The following is an extract from a longer post from ebbf member Larry Miller which introduces us into 2012.
“OK, I know. You are going to exercise more often, eat less fatty food, lose weight, save more money, and maybe even write that book you have been swearing you would write for the past five years! And, maybe you can add a few things to your list that wonâ€™t be so hard to do and which will actually improve your own performance, and that of those around you.
Here are some suggestions guaranteed to improve performance in almost any work place.
Letâ€™s agree to encourage others. I know it is a simple and obvious thing. But, we all thrive on encouragement. Let us agree to see the potential, not simply the current reality, in each of our team members. There is something I like to call â€œcreative dissatisfactionâ€ which is the gap between who we are and who we know we could becomeâ€¦ and, there is always a gap, no matter how great we may be. Rather than pointing out what I am not (and there is lots you could point to!), how about pointing to what or who I could become? Itâ€™s a small difference that makes a huge difference. When I have a vision of who I could become I develop a drive, that creative dissatisfaction, to achieve, to close that gap.
Strive to become a scientist in the coming year. It may sound strange, but how we make judgments are often colored by learned biases. Continuous improvement is the result of the continuous design of experiments, watching the data, understanding cause and effect and the humility to say â€œOh, well, that one didnâ€™t work. Letâ€™s try something else.â€ The great managers, like the great scientists, respect the data and have the courage to experiment and to learn from what the data is telling them.
Demonstrate through your deeds the value of the worldâ€™s greatest experts who are on-the-spot. The traditional culture of our organizations has taught us that â€œmoving upâ€ is valued; those who have been promoted up in the organization must be worth more. We naturally value them. But, who actually serves customers? Who does the real work that adds value to customers and who become genuinely expert in the process of serving customers? It is most often not those who are â€œupâ€ but those who have their hands on the real work. The Gemba walk is a philosophy, not merely something you do with your feet and the philosophy is to learn from and value those who are on-the-spot.
Find the Noble in Your Work: We all live our lives in the moment, struggling to do what is urgent, but always longing to find the important, that which is noble and worthy in our work. The most primary source of motivation is the search for meaning, the desire to accomplish something worthy. I believe it is important to meditate on what we do and why it is important. The best public speaking advice I ever heard was to be certain, before you stand in front of an audience, that you have something genuinely important to say, something important for that audience. If you donâ€™t believe you have something important to say, there is no way you can fool the audience into believing it is important. Management and leadership are the same. Have something important to say. Meditate on how you and your company are making this world just a little bit better each year. And, then say it to your employees. Make life in your organization important and worthy.
I am sure you can think of other commitments you can make going into the New Year. It is a good time to reflect on how we can each improve, both personally and professionally. It would be a good idea to ask your entire management team to reflect on their own behavior and how they could each improve, how they could each contribute to the collective performance of the group.
And, ohâ€¦, I will complete that book I have been working on for the past five years!!! “
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