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Once again I’m packing up my hotel room so I can move everything to the main office and then go home once again for what always feels like a very short weekend. I absolutely hate the process of packing up my room, but last year I was paying for time that I wasn’t here and it got pretty expensive. I have better ways of throwing my money away where I actually enjoy myself.

Fair Dealing
Giulia Forsythe via Compfight

The strange thing is that I never feel the same stress when I’m leaving home to go out of town. You’d think that pressure would be greater and yet it never is. There are two reasons for that. One, I know I can always buy whatever I need when I’m out of town so there’s no big deal if I forget something. Two… I have a cheat sheet to help me pack.

I created it back in 2005 when I was doing my second long traveling stint. Because I drove, and of course times were different then, I could take everything with me in the car, which was better because things cost less at home than in Westchester County. Also, I was packing a suitcase every week as opposed to now, and I also did laundry every week as opposed to now.

Why don’t I have a sheet when I’m out of town and it’s time to pack? I don’t really know. I realize that it might help cut down some of the stress, but I also know that when push comes to shove, I’ll get it done, tossed into one of my two boxes, my laundry basket or my main travel bag, which I brought the first time I went out of town and have left ever since.

I tell this story because I know it’s the story of so many businesses in this country, including where I’m working right now. There are standards that have been passed down over time but few actually written policies. There are some written procedures, but that’s about it.

Why the need for written policies? Because things change and people change and interpretations change. Because most information gets passed down by someone who heard if from someone else who heard it from someone else… how many times can you say that? You also know it’s true.

A lot of what I do comes down to interpretation. Suffice is to say that not everyone agrees with my interpretation of things because I don’t agree with everything someone else says all the time. However, everything would go along much more smoothly if there were specific policies to address things as opposed to one overriding policy that, though it seems like it could be a good idea, is lacking because it really doesn’t address the issue and leaves so many gray areas unattended.

In any case I did a video on the subject as well to help hammer out the issue. What do you think about having written policies and procedures? Helpful, needed, or just a waste of time? Check out the video, then let me know.
 


http://youtu.be/MVZuz1uZzLw

 

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There was an ad for an anti-perspirant from a couple of decades ago with the slogan “never let them see you sweat”. It promised to keep you dry during those tense moments when you start sweating under your arms during stressful times, though it had a humorous bent to it.

sky dive
Creative Commons License Bilal Kamoon via Compfight

There’s nothing more powerful than being confident. When you’re confident you do your best work. When you’re confident people respond to you in the most positive ways. Confidence is infectious if it’s genuine.

Just to get this out of the way, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and sometimes people can’t define which one it is, including the person who’s confident. Telling someone how you accomplished something fantastic can be taken in different ways based on the audience you’re delivering it to and how you tell the tale. I think discriminating people will figure it out, but sometimes you can’t control how everyone will see you.

The strange thing about confidence is how many people lack it. Indeed, those who lack confidence might not always be ready to accept yours. If you’re confident that you’re going to be a success in business but other people have no background in what you’re trying to do, they’ll find it difficult to see things your way. Thus, either inadvertently or on purpose they’ll try to diffuse your confidence with “common sense”. If they don’t know what they’re talking about shame on them; just go on with your bad self.

Let’s talk about what brings about confidence. I’m going to give you 5 ways to identify confidence and one or two of them are going to throw you off. Yet these are my thoughts on the subject; give me yours later in the comments.

1. Confident people often have a pattern of successes. It may not always be coming in first place but if you’re sometimes the top dog and up near the top more often than not, that breeds a sense of confidence that’s hard to overcome. Whether others like it or not, that’s hard to ignore.

2. Confident people have a great sense of what they’re about. They haven’t waited around for someone else to tell them how good they are. They know when they’ve written something or done something that it’s good work because they either followed all the rules or broke all the rules and came up with something better. And they know it… even if it’s not true. :-)

3. Confident people don’t worry that someone else shares in their achievements, but is always on guard of being superseded. Truly confident people aren’t worried about being upstaged here and there and definitely don’t mind working alongside with others and sharing success with them. At the same time they don’t want to be metaphorically asked “what have you done for me lately”, so they’re always trying to improve and always working on staying informed.

4. Confident people are doers. Taking time to research something or experiment to try to get something as correct as possible makes logical sense but at some point it’s time to act. Even if it’s not perfect or close to perfect you’ll never know until you actually do something and put it out to the world whether it works or not.

5. Confident people aren’t afraid to challenge others who might think they’re better than they are… in the spirit of competition of course. Maybe you can beat all your friends at a game of tennis and you feel pretty good about that. Confident people enjoy that for a while and then need the next challenge, someone who might be better than them which they won’t know until they get a chance to take them on. And if they lose… so what, they keep coming back for more, getting better, even if they don’t ever win. It’s about the process of growth sometimes because you can’t get better staying in one place.

Where do you fit on this scale? What are you willing to do to become more confident? Maybe the video below will give a bit more insight; enjoy!
 


http://youtu.be/syMZDh-reC8

 

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This past Friday I was in my home area and decided to spend a few hours at the local casino, which is about 40 minutes away. I got a seat at a table immediately and had a pretty good time for the next few hours.

white dogs
zen Sutherland via Compfight

Unfortunately, I could only say pretty good. That’s because there was a guy to my left who had problems controlling his temper. To say he wasn’t having a good day would be an understatement. However, he was mainly losing to two guys who were, for the most part, dominating the table, having great days. When I got to the table he warned me about the luck of these two guys; seems like he couldn’t figure out that they weren’t lying to him with the bets they were making.

So I had to deal with temper tantrums and a lot of cursing, and not just when he lost but a continuous diatribe that, if I wasn’t sitting next to him I might have found funny eventually. Instead, I decided after about an hour to put on my earbuds and listen to my recorded book on my smartphone, as it has noise cancelling properties and basically blocked him out if he wasn’t directing his stream in my direction, which he wasn’t thank goodness.

Just to add this, as much as he was fussing and cursing and behaving badly, it was really all his fault. Poker can be a dicey game, one where if you’re cautious you’ll sit back and watch sometimes, passing hands that are dodgy, and that’s a big part of poker. If you watch tournaments on TV it looks like these guys are playing lots of hands but in reality there’s a lot of sitting and watching.

Not this guy. I can’t think of a single hand he didn’t play, and very few times he’d throw his hand in early. In essence, he was one of those guys who thought that if he kept betting he’d push people off a hand and pick up enough pots to keep him solid as far as his money went. That’s a risky strategy normally, but one of the guys who kept beating him kept doing the same thing, only his luck was good that day. On another day he’d probably lose $500 quick and be home pretty quickly.

This isn’t a post about poker but about behavior. More specifically, it’s about losing control and how others perceive that. It’s my belief that this wasn’t a one time thing for the guy who kept losing. This means that every time he leaves the house to go play poker, players beware. The best thing for everyone is that this wasn’t one of those big guys who might decide to confront someone physically. Still, you never know right?

(001/365) Who are you & what have you done with my MOM!?
Daniel Norwood via Compfight

If you think this kind of behavior is abhorrent you’re correct. If you think it’s a rare occurrence you’d be sadly mistaken. I have seen many managers act this same way, and it’s intolerable. Many employees are scared of managers like this because they worry about confronting them and losing their jobs. They worry about going to human resources because word will get back to management, which it always does, along with who made the complaint; many human resource departments haven’t quite figured out how to handle that type of thing.

Truth is, this isn’t the world to act that way. There are more people who are willing to do something about it and I don’t mean trying to talk it out. We hear all the time about confrontations that occur in the workplace and end up with someone being killed, and almost always it’s the manager who started it all.

No one has the right to yell at anyone at work; no exceptions. Even if you’re the owner, you need to check yourself. If it’s an employee consistently acting like that, they have to go. The only time I ever remember behavior like that not impacting work is the 1972 – ’73 Oakland Athletics, whose players were constantly getting in fights with each other. Yes, they still won 2 championships, but within a couple of years they were all on different teams because they couldn’t stand working with each other anymore.

No one wants to be around someone acting like this all the time. Goodness, the guy I was sitting next to had a few moments where he was a decent guy. But only a few; if I didn’t have my smartphone and earbuds with me I might have asked to move to a different table.

Do you exhibit behavior like this, even if it’s not on a constant basis? If so, it’s something you should think about before that option is taken away from you in one way or another.

At least he didn’t yell at me when I beat him out of some hands. :-)
 

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When LeBron James decided a couple of weeks ago that he was going to return back to the Cleveland Cavaliers, I had a very strange reaction to it. I was confused; that’s it. I wasn’t confused because he was going to a bad team. I wasn’t even confused that he was going back to his hometown.

tell me, where is the love?
Creative Commons License Tony Fischer via Compfight

I was confused because he was going back to work for someone who openly castigated him in a letter when he made his initial decision 4 years ago to go to another team, a letter that, until a month before LeBron decided he was going back, still sat out there on the team’s website.

I thought that was one of the worst things I’d ever seen, a major overreaction to what was a business decision by a spoiled rich guy, and something I felt was unforgivable. I thought James did the right thing years ago, the letter proved to me that it was the right thing, and yet my mind couldn’t get around this fact that he’d gone back, even though the guy did apologize… after James said he was going back.

I don’t do forgiveness well. I own up to that, and not being religious, I feel no faith based breaking of morality in being that way. I wish I was better at it, but I’m not. I tend to give people a lot of chances, and for the most part I’m pretty easy going. But there are wrongs that I won’t forgive, and even if I find a way to get beyond it I’ll never forget; how come getting older and starting to forget things doesn’t impact older memories?

Three years ago I ended up having to sue someone because he hadn’t paid me for work I did. Part of it was my fault for not making sure he signed my contract before I did the work. Most of it was his fault for not treating me like a professional. I’m good at what I do, and I had completed all the work he’d asked for.

During the lawsuit, which went two days 3 months apart, he made a statement that he would never recommend me to any of his other clients. I found that an interesting statement because it presumed I would ever work with him again. He was upset I sued him; I was upset that he hadn’t paid me for my work.

In truth, the problem was that he didn’t have an understanding of the work I did. I had written him a report that he didn’t understand, and he spent his time trying to convince the judge that I had written something that was jibberish. I was able to come back with a copy of my book, a copy of a book by a famous person with my name in it as one of the proofreaders, my name in a national emergency room billing training manual as an editor, copies of numerous articles I’d written for national magazines, and other writings I’d had that are all over the internet. Yes, I was loaded for bear. When the judge asked me what I wanted I said “I want to be paid” and I was paid, though it took 2 installments over the course of two weeks; not what was agreed upon in front of the judge but I went with it.

Here’s the thing. What was still to come was presenting the information to his client, even though that wasn’t my client. It was a phone meeting, since I decided I didn’t want to drive 4 hours to deliver the report, not knowing how he’d described my behavior to any of the people there. Over the course of 90 minutes the director there and myself had a great conversation about all my findings and recommendations. My client listened in, posed a question here and there, but for the most part didn’t get involved. Why? Because I presented the same report I’d originally written, the one he didn’t understand and said was jibberish, to someone who fully understood everything I was saying, knowing it wasn’t jibberish.

Show-off :-)
Stewart Baird via Compfight

That was pleasant and confirmed my belief that this wasn’t a guy I’d ever work with again. Or would I? If his client ended up duly impressed and he had a change of heart, and came back to me with a proposal and, this time, went along with my contract terms, it might be possible that I’d have worked with him again.

What do these two tales teach us? It takes some time to evaluate what’s important enough to fight for and then to determine what steps to take. At the time I sued, the amount of money was significant, even though I make more money than that most of the time. I’d given him a discount based on the promise of doing 4 projects for him, then he lost my trust.

However, in both my case and LeBron’s case, in the end we both won. I got my money, LeBron won his championships, and neither of us had to regret anything we did. Life doesn’t always work out that way though. Many people worry about burning bridges and yes, that’s something to think about whenever you decide to disassociate yourself with someone.

However, sometimes you have to be ready to stand up for yourself, no matter the consequences, when you know you’re right. Not that right always wins, but right is always right. Knowing what to do with it and what you can live with can determine your success later in life, as well as your peace of mine.

I’m peaceful enough…
 

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Maybe it’s me, but I don’t think so. It seems like there are people who want big careers yet don’t want to work for it. I’m not talking about 18 to 20 hours a day kind of work; I’m talking about the kind of work where you put in some time researching and learning something before you just go at it. Let me explain with a little story.

Lazy tiger
Creative Commons License Tambako The Jaguar
via Compfight

As some of you know I have 5 blogs. I’ll accept advertising on a few of them, but over the years I’ve only ever had advertising on two of them. One of those is my finance blog, which used to make a nice little bit of change, enough to cover the cost of hosting all my blogs and websites at least.

I received a letter from someone who wanted to advertise on that site. It was a standard form letter, one that was missing a critical component of any communications to me. It didn’t have my name in the email. While that might not seem like a big deal I tend to believe that if you want to do business with someone that at the very least you should know their name before you contact them.

I ignored the email and moved on with life. Over the course of a week and a half this person wrote me 3 more emails, with the last 3 asking if I’d seen the first email and including the contents of the original one. At this point I figured the guy was persistent, which meant he had an opportunity to be saved with a little lesson.

I wrote him back and told him that I usually don’t respond to such letters but in this case, since he was persistent, I would. I said that in my opinion, persistent or not, I believed he was being lazy in trying to do his job. I told him I believed this because, based on his email, he had never visited the site to even see if it was a place where his advertising might work.

I told him I based this off the fact that on the site I have an About page that immediately tells anyone who contacts me that my name has to be in the email. I told him that I also have another page there that tells what my advertising policy is. I then said that had he just taken the time to actually visit my page and check out those two links, or even just the advertising link, that he’d have known what I’d accept and could have written me a more specific email than the one he did.

I concluded by saying that because his email left me with a feeling that neither he or his company would care anything about me because no one took the time to even try to learn anything about me or my business that I would be declining any participation with them.

Was that harsh? You tell me.

lazy
Tony Delgrosso via Compfight

Here’s my way of thinking. I’m an independent, incorporated business. I have to market myself in certain ways to specific types of businesses. Like almost any other marketer, you only get one chance to make a good impression, not a first impression, especially via marketing material.

Whenever there are organizations I want to work with in some fashion, I always check out their websites. I also always look for people’s names associated with the organization and, more specifically, the names of the people who I feel are the proper people to contact. That way, I can send a more personal email, showing that I took the time to learn something about the organization.

Does this work? There are hundreds of surveys and lots of written advice,including Monster.com, that not only recommends people learn something about the company they’re applying to for jobs but also give tips on how to do it. Employers are not only flattered but impressed when potential employees show initiative; stand out from the crowd if you will.

Is it possible that I threw away money because I felt I had a standard or principle I needed to stick with? Anything is possible. However, if you saw the volume of requests I get from people asking for things that are right on the front page of that site, showing that not only are they lying by saying they’re reading the content but that they know they can offer what I need (really; without asking me?), you’d see that, like job qualifications in a newspaper, I need to filter out some of these folks from the others, otherwise I’d never get anything finished.

Think about what you do. Are you giving it your best attention and really trying your best, or are you cutting corders? Are you having the success you believe you should be getting or just getting by and wondering why it’s not bigger success? Think about it; the answer might be right here.
 

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In my previous post, which was on my business anniversary, I talked about 13 leadership lessons I’ve learned over 13 years. I’ve learned a lot more but I wanted to highlight those 13.

On the same day I did a video on my business YouTube channel giving 13 business lessons that I’ve learned in the same time period. I’m sharing that particular video below:
 


http://youtu.be/roOzb1sdqYA

Although I want people to go watch the video, where I went in more depth on the 13 lessons, I thought I’d share those lessons here as a list so that, if you go there, you’ll know what I’m going to address, and if you need to you can skip to find where each lesson begins, in case you only want to hear one that you think might apply to you.

Here are the 13 business tips:

1. Don’t let your work define who you are
2. Don’t take yourself too seriously
3. Sometimes you have to let the money go to stand for a principle
4. Everyone is a potential business connection, but don’t overthink it
5. Find people you can talk to on a business level, whether they’re in your same field or not; never be afraid to ask for help
6. Always give your best effort; once the word gets out that you don’t, you can never overcome the stigma
7. Always make sure to charge enough to get the client to think about hiring you and enough that you can live on
8. Customers aren’t always right but work hard to treat them fairly, even when they’ve lost their minds
9. Sometimes doing something for free will earn you more money in the long run
10. Don’t always be selling; sometimes you have to be a regular person
11. Never miss the opportunity to let people know what you do; just don’t be pushy about it
12. Be flexible in what you have to offer; you might have to make money in ways that deviate from your main business
13. Take care of yourself first; no one else will if you don’t try

unnamed

I think those are some pretty good business lessons, also somewhat motivational. I did 30 days in a row of videos in June, and if you’re predisposed to do so you can take a look at the list of videos after you’ve watched the first one to see if any of them might tickle your fancy. Of course there are always more lessons on leadership and associated topics, and this blog always has a lot of those, so there’s plenty for everybody.

I want to put this out there, in case there are new readers who may not have seen this from me before. I’m always available to answer questions on this blog, and if some of those questions are intriguing or something I’m asked often I’d probably turn them into a blog post. After all, if one person has an issue then many others probably have the same issue. To contact me, look at the link to the left that says About and you’ll find my email address; it’s that simple.

There you go. Read this, watch the video, leave a comment here and on the video, like the video, then look at my About page and send me a question. Enjoy!
 

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Today is my 13th year in business as T. T. Mitchell Consulting; the incorporated part came in 2006. Last year I was a day late and only had 3 leadership lessons that, as I look back on it, weren’t really leadership lessons but more motivational lessons. I was also more under a time gun last year, which I wasn’t the year before when I did 11 business lessons, and I did something the year before that also.


The best thing about each anniversary is that I’ve proven that I could make it this far; something like 85-90% of all business end within the first 5 years. Not that I’m anything special; just stubborn and somewhat lucky.

Still, I’ve been here 13 years, and I’ve learned a lot that I want to share some of on this post. I’ll offer the caveat that some of these I’ve probably talked about in some fashion previously, including in my latest video series that I talked about in the previous post. This isn’t going to be necessarily short; as a matter of fact, grab something to drink and maybe a piece of cake (mmmm, cake…) before you start reading, and enjoy:

1. No one leads well if they don’t want to be the leader

Not everyone who’s in a leadership position wanted to be there. Some people felt like they had to take it. Some wanted more money. Some took the spot because they didn’t want someone else to take it.

Like when you were in school, you do best when you like the subject, or in this case the job. Leadership is a privilege but it should also be something you embrace and want to do well at. If you don’t care, or don’t want to be there… you’ll never be any good at it. You can learn if you care.

2. The art of listening is probably the most important thing to learn

I don’t know about societies in other countries but in our country we don’t listen well. I’m not perfect at it either; I’ll forget a name I just heard within seconds; I can’t even blame that one on age.

But when it comes to working with and helping others, I’m a great listener. I want to make sure I hear everything that’s being said and sometimes what’s not being said, and I want to get it all before I talk, if I can. When people start to ramble and are repeating themselves, if I’m listening properly I know when to stop them and take over.

If you’re a proper listener, you’ll know that sometimes all you have to do is listen and not comment at all. That one’s hard, but sometimes it’s the best thing at the moment. That’s why listening is a skill all leaders need to learn.

3. Delegation is your friend

I’ve shared stories many times of being a young leader and initially trying to take on all the work myself before I remembered I had people who were trained, or needed to be trained, to do that work instead so I could do the work I was hired to do, which was lead.

Delegation can be hard because you want to be fair but you also need to make sure that everyone has enough to do. If not, you might have to change things around, even let some people go, so that you keep people busy and energized, but not overworked as much as possible. Never use delegation as a punishment but do use delegation to not only help you, but to see if you have potential leaders in your midst.

Leadership quote
Creative Commons License photosteve101 via Compfight

4. Always be as even keeled as possible, but lean towards the happy side

Something that will cause people to be hesitant to come to work everyday is wondering how the leader, manager, or supervisor, is going to be feeling when that person comes into the office. If you’re happy then all is good, but if you’re an angry type of person the mood is going to be bad, which means the work is going to be bad.

It’s hard to be in the same mood everyday because we never know how outside factors are going to affect us. Still, it’s very important to try to show the same type of demeanor everyday when you come into the office, and hopefully you’re able to come in without being angry; being neutral is preferable to that, but being kind of happy is even better. Don’t ruin everyone’s day because you can’t pull it together.

5. Treat everyone fair, even those who don’t work for you

I always speak about fairness instead of equality because you might have to alter how you treat some people based on their skill level. However, I usually talk more about the people who work directly for you instead of everyone else.

Truth be told, I like to think that my general success as a leader when I was an every day director is that I didn’t see anyone in any other department as less than myself or my department, but integral to the success of the entire operation. Housekeeping keeps hospitals from looking bad and helps them pass OSHA regulations. Cafeteria people help patients get proper nutrition. Maintenance keeps the physical plant working properly. This isn’t just in hospitals but in every business.

If you treat people fairly they’ll remember it when you need some help, and trust me at some point you’ll need help beyond the people who work for you. Others are more apt to help you if you’ve been nice to them and treated them as equals.

6. Don’t ever think you’ve above someone else because of your title; always think of everyone as your equal, and make them see it that way also

One of the best lessons I learned early on in consulting is that if I can get people on my side, even if initially they didn’t want to be, that things always worked out better. There were times when I had to pull rank to get people going, and I did it because that’s what I was paid to do. But once I convinced them that what we were doing was in their best interest, and I always worked towards that goal, and they believed it, I not only got things completed quicker but I also gave them credit for helping me achieve success, which made them look good also.

What I’ve found is that many times people are afraid you’re going to come in and make them look bad. I won’t say that’s never happened, but almost always I’ve made people look good because the only agenda I’ve ever had was to get things fixed. When it’s only business and you can convince others of that things go smoothly, everyone feels like they’ve been treated fairly and as equals, and it’s amazing what gets accomplished.

A Man and his Poodles
Theen Moy via Compfight

7. Be nice; you never know when someone might be of assistance

Years ago I was in a tough position at a hospital in New York City. The employees had been told not to work with me because they were battling upper management, and upper management wasn’t happy with me because I was trying to pull the hospital into financial compliance, which hurt the money coming in for a few weeks.

Every day I came in I acted the same, even with the frustration. I spoke to people nicely and never showed any concern towards them, even though it make things incredibly difficult.

That is, for a while. At a certain point I got one person who came to my side, then a couple others, and even though I probably never got everyone by the time I’d decided to leave we were accomplishing some things, cleaning up a lot of problems, and my last week there we had the biggest cash week that hospital had seen all year, which actually surprised the VP of Finance, who thought I had no idea what I was doing.

Being nice got people to see that I wasn’t a management lackey and that my concern was only for the work, nothing else, and they helped me in the long run.

8. Offer help but don’t push it on someone unless you have to

I often run into people who think no one except them knows how to do anything. Unfortunately, perception is reality in their eyes, thus they treat people like imbeciles and unknowingly make people unhappy that have to deal with them.

The truth is that most people are competent enough to do their jobs without someone standing over them all day long. They might not have the foresight of knowing more than what they’ve been taught but that doesn’t mean they’re dumb. Sometimes we have to evaluate the skills someone has before deciding that they need help.

If they’re doing fine leave them alone and move on. If not, teach them the right way even if they don’t want the help because, as the leader, it all comes back on you. Always go into every encounter thinking people are smart because if you think they’re not then they won’t be in your eyes and you can’t ever evaluate someone properly coming from that point of view.

9. If you have employees, you should always be looking for leaders and helping them to grow

I was always big on this one when I was a regular director, and I’ve been in the position as a consultant to make recommendations on people I’m working with here and there.

Sometimes you have to find ways to evaluate people by either giving them special projects or teaching them something new and seeing how they handle it. Never be afraid of someone making you look bad because they’re good; if they’re good, unless you’re horrible they’ll make you look good. They’ll certainly make your life easier.

10. Everyone won’t like you or agree with the way you lead so do the best you can for the majority while making sure you’re not alienating the other side

I’ve told the story a few times about having myself evaluated by a select number of employees, without my knowing who said what. Most people gave me 5′s across the board, but every once in a while I’d have someone give me 2′s or 3′s. If I had 20 people surveyed and I got one or two results that way, I looked at the percentages and figured I was doing right overall and went on with life.

Not everyone can be Nadia Com─âneci (if you’re too young to remember, she got the first perfect score ever in women’s gymnastics in the 1976 Olympics) and score perfection. But we can all be pretty good and pretty fair.

We also must remember to not be punitive against people who might not see things our way. As long as folks aren’t sabotaging your operation they deserve to feel how they feel; the best you can do is your best.


11. Thinking time is working time; if you don’t do it, you can’t innovate or improve

If you never take time to think you’ll never figure out ways to make improvements. As a consultant, there have been numerous times where I had to sit at the desk, put on some music, and just think about what’s going on, what I should do, how I should do it and then go and do it.

As a leader, you need to try to stay ahead of stagnation and disaster. Even if you can’t think of ways to do that, taking time to think things through will at least keep you on par with what’s going on, and that will put you ahead of the majority.

12. There’s no shame in modifying things for some workers and not for others because everyone learns at a different pace. Just make sure you don’t overdo for those who can’t learn

Remember the thing about treating people fairly, not equally? If you remember school again you’ll remember that some people took longer to learn some concepts or facts than other people did. What you probably never paid attention to was that sometimes the people who took longer to learn retained what they learned longer and better than those who learned quickly, then move on.

Every business that has lots of employees need various types. We need some who are fast, some who are accurate, some who remember all the rules they’ve ever learned, and some who learn the rules and immediately figure out better ways to go things.

At the same time we need to learn who’s falling behind, who’s holding the department back if it’s happening, be ready to see if they can improve but also be ready to move on without them. Everything isn’t for everybody, whether the job is simple or hard. It’s a good thing I never had to be a car mechanic; the horror stories I could tell! :-)

13. It’s not always about you

After I spent a lot of time talking about what people need to work on to be good or great leaders, I finish with this one to bring everything back into perspective.

While you have to remember to think about yourself and your needs and goals, when all is said and done you have to remember that you’re not an island and everyone else isn’t there for you to do whatever you will with.

If you’re a fair and competent leader, you’ll understand that part of your mission is to help others be better whenever possible, help them to grow, allow them to participate if they choose, give them credit where it’s due, and remember that they have lives and families outside of work.

If you help to enhance the lives of others, it will invariably help you in the long run. That shouldn’t be your motivation for looking out for others, but it’s nice to know that there’s a positive symbiosis just waiting for you if you do things with good intentions.

Whew; that’s been a mouthful! I hope this wasn’t too much, and maybe I’ll tone it down for next year; maybe that is. Let’s see if I can make 14; the journey’s always intriguing.
 

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