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This past week, I was received the letter of induction into the CSPTM. Earlier in the month, I received a call that said my clients, you guys, had awarded me the highest rating since they have had the new scoring. I am, truly, honored to serve the best clients on the planet and will continue to take the Leadership and Culture message to as many as we can reach!



Advice to New Hires

In the podcast on the first 100 days, we started the business discussion around new hires. The question was, “If you are new to a position, what should your first 100 days look like?”

The first 100 days is that learning time frame. It’s a time to know and to become known. This boils down into two questions:

  • What creates Influence?
  • How do I influence here?

What creates Influence?

I’ve used the B.A.R.K.S. acronym for years to help individual contributors and leaders to work on building their influence, building the trust of others.

B – Be Consistent.

A key component is to become a known commodity. Being consistent allows everyone to know and count on you. Early on, you are an unknown. It is important to become know is a consistent, go-to player. People trust what they can count on.

A – Attitude

Of all the areas to be consistent in it’s attitude. Even while you are learning the organization and moving toward making a business impact, you can, immediately, make a difference by modeling the best attitude. Be that positive voice that can-do attitude!

R – Real

While being that voice of positivity is important, authenticity is just a key. There will, almost always, still be the ‘feeling out’ period. The period of time when we put our best foot forward and insure that others only experience the best we have to offer. In the midst of that, if your actions and attitude seem fake or over-the-top, it will hurt not help. Being Real, being authentic allows people to trust your character, your intentions, and your motives.

K – Knowledge

Knowledge is a key influence factor. We need to trust your character AND your competence. Where you have knowledge, share that knowledge. The experiences and insights that you have gained can be offered in a way that demonstrates that you have a level of subject matter expertise. As an additional point, when you are new to an organization, it is a great time to offer your knowledge in a way that says, I know ‘x’ but how does that apply here? Is there something different here that might change the context of what I know to be true? or true in this situation?

S – Serve first

Having a serving attitude and being one of the first to jump in, go the extra mile goes a long way to earning respect becoming known as a value-added contributor.

The B.A.R.K.S. methodology is a great basis for building that trust bank account and developing an internal brand that says I’m the real deal and delivers results while contributing to a positive culture!

Learn the Organization

When you are new to an organization, it’s important to learn how to succeed in that organization. Every leader and every organization has a little different approach. Each leader and each organization values things just a little different. This is termed, “Lens Theory.” We all have different views and we see things through our ‘Lens’. When you apply this organizationally, it means that there are things that matter to your leader and what is means to be a valued contributor in THIS organization.

  • Learn your Organization
  • Learn your Leader
  • Learn your Team
  • Learn your Role

Key points in learning the Organization are around people and process. Who are the influencers? And How do things get done around here?

Results are key to influencing within an organization but what that means and how it is accomplished can be interesting between different business units. In addition to learning how to get things done, you may discover who has influence. When you take the time to learn who has influence, who has formal and informal power, it can go a long way toward your success!

Obviously, one of the first influencers you want to learn is your immediate up-line. Learning what your leader values, their personality, their priorities, their methodologies are key in adding value the right way.

I know it’s a blinding flash of the obvious, but here’s a good 1-liner to remember:

“Adding value in a way that the leader doesn’t value – doesn’t add value!”

We have to learn to lift our leader – to add value to our leader – in ways that the leader prefers.

Wrapping up for today, it’s key to be very intentional during your first 100 days. This can be a critical time to build your reputation inside an organization. In quick, ‘Fullerism’ fashion:

Learn how to ‘Bark’ and how to “bark’ here!

Have a great week!

The First 100 Days…

In 1933, then President, Franklin D. Roosevelt coined a phrase discussing the actions during the first 100 days of a congressional session. It stuck as a ‘yard stick’ of effectiveness.

The beginning of any new venture is when there is a lot of passion, energy, and enthusiasm. Belief is high, optimism is high, and people are expecting change. Sadly, for a President, it is reported to be the highest favorable rating period. SO – if the next 100 days is when I have the greatest opportunity to make my mark, the time when I have the most grace, the most belief, energy, etc. – then I should leverage THAT to accomplish as much as possible.

A conversation around this became week’s podcast and, although Brett and I were remote for the first time, there is a wealth of leadership insights in this quick 20 minutes or so.

**Disclaimer ** None of the podcast or blog contains anything around politics – just concept and leadership lessons.

Brett pointed the conversation into 3 different groups: Individual Contributors, Leaders, and Senior Leaders.

For all 3 groups a key is to learn the organization: “You can’t lead in an organization that you don’t know.”

For our time on the blog, I’d ask you to consider your present scenario. What are 3-5 items that, if they were complete in the next 100 days, would create significant impact in your 2017?

I want to encourage you to take a fresh look at the next 100 days of your life and/or business.

With a renewed energy of someone coming into your scenario for the first time:

  • What needs to change?
  • Where should you focus?
  • How and where should you channel effort and energy?
  • What are the next 3-5 steps for each?
  • What resources are needed?
  • How can I get my team to a greater level of understanding, buy-in, commitment, and effort?

Let’s call a sprint! A 100 day, focused effort, renewed energy, bust through the barriers sprint! It will pay amazing dividends for the 2nd half of the year.

There is so much more about this on the podcast. In listening to it, again, I captured 3 pages of take-aways!

This morning, I am committing to focused energy by attending a local event on how to grow your speaking/consulting business, as I did a few weeks back when I attended a week-end conference.

Do I want to give up my Saturday morning? NO! Would I like to chill, rest, hang out? YES! But I am dedicated to paying the price that others won’t, to attain what other’s don’t!

For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!


The Roles of Leadership

Last week we discussed ‘Chasing the Dream, Building Your Team’ and the more I thought about that lesson, the clearer is became that I wanted to build on it. I’m often asked, “Where do I start?” and if you are in leadership (and most places in life), the answer is… Start with Self!

While we discussed looking at the roles within the team and who played which role, the most important role for any team is the leader. As the leader goes… so goes the team.

In this week’s podcast, I set out to give my list of some of the roles of a leader and I would love for you to weigh in with your thoughts of the roles a leader could/should play.

In leadership, there are principles and practices; characteristics and competencies. One of the places we start with is what are the needs of the organization? What are the needs of the team? We take stock of the present situation to determine the need. It is essential that Leadership direct all things (people, process, resources) toward an outcome and that cannot occur without an understanding of present reality. Which leads to my first role of a leader:

  1. Assess the Present

In order to lead, in order to attain any destination, we have to look at where we are presently. If we don’t assess the present (with an understanding of what got us here) than we might not make the right moves for the present scenario. Please spend the time to gain full awareness in assessing the present. So what components of the present should we assess?

  • Assess the Situation
  • Assess the Team
  • Assess the Resources

Assessing the present opens up to knowing your product or service, knowing your process, market conditions, customer satisfaction and in the midst of all of that – the team you have inherited to get you there. (Their capabilities, their capacity, their commitment; the present culture)

While keeping an eye on the present is great, we can’t focus only on the present. While keeping one eye on the present, we keep the other on the future possibilities. This is the second role of a leader.

  1. Inspire the possibilities of the future

People need to believe that tomorrow will be better; that the promise of the future is greater than the past. A mark of a good leader is to be able to cast vision for what the future might look like, to inspire the workforce that they can achieve greatness AND to create buy-in that you are the leader that will help them achieve it. ** Belief and Buy-in **

See the envisioned future, raise the bar, and infuse the team with the right mindset (spirit).

  • Believe in your people
  • Develop your people
  • Map the methodology

Once you’ve set roles 1 and 2, the next role is to determine and communicate the next step

  1. Determine the Direction

Leaders orient the team in the right direction. When the true leader speaks with confidence and points the team in the right direction, dynamics start to change. Leaders must set the direction.

This, however, does not mean that you must know the 32 next steps in the process. Many times in leadership, you find out THE next step, take that step and look for the next. It is ok to step out your envisioned future, expecting that after taking a step – the next one will reveal itself. You will be 1 step closer with a little more knowledge and trust that the next door will open.

  1. Setting the expectation.

Another Fullerism comes to mind which is, “What you permit, you promote; what you allow, you endorse.”

Without the right expectations, clearly communicated, how will our teams ever fulfill their roles?

These are just 4 of the 10 roles of a leader. For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!





Chasing the Dream, Building Your Team (the Right Way)

All businesses want to “chase the dream” but, to be successful, you have to do it strategically by building your team. Don’t just name your goals and then hope your current team can achieve them. Instead, you have to first define:

  • What are you chasing?
  • What’s the existing skill set of your current team?
  • What’s the plan to maximize capabilities?

Once you’ve defined your goals, and identified current market conditions, it’s vital to strategically add the right people to the mix.

In my book, Iditarod Leadership, I talk about unleashing the power of the team. In the annual Iditarod race, for example, there are roles that must be performed, but who is positioned in each slot is completely and necessarily different. (BTW, Iditarod 2017 starts this next week! Keep an eye on the progress and leverage the race to talk with your team)

The goal is clear: Win the race. To make that possible, we have to define the roles that must be filled. In the example of the race, there are lots—from the musher and support team to a kennel of 100 dogs that is eventually narrowed to the final 16.

In business, it’s the same. While roles are standard responsibilities, each player’s individual strengths and weaknesses come into play. How do we make sure that the right person with the right knowledge is in the right seat, at the right time?

The race has variables that have to be considered when selecting a team. It’s vital that the team include dogs that have physical strength for bursts of speed, as well endurance for the long haul, but early on you have to also begin to measure the conditions. Is El Nino a factor? What are the weather patterns? How is the trail? This year, for the third time, they have moved the start to Fairbanks!

That’s such a key piece for us as leaders in building and running a professional team. Do you know the market conditions right now? How about the next phase? Is this a start-up, maintenance or ramp down?

One of the biggest challenges I see leaders experience is when the people on their team are not ready for a problem when the problem hits. That’s why advance preparation is so key to reaching goals the most efficient, effective way possible.

Are you launching a brand new office, like an Iditarod team blazing a fresh trail after new snow? That requires a strategy all its own. While consulting with a client who was masterminding a huge start-up operation, I found it was better to create a team from scratch—what we would essentially call a strike force. In that situation, you get in. You hit it. You hit it hard.

For the first three or four weeks, it’s go, Go, GO! They needed a ramp-up team, hard-charging lead dogs, to get it done, 20 hours a day, whatever it took—all in. Then they transitioned into the standard business phase and needed somebody else that could do the daily treadmill for about four to eight months. They needed the 8-to-5’ers and then, at least for this particular project, a ramp-down team.

What is your situation? Are you opening new offices? Expanding? Retracting? Moving from Europe to Asia? Asia to other emerging markets? Based on your answer, you can then decide, “What do I need?”

If you’re doing a startup, running 20 hours a day, you need to know if those trailbreakers are also your best picks for the next phase. They like to charge ahead and, if you give them the daily responsibilities, they’re going to burn out—or get bored. For that middle phase, you want the people that can be completely satisfied running daily operations and pursuing performance improvement of 2%-10%. Does that make sense?

That’s what I mean by putting the right team in the right spot for the right run, knowing what you need to do.

The vast majority of leaders already have their team established before evaluating. They approach their task by saying, “This is the team I have and this is what I need accomplished. How do I get that done with the team I have?”

When that’s the case, back up. There may either be ways that you can develop people on your team for the skill set needed ahead, add a different player (even temporarily) or trade a player out. What you don’t want to do is try to get the job done with people that can’t get you there. Remember:

“The team you inherit is not your fault, the team you have a year from now is, squarely, on you!”

Once you’ve taken into account each person’s strengths and weaknesses (including times they’ve been on “thin ice”—and recovered well or not), you can make informed decisions to meet needs.

Be prepared to chase the dream—but chase it strategically. As my mentor, John Maxwell has often said, “Teamwork makes the dream work!” That only happens with the right team.

For more on this topic, click the mic to check out the full podcast. Have a great week!

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