2022 Checklist

The checklist is one of the most high powered productivity tool ever discovered.
—Brian Tracy

We’re one month into 2022, how are things going so far?

As Brian Tracy says: The checklist is one of the most high powered productivity tool ever discovered. To help gain momentum, we recommend making a list and provided some ideas below.

  1. Did all remaining 2021 goals get added to your 2022 goals?
  2. Does your Vision and Mission need to be revised?  If no, just re-share it.
  3. Do you have development plans in place to upskill existing team members?
  4. Are new hires required?
  5. Have roles and responsibilities changed in any way?
  6. Have you created a one on one feedback schedule for direct reports?
  7. What are your top 3 priorities to accomplish by the end of the 1st QTR?
  8. Do any relationships need to be strengthened?
  9. Have you asked for feedback for making your team stronger?
  10. Have you asked for feedback for becoming a more effective leader?
  11. Have you reviewed your development plan with your leader?
  12. Are there opportunities for you and your colleagues to be more collaborative?
  13. Do any team behaviors need to be addressed?
  14. Are team building events planned for (and scheduled quarterly)?
  15. Is your compensation model clear and communicated?
  16. Is there a rewards and recognition plan in place?

These are simple ideas that may or may not be relevant for you. The idea is to take the time to make your own personalized checklist, and then review it and update it monthly. Unless it’s documented too often things get overlooked!

No wise pilot, no matter how great his talent and experience, fails to use a checklist.
—Charlie Munger

Employee Attrition Issues?

Employees want a say in deciding the type of work they do,
and whether it’s done virtually or in person.

Are you experiencing staffing issues?  Are resignation volumes higher than normal? If yes, you’re not alone as this seems to be an across-the-board situation regardless of the industry you work in.

Having a desirable work culture is not new, nor is the need to keep satisfaction levels high.  What has changed for many is being called back into an “in person” work mode; working virtually for many was initially a difficult transition, but once the adjustment was made, it became the preferred work mode.  It also, in some cases, became required due to childcare and other family needs.

WorkingFortune Magazine’s Teuila Hanson shares that “employees are happiest when they get to choose where, when, and how they work, with many leaving their existing roles or passing on new roles that don’t provide flexibility.”

As leaders, how much latitude do you have to offer flexibility in the workplace? Can you provide your team members with options regarding where and when they work? Bottom line, we need to know how our employees are feeling and how they view their job. It’s also essential to understand their preferred work mode and the kind of assignments that motivate and inspire them.

So, what’s a good starting point to measure how team members feel? Utilize Gallup’s engagement survey and ask:

  1. I know what is expected of me at work.
  2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right.
  3. At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.
  4. In the last seven days, I have received recognition or praise for doing good work.
  5. My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person.
  6. There is someone at work who encourages my development.
  7. At work, my opinions seem to count.
  8. The mission or purpose of my company makes me feel my job is important.
  9. My associates or fellow employees are committed to doing quality work.
  10. I have a best friend at work.
  11. In the last six months, someone at work has talked to me about my progress.
  12. This last year, I have had opportunities at work to learn and grow.
  13. I have flexibility to work from home or in the office.

Employees want a say about their career and flexibility is a must. Use the results from this survey so you better understand how team members are feeling and change what you can to improve productivity and reduce attrition.

If you want to be successful, it’s just this simple. Know what you are doing. Love what you are doing. And believe in what you are doing.—Will Rogers

What’s Your Dream?

VISION = A dream or aspiration that provides direction and guides us to a place far away.

This week the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, jr. was remembered and honored. His dream was to end inequality and provide the same rights granted to whites to blacks. This was, and is, a dream that continues to be pursued.

All of us don’t have the magnitude of this type of vision, but what’s yours? What is your dream? What are your aspirations?

PeopleTek’s Vision is to Create Worldwide, Individual, Team and Organizational Excellence. This vision has been a constant since PeopleTek was created in 1996. (Yes, we’re going into our 26th year!). We frequently talk about our Vision with the PeopleTek coaches and members of our operations team, and we link our goals and stress behaviors that support this.

Things to remember or consider:

  • As a leader, what dream or aspiration do you have for yourself and for your organization?
  • Visions are not always attainable, but the intent is to provide direction and focus our attention on making strides towards making our dream reality.
  • What values do you want your team (and you) to live by?
  • What do you want your team (and you) to be known for?

Don’t think in terms of what’s possible and what is not, rather think about that dream and write down how you envision it.

  • What does it look like?
  • What does it feel like?
  • What words help you describe it, share it, and make it feel real?

Sometimes creating a vision requires thinking outside the box. Think about the line of work you’re in, consider the value you provide your customers and how it could grow, assess what processes or actions could be improved upon, and build the necessary relationships so that dream may be fulfilled. Dream big – if you had unlimited resources (budget and personnel), what would you change and how would you change it?

Remember, your dream is a desired destination, not a state of “here and now”.

Let us know if we can help!

Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.
–Warren Bennis

New Year. New Chapter. New Goals.

The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.
— Melody Beattie

New Year. New Chapter. New Goals.

Some of us have started writing our 2022 goals, others have completed them, and many are still thinking about what they would like to accomplish.

  • As we start the New Year it’s time for reflection. (Yes, we’re saying it again!).
  • What goals were we able to accomplish in 2021?
  • What goals need to be continued into 2022?
  • What barriers existed that prevented goal attainment or made them difficult to achieve?
  • How can we address those barriers? Who can help?
  • Are new skills required that are currently not available?
  • Is there buy-in to support the goals?

Are the right people in the right jobs?If you are having difficulty getting started think about what needs to be done at the granular level. Consider what actions are required, who can support them (and how), and set timeframes.  Some leaders also like to have stretch goals that are difficult to achieve but may inspire some to do more.

Once your goals are documented, cascade them to everyone that can (or is expected) to support attaining them.

It’s also important that each individual understands how they can help achieve the goal. Ex. How can their expertise be utilized? How can they assist “key” players? Expectations and roles need to be clear, and how progress will be measured must be shared.

Here’s a recap for goals.

  • They bring 100 percent clarity to your vision and mission
  • They require action
  • They must include: What, When, How, by Whom with Dates
  • Think in terms of SMART: Specific, Measurable, Actionable/Achievable, Realistic, Timebound

As a leader:

  • How do you make the Goals meaningful to your team and how do you obtain buy-in?
  • How often are Goals reviewed for progress and obstacles addressed that impede success?

    Let us know if we can help!

People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.
–Earl Nightingale

Desmond Tutu – A Global Legacy

Archbishop Tutu is an exemplary model of leadership and his record challenging apartheid
in South Africa is testimony of his courageous and moral leadership.
–The Board of Lifelong Leadership Institute (LLI)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu made an impact on the world. The Board of Lifelong Leadership Institute sums his life up by simply saying “he was an exemplary model of leadership”.

He was best known for addressing the inequities of apartheid, and he was applauded for his  leadership style and abilities which included:

  • moral values
  • courage
  • activism
  • integrity
  • clarity
  • persistence
  • compassion
  • cooperation
  • inclusiveness

Archbishop Tutu leaves behind a very impressive global legacy. He was an equal rights activist and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, he became the first black Archbishop of Capetown, he was appointed head of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (which investigated human rights violations), and he was awarded the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He was also part of “The Elders”, a group of senior and former world leaders that continued the efforts to promote peace. Other members included Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan, and Mary Robinson.

Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson shared that Archbishop Tutu would be “remembered for his spiritual leadership and irrepressible good humor.”

Chances are as leaders we won’t have a legacy that is recognized and applauded globally, but even impacting a few makes a difference. What will your leadership legacy include?

Do your little bit of good where you are;
it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.
–Desmond Tutu

Stressful or Joyous Times?

Busy is a choice. Stress is a choice. Joy is a choice. Choose well.
— Ann Voskamp

It’s that time of year when pending goals and projects targeted for completion are looming overhead. It’s also the time for vacations, families, friends, and holiday traditions. This often creates joy as well as stress.

Are you in tune with both? Do you have a sense of how your team, colleagues, and even family members are feeling?

We believe most would share that 2021 was a better year than 2020, but it continues to have its challenges with seemingly never-ending health risks, job security, and a questionable economy.

Don’t disregard behaviors that may be “off”. Having a blend of emotions as the year-end approaches is to be expected, but how is it being managed? How are you managing it?

As a leader start by assessing if you have spent a sufficient amount of time acknowledging accomplishments and contributions of team members. It’s a great time for a team luncheon or an after-work event (this can be done in person or virtually). During this time focus only on the positive (use team meetings or one on one sessions to address missed goals, gaps, and development needs).

Be genuine about what is deserving of recognition. Hopefully every team member has added value in at least one way – celebrate and share it! Consider applauding individuals for their contributions to the team.  Some examples are:

  • Technical savvy
  • Influence
  • Mentorship
  • Inclusiveness
  • Approachability
  • Analysis
  • Creativity
  • Humor
  • Steadiness

Too often time flies by and we neglect to let others know how and why we value them. Understand that others may be feeling stress and make the time to share some joy.

Joy is increased by spreading it to others.
—Robert Murray McCheyne

Gear Up!

Personal development is a major time-saver. The better you become,
the less time it takes you to achieve your goals.
―Brian Tracy

2021 may be winding down but it’s time to Gear Up for 2022.  What behaviors or actions can you commit to for becoming a better you, and for obtaining your career aspirations?

SUCCESS magazine provided the following 10 suggestions:

Both mentally and physically; keeping your mind sharp and your body healthy is energizing and supports achieving desired results.

Every day build in time for self-reflection or meditation. What went well and what can be done to address obstacles and challenges?

Don’t ignore self-doubt; rather replace your negative thoughts with positive words that will move you forward.  Ex. Think and say “I can, and I will”

Be purposeful. What do want to do? What’s the intent? What behaviors are needed?

Pause and reflect on new perspectives and alternative views. What can be done differently?

We all have to manage the unexpected; don’t get derailed, keep your focus and stay on track.

Commit to continual self-development; join a network, stay abreast of changing times, and build in time for reading about your industry or your position.

Being a leader requires courage and that includes making difficult decisions.

Be accountable; hold others accountable.

Set stretch goals and track progress.

What do you need to do to gear up for 2022? How can you help others gear up?

Life is growth. If we stop growing, technically and spiritually, we are as good as dead.
―Morihei Ueshiba

Self Discovery

Invest in self-discovery. It will help you envision a better tomorrow and blaze a path to achieve what you truly desire.

How much time do you invest in yourself?  Do you actually make it a priority to evaluate:

  • What makes you happy?
  • What could change to help you achieve that goal?
  • What are the obstacles that are getting in the way?
  • What’s missing from your life and your career?
  • How has your past influenced this?
  • Do you regret any past decisions that you’ve made? If yes, what have you learned from them?
  • Have any past decisions helped you move closer to your goal?  How and why?
  • What makes you anxious?
  • What makes you relax and feel content and comfortable?
  • What inspires you to do more and expand your comfort zone?
  • What makes you feel valued?
  • What’s needed to grow your career?
  • What actions need to occur to address development opportunities?

The Collins Dictionary defines self-discovery as:
becoming aware of one’s true potential, character, motives, etc.

The Merriman-Webster Dictionary defines it as:
the act or process of achieving self-knowledge.

Growing self-knowledge requires energy, courage, honesty, and commitment. It also requires addressing the “why” behind our thoughts, words, actions, behaviors, and emotions. This can be difficult and challenging for many of us but is essential if we want to realize our full potential.

Musician Kevin Abstract says that “self-discovery is an ongoing thing”. We agree! It’s not a point in time situation, but a particular event may be what gets us started. We always say learning is to be continual and that leadership (like learning) is a process, not an event. That’s why we call many of our programs “Journeys” – they are roadmaps that have no end!

As leaders we generally help others with self-discovery but don’t do the same for us. Why is that? It’s time we “blaze a path to achieve what we truly desire”.  In the words of Nike: “Just Do It”!

And you? When will you begin that long journey into yourself?
― Rumi

Leadership and Humility

One of the best ways (to be humble) is to adopt the humble mind-set of a servant leader. Servant leaders view their key role as serving employees as they explore and grow, providing tangible and emotional support as they do so.
–Dan Cable

Last week we shared some traits our clients wanted to see their leaders exhibit and one of them was the ability to be humble. Did this strike a chord with you? We’ve talked about servant leadership in the past and part of the common theme of definitions includes the need to be humble.

A post by Rebecca shares 21 attributes of a humble person.  We’ll highlight a few; to read her entire list and article click here. Humble people:

They do not belittle others
Quite the opposite – leaders make others feel important

They are not rude
Leaders are respectful, they listen, and are mindful of the
needs of others

They are truthful
Leaders live life with integrity and no hidden agendas

They will put themselves in someone else’s shoes
Leaders seek to understand

They are not self-righteous
Leaders do not have a superiority complex

They are not judgmental
Leaders do not form opinions without obtaining facts

They are not arrogant
Leaders do not portray a sense of self-importance

They will not dwell on the past
Leaders do not let negative “baggage” hinder their decisions

They will not get defensive
Leaders are accepting of feedback and suggestions for

  • As a leader, how would you score yourself in the above categories?
  • What about how you would score your leader?
  • What category would you like to personally or professionally develop? Don’t forget to add them to your development plan!

Servant-leaders have the humility, courage, and insight to admit that they can benefit from the expertise of others who have less power than them.
—Dan Cable

What Do You Want In A Leader?

Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.
—Peter Drucker

Have you given much thought about the type of leader you want to work for?  What skills and behaviors matter most and inspire you to thrive and perform at your highest level?  Another way to look at it is to assess the type of leader you don’t want to work for. That may be easier!

Over the years we’ve listened to what our clients have shared but we’ve never taken a formal poll.  Here are some of the more common wants that we heard:

  • Inspirational
  • Humble
  • Builds trust
  • Sets and leads towards a vision
  • Caring and passionate
  • A desire to develop others
  • A good listener
  • Provides meaningful feedback
  • No hidden agendas

Steven J. Stowell, Ph.D. and Stephanie S. Mead, MBA did conduct a survey from 2100+ individuals and asked for the top three qualities they wanted in their leaders. The results were:

  • Communication skills (45.2%)
  • Interpersonal skills (44.2%)
  • Values and ethics (41.9%)
  • Personal attributes (30.2%)
  • Coaching and feedback (21.8%)
  • Credibility (22.3%)
  • Direction and strategy (16.7%)
  • Management essentials (5.6%)

Did you find any of the poll results surprising? Soft-skills and people skills seem to be the prevailing “want”. Were there any key omissions from your list, and do you think technical skills are a need?

Let us know!

People buy into the leader before they buy into the vision.
—John Maxwell

Surprises Are Rarely Enjoyed

I just want one normal day at work. No surprises, no emergencies, just a simple day where we can all do our jobs without feeling like the sky is falling.

Surprises at work are rarely well received except for maybe raises, promotions, or at Halloween. Even surprises that have positive impacts are dimly viewed by some as they are removed from their comfort zone.

In general, being kept in the loop about daily activities, pending changes, and known issues is appreciated, and this also holds true for leaders and clients.

We once worked with a leader that strongly shared, and in colorful language, that he should not find out about problems caused by his team by someone other than a team member.

His intent was actually very positive despite his delivery being a bit harsh.  Once he explained his intent, his message made sense. When he’s informed, he won’t be blindsided, he can share the known facts, provide status updates, perhaps have an idea when the issue will be (or has been resolved), and most importantly, he shared he’d do all he could to support his team member.

Communication is the first and most important step for preventing surprises. When in doubt, over communicate and be sure to provide as many details and facts as possible:

1.    What’s the situation?
2.    Who is/was impacted and in what way?
3.    Who needs to be kept in the loop?
4.    Is the root cause known? What can be done to prevent a reoccurrence?
5.    Provide status updates

a.    For large issues with severe impacts, we suggest hourly
b.    For medium issues with a moderate amount of disruption, twice daily
c.    For issues with minimal impact, daily

6.    Once the issue/problem is resolved:

a.    Identify and share the root cause
b.    Document the solution and what will be done so it does not happen again.

Having a work culture that owns issues, communicates them, and works towards a permanent solution will build integrity and trust levels and prevent unpleasant “surprises”.

Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them.
—Paul Hawken

Colin Powell – Public Servant and Trailblazer

If a leader doesn’t convey passion and intensity then there will be no passion and intensity within the organization and they’ll start to fall down and get depressed.
—Colin Powell

This week we want to recognize General Colin L. Powell (1937 – 2021) as it builds on last week’s topic of Quality Person, Quality Leader.

Powell’s accomplishments are many. He was a former U.S. Secretary of State, the youngest and first black Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and was instrumental in shaping foreign policy for the U.S. He earned the Presidential Medal of Freedom twice (along with many other medals), and was respected by U.S. Presidents on both sides of the political spectrum.

Powell had the courage to admit his mistakes and took full ownership for them. The one he regrets most is reporting that “Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more”. It was later determined that this was false, and he called his reporting of this a “blot” that will forever be on his record.

His leadership style was respected and appreciated by many. He was known for being direct, for being a straight shooter, for his passion, and his problem-solving skills. He also created 13 Rules of Leadership:

  1. It ain’t as bad as you think. It will look better in the morning.
  2. Get mad, then get over it.
  3. Avoid having your ego so close to your position that when your position falls, your ego goes with it.
  4. It can be done.
  5. Be careful what you choose. You may get it.
  6. Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.
  7. You can’t make someone else’s choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours.
  8. Check small things.
  9. Share credit.
  10. Remain calm. Be kind.
  11. Have a vision. Be demanding.
  12. Don’t take counsel of your fears or naysayers.
  13. Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier

    In closing we’ll share another of the General’s thoughts on leadership:
    Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt, to offer a solution everybody can understand.

A Quality Person, a Quality Leader, a Public Servant, and a Trailblazer.    May he rest in peace.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work,
and learning from failure.
—Colin Powell