Archive for January, 2013

Attitude – It Is 100 Percent Replicable With Your Team!

If the foundation of human behavior performance management and improvement rests on the psychology that one’s mindset (thoughts) dictates the behavior one exhibits, an effective leader recognizes daily the tactical actions that can reinforce positive behavior or influence negative behavior.

The code for mindset, thoughts and mental energy is ATTITUDE. Therefore, it would be valuable for a tactical leader to recognize all of the actions that can promote and foster constructive behaviors in those around them.

As an effective leader today, there are eight elementary tactics for encouraging positive ATTITUDE and holding individuals accountable to positive actions. Consider:

A = Always ASK those on your team questions about involvement and the best practices for every endeavor. By involving them early and often, a sense of inclusion will be created, and powerful working relationships will develop as well.

T = TEACH others at all levels as much as you can, as often as you can. If done in a spirit of cross training, it will ensure maximum performance from every player on your team. And with this approach, others will be able to provide enhancement ideas to one another as well as hold one another accountable to performance standards and expectations!

T = TOLERATE others’ approaches to executing a task, when different from your approach. Individuals always embrace their action plans with greater enthusiasm and passion. Your benchmark should be whether the other person’s action plan is: Legal, Ethical and Cost Effective. If it is, let go. If any one of these specific perimeters is not, then speak only to that one perimeter as you coach them and encourage them to maintain a wealthy attitude for success.

I = INFORM your team as often and as thoroughly as possible about everything! Consistently, the number one threat to active implementation of initiatives by the front line is when they are left to guess the motives of the leader’s policies. The hidden “why” factor causes more implosion and missed spent energy than any other single force. Answer this question, and others will actively embrace you!

T = TERMINATE poor performance behaviors immediately. An effective leader recognizes that a bad attitude left unengaged (not challenged) is like a cancer. Early detection and early engagement can lead to early elimination. Left unchecked, negative actions and thoughts spread, becoming systemic and leading to visible implosions in performance behaviors.

U = UNDERSTANDING is a hallmark characteristic of a powerful leader today. This implies that that the leader has tactically interacted with others to gain an understanding of others’ values, core beliefs, desires from their employment and an overall general perspective as to how they think and feel. With this, increased awareness and a significantly better understanding of how others will respond to a given situation will be gained!

D = DELEGATE appropriately to those on your team to gain increased productivity. Also develop the platform of skills necessary from individuals to ensure their growth, development and success.

E = EMPOWER (Empowerment = Education + Access + Experience + Desire) others to greatness. Let go of cultural autocratic management and become a leader that others will want to follow!

The picture and numbers are very clear. Performance, whether good or bad, is directly tied to one’s ATTITUDE. As a leader, your tactics either reinforce the positive or encourage the negative. You make that decision.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Attitude – Leading at 30,000 Feet & Avoiding Managing at 5,000 Feet Issues!

An immediate clue you’re leading at the 30,000 feet level is where your attention is and remains. A clue that you are immersed in 5,000 feet issues is that you are off course as an organization.

Managers fly at the 5,000 feet level, but leaders must fly at the 30,000 feet level! Where should you be? Better yet, as a tactical leader in today’s marketplace, where must your organization have you to succeed?

Far too many major corporations find themselves in trouble today for one simple reason. They have placed 5,000 feet people in 30,000 feet positions. The momentum of the organization may carry them for a period of time, but if they are not capable of flying at the 30,000 feet level, they will eventually crash and burn!

One of the first indicators that an implosion is about to occur happens when people are placed into positions in which they functionally cannot perform. The first thing to go is one’s attitude, which directly impacts one’s behavior and treatment of those around them.

The needless victims of this crash are the people who make up an organization, and if a public traded firm, the shareholders as well.

A tactical leader, regardless of the place from which he or she operates, must understand the subtle nuances of 5,000 feet issues and 30,000 feet issues if they are to remain positively focused and create the proper attitude for others to follow suite.

First, the Analogy:

An airplane pilot knows that when departing and arriving they must be very focused and in total control of all plane operations, functions and actions in the area between the ground and 5,000 feet in the air. Thus, a high level of hands-on activity takes place. Most airplanes from 5,000 feet upward are on autopilot, meaning the actual pilot is not continuously involved in the total activity of managing and operating. Most pilots cruise in commercial aircraft at the 30,000 feet range, and at this level, you are able to assume more of a leadership role. You can see your horizon, destination, goals and overall big pictures, enabling you to make individual calculated course corrections to attain a successful arrival.

Second, the Application:

As a tactical leader, you must ensure your team is vested, empowered and held accountable to the 5,000 feet issues and basic operational activities that make your organization what it is. Examples of 5,000 feet actions are functioning tasks such as:

Implementing, educating and enforcing policies, procedures and rules
Facilitating basic business processes that are what you are and do
Interfacing with end users or customers
Front line activities and behind the scenes functions that reinforce each
Dealing with conflicts, confrontations, problem behaviors and counseling or disciplinary issues

When you as a leader have to come down from the 30,000 feet level, maintain a healthy perspective (attitude) in all of your interactions with others, as people will model what you telegraph to them. Also, stay focused because it is in the 5,000 feet issues that you can rally significant positive mental attitudes from the team that allow you the energy force necessary to be productive, be profitable and regain the 30,000 feet focus.

Examples of 30,000 feet actions are functioning tasks such as:

Planning, mission statement design, strategy sessions, ensuring that the values and integrity of the organization are maintained
Organizing big picture issues, advocates, personnel assets, etc.
Coordinating resources and personnel talent pools from which business functions will be drawn today and in the future (succession planning)
Building partnerships and alliances, forecasting market needs and maintaining course clarity for growth

A tactical leader must understand necessary interpersonal skills, how to work the people equations effectively at both levels and be committed to instant interactions, if necessary, to ensure maximum positive influence at each level. Therefore, when a tactical leader is not at the 30,000 feet level, they must ask, “Who is left at the destiny controls?”

Maintaining 30,000 feet control takes a powerfully focused, controlled and positive mindset (attitude). Ask yourself who you interact with, who you seek counsel from, who you collaborate with and who serves as your model. All of these are 30,000 feet tactical leader questions.

Making sure everyone is flying with you requires you to stay on top of the environmental matters that allow people to either soar or come down into the turbulence of 5,000 feet implosions and mundane functionality issues.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Attitude – Explosive Ways to Raise Your Stock Value Among Others!

How others perceive you directly influences your worth to an organization and to others. In essence, your stock value is pre-determined by, among many forces, your engagement attitude.

Your engagement attitude is not necessarily a servant-leadership mindset, but rather a mindset that reveals your performance. It is predestined by what your attitude telegraphs to others in terms of how you elevate their standing or diminish it. Your future growth, survival and net worth are measured in today’s new business reality in two simple ways:

  1. How can I elevate the value of my organization by designing and/or managing centers of revenue savings?
  2. How can I elevate the value of my organization by designing and/or managing centers of revenue generation?

This evolution in performance improvement may be impeded by individuals with ingrained attitudes of shortsightedness, protectiveness toward functional positions o longer viable in the new business economy or elitism.

Success is in the journey,
not the destination!

One way to tune up and tune in for the greater gain of all involved in your business would be to reevaluate where your present stock value is and ensure it continues to rise. Maintaining a “What’s In It For Me?” mentality is neither right nor wrong; it is simply one’s mindset. Your ability to recognize that your attitude influences whether or not you will engage others constructively or combatively is the journey worth taking.

Here are “Ten Daily Personal-Professional Stock-Raising Actions” that can be deployed with a positive self-attitude, thus feeding a positive self-attitude:

  1. Become Intrapreneurial – In all that you do, internally draw upon entrepreneurial energies for growth and success by exploring ways to become better, more efficient, more cost conscious, more time efficient and unique.
  2. Expand Your Job Responsibilities – Draw upon unique strengths, abilities and talents. Make yourself the come-to person that others need for performance and profit improvement.
  3. Request Feedback – Request feedback from others on a regular basis. Place a specific emphasis on the behaviors that can be drawn regularly for success and those that can be improved.
  4. Volunteer Strategically Internally – Volunteer for those activities, assignments, teams and committees that will allow you to make meaningful contributions and engage stakeholders to your business and industry!
  5. Identify the One Percent Factors – Look for all of the areas that a mere one percent increase in input and participation would greatly aid others. This will raise your stock value and create a positive self-attitude.
  6. Strategically Integrate to Teams – Recognize how you can best complement others’ energies and talents without detracting or alienating them.
  7. Understand Others’ Rules of Engagement – Determine what others’ ‘hot buttons’ are and learn how others desire to be engaged (or not engaged) for productive interactions.
  8. Don’t Gripe or Complain – Ensure that when others are negative and argumentative, you become the solution provider or encourager for others.
  9. Zero Sum Confidentiality – If someone confides in you, don’t confide in others. Odds are very good that if the person who confided in you is not your confidant, the dominos will continue to fall as you confide in some else, who will, in turn, confide in someone else. Before you know it, your stock value will decline as a person who cannot be trusted. The person who initially confided in you will become an avid terrorist to you because you violated their confidence. Ensure that if you do confide, you do it in a safe area, where “no one” can overhear your comments.
  10. Mistakes – Learn from your own mistakes, celebrate them and design learning steps away from them toward success. Learn from others’ mistakes as a means of shortening your learning curve towards success… you will never live long enough to make all of them!

Your attitude directly influences your stock value. When your stock value increases, your organization becomes a major beneficiary. Studies repeatedly indicate that how one appreciates others directly influences attitudes – Seventy percent of business owners indicated that their company has not taken steps to raise morale despite the fact that seventy-three percent of employees believe that their company should take the initiative.

The underlining question for a tactical leader is in how they do these action items, create an environment conducive for others to strive to perform these action items and how each is perpetuated daily.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Attitude – Six Steps for Building Positive Team Performance and Motivation

With leaner teams and increasing demand for greater performance and profitability from every aspect within a business today, tactical leaders must know how to intrinsically connect with each player at their innermost level. This will empower and infuse positive energy, thus reinforcing healthy attitudes.

Circumstances don’t just happen.
They happen because of the choices you make!

A tactical leader can deploy “Six Intrinsic Motivators” for increased positive attitudes within the work place and an environment conducive for healthy interactions:

  1. Choice – As often as possible, allow individuals to make independent decisions regarding which task assignments they wish to work on first. People tend to have a higher level of dedication, commitment and ownership to that which they chose to do!
  2. Decision – Allow others to execute their own action plans for implementation. While “choice” deals with what one may do, “decision” deals with how one may accomplish it. Individuals take more pride in their action plans and have a higher level of buy in when they are in charge; when implementing someone else’s decisions, it is easier to have a mentality that says, “What do I have to do to get through this?”
  3. Creativity – Allow for alternative and diverging implementation plans to emerge, and make your work place a safe environment for people to surface new ideas for improved effectiveness. Repetitive action plans lead to complacency and boredom, which eventually lead to burnout and turnover!
  4. Action Plan Feedback – Continually provide others with feedback (positive or constructive) after an endeavor by specifically referencing the action steps that lead to their final output. In this way, an individual will have a better understanding of how to proceed in future situations and gain greater success and effectiveness!
  5. Challenge – Ensure that work for your team is suitable for their expertise, knowledge and desire. An almost sure way to de-motivate individuals, create negative attitudes and run off super stars is to repeatedly task work that does not challenge them. OSHA studies indicate that there is a higher level of on the job accidents and injuries in environments where people are not challenged and complacency resides!
  6. Competition – A surefire way to excite and motivate others to greatness is to tap into one or more of the three intrinsic competitive forces. Professionally, we can compete against (one) someone else’s achievements, two) something else or (three) ourselves.

As a leader, how you tactically engage others will either reinforce positive team attitudes and performance or serve as the seed of future distress, anxiety and implosion. The choice is yours, and the steps are clear. Fostering healthy attitudes that, in turn, improve productivity and profitability within an organization starts with six core intrinsic motivators.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Attitude – Evolving From a Me Vs. You Mentality to an Us Mentality for Peak Performance

The new business order is “Change” (as detailed in the past four columns), and a significant change in attitude will be required for professionals if sustained profitability in performance is to be realized in the work place.

A major impediment to this transformation in ATTITUDE will be elimination of the traditional distrust between labor and management, between business and its customers and between veterans and new entries to an organization. All of this will rest upon the emergence of true leaders in the business place.

There is enough finger-pointing to go all around the business place today. Whether you are an employee, who has traditionally been raised to be anti-management, or management, who traditionally sees labor leaders as troublemakers, the old DNA of business must be terminated.

There is a new set of rules for survival and prosperity.

One of the most alarming examples of perpetuating negative and toxic attitudes was of workers being directed by their union to not work. MAXIM Magazine’s recent article cited members of the “Union of Needletrades, Industrial, and Textile Employees” as having been directed to merely repackage without cleaning blankets from United Airlines, American Airlines and Air Canada. In fact, 78 percent of the blankets tested were found to have pathogens linked to eye and lung infections.

The real fallout of these internal implosions is the external customer. And in a difficult economy, loosing your customer will be a definite map to unemployment for everyone concerned.

The persona or attitude that says, “Yea for me, and the hell with you,” puts people at odds. A persona or attitude that says tune into WIIFU, “What’s In It for Us” (See our recent book release, WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME? ISBN #0-9718010-4-5 / US $12.95), will bring people back together.

As a tactical leader, here are “Ten Action Steps” to be used the next time you encounter an attitude digressing towards self-centeredness, department-centeredness or click-centeredness and away from unity-centeredness:

  1. Demand An Alternative© Times Three – If a person is fighting you or others on every idea or possible action implementation plan, stop justifying your position or debating them. Merely politely transition the conversation away from you and, by using “us language,” demand a viable alternative. It might sound like, “If this idea is not viable in your estimation, what do you feel we should do as an alternative?” If they fail to respond, don’t become combative and don’t let their silence let them off the hook. Instead, repeat the same polite question until they put up or shut up!
  2. Assign 100 Percent Accountability – In place of challenging the other person, thus playing into their conversation trap, or working to convert them to your view, which they will further resist as a veiled attempt to appease them or manipulate them, put them solely in charge of that which they would like you and others to believe they are exceedingly more knowledgeable.
  3. Go One-on-One in Private – Meet with them where there would be no audience. Have pre-written the specific challenge issue and several possible resolutions. Then go face-to-face and share your concerns. Play to them how others perceive them and how that is lowering their stock value. Then invite them to partner with you to bring their wisdom, knowledge and experience out into the open for all to benefit.
  4. Avoidance and Limit Exposure – Actively limit your exposure to these people to need only basis. By reducing your causal interactions, you will begin to place distance between their normal behavioral patterns and you; this sometimes will bring out a more hospitable persona. And, as a managerial-leader, limiting this destructive person to others on the teams limits their toxic abilities!
  5. Horizontal (peer application) and Vertical (boss-leader directed) Action Information Gram© – As a peer or leader of an individual that posses a sabotaging attitude, look for an upcoming opportunity to deploy this tactic. An ideal application: after your next meeting with this person, where a new project is rolled out, send an action-oriented, success-directed e-mail to all parties in that roll out. Reference by name each person and what piece they won. Invite everyone to openly share suggestions with one another for immediate effectiveness, reference the follow-up date and where each party has committed to being and make sure a copy goes to each player’s direct supervisor. There is no negative intent with such an e-mail, and if the negative person would have otherwise been negative or toxic, you have made it easier for them to be successful and productive!
  6. Action Memo© Dialogue – Build more “we” based performance attitudes by soliciting action plans from others as often as possible. An Action Memo© stipulates a simple two-step approach to decision-making. Step One would be the identification of the “WHAT FACTOR”…what is the challenge, what is the problem, what is the new idea one wants to introduce, etc. In Step Two, you would simply draft three possible “HOW FACTORS.” Application of this turn around tactic could be in a meeting when someone interrupts you with an item for discussion that is not on the agenda. You would politely turn to them while writing down the new “WHAT FACTOR” that they have introduced and, while handing back to them the piece of paper with their new “WHAT FACTOR,” task them with drafting two or three viable ways that it could be addressed (the HOW FACTORS).
  7. Pain Versus Pleasure Factor – Psychology suggests that, at the root of all behaviors, individuals act based upon a positive gain (pleasure factor) or an avoidance of negativity (pain factor). With the performance attitude derailer, explore which of these two avenues might best serve to change their attitude and, thus, behavior to a more desirable level.
  8. Change Glasses – Perhaps looking at issues, people and the business environment from the perspective of the person you perceive as having a destructive team attitude may give some vision of how they arrived at their position. By arriving at this finding, you can reverse that process over time and coach to a new level of greatness that no one may have thought possible.
  9. Rules of Engagement – Share with the other party how you like to operate, your preferred communication patterns and how you prefer others engage you for peak performance. Then solicit the same from the other person and work to respect them as often as possible. Sometimes people become internally frustrated and exhibit this outwardly with a negative or challenging attitude. By knowing one another’s Rules Of Engagement, you will know each other’s playbook and avoid inadvertently pushing each other’s preverbal hot buttons!
  10. Mentor Involvement – Instead of working to find ways to isolate a potential performance-sabotaging attitude player, reverse all expectations and identify the level of expertise or functionality that they do possess within your organization. Allow them to step up to the plate as a MENTOR to others. This revalues their place within your organization and gives them a reason to become a contributor instead of a derailer!

Evolving from an attitude of one person versus another and onward to an attitude of how do “we” work together is the new business order in a decade of miss guided business leader’s, abdication of ethics and common sense and a spirit of condoned greed and corruption.

Becoming a tactical leader and working to get all players to change their engrained listening patterns away from WIIFM and into the same frequency of “What’s In It For huMankind” or the new WIIFU will be a legacy of success.

Dr Jeff Magee
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Change – Reducing Resistance & Gaining Buy-In With the Five W & One H Model!

Before you post your next announcement, send mail or e-mail, leave a voicemail message or communicate directly with another person about your next policy change, new product or simply change an initiative, consider what the other party may be thinking under their breath.

Leaders who effectively administer change and create environments conducive to change advocates can defer to a simple “check list”.  This list can be checked mentally, when preparing change issues for presentation, and physically, as a facilitating template for change.

Ensure that you appropriately address to each personality involved the following factors:

  1. Who. These factors call into action the four core decision-makers (financial, technical, user, advocate) and authority figures.

  2. What. These factors call into action the core immediate, medium and long-term goals, objectives and needs.

  3. When. These factors call into action the final deadline and any interval deadlines or commitments.

  4. Where. These factors deal with the geography, locale and environmental issues.

  5. Why. These factors deal with the reasoning, logic and importance of the “WHAT Factor”.

  6. How. These factors deal with the procedures, legalities, ethics, costs and ways in which something could be done or not done.

Any item not addressed may become the impetus behind others’ lack of attention, interest and commitment (BUY-IN) and the stimulus to passive-aggressive behaviors. It is these behaviors that may cause the implosion of an otherwise easily implemented change initiative!

Each of the Five W and One H factors serve as a reference point for a series of subsequent questions and checkpoints that can be drawn out of each. Your ability to hold yourself accountable for ensuring that each is referenced thoroughly in the planning stage will dramatically impact the level of excellence that comes out of the implementation stage!

I am reminded of a recent speaking experience I had at a Fortune 500 Leadership Institute. The theater was packed with engineers and mid-level managerial-leaders from around the World. While the audience feedback was explosive, I am sure I will not be invited back. I addressed why “their firm” is getting eaten in the marketplace – a subject with which the senior leaders were not impressed!

While there are presently tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with a competing company, for orders for a similar, sleeker, more cost effective commercial version of what they produce (which “they” do not produce) and tens of billions of dollars cashed and in the bank in escrow, with the competing company, for private consumer versions (which “they” do not produce), this company refuses to change. Even though it is reported that it will take the competing company years to produce and fulfill these orders, this client continues in its primary division – attempting to make and sell a product the market no longer can justify.

The market has CHANGED, and the power players don’t want to run the Five W and One H model, as they will learn they must evolve to remain viable. The student of market analysis and the managerial-leader will be able to watch another major firm implode if it does not embrace change.

Success in dealing with change, and even crafting the level of success

individuals may have, can be taken directly from an explosive statement from

ice hockey legend, Wayne Gretsky.

“I don’t skate to where the puck is, I skate to where the puck is going to be!”

Do you use a template to ensure your planning and implementation of change is successful? Do you have an easy system for stimulating critical thoughts and questions to ensure you anticipate change initiatives and meet them effectively?  If not, consider this simple and easy Five W and One H model, compliments of the elementary school teacher from your past!

Dr Jeff Magee
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Change – The Three-Step Process To Change Effectiveness!

The ability to positively influence change within oneself and among others – and have others embrace it enthusiastically – can be the simple difference between success and stress.

By far, one of the greatest contributors to reduced productivity and, subsequently, profitability in the business place and at home is the failure to understand the “change process” has a very defined structure. There are three distinct steps to change. How one addresses each and facilitates each has a direct correlation with the outcome or lack thereof!

Build the “Bridge to Why,”

and all will reach “Change” easily!

Convincing people to travel with you, from where they are to a powerful, positively changed future, involves getting them to cross the “Bridge To Why”. That is the single bridge most in management – and many parents – fail to build and aid others in crossing. Call it lack of understanding, lack of patience to build or just plain stubbornness. Whichever term you use, without the bridge you will be left attempting to push and pull others across the river of perceived insurmountable change!

The Three-Step Change Process involves minimal or significant work. It’s up to you to make that calculated judgment call.

  1. STEP ONE: AWARENESS equals both the “WHAT Factors” and the “WHY Factors”. What does one do to make oneself and others aware of the “Need”, “Problem”, “Pain” or “Gain” of a raised issue that needs to be addressed and, thus, changed?

This first step involves action items such as reflecting upon how best to raise an issue; determining what steps may be required to condition the vested player(s) to be receptive of the subject matter; recognizing the best environment in which to raise the matter; considering the amount of time and the best time to raise the matter; which power players or advocates may need to be pre-engaged and present to assist in influencing buy-in from others. If people are not on the same subject line as you, talking about the new thing will be a waste of time!

The most important step in the AWARENESS process, and the one most grossly ignored, forgotten, side-stepped and loosely addressed by most managers is the “WHY” or rationalization step.  While the case may be clearly communicated in terms of the “WHAT Factor” (what is being changed, what must start, what must stop, what must be avoided, what is now obligated, etc.), frequently what is not addressed as adequately is the rationalization, reasoning or logic of “WHY” that “WHAT” has been addressed.

  1. STEP TWO: Engagement addresses the “HOW Factors” of the action plan. With a clear understanding of the “WHAT/WHY Factors”, mental and physical energies can now be directed toward the development of viable action plans and selections.

In this second step of the change process, you will want to ensure you feel confident with the action plans you have designed to fulfill the needs identified from STEP ONE. If you are engaging others as a managerial-leader, STEP TWO is critical in ensuring that others really do feel that “HOW” the “WHAT Factor” is to be addressed is practical and necessary, thereby feeding their “WHY” compulsions.

  1. STEP THREE: Commit to implement the action plan from STEP TWO and specifically reveal “WHEN” action will occur. At this step, you will know the “WHEN Factor” of implementation, forward momentum and, thus, success. Organizations frequently implode at this stage, and management goes into melt- down due to lack of commitment and missed deadlines by the implementation team.

During the first two steps, if people feel they are being dictated to or, conversely, do not feel involved, breakdown in STEP THREE can be expected!

Facilitate effective change with yourself and others by independently focusing all energies on one step at a time:

  1. Awareness equals the “WHAT” and “WHY Factors”.

  2. Engagement equals the “HOW” components of dispensing the “WHAT Factor”.

  3. Commit to implement the “HOW” of a plan!

Change is embraced by successful people and organizations and avoided by most. Now that you have the three-step plan mapped out, the question is simple. Will you commit or wait for someone else to implement plans for success, thus garnering the spoils of victory before your very eyes?

Dr Jeff Magee
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