Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Person's Self-Vision Can Be Gold

We all have visions of ourselves, however incomplete. Me? I envision myself as someone who works to make things better for other people. I fancy myself as someone who finds clarity and enforces the value of consistency. It blinds me to the weaknesses that inherently go along with it. For instance, I can come off as idealistic or staunch. It isn't the intention, but it can be the result of seeing a way in which clarity and consistency go hand in glove. So, if you work with me -- play into it. Think about the ways in which the organization could be better and challenge me to see it, understand it and move it.

When you work with someone who sees themselves as an educator (which might be a kind way of saying "seeming know-it-all"), put them in situations through which they can share their experiences and expertise to help other colleagues find ways to make improvements. Let them talk. Listen. Gently probe and redirect. And, then, ask them how they would suggest that you tackle A, B or C or what they think you might want to consider in achieving an intended impact.

It isn't easy, but playing into someone else's vision of who they are can make your more effective in navigating or influencing the desired change.
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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Build Better Relationships

A few tips for building productive relationships -- be they between Boards & Executives or Executives & Staffs:

  • Be clear on roles and responsibilities (and be distinct so people don't get confused)
  • Develop a shared understanding for mutual accountability (the two-way street of responsibility)
  • Understand each other's personal/professional intentions (avoid assumptions or projections)
  • Be direct and transparent during recruiting (paves the way for good things to come)
  • Pay attention to how people are brought into the organization (you care now, they care later)

Consider that when people feel informed and confident, they can become better sounding boards and reviewers. The resulting level of engagement often becomes more productive for everyone.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

No More Meeting Complaints

No more complaining about wasting your time in meetings. If you truly believe that your time is being wasted, do something about it. Even when you don't control the meeting, you can influence it.

You can ask the organizer (before the meeting begins) about the purpose and the intended outcome. If you don't like what you hear (or you don't believe it), you might even ask a tactful question or two to either uncover a rationale or to prompt a reconsideration or redirection by the person who called the meeting.

You can engage in the discussion. Sometimes, the best meetings are those in which you don't see an obvious purpose but you do hear the avenue through which you can speak to help give it more meaning for yourself and/or for those around you.

You can always not go. Don't absolve yourself of the associated responsibilities, but depend on a follow-up with the organizer to get the assignments. And, remember, then when you don't attend, you give up your opportunity to influence what goes on and what comes out of the meeting. (In other words, if you don't go, you are expected to go along with whatever was discussed, determined or decided.)

You can, also, go and discreetly do other things. I'm not suggesting you engage in Blackberry bingo or laptop lunacy (neither sends a good message), rather catch up on reading printed reports or articles, refine your to-do list, review your group's progress against its strategic plan or just reflect on issues of the moment.

Meetings are not going away -- and good meetings are means through which to make solid progress through any organization. So, become a good meeting goer and use your influence to make the meeting better for everyone.
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