Time to breath

Holes

Some things just take as long as they take.

Government, of course. Wine. Cogitators. People who want to make their own mind up, with their own agenda and marching to their own beat.

Go get ‘em, push push push Type A people can make things happen. Amazing things if we’re lucky. But the world has a way of turning on it’s own and some things will not be rushed. What isn’t important today will get to the top of the pile … one day.

You can push all you like. Makes no difference to speed. Might push them away.

Accept it. Take no offence. Stay on the edge of the radar.

Just saying hi.

Ping.

I saw this and thought of you.

Ping.

Looking forward to …

Ping.

As the world moves around the sun, stay in touch and add value when you can. What goes around …

Skippy Strategy: Who should you ping? More often? Less? – ping ping ping ping ping is harassment.

Neatly filed under Foundations on July 4, 2015

Punch holes in it

Holes

Just a guess but don’t you and your team know your systems better than any outsiders? When someone calls for help, don’t you know what they’re going to ask before they even look your way, haven’t you dealt with just that kind of question every week for the past forever?

What your team does every day is mysterious to everyone else. They don’t know what you do, how you do it or what systems you have that help and hinder. They don’t know how to unlock the secrets, what you need to know, how to get you on side and doing your best work. It’s a black box with no windows.

Punch holes in it.

Tell them how to brief you. Give them the direct number. Show some empathy. Map out the steps. Specify a time scale, a budget, a project plan, their place in the work flow. Make them feel heard, not inadequate.

The difference in dealing with an organisation that makes life easy for its users – whether a department down the hall of one of six million in the customer base – is the difference between customer advocacy and bad mouthing adversary.

It’s the difference between growth and decline.

Skippy Strategy: Write, post and update a how-to guide so everyone know the way to go further, faster, higher with your team.

Neatly filed under Making Promises on July 3, 2015

Those other things

Shiny

There’s always something that takes you away from your job. It’s possible to fill every day with all the little things. Important – like contracts, reviews, IP, suppliers, finances, conflicts, personnel stuff, product questions, schmoozing and smoothing – but little. Not the stuff they put in the job description, but clock-stealers all the same.

The result? Tomorrow looks pretty much like yesterday. Nothing really changes except the date.

One option is to accept it. Be busy being busy – who else is going to do this stuff anyway?

Another option: push it back. The obvious ways like delegation and devolved decision making, time management and prioritisation. The most powerful tool of all though is self will.

Leadership means doing things because you choose to despite being beaten around by all those other things. It means choosing a shiny future and having the will and discipline to do what it takes to get up there. It means taking control of the agenda for the benefit of the organisation, not letting the organisation take control of you. It means stepping up.

Skippy Strategy: Make time to set the agenda. Make time to work towards it.

Neatly filed under Leading on July 2, 2015

Don’t go quietly

Path

As soon as you bring someone else into a project you need to up your communication game. Where it was ok to noodle along at your own pace without anyone looking over your shoulder, you now have to keep them in the loop – just so all the dishes arrive at the table at the same time.

The bigger the project or the wider the team’s dispersed, the greater the comms commitment.

From Gantt chart to Basecamp to Trello, all the tools help. There’s nothing better for sharing files and plans and documents, even hopes and dreams. But when it comes to cracking nuts, solving problems and the daily task of leaping tall buildings, there’s still no substitute for talking it through – water cooler, phone or Skype.

“I’m struggling with …, Any ideas about …, Have you seen this before …, Can you help me with …?”

You could decide not to disturb them, wait for each one to reach out if they need to, give them their space. Might work. Or you could take the initiative (you know, leadership) in the knowledge that even the loneliest of rangers likes a chat; find out how everyone’s doing, share a war story, make sure they’re still on the same page.

Don’t go quietly. Make the call.

Skippy Strategy: It’s guaranteed that everyone isn’t on the same page even five minutes after the last meeting. Check in as often as you need to keep everyone on the path.

 

Neatly filed under Teams on July 1, 2015

Giving thanks

Exceptional

Every now and again someone does something exceptional. Just for you.

Busy people can get so wrapped up in their day-to-day battles, so focused on what they’re trying to do, so cut off from the realities of every life other than their own that they miss the exceptional. Not that they think it’s normal, just that they’re moving so fast they don’t stop for a moment even to appreciate the strangeness, let alone acknowledge it.

Without even a beat they’re changing track; another email, meeting, plane, train. Automatically changing focus to the next thing, and the next.

“Hold on a second. What just happened? That was amazing. Thank you.”

Even the most extraordinarily busy people can notice when someone does something just for them. The people we all want to be don’t only notice, they take an extra five seconds to give thanks or five minutes to write it.

Skippy Strategy: Add that five seconds as often as you can. Over your next coffee, give five minutes to give thanks.

Neatly filed under Foundations on June 30, 2015