Email updates back ON! Here’s what you missed…

vacuum repair fun_aFirst, an apology to my email subscribers…Sometime at the beginning of the year automatic emails were inadvertently discontinued. Although I kept writing and posting, you were no longer receiving regular updates. Actually, it was through one of my faithful readers that the problem was brought to my attention.

But now it’s fixed!…and to get you caught up I’ve summarized 2 months of posts for you below (just click on the links). I hope this will help you pick up where you left off. Thanks for being faithful readers and commentators. I thrive on your support and feedback. This blog exists because of you.

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Picture: Creative Commons License Roman Soto via Compfight

Great Question to Push Your Company

Danny-Meyer-with-Wine1How can we become the company that would put us out of business?”

Danny Meyer (CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group)


Teamwork…Illustrated…by Ants (video)

If a picture is worth 1000 words, than a video must be worth 1,000,000. In the course of explaining concepts and facilitating teams I’ve found graphics and video illustrations to be extremely powerful. My recommendation: watch once to ”take it in,” then a second time with some key concepts in mind (see below).

Concepts to Ponder (while re-watching the video):

  • Work (…together, harmony…before the crisis)
  • Common Cause (a prerequisite)
  • Problems (will come)
  • Practice (better have happened beforehand)
  • Leadership (needed)
  • Winning (together)

Time to Speak! But How?

It’s easy, right? You’re in a meeting or listening to someone in a conversation and suddenly feel the need to respond or say something…Assuming it’s appropriate and the right thing to do (that, in itself, is an important decision – probably a good subject for another post), you just say it, right?

Before we jump into action, let’s pause to think. If you’ve made the decision to speak, I want to encourage you to consider that you have another important decision to make – it’s how you speak.

Speak up, make your voice heard

Too often people begin talking “without a plan” and are surprised by the reaction of others or the outcome of the conversation. While surprises are always possible, the decision you make should be deliberate and should have a clear “line of sight” to the objective and result you want to achieve.

Let me offer 5 alternatives that I believe capture your main choices. You can choose to:

  1. Speak up: your objective is to offer an opinion, be heard and have your thoughts considered in the mix. Likely result – others acknowledge your point and add your thoughts to “the mix.”
  2. Speak out: you want to take a strong position or viewpoint to be sure people know “where you are” and need to agree or disagree. Likely result – others will indicate their agreement or disagreement making it necessary for you to provide logic (and possibly defend).
  3. Speak with: you are engaging another person and want to draw out there thoughts to mesh them with yours, arriving at a conclusion together. Likely result – an open exchange with clarification, summarizing, iterative probing, etc.
  4. Speak for: you feel someone else’s viewpoint or thoughts have to be amplified to be heard or better understood. Likely result – attention is drawn to something that has so far been under-valued or ignored.
  5. Speak against: you choose to articulate an opposing view to that presented and need to contrast it in a way that is clearly understood. Likely result – others may get defensive or engage in debate or analysis seeking to come to the right answer.

Why do these choices matter? As mentioned earlier, far too often we begin to speak without really considering where we’re going or what result we want to produce. If we’re honest, it’s often an emotional impulse versus a rationale decision.

By taking a moment to think about what we want to achieve we can make the right choice, making our contribution intentional and more valuable to the outcome.

Next time, when it’s time to speak, decide the “how” first. Try it. Let me know how it works.

Picture: Creative Commons License Howard Lake via Compfight

Strategy = Choices

Strategy therefore requires making explicit choices – to do some things and not others – and building a business around those choices. In short, strategy is choice. More specifically, strategy is an integrated set of choices that uniquely positions the firm in its industry so as to create sustainable advantage and superior value relative to the competition.”

A.G. Lafley (Chairman &  CEO of P&G) & Roger L. Martin

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