Huddle Up!

Huddles are short, sharp, focused, meetings. They generally involve the leadership team with the intent to improve communication and obtain support as needed.

Huddles aren’t just for sports teams. In a recent conference call, one of our clients mentioned that they hold daily “huddle” meetings with their leadership team to improve communication and keep one another informed.

This made us think back to a former leader we worked with years ago. She held huddle meetings with her department heads on Mondays and Thursdays to share planned changes/events and associated successes and failures, and to highlight any barriers or constraints that required assistance.

Huddles do not replace team meetings –   but rather are another vehicle to keep other leaders informed and to build relationships. These meetings are short; 15 – 20 minutes, with the intent that each leader provide “headline news” about their organization. If a colleague requires additional details about a topic, side meetings are to be scheduled only for those impacted. If a leader has nothing to share, they simply “pass”.

Getting started:

  • Set the frequency, rules and intent for the huddle and who should attend
  • Think of speaking in terms of “bullet points”
  • No one should speak longer than 1 minute (this is a variable you can change)
  • Encourage others to meet outside of the huddle if a deeper dive is needed – the facilitator should have no problem saying “please take it offline
  • If meeting in person, one recommendation is to stand, which helps keep the meeting short

Huddles are a great way to keep one another “in the know” and improve awareness of what is happening outside of one’s own team/organization.

It’s also an opportunity to support one another when needed resources or expertise can be shared to benefit other teams or organizations.

Do you hold huddle meetings? If held, could they add value for your organization?

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together,
the club won’t be worth a dime.
–Babe Ruth

I’m Too Busy

Nobody is too busy; it’s just a matter of priorities.
— Alen Huskanović

Do you catch yourself saying (or thinking) “I’m too busy”? If yes, assess whether you’re truly BUSY versus being PRODUCTIVE. There is a difference!

Thomas Edison said:  Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

It’s up to us to manage our time.  In general we’re pretty good at making time for what’s important to us but we don’t always excel at NOT spending time on unimportant things.

How good a job do you do making time for what’s important to you? Do you focus on supporting your vision, mission and goals? For making time for family, friends, and hobbies? Or, do you easily/consistently get side-tracked by day to day activities that are not important?

Things to consider:

  1. Productive people have a mission and ensure their actions and behaviors support it
  2. Productive people are clear on what needs to be accomplished
  3. Productive people strive to obtain results and avoid “busy work” that wastes time
  4. Productive people understand that multi-tasking often impacts obtaining desired results
  5. Productive people are truly effective at maintaining their focus

The next time you catch yourself saying or thinking “I’m too busy” stop what you’re doing and re-think what’s important and what makes you productive. Then, evaluate:

  • Which items have time constraints?
  • What will the impact be if the timeline isn’t met?
  • Which have dependencies you have no control over?
  • Which MUST be done before the work-day ends?
  • Which can be delegated to others or additional resources utilized to lessen the load?

Being aware of what’s important and our priorities will help us better manage our day, make better decisions, and increase productivity levels.

What can you do to change your mindset from being “busy” to being “productive”?

Nobody is ever too busy. If they care, they will make time.

Is It Time For 360’ Feedback?

It takes humility to seek feedback. It takes wisdom to understand it,
analyze it and appropriately act on it.
–Stephen Covey

Most of us experienced an abundance of change in 2020 in both our personal lives and in our work environment. During this time how readily did we adapt and help others adapt? Do we have a strong sense of any changes in our leadership style and behaviors? What about how communication and relationships were impacted?

We may not be aware of any changes in ourselves, but this could be a great time to solicit formal 360 feedback from others and obtain their thoughts.

Wiley’s Everything DiSC 363® feedback tool is one of our assessments of choice. It focuses on 8 Competencies:

1. Pioneering – Finding Opportunities, Stretching The Boundaries, Promoting Bold Action

2. Energizing – Showing Enthusiasm, Building Professional Networks, Rallying People To Achieve Goals

3. Affirming – Being Approachable, Acknowledging Contributions, Creating A Positive Environment

4. Inclusive – Staying Open To Input, Showing Diplomacy, Facilitating Dialogue

5. Humble – Maintaining Composure, Showing Modesty, Being Fair Minded

6. Deliberate – Communicating With Clarity, Promoting Disciplined Analysis, Providing A Sense Of Stability

7. Resolute – Setting High Expectations, Speaking Up About Problems, Improving Methods

8. Commanding – Showing Confidence, Taking Charge, Focusing On Results

Obtaining anonymous and confidential feedback from your boss, direct reports, colleagues/peers, vendors, and strategic partners will provide you with invaluable information. And, the process includes a self-evaluation so you are provided with a comparison of your perceptions from those of others, with the results debriefed by an executive coach.

How could you benefit from hearing what others have to say?

Positive feedback makes the strong grow stronger and the weak grow weaker.
—Carl Shapiro


Listening While Working Remote

The art of conversation lies in listening.
–Malcom Forbes

Listening takes work, it’s a skill most of us could improve upon, and working remotely adds to the difficulty.

Wiley’s Personal Listening Profile assesses five listening approaches:

  1. Appreciative: This style is more relaxed and seeks enjoyment, entertainment, or inspiration.
  2. Empathic: This style is supportive of the speaker, does not judge, and seeks to learn.
  3. Comprehensive: With this style the listener relates what they hear to what they’re already familiar with by organizing and summarizing the main message.
  4. Discerning: This style listens to get complete information so they understand the important details while also taking in appearance, tone and behavior.
  5. Evaluative: This style tends to look for facts that support the message and may accept or reject the message based on personal beliefs.

Does one style sound more like you than the others? Does your style change dependent on the speaker? And, does your preferred style change if the conversation is in person versus on conference or video calls?

These tips for working remotely have been shared previously but they’re worth sharing again:

  • For video calls encourage that the camera be “on” whenever possible and look for body language and levels of engagement
  • Listen for what’s being said and what isn’t being said
  • Don’t immediately assess what you’ve heard until the conversation has ended (we sometimes are too quick to think we understand and miss key points)
  • Avoid multi-tasking
  • Look attentive and interested in the speaker; nod for understanding and encouragement
  • Paraphrase your interpretation of the topic/message
  • Minimize or tune out distractions
  • Remain focused and attentiveStrong listening skills are required for effective communication and healthy relationships.  Be aware of your preferred style, adapt as necessary, and become an active and purposeful listener!

We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.

Lead By Example

When you lead by example, you make it easy for others to follow you.

A recent survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation asked “what one trait is most important for a person leading you“?  Their findings may surprise you. The results are:

26%  Leading by example
19%  Strong ethics or morals
17%  Knowledge of the business
14%  Fairness
13%  Overall intelligence and competence
10%  Recognition of employees

Since Leading By Example ranked highest, does that imply that many leaders are NOT leading by example? That they don’t actively support a shared vision and goals? That integrity and accountability are not part of their daily behaviors and activities? That they expect things from others that they wouldn’t or don’t do? That they don’t manage conflict or give honoring feedback? That communication may be lacking, unclear, or inconsistent? We’re not sure, but as leaders we need to be mindful that leading by example is a major “want”.

John C. Maxwell shares what he calls the “The Law Of The Picture” and says “People do what people see”. (Excerpts from his 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership)

1. Followers are always watching you.
If the bosses come in late, then employees feel that they can, too. If the bosses cut corners, employees cut corners. People do what people see. Followers may doubt what their leaders say, but they usually believe their actions. And they imitate it.

2. It’s easier to teach than to do.
Nothing is more convincing than people who give good advice and set a good example.

3. We should work to change ourselves before changing others.
A great danger to good leadership is the temptation to try to change others without first making changes to yourself.

4. The most valuable gift a leader can give is being a good example.
More than anything else, employees want leaders whose beliefs and actions line up. They want good models who lead from the front.

Make sure you set the example you want others to emulate. Would you want to work for you? Was there any hesitation answering that question? If yes, dig deep and assess what changes could be made so the answer becomes a resounding “yes”!

The reality is that the only way change comes is when you lead by example.
— Anne Wojcicki

Inattentional Blindness

Inattentional blindness is the failure to notice a fully-visible, but unexpected object because attention was engaged on another task, event, or object.

You may not be familiar with the term Inattentional Blindness but perhaps you’ve heard the story when observers at a basketball game were asked to count the number of times one of the teams passed the basketball.  They were so intent on counting the passes that roughly 50% of the observers did not see a person in a gorilla suit come on the court.  (And they were in denial until showed proof in the video of the game!)

Can we become so focused on a task or behavior that we “miss” quite a bit of what’s happening around us? The answer seems to be yes.

Arien Mack and Irvin Rock coined the term “inattentional blindness” to describe the results of their studies regarding how perceptive one is for unexpected objects. And, unless we pay close attention, we can miss even the most obvious action or event.

So, are they saying we can be too focused? Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris, cognitive psychologists, support the concept that by focusing so hard on one thing, we can be oblivious to details if we limit what we’re looking for.

Another new term (at least to us!) by Max Bazerman is WYSINATI = What You See Is Not All There Is. He came up with this acronym and shares that we, as leaders, can learn to identify when we aren’t seeing the complete picture and have a need to seek additional  information and look for more.

He also shares that skilled leaders have a “noticing mindset”. They detect changes in behaviors, they get a sense if they are not hearing the whole story, and they have a true feel for what’s happening around them.

We consistently talk about awareness.  We need to be self-aware, we need to be aware of styles, behaviors, and the demeanor of others, and we need to be aware of our environment and make an effort to truly see and sense what’s happening.

Having focus is good, but like any attribute, when over-used can become a weakness and limit our vision.

Strive to perfect that “noticing mindset”!

We are aware of far less of our world than we think.—Daniel Simons

Introvert, Extravert, or Ambivert?

We all move along the continuum of introvert and extrovert
behaviors and preferences all day long.
–Patricia Weber

Do you consider yourself an introvert or extravert?  Maybe neither? Perhaps a bit of both? Here are some common adjectives:

Extravert:                               Introvert:
Sociable                                     Shy
Outgoing                                   Withdrawn
Gregarious                                Reserved
Friendly                                     Quiet
Assertive                                   Timid
Live wire                                   Introspective
Dominant                                  Cautious

Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung first came up with the terms in the early 1900s and believed some of us are energized by the external world and some of us are energized by the internal world. What if we’re a blend?

Have you heard the term Ambivert? It’s defined as “a person whose personality has a balance of extravert and introvert features”.  Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist and professor at Wharton conducted a study and found that two-thirds of us don’t strongly identify as introverts or extraverts. Rather, our style varies based on the situation.

Rena Goldman, a health and wellness author provides five signs that you’re an ambivert.

1. You’re a good listener and communicator
Extraverts prefer to talk more, and introverts like to observe and listen. But ambiverts know when to speak up and when to listen.

2. You have an ability to regulate behavior
Adjusting to fit the person or situation seems to come naturally to ambiverts.

3. You feel comfortable in social settings, but also value your alone time
Ambiverts can feel like they’re in their element in a crowd or when enjoying a quiet evening at home.

4. Empathy comes naturally to you
Ambiverts are able to listen and show they understand where a person is coming from and they might listen and ask thoughtful questions to try and help resolve issues.

5. You’re able to provide balance
In the case of group settings, ambiverts can provide a much-needed balance to the social dynamics and is likely to help break an awkward silence and increase comfort levels.

We all have our preferences, neither is right or wrong, and the ability to adapt our style to the situation is a true sign of effective leadership!

I’m neither extrovert nor introvert. I’m just an imperfect example of an ambivert.
― Irfa Rahat

FLY – First Lead Yourself

Go out and lead the world; but never forget to begin by leading yourself . . .
–Israelmore Ayivor

In the early 2000’s we started having discussions and giving speeches about “FLY “- First Lead Yourself, Then Lead Others”. It turns out that we were not alone in this concept so we’ll share what it means to us.


  • As leaders we must first understand essential  leadership behaviors and apply them in our daily interactions
  • Once we possess those skills we can begin to effectively lead others
  • We need to commit to continually hone and further develop our skills
  • Leadership is a process, not an event!

We also believe the most impactful leaders possess the following behaviors:

  1. They work on self-awareness and learn how to best engage others
  2. They understand and leverage their “Magic Dust” and the passion and skills of others
  3. Their Vision, Mission, Goals and Measures have been communicated and are fully supported by their behaviors (VMGM=B)
  4. They communicate with others in the preferred style of the message receiver
  5. They have clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and desired results     
  6. They not only hold themselves accountable, they encourage others to do the same
  7. They honor & embrace conflict as it can spark innovation and inspiration
  8. They influence others through their interactions and behaviors
  9. They build and nurture authentic, lasting relationships
  10. They provide timely and meaningful feedback, and regularly solicit feedback so they can continue to grow
  11. They make others feel valued and inspire others to learn more and do more 
  12. They support career growth

Do you FLY? If yes, do you feel equipped to lead others and help them lead themselves?

If you can lead yourself when nobody is following,
people will follow when you are not leading.
— Saji Ijiyemi

What’s a Bad Boss?

People don’t leave bad jobs, they leave bad bosses.

What type of boss do you like? Better yet, what type of boss don’t you like?

We all learn from work experiences which include the culture, colleagues, our roles and the work itself, and at the top of the list is the relationship one has with their boss.

In the past we’ve suggested looking for leadership behaviors and styles you want to emulate. How did others make a difference? Why are they able to build strong relationships? Why are people drawn to them? What do they do to encourage and motivate others for goal attainment?

Now we’ll switch directions – what behaviors and styles do you dislike or find un-motivating or even upsetting?

A Gallup study of 7,272 found that 50% of employees quit their job to get away from their boss. That’s impressive and not in a good way.

The most common items that negatively impact boss relationships include:

-Is it consistent and meaningful?
-Are meetings regularly scheduled?
-Is the boss reachable when needed?
-Is communication limited to work or does it include a “personal” check in?
-Can difficult discussions be held that are healthy and respectful?

Performance Management
-Are successes recognized?
-Are skill gaps developed?
-Is feedback regularly provided?
-Is everyone treated fairly?
-Does favoritism exist?

Utilizing strengths
-Is the boss aware of each contributor’s strengths and the value they add?
-Are work assignments given based on strengths and “magic dust”? (passion and skills)
-Are team members encouraged to collaborate and learn from one another?
-Are innovation and change encouraged?

These are just a few items that are attributed to “bad bosses”. What should we add to the list? What are you doing to ensure you’re not considered a “bad boss”?

I am thankful for all those difficult people in my life,
they have shown me exactly who I do not want to be.
Author unknown

Servant Leadership

Servant leaders give more of themselves not because they have to, but because they want to.
—Jeffrey Hayzlett

Are you familiar with the term Servant Leadership?  If yes, what does the term mean to you?

In 1970, Robert K. Greenleaf, coined the phrase and wrote about it in his essay: “Essentials of Servant Leadership”.  Greenleaf’s position is that the servant-first leader ensures that other people’s highest priority needs are being served, and that servant leadership is about helping others grow.

Former president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, Larry C. Spears, states that the 10 most important characteristics of servant leaders are:

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the growth of people
  10. Building community

Jeffrey Hayzlett, author, speaker, and TV and radio host shares another Servant Leadership definition: a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world. He also shares the following 4 steps for developing into a better servant leader:

  1. Encourage diversity of thought
  2. Create a culture of trust
  3. Have an unselfish mindset
  4. Foster leadership in others

Despite the definition differences, the concepts remain the same – to help others. As a leader, are you helping individuals grow and thrive in their skills and abilities?

Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations. –Wikipedia

Your 2021 Expectations

High expectations are the key to everything.
–Sam Walton

Success Magazine – In January they published an article about making 2021 the year you want it to be. If asked, could you respond? Do you have expectations and plans at least drafted to support achieving what you want?

Here are 10 suggestions to help.

In times of uncertainty, show up.
You have to be a visible, in the trenches leader. Not necessarily “in person”, but make yourself available to others to bring them on board and obtain their commitment.

Ask for help to reach your goals.
Utilize the resources and mentors available to help you reach your goals.

Learn what motivates you.
What excites you? When do you accomplish the most? Remember and leverage it!

Don’t let chaos cloud your mindset.
Today’s chaos will be tomorrow’s memory; don’t let ill moments cloud your judgment.

Confront disruption by adapting.
Acknowledge the challenges being experienced without losing focus.

Align your work to your purpose.
Ask yourself if your work is aligned to your purpose. Adjust accordingly.

Set priorities and start at the top.
Setting priorities is vital for success. Rank the items that must get done each day or week.

Take care of yourself to stay healthy.
Taking care of yourself is the first step to taking care of others.

Remember, you can control your attitude.
Self-assessment is a crucial part of success. Know that your attitude and response is all you can control; journaling helps.

Set a tangible goal to get the result you want.
Identify the results you want this year, determine supporting goals and make it real.

We continue to be impacted by covid-19 and adapting to new rules and norms that are out of our control; what we can do is think and plan for what we want from 2021. Don’t wait!

Winners make a habit of manufacturing their own positive expectations
in advance of the event.
–Brian Tracy

Principles and Priorities

Don’t let the priorities of others replace your own top priorities.

How do you decide what’s a priority? We often think of what’s important (items that contribute to supporting our goals and objectives) and also what’s urgent (items requiring immediate attention but may or may not contribute to the success of meeting our goals and objectives). Scheduling time to action both isn’t always easy and can make us conflicted and stressed.

Enter John C. Maxwell. He provides what he views as the three Rs for the Law of Priorities:

  1. Requirement
  2. Return
  3. Reward

To get started he suggests asking yourself:
What is REQUIRED of me? Any realistic assessment of priorities in any area of life must start with a realistic assessment of what you must do. This can pertain to both your personal and work life.  He also says: If you lead others, then what must you personally do that cannot be delegated to anyone else?

Next is:
What gives me the greatest RETURN? As you progress in your career, you begin to discover that some activities yield a much higher return for the effort than others. After determining requirements, focus on choices with a high return on investment (ROI).

And lastly:
What gives me the greatest REWARD? If you do only what you must, along with what is effective, then you will probably be highly productive. But you may not be content. I think it’s also important to consider what gives you personal satisfaction.

He also adds that these questions are meant to be asked IN ORDER. Many of us would love to skip down to #3 and focus on the most rewarding/fun/exciting activities. But no one can be successful who doesn’t possess the discipline to take care of the first two areas before adding the third.

Your biggest challenge may be to identify what’s a true priority and remain focused on tackling those items without letting “gremlins” get in the way, and, it never hurts to start addressing your priorities with a cup of coffee!

Nobody’s life is ever all balanced.
It’s a conscious decision to choose your priorities every day.
–Elisabeth Hasselbeck