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The Power of Resilience

Laura Novakowski  -  Jun 06, 2012  -  , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Are you feeling rejected and tested?  Has work and life lost its luster and direction?      Recently, an entrepreneur shared why it became imperative to find a different  perspective.  Due to an unusual turn of events, she had some critical choices to make!  It started early and continued to become more challenging as the day progressed.

First, she met with her top client only to learn that her services were no longer required.  The president of the company confided that it was not personal, but they had found a vendor that could provider the services for a better price.  Now this client had been the mainstay of her company’s business.  She left the meeting slightly dazed.

Next, she was meeting with a  new client. The client told her things had changed and now he didn’t have the resources to fund the project.  He told her to call back in six months.

Third appointment, an executive from a new company that had called her , you guessed it, was no longer with the company.  Her “in” with the company was not gone and so was she.  She was really faced with a dilemma – 3 major  clients snapped right out of reach. What could she  do? What would you do?

This all happened before noon .  Have a few drinks?  Leave town?  Take a nap? At this point, 90% of her business was gone.  “How did this happen?” she asked herself. On the car seat next to her was a blank legal pad, she decided to start writing.  She started again on fresh approaches, fresh calls and fresh meetings. By 5PM that day, she had a new client and 3 new prospects.  Since then, her top client has already called her back.

At times like this, it is not helpful to be faint of heart or passive.  Now is the time to be resilient and creative.  If we had to find the  resources, time, money and people to help us save a life, what would we be willing to do? Our businesses and our lives will always be dared and disputed.  Resilience offers us the power to   be more innovative, more entrepreneurial, more pioneering  than ever  before!

Resilience is a powerful choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Strategy – Design a Masterpiece

Laura Novakowski  -  May 30, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

“What do you want to achieve or avoid?  The answers to this question are objectives. How will you go about achieving your desired results? The answer to this you can call strategy.”

William E. Rothschild

William E. Rothschild is a former executive from General Electric. In his role as Corporate Strategist, he created the first “market driven Corporate Strategy.”  Using this approach, according to Rothschild, GE for the last two decades has consistently had been described as having “the best inventors, the best strategic planners, and the best results.”

Whether we are planning a trip to the market, a vacation, a day at work…, we are always has to quote Stephen Covey “an end in mind.”  Now that “end” may be to fill the refrigerator, plan for vacation, deliver the product or service. While that certainly gives us some kind of results, are they the best results? Are you exhilarated with the results you’re getting? Can you see the value of identifying the results you want and then filling in the picture, rather than the other way around?

One of the greatest strategists of all times was Michelangelo. He depicts a highly focused professional who valued quality and achieved amazing results. When Michelangelo worked, he clearly used strategic thinking and planning.  When asked how he could carve such beautiful statues, his reply was, “it’s already in there.” He saw the results prior to even lifting his tools to work.   He wasn’t just banging away at some granite to up with such great masterpieces as Moses, David or the Pieta, he used purpose, thought and planning.

Let’s imagine this great artist’s process. First, he saw the granite.  He considered form, structure, faults and strengths. Slowly a vision and mission came to mind and Michelangelo could start planning his approach to achieve his results.   Next, he determined what was critical to creating his product.  What tools did he required? Where would he do the work? Who might assist him (moving granite might take some help)? What would it cost in time, money and energy? Yet, he still had not raised a chisel, for if he did, I’m sure that would have altered his results.

After he thought about his overall strategy, vision, mission and critical results, he next set goals.  Goals that were results focused,  motivating and achievable. He knew exactly what he wanted and then he started his action plan – the hair, the eyes, the nose, the beard…  All predetermined actions which embraced his values of beauty and perfection. Michelangelo envisioned beauty, integrity, passion, courage, commitment to high standards with incredible details. The results – a masterpiece!

The people, in my experience that are the most successful, the most energized, the most fulfilled, are the people who know their personal and professional vision. Why not strive for a masterpiece in your life? At the end of everyday, how powerful it can be see everyone generate a wonderful piece of art, a rewarding service or an outstanding, quality product. Engage a strategy that will help you to see and then design your masterpieces too!

Focus on Your Strengths

Laura Novakowski  -  May 22, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Dr. Donald O. Clifton, a graduate student in the mid 1950’s, started to look at the “hyper focus on deficits and disease” and wondered “What would happen if we actually studied what is right with people?” This question stimulated some profound research with Gallup that resulted in the late 1990’s created an assessment called Clifton’s Strengths Finder. This instrument has been used by millions of people to discover and develop their talents.

Clifton’s studies showed that “people who do have the opportunity to focus on their strengths every day are SIX times more likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than THREE times as likely to report having and excellent quality of life in general.” (Source: StrengthsFinder 2.0) This research is profoundly impacting levels of engagement personally and professionally around the globe.

Consider this Strength Finders formula for success:

 

The Power of Service

Laura Novakowski  -  May 16, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Life can get tough, really tough.  Pay checks don’t stretch as far. Invests have turned to dust. People, that thought they would be retiring, are looking at postponing their retirement or finding a second job.  Others who have joined the growing ranks of the unemployed are struggling to find an income after their unemployment benefits run out. Panic sets in and fear becomes immobilizing. How can we turn around the panic and keep moving forward.

John Adams, the 2nd Vice President of the United States, wrote back in the 18th century, “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom should we serve?” In these words, I think that President Adams was giving a call to action. Adams was motivating, inspiring, commanding that we be in service to mankind!

“How can I serve mankind, when I can barely keep my company afloat, meet payroll, pay the vendors, expand services, continue services?” one might ask. Or is the better question,  “How can one not serve mankind, when some can barely put food on the table, receive health care, access transportation to find a job, let alone keep the job?”  

I am not talking about service that is enabling, debilitating and or demeaning because one has more and must take care of some one that has less. I am suggesting that we actively seek opportunities to serve others in meaningful, mutually beneficial ways. That we approach each day as an opportunity to discover someone, some organization, some community that has little or big challenges and offer service little respect, integrity, compassion and humility.

Okay,” one agrees that service is important. “How do I begin? Where do I go to find opportunities to offer my services? How can I be sure that my services will be appreciated or accepted?”

One pre-requisite that I have made for myself is to go into the service with an attitude that I will also be receiving something in return. This return won’t be money. It will be some much more and it always is.

In service to others, I keep in mind that everyone – I mean everyone – has value and a contribution to make.  I learned very humbling lesson more thank once.

In one experience, I volunteered to work with women in low income housing.  I was working as an executive in a health system and decided that I needed to offer my services and expertise to one of our community service programs.  I showed up dressed in a business suit and heels – just a tad overdressed for the occasion.  I intended to “teach” them about self esteem and a better way to live by sharing some “tips and tools.”

There were about 20 women and several small children in the community room.   I had been speaking at these women for about ten minutes when one woman stood up and she interrupted me.  “I may not have a car, nice clothes or a fancy job, but I do know how to a thing or two about taking care of my family.” She continued, “I have two modes of transportation – my two feet.  I have 9 people that I am responsible for and I have four part time jobs.  We may not have a lot, but there’s food on the table, a roof over our heads and I love all of my family and I don’t need someone to make me feel like I am not doing a good job. Let’s get that straight right up front.”

Talk about a humbling experience.  I apologized and asked them what they would like to talk about.  You see, I forgot to ask them about themselves – I made some terrible assumptions.  Fortunately, one of those courageous, intelligent, talented women was willing to stand up for the others and her. She was not willing to waste her time, but she was willing to invest it. It turned the experience around and I am fortunate to have a relationship with many of these women for more than a decade.  They have taught me economy, time management, resourcefulness, courage and so much more.

Another experience, I was distributing some food to a center for the homeless and mentally challenged.  I was in a hurry as usual, but there was a cluster of men outside of the building just leaning against the wall.  One man, surrounded by his bags and a shopping cart, stopped me and said. “You look like you could use a hug today.”  He grabbed me and hugged me tight! At first, I was rather shocked. Then suddenly, I realized he was right, the day had been hectic and I was doing a duty not enjoying the service.  He made my day.

I do hope that I have caused you to think of the power of service in a slightly different manner.  Take a moment and write down one service that you can perform today. And write down what you received in return.

The service _______________________________________

What I received in return ___________________________________________________

__________________________________________________________________________

 

 

The Power of Intuition

Laura Novakowski  -  May 02, 2012  -  , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Have phrases such as “Trust your instincts,” “Go with your gut,” or Listen to your intuition” ever popped up in your mind?

In today’s environment high stakes, decisions arise every day.  Executives, professionals, team leaders and people of all walks of life are faced with the a variety of decisions.  We must battle shifting goals, missing information, nonstop confusion, and do-or-die deadlines. We must constantly make choices that can and will impact our future every day.  How we transform ourselves into becoming faster, better decision makers is the hallmark of a great leader.

In 1998, Gary Klein, an expert in cognitive psychology, conducted extensive research on the topic of intuition and published the book entitled Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions. In his ground breaking work on intuition he delved into how how people perceive and observe, think and reason, act and react.  In understanding  human behavior, Klein worked extensively to determine what it took to make good decisions.  The single most significant finding was in the power of using  intuition. In fact he staked his career on this concept  “the hunch that people have grossly underestimated the power of gut instinct.”

His work included extensive research regarding people and how “because they are active interpreters of their world, their experience cannot be deconstructed into the kinds of rules that will fit into expert systems.”  He explored how using rational deductive reasoning works in neutral, non stressful situations, but as the stakes and stress increase, our decision making ability changes drastically.

The decision makers that makes better choices consistently are the persons who “internalized” themselves into the situation.  Even if the decision seemed irrational, they more than thought about the decision the more they could feel  the rightness or the wrongness of the decision.

How we handle decision making therefore can be greatly enhanced by developing our  awareness.  It takes more than just what we think in a given situation, but also how we process our feelings in our life experiences.  Take me for example, I have a track record of being able to instinctively know when it is time to make a change.  What literally pops up for me when a situation doesn’t feel right is that I am a “round peg in a square whole.”  I feel tight, constrained and very uncomfortable when I am in a situation that I absolutely know is not the right.  As soon as this happens, my intuition takes off like a rocket and I know that I must change course immediately or move on.

Trusting intuition pays off every time! I’d learn to hear from you if you have any tips on how your intuition has paid off for you.

The Power of Potential

Laura Novakowski  -  Apr 25, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Potential is about power and growth, two very scary, yet exciting concepts.  Dr Abraham Maslow’s was  a pioneer in the field of human behavior. He introduced what he called “B-values” to help define what he believed led to success.  Maslow focused his work on the study of great people who capitalized on their strengths instead of trying to analyze  weaknesses and limitations.  Rather than focus on the negative, Maslow did some extraordinary studies. He studied people such as Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt and others to  identify what lead to their success.

His work focused on growth motivation as another term for self actualization needs and called them “being needs” (B-Needs).  In contrast, most research in the past had been focused on deficit motivation or “deficit needs” (D-Needs). Maslow suggested that only two percent of the people in the world achieve self actualization.

Dr. Maslow concentrated his research on people who met certain criteria using  biographical analysis. A few of the individuals he researched who met this standard of self actualization included: Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jane Adams and William James.   These individuals were great because they chose to tap into greater potential. They, like each of us, had to overcame fear, mistakes, adversity and challenges, but, they decided to use their strengths and talents to get closer to being fully actualized.

Abraham Maslow’s B Values

  • Wholeness/Unity/Oneness
  • Perfection/Just-so-ness
  • Completion/Finality/Ending
  • Justice/Fairness
  • Aliveness/Full-Functioning
  • Richness/Intricacy
  • Simplicity/Essential/Honesty
  • Beauty/Form/Richness
  • Goodness/Oughtness
  • Uniqueness/Idiosyncrasy/Novelty
  • Effortlessness/Ease/Perfect
  • Playfulness/Joy/Humor
  • Truth/Reality/Beauty/Pure
  • Self-Sufficiency/Independence

Today, consider capitalizing on  strengths, instead of focusing on deficiencies.  Maslow’s “B values” are available to each of us. Let’s make increasing the two percent of the self actualized population our number one priority and expand our potential.

March 2012 Newsletter

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 28, 2012  -  , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

The Key to Leadership Success – Develop Through Practice

Laura R. Novakowski, MBA, RN
President, Positive Power Strategies, Inc.
laura@positivepowerinc.com

“Practice makes perfect.”

How does one become successful in leadership? In the same way any high performing athlete or musician, they practice!

Over the course of the years, I have met with many wonderful, successful people. In reviewing their track records, it has become apparent to me that although their methods for practicing their craft as leaders were different, in each and every instance they practiced.

Here are best practice tips leaders to be use to be successful:

  1. Generate a clear vision of the leader you want to be. Reflect on those leaders in your life that stand out. Describe and define those attributes that made or make them successful in your mind. Then, decide what you need to do to get that level of leadership that you desire.
  2. Write down your plan and goals. Perhaps I am stating the obvious, but experience bears out that when a plan is set in writing with clearly defined goals we are much more likely to stay focused. Writing down the plan and goals for many successful leaders is an active action step towards achieving their objectives. Helps to maintain focus.
  3. Embrace your strengths. All too often we launch into looking at all of those problems, issues, and weaknesses that will prevent us from being successful. When asked about themselves, studies show that most people will tell you what they are NOT good at. Subsequently, they don’t focus on what they ARE good at. When we focus on using our strengths in helping to practice our craft, our new role, our new responsibility, we are much more likely to accomplish what we set out to do. Keep in mind, leaders are picked for their strengths. Leaders stay in powerful roles because they take those strengths to the next level.
  4. Treat your weaknesses as opportunities to grow. Seems like a simple concept, yet time and time again. We often allow our weaknesses, consciously or subconsciously to hold us back. Rather than treating the weakness as a limiting factor, consider making a small mental shift to make adjustments in those actions and behaviors that quite honestly need to be refined.
  5. Be accountable and measure progress. Successful leaders end the day, the week, the month, the year, by measuring progress. They hold themselves accountable for all results. The positive and the negative. Consistent monitoring helps to capture even the smallest progress. This often serves as a motivator when the real target seems to be in the distant future. On the hand, sometimes the objective isn’t the right one. With constant accountability and matrices, timely and often cost saving measures can be taken.

Although, practice may never make perfect, it most definitely will help. Consider practicing those skills that lead to success.


Practice the Two Headed Dragon

Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Chief Results Officer,
ADVANCED SYSTEMS
leanne@processspecialist.com

The word practice means to become proficient so that one’s actions are almost a conditioned response, a habit. And even though being proficient is a good thing, having habits may restrict individual potential to go beyond what is the norm.

When looking at the human body, much of the behavior is automatic pilot through sub conscious habits that evolved from practice. The human brain is a crafty little guy or gal wanting to conserve as much energy for those still hot wired primitive flight or fight responses. Practice and habits support conserving energy as demonstrated through simple routines.

Most individuals have established morning routines that vary little over time. Make the coffee, read the newspaper, get ready, unplug the coffee pot and lock the door. Then one little change in that routine may have the person asking himself or herself, “Did I lock the door when I left this morning?”

Being proficient through practice is critical especially when it comes to maximizing time. The more one can streamline activities and improve performance allows more to be done in the same time period with greater quality. Fewer mistakes are made thus avoiding costly “redos.”

On the flip side or the other dragon’s head, this automatic pilot behavior interferes with critical thinking because the conditioned response in many cases is to think and do like one has always thought and done. What may result are people always seeing the same landscape with the same eyes or lenses. Stagnant to reactive thinking in many cases is more reflective of practiced habits of thought than lacking the skills to think proactively.

For years, one of the accepted adages was “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” This belief is rooted in practice and habit. Additionally, this adage restrained individuals from breaking their current habit of thinking to thinking using unpracticed thoughts.

Practice indeed is the two headed dragon. By being self aware through reflection one can keep both dragons at bay and continue to become the better leader where practice spawns creativity, innovation and critical thinking.


Power Choices

Judy Rienzi, President
Health Promotions Associates

In every moment of our daily existence, we make an endless amount of choices both consciously and unconsciously. Everything that happens to us is a result of the choices we make even though we may think they are not a choice. How we react to stress, to what people say to us, to our job, are all a matter of choice.

In the book “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success” Deepak Chopra points out that “Our reactions seem to be automatically triggered by people and circumstances, and we forget that these are still choices that we are making in every moment of our existence.” He asks us to step back and empower ourselves by witnessing the choices we make so that we take the process of choice from the unconscious and bring it to consciousness.

You can practice this process by asking yourself two questions.

  1. What are the consequences of this choice that I am making?
  2. Will this choice that I am making now bring happiness to me and to those around me?

Naturally, if you answer yes to these questions you will go ahead with the choice you are making. Another way of determining if the choice is correct is to listen to your body. Do you remember a time when you were talking yourself into something because it sounded like a great idea but your body was responding negatively? In other words, you felt discomfort within yourself. Your body was sending you a message that this is not a good idea.

Deepak goes on to explain there is only one right choice in that moment that will create happiness for you. Making that choice results in a form of behavior called “spontaneous right action”; the right choice at the right moment. Practicing the process of conscious choice with the two questions above, and listening to your body’s intuition can help you make choices that nourish you and everyone who is influenced by that choice.


Why Practice Paying Attention?

by Laura Canter – Psychologist,
CanterAssociates

Today I was thinking of a famous line from one of George Carlin’s acts: “I’ve been uplinked and downloaded. I’ve been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing; I know the downside of upgrading. I’m a high-tech lowlife. A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bicoastal mutlitasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

This led me to think: how good are you at multi-tasking? In this day and age, we multi-task everything: family & work. Funny enough, despite having the wonderful technology to help us ‘save time’ – we are busier now than we have ever been in the past. But, here comes the problem, even though we are capable of doing many tasks at one time, we fail to excel at all of the tasks. We have a limited capacity to access all of our available resources to make sure we are excelling or just completing a task for success.

This semester I’ve been teaching a Motor Control course in the department of Kinesiology at a local university. One of the lessons we’ve learned this year is preparation for and performance of specific skills and tasks are influenced by our limited capacity to select and attend to information. The theories of Motor Control are true, not just for high performing athletes, but also high performing leaders in the workplace. Are we actively engaged with and actively listening to what is going on in the moment? Or are we thinking of our own to-do list or our own agenda?

Nobel laureate & Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award, Daniel Kahneman, proposed Attention Theory in 1973. It states, “the amount of available attention we can have varies depending on certain conditions related to the individual, the tasks being performed and the situation.” Now, consider for a moment the Action Effect Hypothesis. This hypothesis proposes that actions are best planned and controlled by their intended efforts.

What does this mean? Well, learning and performing of skills are optimized when our attention is directed to the intended outcome of the action, rather than on the movements themselves.

Famous ballerina Suzanne Farrell emphasizes that dancers need to concentrate on the effect they want to create with their movements rather than on the movements themselves. This will make them successful ballerinas and have amazing flawless performances.

So, if a leader in the workplace wants to improve their performance, they need to consider the intended outcome first, then, their actions are best planned and controlled by their intended efforts. When it comes to having successful performance outcomes, practice does make perfect.

Once we have learned and committed a skill to memory, we have a sense of automaticity – the ability to implement knowledge and procedures with little or no demand on attention capacity. Determine what kind of leader you wish to be; practice, and eventually it will be second nature to your overall performance.

Generate Results That Catapult You Forward

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 21, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

Zig Ziglar, whom many considered to be not only an expert salesperson, but an inspirational individual, once remarked that “Every choice you make has an end result.”

Reviewing results is an ongoing process, an opportunity to review the choices we have made. Some of those choices may have resulted in exceptional accomplishments, while others possibly failed and caused us to “hit the mark.” Why not look at your current results to identify what is holding you back.

Taking the time to identify the wins are indescribable. The value of evaluating the counterproductive thoughts and behaviors can help us course adjust. The emotional highs that we receive in many cases helps to sustain us through those emotional lows.

The evaluation begins by first about some key questions that help us evaluate how our thoughts have affected, positively or negatively, our success in life and work. Next, we can reflect on how our choices have affected our ability to catapult ourselves forward and achieve amazing results.

Quote:  “All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become.”  Buddha

The questions:

  •  What is my purpose in work and life?
  • What gifts do I bring to the table?
  • What behaviors do I consistently demonstrate that help me to achieve success?
  • What behaviors do I consistently demonstrate that hold me back from achieving success?
  • What does the big picture of my work currently look like?
  • What does success mean for me both personally and professionally?
  • What are some of my dreams?What are some of my goals?
  • How have I succeeded?
  • Where have I fallen short?

By taking the time to answer these questions, you have taken the first steps to catapult yourself forward.  These questions can help you to stay on target, make better decisions and take much more focused action. You are becoming more aware of your thoughts and choices to best determine how they affect your actions. Now, you will generate the different and better results to fit YOUR life and work. This can catapult you forward towards extraordinary success.

One Brick at a Time

Laura Novakowski  -  Mar 14, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

I don‘t know what my calling is,
but I want to be here for a bigger reason.
I strive to be like the greatest people who have ever lived.
Will Smith.


We are surrounded by limiting factors. Not enough money, costs are on the rise – health costs, fuel costs, life and work costs. It may almost seem better to cut back and limit. I would like to suggest that we change that mental paradigm and see each challenge, whether real or imagined, as an opportunity to find our own greatness
.

One of my favorite videos on You Tube is Will Smith’s Wisdom – this is a much watched video -http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSK_Likqv24 . One story that Will shares is a story about his father and building a wall. Smith’s father instructs Will and his younger brother to build a wall. At first this seems like a daunting task, and then these two children – Will was 12 and his brother younger laid one brick at a time and in 18 months built a wall.

What a gift, Mr. Smith gave to his young sons. This wall stands today because two mere children were given a job and decided to lay one brick at a time. It didn’t occur to them that the wall couldn’t be built and so they built it.

Now, it only takes one kind word or expression of gratitude to change a relationship for the better. It only takes one dollar at a time to create an investment program. It only one word at a time to write a book. It one brush stroke at a time to paint a masterpiece.

If two small children can build a brick wall in eighteen months,than I certainly can improve my work, my life, my community “one brick at a time.” How about you?

Build a Culture for Success

Laura Novakowski  -  Feb 29, 2012  -  , , , , , , , , ,  -  No Comments

One of the most common complaints that I hear from business leaders is about the attitudes of their employees. Backstabbing, backbiting and backbreaking behaviors are tearing companies apart. As a result, business and service suffer.

Interestingly enough, when asked how these same leaders deal with such attitudes, the answers become punish them, avoid them or seek to understand and work with them. I would love to say that understanding and working with them is the most common choice, however experience tells me otherwise.

 

Although in the minority, successful leaders  do find ways to  build a culture for success.

Here are five tips  that successful leaders use to build a culture for success:

  1. Lead rather than manage people. To paraphrase Peter Drucker, “we manage things and lead people.” People are not objects. Trying to move people around like pieces on a chess board will only lead to frustration and disappointment.  Leadership is about expanding positive actions and change. Not controlling or limiting.
  2. Capitalize on talents. People are hired for their ability to do the job.  At least, one who hope that we are not hiring a warm body out of desperation.  Given guidance and direction, complainers become communicators, hiders become researchers and reviewers, saboteurs become innovators.
  3. Provide a focus.  Share and discuss the basic fundamentals of the business: the vision, mission and values. This does not mean emails or memo’s as a reminder. This means investing time to meet face-to-face, to ensure that people can internalize, interpret and digest the fundamentals of the business.
  4. Demand accountability.  Serving as framework,  job descriptions are used to build individual accountability.  First, successful leaders share the business objectives to assist employees to establish goals and action plans. Secondly, timely feedback helps to determine if the employee is on track.  This is not an annual event, but rather, an ongoing commitment to rewarding success and catching problems or failures.
  5. Listen and take action.  Many companies fail because employees don’t feel involved. The industrial age is long gone. The knowledge age is passing. This is the age of applying knowledge and employee engagement.  Learn to listen for what is not said as well as what is said. Ask for what might be left on said. Follow up on complaints. And, take action on suggestions.

A true  story about listening and taking action:

A consultant once solved a problem by leaving a board room and venturing into the basement. Absenteeism was up, productivity down, customer complaints were up and profitability was off by millions of dollars.

He sought out and interviewed some  maintenance staff and learned that air quality in the building was being affected by a faulty piece of equipment.    

“How long has this been going on?” the consultant asked.

The response, “More then a year.”

Whom did you talk with?”  he asked.

Everyone.

Lastly, he asked, “How much to fix?”

The reply, “Forty thousand dollars.” 

The consultant returned to the board room and shared the information.  The president was astonishedHe immediately completed a repair request.

The consultant followed up a few months later to follow up.   Absenteeism was down, productivity was up and profitability was ahead of schedule. The president rather sheepishly thanked the consultant for his assistance.  He also admitted that he now knew that value of listening to little complaints. He realized that often they were symptoms of an easy fix, rather than letting it lead to a costly impacts on the business.

In summary, lead people, rather than manage, capitalize on talent, provide a focus, demand accountability, listen and take action can and often will lead you to building a culture for success.

 

 

 

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