdf. I would ask you to stop right now and reflect for about 5 minutes.  What is most important for you to learn in this season of your life?  Prioritize what you’d like to learn and begin taking steps in that direction.

2-Shatter the Forgetting Curve

I used to read 2 sometimes 3 books a week. I soon realized that for all of my reading, I wasn’t retaining any of it. The choice to slow down, take notes, and practice what I read is a discipline that continues to challenge me. While we all understand the concept of the learning curve, researchers have also been discussing something called the “forgetting curve.” Imagine that you listen to a one-hour lecture. Let’s say that by the end of the hour, you hold 100 percent of the information. By day 2, if you don’t engage the information in some practical sense, you will have lost 50 to 80 percent of what you learned. By day 30, you will be able to recall a mere 2 to 3 percent of the hour-long lecture. Now imagine that you engage the original information for just 10 minutes 24 hours after the lecture. Instead of forgetting 50 to 80 percent, you can spike the number back up to 100 percent. If you continue engaging the material 10 minutes per day the first week, you can cut to 5 minutes during week 2, and by day 30, you have trained your brain to recall the information by engaging for just 2 to 3 minutes.

If you are not intentional about your learning on a consistent basis, you can say goodbye to continued retention and ongoing transformation. To increase your leadership influence, wake up and stay alert to your learning this week.

What To Do When Things Are Tanking

Leaders, the things you are working on are in one of four states: accelerating, booming, declining, or tanking.

What do you do when things are tanking?

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Honest response? Moderate stress begins to trigger the sleeping baby in the back seat. Some of you get more and more task-focused and the relational niceties go out the window. Others get overwhelmed by the impossibility of accomplishing everything they have committed to and begin to withdraw and catastrophize the future. Others get stuck in an internal doom loop of inadequacy and despair as the thoughts of how much they have let others down plague their soul. Others get fixated on a detail or solution and become over-controlling.

Listen, if something is tanking, there’s one thing you need to do: MAKE A DECISION!

Don’t get stuck in the pit of despair, blind to the reality that it’s decision time! You need to decide what you are going to do and when you are going to do it. Since the restatement of the obvious is often the most important thing we can do, here are 2 options to try when things are tanking:

1. Shut it down and stick to it!

Be as bold as a lion and shut it down. Whatever it is — the project, the program, the plan — sometimes the right decision is to kill it. If you’re honest, you really think that it has tanked long enough and the real reason you allow it to go on is because you know the potential ramifications — the backlash, the people mess, the sacred cow-ness of the thing. Tip the cow and roar with the reasons why it’s time to shut it down. Don’t second guess, roar with hope, vision, passion, shut it down and stick to it.

2. Lube it up and go for it!

If you’ve seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, you’ll remember that the father’s solution for everything is to spray it with Windex. Got a zit? Windex. Cat hair stuck on your trousers? Windex. You are probably more familiar with the WD-40 solution for everything. WD-40 has been documented to solve the problem of a squeaky door and the removal of a python snake that had coiled itself around the undercarriage of a bus in Asia. Norm Larsen is the inventor of the corrosion-preventing WD-40. What you are probably not aware of is what WD-40 stands for, namely Water Displacement (the function of the spray), 40th attempt. You betcha, it took Norm 40 times to get it right. So your thing is tanking? So what? Some of you are on WD-5. Others of you are at WD-39. Some of you just need to be encouraged to keep trying. Bring in different people. Pursue critique. Don’t be independent. Save yourself some pain.

It’s decision time: Shut it down, or spray it with WD-40.