Monday, May 31, 2010

Contagious Culture: Fire Drill Management Requires a Bigger Fire Truck!

It’s been said that we are a culture of crisis management, fire drill chasing individuals. Who can argue with that assessment when we are a culture who answers the question “how are you?” with things like:

• Busier than a one armed paperhanger
• Up to my neck in alligators
• Busier than a cat in a room full of rocking chairs

Admittedly, most of these sayings stem from a Southern household perhaps in Alabama where someone has actually SEEN a one armed paperhanger or in Florida where you can literally wade among alligators, but the point is we wear busy-ness as a badge of honor. So much so, it seems that we should all be equipped with one ginormous fire extinguisher attached at the ready to our person at all times. And even more so it seems that a mere single canister of fire extinguishing fluid, whatever is in those elusive red canisters with a hose, might not do the trick. Should we all go to auction and buy a big red fire truck?

Or, should we perhaps take stock in the list of 750 things that we put on our list of things to do “today” and realize that it is WE who ignite our stress level causing us to run around like a man, woman, or manager with our hair on fire in desperate need of water?

Why do we run around frantically searching for that which will extinguish the very stress that we created? Wouldn’t it just be easier to put down the matches, or the proverbial pen that continues to add to the list and just avoid the whole feeling of flipping out all together? Sure it would be, but it’s awfully hard to relax when you see yourself as the cat scurrying through a maze of rocking chairs in a room in which there are 300 clocks all about to chime the deadline reminding you that your time is limited, your efforts are how fast you can run, how quickly you can dodge the curved wildly swinging rocker, and how agile you can be at tucking your tail. Okay, that visual is just funny, but maybe it’s because I have a cat!

So, today, either find the auction where fire trucks are sold, gather the folks in your office and go buy you one OR lead the way in toning it down a notch. 30 things on your list that are doable will get done better, faster, and with greater precision than 750 things on your list that you constantly reassess realizing there’s no way, no how they’re actually going to happen. Who needs THAT kind of stress?

Monday, May 24, 2010

No Challenge, No Chase – Challenge Your Star Performers

When in the role of a Contagious Leader, sometimes you will have to conduct the difficult conversation of discipline or even termination and there is a great deal of information on both subjects, in fact, it is something I provide when training leaders. However, how often have you thought about what you do for those star performers? Do you assume that as long as a person is performing and getting praise, they need little or no further development? Do THEY operate on the premise that no news from you, is good news? If so, you might be missing a key opportunity.

You see, people do what they get paid attention for doing and if you think about it, most of your attention is spent on those messing up or performing poorly. But, if you want the star performers to keep up the good job, then giving them a little attention is important, too. Here are a few ways you can give them the attention they deserve and the attention that will continue to drive their positive performance.

Say thank you sincerely and frequently. In other words, notice their efforts, notice their initiative and notice their achievements. Without this acknowledgement, they may decide that what they need to do to get your attention, is to somehow end up on the poor performance roster.

Challenge them to do even more that builds their Contagious Confidence™. Powerful performers are usually internally driven, but they also rise to the challenge. i.e. no challenge, no chase and they might get bored feeling as if they are standing still with no goal for which to reach.

Think twice before you give them more responsibility. Challenging a star performer does NOT necessarily mean a promotion into management or an assignment of a mentee. Star performers who do well in sales for example, will likely make less money when promoted into management and will have less time to sell with a mentee in tow. Think about what motivates the star performer before you dole out the traditional “reward” of promotion. It may not be as motivating as you think.

The bottom line is star performers need attention, too, and when you give them what they need, it’s like adding the right fuel to a car… it will go farther, usually faster, and often more productively.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great Monday and of course, stay contagious!

What Does Leadership Take?

Wow, it's been a while! Been working on building the business and creating quite a following in Twitter around "What Does Leadership Take? "

Check out the Twitter handle Contagious Leadr and find out more about What Leadership Takes.

For example: What Does Leadership Take? Recognition that somedays what you need to buy is not more stuff, but a bigger firetruck to put out all the fires in your world. Hmmmm....anyone know anyone who has a firetruck for sale? Small fire extinguisher maybe? hehe!