Why Are We Here: The Importance of Communicating Project and Team Purpose

“And we could be fined for over $200 million!” The bigger picture came after the project had been in flight for a year. Setting and clarifying team priorities and the vision should be done up front, not when the project is behind schedule and the team is exhausted and wondering what the point was anymore. Why do we have such a difficulty communicating purpose and vision?

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3 Reasons to Stop Shooting for the Moon

My philosophy has always been, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you will land among the stars.” I’m a firm believer in Jim Collins’ BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). Dreaming big builds excitement and enthusiasm that propels us into the future. It also allows the creativity to flow and generate new goals and ideas. However, there are times when big goals are simply unrealistic to the point they work against you.

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What’s in It for Me?

Dale Carnegie wrote a great book – well, at least I think it’s a great book; I’ve read the first half of the book four times, but have yet to finish it. How to Win Friends and Influence People has stood the test of time. Recently I have wanted to give this book to a few people after observing their methods of getting what they want.

People don’t care what you want, they care about what they want, whether it’s your team, a customer service representative on the phone, or your neighbor. If we are not selfish people, we actually do care what other people want to a degree. However, when looking from a 50,000 foot perspective over time, we move through life with significant focus on ourselves. Some are better at moving the focus off themselves onto others, but that is not the focus of this post. For a moment, assume that to some degree, people do engage in self-focus.  Continue reading

Catch You When You Fall

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Research is proving what King Solomon knew centuries ago; there is value in teamwork. Teams allow you to harness the diversity of strengths. As a leader, you should be watching for individuals who complement each others’ weaknesses. Continue reading

Fire Drill

Poor planning on your end does not constitute an emergency on mine. This is a paraphrase of a wonderful quote I heard from Rory Vaden. I have lived this at times. I’m sure all of us have been in situations where we had to pull together as a team and produce nothing less than a miracle to get a deliverable complete on time.

This can create a great sense of accomplishment and team work. However, when done on a regular basis, it induces quite the opposite. Asking teams to perform heroics day in and day out while compromising their priorities to make the next deadline (and the next and the next) is one of the quickest ways to have knowledge seep right out of your company. These employees tend to get sick, start producing lower quality deliverables, and eventually just walk out.
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The Power of Humor

There is this secret power in the world. Some people seem to naturally possess it, others have to fake it, and some don’t even know what it means: the power of humor. It is amazing how quickly humor breaks down barriers and makes you seem more approachable. I joined a new team today, and the first thing I did was send them a comic telling them I hoped they could start off the day with a smile. Instant rapport. I’m not saying they trust me with their lives or anything, but I do think it opened the channels of communication.

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