Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Innovation as Managers

What Is Innovation?

1) Innovation Is Growth

    Innovation is finding better ways to deliver goods and services or finding ways to deliver better goods and services.  As a manager and leader, innovation is very important.  Innovation is one of the keys of continuing growth.  Without innovation, an organization would remain stagnant and eventually be outperformed by a competitor.  We can allow our leadership in this area to boost the performance of our organization and strengthen our relationships with our co-workers, leaders, and associates.

2) Innovation Is Influence

    Innovation directly impacted by our ability to influence.  In a lot of ways, innovation itself is influence, because without influence you cannot implement innovations, and with influence this implementation becomes possible.  It is safe to say that innovative strategies, processes, products, and services are only come manifest by a leader with adequate influence.

    Let’s be honest, few people like change.  In the workplace we all know that one (or frequently the many) people that will actively fight change without giving it a chance unless forced.  We must be able to draw upon our influence in order to persuade our team to be open-minded to innovation.  We must be able to relate and recruit our team to be innovators with us.  In order to do this we have to influence those who do not want change.

3) Innovation Is Change

    I believe that one of my key personality traits that relates to my ability to adapt to different environments enables me to be a driver of change.  I really feel that I do not mind change because I enjoy learning new things, however, this isn’t very common.  Many people in the workforce work hard to learn how to optimally perform their job and therefore do not want it to change because it usually means more work for them in learning new processes.  Our goal here as leaders is to be able to drive the change by convincing them that it is not bad and helping them through the learning process and becoming just as competent with the new as they were with the old.

4) Why Innovate?

    There is value in innovation.  Innovation should be positive.  Innovation should be creative.  Innovation should be fun.  We should seek to innovate in order to improve something, because we care about our organization and have pride in what we do.  Innovation should be the means for delivering what we deliver better or turning what we deliver into something better itself.  This is the flavor of positivity and growth, and anytime we are talking about positivity and growth, we are being perpetuators of good. 

    Bosses recognize an innovator.  This is a quality that leaders are searching for in other leaders.  Being an innovator can take you places you would not have otherwise gone and allowed you to reach goals that you did not previously recognize as reachable.  If you cannot find motivation within yourself to develop new processes and products, begin by looking at where you find problems.  Finding problems and seeking to solve them not systematically, but creatively, is an initial outlet you can you for innovation.

Becoming An Innovator

    This is a difficult task.  In order to become an innovator, you must tap into your creative self and begin thinking outside of the box.  This is a much different approach to systematically solving problems as we are often trained to do in an organization.  We as leaders must go against the grain here and take risks.  It is challenging to go from systematic to risk taking, because to take a risk means to break a cycle that is recommended to us either by ourselves, our superiors, or others.  This is made easier when we are currently in a position of leadership and have a good foundation of influence within our position.  We can start working on driving change and dreaming up new ways of doing things as we follow through with day to day operations.  Networks of communication are already in place to be able to test new ideas and influence others to try them as well.

    I would challenge someone already in a leadership position to try to improve on a process or product first by being creative and voicing their idea to a partner or superior, to gauge reaction.  I would then challenge that same leader to try to continue doing this until they realize that they have been a factor in change.  I believe that the feeling of making real changes that make real differences is a level of accomplishment that may seem like a ceremonial welcoming of a leader.  It is difficult for someone who feels as if their voice is never heard to become an innovator, because we must first engage the ears and the minds of others in order for our dreams to become anything.

The Risk of Innovation

    There is a fundamental risk to be an innovator, and that is the possibility of failure.  Sometimes changes are put in place that damage a process or product.  Sometimes innovation just turns out to be a net bad deal.  Innovation is synonymous with entrepreneurship in that both have adherent risks that must be faced in order to achieve reward.  There is great reward to improving on things that already exist, and because they already exist, there is less risk in this than creating something new from scratch.  We cannot let fear guide us here, and we have to develop a nag for the feeling of whether something is good or not.

    It is important not to go into this thinking that every idea we have is golden and we must try to sail at all costs, rather, we have to develop a practical mindset where we assess our thoughts and creativity and put it to the test before we make the pitch.  We must feel the odds are positively in our favor for benefiting the group as a whole, and those favorable odds are not coming from the idea being ours, but that it is actually a good idea for change.  I believe once we are in sync with what innovation is and how we should be approaching then we can pursue positive change for our team’s goals.

My Story

    I was able to capitalize on my ability to be an innovator and achieve great recognition for it.  This is because my organization made a huge decision to grow my department on site of our current plant.  This resulted in new foundations being built, new equipment being purchased, and new software and processes implemented.  Like most organizations, mine was full of leaders and employees who resisted change.  This is tolerable at most times and is expected, however, this was a specific time where the top managers were looking to drive change in order to make their new ideas work.  They were being innovators and were clearly looking for other innovators to carry their dreams and ideas into fruition.

    This resulted in new challenges and tasks that had not been undertaken before.  This problem and opportunity seemed like it had fallen into my lap and I recognized this and intended on capitalizing on it.  With an open slate and new everything to figure out, I began learning as much of the new as I could and trying to convince others to learn as well.  I build on what was provided and even though I sometimes sounded silly because my own grasp of it was poor, I made an innovative effort that did not go unrecognized.  I made many enemies as well as friends during this time and became an influencer while being an outcast simultaneously.

    After many months of refining processes, leading new projects, and developing procedures for operation that were not previously created I was able to see the dream slowly being dialed in.  I vocalized this process a lot to anyone at my level or any charges I had.  I used this to slingshot my position as a leader into a position of influencer.  I was able to grow in a way that was exponential had I sided with the faction of others who resisted this change.  I believe it was these events that landed me my next promotion and gave me a voice to an audience that would have previously ignored me and written me off as chatter.

The Take Away

    I still get to speak with my mentor from time to time, and he always offers words of encouragement that are perfectly aligned with modern teachings of leadership and management.  I will never forget his projection of eleven month change and how that is an indicator for an organization’s success.  I would urge anyone in a position of leadership to approach the ability to drive change and innovate because it is one of the most rewarding experiences for a leader and manager.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Compromising Trust as a Leader

Compromising Trust: An Analysis

    Losing the trust of a report is a very catastrophic situation for a leader.  We need to be able to identify when this happens and then come up with a disposition on what to do in order to remedy it.  We need to be able to decide whether we aim to try to live through the break in trust or repair it.  I highly advise against living through the break in trust and hoping that it will fix itself.  I suggest instead to seek to repair any break in trust between you, as a leader, and your report.

A Story Of Compromised Trust

    A friend of mine and I were talking about a recent situation that occurred at her work.  She had made an err in following company policy and when confronted about it she quickly owned up to her error.  She admitted that it was a mistake and while she had learned from it and promised not to do it again, her manager, angry and seeking to prove a point in front of another manager, informed her that the situation was much more dire.  Her supervisor then proceeded to tell her that she had crossed a line with the quality department.  Her manager told her that they were not forgiving and that hundreds of thousands of dollars of recalls had happened as a result.

    My friend in this case immediately had assumed that she would be severely reprimanded, or worse, walked out on the spot.  This caused great emotional pain, as her income from this work was a substantial part of her family and she was proud of her job.  After being sent back to the line with a verbal warning, she paid great attention to not re-commit a quality offense, however, paid attention to the damage she caused because she truly felt condemnation.  She paid attention for some time and found that the level of quality infraction that her manager had exclaimed to her did not happen as explained.

An Analysis of Compromised Trust

    What happened here was that an employee who was proud to be part of an organization committed an infraction that should have resulted in a verbal (or other) disciplinary action, and it did.  If this were the case and it ended here, we would be at a positive place.  We would arrive at a destination where corrective action was needed, taken, and the company and employee better for it.  What happened instead was that the corrective action happened, however, in anger (or a show of power), and an employee who was really a part of the team has felt this.  My friend confided in me that she has felt lied to by her superior out of aggression and that she no longer trusts her superior.  She confided in me that while she is still proud to be a part of the organization, that she has separated herself from identifying as an associate who reports to this superior.

    There is great danger anytime a report no longer trusts their superior.  Specifically, when it comes to morale.  There is nothing stronger than an associate or report that is happy to work for their supervisor.  I think deeply into this and into the other aggravating factors surrounding this.  The root cause for all this commotion is due to my friend committing an infraction.  Can we really root cause it to this, or should we begin to delve into proper management principles that should have been demonstrated in order to satisfy the situation and preserve our position as a leader?  I believe the latter is true.  We should at every opportunity seek to preserve our position as a leader.

What Should Have Happened?

    If an employee is committing a policy infraction, I believe that this should be addressed.  It should be addressed quickly and directly.  If it was a direct cause of departmental disciplinary circumstances, I believe they should be outlined.  If it was an infraction that could have caused severe departmental accountability, then I believe that this should be outlined truthfully.  I do not believe at any time we as leaders should lie to our team in order to trump up the seriousness of the situation.  Doing this, although it may feel right, will not more effectively take care of the situation.  I want to talk about this for a moment.

    If we make the situation sound more escalated than it is, this can only lead to potential damage to the credibility of our leadership.  If you have an employee that is proud to work for you, with high company morale, you only stand to lose if you falsely escalate a situation in order to increase the amount of accountability or guilt felt by the employee.  It is likely a reprimand or warning will be adequate corrective action to reverse the behaviors that resulted in the infraction.  Obviously if this is a recurring incident than escalated levels of accountability and responsibility should be considered, but taking the facts from the story, this isn’t a repeat situation and was a first-time policy infraction.  Further, falsely escalating a situation, or lying to the employee will directly damage your ability to continue to lead.

    The take-away from this is that accountability wasn’t a question, neither was the action required by the leader to hold the associate accountable.  The delivery of the disciplinary action was ill-placed.  Disciplinary action should have a positive outcome even if it feels uncomfortable, however, this felt uncomfortable and had a net negative outcome.  To answer the above question, the exact process of what happened should have happened omitting the fluff that heightened the severity of the situation.  

Analyzing the Managers Decision

    Sometimes as leaders we are called to act on situations that seem to spring into life out of nowhere.  We can be thrown into a mix of personalities and attitudes that we did not know were coming at us.  Sometimes we can be threatened, feel incompetent, and feel that our reports intend for this to happen to us.  A whole host of things could have happened that caused this specific manager to react in such a way that she fluffed up the situation in order to make it sound more severe than it was, however, the end game has to be to address the problem and preserve being a leader.  I believe the break in trust in this situation removed a follower from her, and it did not have to.  I believe that as a leader we must have followers, and that the manager in this case may have addressed the issue for the company, but also damaged herself as a leader, and in the process lost a follower.

    How then do we respond when a boss demands answers or actions to result from a policy infraction?  We deliver them ethically and with integrity.  We hold our employees accountable in a way that they can only respect us more.  Do not allow yourself to feed into emotions when accountability and disciplinary action are the subject.  Hold the employee accountable while still capturing that employees respect as a report to you.  They will love you for it, it will boost their morale, and the organization will be all the better for it.

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Time Management

Time Management In Leadership

    My experience of time management in leadership as it pertains to managing operations is similar to what I would think going crazy is like with a dash of confusion.  There are many strategies to time management, and all revolve around feeling like you have a hold of things that are happening around you.  Here we will explore different strategies that we can use in order to feel as if we understand the happenings around us.


    There is a reason why prioritize is first on the list.  I believe properly prioritizing engagements is the single most important skill to acquire, understand, and master as it relates to time management.  Prioritization has to do with understanding all of your engagements, assignments, and activities, and then coming up with a sensible list of their order of importance.  I believe that this can be done either purely mentally or on paper.

    If you opt to not use pen and paper, your task will be a bit more taxing.  I personally use a fair mix of both of these methods of prioritization.  Some days are less demanding than others, and on those days I will recognize the opportunity to avoid carrying around a clipboard with scribbles of tasks-to-do and other notes on it. 

    If you are in a position of leadership where you are aware that new tasks, requirements, or expectations are present, than I would highly recommend that you utilize some sort of note taking mechanism in order to keep your affairs in order.  Remember that the key here is that this is a fail-safe and is never considered overkill.  I would only opt to not use visual assistance and lists in events where you are completely comfortable with what is on your task list.

    The goal here is to be able to maintain an inventory of things that need addressed and be able to rank these engagements in a list of most important to least important.  As new developments occur over time, items can rise or fall on the list.  Remember a bump to one engagement requires a dump to another.

Stress Management

    Stress management is incredibly important to time management.  One would think at a glance that these are not ties together, however, that thought is incorrect.  You will find that as you allow your stress levels to rise, your grip on events and how timely you handle them becomes erratic and uncontrollable.  This is the last thing you want if you want a controlled delivery of tasks and actions throughout a period of time.  If you allow your stress levels to increase to a certain point, all grip of time management will be lost and you will be completing due tasks at the mercy of the grip of stress on your mind.

    The simple resolution to this is to learn stress management techniques.  The deeper resolution to this is to learn your body and your mind.  This requires a bit more time and a bit more study of ones self to discover stress triggers and positive responses to techniques to combat stress.

    Once you begin to identify your stress triggers and combat stress with the proper techniques that your body and mind responds to, you will notice an increased ability to focus on proper time management as a leader.

Being Realistic About Expectations

     We all have superiors.  We all have expectations.  We need to be realistic when we are matching expectations with reality, and we need to be able to give honest feedback on our barriers of meeting expectations.  

    Often our explanation of expectations not met will be explaining how the process of our prioritization of tasks changed over a period of time that we were charged with meeting certain expectations.  This explanation will outline events that were bumped up on our prioritization list and the contra-events or activities that were dumped down and our reasoning in making this change in priorities.  Good feedback here will allow our managers to troubleshoot situations that are outside of our field of influence, or give us feedback on how we should have prioritized differently.  Open and honest communication is key here in order to reinforce or correct our time management decisions.  Keep in mind not managing stress levels will wreck this entire process.

Some Specific Focal Points On Time Management

    There are a host of things that we should be paying specific attention to while we keep all else in mind.  At the top of this list we must consider unforeseen circumstances and events.  Sometimes things just happen that require our time to be allocated to an event, activity, or engagement that we did not plan for.  Plan for unforeseen engagements as there will always be some that pop up.  If you are a floor level manager assisting in troubleshooting, unforeseen engagements may be the largest block of time that you allocate out of your period of time.

    When dealing with associates that create engagements or events for you that do not appear at the top of your priority list, do not brush them off.  Make sure you take the time to explain to them that their issue is an issue that will be addressed, just not now.  If you are able to delegate the handling of their engagement out, do this immediately, so that you will not have to revisit this later as well as write it off of your engagements or tasks list.

    Sometimes you just have to push.  When you have a lot to do and a little time to do it, occasionally we must turn up the heat to get things done.  Finding this drive within yourself is incredibly helpful because it can get you rolling and keep you rolling.  This does not mean recklessly acting, such as flailing in a brawl, however, this means confidently drawing upon your own motivation to succeed and using that to boost your speed, performance, and mood to a level that allows you to shine.  Some people are naturally able to turn up the volume on their ability to push.  In individuals that naturally have this ability, they are usually recognized as high performers when in reality they just have a frequented push that gets noticed.

A Word On Delegation

    Delegation here can allow a leader to appear to accomplish more than he is actually accomplishing because of his skill in using people.  When one has twenty things to do with nineteen positive delegatory relationships, the leader can delegate nineteen while taking care of the twentieth and seemingly accomplish twenty things at once.  This is a sort of pinnacle of leadership because amazing unaccomplishable tasks can be completed in a relatively short amount of time compared to the expected amount of time to complete the set of tasks.  If you are a leader and have a team and are not aware of the power of harnessing and using delegatory authority, I would suggest that you practice leveraging some of your relationships with your team via leadership in order to grow as a leader.

Final Notes On Time Management

    As leaders, we will experience days that seem to roll together effortlessly.  Some days it seems like making things happen and staying on task is akin to drilling out teeth at a dentist.  The important thing here is that we practice the skill of time management and seek as leaders to be continuously improving.  Sometimes as leaders we face challenging situations, and just because in the end we don't produce optimum outcomes does not mean that we have failed.  Recall that we have the opportunity to take every failure as a success through learning opportunities.  Continue striving for excellence leaders. 

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Tunnel Vision

"Leadership is Tunnel Vision, Focused on Relationships"

    Relationships may be the single most important focal point of leadership.  One's leadership and ability to influence is directly linked to ones ability to forge and maintain positive working relationships.  While I believe it is important to have a big-picture view of any project or task, if you must become blinded by tunnel vision, allow yourself to be blinded by the quality of relationships you have with your team.

Why Allow Tunnel Vision at All?

    Sometimes we as leaders can be so overwhelmed by the inter-woven complexities of projects and deadlines that we can easily overlook individual relationships with our team.  Sometimes we allow ourselves to become so lost in the whole that we forget that the whole is just a cumulative gathering of a set of parts.  The set of parts that I am referring to are the individuals in your organization or team.  If we are not careful we can allow ourselves to neglect one of the most important aspects of leadership.

Why Are Relationships So Important?

    Leadership is a lot of things, but one of the most important I believe is personal development.  If we really value and care about our team, we must value their development.  If we intend to develop our team, we must forge good standing relationships with them.  This is a very forward and general statement that we can then delve deeper into.  Of course strong relationships will help with meeting goals, deadlines, and open the door for positive delegation of authority in order to complete group tasks.  Of course strong relationship means a deeper meaningful life even when working on very complex projects.  What we are missing here is that strong relationships allow us to use our position to grow people beyond the current group goals.  A leader who has strong relationships with his team influence and impact them in a way far beyond any short sighted task or project.

Should We Ignore Everything to Relate?

    I think it would be silly if we discarded all goals and focused on just building relationships, however, if we temporarily were to stray from broad focus, I believe that this would be the reason to do just that.  Allowing yourself tunnel vision to take time and relate means that you value your team enough that you are willing to put forth your best effort to build them up and strengthen them.  I believe that this is just as good as money in the bank.

How is This Applied?

    I believe this is applied slightly differently than it sounds.  I believe a good interpretative example would be listening to a team member that needs to talk.  So often team members just want to feel important, and this manifests as them requesting time from you to allow you to listen to a piece of their life.  I urge you to take this time as a leader and look for ways to mentor.  There is nothing more damaging here than disregarding a team members request for a piece of time.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Is Leadership For Me?

Is Leadership For Me?

    "Is leadership for me?" is a question commonly encountered by many potential leaders.  If you find yourself asking this question, I would suggest that you stop and spend a good deal of time coming to a conclusion.  You have landed in the right spot if you are seriously asking yourself this question and in this article I would like to explore possible outcomes and answers as well as be a guide to your thought process.  Leadership is a way of life that is very rewarding and has a lot of peaks and valleys.  It shapes your life and relationships as well as influences your actions.  It is one of the single most rewarding things that you could pursue.

1.  Why Am I Considering Leadership?

    Before we get to the meat and bones of whether or not leadership is for any particular person, I want to take some time to think about the why of this matter.  We need to first ask why we are even considering leadership, or what lead us to begin to search for leadership and find ourselves reading articles on leadership.  Exploring this question will play a large part of the final determination of whether or not leadership is for us.

    I want to first start by mentioning that leadership among very many things is problem-solving and troubleshooting.  Just by taking the time to go on the journey and explore content on the internet relating to a question that is weighing on you is one sign of leadership in and of itself.  It is a logical conclusion that we must ask ourselves whether we are already displaying leadership qualities that we have developed, or is it something that interests us that we wish  to learn more of.  Either one of these are valid, and the recognition of either strengthens us further and brings us closer to making a decision.

    Perhaps you are considering leadership because of a recent conversation or a course that you have been a part of.  Perhaps you are considering leadership because of the possibility of an available promotion, or you are trying to find a deeper meaning to your life.  There is always the possibility that you are considering leadership because of media, films, and influential people that have made an impact on your life at some time and you would like to replicate that.  Perhaps you just have this dream or passion about leadership.  Some people pursue leadership for the glamour of being in the front of a movement.  There is no wrong motivation for coming to the point where you consider leadership, but we must understand the "why" to be able to continue forging questions in order to conclude whether or not pursuing leadership is a good decision for us.

2.  Do I Care About People?

    This is an important part of the determination of whether leadership is for you.  Leadership after all implies that you are a front-person of a group of people or an organization of people.  This means that you are a representative of a body other than your own.  In order to arrive at the conclusion that leadership is for you, you must understand that caring about others is paramount not only to your success, but to your ability to lead others as well.

    I would say that this is a "hard boundary."  This means that if the answer is a clear "no", then perhaps we should immediately conclude that leadership is probably not something for us.  Leadership requires that we not only care about others, but that we deeply care.  The latter stages of leadership involve developing others, defending others, and putting others needs before our own.  It is safe to say that if we do not care about people than we will struggle with these concepts and we will come to an inner struggle when it is time to really produce and perform these tasks of a leader.

    Due to the nature of leadership, many people will push ahead and pursue leadership regardless of their lack of empathy for other humans.  We see this all too often.  As a leader who pursues to grow others into leaders, this is the most common dilemma to encounter.  There is always someone who so deeply desires to be a leader, however, doesn't understand some of the basic concepts of leadership such as the caring for others.  

3.  Am I A Team-Player?

    One of my real life mentors that has most impacted my leadership style was introduced to me during a period of time where I simply did not care to be led by this individual.  I was a floor level leader in a factory, acting as a foreman of a crew of about forty people.  There was a management switch and I ended up reporting to a new superior.  Needless to say I was not thrilled about this change.  The very first week that the changes were made a meeting was called and I reported to the meeting room.  My partners and I gathered around an upstairs open concept office area, I expected new expectations to be rolled out and consequences threatened to be rained down if these expectations were not met.  What we received was a display of welcome and humble thanks for being willing to work with our new leader.  He proclaimed that he was a team builder, and that was his interest for taking this job.  As this meeting rolled forward, the picture began to grow clearer for me.  He wasn't there for himself, he was there for us, for me.  This realization led me to understand a part of leadership that I was blind to, even as a leader of people at the time.  

    In order to determine whether or not if leadership is for you, you have to determine whether or not you are able to take a group of people and value that group as a collective whole.  I mean to engage your mind to think not about self beneficial valuation, but the type of valuation of people that comes from identifying as a team-builder.  As a leader you should seek to become an architect of people, increasing each individual because that increase will mean a gross increase to the group.  If this idea is appealing to you, then I believe that you should continue in exploring thoughts of leadership.

4.  Am I Someone Who Can Be Followed?

    One of my favorite assessments of other leaders is perhaps the most simple, "Do they have any followers?"  Lets be honest, if no one is following you, then you are only leading yourself.  This is what I call the meat and bones of leadership, because it is usually items that fall under this question that people use to determine whether or not leadership is for them.  There are a host of personality traits that are indicators of potential success as a leader that usually sit in the forefront of a persons mind when determining whether or not to pursue leadership.  This is usually due to looking past the more fundamental principles of leadership that we have discussed in the prior sections.

    We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and determine if we can be followed.  I am not trying to spark harsh emotional roller coasters of self-judgement and a rising level of self doubt here.  I am simply wanting you as a potential leader to be honest with yourself.  Do you care about people?  Do you value others?  Do you rise up to challenges?  Can you troubleshoot problems and experience success?  Can you fail without wiping out?  Can you rebound from your failure?  Can you make people feel good about themselves?  Can you hold people accountable without cracking?  Can you speak with a straight face and clear voice?  Most importantly, are you able to learn, adapt, and overcome obstacles?  These things have one thing in common, and that is if the answer is no, it does not alter your ultimate ability to lead.  If you have gotten past the first three sections, implying that you understand why you are considering leadership, you value other people, and you entertain the thought of caring about a group of people then all of these things can be developed within you.  There are a few that are more important than others, but soft skills are skills that leaders are constantly improving within themselves.  Soft skills are skills that will not break your ability to lead, but they are skills that you have to a certain degree and to experience great success you should be actively working on developing them. 

    One of the most important soft skills involving leadership is integrity.  Integrity is a word, however, libraries can be written about its substance.  Integrity has very deep meanings when it is used to describe the personality of a leader.  It can be introduced by saying that it is the "thing" that we are talking about when someone does the right thing when no one is looking.  Integrity is structured on moral principles and honesty.  When we delve into some complex topics of leadership where we explore trust and quality of relationships than we begin see that a leader's integrity has a spotlight beaming down on it.  As leaders we must practice integrity.  If the thought of doing the right things and developing personal integrity as a part of your central character, leadership may not be for you.  On the other hand, if developing your character does not sound appalling, I would suggest that at this point leadership may be for you and you should get a bit more serious about your determination.  I believe that I should mention that like integrity, this follows with all soft skills.  You should be understanding that there are core skills that a leader has and that while you do not have to be a master of these skills, you have to be willing to allow yourself to grow and develop them.

    I believe that if you have made it to point number four and the only thing you have to worry about is your soft skills, you should do an inventory of what skills you have and where you currently stand with them.  It is important to be honest with yourself here because this is going to determine how much work it is going to take for you to develop yourself.  Obviously someone may be much closer to hitting the ground running if they have an inventory of highly developed skills at their disposal.  Opposing this is someone who fits the profile and has their mind in the right place but has a lot of work to do before they would be very effective as a leader.  It is important to journey this self assessment and then make your decision about whether leadership is for you, or whether leadership may be for you in the future.  There is always the possibility that leadership isn't for you at all.

When I Determined That Leadership Was For Me:

     Having spent about a year with a new organization that I enjoyed being a part of, I enjoyed my job.  I would show up to work on time, rarely miss, and perform my duties to the best of my abilities every day.  I would try to brighten everyone's day and I prided myself on being a good partner to work with on projects.  I frequently considered the possibility that I would be positioned at this level in the organization as I was until retirement, and was satisfied. 
    I understood that there was more that I could contribute to the team overall if given the opportunity, and I was always hungry to help.  This was as far as my current thought process went.  I never intended to become a leader.  Some crew changes happened, and I found that there was an opening bid for a foreman position on my shift.  Here came the questions.  The idea of leading my team sounded grand and glamorous, but it was really something frightening.  I beat myself up for days about whether people would ever listen to me even if I got it, I began asking myself questions like, "would I even listen to me?", or "what makes me so special?"

    I did not stop to think about how others saw me or whether anyone else, including my superiors, thought that I would be a good fit for the position.  After much deliberation I thought to talk to another foreman about this.  I did not expect the walk-away from this conversation, because they had encouraged me to sign the bid even if I was remotely interested.  Apparently, from my care of people and my interest to help and brighten the day of others on top of whatever performance that I added to the team effort, others had already viewed me as a leader in my own right.  This led to an astounding understanding, that leadership isn't in position, it is in reality.  No position or title is required to be a leader.  This was a huge breakthrough.  I began analyzing encounters with others and looking for opportunities to take leadership roles long before the interview process for the foreman position had begun.  Here is where I started my journey into leadership.  This has been one of the most rewarding paths that I have traveled, and I suggest that if you are interest in leadership, you owe it to yourself to pursue it.  I have never been happier in my life since, and studying leadership has added value to my life and my family, and I am sure that it will to you and yours as well.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Growing Your Relationships

Growing Your Relationships

    As a leader or team member, one of the main challenges involved with working on a successful team is to maintain individual relationships.  This results in growing your relationship with the team as a whole.  This involves creating your unique identity as a member of the team.  There are various indicators of where you are currently standing with your team, and very careful attention should be paid to these if your overall success is a goal.

    The relationship is a fundamental descriptive term of the connection of one person or object to another.  We can use it to describe how one thing relates to another in terms of distance, size, or performance as well as many other factors.  When two humans are involved some more complex units of measurements are used.  As leaders we need to be constantly observing and analyzing our relationships to other people so that we can harness the positive power of relationships to achieve our goals.

How to Grow our Relationships?

    Some people travel through live building and dismantling relationships with no mindful awareness of what they are actually doing.  We may chalk it up to feelings, moods, and desires.  The effects are still there.  There is a substance between two things that can be described and analyzed, and our every action has a direct affect.  Once we understand that there does exist substance between any two things and that substance has a direct impact on attributes like influence and trust, we can begin to use the fruits of positively building into relationships to achieve the greater goals of the team.

1) Connect With Your Team:

    The first way to positively build relationships is to connect with your team.  If there is no connection, the relationship between two people will remain stagnant and lack any growth at best, more likely the relationship suffers negative growth.  Connection is key here.  There must be some connection between a leader and their team, or a team member to team member in order to allow a relationship to be present.  In almost all references to relationships where I apply it to a leader and their team, we can substitute in any two humans.

    Depending on the stage of the relationship, any connection is better than no connection at all.  Physical interaction, conversation, and general convergence or coming together are some ways in which a connection will take place.  There has to be some physical or mental proximity for this to happen.  A relationship will remain stagnant if there is no mental or physical engagement and proximity is remote.  This can be summed up to presence.

    There are no limits to types of mental or physical proximity.  Take for example how long-distance relationships are built on the internet.  They undoubtedly have their own sets of challenges and barriers, however, there is still substance there.  I would also acknowledge the deep relationships forged by networking in general over modern age technology.  As long as mental and/or physical proximity exists, relationships are likely to exist.

2) Relate With Your Team:

    Relate is the root English word for relationship.  This concept is important to understand because it is the foundation of what we are doing.  This is akin to saying I am like you, you are like me, and we are alike.  Relating with someone can be described as a feeling of mutual existence.  In leadership, we seek to make the connection and establish this likeness with those that we lead.  As humans, we can all relate because we are all alike in this way.  We all mutually exist as humans, dwelling in human bodies, and this is a good starting point after a connection is made to begin the relating process.

    While you can relate emotionally and spiritually, a general seeking to physically relate to someone is a good strategy to begin your journey.  This means speaking, listening, maintaining eye contact, and sharing common goals.  When a team member knows that they share the common goals of a leader, a connection is made.  The relationship has formed and now it is time to foster the relationship.  Share your goals, listen to their goals, and build from that foundation.  Most relationships in business and leadership begin with a physical relationship between two people.  This means words exchanged in physical proximity, the first handshake, troubleshooting problems in a shared physical space, or other like activities where physical presence is one of the key relationship factors between the two.

    If there is no relating, than there can be no relationship.  Time and effort are both greatly required here to make sure that you as a leader are fostering the feelings that both you and your team are alike.  Common goals may be earnings, success, pride, or just to be a part of something bigger than yourselves as an individual.

3) Work Beside Your Team:

    This builds on relating with your team.  Once the relationship has formed, this is the key step in building that relationship positively.  We have established thus far that we share common goals, we are alike, and we are a collectively a part of something larger than ourselves individually.  Working beside the team then demonstrates that you, too care about the collective whole and are not above being a member of that same collective whole as the rest of the team members are.  If you are a leader and you are hiding while they are working, then it is arguable if you are a leader.  This statement can be situational in application when regarding tall corporate or team structures and the type of work differs greatly depending on the job, however, it will be apparent if a leader is not doing their share of the work load.

    For lower level managers, physically "getting out there and working beside them" is one of the single most important relationship building strategies to forge a tight-knit team.  This is one of the most fun and rewarding situations a leader can be in.  The connections that my crew and I build upon were some of the strongest connections I have ever built with people when I was a floor level team leader.  Years later you will still hold on to some of the deep friendships that you craft during your time building relationships with a team in this way.

4) Grow With Your Team:

    Let them know it.  Allow your team to know that you are a human and you have potential just as they do and you grow as they grow.  Allow them to see you learn as they learn.  Ask them for permission to learn from them and to engage in tests and experiments with you so that you may both take away from the experience.  Be very vocal in engaging them in this way.  Let it be known your desire for both of you to grow.

Benefits and Applications of Growing Relationships:

    If I had a limited amount of time to talk about the benefits of growing relationships with team members, I would start with trust.  Trust is a magical emotion that transcends humans.  We can witness trust across species.  I think of the loyal dog who trusts his owner.  Inside the home with the family, the core of the relationships are hopefully built on trust.  Lack of trust can destroy relationships, while an excess of trust in the bank can ensure that a relationship can weather any storm.  When you have a team that trusts you, you are given permission by your team to lead them anywhere and do anything.

    There is much to be said about the technical applications of a positive relationship and the tools you can use once you possess a certain level of relationship with another.  In terms of leadership my mind wonders towards delegatory authority.  If a relationship is built in the correct way, your team will trust you to use them in a positive way as a means to achieve a common goal.  Many layers of ethical leadership behavior and integrity become involved when this occurs.  If a leader isn't an ethically sound person that resonates integrity who has built relationships with his team, he will not remain trusted for very long.  

Maintaining Relationships Once Grown:

    Once established, it is just as important that a leader maintain his relationships as it was that he sought to create them in the first place.  I want to talk about direct methods of doing this.  I am talking about listening, understanding, and being empathetic.  I am talking about really caring for his team.  When you really trust someone and you get a half-hearted "I know", you feel this.  A team member is able to feel when you deeply care for them, because the relationship that was forged out of physical or mental proximity and technique usually transcends to a level of emotional relationship where real feelings are involved.  When we are talking about team members personal lives that they trust you with, they as people can feel if you are genuine or not.  It will be a sad down-hill road if you have risen to a level of leadership only to oust yourself because you were never genuinely ready to lead people because of your lack of compassion.

Some Final Thoughts on Relationships:

    It is important to understand that the relationship is not just a word, but a substance in itself.  It is important to understand that this applies especially to leadership, but we could remove leadership from the equation and refer to two people and the principles of relationships still apply.  Relationship can be used to describe any two things if we remove humans or even living beings out of discussion and the description of things would resemble some fundamental qualities that are more deeply understood when we apply it to humans.  This is important to understand due to the study of relationships will eventually give way to philosophical discussion.  The very existence of matter and existence share relationship with itself, and any two pieces of matter's relationship can be analyzed.  This reverberates with the essence of leadership and its potential depth.

    In my experience as a leader of a team of men and woman, one of the most satisfying parts of my job is the ability to just have relationships with them.  In life, there are so few situations where you build trust with other humans, have compassion for them, deeply care about them.  I think about how much I love my wife and children and how I am the leader of my family, and then I think about how our relationships in our home are the core of our connected existence to one another.  I then further this thought with how connected I am with my team at work, how deeply I care about them.  Perhaps this substance is different than the substance of relationship that exists between my wife and I, however, substance still exists and building the relationships of those that you lead is one of the most rewarding experiences that you can encounter.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Experiencing Failure

Experiencing Failure as a Leader

Today I will outline my thoughts on the topic of failure and how to deal with failure as well as outline ways to cope with failure as a leader.

What is Failure?

    As leaders, failure can be simplified to any situational outcome where the team does not meet its goal.  This isn't an exclusive definition, and while many flavors of failure exist, this will be the topic of today.  A general responsibility of being a leader is recognizing any failure within the group to be our own.  Team failure is leadership failure, and this statement is never untrue.  Failure can be generalized to the specific goals related to short term delegated activities, or to the long term goals related to the KPI's of an organization.  Failure may be a downward trend,  an unfortunate event, or just a bad day.  Failure may not be in the metrics, but just in the mood.  A Mirriam-Webster Dictionary definition of failure is "a lack of success in some effort. : a situation or occurrence in which something does not work as it should."  Obviously, "working as it should" is subject to interpretation, but usually failure is pretty clear right?  Unfortunately no.  Sometimes failure goes unnoticed, and this is where it gets dangerous.

How to Deal With Failure?

    Failure itself isn't detrimental.  There are many teaching on failing into success.  The importance of any failure is what we take from it, and that taking must be positive.  If we ever experience failure and have thrown our hands up, given up, or blamed others, we have done the only things that we should never do as leaders experiencing failure.  The keys to successfully deal with failure are to recognize, analyze, learn, and grow.

Recognizing Failure:

    To recognize failure means to be aware that something did not work as it should.  We must first understand how it should have worked and understand that the outcome does not match the expectation.  Being consciously aware at this step is successfully completing it.

Analyzing Failure:

    To analyze failure means to have understood that things did not work as they should and then to ask why.  There are many different methods to this, including root cause analysis (RCA), among many others.  The endgame of analysis is to determine what failed and why it failed.

Learning from Failure:

    To learn from failure is to determine what failed and why, and then identify things that should have gone differently in order for the failure to be a success.  This can be re-worded and read as "what we could have done differently in order to produce success."  This step perhaps is the most important because it is in this step that removes all the negativity from failure and actually transforms it into a positive occurrence.

Grow from Failure:

    Growth from failure results from the implementation of the truths that we have learned from the analysis of the failure.  This is the ultimate endgame of any failure, because not only have we experienced success from learning from our failure, but here we demonstrate that we have successfully learned how to react to it.

Anecdotal Story from My Experiences with Failure:

    It is no secret that I have achieved my success with leadership as a blue-collar factory laborer in the field of logistics.  I worked my way up into management through promotions.  As a manager of a departmental team, I lead a team of individuals to push product out to carriers which then deliver that product to customers.  My success is measured by a variety of metrics that record how much my team and I actually move.  On one particular night it seemed as if things just were not moving.  The end of the night came, low and behold, the numbers produced were low as expected.

    This means many things, including recognizing that we did not do as well as planned, determining why, reporting this to my superiors, and then trying again in the future.  The secret to growing from this failure is knowing that when I try again in the future, I am going to implement different strategies to turn the course of the failure before it starts.  In my specific situation I recognized that one of the root causes of the failure may lie in my teams general knowledge of the software involved, and in order to grow I would have to foster an atmosphere of learning and teaching so that all of my team members were up to speed on how to properly use the software required to do the job.

    My implementation of the growth phase of failure was a monumental success.  I identified key team members whose ability to learn quickly was slightly higher than the others.  I focused my time on them and communicated to them my intentions for this focus of attention as well as my expectations that they would not just sit on the knowledge.  I watched as I planted seeds of information and those seeds grew and spread to the entire team.  Over time as the team learned and information spread it dawned on me that there was positive growth from a failure that could not have happened without the failure.  Metrics trended up and new records were set.  Failure was the root cause of success.

Definition Explained: KPI

    An acronym that we should know as leaders of an organization stands for "Key Performance Indicator".  This may seem self explanatory, but most often is not understood.  Most look at KPIs and read goals, but goals are really the next step of identifying a KPI.  Knowing your key performance indicators means to understand the metrics and numbers that you are looking at as well as understanding what it means for them to rise or fall.  From here we can deduce that after every KPI should come a goal, and that goal itself becomes key.  A key performance indicator for operations may be how many units were manufactured during a certain period, while a key performance indicator for supply or procurement may be the difference in units from running a completely lean operation.  KPI's are industry or organization specific, in that, they are unique to the goals of the industry or organization.


Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Delegation During Leadership

Approaching Delegation

Here we will explore the art of delegation.  I will answer the fundamental question of why we as leaders should delegate.

What is Delegation?

    Delegation is the act of giving control to another party.  A closed minded individual would explain this as, "telling people to do stuff."  It is important to understand what delegation is before we understand why we use it.  We as leaders in any situation have a common goal with others, after all, if we didn't we wouldn't have anything to lead.  In a family setting the goal may be to pay the bills, in a work setting it may be to produce a certain amount of units, while in a competitive sports game it may be to score a goal.  Delegation is the act of taking authority, control, or responsibility of a duty and then giving it to someone else.

Why use Delegation?

    When a team is trying to accomplish a goal, whatever it may be, the leader's responsibility is to recognize the end game as well as where the team currently stands.  From here the leader can map out a plan to achieve that goal.  The strategy may be clearly defined as standard operating procedure, or perhaps the strategy to successfully accomplish the task requires some on-the-fly maneuvering.  Regardless of how the steps to achieve the goal are acquired, they are normally more than a few.  This goal becomes a project, sometimes with dozens, hundreds, or thousands of incremental steps to success.  At this point one could adopt the "watch me work" mentality and start chipping away at these steps one at a time.  One with the mind of a leader would begin to identify the tasks in a chronological sort of order and begin to hand them out to members of his team.  Ten bodies are really more efficient than one when working together.  Harnessing the power of delegation in a team setting makes the impossible possible.

When to Delegate?

    There are times when we as leaders should take the task into our own hands.  There are many factors where this will be the best choice.  Often when the goals we seek to accomplish aren't requiring a team of people, a show of leadership by taking care of the duty or exercising the authority ourselves is the best choice of action.  When we set out to achieve larger multi-step goals that require exercising the functionality of our team, the power of delegation becomes apparent.

Who Should I Delegate to?

    The authority to delegate will usually come from someone delegating that authority to you.  This is a bit of a mind bender but follow me in this thought.  We aren't leaders by authority alone.  We are leaders because we have followers who allow us to lead them.  In many cases we find ourselves given authority to give authority, not so much like our boss has given us the authority to delegate responsibilities to others, but similar to our family has trusted us with the authority to lead them, or the team and coach have trusted us to be a good quarterback for the ball.  The team should be the focus here, and not the coach.  You as a leader have to recognize who accepts your authority to give them authority, who accepts your duty to pass down duties.  This is a relationship of trust and a very powerful relationship at that.  

    The answer to this is, whoever will accept the authority that you bestow upon them to carry out the task, duty, or authority to its completion thereby pulling your team closer to its goal.  The short answer can be summarized as whoever will get the job done.  There are many factors that go into this, and one cannot simply start by acquiring a lot of authority and then proceed to hand it all out.  The process of acquiring authority is one action, while the process of acquiring the authority to delegate is a completely separate venture.

What is a Delegatory Relationship?

    This is a term used to describe the relationship between a leader who delegates and the team member who accepts the responsibility, duty, or task delegated to him.  Libraries of books can be written on the complexity of this subject.  A good leader should know his team, and that leader should seek to be constantly improving on their delegatory relationships.  Having a poor delegatory relationship with a team member can mean that the delegation of authority or duty will not be received well or at all.  Having a good standing delegatory relationship with all members of a leader's team is a bliss that few leaders achieve.  When I say this I am referring to a purely effective and efficient team that can carry out many tasks starting from a problem and ending at a solution.  This happens in an apparent effortless fashion when the team is lead by a leader with positive delegatory relationships with his team.  

When Does Delegation Fail?

    Delegation can fail from multiple angles for multiple reasons.  My first belief here is that delegatory authority isn't recognized.  This may be the case in a family that is torn and faith is being lost in the leader of the family.  This may be the case at a job where the leader has lost the authority given to him by his team to delegate to them.  Maybe he is a new leader and has not gained the respect or built the delegatory relationships required to truly lead the team of people.  Perhaps the leader's actions have caused a downturn in the team's delegatory relationships so team members are no longer willing to accept the authority and duties that the leader is trying to pass on to them.  Perhaps trust is an issue, and the leader is no longer trusted among his team.  All of these and more will cause delegation to fail, which can be detrimental to the success of the team or organization because the goals of the team then become compromised.

Why Should we as Leaders Delegate?

    The reason we as leaders should delegate should lead back to our original passion for performing the act of leadership itself.  We should delegate because of our vested interest in achieving that goal as a team.  We should delegate because we believe that what we are trying to achieve is worth working for.  We should delegate because of our personal mission as it relates to the authority that has been given to us.  If we are leaders in our family, because of the passion and love that we have for them.  If we are leaders in our church, because we seek to enlighten others in the teachings that have enlightened us.  If we are leaders at our jobs, it is because we believe that we bring value to the world for the services or products that we deliver.  We should delegate because we are passionate about achieving a goal. Being a member of a team that shares our passions should strengthen our ability to achieve the set goals and delegation is a tool for a leader to use that gives way for better odds of a team of individuals to achieve their desired goals.

Monday, October 21, 2019

The John C. Maxwell Collection

A New Collection


        I spend a lot of my time in study, more than my wife would like.  I would consider personal growth a hobby that I am very passionate about.  From time to time I would like to dedicate sections of my blog to writing about authors and other writings or blogs that I enjoy and learn from.  I have decided to start with one of my favorite leadership authors.

        John C. Maxwell is a renowned blogger, author, and public speaker on leadership.  His work is second to none in my opinion.  I contribute a lot of my growth to studying his work.  I have listened to a lot of his audio-books, and have recently started collecting his hard-backs.  Studying this man's work has directly and exponentially taken my leadership game to new levels.

        In my collection I have "Good Leaders Ask Great Questions" and "How to Influence People" both available from John C. Maxwell's store. I also have a collection of his called "The Complete 101 Collection".  To my delight today I ran across The Essential Maxwell Library.  Over time I plan on reading and providing reviews and highlights of each of these as well as how I apply them to my life.  The books contained in this library are "The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player", "25 Ways to Win with People", "The Difference Maker", and "Leadership Promises for your Work Week".  

        My first exposure with John C. Maxwell was with his Youtube video regarding "The 5 Levels of Leadership".  My exposure to this created a thirst for his leadership teachings that still has not been quenched.  If you are a leader at any level, in any setting, I believe that you could also learn from his material.  I have included links to his blog, the book I am reading next, and his store below. - General page - The book I am currently reading

Sunday, October 20, 2019

The New Team

The New Team:

    Finding yourself on a new team as a leader can be an incredibly stressful situation.  This is some of the most challenging times you may face as a leader, and will certainly test your ability to adapt.  If this is your first time moving from one team to another, you may even ask yourself once you get to where you are going if this front-man stuff is the gig you are ready to settle down with.  If you are managing a crew and find that you are being up-rooted and placed with another crew, there are several things that you may experience as I did.  I will outline some of the situations that I wished I had some insight on when I experienced them, as well as things that I have seen now that I have had plenty of time to observe other leaders on the same journey.

    One of the most frequent things that I encounter when observing a leader paired with a new crew is that the leader will quickly identify one or two aces.  These are the team members that have mild personalities who accept new leadership readily and perform exceptionally well, not to be mistaken with the team members who have mild personalities and do not perform exceptionally well.  The problem isn't with the identification and early use of the ace, but with repetitive reliance on a few people to handle the bulk of the tasks while neglecting developing relationships with other team members.  If you do not treat your team equally in regards to investing time in building delegation-accepting relationships, even with the difficult and strong personalities, your aces will soon be under-performing.  Long before actual notice has been taken that you have avoided working on relationships with the tougher personalities, the feeling that you are avoiding this will have already swept across the team, and you will lose credibility as a potential successful leader of a group of people.

    Public speaking is something that should never be taken for granted.  Had I known how important it was to speak to my team, as a whole, I would have invested much more time in honing this skill.  Especially in the case where you are new on the scene, this is your opportunity to be known and any ground lost here will require an exponential amount of work to make up.  "One pound of prevention is worth x amount pounds of cure", where x is a number greater than one, of course. There is something powerful to be said about speaking to a group of individuals as their leader, and when you are generally accepted, you are able to feel it.  I remember being a part of a team and going to various huddle meetings before and after work.  This was a normal part of my day and I would really feel invigorated after being a part of the unveiling of the plan, or the closing of the day.  There were so many efforts made to avoid some of these meetings by other team members and members of leadership alike.  I feel that one of the biggest pieces of advice that I can give that I have learned through trial and error is to always try to make an appearance and speak to the team every time that you have the opportunity.  With every huddle meeting where you roll out the plan to every closing meeting where you deliver the metrics accomplished for the day, you will grow closer with every member of your team.

    Either be competent, or have a great interest in being competent.  There is nothing worse than the leader standing in front of a group of individuals with no idea of what is going on and no interest in knowing what is going on bellowing, "Do it, move faster, hurry up, do this!".  If you are this person, now is the time to really focus in and take my advice.  Do not assume that a position of leadership grants you the privilege to be this person.  If you are him, chances are, you life in leadership will be short lived, because you will soon run out of followers unless you are in some sort of oddly sadistic authoritarian industry where this is the norm.  Instead, allow yourself to be seen as competent, and willing to teach.  Someone who can do something efficiently and is able to teach it to someone else will find that their acceptance as a leader, or their transition into a leadership position is very simple.  Frequently we will find ourselves in very new places where we are not competent from the start and rather, we need to learn things ourselves.  The solution to this is simple.  Adopt an attitude of interest in becoming competent.  Identify the people who can teach you and humbly ask for help and thank them for it.


Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis:

    Many times we are challenged with solving problems and answering questions we may know nothing about.  Solving problems that we are clue-less about is a skill that anyone can learn, and learning this skill will make it seem as if you know and understand things that you really do/did not.  Often after you perform this, you will understand the situation much better than you had previously understood it.  I believe that there is a clear process to go from the introduction to any problem to understanding what exactly it is that we have to solve in order to operate optimally.  This problem solving skill translates to many areas of life.  I will outline this process below as I understand it.

1) Understand and interpret the problem
2) Reduce the problem to causal circumstances (simply ask why and answer yourself)
3) Further refine causal circumstances (keep asking why) until you arrive at redundant and/or recurring results
4) Re-interpret this root cause and begin the problem solving at root cause process

    Understanding the initial problem is important.  This is the core reason that we are aiming at solving the root cause of any situation after all.  A good deal of time proportionally is required at this step as this is the meta-problem that dominates all of your other efforts.  Really understand the mechanics of the problem and ask yourself the reasons why it is important that there is a solution.
    Reducing the problem to causal circumstances is perhaps the most technically advanced skill we will have to apply for problem solving.  This has to do with stepping outside of any emotional ties to the current situation and problem and asking yourself, "Why is this happening?".  The most difficult portion of this has to do with removing ego and personal attachment.  Many times the problems that we are solving involve us to some degree, and it is important that we do not let our involvement get in the way of accurately exposing the causality.

    There is no set amount of steps to further refine the causal circumstances.  This is all dependent on the depth of the problem.  Sometimes, especially in life, we have to move through dozens of layers of "why" in order to expose the root cause of an issue.  Sometimes this can be achieved in just a step or two.  It is important to walk into this process with an open mind and a willingness to dedicate mental resources to the solution.
    Once we believe that we have arrived at the root cause, it is time to get to the real work.  This doesn't necessarily mean that it is the most work-intensive step, however, just that the meat of the work that matters will be done here.  This is where we address the root issue of the problem and then re-evaluate to make sure that addressing the root cause has impacted the surface problem positively.  Sometimes we may find that we address the root cause and we have to then re-address a different root, or that the problem was multi-factoral, or perhaps that your solution to the root problem was just not sufficient.


    This is a tool in leadership that I personally use often.  When properly used it is a great tool to analyze and implement corrections to issues.  The framework is one that is easily remembered and applicable through many areas of life outside of business.  In my case I can rely on a team to help implement solutions after I have identified root causes as to why certain things are happening.  At home, that team may just be my wife and children.  Sometimes I arrive at causes where I can apply solutions to, other times the problems are much larger than a band-aid, and a re-haul of processes must be in order to correct the surface issue.  I hope that you find this helpful, and if you have any questions feel free to contact me at my e-mail listed below.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Hello World

Hello World:

    I have decided to begin my journey blogging by deciding to write about one of my largest passions.  Leadership is something that I study and practice day after day.  This blog will consist primarily of advice to others who are interested in leadership.  I will also be writing anecdotal stories of my life experiences as a leader in a large organization where I fill the role of a supervisor and night manager of a supply-chain logistics operation.  I will include lessons, facts, opinions, and tips regarding leadership that I have picked up along the way as well as some of the hard-to-talk-about learning experiences every seasoned leader happens upon along the way.  I will also elaborate on some lessons that I have learned from mentors in my personal life as well as other authors, bloggers, and motivators.

    I believe anyone could benefit from reading this.  When I was younger, I had no idea that I was living a life that would lead anything.  I actually believed that I was a loner growing up and had few friends.  I had little confidence and didn't believe my life would be very exciting, let-a-lone have people that were wanting to follow me.  Fast forward to my life now, I lead a wonderful family as well as a team of individuals that are passionate about feeding the world.  Studying and practicing leadership gives my life meaning and now I want to share it with the world.