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I was talking to the President of a prestigious association this week. He said that they don't know yet what they are going to do for the next two years. Admittedly, he told me that this position and responsibility is the 4th of his priorities right now.
As I think about it, prioritization is one of the management prerogatives. Either you are good at it or not. Multi-tasking is never effective.
You cannot be doing many things at the same time with the same level of quality, attentiveness, and thoroughness for all. Inattention and lack of diligence are signs that managers are not giving the full consideration to the issues that deserve more than a stamp approval. Executives juggling all the balls with two hands is great and fun act to see, like acrobats. But once the balls started to drop, it is not a pleasant sight at all.
The balls can represent your family, business, faith and community, and other professional and personal pursuits. All these are great but don't make the mistake of trying to do everything all at once, hoping that it will later on settle down. Some issues don't and some do. There are clear repercussions to cruising along the highway with less than 100% of attention and control.
If there are too many priorities, then you really don't have a priority. Pick 2-3 that you can safely and thoroughly perform with outstanding results or leave it for the next time or opportunity.
Today's managers and executives' failure to execute is not because of lack of skill or knowledge or commitment, it is because of lack of strategic prioritization.
Focus on the 80% that drives the greatest results.
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Starting something with the end-game in mind.
In the game of chess, the end game moves are the most-awaited and most-studied part of the game. The players have the initial advantage but without a clear game plan as to how they will win and overcome the challenges of the opponent, the game is already moving to the losing end. Analysts and chess masters would have specific procedures, tactics, and strategies to overcome even the most complex moves of the opponent to either create an advantage or to force a draw, at least.
In life and business, in your organizations, are you starting from the point of what long-term results are you trying to achieve? What measures do you have as evidence that you have achieved them? What are the concrete steps that you are willing to take to ensure that the commitment will be thorough and binding? Who needs to be fully informed, partially informed, and be told on what needs to be done?
The end-game creates a strategic mindset for leaders to deeply understand how to win before they even start. Evolution and adaptation are givens, increasing the chance of success is an option that you can make.
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This is going to irk a lot of people.
They resort to consensus to shoot down proposals and ideas because they know that because of 'groupthink' any 'ideas not invented here' will go down the trashing floor.
They resort to consensus to look for unanimity. People will have a different opinion and perspective but it doesn't mean they need to be on your side all the time. Who has the real decision-making authority in this issue?
They resort to consensus when in fact the project needs a strong proponent, champion, and supporter. If the group will be the champion, no body is the real champion, proponent, and endorser.
They resort to consensus to free themselves from the real responsibility of taking a strong leadership when it is needed, hiding behind the guise of "collaboration, cooperation, buy-in" when in fact, there will be no buy-in when no one is absolutely championing it no matter what. People need to the passion, confidence, and commitment to the issue!
Consensus is so much abused these days. Learn to discern when to use it and not to use it or you are blocking opportunities and improvements through consensus.
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If speakers, authors, and experts selling products and services have the following words: adaptive, agile, or disruptive, run to the hills.
It is just a fad and will not make your organization better if you just follow the hype, paying for a few hours of lecture, and without actually touching your organizations' operations, values, or ways of doing.
Change is an adversarial process. There will be blood for sure. There are no spectators sitting on the fence that will be successful.
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Eclesiastes reminds us that there is a season for everthing.
A time to be born and a time to die a
A time to plant and a time to uproot
A time to kill and a time to heal
A time to tear down and a time to build
A time to weep and a time to laugh
A time to mourn and a time to dance
This week as I celebrate my birthday, let this be a time for reflection, gratefulness, and celebration of family and love.
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A few things about me:
I am not a best-selling author.
Having this label means one day you are the top of the heap. That being said, you can say that you a 'best-selling' author.
I didn't do TEDx.
TEDx self-selects those that will be in front of the audience.
I am not in a millionaire/billionaire league.
This is the worst league to be in when you don't have a message just the monies to throw around.
I am not a PhD.
Having a PhD doesn't make you successful, smart, and happy.
I am not covered by Fast Company, New Times Journal, Time Magazine, etc.
Being covered by those media companies is great but it is more an icing to the cake.
I am not voted 43 out of 45.
Who gets to do that? Those people that are looking for more subscriptions.
I am not in the whos' who list.
You pay your way in there.
I am not in the Speakers bureau.
You have to audition and they get a cut out of your hard-earned work.
I am not in the YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter ad.
Trolling in those media is not what by clients do.
I am not a podcaster, TV or media host sensation.
Buying your way into this business is a sure sign you are in deep trouble.
I didn't speak with Deepak Chopra, Tim Robbins, or Michelle Obama on stage.
Having shared a stage with these personalities does not make you effective, relevant, and truly amazing.
Who has this profile? Thousands of people claiming to be a celebrity expert, author, blogger, marketer, consultant, etc.
But who am I?
I help organizations and individuals achieve organizational excellence.
I mentor many people from different parts of the world.
I am a community collaborator and builder.
I navigate many spaces and interesting networks that I enjoy learning from and giving value.
I have a lot of friends in many industries and sectors.
I am a global person with deep roots in communities.
I love to travel and enjoy cultural and psychological aspect of it.
I believe that you can make it anywhere.
Genes and your upbringing contribute to your resilience and grit.
I love my family, neighbors, friends and church.
I love to share my insights, lessons, and knowledge to those that are ready to hear.
I believe in the honest-to-goodness decency and goodness of people.
I believe in values, virtues, and principles to live by.
Being real is not hiding behind these labels and approval sheets that can be manufactured overnight. Being real is knowing that you can make a difference in real-world and in real-time to real people.
So tell me, who has the real worth, the fabricated sense of self or the real self?
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Whether you are instituting changes in organizations, industries, movements, and in individual lives, you must be cognizant of patterns, parallels, and processes.
Patterns are what we see demonstrated (not verbally declared) and we cannot ignore. There are reasons why things are done the same way. You need to know if those reasons still valid and valuable or they passed their value and worth. Crafting the game plan for change is essentially building a case why the new is better than the old, answers to the needs, aspirations, and obsessions of that specific group. In psychology, patterns provide clues and keys to unraveling what groups and individuals face and unearth significant lessons to get your initiatives right. If you are looking at a systemic change, what patterns do you see in every parts of the system? What significant behaviors do they exhibit? Who had significant power and control over the other parts?
There are parallels in many places. You should take some of the lessons learned in other places and apply it in your given context. Let the ones that have universal merit begin to work in your situation. For example, the overarching role of the government to spur and grow business is a universal question to pose in any situation, problem, or geography. Should they pursue an enabler, backer, and supporter role rather than rig the system for the benefit of a few? How groups can become bold to take on higher-levels of vision and mission for themselves rather than merely serving the status quo, which God forbids is as old as 50 years ago? Can the institutor be both leading and following? I was talking with Alan Hall, the COO of the Plant Protein Alliance of Alberta. I find that there are many commonalities in other fields with what they were doing, in leading changes when the players are perceived as big, fat, and lazy and rocking the boat is high-risk.
And processes are as important as the end goals. Initially, any change proposal will be met by an overwhelming resistance, challenge, and suspicion. But once, a critical mass is achieved, the ball will be rolling on its own dynamics and momentum. There is no stopping what had been ignited. There are three reasons why change initiatives fail to get that support it deserve: first, because it has no appeal to the broader segment of its target population, second, it could not justify the change with benefits outweighing all the stresses and costs of surrendering the old, and third, the guardians of the system were not folded into the grand plan. Keep your processes tight and strategic at all times. Don't waste time on peripheral issues that do not have a bearing in the long term.
Patterns, parallels, and processes- keep that in mind in navigating your next best change efforts. There are no shortcuts to it except those that have been put in academic paper but rarely works in real chaos.
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Why is it that negative critics always dominate the conversation about a brand, company, organization, or product while the rest of the happy, satisfied, and loyal customers are not heard from?
According to a study done in Texas, negative feedback is 11th times likely to be dominant than positive, satisfied comment. This 11 dissatisfied people will then talk to at least 5 (average) other people about their dissatisfaction.
This goes to show that perception is malleable and can be shaped on the basis of who is doing what to whom. Word-of-mouth works if it's positive, it could be fatal if it's negative and totally based on misinformation and has the purpose to damage the reputation of your organization, brand, or products. To say, in this world we live, going viral- can be both a bane and a boon.
The lessons in corporate and management history suggest that we need to take a stock, monitor, evauate, and strategize how we are projecting ourselves out there, what kinds of things are being said about us, and how we can favorably turn those conversations to our favor and advantage.
This is not about propaganda or fake news, this is an honest-to-goodness management of public relations. If you can't control how you want to be perceived, some one will create it for you and that is the least comforting things as an idea.
When was the last time you heard from a delighted customer? Why don't you toot your own horn, and harvest your own successes and achievements. You are not making it up, there is social proof on every thing that you will declare out there. What is worst is that the deluge of uber-the-top negativity has been allowed to poison the minds of those who are just fence-sitters and observers? There is so much on the line here.
That has to stop and you can make concrete, tangible, and long-term commitment to making it work. If you can post your comments on Facebook and Twitter account everyday, you can do more on this area than just being passive and reactive.
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The great Peter Drucker once said, " you have to feed on opportunities and starve problem-solving."
That is one great advice not heeded by a lot of organizations who is suffering from the monstrosity of the tyranny of everyday issues. They are mired and controlled by any movement that calls for their immediate and urgent attention. They found delight in solving any type of problem but did not develop, exercise, and maximize the opportunities around them, including the opportunities created by the so-called problems such as complaints, misinformation, bad publicity, ill-trained staff, overzealous volunteers, etc. The list can go on and on.
Are you bent down and worried on how to solve the next problem of your organization or are you satisfying the organization's search for opportunities? Are you defending yesterday's decisions in the altar of tomorrow's prospects? Are you spending more time fighting out fires or are you going out there and getting some long-term results?