Throwback Thursday: Finding Value, Part 2: Professional Responsibilities

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tagsIn the first part, I discussed the necessity for leaders to help their teams find value in participation in professional and social organizations related to the business. For Air Force officers, that used to be the Officers Club, but I discovered my younger officers didn’t necessarily sign up to that particular tradition. Like the office coffee club, sometimes the benefits aren’t always tangible. We have to help our people understand the value of joining a local professional association or showing up at the office picnic, but if that value isn’t self-evident then it’s up to leaders to point out the intangible benefits as well.

All that said, transactional leadership is not the goal here…it’s helping people new to your community understand what your community values and remain connected to that community. There might not be a concrete “why”, but understanding the importance of a certain group activity, or participation in a professional organization has intangible benefits to both the individual and the group.

Of course, there are such things as “professional obligations” and we shouldn’t minimize those either. The Officer’s Club may not be the same “requirement” it once was, but the responsibility for professionals to remain engaged in and support their communities is important. Participation in professional organizations builds teams and allows for a healthy exchange of ideas among members of the industry or community. Furthermore, shouldering those “professional obligations” helps people take pride in their profession. It’s a reason people buy t-shirts with the logos of their trade unions and professional societies. When people feel like their work is important and shared by others, that pride is often translated to better morale and higher performance.

In addition to individuals, all types of organizations have an obligation to serve the community to which we belong. Volunteerism is good for the community and the volunteer, and it’s good for the company because communities like to know the businesses they patronize are a real member of the community. Of course the good publicity and image can translate to increased sales, and that’s part of the motivation, but good image alone is not a good enough reason to volunteer. Being part of the community, be it a professional society or a community service organization, is part of the obligation of individuals and companies alike. That participation is what maintains community, helps reduce conflict, and is a way to “increase the size of the pie” rather than squabbling over the last slice.

Professional obligations are an important “social convention” toward building community both within and without…and something we should teach those who come after us to embrace.


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam OClub - USAF Photo

Throwback Thursday: Finding Value in Professional Obligations, Part 1

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Technique Only, Throwback Thursday

JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam OClub - USAF PhotoIt was axiomatic as a brand new lieutenant I was expected to join the Officer’s Club. I read about the expectation in my Air Force Officer’s Guide, and senior officers repeatedly reinforced  that expectation. It was part of my professional obligation to support the Club, and I accepted this at face value. In fact, other a couple of assignments where there wasn’t a Club at my base, I’ve been an Officer’s Club member since the day I entered the Air Force. That’s certainly not the norm any longer. Many things have contributed to the decline in Club membership over the years, de-glamorization of alcohol, reduction in Service budgets for recreational activities, and the elimination of bachelor officers’ quarters on base, but the change has been largely generational. Club membership in the military is an excellent case study for helping senior leaders bridge those generational differences.

As a squadron commander, I was dismayed to learn most my young officers weren’t Club members. Since Club membership had become voluntary and no longer enforced by our senior leadership, younger officers hadn’t signed on like I had done. They all had their reasons, but the common theme was they didn’t find any value in plopping down $20 per month to be a member of the Officer’s Club where they may darken the doors once a month. My generation was open to allowing for others’ expectations to drive our behavior, but this generation was not willing to follow unless they found value themselves.

There’s some virtue to that viewpoint, and it speaks directly to the need for people who lead teams made up of millennials to be deliberate about demands placed upon them. It’s not sufficient to merely expect certain behavior without having a good reason and articulating that reason to the team. This is where leaders come in.

Clearly, there are things we have to do because it’s “the social convention” as Dr Sheldon Cooper might say, and leaders need to explain those things sufficiently so their teams understand the necessity of their participation.  That said, it’s important to constantly examine the social norms of a given group and ensure they are still relevant. Traditions are important to be sure, but we must never become so attached to traditions we can’t create new ones or adapt the old ones to the group as it exists today. Furthermore, the bright and motivated people entering the workforce are accustomed to finding value in what they do. They’re not likely to accept “the norms” without understanding the reason behind them.  They will  “join” things where they find value, however:

If membership organizations are going to attract and keep members in this environment, they better figure out what “benefits” people, companies, and institutions are looking for, and provide those benefits in a hassle-free, tangible way.

As leadership is fundamentally a human relationship task, building and maintaining the esprit de corps of the group is one of a leader’s most important task. Help your team find value in what you’re doing, and spend some time on the intangibles of building culture. Put more simply: you have to know your people and ensure when you engage them you do it in a way they value and understand. It does no good to have a “donut day” in an office of fitness fanatics…you’re not helping them find value. They may appreciate the gesture, but you won’t be building at “teamship.” Helping your team find value, and offering value in return, will pay off in the end with higher productivity and a happier team.

In the next post, I’ll discuss the necessity of maintaining those professional obligations.


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and blogs.

Friday Link Around – All (Well, Mostly) Business

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Durango-Silverton Line 1976This week’s Friday Link Around is all about the business of, well, business.

To begin, are performance reviews value added? Red Balloon founded Naomi Simpson doesn’t think so–she sees them as at best incomplete and at worst a source of office bullying. What do you think?

You probably already know I hate meetings, but if you have to go to one, here’s some meeting etiquette tips every professional should know.

Over at Inc. Magazine, Travis Bradberry (author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0) has six things you don’t owe your boss.

Of course, once you get your team built, you have to retain those team members. Some of your employees are leaving, and not for the reasons you might think.

Think networking is valuable? Greg McKeown, writing for Harvard Business Review, doesn’t think so. His opinion is 99% of networking is a waste of time. If that’s true, I’ve wasted a lot of time!

Finally, because no one can be all business…a little levity via Armstrong and Getty. Who doesn’t love happy piggy noises?


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and writes for his own Leading LeadersPersonal Development Magazine, and GeneralLeadership.com.

Friday Link Around!

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Durango-Silverton Line 1976Another Friday, and another opportunity to explore some interesting links! This week’s theme: entrepreneurs and people you outta know, plus a cool way to earn cash from those photos on your phone.

Do you know about Neil Patel? I’ve been learning a lot from him about content marketing and internet business.

Need some nutrition coaching, advice, or some awesome workout clothes for women? Then check out my friend and fellow Airman, Suzanne over at Nutrition Snob. (Don’t let the “snob” part fool ya–she’s a great gal!).

Following your dream and making it your life’s work is what drives entrepreneurs. When we visited the Hawaiian island of Lanai last June we met Mike and Kathy Carroll. Mike was a commercial artist who gave up the corporate life and opened an art gallery on Lanai. He sells his work over the internet as well as in person, and it’s fabulous–and the shipping is good too!

Ever want to create a flyer or some other professional graphic, but Powerpoint just wasn’t “enough”? The try Canva! Easy to use, free, and professional looking graphics are a click away.

Ok, last one.  You know all those pictures you have on your phone? The ones you never look at? Well there’s a site called Twenty20.com where you can upload your photos and sell them online. You make 40% commission on each photo. I haven’t sold any yet…but check out my gallery anyway!

Hey, don’t forget to sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a FREE ebook!

Speaking of books: check out my bookstore here.


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world.  He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and writes for his own Leading Leaders blog, and GeneralLeadership.com.

Fun! Links! Friday! It’s the Friday Link Around!

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Durango-Silverton Line 1976Hey everyone! I’m starting a new Friday feature: Friday Link Around!  No one feels like doing “work” on Friday, certainly not here in Hawaii. In fact, we look forward to the weekend so much here in the Islands, we have our own name for Friday: “Aloha Friday.”

So in the spirit of a not-so-serious end to the week for a fairly serious blog, each Friday I’ll share a few links for you to start your weekend with a smile (and maybe learn a thing or two before you’re through–Hey, Hey, Hey!)

Key dates to remember in March

How is the date for Easter determined?

Spring forward…8 Things You May Not Know About Daylight Savings Time. And why Hawaii and Arizona don’t play.

The funniest version of the story of St Patrick you’ll ever see. (“Maywin Socket!”)

Shakespeare does March. (video)

Build your NCAA Basketball Tourney bracket! Or let the computer do it for you!

The most epic mustache ever.

 

Top 5 Posts from Leading Leaders for 2015

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Thanks to you, my readers, for making this past year the best yet! Not every post was popular, and I’m always pleasantly surprised when a post “catches on” when I didn’t expect it. Below are the top 5 posts, by hits, from the dozens I produced this year, the ones that resonated. Is your favorite here? If not, what subjects would you like me to cover in 2016?

The Top 5:

Pennies_on_Sully

Dad’s “Sage” Advice for Freshman Success at College – 2015 Edition

My annual advice for new college students! With my youngest heading off to college last fall, this post was particularly meaningful to me.


 

mcgillicuddyAloha ‘Oe Major General McGillicuddy

I said aloha ‘oe (farewell) to several colleagues this past year as they transitioned from their military careers to civilian life. Maj Gen Paul McGillicuddy has become a friend and a mentor–glad to remain connected!


 

Waimanalo ValleyMalama i Ka Pono

As a writer who loves words, the nuance in Hawaiian words and phrases inspires me. One of the words I really like is malama (“to take care”). The title of this post is malama i ka pono which roughly translates as “to take care of each other righteously,” or as Bill and Ted might have said, “Be excellent to each other.”


 

 

 

wingman3Be A Good Wingman

Good followership is as essential as good leadership in the success of the team. If the leader is the only one thinking, the team will be mired in mediocrity. Good followership is an important part of the Leaders Lead principle.


 

castle-conondrumLeading Through Tragedy – Part 1

Tragedy is a part of the human experience: we can’t escape it and as leaders we get one chance to get that right. Whether that tragedy is the loss of a co-worker to an untimely death, a teammate with a life threatening disease, or the loss of an employee’s family member, leaders have to be ready to step up and guide their teams through the trauma of those events.


What was your favorite post this year?

5 Things Your Boss Wants You To Know

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advice Column, Technique Only

The_new_man_needs_your_help._Remember_you_too_were_once_a_new_employee._Aquaint_him_with_the_work_and_help_prevent..._-_NARA_-_535411This time of year I always feel compelled to write advice for young people. Maybe it’s just the season, or maybe it’s I was always a little slow on the uptake as a young person. I made a few avoidable mistakes that if I’d just gotten a little help at the beginning perhaps wouldn’t have happened.

If you’re a high school or college-age person and just entering the workforce, then I have some words just for you today. It’s stuff I wish I’d known–that everyone else seemed to know intuitively.

1. Have Values and Stick to Them

The most important thing you can do is have a moral core and stick to it. This is not always an easy thing to do; it requires courage and fortitude. A contract to work in an organization is not a requirement to compromise your values. While every decision is not a moral crisis, there might arise a decision to participate in something that would tempt you to compromise on your beliefs and values. Don’t give in to that temptation. No job, no matter how much you’re paid or how lovely your co-workers, is worth compromising your integrity. Be an adult about it and go to your boss politely and forthrightly and tell them you can’t do such-and-such because it would cause you a moral dilemma. It might be a simple misunderstanding, or your boss might have not understood the implications of what he/she asked you to do–but your conscience should demand you defend your values. It might mean parting ways with the company. If that’s true, then you can do that secure in the knowledge you kept your integrity. That’s no small thing.

2. Don’t Follow the Crowd–Unless the Crowd is Right

At commencement speeches across the planet, speakers exhort graduates are to “make your own way” and “don’t follow the crowd.” That’s generally good advice; but like all advice, you have to take it both in the context of your own experience and the place you’re implementing it. Sometimes, the “crowd” is “right!  Never compromise your morals or your integrity, BUT “make your own way” is not license to violate the company dress code or evangelize your co-workers to your own brand of politics. Social norms and company policy, like protocol and tradition, exist to make people feel comfortable and help people get along. You don’t have to be a “Stepford Employee,” nor do you have to conform to your employers or your colleagues political or religious beliefs–but you do have to be polite and do your best to fit in.

3. Take Chances

Did I just contradict myself? No, I did not–growing in your profession and personal life means taking chances. Take on work that stretches you, offer your friendship to the workplace loaner, get involved in the professional society or group supporting your industry–these are the sorts of things employers and leaders notice, and the sorts of things that help you grow as a person. “Taking Chances” doesn’t mean making potentially personally destructive choices, but taking chances professionally and personally can help you grow into the person you want to be.

3. “Don’t Be Stupid”

When I first began CrossFit, I read the rules on the message board, and came across this gem: “Don’t Be Stupid.” I found this to be excellent advice. Any new thing will have activities for the beginner and for the advanced practitioner–know where you fall on that continuum. If you’re a beginner, start there then as you prove your ability to yourself you can move up. It’s always better to be adding weight to the bar than being out of action for weeks because you injured yourself on your first set.

4. Believe Your Eyes

Fight hard for what you believe in personally and professionally, but when you lose the argument and someone above you makes a decision, then move out and get it done. The corollary to this rule is when you see a bad outcome to a project or decision, then believe it to be true. I’ve worked with too many people who either disagreed with a decision made by higher ups or simply didn’t have the vision to see what was plain to others. They’d make some impassioned plea as to “Why Things Were Not What They Seemed” which is another way of saying, “I reject you’re reality and substitute my own.” That attitude is the opposite of helpful, and it both delays the inevitable and destroys the effectiveness of the organization.  Live in this world.

BONUS: 6. Be On Time, Give A Full Day’s Work

I know…this is “six” when I only said “five,” but for your new boss this last piece of advice is very important and frankly should be a given. The fact that it’s not a baseline of common behavior means old guys like me have to write it: be on time. On time means you’re ready to work when the office/shop opens, and you’re not walking in at 7:59 for an 8 o’clock start.  In the military, we have a saying: “If you’re not early, you’re late.” If your workday starts at 8 a.m., then you should be at your place of business at 7:45 a.m. Believe me, you’ll feel much better if you’re not racing to be “on time” and your boss will notice who’s committed to the work and who’s not. Your boss hired you because she/he wants your skills and your effort–don’t change their opinion of you because you are dashing in the door at the last minute. Then, by all means give your employer a full days’ work.

Finding Value, Part 2: Professional Responsibilities

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tagsIn the first part, I discussed the necessity for leaders to help their teams find value in participation in professional and social organizations related to the business. For Air Force officers, that used to be the Officers Club, but I discovered my younger officers didn’t necessarily sign up to that particular tradition. Like the office coffee club, sometimes the benefits aren’t always tangible. We have to help our people understand the value of joining a local professional association or showing up at the office picnic, but if that value isn’t self-evident then it’s up to leaders to point out the intangible benefits as well.

All that said, transactional leadership is not the goal here…it’s helping people new to your community understand what your community values and remain connected to that community. There might not be a concrete “why”, but understanding the importance of a certain group activity, or participation in a professional organization has intangible benefits to both the individual and the group.

Of course, there are such things as “professional obligations” and we shouldn’t minimize those either. The Officer’s Club may not be the same “requirement” it once was, but the responsibility for professionals to remain engaged in and support their communities is important. Participation in professional organizations builds teams and allows for a healthy exchange of ideas among members of the industry or community. Furthermore, shouldering those “professional obligations” helps people take pride in their profession. It’s a reason people buy t-shirts with the logos of their trade unions and professional societies. When people feel like their work is important and shared by others, that pride is often translated to better morale and higher performance.

In addition to individuals, all types of organizations have an obligation to serve the community to which we belong. Volunteerism is good for the community and the volunteer, and it’s good for the company because communities like to know the businesses they patronize are a real member of the community. Of course the good publicity and image can translate to increased sales, and that’s part of the motivation, but good image alone is not a good enough reason to volunteer. Being part of the community, be it a professional society or a community service organization, is part of the obligation of individuals and companies alike. That participation is what maintains community, helps reduce conflict, and is a way to “increase the size of the pie” rather than squabbling over the last slice.

Professional obligations are an important “social convention” toward building community both within and without…and something we should teach those who come after us to embrace.

Finding Value, Part 1

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Technique Only

JB Pearl Harbor-Hickam OClub - USAF PhotoIt was axiomatic as a brand new lieutenant I was expected to join the Officer’s Club. I read about the expectation in my Air Force Officer’s Guide, and senior officers repeatedly reinforced  that expectation. It was part of my professional obligation to support the Club, and I accepted this at face value. In fact, other a couple of assignments where there wasn’t a Club at my base, I’ve been an Officer’s Club member since the day I entered the Air Force. That’s certainly not the norm any longer. Many things have contributed to the decline in Club membership over the years, de-glamorization of alcohol, reduction in Service budgets for recreational activities, and the elimination of bachelor officers’ quarters on base, but the change has been largely generational. Club membership in the military is an excellent case study for helping senior leaders bridge those generational differences.

As a squadron commander, I was dismayed to learn most my young officers weren’t Club members. Since Club membership had become voluntary and no longer enforced by our senior leadership, younger officers hadn’t signed on like I had done. They all had their reasons, but the common theme was they didn’t find any value in plopping down $20 per month to be a member of the Officer’s Club where they may darken the doors once a month. My generation was open to allowing for others’ expectations to drive our behavior, but this generation was not willing to follow unless they found value themselves.

There’s some virtue to that viewpoint, and it speaks directly to the need for people who lead teams made up of millennials to be deliberate about demands placed upon them. It’s not sufficient to merely expect certain behavior without having a good reason and articulating that reason to the team. This is where leaders come in.

Clearly, there are things we have to do because it’s “the social convention” as Dr Sheldon Cooper might say, and leaders need to explain those things sufficiently so their teams understand the necessity of their participation.  That said, it’s important to constantly examine the social norms of a given group and ensure they are still relevant. Traditions are important to be sure, but we must never become so attached to traditions we can’t create new ones or adapt the old ones to the group as it exists today. Furthermore, the bright and motivated people entering the workforce are accustomed to finding value in what they do. They’re not likely to accept “the norms” without understanding the reason behind them.  They will  “join” things where they find value, however:

If membership organizations are going to attract and keep members in this environment, they better figure out what “benefits” people, companies, and institutions are looking for, and provide those benefits in a hassle-free, tangible way.

As leadership is fundamentally a human relationship task, building and maintaining the esprit de corps of the group is one of a leader’s most important task. Help your team find value in what you’re doing, and spend some time on the intangibles of building culture. Put more simply: you have to know your people and ensure when you engage them you do it in a way they value and understand. It does no good to have a “donut day” in an office of fitness fanatics…you’re not helping them find value. They may appreciate the gesture, but you won’t be building at “teamship.” Helping your team find value, and offering value in return, will pay off in the end with higher productivity and a happier team.

In the next post, I’ll discuss the necessity of maintaining those professional obligations.

 

 

Staying On Course to Your Goals

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Set your goals then get moving!Each new year the resolutions fly…we promise to lose weight, eat better, work harder, read more, you name it. Now that we’re at the end of January, it’s time to take stock of our goals and re-commit to them.

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once spoke about the snooze button, and how it was really superfluous. “When that alarm goes off, get up! You made the decision to get up at that time when you set the alarm, don’t re-make that decision.” That advice is the same for goal setting, and commitment to achieving them. You made the decision to strive for a goal when you set it, don’t second guess yourself before you get there.

The common joke about the empty gym in December being full in January then empty again by February is funny because it’s true. People really do run out of steam during the “dark ages” in winter. It’s difficult for busy people to remain committed to goals when so many things are working against them psychologically and practically: short days, cold weather, busy work, school, family commitments, etc. So do we just surrender to the winter and wait again until next year? No way!

That’s not what leaders do.

Leaders re-commit themselves to their goals, and don’t let temporary failures become permanent habits. It’s not easy to overcome the inertia we build up that prevents us from achieving our goals, but it’s worth the effort to push through. I recommend a three step process for getting back on, or staying on, track to achieving the goals I’ve set for myself:

1. Write It Down.

Putting something in writing, even if it’s just on an index card. Wherever you write the goal, it has to be visible and something you see often. It’s much harder to blow off a goal if it’s always “right there.” I write my goals on an index card and keep them in the journal I use every day to take notes at meetings. That ensures I see it daily and remember I made the decision to achieve it when I wrote it down in the first place. By the way, the same is true for organizations: once you set a goal, put it on the wall for all to see.

2. Take Stock Regularly.

Once the goal is on the index card (or the wall!), take stock regularly on your progress. Be honest with yourself on how you’re doing, and then recommit yourself to the goal. If you’re doing well, be proud of yourself and your team, celebrate a little and keep moving toward the goal.  If you’re off track, don’t lose heart! Just remember why you set the goal in the first place and re-commit to getting to the finish line. If you made a New Year Resolution, don’t get down…you still have 11 months to go!

3. Make A Plan & Stick to  It

Commitment is important to achieving goals, but you can’t be “all thrust and no vector.” Energy will only carry you and your team so far if you don’t have a plan. Not having a plan is probably the biggest reason people don’t reach their goals. Just like being on the wrong trail won’t get you to Maunawili Falls no matter how long you hike, expending all your energy on something that doesn’t help you reach your goals will ensure you don’t achieve what you set out to achieve. Don’t give up, just make a plan then execute it one step at a time!

Just like setting that alarm clock, you made the decision to reach a goal when you set it. Don’t let the winter blues get you off track from being the person you want to become!

Shop Small with Me and My Friends

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image

On Small Business Saturday, I encourage you to support your local community businesses and small businesses online as well. Here’s a few suggestions:

Books from Lead the Way Media:

wpid-product_thumbnail.jpgLeading Leaders ThumbnailPatio Wisdom and Leading Leaders make great gifts to inspire and encourage.  By the way, there’s an e-book version of Leading Leaders, and an accompanying Workbook too!  Both books are available at Amazon as well.

 

 

Ruben's Amazing Story!

My friend and mentor, four-time Olympian Ruben Gonzalez, has inspiration to share in the form of his books.  His story is amazing: at the age of 21 Ruben decided to go to the Olympics; he just needed a sport! Read how he chose the luge and became an Olympian, not once, but four times.

 

 

 

Brig Gen John Michel's "No More Mediocre Me"Col Matt Fritz' "Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile for Success"My colleagues at Generalleadership.com have several powerful books on leadership and business for both the budding entrepreneur and the experienced leader:

No More Mediocre Me, by John Michel

Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile by Matthew Fritz

 

Nutrition Snob: Comfy CotureLooking for workout gear to inspire? Check out Nutrition Snob Clothing from friend and fellow Airman, Suzanne McCurdy.

“My clothes will have you ready and motivated to face whatever your day holds.”

 

 

ChrisBrenSchmidt PhotographyLooking for a custom calendar or unique print? Check out ChrisBrenSchmidt Photography specializing in floral and nature photos that will knock your socks off!  Christine has calendars, prints, and has some truly breathtaking photos on her blog.  Check it out!

 

Here in Kailua: my very favorite Time Shopping Center, 600 Kailua Rd, Kailua, HI 96734 (808) 261-1996bookstore, Bookends!  You are sure to find something amazing on each visit!  Be sure to check out the “Old & Weird Section”!

 

 

What shopping trip to Kailua would be complete without stops at Bowles Burritos for lunch and the Kailua General Store for some unique gifts. While you’re at it, don’t forget Alii Antiques and the other “treasure shops” in the same parking area, who have some really interesting things to see and buy.  Finally, The Bike Shop is a great place to get bikes, bike stuff, and bike maintenance.

Bowles Burritos - Best Mexican in Kailua Town

enclosed_bw-1024x351The Bike Shop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, when you’re done shopping and you need to use that motivation you’ve received from people like Suzanne and John and Matt, you can start your New Year’s Resolution early at CrossFit Kailua! Friendly staff and coaches who’ll help you reach your goals without breaking your spirit! 3-2-1 Go!

UPDATED

image

Just found a wonderful shoe store called Splash! Hawaii. Helpful staff full of aloha and a great selection!

5 Military Leaders Tips to Make Your Morning Productive

Posted on 1 CommentPosted in Technique Only
USAF Photo
USAF Photo

I’ve been in the military my entire adult life so whether I wanted to be or not: I’m an early riser.  Over time I came to appreciate the value of using that morning time to make my day productive.  In their 1980’s Army recruiting commercials the Army boasted “we do more before 9 am than most people do all day.”  Of course when you get up early enough, there’s time!

These are tips every military leader from sergeant to general learns for setting themselves and their organizations up for a productive day. There’s a reason why productive military leaders have a morning routine: it works! You don’t have to be in the military to learn from the wisdom of sergeants.  Read on:

1. “If you ain’t early, you’re late.”  

Give yourself plenty of time between wake up and departure for work.  The snooze button is powerful, but that extra 30 or 40 minutes of snoozing doesn’t really help you.  In fact, your snooze button is evil.  In those two hours you’ll have time to do the things on the rest of the list.  And let’s face it, rolling out of bed and racing to the door will mean you’re more likely to forget something than if y0u just got out of bed to begin with.

2. Do Some “PT”

“PT” in military jargon is “Physical Training,” or what the rest of us call “working out.”  I’ve had a few jobs in the military where I could organize my schedule so I could PT in the afternoon, but those are rare. Like most people if I don’t spend some time in the morning working out there’s very little chance I’m going to make it to the gym later on in the day.  On top of that, there’s plenty of good science about the health benefits of working out in the morning!  You’ll certainly have more productive energy all day if you get your blood going!

3. Eat a Decent Breakfast

No, this is not another “most important meal of the day” lecture, but it’s important to get your body going with some fresh energy.  I usually eat a light breakfast on workdays and save the carb-overload pancakes for the weekend. The take-away however, is eat something to get your blood sugar up and your mind operating.  Skipping breakfast is a recipe for a morning with a short temper and probably overeating at lunch…which could lead to that afternoon crash.  Stay productive with a decent breakfast.

4. Catch Up on What’s Up – The Morning “Intel Brief”

Whether its your business, your family, or the general state of the world, you can’t be productive if you start the workday in the dark.  Listen to the news, read the paper, talk to your spouse, ask your kids what their day holds, whatever: just don’t let the morning commute start without your morning intelligence brief.  If you do, you’re more likely to miss an opportunity–personal or professional–than if you had spent a little time invested in “intelligence gathering.”

5. Plan For The Day

A productive day doesn’t just “happen,” it’s carefully planned and executed.  In the military we publish the “plan for the day” or an “operations order,” but your plan need not be so formal. General Norman Schwarzkopf explained in his book, It Doesn’t Take A Hero, about a system he invented following the crash of a helicopter when he was a commander.  He began keeping an index card with a list of things that could go wrong that day on one side, and what could go right on the other.  My own system is to review my calendar and my boss’ calendars for the day and try to anticipate what will consume my time that day. Whatever your system, just make a plan and be prepared!

These five simple military leaders’ strategies will help you be productive each day.

Leading Volunteers is (Not) Easy

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Volunteerism is American as
A WWII Red Cross Volunteer Poster

Leading volunteers is not easy. It would seem axiomatic that leading a group of volunteers would be easier than leading any other group, but it can more difficult because both the “transactional” relationship and the “mission” relationship are different from other types of teams.

In a for profit venture the primary motivation is making the company successful, and it’s easy for leaders to let that be the only motivation they employ. Profit and loss are objective measures of effectiveness, and even though taking care of the people is just as important in a for profit enterprise as it is in any other sector, when all other forms of motivation fail the boss can hand over a handsome paycheck to keep the team moving.  This is not to say people in for profit business don’t care about each other or the mission of their company, but compensation and the promise (in some cases) of doing better financially if the company does well are powerful motivational tools. Put another way, high performing companies motivate their employees by getting excited about the mission of the company, but merely mediocre companies can survive even if they produce a quality product from an unmotivated workforce. The challenge for leaders in this environment is not to let the economics of the business outweigh the need to lead the people in the company.

Not so with volunteer or non-profit organizations. In these situations, leaders must rely more heavily on creating a shared sense of mission and commitment to that mission among the team, primarily because there is no direct compensation. Volunteers have the ability to “un-volunteer” relatively easily in most cases. This means leaders have to maintain a unity of purpose and commitment to the mission at much higher levels than perhaps is necessary in for profit companies. There are a wide variety of volunteer organizations, from non-profits with paid staffs to community organizations. Leading these volunteers can be a challenge unless we understand why people volunteer in the first place, and what keeps them coming back even when it’s tough work. Employees in non-profits willingly accept less compensation because they believe in what they’re doing so much, the personal satisfaction of their contribution “pays the bills” and is worth a smaller paycheck.  The challenge is connecting them with the mission first, and inspiring them to see the indirect compensation they receive.  It’s not an easy task!

According to Guidestar.com volunteers contribute for skill development, personal growth, and to take on a challenge. Taking these factors into account means leaders have to keep the organizational mission at the forefront, and continually remind volunteers why they volunteered in the first place.  Additionally, leaders have to be mindful of the volunteers’ need for challenging work and opportunities to grow. That requires a high degree of commitment from the leader, and a level of communication both within the team and with stakeholders.

In my book Leading Leaders, I recount the story of a friend of mine who took over leadership of a volunteer re-sale shop. It would’ve been easy to simply do the minimum, but that’s not my friend’s style so she took on the challenge. The previous leadership had begun to improve the environment and the store, but was unable to finish so my friend was asked to pick up the mantle. She and her leadership team began by listening to the volunteers and addressed their personal concerns about the rigidity of the workplace, and then went on a communication campaign to remind all the volunteers why they were there. It was an effective leadership style but it required a great deal of work on her part to get the organization moving again. When she turned over leadership to her successor, the volunteers were happy and the resale shop was thriving again. It’s amazing what a great leader can do when she connects with her people and then connects them to the mission.

In the end, volunteers are there because they want to be. They may or may not be financially compensated, but for volunteers the mission is the thing. When leading volunteers, that’s the most important fact to keep in mind.

 

7 Reasons To Be Deliberate About Social Media

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Not a day goes by that I don’t hear about some celebrity or public figure getting in trouble for something they posted on social media. The opportunities the internet offers for collaboration, publishing, and discussion have a dark side as well. Imprudent posting by leaders can end up coming back to haunt an organization, or individual, at the worst possible moment.

It’s easy for leaders to simply do the risk-reward calculation and decide not to participate. I think that’s a mistake. Engagement in the conversation, be it professional or personal, is an important part of the 21st Century business environment. The trick is to be smart about how you participate.

Posting too much can get you sent to “Twitter Jail” (h/t Lawrence Wray), and posting too little can get you overlooked.

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I encourage leaders to manage their social media accounts carefully. In fact, I think of how I engage on social media personally the same way I engage professionally because the public (and peers) don’t really see a difference. If you treat each post like a “press release” then you’ll have a good rule for what to write. The same goes for email, by the way: every email is public. Don’t write anything you don’t want posted on the company bulletin board.

But beyond just social media, there’s the entire online presence that needs attention. Even if you’re not active in social media, all leaders and especially senior leaders, have an online “profile.” Steve Cody and Sam Ford have written a great little primer over at Inc.com. Worth the read: 7 Reasons You Need to Manage Your Online Presence More Carefully

The bottom line is this: leaders need to understand their public persona extends into cyberspace and manage it deliberately.

Advice on How To Pester??

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I gotta say, I’ve never been given advice on how to pester someone, but Jessica Stillman’s advice over at Inc.com is, in fact, good advice. 

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Sayeth Ms Stillman:

This technique, he [Teju Ravilochan, co-founder and CEO of the Unreasonable Institute] claims, has only resulted in one truly negative response out of hundreds of attempts. Brevity, warmth, empathy for the other person’s schedule and inbox, and simple gratitude, it seems, not only make your recipients’ lives much better but payoff big time for the sender.

Basically, it comes down to good manners and respect for others’ time. I’ve found if you do that, you’ll hit the mark most of the time.

Advice For New Commanders

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Leadership by Experience, Practical Leadership, Technique Only

While I usually write about leadership in general or business environments, today I’m going to write specifically to those new squadron commanders who’ll be taking command of Air Force squadrons this summer. Today’s topic is how to be a successful squadron commander in the Air Force.

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1. Remember that command is a privilege.

Command in the military is transitory, you’ll usually only get two years. Remember that the deference people show you is due to your position not your person.  Never forget that you’re there to serve.

2. Live what you say.

Nothing destroys your credibility faster than saying one thing and doing another. Whatever standard operating procedures or command policies you enact, be sure to live by them yourself. As a commander, you’re always on parade; never think no one will see you “cheating.” If you make a mistake, own up to it then “drive on.”

3. Be present.

You can’t command from behind a desk. Get out and see what your Airmen are doing; learn firsthand what they struggle with, who they are, what they do. If they’re standing out in the cold at 0300, be with them. If they’re eating MRE’s, you eat MRE’s. Learn their names, understand their personal stories. Have frequent commander’s calls, communicate constantly.

4. Work performance reports, personnel actions, and decorations first.

Things like performance reports and decorations affect Airmen’s careers, and within reason, should be handled immediately. Don’t let these things sit! Handling career-affecting paperwork immediately is a tangible way to let your Airmen know you value them.

5. Be calm, be nice.

You don’t have to be a pushover, and even though sometimes you have to bark orders calmness and common courtesy are contagious. By showing respect for others, you set the example. Arm waving is counterproductive anyway.

6. Mistake are OK, crimes are not.

People will make the occasional mistake, but crimes are not mistakes. Abuse of alcohol, use of illegal drugs, sexual harassment or assault, dereliction of duty, etc, are all breaches of standards that can never be tolerated. Moreover, crimes like these do great harm to our fellow Airmen and degrade our ability to do our mission.

7. Think strategically, and work your bosses’ agenda.

The commander can’t lead if he doesn’t know where he’s going. That said, command can’t be self-referencing: you’ve got to work your boss’s and your boss’s boss’s agenda. Look ahead far enough to anticipate trouble, then make a plan to achieve your mission objectives.

8. Develop you leadership ethos.

Try to summarize in a few short phrases what you stand for and how you lead. Distilling your ethos into a few easy to remember and communicate ideas enables you to focus the unit. It’s OK to borrow ideas from others, but you need to make it your own.

9. Pay attention to the small things.

Don’t micromanage, but don’t ignore small things in your unit. Check spelling, cleanliness, do the math, ask questions until you understand.

10. Have fun.

Command is probably the best job you’ll ever have, and the Air Force chose you for command because senior officers believe in you. Trust your judgment, make friends, be a wingman to your fellow commanders, and appreciate the tremendous opportunity you’ve been granted!

Lead the Way!

Must Have Apps For A Busy Executive

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I’ll admit it, I love my Droid!  I do practically everything on that little device, including paying my gas bill from the Australian Outback on it!

Roman Stanek, CEO of Good Data, writes in Inc.com about his must have apps here, which include Tripit, Tempo, and Evernote.  I’m a Google and Springpad man m’self, but after reading about his choices I may need to check out Tripit!

I’ve found Google Calendar and Google Now to be fabulously useful and smart, and I love the social/sharing aspect of Springpad as a clipping/organization tool.

What are your “gotta have them” apps?

Drake Baer: “How To Give Feedback That Actually Inspires Improvement”

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I really value direct and honest feedback. To many times I’ve had bosses tell me, “you’re doing fine, don’t change a thing!” Now I’m not perfect and I know it, so that sort of feedback just isn’t useful to me. Surely, I can do something to improve, and I’m counting on my boss to help me get better.

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Over at Fast Company magazine, Drake Baer gives some great advice on giving useful feedback.

What’s it like to work without any feedback? To JetBlue chairman Joel Peterson, it’s like “driving a car with no speedometer, learning to cook without ever tasting your food, or playing basketball without a scoreboard.”

But simply giving feedback isn’t enough: If the commentary is vague and constructively critiquing un-constructively negative, he says, then there won’t be a path for improvement. Without specificity, the feedback will be for naught.

You’ll want to read it all.