In 100 Words: Position Well

January 31st, 2018 by Troy Schrock

Where do you produce your greatest value and are you positioned to do so? Do you know what activities lead to your best work? Do you orient your time accordingly? If not, start a time log.

Identifying what keeps us out of position is a good first step toward contributing our best. Many of us don’t properly structure our work activities. Maybe we haven’t given thought to which activities yield the highest returns. Possibly we hold onto work that should be delegated or stopped altogether. Then, there are those pesky distractions.

Evaluate how you can reposition to deliver higher value.

“There’s an awful temptation to just keep on researching. There comes a point where you just have to stop, and start writing.” David McCullough

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In 100 Words: Appreciation is Free

December 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Sincere appreciation must rank as one of the most underutilized resources available to leaders. Other than some time, showing appreciation rarely costs us anything, yet we generally don’t express it frequently enough. On the flip side, we cherish receiving appreciation – we enjoy being recognized as someone of value who is contributing something of value.
It’s hard to express appreciation without a few pre-conditions:

• Care about the other person – truly care.
• Cultivate a thankful attitude.
• Maintain a generous spirit.

Don’t be stingy. Be quick to praise and recognize people in your life. Express it warmly – verbally or in writing. Freely appreciate!

“The way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.” Charles M. Schwab

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In 100 Words: Bring Others With You (Change Spark-Part 2)

November 1st, 2017 by Troy Schrock

How often do you coach, demand or incentivize people you lead to change? Stop these efforts – at least until you lead by example and change some of your own behaviors. Often leaders simply forget the power of example. Change is hard. When you change one or more your own ingrained habits the message is powerful and persuasive. Your call to action now has the ring of authenticity; of integrity. You demonstrate what it takes to fight through present discomfort for a better future outcome. Your example may be the spark others need to join you on a habit changing journey.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.” Leo Tolstoy

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In 100 Words: The Change Spark

September 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

We are comfortable in our habits which makes behavior change hard. For example, medical studies confirm 90% of patients do not change their lifestyle following open heart surgery. Think of a lasting habit change you made in your life. What prompted the change? Likely there was an emotional spark – something moved you beyond simply understanding the rational benefits.

How does this connect to leading teams and organizations? Both groups are collections of people with habits. A “culture change” will only happen when individuals change behavior. What are you doing to help people you lead identify emotional sparks for habit change?

“People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles F. Kettering

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In 100 Words: State Your Assumptions

August 2nd, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Dialogue is the path people use to shape initial ideas into decisions and actions. As different perspectives are surfaced, it is helpful for everyone to know the line of thinking behind those positions. Leaders can set an example of transparency by both articulating the assumptions behind their positions and asking clarifying questions about other’s statements. “Why are you drawing that conclusion?” “What data are you seeing?” Help people connect the dots of assumptions behind the conclusions. With this understanding, the merit of good ideas will be more apparent. Conversely, faulty thinking can be exposed and poor decisions more easily avoided.

“It is wiser to find out than to suppose.” Mark Twain

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In 100 Words: Inadvertent Bad Advice

June 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

“Bring me solutions, not problems!” can be poor advice. We want people to be pro-active so the adage applies at times. Leaders, however, deal with many complex and challenging problems which either require, or benefit from, collaborative work. Collaborative work entails conversation between two or more people to surface and debate alternative solutions. One person alone will not get to the best decision.

Some people disguise complaining or laziness by merely pointing out problems. Other people, though, raise genuine issues with a desire to be actively involved in collaborative work on a solution. A wise leader discerns between the two.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

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