‘Good is the enemy of great’ – Good to Great, Jim Collins. 

 

If we are already good, then why change?   We tend to react to crisis and take immediate action to lessen the impact or improve the situation (our current crisis is a prime example of this).  If things are ‘okay’ we tend to leave them. Why spend the effort if things are good?  What we may not realize is that not taking action has a cost.   

 

A typical first step of an improvement journey is to stabilize the way we do our work.  For example, a simple exercise in workplace organization will stabilize an area or process and help improve the ability to see abnormal conditions.   The ability to see abnormal conditions will allow for immediate problem identification and stop the problem from progressing. The first reaction - So what? We find the problems eventually, don’t we?   

 

Here is some quick math on the cost of not taking action.  What if not catching the problem right away results in additional time to contain and fix the problem?   What if that results in an additional 20 minutes in your day? (Most people spend more time than this daily just trying to find stuff).  When you do the math, 20 minutes daily results in 11 days over the course of a year.   If you have 100 people in your organization that experience problems, that could be up to 1100 days of lost capacity, not to mention the additional frustration and negative impact on your customers. 

 

Part of Continuous Improvement is having everyone identify improvements and take the step to implement the change.   What if we got everyone on our teams to identify and implement an improvement that could save 20 minutes a day?  Think of the cost if we don’t.        

 

Maybe things are not as ‘good’ as once perceived. Don’t let good be the enemy of great.

 

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The difference between a manager and a leader is the decision based on one question,  ‘Do you want to be a leader?’.

 

This is not an easy decision to make.    What if something goes wrong? Will you get blamed for actions that are not fully under your control? What if people won’t follow you? What if you make the wrong decision?  Many would-be leaders are afraid of the embarrassment and difficulties of failure.  

 

People have the capability of becoming great leaders but never accept the challenge.   They go through life with a fear that limits the success they could achieve and the positive impact they could have on others.  

 

Remember, with the promotion to the position of a people manager, everyone starts equally as a would-be leader and faces the same fears.  Those that are successful make a conscious decision to be a leader. 

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Take the Leadership Habit Challenge

Transformational Leaders develop an environment where their team members create customer value,  find meaning in their work and grow in the process.

 

The first principle of Transformational Leadership is ‘you set the example’.   Your team will copy the behaviour you set. If you are positive, your team will try to be positive.  If you focus on the future, your team will try to focus on the future.  If you demonstrate a Continuous Improvement mindset, your team will try to demonstrate a CI mindset.  

 

In order to master the principle, it is critical to practice and to develop specific habits so that you can consistently demonstrate the behaviour.

 

I am inviting you to take the leadership habit challenge.   To help you attain your goal, we have created a leadership habit calendar.   You will find the calendar in our tools page.

 

To participate in the challenge, choose an example you want to set for your team that will demonstrate the principle.   Define the specific habit that you need to create for yourself. Use the calendar to help you develop the habit

 

Let me know what you pick.  Once you have completed 30 days, send me the results.

 

Good luck!

 

Scott

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Peter Drucker is considered the leading management thinker of the last century.  He recommended that organizations do a self-assessment based on 5 key questions – What is your mission? Who are your customers? What do they value? What are our results? What is our plan?

 

We believe now more than ever, we need to help our teams focus on the future.  It is a great way to create a discussion with your team on how we can all contribute to our long-term success.  We developed a guide on how to use the questions for your own team.  

 

Check out Tools Page out for the Guide to asking 5 Important Questions

 

Please let me know what you learn.

 

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As we move towards the ‘new normal’, our need to adapt the way we execute our work will demand an increase in our continuous improvement and innovation (CI&I) activity.

 

As you do this, I would encourage you to follow the logic I use for future state design – THINK TO S.E.E – Simple, Elegant and Effective. 

 

When you approach CI&I, the focus should always be on simplifying how we do our work – it is much easier to make things more complicated than it is to simply them.   Solutions should be elegant or well-designed following design thinking methodology.  And finally, it is critical that processes are effective in delivering internal and external customer value.   

 

Developing and executing future state design using the THINK TO S.E.E approach does take more thought and effort, but the effort will have a much higher rate of return.   Quoting Mark Twain – “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter”. 

 

If you would be interested in attending a virtual skill development session on the THINK TO S.E.E methodology, please let me know. 

 

Keep improving. 

Scott

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One of my favourite management thinkers is Peter Drucker.

 

One of his many philosophies is “The best way to predict the future is to create it”.     

 

In simple terms, it is up to you on how your future will unfold.  By coming up with ideas about what you want to achieve, you begin to plan. As you plan, you begin to take action. As you take action, you begin to create your future. 

 

As we approach the new normal, it is more important than ever for both individuals and organizations to embrace this thinking.  

 

Keep improving. 

Scott

 

 

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“All work and no play make Jack a dull boy”. Originally a proverb, this phrase was made famous by Jack Nicholson in the movie ‘The Shining’.  The real meaning of the proverb is that if you focus only on repetitive work, work that has limited challenge or if you do the same work every day, you will get bored and demotivated.  In organizations, focusing solely on executing daily work can lead to reduced productivity and lower engagement.  

 

Everyone needs meaning and challenge beyond their daily work.   Getting teams involved in continuous improvement projects or problem solving will allow them to focus on activities that will contribute to the long-term success of the organization.   If teams can get involved in improving their own work and work areas, it allows for increased levels of ownership, productivity improvement and reduced levels of frustration.  All very necessary activities to prepare to move into the new normal.     

 

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Keep improving

Scott

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We have moved from uncertainty to the ‘temporary’ normal.  We appear to be moving through 3 distinct phases – uncertainly and adjustment, the temporary normal and the new normal.     Most of us are now in the temporary normal phase (I know I am). 

 

What is different about this phase?    We are experiencing what it is like to work in a social distance work world, whether at home or at the workplace.   We have figured out methods to execute our work and are falling into some form of operating rhythm.   Most of us have moved to an acceptance phase and are trying to make the best of the current state.  Some of us are learning valuable lessons that we can apply for this phase and for the new normal.  

 

What is required to win in this phase?   We are still dealing with a situation that is not well understood and has limited predictability.  Our natural instinct is to try to predict or control the situation.   In a complex situation, both are very difficult.   Instead,  we need to focus on adaptability and resilience.    Adaptability is preparing ourselves to rapidly reconfigure how we do our work and how we engage with our team members.   Resilience is developing the skills to step back, understand, regroup and then set a course to continue to move towards our long-term goals.   In order to be resilient your team needs to have a positive but realistic attitude, to be able to use failure and set- backs as an opportunity to learn and grow and to execute a plan to adapt and move forward.  

 

As leaders it is up to us to set the example for both adaptability and resilience.

 

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Keep improving

Scott

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During normal times, it can be difficult to find things we are grateful for at work.    As humans we tend to focus on the negative as a way to protect ourselves.  The negative focus can lead to additional stress. The focus on the negative is magnified during times of uncertainty. 

 

To help yourself, I am encouraging you to take on the gratefulness challenge.

 

As a first step in the challenge, identify what and who you are grateful for with your work.  This will immediately help you focus on what is good, which should help reduce stress.

 

Second, there are many opportunities during this time to learn and develop your growth as a leader.  During the temporary normal, identify what you are leaning and how you can use this to help you grow as a leader, so you are stronger and have additional skills when we get into our new normal.

 

Finally, as a reminder, place a post-it-note where you can see it as a reminder – “What am I grateful for?”. 

For the challenge, please share what you are grateful for and what you are learning that will help you grow as a leader.

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For most of us, we are now in week 4 of the ‘new normal’.   It also appears that we may be in our current situation for the unforeseeable future.  One of the last things we typically think about in an uncertain situation is continuous improvement. 

 

As we get used to our new working environments, we develop habits, tools and methods that help make our work easier.  We also identify those things that make our work more difficult. In a continuous improvement culture, we encourage our team members to share and adopt these best practices.   As well, we also encourage our teams to identify the blockers in how they perform their work and possible solutions

 

As a leader, now is a good time to engage our teams in identifying improvements and best practice sharing in the ‘new normal’.  Ask a few simple questions – what have we learned? What are we doing that works well? What is blocking our ability to be more effective?  Remember to engage your team in solutions, get them involved with the implementation and don’t take all the work on yourself.

 

Please let me know your thoughts.

 

Keep connected.

Scott

 

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