Category Archives: Accountability

Life expectancy – yours

If you look up a life expectancy calculator like this one, and you put in your birthdate it will tell you on average how may more years you should live. Despite our arrogant human hubris that we will live forever, there will be an end one day. I know, not for you. >

Feral Invasive Species

At 5 am, the dog barks at the burros wandering down the street outside our hotel. Again, at 5:20, and every 20 minutes thereafter until we got up.  Cindy, the owner of the Atomic Inn in Beatty, NV, (just outside Death Valley National Park) described the burros as a feral invasive species.  I called them a very cute nuisance.

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Personal Stretch Goals

In December, I set personal stretch goals including an outrageous BHAG of 40 days of downhill skiing by May 2022. For context, I had never skied more than 20 days in a season before. Why did I bother? To focus my actions and attention to get the results I wanted. >

Your “team one”

It made sense when Patrick Lencioni said it, and it made sense when I read it in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team 20 years ago, but it still is not common business practice. Your executive leadership team – the CEO and your peers,  must be your “team one”, not your division or your direct reports. Whew! >

Don’t “wuss out”

On Friday, I attended a Vistage webinar featuring Patrick Lencioni, the writer of 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, The Ideal Team Player, and The Motive. Lencioni has a new assessment he has developed called “Working Genius“. It is a great tool for assessing the “right seat on the bus*” for your team members. Assessment requires communication with the team member: letting them know regularly whether they are performing to your expectations. Lencioni said one of the biggest failures of many leaders is that they “wuss out.” I burst out laughing.

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Above and Beyond

Floating through my head these days is a Christmas song which starts:  “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..everywhere I go….”. There is a sense of giddiness as people are past their second vaccine and they are meeting in person. Plans are being made to return to offices, to travel, to resume where we left off last March.

Before we do that, let’s acknowledge those who went above and beyond any reasonable expectations this year. >

Peer Pressure

“Hey girl, do you want a puff of this? “. “You know, everyone is doing it.” “Just try it once. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to do it.”

Throwback to middle school….or every parent’s fears about their young kids experimenting with something that turns out to be dangerous, permanent  or sends them down a road to addiction. >

One small step

When I was developing my brand with the help of the amazing Emily Aiken of the Story Studio, I could not figure out how to structure my blog at Word Press. Neither Emily nor Michelle Sherman*, who were my accountable group, could fathom that I didn’t know how to take this one small step to start the project. They helped me get a website and word press developer and I was on my way. >

Giving feedback

Do you give fair and accurate informal feedback to your direct reports? Teams that do outperform by 40%. Would getting better at giving feedback and receiving it help your company perform better?

Dr. Eve Meceda spoke to my Vistage groups about mindset and gave us a set of clues for how to give fair, accurate informal feedback. My favorite was “to say it how they can hear it”.

That reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A guy was telling me that he and his wife had a lot of hallway sex. As a middle aged married woman, I was unfamiliar with the concept and asked him to explain. He said, they would pass each other in the hallway and say Screw you! , “No, screw you!” Okay….Like any good joke, the outcome was totally different from what you might have imagined from the introduction.

This is the same thing that can happen when we give feedback, if we don’t give it with good intentions and in a way that the other person can hear it, the result will not be good.

So, if someone is an extravert, praise them in public. They probably want more enthusiastic acknowledgement, a plaque, etc. If you are an introvert, your style may not match theirs and they may leave because they don’t think they are appreciated. Speak up in a way that may be uncomfortable to you. If you have words of improvement, just call them into your office and tell them calmly what the issue is. Ask them how they see the situation. They can usually speak off the cuff.

If you are an extrovert, and they are an introvert, praise them in private. A simple note may be exactly what they want. Give them time to prepare if you have words of improvement. Perhaps, they can consider what you said and come back in 2 days to discuss how they want to address the situation.

Say it how they can hear it. In both cases, they  will see you as respectful, and you might begin to create a culture of higher performance. Who doesn’t want that? Pick one person this week that you have been meaning to either praise or suggest improvement and try this technique. Next week, we will discuss receiving feedback.

 

 

Are you a mentor?

Listening to Morning Edition on the way to Pilates, the host interviewed a former skinhead recruiter, Tony McAleer, who founded Life after Hate. He had been a violent young man from a middleclass family where discipline was physical and humiliating.  He stated that he didn’t have much empathy for others until he had his first child at 23.  Being unconditionally loved and needed by another human being turned his life around.

I wonder if he had a mentor? Did you?  Many of us can cite a family member or teacher who mentored us and encouraged us as we grew up. Maya Angelou talked about her Grandmother, who always called her sister. She encouraged her when being tall wasn’t so great. She encouraged her when she became mute saying that she would have a lot to say when she decided to speak again. Are you encouraging anyone today?

I think many of us have forgotten that it takes mentors for young people to get ahead. I think we have been on our path successfully for long enough that we forget that it wasn’t always so obvious or so successful.

I see many business leaders consciously allocating time each month to teach at their church or synagogue. Some talk in high schools about how to do well in business and life. Some mentor a rising star in their organization.

I think that being a mentor is as good for you as for the ones you mentor. My sister in law who runs a charity that gives food to the homeless every Sunday in Tampa, Florida, says it probably helps the volunteers more than the homeless. It makes them feel better about themselves and their less than perfect lives.

I’m guessing that neuro- science would suggest that it is ocytocin that is produced- the feel good hormone that connects us with others. It creates empathy.

This week, reach out and mentor someone. Share some knowledge that helps another person, or maybe just listen. Listen deeply to what they have to say. t will make you both feel good.

Are you interested in Vistage?