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Sunday, May 22, 2022

HabiTentional

Wishing is insufficient.  

Intentions, while more impactful than wishes, are also woefully ineffectual.

Personal or communal or organizational change requires a commitment to habitual alterations of behavior. These behavioral changes in habit will begin to subsequently shape changes in ways of thinking. They gain momentum and "sticking" power as the desired results begin to emerge.

For those of us in leadership positions, not only must we MODEL the desired habits. We should also persistently NOTICE when others embrace those habits. And, if we want those habits to gain traction, we are compelled to consistently and specifically ACKNOWLEDGE -- both in private and in public -- those habitual enactments.

Turning intentions into habits is tough work   >>>   MODEL + NOTICE + ACKNOWLEDGE.

Leadership ain't for sissies.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

PurposeFULL

In organizational and personal life, we often do and say things that are inconsistent with our desired purposes. Too often, we engage in actions that actually run contrary to our purposes. When we participate in actions that are inconsistent with our purposes we are guilty of mindless frittering. Those are activities are, and are perceived by others to be, meaningless.

We see it all the time. Protocols, processes, and procedures are put in place that feed.....................................themselves.....................................NOT the grander and fundamental PURPOSE for which we and/or our organization exists.

As leaders, how can we mitigate PurposeLESS behavior?

Consider this recipe for PurposeFULL behavior:

   1) Clarify the PURPOSE - know, codify, and relentlessly articulate the timeless values we honor and which we intend to exemplify. Make them a consistent mantra.

   2) Assess Alignment - daily and persistently evaluate our actions/words/thoughts against their integrity to that Purpose. Habituate this practice, internally and communally.

   3) Adaptations - minimize and eliminate the "stuff" that is just "stuff" -- that which does not directly contribute to pursuit of our Purpose. Intentionally replace those excisions with PurposeFULL activity/behavior.

Works for us in our personal lives. Works for us in our organizational lives.

PurposeFULL does not happen accidentally.

Sunday, May 15, 2022

MeetingsMatters

Meetings are a necessary part of organizational work.

Unnecessary meetings are one of the most non-productive uses of time in organizational work. If not needed, don't call 'em.

Poorly deployed meetings are one of the most frequent time and energy sucks of organizational work.

Some thoughts about making meetings more productive:

  • Build ALL meeting agendas around the organization's BIG drivers (never more than five of these).
  • Limit agenda items to those BIG drivers and frame them as Action Items and/or Data Analysis and/or Action Planning only (keep informational junk and rat killing' -- stuff that does not apply to the whole team -- OFF the agenda).
  • Set hard start and stop times for meetings and stick to 'em (limiting meetings to one hour is best).
  • Stay out of the weeds and rein in rabbit chasers.
  • Provide agendas to meeting participants ahead of time (for thought and preparation).
  • Be clear about assigned work and due dates for that work (and scatter that work across the team).
Did I say poorly managed meetings are also the most wasteful use of time, team energy, and MONEY in organizational work? If not, I shoulda.

Sunday, May 8, 2022

PlanningPlan

Planning is tricky work. I learned much about the process as a young athletic coach. As the years passed and my job assignments changed, I learned more and more about effective planning practices.

Here are some of my big takeaways regarding Effective Planning:

  • Direction - Knowing where we want to go and what we want to accomplish comes first. Clarity in the direction is absolutely necessary.
  • LookBack - Reflecting on what we did to get us where we currently are is a non-negotiable. We gotta know how we got here.
  • LookForward - Conversations about concrete actions and steps that can be taken incrementally to move us to our desired outcomes must take place. 
  • Actionability - Writing down, codifying, those actions/steps is necessary. Assigning responsibility to team members for taking those steps must occur. ALL team members should have a responsible role; nobody gets to sit on the bench for the whole game.
  • Monitoring - Collective (not unilateral) monitoring of those actions and steps must occur on a regularly scheduled basis. Just because it's written means nothing; reviewing and monitoring as a team is required.
  • ContinuousImprovement - All plans have weak spots. Conditions change, people change, the WORLD changes. Making constant adjustments toward betterment is the surest sign of life and vitality. Plans that are intractable go in the casket with us.......and our organization.
Happy planning! 

(What? You thought this would be easy?)

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Dividenders

There's this thing called the 80-20 Principle (aka Pareto Principle). The premise is that 80% of the outcomes are generated by 20% of the inputs (or inputers). 

Another way to think of it is that 20% of our thoughts/mindsets and actions/behaviors drive 80% of our results.

A living and work recipe worth considering:

  1. Decide what is TRULY important to us as desired outcomes.
  2. Name those outcomes clearly.
  3. Assess the amount of thoughts-behaviors-time-effort we invest daily toward achieving those outcomes, and DO MORE OF THEM.
  4. Evaluate the amount of thoughts-behaviors-time-effort we expend daily that does not move us toward those outcomes, and STOP DOING THEM.
That 80-20 thing will take care of itself if we do. 

The DIVIDENDS we realize are the direct downstream result of our decisions along these lines. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

ChangeClock

Change happens. That's a given.

Yet change has variability in its timelines.

Conditions Change. Conditions can change very quickly. Weather conditions can change in a heartbeat. A protest can turn into a riot almost instantly. 

People Change. People usually change more slowly. Sometimes a person will change after a traumatic experience, or as result of illness, or in the wake of a religious experience, or concluding that they've been very wrong. 

Systems Change. The slowest change clock of all is that which alters a system. This is the stuff of culture. The IRS won't change very quickly, if at all. An ideology (political or religious) will only budge at a snails pace. Dogma is an extremely slow learner.

For those of us interested in a better tomorrow, we'll have to commit long-term to tinkering with System Change, because People Change and Conditions Change almost always occur downstream. 

In all areas where humans are involved, it's the habits that matter.

Pack a lunch...

Monday, April 25, 2022

FutureBuilding

Whether consciously or not, we are all in the FutureBuilding business.....right now.....every moment.....every day.

Most of us (hermits excepted -- well, maybe even them) are also directly or indirectly shaping the future of our families, our friends, and our colleagues. For those of us in leadership roles, we are also directly involved in shaping the future of the stakeholders in our organizations, both internal and external.

It makes good sense that we would engage in this FutureBuilding with extreme intentionality.

Some useful questions for us to consider in this FutureBuilding process:

  • What kind of future do we want?
  • How did we get to the "present" we are now experiencing?
  • What kind of thinking, behavior, planning, and action is needed to help us move toward the desired future?
  • What kinds of thinking and behavior do we need to alter (abandon or adopt) to move in the direction of that desired future?

It always starts with me, but it is always about US.

It only happens one step at a time.

Now is the time to start.