Saturday, February 12, 2011

Social Media and the Chain of Command

With the advent and speed of Social media, how are organizations able to move fast enough to take advantage of fast moving trends or negate the effects of negative social media? Especially, when changes within social media happen so quickly, within nano seconds. Do companies have the time to have disempowered leadership at the middle or bottom of the organization? I believe the answer to be, No.

With a companies reputation and bottom line at risk every time someone sends out negative feedback or vibe into social media. Companies must be able to respond just as quick. If an organization is set-up, in a traditional top to bottom hierarchy, then by the time the top brass gets the decision back down to the right people, the damage is done and can be irreversible. Likewise, if you are to stay ahead of the competition, you must be able to take advantage of a positive feedback or opportunity as well.

How does a company prepare it's leadership, at all levels, for dealing with continuous decision making?
  • Training: Train your employees from top to bottom about the pitfalls and advantages of utilizing social media. Develop and outline protocol of social media use in reference to your business. Create policy on how to respond to social media as if it where a risk management situation. Role play with your people, allowing them the opportunity to see how the processes work outside of a real world, real time. That way, when they are faced with the real world decision, they can be more comfortable about the systems in place to make it. Most importantly, train your people how to quickly asses a situation and the make a fast, but good decision. 
  • Lessons learned: Continually train your leadership about what has worked and what hasn't. Take not only the bad from your own company, look outside at other companies and learn from their mistakes. If you are constantly evaluating your decision making it will continue to get better. Take those decisions that were OK and learn what would have made them great. Then get that information out to your people. That way, next time one of your leaders is attempting to asses a situation and make the same decision, they will know how to make a better decision. 
  • Executive mentoring: Have your top brass mentor you middle management and key first line supervisors in how to asses situation quickly and then make a decision. This will help them develop their decision making skills, by allowing them direct access to experienced leaders and decision makers.
  • Develop an internal social media network within the company: Create a fast and efficient network where people can share and dispense information as it happens, allowing the appropriate decision maker the ability to quickly process it and make a decision. Also, a great way to share lessons learned and allow top executives the ability to interact with all.
  • Placement of decision makers: Understand that you cannot have a top to bottom chain of command any longer. You must position leaders with the ability to make decisions at each level of leadership. They have to understand that it is much more important to make a call, even if it's not the best call, then no call. If your waiting to plan out, forecast and look at predications, your decision making will continually fall behind and effect your business negatively. 
  • Freedom to act: With all of the above in place, this will allow a greater comfort level for your lower leadership to quickly asses situations and make decisions without causing heart attacks at the higher levels. Also, the experience in decision making will only improve your stockpile of available leaders to move up and grow your company. 
The hard part about all of this is letting go of the reins and stop being a control freak. Evaluate and promote your best decision makers. Thereby, having a continuous pipeline of leaders who have shown they can make a good call. Remember, a good call is better then no call. With the speed of social media, a no call could destroy your business in a matter of minutes. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Stupid People

I'm ready for the backlash, I'm ready for the disagreement that this post will likely cause. I'm OK with it. I gotta get this off of my chest. This will be the most negative post I've written to date, and maybe the most negative post I'll ever write. There are stupid people that are in society and by virtue of that, there are stupid people that work for us.

As my good friend Forest Gump's mother stated, " Stupid is as stupid does" I like it and I've quoted it many times. Stupid people are not people who disagree with me or have ideas I don't agree with. Stupid people are the people that no matter how many times they are shown, told or otherwise instructed they still don't get it or cannot get it.

You know how many hours I have spent dealing with stupid people? A lot, I've spent time and energy on people that no matter what method or ideology I use on them, they cannot comprehend what is being told to them. They continue to make the same mistake over and over, when challenged they always say, "I didn't know" Really? Even though I told you specifically several times in the last week alone how to do it, you still, "Don't know?"

The sad part is that these people can discuss many things quite intelligently and therefore I know that they have some form of intelligence in their brains. The frustrating part is that I'm not building rockets, I'm not trying to teach them quantum physics. They simply do not want to learn or better yet, refuse to learn. That I cannot handle. I don't care how long you've been doing something, the day comes when every dog needs to learn a new trick or how to do their trick more efficiently.

Thank you for letting me rant, feel free to comment, I'm looking forward to it.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Tattle Tale

In every workplace or on every team we've witnessed the one person who feels compelled to bring it to our attention when another employee has done something wrong or has failed at their job. Just like I tell my kids when one of them comes to me to "Inform" me about the wrong doings of one of their siblings, don't be a tattle tale.

To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved. ~ George MacDonald

With kids we expect this kind of behavior from time to time. But with grown adults? Amazing as it sounds, it happens everyday in every workplace at some point. So what does the, "Tattle Tale" behavior do to the workplace?

  • Disrupts Team unity: When one member of the workplace fills the need to inform on another it creates a divide in the team and workplace. It also creates distrust between the workers as well. The tattle tale is into self promotion which is directly in contradiction to the idea of team.
  • Backstabbing: If not nipped in the bud quickly, others will start to follow the tattle tales lead. Your employees will start to backstab one another and create havoc in the workplace.
  • Appearance of favorites: Depending on how well or not so well you deal with this individual, it could appear to others that your playing favorites with your workers. Once this perception or reality sets in, it is very hard to eradicate it.
  • Stress: With everyone running around backstabbing and telling on one another, the stress level on your team and in the workplace will soar. Everyone will be watching their backs and be worried about every step they take will be analyzed and reported.
  • Retention will plummet: Your employees will start to abandon ship, they will find other employment and get out of this terrible environment. Especially your top performers, they will not stay in this environment long
  • Lack of loyalty and trust between workers and leadership: The workplace will split into protective cliques and be very leery of the leadership. Loyalty and trust will be non-existent and nothing of any value will be created.
The glue that holds all relationships together - including the relationship between; the leader and the led is trust, and trust is based on integrity~Brian Tracy

I know there are times when employees bring very real and legitimate concerns or problems to leadership. I'm not talking about these cases, I'm talking about the employees that are self-serving and looking to improve their standing by standing on others. Be quick to address this type of behavior or it will kill your team and workplace quickly.

Have you ever seen this type of, "Tattle Tail" in your workplace? What was the effects of it? Please share your experiences, it is appreciated. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I had a interesting conversation with Becky Robinson from, Weaving influence the other day about boundaries in our lives. The conversation mainly revolved around the need to establish boundaries that allowed you time for work and for your family. Let's look at the dynamics involved here.

I have struggled with this balancing act between my ambition, drive and work ethic at work, then also making time for my family. Most of the people I have spoken to about this agree that there isn't enough time in the day most of the time. So, how do we set boundaries that enable us to truly accomplish our goals at work and with our family?

"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities"~ Stephen Covey

  • Plan: Writing out what we have to accomplish in any given day can greatly enhance our ability to manage our time properly. Write out what needs to be accomplished each weekend for the following week. Use a planner, or whatever program you like and "schedule" the different tasks that your aware of. Also, set aside blocks of time for things that will come up that your not aware of right then. That way you have some flexibility in the plan.
  • Priorities: After you write out what needs to be done, prioritize this list into the things that have to be accomplished by you and the things that can be delegated. Don't be a control freak, allow others to assist you in the accomplishment of your tasks. If there's something that someone else can do, let them do it.
  • Time: We make time for the people and things that are important to us. In your plan, ensure that you make that time. Our families know this and when you take the time to spend with them, this show's credible evidence that they are important to you. So, ensure you put some family time into your plan.. 
  • Self-discipline: Commit yourself to one task at a time, don't move from it until it's complete. Don't let your cell phone, email, or other social media outlet distract you from the current task. When you bounce around from task to task, you will find frustration and half completed tasks. No progress or completion.
  •  Say, "NO": This is probably the hardest one to do for most of us, Remember, It's OK to sometimes say, "No" to people or tasks. There are a lot of people and tasks that will dominate your time and resources. Don't let them, politely say, "No"
I hope this causes you some reflection and helps you in identifying where you could define your boundaries at work and in life.

What ways do you establish boundaries in life and at work? I'm interested and listening, please share.

Great Leadership Resource

Pictured: From left to right, Garrett, Me, and Hunter and our
German Rottweiler Zeus, of course he's the boss!
In exactly one week, "From Bud to Boss," will be hitting the book shelves. I know many of you have already noticed and checked out the page on here,  I wanted to give you my opinion of this book.

First, I would like to thank the authors, Kevin Eikinberry and Guy Harris for providing me with an advanced copy. Also, I would like to thank their incredible social media director, Becky Robinson for her vast knowledge of social media and her expertise.

"From Bud to Boss - Secrets to successful transition to remarkable leadership" Is a leadership resource that is well, remarkable.

I believe that there is something for everyone in this book. It is marketed as more for, "New Leaders" I can tell you there is plenty that most "Leaders" have not seen before, no matter what level of leadership that they have attained.

The book is laid out very well and speaks to you on a personal level. It's like having the authors sitting in the room with you. Their vast knowledge and more importantly, experience in leading, is evident in every page. This isn't a book filled with theories on how to lead people better, this is information that has worked and will work if you implement it into your leadership style and life. I believe that is what is most interesting to me, a lot of the actions they speak about will help you to become not only a better leader, but person.

Go to Amazon and pre-order it today! You won't regret it.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Lessons in Losing

Dave Martin / AP
There's a lot of celebrating fans in Green Bay today. The other side, Pittsburgh, not so much. It's tauted as the, "World championship" What can we learn from the losing team of Super Bowl XLV about leadership? Yes, I said, the losing team.

First things first, I'm not a big NFL fan. I watch it from time to time, but I'm not a die hard fan. I watched the Super bowl, because it's the last NFL game of the year and appeared it would be a good game, which it did not disappoint.

As the final ticks of the clock evaporated from the play clock there was elation on the Green Bay Packers sideline, while there was disappointment and defeat on Pittsburgh Steelers side.

As the two teams went in different emotional directions the first thing I noticed after Pittsburgh's coach, Mike Tomlin had shook hands with the Green Bay coaches was that while he was leaving the field, he had his arm around one of his players and was talking to him. Now, I've seen a lot of coaches in this situation just alienate themselves from their players and walk off the field alone. Much different then when they win, hugging, jumping into others arms, cheering one another. Coach Tomlin showed me a lot about his character and his leadership in this moment. He did what good leaders do in defeat, he immediately started to lift up his people.

Flash forward to the press conference. On one side you have Green Bay answering all the easy questions about victory, on the other, the Pittsburgh players and coaches answering all of the, "What if?" questions. Again, Coach Tomlin impressed me when he stated, " You may make excuses, not me, I will not make excuses, Green Bay played a heck of a game and made the plays they needed to win the championship"

Our human nature is to look to anything that we can credit with our demise in a losing situation, it had to be because _____ ( enter excuse) Coach Tomlin didn't do that, he did what good leadership does, he accepted his loss. He didn't deflect it to the QB Ben Roethlisberger two interceptions or to injuries to 3 starters. He took responsibility for the loss and then gave credit where credit was due.

I found an interesting quote by Coach Tomlin, when asked about the importance of winning the super bowl, "It's down the list, to be quite honest with you," Tomlin told Baptist Press. "I'm a husband. I'm a father of three. I'm blessed enough to be the head coach of this group of men, countless other things. I'm a brother. I'm a son. It's down the list."

Wow, a head coach in the NFL saying that winning the Super Bowl is down on the list of priorities? Maybe that's why he is the youngest head coach to ever win a Super Bowl? He understands priorities.

Coach Tomlin later then stated,  "Football is what we do; it's not who we are. It is our job, it is our business. We all are very passionate about it, we all want to do very well at it, but [faith] keeps it in perspective."

This begs the question, Leaders, what are your priorities? Does your job or position define who you are? 

What did we learn from losing?
  • Accept Responsibility
  • Don't make excuses
  • Immediately start to lift your people up
  • Importance of understanding priorities
  • Understand your job is what you do, it doesn't define you
You have any thoughts on losing or this article? I'm interested and listening, please share.
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