Have you ever watched your favorite musical group perform? They look at each other, nod, gesture, smile—and sometimes speak! They’re intentionally connecting and communicating about the music they are creating together. This is called ensemble and the word literally means “together”. What a valuable skill, and one that is also present in all successful workplaces. Whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, professional service or non-profit organizations, working together well in ensemble means enjoying operations that work. What are some components of ensemble?
How many messages are in your inbox? Do you sort, file, delete and respond daily? Many aspects of life and work are dealt with via email; what about leadership? When leaders need to communicate to give direction, make decisions, or in other ways to relate to colleagues, is email appropriate? Maybe you have received email from a supervisor or colleague that made your day—or, just the opposite, crushed you. Conversely, you may have sent the same. Leadership by email? Yes, it can work!
The flow of cash: keep it coming in regularly for what’s called “sustainable cash flow” in business. The principles for creating sustainable cash flow are useful for individuals as well as businesses. Cash is necessary to provide for our daily personal and business needs. The principle is always the same: if the money coming in is more than the money going out, you’ve got positive cash flow. If the money coming in is less than the money going out, it’s negative cash flow. In business, this means considering customers who pay you and vendors you pay. The simplicity of the concept may tempt us to believe one of two fallacies: first, that lots of cash coming in means “big profit”; and second, that slow cash flow means our products are not profitable. This is where we engage our basic mathematics to learn about sustainable cash flow. Everyone wants it; some understand how to strategically plan for it; and fewer exercise the consistent discipline to really make it work. As author Jim Collins points out in his book How the Mighty Fall, “Organizations don’t die from lack of earnings. They die from lack of cash” (2009). Anyone can learn the principles for creating sustainable cash flow and implement them starting today.
At WellSpirit we believe everyone has ability to pursue their vision, goals and dreams effectively. How that ability is developed is unique to each person. That’s why we approach coaching with a personally tailored mapping system and evaluation sequence to help you articulate what matters most to you; then facilitate concrete “next steps” that are relevant immediately, accomplishing measurable momentum towards results.
In the science fiction world of Star Trek, Vulcans practice “mind melding”—forming a conduit between the brains of two individuals. Thoughts, emotions and memories interchange freely. Depicted as a brief process, it takes minutes at most. Sounds effective, right? If you exhaust your options with conventional communication and someone just isn’t getting it—perform a mind meld! Sometimes as leaders we would welcome such a practice because of our sincere desire for our colleagues to assimilate the knowledge we have in our field, understand our points of view, and make wise choices for themselves. Of course, a mind meld is indeed science fiction! In real-life, a good leader engages in mentoring. William Arthur Ward said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” This is what mentoring is all about.
When boarding a commercial airplane, aren’t you glad there’s a Captain in the cockpit? He or she is the “pilot in command” or PIC. According to The Federal Aviation Administration, “The pilot in command of an aircraft is directly responsible for, and is the final authority as to, the operation of that aircraft.” I trust the PIC on flights I board to be skilled, qualified, and competent. But wait— there’s someone else in the cockpit, too! The person in the “right seat” is literally sitting next to the Captain and is called the First Officer. I trust the First Officer to be totally capable of all of the above. Otherwise, could I board that long metal tube and hope to arrive safely at my destination? The First Officer has the same controls as the captain, and has a similar level of training. Why two pilots on every flight? Safety. If the Captain is incapacitated, a plane must have another pilot who can step in. Additionally, the First Officer provides input on piloting decisions, reducing pilot error. First Officers may rise in rank to Captain with experience over time. What about everyday leaders? How does this “Captain & First Officer” model help us understand principles of leadership succession?
Leaders must persevere to see desired results. Are you fatigued or discouraged while leading people to accomplish a project? Exhausted while leading yourself to achieve something significant? Follow the action plan below to boost your leadership perseverance in making difficult decisions, seeing plans and decisions through to their culminations, and learning/adjusting for improved performance.
The email inbox was overflowing…again. Many messages to sort, responses to formulate, possible challenges to face. But right in the middle there was a rare jewel…a message of encouragement from a colleague. What a refreshing and positive boost! Leaders who take the time to serve others through positive encouragement are actually sharing joy—speaking out of their own well-being to uplift another.
Sometimes it’s just a great day, good things happen, stuff goes right, and you’re thinking—“This is magical! Really? Could days like this occur more often?” We are surprised because we are accustomed to dealing with difficulty, anticipating annoyances, and feeling stressed. But there are ways to witness “magic” more regularly. In leadership it’s all about the people with whom you interact.
Workflow is the way things get done. It happens daily, whether we design it or not. It consists of the steps from start to finish of any given process; it could be laundry, ironing and storing clothes as well as printing and assembling documents at work, or manufacturing something on a large scale. Getting things done takes shape in our personal and work environments as productive, nonproductive, or worse—a waste of time. Why not design workflow to get the results we want? Three things make a successful workflow: a plan, the resources, and the people. Most leaders would be pleased if these three components were in place every time they started a project. The reality is that the perfect combination of these factors rarely occurs on its own. Leaders must be creative, flexible, and resourceful to get the results they want through intentionally designing workflow.