Archive for October, 2011

In any network marketing or home business a successful leader faces each day with excitement and anticipation of what they will learn and teach to others

In any network marketing or home business a successful leader faces each day with excitement and anticipation of what they will learn and teach to others. Their attitude is phenomenal and they are continuously creating new skills and always remain teachable. Remember it’s what you learn after you know everything that’s important.

Being a successful leader is not about competence it’s about attitude. It’s the hunger to discover and grow, it’s the hunger to learn and relearn. When you stop learning you stop leading. To be successful the only skill you need to learn is ‘to learn’. Teachable people are fully engaged in life and in discovery, they are excited about things and are always open to ideas and to new discussions and most importantly they are disciplined.

Successful people view learning differently from unsuccessful people they have a different attitude. A leader knows he still has much to learn even if others consider him an expert in his field. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others before he has learned enough to know how little he knows. There is so much to learn before one realises how little one truly knows!

Its such a tragedy because it seems that once people subconsciously get to a certain age where they are in this space of their own personal comfort they tend to retard their own growth. They get into a rut and rely on habits and excuses, they stop learning and their minds go into sleep mode until the end of their days.

Remember nothing is interesting if you’re not interested. If you can’t be teachable having talent wont help you, if you can’t be grateful having abundance wont help you, if you can’t be flexible having a goal wont help you and if you can’t be durable having a plan wont help you. So if you are struggling in your life or your network marketing business, not having the success you dreamed of have a look at the proven system I use and become a part of this inspiring community.

Oh, the stories we tell and the stories we hear

Oh, the stories we tell and the stories we hear. Have you ever heard anyone use one of the excuses below to distance themselves from their responsibility as a team member? Shame on those of us who use these excuses and on those of us who let others use them.

It is not my meeting – Guess what? If you have a business reason to be in the meeting, then it is your meeting too. Not only do you have the right to contribute, you have a responsibility to contribute, so speak up and share your expertise and opinions.

I did not set the agenda – Just a step or two away from “it is not my meeting” is the infamous “well, I did not set the agenda”. The implication is that only the person who defines the agenda can decide what is discussed. So if critical information is not brought to the table, well, that is just too bad, because “Hey, I did not set the agenda.”

Well, nobody asked me – This one is usually accompanied by a pouting face or a petulant tone of voice. None of us should be expected to have access to psychic powers, but if you know a problem exists and you know the solution – it does not matter that nobody asked you directly. Step up and step in to help.

It is not my job – So you knew from reports you receive that the database was about to run out of space. Guess what? Last night the database ran out of space and this morning the application was unavailable for two hours. But it is not your problem; after all, you manage the hardware not the database. It is not your job.

Now do any of these excuses really make sense? Of course not. Remember when one team member decides to disengage, we all suffer the consequences.

Establishing “total quality management” in the workplace is not as easy as some assume

Establishing “Total Quality Management” in the workplace is not as easy as some assume. The idea implies action as well as quantifiable improvements in quality and service. But some implementations turn out to be entirely ineffective. One study conducted by Canada’s Conference Board revealed that about 70% of North American companies experimenting with TQM fail even to show a useful “total quality strategy.” However, TQM is not some passing fad; many companies which could benefit have yet to give the plan a real trial. Some proponents of TQM may only be making half-hearted efforts or doing what could best be described as PQM, or “Partial Quality Management.”

Lou Holtz, a football coach for Notre Dame has observed that people often say and promise more than they will actually accomplish. In spite of all the things actually “said” and promised in the form of catchy slogans, impassioned speeches, clever advertising, well-marketed videos, pressing sales pitches, pretty brochures, quality and service provided by most companies and organizations still suffers a great deal.

It can be very difficult to make the leap from PQM to TQM. It requires that your company take more action and do less talking. Some suggestions are listed here:

Involve your Senior Management! – Lip service (not even passionate) and permission are not enough. The bosses’ visible priorities become the priorities of managers and supervisors. Improvement of service, and the quality of services are often relegated from top level, to middle level – who relegates it to the bottom level. Finning, Ltd in Vancouver (largest Caterpillar dealer in the world), Jim Shepard (CEO) and the executives have taken the initiative to be the first to take all of the service and quality training that all other employees receive. Not only that, they often train and teach the sessions to their employees as well.

Teams for Support and Focus – At the center of many of today’s high-volume organizations are work groups and departmental, branch, process improvement or progress teams. Many managers make the mistake of having more teams than they are needed. Most medium and large companies cannot host more than a handful of teams in their first few years. Organizations that are ill-prepared find that their improvement teams clash with the “old guard” managers and supervisors – these employees often feel that coaches belong in sports arenas, and the term “fostering innovation” is synonymous with “If I want to hear your ideas, I will tell you what to say”. Suggestions made to realign systems that are inhibiting quality and processes that are cross-function receive a lukewarm reception at best by these “old-guard” specialists and managers that install and micromanage them.

Improved Reporting and Planning – The quality and service improvement that should be overseen with rigor and discipline, which proper business planning is all about. Supervisors with more subordinates, money and training at improving the business has little expectation. Often it ends with even less or no service or quality. A superior organization can be most effective with teamwork from management, work teams, board members or union members, with a little extra effort from the vendors or customers that will develop the quality strategy. The same effort given to financial statements should be put into quality and service ratings and the reporting system.

An indication that PQM is being implemented is the excessive reliance on a few improvement techniques and the exclusion of others. TQM on the other hand requires using a wide range of techniques, such as awareness of what constitutes excellent customer service, understanding the basic principles behind quality improvement, understanding the meaning of value and learning how to improve processes at all levels using the Xerox principle of “management based on fact”. The goal is to incorporate all of these ideas and practices into the company culture.

Improving Both Understanding and Proficiency – Employees and managers alike can learn all the book-learning they want about team direction and overseeing processes from the most charismatic of presentations, slide shows, videos, and tons of literature, but this will not teach them the more intricate skills of conflict resolution or focusing meetings. We know that having common sense and putting that common sense into practice through action are two completely different concepts. We accept this in physical fitness training, but many programs that are used for business training purposes have no effect because they only use technology geared toward educating the minds of the trainees and leaving them energized and informed but no more skilled than they were before to act on their new-found knowledge.

When performed properly, total quality management yields excellent results. Moving from a long-standing PQM system requires consistency, discipline, and breaking old habits to acquire new ones. It can be a lot like finally getting off the diet yo-yo in your personal life and just beginning healthy eating habits. Both require dedication and commitment to a permanent and significant change.

Excerpted from winning with accountability: the secret language of high-performing organizations (cornerstone leadership institute, 2008)

Excerpted from Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High-Performing Organizations (Cornerstone Leadership Institute, 2008).

Nine-tenths of life’s serious controversies come from misunderstanding. – Louis Brandeis

Traditionally, language is perceived to be the structure of how messages are sent and received. However, language actually achieves more by stimulating opinions and creating emotional responses.

For example, there’s a new restaurant in town … and the people you work with are raving about the food. Even before you set foot in that restaurant or have lifted that first forkful of food, you now have an opinion. You have positive emotions about that restaurant, simply because you’ve heard language like “great food,” “ambience” and “the best I’ve ever had.”

We use language all of the time, either as a transmitter of our thoughts and information or as a receiver of others’ thoughts and information. Since you use language anyway, why not use it in an intentional way to get or achieve what you want in creating a high-accountability culture, the appropriate language will elevate performance and improve your communication efficiency. Your dialogue will be fast, powerful and complete.

The Four Stages of Language Development
Accountability language is real. It is visible and palpable, and there is a process to learning and using it to help you achieve positive results.

Learning the Language of Accountability is similar to how human beings learn their native language. Toddlers, for example, hear their parents using language. At some point in their development, toddlers may even mimic the sounds their parents are using, even though they don’t know the words or understand the meaning.

Eventually, these little ones begin to connect meanings to words, learn to string them together into sentences and then begin using language to convey their needs or get what they want. That’s one way we learned our native language.

Now, suppose your native language is English and you’re sitting in an airport. The couple next to you is speaking Portuguese, a language you’ve never heard before.

Several weeks later, you’re watching a Portuguese movie with English subtitles and you immediately recognize this as the language the couple had been speaking at the airport.

Because you’re a lifelong learner and you are interested in foreign languages, you decide to sign up for a Portuguese course at the local college. By the end of the semester, you have a basic understanding of close to 100 vocabulary words. As you continue to read, study and listen to Portuguese, before long, not only can you understand spoken Portuguese, but you are also beginning to speak it yourself.

The learning process of developing organizational accountability language is very similar to learning a new language. The same four phases of language learning – hearing, recognizing, understanding and speaking – apply.

As you apply the Language of Accountability, model it for your team and others you work with. Eventually, it will be a natural process. Your accountability culture begins … not with the organization changing as a whole but, instead, with the language that you as an individual choose to use. It is through individual change that organizational change occurs and the change begins with you!

The Glossary of Failure
To understand the Language of Accountability, we’ll first look at the type of language that leads to miscommunications. Language used to forecast relationship or project failure is called the “Glossary of Failure.” It’s ambiguous, lacks specificity and will assuredly lead to disappointment, failure and bad feelings. Ambiguity and generalizations lead to disappointment.

Here’s a good example. If you ask three people what “ASAP” means to them, you’ll probably get three different answers as to the specific timeframe in which “ASAP” is carried out.

Now, let’s say I’m promising an external customer a new copier and I’m relying on you to complete the service contract. You tell me you’ll get it to the customer ASAP – an ambiguous answer. How can I make a real delivery commitment to that customer?

Or, what about the ambiguous “I’ll get right on it”? Do you mean you’ll do the task immediately … or as soon as you finish reading your e-mails … or after you’ve had lunch? When is “right on it”?

Don’t confuse the Glossary of Failure with lack of intention. Sometimes, “I’ll get right on it,” means that they have great intention and, in fact, really intend to complete the project. You don’t want to dampen their enthusiasm but you do wish to clarify the commitment.

Intentions can’t be measured. The employee who promised to “get right on it” may have had no intention of getting to your project this afternoon, the next day or even this week. That’s not lack of accountability. That’s grounds for termination due to lack of interest.

Suppose someone says they are going to have a report “by the end of the day.” So, what’s “the end of the day” for you? Is it 5 p.m.? Is it your bedtime? Or, does the end of the day come when the clock strikes midnight? Who knows and how can the person be held accountable for an ambiguous answer?

If you’re working with branch offices around the country or around the globe, the “end of the day” occurs at many different times. Let’s say you’re working on the East Coast and someone on the West Coast promises a completed task by the end of the day. Is that Eastern Standard Time or Pacific Time? Is it at 5 p.m. on your coast or 5 p.m. on their coast?

Even things that seem obvious can be a part of the Glossary of Failure. What about a promise to complete a project by the end of the year? If your corporation works on a fiscal year, that could be August or September or October. If it works on a calendar year, it’s December – but is it the first of December or the last day of December?

As you are probably observing, these types of ambiguities are all part of the Glossary of Failure … and every one of these vague phrases increases the chances of relationship or project failure. Here are some of the biggest offenders from the Glossary of Failure:

  • Soon
  • ASAP
  • Right away
  • I’ll get right on it!
  • The end of the day/week/month/year
  • Later
  • Try
  • Should
  • Best
  • Might
  • By the “next time” we meet
  • We

So what can you do to neutralize this ambiguity? Begin using the language of specificity.

High-Accountability Language
Instead of saying, “I’ll have this report on your desk ASAP,” you say, “I’ll have that report on your desk by 1 p.m. this afternoon.” Rather than saying, “We’ll have the project completed by the end of the day,” tell your counterpart, “I’ll have it wrapped up by Tuesday, June 13th at 10 a.m., your time.”

Like the three most important rules of real estate are “location, location, location,” the three most important rules in creating an accountability culture are “specificity, specificity, specificity.” Practice making commitments, using the Language of Accountability by saying, “I will do it on ‘X’ date at ‘X’ time.”

The Language of Specificity includes:

  • What date and time should I follow up with you to make sure the loop is closed?
  • Who owns it?
  • I own it!
  • Will (e.g., “I will’ in lieu of “try,” “should,” or “might.”)
  • Here’s what it will look like when it is completed.

Using the Language of Specificity will increase accountability and strengthen the accountability culture within your organization.

As you practice avoiding the Glossary of Failure and increase your mastery of the Language of Specificity, you’ll see your performance increase. High-performing leaders are skilled at listening for ambiguity in language and replacing it with specificity.

Remember the four steps of acquiring new language – hearing, recognizing, understanding and speaking? You will experience this same sequence as you become highly skilled at listening for specificity.

You’ll also move through these same four phases as you begin using the Language of Specificity when asking for – and making – commitments and building a Culture of Accountability within your organization.

To find out how well you and your organization are using the Language of Accountability, take the free Accountability Assessment at http://www.dynamicresults.net. 

Excerpted from Henry Evans’ book, Winning with Accountability: The Secret Language of High-Performing Organizations (Cornerstone Leadership Institute, 2008).

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