Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #7

Lesson #7: Follow Up Daily, Measure and Ask: Are We Meeting Our Goals?
By Suzanne Black; President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Urgent Care Waiting Area
Urgent Care Waiting Area
In Lesson #1 we talked about the importance of creating a vision. Lessons 2-6 all focus on what it takes to reach that vision. Lesson #7, our final lesson, completes the circle of what is necessary to make the vision a reality. It is about measuring our progress.
Some of us are better than others of us about setting daily goals and checking our progress. Some of us get up in the morning and make a to-do list. We monitor our lists throughout the day, checking off completed items as we go. At the end of they day, we know what we have done and what we still need to do.
Others of us are more random and spontaneous. We don’t like feeling limited by a list. We want the freedom to change direction, be impulsive, and explore multiple options. For us, lists are boring and constraining.
While freedom and spontaneity are good in some circumstances (international leisure travel, for instance) daily follow-up and measurement are necessary for the successful accomplishment of business goals. Disciplined assessment is important.
So, what can you do to insure that you are accurately assessing progress toward goals?
First, make a point to keep goals in the forefront of everyone’s mind. List-makers know that out of sight is out of mind. Keep a list of your goals on your desk in plain sight. Post your goals on the walls in your business to remind your employees of your goals. Each day, at the end of the work day, ask yourself: Did we make progress today in meeting our goals?
Second, create ways to measure your accomplishment. For instance, if one of your goals is to create a more comfortable atmosphere for your patients, you need to know how you will evaluate your progress.
How will you know if your patients feel more comfortable? You need to clearly identify markers for progress if you expect to accurately measure progress.
Third, now that you have created ways to measure your goals, use them! Measurement tools don’t work unless you use them. Schedule regular meetings where individuals are assigned to bring in measurement data. Discuss findings and how you will continue with good results or work to improve on results that aren’t as positive.
Fourth, practice management by wandering around. Effective leaders know about the bad news barrier – the line in the hierarchy at which the bad news stops in its movement up the ladder. The only way you will know if you are meeting your goals is to walk around and talk to employees and clients. Be seen, be heard, and listen!
Accomplished goals are your steps toward reaching your vision. Keeping goals in the forefront, creating ways to measure progress, measuring it, and wandering around will guarantee that your goals are met.
Intentional action is the difference between success and failure of a vision. These past weeks, we’ve given you Hailey’s Seven Leadership Lessons – the tools for success. Now it’s all in your hands.
Go out there and do it!

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #6

Lesson #6: Be a Servant Leader and Show How Much You Care. Ask: How Can I Help You with Your Assignment?
By Suzanne Black, President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Dental Office Front Desk - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Front Desk
When was the last time your boss asked you: What can I do to help you? It’s not a question most of us have ever heard coming from our bosses. Most bosses lead like Dilbert’s boss, in the cartoon, Dilbert. The boss gives the orders and Dilbert follows obediently questioning the directive every step of the way. Servant leaders are different. Hailey’s 6th leadership lesson guides us to be servant leaders.
Servant leaders are directed by a few key attitudes that make them atypical. In fact, some of the key tenets of servant leadership are directly contradictory to traditional Dilbert leadership models.
What do you need to do to become a servant leader?
First, you must genuinely care about your people. While traditional leaders ask themselves how their subordinates can serve them, servant leaders tend to put others first. They continuously ask (themselves and others) how they can help.
Second, as a servant leader, you must see yourself as a steward of a valuable resource – your people. Servant leaders take the time to coach and train employees. While traditional leaders might simply terminate a subordinate who isn’t meeting expectations, servant leaders will try to understand why the employee isn’t as successful as he or she should be and assist them in meeting expectations.
Third, you must value justice and equality. Servant leaders will take the time to know employees and understand the unique gifts of each employee. Servant leaders are more likely to support diversity efforts and programs that encourage success for employees from diverse backgrounds. They recognize that promoting diversity is good for people and good for business.
Fourth, you must understand that indebtedness is a part of leadership. When supervisors view leadership as service, they recognize that both leaders and followers owe each other certain things. They recognize the mutual commitment they have to their relationship and are willing to be responsible to each other as they work together.
Fifth, and perhaps most important, you need to understand your own ethics and values to be an effective servant leader. Servant leaders lead and are led by a clear moral compass. This moral compass will help you create a positive ethical climate in your organization. Servant leaders are open to others and willing to examine their own attitudes and values.
But the question remains, why be a servant leader? The answer is simple. If we empower our employees to do good work, it only stands to reason that we support their efforts. In the long run, service to others will win over self interest. Successful team members who are led by servant leaders will out-perform self-interest-only team members every time. Really!
Some of the ideas for this article came from: Leadership: A Communication Perspective (4th Edition), Waveland Press, 2004.

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #5

Lesson #5: Delegate, Empower, Measure, Inspect What You Expect and Have Specific Outcomes.
By Suzanne Black; President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Dental Office Waiting Area - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Waiting Area
As we learned in Leadership Lesson #4, no person is an island. Counting on others is necessary for making your vision a reality. Hailey’s Leadership Lesson #5 focuses on delegating, empowering, and overseeing progress toward successful outcomes.
The first part of the lesson tackles delegation. In order to be an effective leader, you must know when to delegate and to whom to delegate. While you might trust your fourteen-year-old with the lawn mower, you might not trust your nine-year-old with the lawn mower. However, your nine-year-old might be great in the kitchen and you would trust him to cook dinner – but perhaps not with a complicated recipe. This metaphor can be used with team members -- each person has her or his individual skills and talents. Understanding and delegating appropriate tasks will improve the likelihood of success.
Letting go is the hardest part of delegation. Can I really trust him? Will she do an effective job? Questions like these swim around in the heads of leaders considering delegating. Delegation is hard because most of us don’t trust one another. The number of Americans who believe that most other people are trustworthy dropped from 55% in 1960 to just above 30% in 2003 – and that number may be even lower now. In other words, the average manager trusts only 3 of 10 team members!
Delegation, then, requires a leap of faith. If you delegate appropriate tasks to appropriate individuals, you will be confident in your decision and success will likely follow. That success makes it easier to trust the next time you need to delegate. The positive cycle is created.
Delegation won’t work without empowerment. You wouldn’t ask your fourteen-year-old to mow without a good mower or your nine-year-old to make dinner without the proper utensils. Think about the “tools” your team members need to complete the tasks you’ve delegated to them. Tools can be tangible resources (e.g. money) or intangible (e.g. power). Without the correct tools, they are bound to fail.
Ongoing coaching of team members is also critical. Measurement and inspecting outcomes becomes important. Just like you wouldn’t send your fourteen year-old out to mow without a mower, you wouldn’t send him to do the task without explaining how to mow and how you expect the lawn to look when he is done. On-going coaching is important, especially when the task is new. Measure and inspect what you expect on a regular basis. Once is not enough support for most people.
When you delegate, empower, and follow up, you transform. Transformation occurs in team members because they have increased ownership over the outcome. Transformation occurs in you because you are no longer a leader who simply tells people what to do. You have now become a leader who creates change – in people and your practice.

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #4

Lesson #4: Surround Yourself with People that Commit to Your Vision
By Suzanne Black; President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Dental Office Entry - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Entry - EnviroMed Design Group
Athletes know it. Presidents know it. Musicians know it.
They know that their success, to a large part, depends upon surrounding themselves with people who commit to their vision. Without a great quarterback, the running back can’t get the touchdowns. Without great advisors, the president’s policies will fail. Without backup singers, the musician’s music won’t sound as sweet.
Hailey’s Leadership Lesson #4 is to surround yourself with people that commit to your vision. Why is this important? There are several reasons.
First, no person is an island. In order to accomplish what you want to accomplish, you need help. Surrounding yourself with individuals who are committed to your vision will guarantee that you get the help you need to make your vision a reality.
Second, surrounding yourself with people that commit to your vision guarantees that you conserve energy for appropriate tasks. When you surround yourself with individuals who aren’t committed to your vision, energy is spent unnecessarily. Faced with cynics, leaders spend a lot of time convincing others of the value of the vision. When that happens, time and energy are detracted from making the vision a reality.
Third, when you put together a team committed to a shared vision, it is easier to attract the right people to your organization. When the vision is clear and shared by all, it is apparent to potential employees. When the vision is clear and shared by all, individuals who interview potential employees understand who will fit and who won’t fit.
Perhaps the most compelling reason to surround yourself with people that commit to your vision is because a shared vision creates synergy. Researchers who study emotions have know that emotions are contagious. In other words, if someone around you is displaying negative emotions, you are likely to catch some of those negative emotions. It’s kind of like a virus – a little exposure might not affect you – but prolonged exposure will! When people don’t commit to your vision, their negativity will contaminate you and others. As hard as it may be to say goodbye to those who can’t support your vision, it is essential for success rid yourself of that negative energy.
The good news is that positive emotions are also infectious. When you surround yourself with people who are committed and positive about the vision, that positive energy is shared. Gloomy Gus’s will bring you down. But excited team-players will buoy you up every step of the way.
Surrounding yourself with people who commit to your vision makes sense. When you surround yourself with people who are committed to your vision, you possess more than just their hands, you also possess their hearts.

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #3

Lesson #3: Always Practice Active Listening. Ask for Feedback
By Suzanne Black, President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Dental Office Lighting - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Lighting - EnviroMed Design Group
“You’re not listening!” Ever heard that complaint? Most of us have. And it is no wonder that many of us have heard the complaint – contrary to what most of us believe, listening is very hard work. And, it is essential to excellence in leadership.
Hailey’s leadership lesson #3 addresses the importance of listening: Always Practice Active Listening. Ask for Feedback.
When asked, most people will tell you that they think they are pretty good listeners. Statistics indicate otherwise. According to the International Listening Association, 85% of what we learn, we learn through listening, yet we remember only 20% of what we hear. 75% of the time that we are listening, we are distracted, preoccupied or forgetful. Fewer than 2% of us have ever had any formal listening training.
When we examine what is involved in listening, it’s no wonder that many of us have challenges with effective listening. Listening is actually a four step process. In the first step, we hear – simply take in the sounds. In the second step, we sort – retaining the important sounds (what someone says) and letting go of the unnecessary sounds (background noise). Third, we add meaning to what we have heard. We apply what we know about the topic, the speaker, and even the setting to the words we hear. And finally, we must recall what was said. Effective communication only occurs when the sender and the receiver “hear” the same thing.
Distractions are prevalent in our culture and they can make listening even more difficult. Cell phones, I-pods, televisions, computers – all can distract from careful listening. Likewise, mental distractions such as thinking about something you must do later or thinking about something that has just happened, can function as distractions. To listen actively, you must rid yourself of the physical and mental “noise” that prevents you from being an effective listener.
Active listening and asking for feedback go hand in hand. Listening leads to learning. When you want to learn more about yourself from others, ask for feedback.
Requesting feedback can feel threatening because soliciting input about how we are doing can make us feel vulnerable. It is much easier to wander down the road of life comfortable in our own vision of ourselves than to hear what others think of us. But feedback is essential to growth. You must be open to both positive and negative feedback and avoid the tendency to get defensive when you listen. You may also be pleasantly surprised at the positive things you hear!
The following suggestions can be helpful when you solicit feedback. First, listen with an open mind. Second, breathe. Breathing will help you maintain an open mind. Third, take notes on what is being said. This will give you accurate information to reflect upon as you consider the feedback. Finally, take some time to understand the feedback. Ask questions for clarification; repeat back what you hear. You may conclude after considering the feedback that the comment is completely inaccurate, OR has a grain of truth, OR is “right on.” Whatever you conclude, you now have the data, and this information is powerful in developing yourself as leader.
The Chinese character for listening includes images of ears, eyes, AND the heart. Effective listening and seeking feedback will improve your understanding of others and of yourself. By doing so, you will become a more effective leader. You’ll be amazed at the things you can learn when you open your eyes, ears, and heart to others.

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #2

Lesson #2: Share the Vision Clearly, Creatively, Continually, Mastermind with Others.
By Suzanne Black, President, The Coaching Center, LLC
Dental Office Corridor Remodel - After - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Corridor Remodel - After -
EnviroMed Design Group
You’re on the golf course. You’ve gone for a quick round at twilight – the last person out in a group of one – just you and the course. On the fifth hole, you hit a shot and know immediately that it is a great shot. Everything about it feels right. As you watch, the ball hits the green and moves with impressive momentum on the uphill slope of the green moving toward the cup. Your ball slows but still has some momentum and is edging slowly toward the tiny hole on the green. You stand in disbelief as it drops in the cup! It is astonishing – something you’ve hoped for your entire adult life. But your excitement is suddenly interrupted by the reality of your situation. You’re alone. No one has witnessed your hole-in-one.
Like a hole in one on the golf course, your vision will become more “real” if you share it with others.
What does it mean to reveal your vision to others? According to Lesson #2, the vision must be shared clearly, creatively, and continually while masterminding with others to make it a reality.
Let’s examine each element of that lesson. First, you must be clear. In order to communicate your vision to others, you must know how to “speak the language of the others.” For instance, giving instructions to a five-year old is different than giving instruction to an adult. When you communicate your vision clearly, consider your audience and use the language and symbols that will mean most to them.
Second, you must communicate your vision creatively. Great leaders know that words alone are not enough to communicate vision. Actions speak louder than words. Former CEO of Southwest Airlines, Herb Kelleher, knew this lesson well. Not only did Kelleher talk about his love for his company and it's people – he acted on his words by displaying affection and care toward his employees and customers. The communication of vision can come in the form of words, but actions and other symbols also convey the vision in a powerful manner.
Third, your vision must be continuously communicated. You must become obsessed with your vision and communicate that obsession to others. People pay attention to obsessions. Say it, write it, act it – over and over again.
Fourth, mastermind with others. Energy that is enslaved is wasted energy. Synergistic solutions emerge from interactions and work with others. Share your vision with others and see how freely the energy flows.
Henry David Thoreau said: I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. Our ability to create a vision and have a mental picture of our future is a characteristic that is uniquely human. Yet many of us are hesitant to share our vision. Don’t waste this opportunity. Get out there and share your vision clearly, creatively, continually, while you mastermind with others to make your vision a reality.

Newsletter Archive- Hailey's 7 Leadership Lessons: Lesson #1

Hailey’s 7 Leadership Lessons

Lesson #1: Create and write down your Core Values, Vivid Vision Vibrating Vibrantly (V4), Mission, and Goals
Dental Office Corridor - EnviroMed Design Group
Dental Office Corridor
By Suzanne Black, President, The Coaching Center, LLC
It’s happened to all of us. You are driving in a new city looking for a particular spot. All is going well when suddenly you realize that you are lost. You can’t find the street you are driving on anywhere on the map. Just a minute ago, you knew exactly where you were!
For most of us, the initial panic of being lost turns to resolve as we pull over to the side of the road, unfold the map, and figure out where we took that fatal wrong turn. We orient ourselves to our new location and get back on the road.
Getting lost can happen on the road of life as well. We are cruising along, knowing where we are and where we are going when suddenly we realize that we are lost. Perhaps our work life is off track -- or our family life -- or our spiritual life. Lesson One of Hailey’s 7 Leadership Lessons is all about getting back on track. Even if you aren’t lost but want to go a different direction, Lesson #1 will help you get there.
What is Lesson #1?
Create and write down your core Values, Vivid Vision Vibrating Vibrantly (V4), Mission, and Goals.
According to Lesson #1, being on track involves understanding what you value. Reflect on two questions to determine your values: First, what do I care about? Second, what do I spend my time doing? The answers to these questions will give you a sense of your current values. It might help to segment your life as you answer the questions. What do you care about and do in your job? What do you care about and do with your family? Etc. For instance, you might write that you care about and spend a lot of time in your job talking to people. That response gives you a clue about the extent to which you value relationships.
Take some time with this activity. What you truly value isn’t always readily apparent.
Also, you may find that your answers conflict – that what you care about is different than what you do – e.g. you care about your family, but spend most of your free time with household responsibilities. If so, Lesson #1 will provide you with an opportunity to get yourself back on track.
The second part of Lesson #1 is to create a vision that is vivid, vibrating, and vibrant. Once you have determined what you value, you can identify your vision (where you want to be). The important part of vision is realizing that seeing is believing. In order to get where you want to be, you must create a mental image of your future. Write the image using colorful language (vivid). Fill that image with pulsating energy (vibrating vibrantly).
Third, identify your mission. The mission is your plan – your grand scheme of how you will get to where you want to be. For instance, if you identify that you value positive relationships with clients, your mission will be to create those positive relationships. If you discovered that you value your family, but don’t spend a lot of time with your family, your mission will be to spend more quality time with family members. While vision helps you identify where you want to go, mission and goals help you get there.
Finally, set goals. Goals provide you with concrete steps to get to your destination. A goal for improved client relationships might be: Each year I will take my client to lunch on his or her birthday. Ask yourself: What steps do I need to take to reach my vision?
Whether your are lost in a city or lost in life, understanding what you value, where you are and where you want to be, and then crafting a plan to get there is key to finding your way. Hailey’s Lesson #1 will give you the help you need to realize your dreams