Archive for June, 2012

Twelve Power Steps to Developing Tactical Legendary Leader Status!

SERIES: Final Column in Tactical Leadership Series

Executive Summary:  Summarization of Tactical Leadership Traits

As a leader, one is measured both on how one strategically approaches responsibilities and how one tactically fulfills each action undertaken. As a leader, the tactics one deploys have a direct affect on the net outcome of any performance, personally or from the team one leads.

In the business world today, the performance of every person in every position must be finely tuned to such a level that everything within a leader’s sphere of influence can be addressed with precision. This will free up one’s mental and physical energies when unexpected circumstances occur.

In studying peak leadership performers today, one will notice there are a minimum of twelve tactical leadership skills that every leader will engage in and every aspiring leader must understand, practice, enhance and deploy:

  1. Decision Making
  2. Meeting Management Effectiveness
  3. Change Management and Facilitation
  4. Attitude Effectiveness and Influence
  5. Communication Effectiveness
  6. Personnel Assessment
  7. Diffusing Defensiveness
  8. Leader as Counselor
  9. Tactical Daily Administration Efficiencies
  10. Conditioning Others for Success
  11. Motivation and Motivating Skills
  12. Deploying Exportable Skills

As a leader, there is a myriad of ways to tactically deliver and execute each of these twelve core leadership Actions, Behaviors or Characteristics. Consider this an essential ABC Plan for effective tactical business leaders in the new marketplace. The ABC Plan represents the following: 

  1. A – Actions required by a leader to tactically execute the functionality of any position or task. Also, the actions required of a position or task that an individual will be expected to deploy to be successful.
  2. B – Behaviors required to be possessed by an individual. Also, subsequent competencies or actions needed to fulfill expectations of a position.
  3. C – Characteristics of a peak performer in a position or executing a task.

As you asses your own effective leadership ABC’s, in which of these twelve tactical ABC’s do you feel competent, and which ones may serve as guideposts for improvement? Consider the same assessment as you evaluate your talent pool from which you grow tomorrow’s leaders today.

This concludes ideas on tactical leadership effectiveness.   For the entire tactical tools, order the forthcoming hardback, Building a Tactical Leader.

Dr Jeff Magee
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The “Exportable Performance Player” Validates Effective Tactical Leadership!

SERIES: Part One of a Two-Part Article

Should you invest in developing the skill set of your human capital and have it potentially leave you, or not provide it with continual skill development and have it remain?

As a tactical leader, the answer is simple. Continually developing “Exportable Performance Players” for your organization is the ingredient that spells success and profitability. No matter which business one is in today, the continual need to refine and fine-tune individuals’ core competency skill sets is a minimal must to be relevant tomorrow.

Recognize the value of an individual to your business as an asset, much like leading- edge technology, equipment, facilities and market share. People are today’s most valuable asset.

Every player within your organizational diagram (whether identified from a global perspective or within individual strategic business units, lines, divisions, departments, areas, etc.) must be seen as an asset.  They should be viewed as having unique skill sets that may have specific application to what they do, and these skill sets must also be observed for exportable application.

A tactical leader continually asks whether he or she has created an atmosphere that is conducive for individuals to welcome, embrace and seek out ongoing skill development (technical, non-technical, degreed or non-degreed, certification or non-certification) that would then be exportable with them should they need to make a career transition. Consider:

  1. Can an individual with his or her present skill set make a horizontal move within your organization and bring immediate value to their new team?
  2. Can an individual make a vertical move within your organization and shepherd others to greatness with his or her always relevant skill set?

How exportable are you and those that you lead based upon unique skill sets, experience and performance platforms?

As a tactical leader, you may need to work with other stakeholders within your organization to create an atmosphere in which everyone becomes fanatical about on-going and continuous skill set development. Consider whether your organization has developed peak performers with exportable skills:

  1. Has the executive team willingly embraces skill development initiatives and has defined career development pathways for everyone?
  2. Has the rhetoric of all influencers (management, unions, senior employees and new hires) moved from excuses and nay-saying to outright endorsement and instances whereby everyone welcomes and actively participates in on-going training?
  3. Has the union leadership enthusiastically embraced any training opportunity to make any member/employee more valuable (and thus, exportable) to his or her functionality?
  4. Is the overall attitude of employees to welcome and hold one another accountable to the use of new skills for continually increased efficiencies in everything that is undertaken within an organization?

A few years ago, a study by the American Society for Training and Development revealed that the amount of time organizations inAmericainvested into training initiatives for their human capital was less than two percent of the annual employee work time each year. A true test for today’s tactical leader is to correctly and continually provide the sequential skill improvement and enhancement necessary for each individual to do two critical things:

  1. Become the very best they can be (present tense and future) at the task for which an organization has employed them.
  2. Attain their personal goals, whether within your organization or onward toward another place in life.

Knowing whether or not employees have truly relevant exportable skills can be answered by this question: “If an employee on your present team were to leave you and go to another business unit within your organization or to a new employer, and you were that person now to consider hiring them, would that employee bring with them truly cutting edge skills that could be immediately drawn upon to elevate the level of performance of the new environment?”

A player performing at peak levels of effectiveness is a sign that a great leader has invested daily, tactically and wisely into an individual. A player that can take those skills and move onward, upward or outward and continue his or her reign of success is an even greater testament of great leadership.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Motivating Performance with Primetime Activities!

SERIES: Part Five of a Five-Part Article

High action and high production are two universes apart. Highly successful people are productive!

To maintain high levels of energy and ensure performance motivation, consider which time of the day/night you work on which activities. Consider the following three questions to determine what your “Prime Time” is and which activities should be addressed during this powerful energy window for increased or sustained motivation:

  1. Are you an a.m. or p.m. person (during which  time of the professional day do you tend to have your highest mental and physical energies?)?
  1. Define that window of a.m. or p.m. in terms of which precise hours of the day it starts and ends.
  1. To determine the true “Prime Time” within this window, recognize the limited hours within it during which you have the fewest distractions and interruptions.

This is your “Prime Time”.  It is within this time frame that you should always schedule the action items that generate the greatest net yield to your purpose for being. To better determine which items should be on your schedule, reflect upon your organizational, departmental and personal mission statements.

For example, if you were an a.m. person, and that could be defined as 7 a.m.through noon, your “Prime Time” would be from7 a.m. to about9:30 a.m. So, it is within this window that you would want to schedule those things that require the greatest degree of mental and physical alertness. It would be detrimental to your productivity schedule to be cleaning coffee pots, rearranging paperwork on your desk or participating in other low impact activities during this time!

By assigning appropriate items to your “Prime Time” sequence, you will find that your output skyrockets. By replicating this same business model with those around you, their productivity will skyrocket as well! Recognize that when you experience greater victories of meaningful accomplishment, your self-esteem rises, and that influences your inner motivation and passion. As a leader, how you tactically approach your work and appropriately assign endeavors to your daily energy flow will directly influence the output for success.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Motivating the Poor and Low Performer!

SERIES: Part Four of a Five-Part Article

Executive Summary:  How a leader can tactically engage the poor or low performer to refocus their energies for increased organizational contribution

“Where do poor performers and low performers exist, and how can a leader tactically engage them to refocus their energies and become contributors to the organization once again?”

As noted in the classic strategic business book, GOOD TO GREAT (©2002) by Jim Collins, a large portion of business success in the new world economy is who is on your team. In essence, it is “Getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and then getting the people on the bus in the right position.” It may be time to find a dignified way to remove the poor or low performer from your team immediately!

In motivating the poor and low performer, consider the following tactical ideas as a leader of influence:

  1. Relentless Pursuit of Positive – Continually maintain a positive point of reference when engaging this player and only accept positive, forward-moving solutions to any situation, problem or obstacle they raise.
  1. Set Them up for Success – Recognize this player’s core skill set and set them up with a daily task that plays to their strength. Most individuals experience accomplishment when they do things they are good. Accomplishments trigger a person’s mind victory. This feeds higher self- esteem, greater enthusiasm, higher levels of passion and greater motivation!
  1. Surround Sound System – Ensure that the environmental noises, team associations, individual interactions and assigned tasks continually reflect only positive images and experiences in the work domain.
  1. Drown Out the Old – Realize that one of the things that feeds low and poor performers is one’s ability to replay passive-aggressive whiner comments like, “We can’t do that here,” or, “You can’t do that,” or, “That will never work.” Whenever anyone engages in negative diatribe, politely insist on a viable option with detailed explanations.
  1. Celebrate Accomplishments – Even the smallest accomplishment should be celebrated. Many times, what has fed the low and poor performer’s mindset is a belief that they are not appreciated, respected or valued inside the team. Everyone needs a little encouragement. By celebrating small and large accomplishments of an individual or team, this excites and energizes everyone!
  1. Demand Alternatives – Every time individuals say something won’t work or is a bad idea, don’t defend yourself or challenge them. Instead, demand that they offer a viable alternative. Politely engage them from a firm perspective that conveys the message of put up or shut up!

You might use a sentence such as, “If this idea won’t work, what do feel would be some alternative options?”

  1. Reposition Task-Player Connection – You may have a great personnel asset in the low or poor performer, it is just that the person in question has evolved into a position for which they are not prepared, trained, skilled or competent. Either provide the player with the necessary skill development to succeed, evaluate a better position for them on the team or reassign the task that is feeding their negative disposition to a more qualified player on your team.

As a leader, engaging the low and poor performer with some of these tactical engagement approaches can recondition them to be more proactive. As noted in YIELD MANAGEMENT (©1999 by Jeff Magee), there are a host of tactical approaches one can deploy to get “good people on your bus, potential low performers back in alignment and bad people off the bus.” In many cases, individuals morph into low and poor performance standards as a result of early improper engagement by managerial-leaders. Studies reveal that individuals need three primary organizational guideposts to thrive:

  1. Structure
  2. Nurture
  3. Discipline

Recognize that when managers or leaders begin evading or eliminating these three guideposts, the endpoint typically is destructive. By following this three-step template, you can craft appropriate behaviors for success and work to convert a low and poor performer back into a constructive positive performer.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Motivating Teams & Getting Across the Bridge to “Why”!

SERIES: Part Three of a Five-Part Article

Executive Summary:  Ideas for implementing new initiatives for successful team buy-in and commitment

As a leader, your ability to tactically engage your team in a non-combative manner and get the individuals within a team to embrace new ideas, initiatives, policies, procedures, projects and ways of being successful is paramount to success and survivability. Most teams resist what must be done to sustain success and thrive in today’s marketplace because management has a habit of not communicating the “why” factor. Conversations typically sound like this:

“While this is WHAT we have been doing and HOW we have been doing it, starting today, here is WHAT we must do and HOW it must be done.”

As soon as management completes this sentence, sends this email or posts this memo, the recipients immediately internally process and say to themselves or out loud to others:

“WHY can’t I do it the way I have always done it?” or, “I  don’t understand WHY I have to do that.”

At this point, an organization and, more specifically, that team will experience the following:

  1. Passive aggressive behavior from individuals
  2. Resistance and anger from individuals
  3. Undermining actions, comments and behaviors to implode desired outcomes
  4. Shifting of work loads and over burdening some individuals while others skate by doing minimal work
  5. Cliché warfare
  6. Stubbornness

It is not that individuals, managers or leaders are good or bad people, but rather they have fallen into systemic ways of engaging others. While managers and leaders have spent exhaustive hours rationalizing the reasons to take a particular action, they have failed to allow this same informative or investigative process to occur on the part of the team.

Consider:

  1. Make sure that when discussing any new way of doing something or the need to change something, you spend as much time on the WHY aspects of the dialogue as you would on the WHAT and HOW components.
  2. The WHY component is where the rationalization takes place. If one can’t easily rationalize a need for the new WHAT and HOW components, it is natural to resist.
  3. Identify the various parties that make up the team and determine the vested interest level of each individual to glean a better perspective of how to construct your WHY presentation.

As a leader with your team, if you feel that you are on one side of the river bank, fighting and pulling people to come across and meet you, you have not constructed the “Bridge To Why”. That is why the team is resisting you and defending the way they are comfortable with doing whatever they do.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Motivating the Group for Peak Performance!

SERIES: Part Two of a Five-Part Article

As a leader, a testament to your legacy is your ability to have the presence of mind to know how to have an influential footprint on the group dynamics of your team, while not being physically visible.

As the great motivational sales speaker Zig Ziglar made the idea famous decades ago, to motivate an individual, you must realize that individuals listen to others as if they were listening to a radio station frequency. And as all radio stations have identifying call letters for their appropriate frequency, individuals own the call letter WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). Each person listens internally and determines his or her level of buy-in based upon processing over the internal frequency of WIIIFM (get your copy of ways to motivate individuals in the powerful book, What’s In It For Me, at www.JeffreyMagee.com/library.asp today).  Thus we must carefully craft the message individuals will receive.

In designing appropriate tactical ways to motivate the groups, teams and departments you lead, you must recognize that while individuals may listen to WIIFM, groups do not. Groups listen to WIIFU or What’s In It For Us!

As a tactical leader, your ability to play to this frequency is essential for group motivation. To craft an endless list of tactical ways to motivate groups and create a sense of “oneness” from a collection of individuals brought together as a group, start by eliminating all micro management endeavors that serve as team debilitators.

Consider these tactical ways to bring about peak performance from your team:

  1. Team Mission Statement – Make sure that all the members of your team actually know what the purpose of the team is. A mission statement serves as a road map for daily individual behaviors to ensure that the cumulative net effect of everyone is consistent with where you, as the leader, need everyone to be going. This mission statement will serve as a guidepost in your absence for individuals to gage their decisions and actions and ensure that, as a team, they are empowered and working toward the same goal.

The most recent edition of PEFORMANCE Magazine (subscribe at www.JeffreyMagee.com) indicates from a recent Franklin Covey study of U.S. Workers that 81 percent of respondents revealed they “don’t understand” the goals of their organization!

  1. Performance Assessments – Continually and regularly deploy action-oriented, solution-focused, performance improvement-directed personnel assessments within your team. Do so from a 360 degree feedback loop perspective. By creating an environment conducive for everyone to provide constructive, healthy feedback for continued improvement in everything one does, the team will have a greater sense of “oneness” and purpose for being in endeavors together.
  1. Group Think Exchanges – Create a depository of ideas to which individuals can submit productivity and efficiency ideas and from which they can withdraw. Find ways to globally capture “best practices” within your organization to ensure maximum effectiveness and reduced redundancies and allow for the free flow of ideas and synergies from which one can regularly grow outward.
  1. Incentive Idea Sharing – Make the sharing of ideas such a celebrated and rewarding cause that individuals are excited and evolve into constant success- generating machines. Place a reasonable yet powerful bounty on ideas to be submitted and communicated upwards, and that when accepted or implemented, the individual(s) that submitted the ideas are rewarded handsomely!

A powerful bounty becomes a compelling draw for ideas to be submitted. Consider even a revenue or profit-sharing bounty. Provide a payback of as much as ten percent cash back, stock from the net savings or profitability from any submitted idea.

  1. Intrinsic Motivators – Sociology has found that in studying group dynamics, the more individuals are allowed to do the following six action items, the greater their level of enthusiasm becomes and the more they tend to assume ownership roles. Consider your ability in the following: Choice in work assignments; Decision in to how to execute; Creative approaches; Feedback continually, fairly and solution- oriented to behaviors; Challenging work assignments; and Competitive climate.

As a leader, how you tactically engage your team and strategically set them up for success will directly influence how the individuals gel together and enthusiastically move forward with one another.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Motivating the Individual on Your Team for Sustained Peak Performance!

SERIES: Part One of a Five-Part Article

As a tactical leader within your organization today, through the process of moving beyond the hiring of motivated employees to maintaining those motivated and enthused employees and to appropriately tasking them, it is critical for peak operational performance to strategically motivate your employees continuously.

Whether you see yourself as a leader-peer or a leader-manager, engaging others to ensure peak levels of performance is continuously critical for the survival of your organization.

Whether looking to engage another person from an individual basis or motivating them forward, psychology reveals that, at the base level, human beings are motivated either in positive ways (gains, pleasures, betterment, etc.) or negative ways (loss, pain, danger, harm, unpleasant outcomes, etc.). Taking a page from these findings, organizations can couch all their motivational endeavors from one of these two reference points.

First, let’s take the negative or pain path to motivation. Sometimes as a leader, you should ensure that the obvious is obvious to everyone. If there is apparent negativity, loss or trauma that can be derived by not changing or doing something, make that very clear. Then, as a leader, have the fortitude to inflict that pain when appropriate.

Second, by examining the positive or pleasure path to motivating an individual, everyone involved will most likely remain more pleasant. Professionally speaking, organizational psychology suggests that there are three core ways to motivate individuals within an organization today:

  1. Finance
  2. Recognition
  3. Self-Fulfillment (intrinsic).

When looking for motivational delivery mechanisms, it is easy to fall into the traps of bonuses, incentives, perks and rewards. Nevertheless, your efforts should adhere to three specific guideposts:

  1. Meaningful – Whatever you offer or provide should always have meaning to the recipient for greatest yield. Many times, the gesture is appropriate, yet the impact is lost due to wrongly deployed tokens. If you give someone a ball cap or T-shirt, for example, and you have never seen them wear one, you may have just lost the sought-after impact due to hallow meaning on the recipient’s behalf!
  1. Lasting Impact – When extending the act of acknowledgement for a performance beyond expectations and for which you want to recognize in hopes of encouraging similar motivated performance in the future, scrutinize what you offer and ask yourself how soon the gesture will be forgotten. If the answer is shortly, don’t deploy that gesture. Change and determine what would bring the organization greater mileage as an act or gesture. For example, a $500.00 cash bonus or a 7-day cruise for $600.00…which one will be remembered a year from now?
  1. Repeatable – A true challenge to managerial-leaders is to determine which act or gesture should be extended to which person for the greatest individual impact. In addition, a managerial-leader must determine how to do so in a way that management will be able to repeat the act without painting themselves into a corner of feeling compelled to one-up or bear the last act, token or gesture!

How you tactically engage the members of your team to ensure that motivated, healthy, productive behaviors radiate as norms will distinguish you as not only a manager, but a true leader!

To make this entire endeavor easier and more impactful, consider the following action plan:

  1. Meet with your entire team before deploying the following action plan and communicate to each how you are going to proceed.
  1. Have each individual on your team take a 3×5 index card (or similar online drill) and create his or her own master list of items that could be deployed to them for powerful peak performance attainments in the future.
  1. This list should contain two sets of entries. One should be the items that have no monetary amount associated with them. The other should be items that have a monetary amount attributed to them. You can even determine a set ceiling on the appropriate monetary amount.

The beauty of this list is that it is individualistic, allowing you to draw upon it repeatedly for greater individual impact and meaning. Because the items come from the individual, the likelihood of lasting impact is greatly increased.

As a tactical leader, your ability to motivate and re-motivate the individuals on your team is essential to sustained productivity and performance.

Dr Jeff Magee
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