Archives For Organizational Health

Dave Kraft is a wise man and was my former leadership coach. In an excellent post he talks about the application of ACTS in a particular situation and this post is a worthwhile read in my opinion.

So, let’s look at ACTS in a general sense and how a leader might apply it to their life.

A – ACCOUNTABLE: Are you truly accountable to someone(s) in your life? Truly accountable? Is someone willing to ask you the hard questions and pursue you until you deal with those questions? Are they willing to challenge questionable behaviors in your life?

C – CONFESSIONAL: Do you confess and own your sin or do you try to shift the blame? Mature leaders accept rebuke, confess their sin, and own their sin.

T – TEACHABLE: Are you teachable as a leader? Are you willing to receive honest inquiries from those you lead? And others? Do you realize that there are many people smarter than you and some of them are on the team you lead?

S – SUSTAINABLE: Is the pace you are setting for your team sustainable? Are your expectations realistic? Are you providing the resources to your team that they need to meet your expectations? What about your team’s work-life balance?

Here is how Dave applies ACTS:

1. Good and genuine accountability, coupled with vulnerability and transparency.
2. A clear value in keeping short accounts, with sin being quickly confessed and owned.
3. An attitude of being teachable and open to new ideas and ways of thinking.
4. A culture of pacing that is realistic and sustainable, resulting in good morale and joy.

Now, how can you apply ACTS in your life?

BG

Candor quote

“Collaboration: being fully assertive and fully cooperative – at the same time” – Ambassador Enterprises, LLC

One thing I learned at AE was the value of collaboration and that it was often fiery and unpleasant; full of conflict with strong and intelligent people going at it over an idea. But the beautiful thing was that they weren’t trying to win an argument – they were trying to find the best solution for the problem at hand. It had nothing to do with their relationships / friendships – it was about doing their very best – as a team – to arrive at the best solution.

Following is part of an article from Harvard Business Review on how managers mistake cooperativeness for collaboration:

Having worked with hundreds of managers over the years, I’ve seen that very few admit to being poor collaborators, mostly because they mistake their cooperativeness for being collaborative. And indeed, most managers are cooperative, friendly, and willing to share information — but what they lack is the ability and flexibility to align their goals and resources with others in real time. Sometimes this starts at the top of the organization when senior leaders don’t fully synchronize their strategies and performance measures with each other. More often, however, the collaboration challenge resides with department heads, product leaders, and major initiative managers who need to get everyone on the same page – and shouldn’t wait for senior executives to force the issue for them.

Collaboration is hard work, but necessary if you want your organization to rise above being mediocre.

BG

“7 Critical Skills That Predict Success” – Inc.com

a time of transition

September 8, 2014

Fall 2013Good Monday morning! You can feel fall in the air here in the Midwest.

Transitions – they are filled with excitement and anxiety. Looking forward to the new and sad about what you are leaving. Transitions provoke a wide range of emotions. I know – we are in the midst of one right now.

This week marks a major transition for our family and for me professionally. This week will be my last days in the office at Ambassador Enterprises, LLC. We are headed back South so that we can be closer to family and to be able to see my parents more and to be able to help with them. As I told the leaders of Ambassador, I am not “leaving” Ambassador (AE), but rather moving toward a family responsibility.

I have learned much about myself, good processes, and leadership during my time here at AE. I have seen up close how to run a business with excellence and all done with Scripture as the guide and the major purpose being bringing glory to God. You can be in business and do well in business by running the business in accordance with God’s Word. Unfortunately, too many people think you can’t, but AE has proven them wrong.

AE has given me the opportunity to go in and help non-profits, ministries, and Christian colleges to get better as they serve the Lord and others. That is indeed a privilege. I have seen first-hand that one of the most effective ways to give is to give yourself – your knowledge, skills, abilities, and experience – to help others.

I am so grateful for the investment into my life by the leaders and team at AE and it shows that if a leader truly desires to run a business by God’s Word and to create a healthy culture where excellence is the standard, it is possible – but not easy. The leaders at AE determined what type of culture they wanted to create and have been relentless in their pursuit of that goal. It is not perfect, by any means, but it is one of the best cultures I have encountered.

If you, as a leader, want a healthy culture where people thrive, it is up to you. It can be done, but it won’t be easy and it is an ongoing effort – but it is worth it as you will change the lives of the people you touch.

So, we are about to turn a page in our lives as we head South to another great organization where we again will have the opportunity to serve others.

Have a great week! 

BG

3 simple keys to effective communication (1)

Focus by McKeownGood morning! Enjoying watching two rabbits under our bird feeders right now enjoying themselves!

Let me ask you something this fine Monday morning. Do you feel a sense of fulfillment and contentment right now? Are you excited that it’s Monday and you get to dive into your work?

Or, do you feel a bit overwhelmed, distracted, stressed, and wondering why in the world you are doing what you are doing? Or is that also a perplexing question? Wondering exactly what you it is that you are doing, why you are doing it, and to what good purpose? Is a full night sleep (7-8 hours) a luxury that seldom occurs except maybe – just maybe – on the weekend? Do you feel healthy – soul, mind, emotions, and body? If not, have you stopped to consider why?

Another question – do you have a hard time saying “no”? I do and it has cost me in many ways. As I have been studying this, I have come across many who are dealing with the subject from different angles. People like The Minimalists – Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus, and Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, Gary Keller, author of The One Thing, and of course many more. Although they come at the issue(s) from different angles, it seems that they are all saying that you can’t have and do it all. You really can’t, but for some reason we think we must – or at least try.

It’s hard saying no to the boss when asked to do one more thing that will keep you at work after hours, it’s hard saying no when asked to be involved in a local charity, and on and on – it’s just hard saying no. In my opinion there are a couple of reasons that seem to stand out above the many other reasons. One is called the Fear of Man – we fear what others will think of us, we fear causing emotional discomfort, we fear being different, and we really fear rejection. Another reason, it’s hard to say no is that we don’t know what it is that we should be about doing with our lives. We haven’t spent time reflecting on our purpose in life and what that looks like in a practical, concrete manner. So it’s hard saying no to something, when we don’t know what it is that we should be saying yes to!

If you really would like a life that is fulfilling, that is content, and that is purposeful – maybe it is time you stopped a bit and reflected on what is your purpose for being on this earth and what is your particular mission in life that fulfills that purpose. A suggestion – take a three day weekend somewhere that allows you to think and not be distracted. Take with you a journal and a couple of good books that you think will help, and then focus on why toy are here and what you are to do.

For me, I find my purpose in the One who created me and in His Word – the Bible. So for me, my overall purpose is to glorify God. My mission is coming alongside leaders who are impacting this world for good, and helping them to become more effective so that they, and the organizations they lead, have an even greater impact on their communities. That’s me – what is your purpose and what is your mission?

Discover those two things and then focus on them like a laser beam. Learn to say no to the things that distract you from your purpose and mission. In doing so, make space for caring for your soul, your mind, your emotions, your body, and especially make time for caring for those you love.

BG

summer sunlight June 2014Good Friday morning to you! A rainy and cool day here in the Midwest.

An issue that is important to me and that has been rekindled in me by Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism is how we equate busyness and the accomplishment of our to-do list as productivity. As I have noted before, our US culture rewards and values the busy person who is skilled at multitasking (which is a lie as well) and whose calendar is filled with one meeting after another with no room to even breathe much less think. For some reason, we define this as being “productive”.

As I noted in an earlier blog, this could be one form of laziness, for some people it is all they know, and for many of us, it is the behavior that is functionally valued and rewarded in our organizations. However, often the greatest value to the organization are the people who take time to think deeply and to wrestle with the core issues or challenges facing the organization. Those people who are digging to find the root cause(s) and to develop long-term solutions to those problems. People who are concerned  that they are working on the “one thing” that will tip the scales in whatever endeavor they are working on. These people are the ones that often bring the most value to an organization, but unfortunately, in most of our organizations they are seen as “unproductive” as they are not rushing around and attending many meetings. They are often just thinking. Yet, given the chance, they are the ones that solve the biggest problems or develop game-changing innovations.

So, maybe, just maybe, we have a wrong definition of productivity. And just maybe it’s time to change the definition,

Have a great weekend!

BG

Good morning to you!

Have you ever found that one sign of laziness is busyness? I have found myself being lazy by being busy again and again.

Now most of us don’t equate busyness with laziness, in fact, we take a bit of pride in rushing around doing a lot of stuff. It seems we equate frenetic activity with productivity or value. Our society says “get busy!”.

However, it can actually be a form of busyness. What would you rather do some days – clean out your ever full inbox,knock off those 15 – 20 small talks on your To-Do list, go to some meetings, or tackle that complex issue that requires deep thought and is not easily resolvable? Often times, I would rather take care of a bunch of small tasks and get my inbox down to a small number rather than tackle the really big issues.

I remember when I was working in the Defense Systems and Electronics Group of Texas Instruments. We were moving at a fast pace then and some of us were rushing around – all of us that is except one of the design engineers. He would sit at his desk, which often had nothing on it at all, just thinking. In fact, sometimes he would even have his head laying on his desk with his eyes closed! Some of us were wondering how and why did his supervisor tolerate this behavior. Then, this so called “lazy” engineer designed a product for the company that brought far more value to the company than all the rest of us combined. Instead of being caught up in busyness and trying to impress others with his “value”, he was mentally wrestling with a very complex problem – and he solved the problem with an incredible return for the company.

We were busy – he was productive. We took care of many tasks – he solved a major problem.

So, are you being lazy by being “busy” or are you willing to do the hard work of taking the time to focus on the big problems that will truly make a difference?

Have a great weekend!

BG