Good leaders build strong followers. Great leaders build more leaders. If you’re in a leadership position and you’ve built a strong team then good for you. You’re likely a very good leader. If you haven’t developed at least a couple of people who can step right in and fill your shoes then you’re not a great leader, at least not yet.
The ability to develop leaders is a trait that all truly great leaders have. They know that if their team still needs their leadership to succeed then they have yet to fully succeed as a leader.
Leaders who build leaders do not “spend” their time developing people. They have a totally different mindset, they “invest” their time developing people.
They develop their people by building trust. They coach, not command. They share their experience and offer advice. They delegate tasks to teach, not to dump work.
They tell the truth even when it’s hard. They are the model of ethical and morale character for their people. They follow through and do what they say they will do. They know that if their credibility suffers their ability to lead suffers with it. The moment they lose the morale ability to lead their ability to build a leader is gone as well. You see, only a leader can build another leader.
Leaders who build leaders take the blame but give the credit. They redefine failure and use it as a teaching tool. They inspire others to see their potential – then see it themselves and unleash the talent of their people. They let them be wrong and let THEM fix whatever problem was created by the mistake. Their people trust them enough that they feel empowered to take a well considered risk.
Leaders who build leaders divest themselves from the day-to-day problem-solving activities of the organization. Instead they choose to maximize strategic and relationship-building efforts. It’s these relationships that contribute to the forward momentum of the organization rather than causing a “bottleneck” at the leader’s office.
Leaders who build leaders don’t badmouth, they don’t gossip. They walk the talk and take others along with them. They listen more and talk less, showing that they value the opinions of those who will lead after them.
Leaders who build leaders are great leaders indeed. They trust themselves enough to develop people who can and will one day take their job. They have the confidence to know that their ability to develop leaders is the one characteristic that will ensure their leadership will far outlast them.
First off let’s acknowledge that there are many “definitions” of success. My version of success could be very different than yours. I believe that success is a very individualized kind of thing.
Whatever your personal definition of success is this much is certain, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving that success if you have goals, objectives, and a real plan.
Successful people all understand this simple fact: merely wanting something is not a goal. Successful people also know that wishing for something is not an objective and hoping for it is not a plan.
When it comes to achieving success what you say means very little when it’s compared to what you’re willing to actually do. I hear pie in the sky dreams everyday and the moment I hear “someday” attached to those dreams I know the chances of the person achieving them is very very small.
It’s small because they spend their time dreaming about something rather than investing their time to make it happen. They do almost nothing except say what they will do while successful people are actually doing it. The amazing thing is that “doing” is the prerogative of everyone. Regardless of your circumstances you can at least try, you CAN DO something and doing almost anything gives you a greater chance at success than those who do nothing.
Pretty much everyone is willing to want but successful people are willing to work as well. Their work begins as a dream, from that dream comes a plan with objectives and goals. People who do not achieve the success they desire never get further than the dream.
So, how do the successful ones build a plan from the dream? Here’s one way: they put themselves into the dream. If you watch closely you’ll see that less successful people dream about having the success of someone else. They say things like “I want to have a house like so and so.” Or “I want to have a bank account like he or she has.” It’s all about having what someone else has earned.
Successful people on the other hand dream about earning their own success. They say things like “I can do that too.” They say “I can and I will” rather than “I wish I could.” Successful people spend far less time comparing themselves to other people than less successful people. Successful people make their luck while less successful people are waiting for “the big break” to happen upon them.
It’s simple to gauge your own odds of success. Just ask yourself whether you’re wishing or working. Ask yourself if you have a dream or a plan to achieve a dream. Ask yourself if you’re waiting for your ship to come in or if you’re swimming out to meet it. Oh, and while you’re asking yourself these questions remember that honesty isn’t just the best policy, it’s the only policy of successful people.
If you really expect success then you’d better expect to work for it too. We seldom get everything we want in life but we often get everything we earn. What level of success are you earning today?
The Missouri Agriculture Department Website says that Branding is one of the oldest and best ways to permanently identify livestock. It serves as an excellent safeguard against livestock theft, loss or dispute. In fact, the International Livestock Identification Association considers livestock brands to be as important as return addresses on mail.
Once applied the Brand is very difficult to remove. It is intended to be permanent.
You have a brand too, it is your personal brand. Once applied, it is very difficult to remove. You may not intend for it to be permanent but it just might be.
Now here’s a scary thought… everything, yes everything, you say and do either adds to or subtracts from, your personal brand. People think stuff about you, they either think good stuff or bad stuff. Before you get upset with people who think stuff about you remember that you think stuff about other people too. It’s what we humans do.
What someone thinks of you will be determined by how you build your brand. It is determined by what you say and do. But this is the interesting part, what you “say” doesn’t build your brand and what you “do” doesn’t build it either. That would just be too easy.
Your brand is built by what you say AND do. When you’re trying to build a strong, trusted brand then those two things had better match, or at least be very, very close.
I give out lots of advice, both online and in person. If I must say so myself most of the advice I give is pretty darn good. It’s tried, tested and true. Online the “LeadToday” brand is strong and growing stronger everyday because the advice found there truly helps people.
In life the “Steve Keating” brand isn’t as strong and it’s not as strong for one simple reason; I don’t always do as I say to do. In other words, what I say and what I do don’t always match. There are lots of reasons, or perhaps I should say excuses, for why what I say and do don’t always match but this much is certain: it does not help make my personal brand stronger.
So I work on it. I’m aware of it. I try to get better at it everyday. Everyday!
Are you aware of your brand? Do you realize you have one? Do you know what adds to and subtracts from your personal brand? Are you even interested in having a strong personal brand?
If your answer to any of those questions is yes then you may want to check in on yourself from time to time just to make sure your “says and does” match up. You may want to evaluate your brand once in a while to determine if it’s getting stronger or starting to fade a bit.
Your honest evaluation will inform you about what you need to do next.
One last point. Our biggest obstacle to building a strong brand is called living life. We’re going to screw up cause that’s another thing we humans do. Never let what you’ve done keep you from doing what you can. Even if you’ve put a dent in your brand by doing something wrong you can still polish the dent by doing what’s right.
On Thursday, November 28, the United States celebrates the National Holiday of Thanksgiving. It’s the one day during the year where we officially stop to reflect and give thanks for all that we have.
One day. That unfortunately is a stretch for some folks. Those are the people who struggle to see the good in anything. If they won the lottery they may very well complain about the taxes they are expected to pay. They just don’t appear to be very happy people.
On the other hand, there are people for whom one day a year isn’t nearly enough. They are incredibly thankful people. They see the good in almost any situation. They are the same people who look at a tremendous challenge and see only opportunity. They just appear to be happy people.
Think about that for a moment.
People who struggle to be thankful also seem to struggle to be happy. Thankful people are happy people. I don’t know if you must be happy to be thankful or you must be thankful to be happy but it really doesn’t matter. It appears that happiness and thankfulness go hand in hand.
As you come to the end of 2013 and look forward towards 2014 take or make the time to seriously reflect on what you’ve accomplished. Think about the challenges you’ve overcome and the rewards you’ve received. Focus on what you have NOW, and not on what you wish you had. Reflect on the mere fact that you have the tools required to read this likely makes you one of the wealthiest people in the world. You’re blessed, if you haven’t taken the time to realize that then realize it now.
You’ll never be happier than YOU allow yourself to be. In this, the most wonderful time of the year decide to be incredibly happy, every minute of the day.
Did you pay attention to the title of this post? It isn’t do you WANT a raise and it isn’t do you NEED a raise. The question at hand is do you DESERVE a raise.
I should begin by sharing my own philosophy regarding raises. If you’ve accepted a job and the functions of that job remain pretty much as the were when you started then you most likely don’t deserve a raise. You certainly aren’t owed one. Private companies are not required to give you a raise just because it costs more to live. They give you a raise to keep you from leaving, the better the employment market the better the raises they give out.
You accepted a position knowing full well what the compensation was. If the company that hired you hasn’t changed the job or your responsibilities in the job why should you suddenly be paid more? If the company suddenly informed you that they were cutting your pay, just cause, you would be outraged. Well, it works both ways.
Now, let’s back up to that wants and needs deal. Your odds of receiving a raise just because you need one are not very good. Telling your boss that you need more money to maintain a lifestyle that you can’t afford isn’t very smart. It’s as if you were to walk into work and announce “I’m a crappy money manager so give me more to manage poorly.” We would never say it like that but you should know a whole lot of managers will hear it that way.
Wanting a raise is also a poor reason to ask for one. Wanting a raise just because a co-worker received one is even worse. You have no real idea of why that co-worker received a raise. This is YOUR raise request and the reasons for it need to focus solely on you. In nearly every single instance comparing yourself to a co-worker will go poorly for you. You look like a whiner, especially if your boss believes your co-worker is doing a better job than you.
There are times however when asking for a raise is appropriate. If your responsibilities have greatly expanded or you have taken on tasks that were never talked about during the interview process then you darn well should be asking for a raise. Just make sure you do it the right way!
Plan on talking to your manager as early as three months before salary reviews. Don’t wait to “see what you get” and then try to swim upstream to get a decision reversed. Proactive people get raises, those who wait it out don’t.
Make a completely honest assessment of your performance. Prepare a list of your accomplishments over the past several months. The more detailed information about your successes the better.
Gather market data for similar positions. It’s a good idea to know what the pay scale is for your position. Spend some time researching the average salary for your job. Try to get as close as possible to an accurate comparison by looking at organizations in the same location and of similar size. Your HR department likely already has this info so you should have it too.
Map your skills against what the organization values. Let your manager know that you, like all business professionals, are aware of the market value of your position and you believe you are deserving of a raise.
Do you like getting ultimatums? Neither does your boss or company. Never, never go in with guns blazing, almost any approach you can use is better than that. This is a business discussion, not a gripe session. Keep your request positive and know going in exactly what amount your raise needs to be in order to be acceptable.
If you deserve a raise and don’t get it then you have some decisions to make, just remember, there is more to success than the size of your paycheck.
In part one of this post we laid out the first four steps in an 8-step planning process. Those 4 steps represent a fair amount of effort and thought, more than the average person puts into an entire planning process.
Despite that effort and thought you know what? You STILL don’t have a plan! Those first four steps are only about preparing to plan, they are not the plan.
In part two of this post we’ll finally get to the actual plan. Before we begin let’s review. Here are the first 4 steps in the process:
- Develop a realistic picture of the “as is” or your current situation.
- Paint yourself a picture of the “should be” or your desired situation.
- Determine the investment you are willing to make in order to successfully execute your plan. This investment should be thought of in terms of both financial and time.
- Set short range, medium range and long range goals that will stretch you while remaining realistic and obtainable.
Now, let’s talk about the remaining 4 steps.
Next we determine our timetable. One of the reasons many plans fail is that people get behind with deadlines and they just simply quit or go “off plan” and begin winging it. That’s almost as bad as having no plan at all. Your timetable, when closely followed will and should put pressure on you to stay on task. It provides you with a guideline to evaluate the effectiveness of your plan while you’re working your way through it.
Your timetable is what will provide your feedback as to your level of productivity. Successful people all understand this irrefutable fact: there is a huge difference between being productive and being busy. If you’re not moving forward with your plan and getting closer to at least one of your goals then you are not being productive, no matter how busy you are.
The next step is key and everything you’ve done up to now is just to prepare you for this step. Step 6 is prepare your plan. This is where you use all the information, goals, and timetables to actually construct your plan. This step requires tremendous specificity and detail. What EXACTLY will you do and when EXACTLY will you do it. When EXACTLY will you start and when EXACTLY will you finish.
This step includes who and what your resources will be. How you will acquire those resources. How you will measure your progress. How you will know for certain the objectives of the plan have been met. Who will help hold you accountable to follow your plan. You need to have concrete answers in this step. Everything you leave to chance provides the chance that your plan will fail.
This step is plum full of actionable items. Action is the key to the success of any plan.
No plan succeeds until it is put into action and that’s step 7 – Implement your plan. It is amazing to many how many organizations and people work to develop a plan, often a very good plan, and then never implement it. No plan succeeds until it is put into action. Start slow, but start. You’ll likely have a few bumps but if you’ve done your work in steps 1-5 you’ll have the motivation you need to press on. If you did the work required in step 6 you’ve got the work-arounds required to overcome any setbacks.
Plans don’t give up on the people who make them, it’s people who give up on their plans.
The final step is follow through. Not just follow through at the end of the plan but all during the plan. This is where a coach or mentor can make such a big difference for you. It’s hard for anyone to be completely objective about their efforts, their progress or even the viability of their plan. You need a mentor to “tell you like it is” in a way that is affirming and motivating. It is why step 5 includes determining up front who will hold you accountable.
Well, there you have it. An 8-step process that when used fully can go a long way towards helping you achieve success in whatever you choose to do. There are no shortcuts in this process, you should either do it all or don’t bother doing any of it.
Successful people plan, they know that even when the plan doesn’t work as designed proper planning always pays dividends. If you truly want success then do what successful people do….plan!
Most people don’t have plans. You probably disagree with that or at least disagree for yourself. You have plans! Most everyone says they have plans but the reality is that most people don’t have plans. You probably don’t really have plans either.
You may have ideas, dreams and wishes but none of those are plans. You may even have goals, those goals may even be written down. But goals aren’t plans either. In fact, one of the primary reasons people fail to achieve their goals is that they don’t have a plan to achieve them. Real plans require real work.
That’s the problem with planning!
If you’re not spending at least a part of nearly everyday, yes everyday, on planning them you’re not doing enough planning. It’s no coincidence that the most successful people also happen to be the best planners. Successful people have a plan for every area of their life and they also have a plan for when their original plan goes wrong.
Ever since my years with the Dale Carnegie Organization I’ve used the 8-step planning process taught in their classes.
It begins with a clear and honest understanding of your present situation. What we call the “as is.” Surprisingly this is where most plans get off track. If you don’t know where you are today, or more likely, won’t admit where you are today, then it will be very difficult to get to where you want to go. If you can’t be clear-minded and honest with yourself about your present situation then you can’t be honest with anyone. People will find it very challenging to help you if you can’t or won’t be honest with them.
The next step is called the “should be” or desired situation. This is a realistic take on where you want to be or what you want to achieve. The key word here is “realistic,” no plan succeeds when it’s so far outside the realm of possibility that it becomes almost silly. Push yourself yes, aim high, don’t listen to the people who say it can’t be done. But always remain grounded in realism.
The next step is to determine the investment you’re willing to make in your plan. This may include a cash investment and it most certainly will include a time investment. No matter how cash strapped you may be the time investment is the biggest obstacle for most people. You can scrimp, save and borrow to get the cash. The time is much much harder to come by and no one can borrow you any and you don’t get to save it up. If you’re not committed to making an investment in your plan then you’re not committed to your plan.
Next you need to set some realistic goals. You’ll need 3 types of goals; short range, usually less than 30 days, you’ll need medium range goals, 30 days to a year and long range goals that can go from a year to 10 years or longer. It would be easy to write several posts on the process of goal setting alone but let me give you just a few thoughts here.
You’ll notice we started this step with “realistic” goals. You should only set goals in areas where you have complete control. If you set goals in areas where “things need to fall into place” in order for you to achieve your goals then you’ll give up the minute “things” fall the wrong way. You should also set goals that are achievable. I don’t mean easy goals, we want our goals to stretch us but the goals must be possibly. It must be able to come about through your actions and effort. Setting a goal of driving your Honda to the moon is a bad goal because nothing you can do will cause that goal to be achieved.
The goal setting step in this process is critical. When you have attainable goals set you have the motivation required to execute your plan. When you achieve a short range goal you also achieve the motivation to push on to a medium range goal. Without goals to achieve there really is no need for a plan at all and you likely will not feel the urgency to invest the time required to make one.
The goal setting step is the longest step, the one requiring the greatest investment of time. It is also the most valuable and perhaps the most enjoyable. It’s the most enjoyable because you get to dream a bit in this step. Remember to dream big because big success comes from big dreams.
In part two of this post we’ll explore the next four steps in this process. Those four steps will help turn your dreams into reality.