I’m a Leader Now But No One Likes Me

Confused

What too many people fail to grasp is that one doesn’t become a leader overnight.  You may have the title, but that’s not all it takes to be successful.  To become a good leader takes some planning and experience.

Have you ever felt like this:

“I was “one of them” on Friday, but since I’m their supervisor now, no one likes me.  Why?”

You probably made the jump too suddenly.

Learning Leadership

When people tell me they want to be a leader in their organization or I hear that someone is being looked at to fill an upcoming position, the first thing I tell them is to start the transition NOW.  Plan and learn.

Don’t wait to make a sudden change over a weekend, because you’ll set yourself up for disaster.

Two Lessons on Leadership

Here are a couple of stories to illustrate what I’m talking about.

Story One

Mike has been one of the guys since he started at ABC Company.  He knows his job well, and that of the department, but really only does what’s required.  He watches the clock, is always yucking it up with everyone, and hits the bars every Friday afternoon having drinks with the best of them.

But behind all of that, Mike does think about moving up and his managers believe he has some good leadership potential.  A supervisor position is getting ready to open up in 2 weeks and Mike is offered the job.  That means more money, control and responsibility.  He says he’s up for the challenge.

Mike does nothing to prepare, thinking he’ll learn what he needs to know once he starts.  He continues his ways and on Friday Mike goes out with the gang and pounds shots.  On Monday morning, Mike is a straight-laced, all business, suit, barking orders around every corner.  What do you think the reaction of his staff is to this new look?  “What the h*ll happened to you?”  Is his staff ready to work for/with him?  I don’t think so Tim.

From then on, Mike is in an uphill battle to get respect and support.

Story Two

Patty, on the hand, knew she wanted to be a leader within the ABC Company someday.  Everyone likes her and although she’s also one of the guys, she never goes overboard.

She has fun, but within limits.

Patty, like Mike, knows her job and the department well.  But unlike Mike, she asks questions and tries to understand the business as much as she can.  She also reads leadership blogs online (i.e., Linked2Leadership) and participates in leadership type webinars.  The people she works with know where she’s headed some day.  So it comes as no surprise that when a leadership position opens in her department, she’s offered the job and accepts.

She immediately asks for time during the next two weeks to meet with experienced leaders to discuss her new position and to ask questions.  At the same time Patty discusses how this new position is going to alter her relationships with her,

  • old peers/new team,
  • new peers/other leaders,
  • old/new boss, and
  • . . . family.

How do you think Patty’s transition goes, compared to Mike’s?  I see much success in Patty’s future.

Leadership and Family

When I talk to people about changing relationships, many don’t immediately understand how there’s a change with family.  After all, work and family are two separate things.  Well, not exactly.  Even though we like to keep the two separate, they’re pretty well intertwined.  The added responsibility of being a leader is going to cause more stress, working more hours, and possibly travel, among other things.

Your future is also your family’s future.

Don’t get caught up just looking at the job itself.  It’s going to affect other people besides you.  The better prepared they are, the less stress it will cause.

It’s never too late to learn and plan for the future.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an up and comer, or you’re a director, or even a CEO.  Learning should be a lifelong endeavor.

When we stop learning, we stop growing.

The two books I always recommend to people when they’re starting out in their first leadership role are:

These books are not only good for new leaders but also serve as great reminders and inspiration – and some new info – for the seasoned leader.

It takes little effort, or time, to read a couple of blogs or books here and there.  Then be sure to share that new found information with the people coming up underneath you.  Remember, some of those people are going to be in your position some day.

Have you planned your future?  Do you discuss your future with your family?  Are you investing in continued learning?  Are you helping others succeed?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Andy Uskavitch

Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development and Customer Service Specialist
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

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Middle School Leadership Lesson: I DARE YOU TO FAIL!

Dare to Fail

Often times, we spend so much energy on trying to not fail, that we fail at everything.

Middle School Leadership Lesson

I was watching a basketball coach work with some 7th grade boys.  This team was brand new to the sport and lacked many of the needed skills to succeed at playing basketball.  On top of that, due to the awkward stages of their current development, risks and challenges were even more daunting.

As I watched the coach, his words of encouragement really struck me.  He watched one student particularly.  This student would shy away from the ball and would not attempt to make any type of rebound when he was near it.

The coach asked the young player why he was afraid of the ball.

The boy looked at the coach and simply stated:

“Coach, I am not afraid of the ball, I just don’t want to mess up.”

The coach’s response was even more enlightening than the boy’s. The coach responded by telling the 7th grader this:

“…you will never truly know what you are capable of achieving because you’re not putting yourself out there. If you never try, you will never learn or grow your craft.  I’d much rather you try and make a mistake that teaches you, than for you to not try at all and never learn anything or ever improve your playing skills.

When you don’t try at all, you are not only selling yourself short, you are affecting your entire team, who is depending on your efforts to drive our team towards the goal of winning.  You are either all in, or let me know so we can find a player who is.”

Taking It to the Goal

I watched as the boy cautiously trotted up, attempted a lay-up, made it, smiled and went back to his spot in line, waiting for his next turn with the ball.  But, the boy went back to the line changed.  He was no longer worried about and overly focused on NOT making a mistake.

He was now focused on repeating the “good” and learning from his mistakes.

Our world rarely acknowledges or celebrates failures.  We very rarely make reference in our history books or great speeches about people’s failures.  However, people often forget that very few times is success immediately attained.

If we spent as much time trying to learn from our lack of successes and what must change the next time, we would truly see a new definition of “success.”

A Bright Idea: Persistence

Think about the famous Thomas Edison.  Where would our world be without his inventions?  If he just tried one or two times and then gave up, we would be in a world of dark; pun intended.  It was documented that Edison stated he tried 10,000 times before he was finally successful in creating the light bulb.

When Thomas Edison was interviewed by a young reporter who boldly asked Mr. Edison if he felt like a failure and if he thought he should just give up by now. Perplexed, Edison replied, “Young man, why would I feel like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not work. Success is almost in my grasp.” And shortly after that, and over 10,000 attempts, Edison invented the light bulb. Source

Unlike Edison, most of us fear failure and avoid it at all cost. Often times, we truly never realize or reach our personal and maximum potential because the fear of failure kidnaps our efforts before we even try. We spend so much time trying to hide or deny our mistakes out of fear and pride; we very often fail to learn from our failures.

Root of the Issue

As a middle school principal, I often remind my teachers, students, and parents, much of the learning our students need to experience is not in writing down the “right answer,” it’s the steps the students must take in order to get to the right answer.

If you spend any time analyzing data-school, sales, trends, etc.-you will spend a great deal of time analyzing what went wrong; but, yet, very little time on what caused it to go wrong.  Why? Often in the business world, we see many leaders, teams, and employees who never reach their personal and maximum potential because they are scared of making a mistake.

“We have too much at stake to lose,” is often the thought for the day.  However, I challenge you with this…we have too much at stake to NOT make a mistake and learn from those mistakes.  Often, what we learn from making the mistake not only teaches us about that particular contextual learning, but it transfers over to so many other areas of our lives-both professional and personal.

Recalibrated Thinking

Failure is not an option.

NASA flight controller Jerry C. Bostick reportedly stated during the mission to bring the damaged Apollo 13 back to Earth, and we have heard that phrase in the education and business world ever since. I challenge Mr. Bostick.  Failure should be an option; so long as we spend our time and efforts learning through and from them.

SO…GO MAKE A MISTAKE!  I DARE YOU!

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake? Which is worse, failing or never trying? Is it possible to know the truth without challenging it first? Has your greatest fear ever come true? If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose? Do you ask enough questions?  Or do you settle for what you think you know?

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

———————–
Brian Dawson
Brian Dawson, M. Ed. is a Middle School Principal and Independent Consultant
He serves with Educational Restructure, Transformation, and Systems Specialist
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook | Web

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Leaders: How to Set Expectations For Success

Dunce

Leaders: People will perform up to your expectations – set your expectations at your team’s full potential, then help them succeed.

Names Effect Enthusiasm

Sports teams select names that are meant to encourage the team to succeed and inspire the fans to cheer.

Some professional teams have names that represent action like:

  • The San Diego Chargers
  • Detroit Tigers
  • Chicago Bulls

Other teams have names that celebrate their towns like:

  • The New England Patriots
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Montreal Canadians

Can you imagine sports teams with a name like: “The Fumblers” or “The Strike-Outs” or “The Penalty Box?” Of course not.

Naming People

Similarly, no person should be named in a way that limits their opportunity to achieve success like: “Advanced as far as they can” or “Not smart enough” or “Not leadership material.”

Maybe that person’s strengths are better used in another role that will free them to shine.

Successful Leaders don’t limit growth, they help people discover and develop their strengths.

German author and politician Johann Wolfgang von Goethe said:

“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of becoming.”

The level of enthusiasm of your team, and of you as the leader of the team, will be positively influenced by having a positive image of each member of your team.

Names Influence Effort

Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson performed an experiment in 1966 known as The Pygmalion Effect, which tested the effect of teacher expectations on student performance.  Teachers across 1st through 6th grades were told that certain students were expected to perform at a very high level in the coming year.

Rosenthal and Jacobson then randomly assigned students to randomly selected teachers and gave the names of the students to the teachers.

At the end of the school year, this randomly selected group of students achieved markedly higher gains in IQ scores than the rest of the students.  Why?  Because the teachers expected these students to be successful and worked hard to make sure they were.

People will achieve up to the limit of their expectations.

James Rhem, the executive editor for the online National Teaching and Learning Forum, said:

“When teachers expect students to do well and show intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have such expectations, performance and growth are not so encouraged and may in fact be discouraged in a variety of ways.”

Leaders have to expect that each of their team members will succeed, then work hard to make sure that happens.

Names Should Fit The Role

Abraham, the patriarch of the Jewish Nation, was once known as “Abram” which means “Exalted Father.”  At that time he had one son, Ishmael, and he was near 100 years old.  God appeared to Abram and told him that his descendants would number more than the stars.  From that point forward he would be called “Abraham” which means “Father of Many Nations.”

Marion Morrison used the stage name John Wayne because he wanted to be a rugged movie star.

What’s In a Name

Theodor Seuss Geisel began signing the name Seuss to his work in his college’s humor magazine.  The correct pronunciation of Seuss is “Soyce” but it was mispronounced “Suss” which sounded like “Goose” as in the nursery rhymes.  That was fine to Theodor who intended to use his pen name for his humorous work anyway and save his real name for a future serious project.

The “Dr.” was added to his first published book in honor of his father who wanted Theodore to be a doctor.

From this day forward, every member of your team should be named “Successful,” in the specific role they have been assigned.  The definition of success may be different in each role.

Your job as the leader is to help define success for each person and assist them in accomplishing up to their new name – Successful.

From the inspirational diary of Anne Frank comes this truth:

“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news.  The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is!”

What name have you given to your team, and to each member of your team?  Do you believe that they can be successful?  Have you limited the growth of your team by naming them “Unable to succeed?”  Your expectations of your team will drive their performance.

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———————–
Denis McLaughlin
Denis McLaughlin is President of Leadership GPS, Inc.
He is a Leadership Development Expert, Coach, Teacher, Speaker, and Writer
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Blog | Web

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Change Leaders Don’t Need Titles

Bigger Picture

Change is vital to growth and expansion.  It gives organizations a competitive edge and gives employees a spark of energy.  We must have change in order to grow.

Whether you may like it or not, change is a normal part of any successful business.

With or Without You

Why not help lead that change?  Change will happen with or without you.  And if the rate of change exceeds your own rate of change, you’re going to have some real problems.

You don’t need a title to be a change leader.  In fact, you don’t need a title to be any kind of leader.

It just takes special people – who want to lead.

Grabbing the Reins

To have success in a merger, for instance, requires flexibility and adaptability.  And if you can grab the reins and act as a change leader yourself, you’ll be personally helping in leading the organization to great achievements.

With change normally comes resistance.  In order to lead change you need to know just what kinds of resistance there are.   Here are just a few, listed in “Individual Resistance from Employees to Organizational Change”, by Dr. Chuang,Yuh-Shy:

  • Personal loss.  Right or wrong, people are afraid they’ll lose something, particularly job security and pay.
  • Loss of pride and satisfaction.  A concern about ending up with jobs that no longer require their abilities and skills.
  • Reduced responsibility.  Jobs will be reduced to menial tasks without responsibility.
  • Loss of status.  Loss of job titles, responsibility, or authority.

But on the other hand, there are probably more positive things to think about than negative.  Yuh-Shy lists things such as:

  • Personal gain.  New job titles, more responsibility, more money, and more authority.
  • More security.  Greater job security because of the need for increased skills.  Possible salary increases.
  • More status/prestige.  Possibly a new title or new office.
  • More responsibility or authority.  Maybe new responsibility or a new supervisor who assigns more responsibility than the previous one did.  This could lead to future promotions.

People Love Change

You know, if you really think about it, people actually love change.  People constantly pursue promotions and new job responsibilities; buy personal development books and start their own businesses.  They change careers, jobs, and even organizations – all in the name of change.

People love change – they just hate having to be forced to change.

You can help guide change no matter where you fall in the organizational chart.  Being a change leader can put you in the position of being someone who has greater career potential.   Christina Tangora Schlachter and Terry Hildebrandt, authors of “Leading Business Change For Dummies” say that you can begin to spark positive change by doing one simple thing . . . becoming proactive.

How to Become Proactive

Learn to live with uncertainty

There will usually be uncertainty during change.  Maybe managers haven’t answered all your questions – because not all of the details have been worked out.  They may also have legal reasons for not releasing information.

So sometimes it’s in your best interest to just roll with it. However, if you feel that uncertainty is disturbing your work area, ask questions and let your manager know the impact.

Change what YOU can change: Yourself

Leaders can sometimes make things more confusing than not.  If you’re not in a position to formally influence the change, take the opportunity to change your own attitude and behaviors.

Influence what you CAN’T change: Others

Even if you’re not the one in charge, you can still influence the direction of the change.  And your position of being “one of the guys” could even give your opinions a boost with your coworkers.

Cultivating an atmosphere of openness among your coworkers will help you influence change, because knowing others’ motivations and interests will help you to explain how the changes will meet their needs.

Help others cope with change

Even if you’re excited about change, not everyone is.  Some may find it to be extremely tough, feeling confused or angry.  You can help them make the transition easier by being on the lookout for signals that someone needs help coping – absenteeism, depression, argumentative.

BELIEVE in the change and speak up

 As soon as change starts happening, start talking it up – how great it will be.  Talk about past accomplishments in order to recapture your coworkers’ emotions, excitement, and energy.

Igniting Change

Whether you’re the most junior employee in your organization or the CEO, showing YOUR enthusiasm for change is a benefit.

Change comes from ones heart.

Remember that a sense of opportunity and possibilities for the future of the company is contagious.  If you see a change that needs to happen, bring it up – don’t just sit back and wait to be told what to do.  Be proactive!

When you show that you’re committed to making your organization succeed, don’t be surprised if you’re asked to be the one running the show sooner than later.

Are you ready to lead?  Will you be an influencer?  What can you do, today, to grab the reins and become a change leader? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

——————–
Andy Uskavitch
Andy Uskavitch is Leadership Development at Florida Blood Services
He develops and facilitates Leadership, Motivation & Teambuilding Seminars
Email | LinkedIn | Facebook | Twitter | Blog |  (727) 568-5433

Image Sources:  ignitechange.net

Leaders: What Ever Happened to Excuse Me?

rude

What happened to polite people? It seems that over the years, people have continuously treated people worse. Rudeness and incivility affect people in a deeper level, and especially affect their performance in the workplace.

A recent incident of “over-the-top rudeness” made me relate rudeness and incivility to not only strangers in public, but between coworkers.

As I stepped off he train, the large man in front of me stepped passed an elderly lady and knocked her down. He not only did not say “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry;” but continued to bump into folks on his way to exiting the train station.

Unfortunately, this type of treatment is becoming more common between people in the workplace.

Rudeness on the Rise

In meetings that I was in the previous day, the rude act of “simply knocking down a person” might have been polite in comparison to what I experienced.

The meetings were contentious, but not because of the topics we were dealing with. They were obnoxious because everyone was trying to get their point out and were unwilling to listen to their counterparts suggestions.

It made me wonder this:

  • Is this normal now?
  • What does our lack of common courtesy cost us?
  • Why are people acting this way?

What I found was shocking…

Workplace Incivility

Workplace incivility is so common that we often don’t even notice it. Recent research found that 1 in 5 people in their sample claimed to be targets of incivility from a coworker at least once a week.

About 2/3 said they witnessed incivility happening among other employees at least once a month. 10% said they saw incivility among their coworkers every day.

What’s more, it’s not unique to the America.

Authors Christine Pearson and Christine Porath in their book “The Cost of Bad Behavior” discovered that 50% of Canadians in their study also reported suffering from incivility directly from their coworkers at least once a week.

99% said that they witnessed incivility at work and 25% reported seeing incivility occurring between coworkers daily.

Politeness and Performance

Rudeness and incivility at work have a huge effect on performance, according to a Harvard Business Review study. In response to rudeness at work:

  • 48% of employees decreased their work effort
  • 47% decreased their time at work
  • 38% decreased their work quality
  • 66% said their performance declined
  • 80% lost work time worrying about the incident
  • 63% lost time avoiding the offender
  • 78% said their commitment to the organization declined

It even affects team performance:

  • Team mates always guarded and ready to fight.
  • Employees not trusting and unwilling to do more than “exactly what we are told”

Meetings that don’t go any where – because there is not much on the way of decorum people won’t try to have real conversations and therefore most group interactions will turn into monologues

Combatting Rudeness

1. Start being more polite yourself

  • Have a filter – being polite does not mean don’t tell the truth. It means think about how to say seething so that you honor the listener’s sensibilities
  • Respond to rudeness with super politeness. I learned this from my British coworkers. They diffused anger and made aggressors feel stupid by responding to anger or aggression with being polite. It’s hard to be a jerk to someone when they are treating you with respect.
  • Live by the platinum rule. It’s one level above gold. Be better to people than they would be to you. Yes, in the near term you may not reap the benefits but in the long run it will pay dividend to you and make it safe for people around you to go above and beyond without expectations as a normal course of business.

2. Acknowledge there is a problem on the team with rudeness.

Make sure to let folks know that you play a part in it.

  • Let your team know that being rude or “passive aggressive” isn’t okay any more.
  • Create ground rules for discussions that include being civil
  • Don’t let people get away with being inappropriate in groups

When someone says something snide, snarky or just rude, call them on it. For some reason people think it makes them look cool or smart to be über cynical and make others look bad. Let them know that is not “cool”. You’ll see immediate increases in brainstorming and innovation when people don’t have to worry about being cut down in public.

3. Don’t confuse politeness with weakness

  • Being polite doesn’t mean that you must acquiesce to the will of those around you. Make sure that you express your opinions and stand your ground but in a way that encourages dialogue.
  • Remember, you can be firm and polite.

4. Carry this out to customers, colleagues, vendors and everyone

  • Treating your vendors with respect and courtesy will ensure that they will be more apt to respond to emergencies, work with you when you need to cut the budget and partner with you.
  • When you treat others with respect you get a reputation as someone who is easy to work with and..wait for it…more people want to work with you.

Even if this doesn’t earn you 100% more business, it’ll make working that much more pleasurable! After all, we spend over 80% of our adult lives at work, it should be more pleasurable. So don’t be fooled, being civil can have real benefits to the organization’s productivity and profitability.

Have you noticed growing issues with politeness/professionalism? What would/should you do about it?

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———————–
Anil Saxena
 is a President & Senior Consultant Cube 214 Consulting
He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (847) 212-0701

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The Unwritten Rules of Career Success

Career Path

Last week I taught a half a dozen workshops for one of my clients on how to succeed at work.

In doing research for the workshop, I came across a survey entitled Unwritten Rules: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Career.

According to the authors, Laura Sabattini and Sarah Dinolfo, some very interesting and compelling components make up real success when it comes to one’s potential career path.

The authors say:

“Building professional relationships, whether through networks and affinity groups or with mentors, supervisors, and other individuals who can share knowledge emerged as particularly important.

Effective communication and defining career goals were also deemed important to success.

Respondents sometimes learned about important career rules by trial and error or simple observations, but many were proactive in asking colleagues and supervisors for information to understand how things work in their organization.

Respondents also said that they wished they had known that ‘just’ working hard is not enough to succeed or that they had been more aware of organizational politics and about the advantages of self-promotion.”

Technical Shmechnical…

In my experience as an executive coach, I often find that the people I coach are highly competent in their technical skills but need help with the kinds of skills that Sabattini and Dinolfo found are important to career success.

These are skills like:

  • Building professional relationships
  • Defining career goals
  • Asking others for feedback
  • Understanding organizational politics
  • Mastering self-promotion

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L2L Spotlight on Excellence Specials
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Defining Success

I asked the people in my workshops to brainstorm who in their organization they thought are highly successful and to give examples of what these stars do and the skills they have. Not surprisingly, the skills they came up with were in line with what the survey said.

According to participants in my workshops, successful people at their organization do the following:

  • Network with others
  • Plan to exceed expectations
  • Do what they say they will do
  • Take initiative

Self Awareness and Self Assessment

Checklist of SkillsIn collaboration with the leaders of the organization that I was serving, I designed a checklist of skills that were labeled as keys to success and grouped the skills under four categories.

Two categories were technical skills unique to this organization and the other two categories,”professional development” and “professionalism,” were more generic.

I had participants complete a self-assessment on the checklist.

The Results

Two skills came up in every group as areas on which the participants should work to improve. Both skills came under the category of professional development.

The results showed the following specific areas for improvement:

  1. Seek feedback from a variety of sources
  2. Accept constructive criticism in a constructive manner.

In seeking a solution to help the participants improve future performance, we brainstormed on how to seek, on how to be open to feedback, and how to prioritize and effectively use feedback for their own benefit.

Universal Career Success Needs

These two professional development skills are not unique to my client.

According to Michael M. Lombardo and Robert W. Eichinger, authors of For Your Improvement, career stallers and stoppers include Blocked Personal Learner (doesn’t seek input and uses few learning tactics) and Defensiveness (is not open to criticism).

I am curious. What are the top professional development skills you need to work on? What is stopping you from taking these on? What is driving you to do so? And, what cool things are you doing to develop these skills in yourself? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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——————–
Judith Lindenberger
is the President of The Lindenberger Group

She helps clients with Human Resources Consulting, Training and Coaching
Email | LinkedIn | Twitter | Web | Blog | 609.730.1049


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Leadership Follies: The Art of Management by Shiny Objects

Very Shiny Object

One of the biggest issues that face many leaders today is the lack of clarity in the direction of their teams and organizations.

This is most evident directly after a big change.

It is not that team members are not well-meaning or that they don’t try to do the right thing, it is that they suffer from something called the “follow the shiny object” syndrome.

Shiny Object Syndrome

I Love Shiny Object

This is not a new syndrome, it is one that is pervasive across the globe. It begins when we are children and are shown a shiny object. This shiny thing gets our attention and takes our concentration away from whatever it was that we are occupied with previously.

It takes effort and practice to not be swayed by the shiny object.

Unfortunately for most of us, we fail at this task miserably.

Causing Panic

This is no more evident than a recent client project I was working on. After a very large and comprehensive change to the organization, the first sign that the change was “not taking” caused a panic.

The group was distracted by a meaningless item of shiny proportions that temporarily distracted their focus of attention. It was not even a real business driver; just grumbling from folks that had a hard time with the change underway. As one can imagine, this “shiny object” put my client and their “minions” into a panic and put them scurrying into action.

They began surveying, interviewing, and doing all sorts of data-gathering to determine how well the “change” was going and if the “change” was successful.

Unfortunately, it was so close to the actual implementation of the change-project  that the data we collected was inconclusive. Their well-meaning action started to make me think about what it is about the “shiny object” that has us be so intrigued about it.

Defining the Distraction

In organizations, “shiny objects” are defined as projects or requests or initiatives that take a team or large group of people away from  a critical task. Usually, it is an action that has little up side and sometimes can be detrimental.

3 Reasons

There are really 3 main reasons why new “shiny objects” take our focus away from change initiatives (which might be considered the “original shiny object”)

1. If people cannot tell what the shiny object is they are working toward, they will go after a new one

There is not a clear definition or picture of what success looks like once the change or project or task is complete. We don’t know or don’t have an idea of what the end will look like or feel like.  Therefore, we can’t adequately describe it.

People are left with either making up their own idea of what the end will look like or being left in “the unknown”. It makes people uncomfortable and has them make up things about the change or the project or the task that makes them uncomfortable.

2. Sometimes, things are not shiny enough - The reason for the change was not made clear or is not compelling.

A fundamental of change management is convincing people that change is paramount to the success of the organization.  Oftentimes, it’s the result of showing people how bad it’ll get if there is no change. If there is no compelling reason for the change or that reason is not convincing.

People will be left thinking that it is easier to keep doing what they’re doing or what they were doing before the change…even if that wasn’t working.

3. Too many other shiny objectsThere is a lack of clarity within the organization’s hierarchy about the change and its impact.

One of the places that change falls down in many organizations is the all-important communication post change. There is always energy (and sometimes enthusiasm) about the change as it is approaching and even once the change has happened.

It’s a little bit like an afterglow.

But if there is not a clear path to follow and communication about what people should expect they get stuck in the “messy middle”.   It’s imperative that no matter the work effort leading up to the change

  • There is constant and regular communication about the change and its impact with the senior leadership team.
  • There must be a cascading communication plan that hits every employee so that they know what they’re experiencing is normal.
  • Coupled with training or other tools that help gain the skills necessary to be successful.

Real Life Relationships

Organizations, managers, leaders, employees and shareholders have been conditioned to follow the “shiny object” of the quarterly stock report. They have all been conditioned to focus on the shiny object as important.  Making  it almost impossible to think about long-term success or planning.

Therefore, it is critical for change to be successful that the post-change has as much or more concentration than the implementation of the change itself.

Sometimes this makes me think about when I first got married. My beautiful wife was, and is, the most important thing that I have in my life. I pursued her with a single purpose in mind.

And once we were husband and wife, life’s issues began to get in the way.

As with most newlywed couples, we began to see that if we didn’t pay attention to this big change, our harmonious marriage would be difficult and we probably would face many unnecessary trials. So, with this in mind, we made a concerted effort to spend as much time working on our new relationship as we did trying to get in to it. Thankfully, that worked!

Relationships at Work

It is important that we make sure to not manage using the shiny object methodology. It wears people out and tends to make them feel like whatever they’re working on is not important because it’s probably going to change. It gives them little investment in their current project and reduces their ability to feel a sense of completion.

So, what are you going to do to stop running after the shiny object? How are you going to master the elements of focus that really beckon your attention? How are you going to be a master of your domain? I would love to hear your story!

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——————–
Anil Saxena
is a Senior Consultant and Business Partner with Coffman Organization

He helps organizations create environments that generate repeatable superior results
Email | LinkedIn | Web | Blog | (888) 999-0940 x-730

Image Sources:  www-personal.umich.edu

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