Creating Through Bad Ideas

Play bad notes and rhythms.

Write bad blogs.

Publish poor podcasts.

Do all the creative stuff you wanna do so that you see what’s good and what isn’t.  Nothing is going to get better unless you’re working through the bad ideas as well.

Create through the bad ideas.  I’ve played drums on about 6 albums.  There are some really bad tracks and moments.  This year, I’m recording a live album.  I’m more confident recording BECAUSE of the previous bad performances.

I’ve posted over 300 blogs.  Many of them aren’t very good.  But they’re getting better and I’m weeding out bad ways of writing, bad themes to focus on, and better ways to frame ideas.

Ten Agile Axioms That Make Managers Anxious

Agile management is at odds with the basic assumptions and attitudes of traditional management
— Read on www.forbes.com/sites

The interesting thing is that when firms operate this way, they make a lot more money than companies that focus directly on making money, including the five largest and fastest growing firms on the planet (by market cap): Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft, now worth over $2 trillion. It involves a shift from a focus on inanimate things (money, products outputs) to a focus on people (human outcomes, experiences, impact)

Re-Post: Seven Toxic Bosses You Should Avoid Like the Plague

This is a re-post from an article sent to me.  It was so good that I’ve had it opened on my browser for three days!  By chance, I sat at a gathering of pastors today where the #1 issue that ministry leaders face is “feeding the monster” (i.e. focusing on administrative, financial, budgetary, organizational tasks…instead of fostering relationships and mentorship).

source (full article):  https://goo.gl/pNSvLm

Difficult bosses contaminate the workplace. Some do so obliviously, while others smugly manipulate their employees. The “bad boss” has become a comedic part of work culture, permeating movies and television, but when you actually work for one, there’s nothing funny about it.

Bad bosses cause irrevocable damage by hindering your performance and creating unnecessary stress. The stress they create is terrible for your health. Multiple studieshave found that working for a bad boss increases your chance of having a heart attack by as much as 50%.

Even more troubling is the number of bad bosses out there. Gallup research found that 60% of government workers are miserable because of bad bosses. In another study 69% of US workers compared bosses with too much power to toddlers with too much power. The comparisons don’t stop there. Significant percentages of US workers describe their bosses as self-oriented (60%), stubborn (49%), and overly demanding (43%).

Most bosses aren’t surprised by these statistics. A DDI study found that 64% of managers admit that they need to work on their management skills. When asked where they should focus their efforts, managers overwhelmingly say, “Bringing in the numbers”; yet, they are most often fired for poor people skills.

 

 

transformative leaders

We have constructed a way of leadership that is distant from others, believing that leading others is a one way street.  But transformative leaders make themselves transparent to others so that both are inspired towards growth.  

I know this leader who has snacks in her office.  Everyone goes to see Teri because they’re hungry throughout the day.  She will say, “Have something to eat, son” and after a few minutes of the employees eating, they start sharing their work and life struggles.  She just listens as they both snack and tell stories.  Teri might offer a story of her own experiences and then as they’re wrapping up, the employee will thank Teri and off they go.  Most employees describe Teri as one of the best managers to work for.  Why?  Because she cares.  Teri makes herself a vulnerable leader–who is not afraid to listen and learn from others.  I should also note that Teri’s department is constantly breaking records in her department.  

Four Company Pillars

Companies have foundational pillars that sustain them.  When one of these pillars is not functioning properly, it affects the others.  Here are some pillars:

  1. pillar of culture – values, practices, habits, stories, the felt experience, clarity vision/mission, morale
  2. pillar of leadership – who is leading, how are they influencing others, quality of leader
  3. pillar of competency – the actual skillset, qualifications to the do the work, quality of work, strengths, assets
  4. the team – employee base, morale, attitudes, work ethic

If one of these pillars is crumbling, it will be felt within the company.  But when all four are strong, the customer will feel it.  Imagine a company working to strengthen each of these pillars.  It would be an exciting place to be.  The company, employees, and customer would flourish.

Leaders Define Reality

Max Depree writes:

The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you. In between the two, the leader must become a servant and a debtor. That sums up the progress of an artful leader. Concepts of leadership, ideas about leadership, and leadership practices are the subject of much thought, discussion, writing, teaching, and learning. True leaders are sought after and cultivated. Leadership is not an easy subject to explain. A friend of mine characterizes leaders simply like this: “Leaders don’t inflict pain; they bear pain.” The goal of thinking hard about leadership is not to produce great or charismatic or well-known leaders. The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers. Are the followers reaching their potential? Are they learning? Serving? Do they achieve the required results? Do they change with grace? Manage conflict?

The art of leadership requires us to think about the leader-as-steward in terms of relationships: of assets and legacy, of momentum and effectiveness, of civility and values.

from Leadership Is an Art

I think of the leadership theory and development because if I don’t, I won’t become a good leader.  Plain and simple.  I think leaders need to make more time to reflect on their leadership practices and habits.

Max Depree offers a great reflection of what leaders, who they are, and how they think.

Reflection Questions

*What do think of the statement, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality”?  One can imagine that it might be a struggle to define reality and have to say the hard things sometimes, acknowledge the losses, or admit failure.  How do you cope with reality?

*Reflect on this statement:  “The measure of leadership is not the quality of the head, but the tone of the body. The signs of outstanding leadership appear primarily among the followers.”  If the body or team is the primary sign of how things are going, how does that shift your leadership tactics?

*What might be one way that you can define reality for your team this week?

Leadership Quips

Honest leaders are relaxed, confident, and bold. The dishonest are irritable, ready to run from guilt.

A good leader seeks out real understanding to straighten things out.

Leaders who lack wisdom abuse those they lead. But those who learn from others will flourish.

Leaders who sow commitment, consistency, and are persistent, will achieve their goals.

Leaders know how and when to critique those they lead. But a leader who is afraid of conflict will spoil the garden.

Leaders who think they know it all and can do it all are a garden waiting to spoil. But those who learn from others will thrive.

Perennial Questions Leaders Need to Answer

I’m a huge fan of Patrick Lencioni.  When I grow up, I wanna be like him.

In this short video, he offers some advice on the questions that need constant clarity within the corporation and departments.  These questions are for every manager to ask and answer for their teams.  They offer clarity…and motivation with purpose.  I call them perennial questions because they’re long lasting and require constant attention.

My son’s have constantly asked “why” questions.  Sometimes it annoys me, but they buy into whatever we’re doing at home when we take the time to answer the “W” questions.

A company should be no different.  People want motivation and purpose to show up to work.  We’re all kids in the sandbox that want to play.  It helps to know what we’re playing and whose “it”.

Successful Teams Share These 5 Traits

Source:  goo.gl/Hh4ZPD

1. Dependability.

Team members get things done on time and meet expectations.

2. Structure and clarity.

High-performing teams have clear goals, and have well-defined roles within the group.

3. Meaning.

The work has personal significance to each member.

4. Impact.

The group believes their work is purposeful and positively impacts the greater good.

Yes, that’s four, not five. The last one stood out from the rest:

5. Psychological Safety.

We’ve all been in meetings and, due to the fear of seeming incompetent, have held back questions or ideas. I get it. It’s unnerving to feel like you’re in an environment where everything you do or say is under a microscope.

But imagine a different setting. A situation in which everyone is safe to take risks, voice their opinions, and ask judgment-free questions. A culture where managers provide air cover and create safe zones so employees can let down their guard. That’s psychological safety.

Questions:

  • What if current team members don’t exude these traits?
  • Can leaders/managers help team members transform into these traits?
  • As a leader, who are you talking to about team and leadership development?  What practices are you doing to shape your leadership formation?

Reflections

  • These are habits/practices to embody for life, not just work.  That’s why we can’t have a dualistic way of seeing work as professional and life as personal.  The name of the game is integration.
  • We can’t become these traits on our own.  We must realize that it’s a process and that we need a means to become this in our core.  They’re not just “soft skills” to attain.  We must become them.