Note: The following content was originally distributed as an e-letter on October 1, 2015.
Dear Clients and Colleagues:
Welcome to a new e-letter format called Short Bursts (SBs.) These have been used in client-specific situations but now are evolving into wider use. Largely because the world seems to be increasing at such breakneck speed that very few are willing to take the time to go deeper. Or at least that’s what it feels like these days.
A recent prospect, who by the way thankfully did not become a client, commented on a proposed 30-day service period: “30 days? That’s hecka of a long time in business. Whole world could be different in 30 days.” You are correct, Sir. But how you adapt and change based on what you think you need will not move that quickly, I assure you. Onto the bursts, rat-a-tat-tat:
As a business leader, are you striking the proper balance between off- and on-line engagement? Note the word ‘discussion’ was not inserted in place of engagement. For purposes of this letter, it will be assumed that you know when in-person conversation is essential. Hint: It’s generally when the situation is sensitive and involves human dynamics, such as health, hiring/firing, performance issues and/or other hot emotional buttons. Remember the great ones always return calls, or in this day and age, emails. Differences are made one person at a time, not en masse.
Do you talk to others or at others? No one is immune to this question, including yours truly who struggles at times. Especially over the phone when there’s only about 30 seconds to get your point across if you’re lucky. The hyper-wired, attention deficit disorder, multi-tasking age aside, the only way to strike balance seems to be equipped to ask good questions. Then just shut up and listen, which is a little difficult for some. Someone asked me to “get a pen and paper” recently, and I almost fell out of my chair. Great reminders all around.
Do you know the difference between acting in public vs. being in private? Admittedly the lines are beginning to blur. It never ceases to amaze, however, at how so few aspiring leaders take the time to understand these dynamics. Start with the basics by offering a stranger a pleasant “hello,” on the street. After staring into some jacked up eyes disguised in suits recently in New York and D.C., the world could use a little more publicly inclined leadership. Someone once said that what you do when no one is watching defines character. Times are a changin.’ Someone is always watching.
Does the job define you or do you define the job? Age-old question. But it’s not meant to be chicken and egg. Presidents going all the way back through Roosevelt have struggled with this question often at their peril. Latest example in the business ranks that no one seems too curious about yet: Who is the new Home Depot CEO (internal choice following long-time office holder, Frank Blake who leaves role Nov. 1st according to original cycle) and how does he plan on dealing with the company’s recent record-breaking security breach? Nameless, faceless leadership usually translates into the job defining you, not the other way around. Tough to strike balance for sure; perhaps impossible the higher you go in the food chain.
If none of these bursts grab your attention, consider some vision stretching from the one and only Kermit the Frog who recently shared some great stuff with “CBS This Morning.”
Kermit said if you’re going to dream or have a dream don’t forget to share it with others so they can help make it come true.
The last piece of wisdom was the best: Remember to spend some time in the big picture. Who knows? One day you might even be in one. Kermit should know, right?
Happy leading. Look forward to hearing feedback on how you are doing with your own set.