January 31, 2018 Daily Post
If your team was a stock, would you buy it?
Everyone can invest. And when we do, we evaluate whether or not an asset is likely to give us an ROI. To continue the metaphor, what makes a good investment?
The areas that make this stock unreliable, volatile, or undesirable are things a team can fix, just as any publically traded company might.
So, would you buy? If not, why not? What can you do about it?
January 30, 2018 Daily Post
When an orchestra begins to play, is the conductor nervous?
It’s not his/her job to be nervous: it’s every musician’s job to be nervous about their own performance.
So what’s the conductor’s job?
That leaves the musicians with one job: to get the notes right.
After all, the conductor can’t un-play wrong notes or become a violinist mid-performance.
Are you a conductor on your team? Are you nervous? What will you do about it?
January 29, 2018 Daily Post
If this piece of music doesn’t give you goosebumps, I don’t know what will.
Every musician in the video above has clearly played that piece before.
A lot. And not just on the clock. But…
If they hadn’t, they wouldn’t be there, in that room, playing like that. Indeed, no musician could. Every one of them has their own part to play. Each part belongs to someone.
We don’t get paid for–or make a difference for–getting the notes wrong, at the concert or during rehearsal. We get paid while–and make a difference while–getting our notes right, while our teammates do the same.
January 28, 2018 Daily Post
What if we could condense a year of growth into a single month?
What would that empower you to do? I call this technique “YIAM Growth Challenge” – here’s how it works:
How much advancement could you and your teammates create towards your important work, if you all committed to incorporating this discipline?
‘Team size’ x 12 = Total number of months condensed into one.
How about if you all did this every month for a full year?
January 27, 2018 Daily Post
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” – Helen Keller
This quote gets misinterpreted a lot.
And passionate, talented teams are a big offender.
There’s a temptation to interpret “we can do so much” as _“let’s try to do everything at once.” _Trading the chisel for another hammer dilutes the precision and commitment to good work.
Let’s use Helen’s quote as a call to the clinical, radical focusing of meaningful team work.
January 26, 2018 Daily Post
“The successful person is open-minded and tolerant on all subjects. If you close your mind, you will be shut off from the recognition of favorable opportunities and the friendly cooperation of others.” – Napoleon Hill
During a relay race, the trickiest part is always the baton hand-off. The better the hand-off, the easier the race.
How can we become better at hand-offs in our teams? We start, as Dr. Hill suggests, by being open-minded and tolerant on all subjects. Examples:
Doing so may, in fact, help us recognize “favorable opportunities” from the “friendly cooperation” we initiate.
How could your team benefit from better baton hand-off?
January 25, 2018 Daily Post
How should we respond to that?
A team that only brings the very best, invests in their success, and won’t give up on their cause, is a team that wins.
The alternative to a team committed to success like this isn’t a team I’d want to belong to. You?
January 24, 2018 Daily Post
A good friend shared an interesting dilemma today.
His team needs to hear something from an outside source for it to gain any traction. Translation: his insights and opinions are often undermined because he’s on the same team.
If it sounds backward, it is, but it’s also common. Let’s address that today:
None of the above gives external opinions more weight than the opinions of team members. Consider these three scenarios whenever an external opinion or internal recommendation is made.
Not doing so is harmful enough to be worth my friend’s time sharing.
January 23, 2018 Daily Post
We’re told that the “career” is dying.
I’d like to argue that it’s not so much “career” as it is “building teams to last” that is dying. If companies or teams aren’t investing in themselves to maintain or nurture greatness, is it any wonder people look for greener pastures?
We’ve talked about what makes a great team before. What should such teams be investing in?
January 22, 2018 Daily Post
What goes through your mind while you work? The mindset we bring to our work has a profound effect on what we create.
I like to use these 3 Ps as I enter new tasks:
Consider maintaining a Result List instead of a to-do list, while implementing items on that list using the 3 Ps above.
January 21, 2018 Daily Post
Great teams are either in high demand or are about to be in high demand. Could over-availability stunt such a teams’ momentum?
As with being over-flexible, there’s a fine line between being available and over-available, and every team must determine together where that line is.
January 20, 2018 Daily Post
Teams that create impact understand how being over-flexible compromises their work and their results.
Flexibility enables work to grow and for every implementation to be done right. This respects your work and your audience.
Over-flexibility cripples your work and for every implementation to be an act of desperation. This disrespects your work and your audience.
Here are some examples:
There’s a fine line between flexibility and over-flexibility, and every team must determine together where that line is.
January 19, 2018 Daily Post
What are you working on today?
Regardless of the answer, how we answer that question will affect the outcome. Consider these example answers:
Are you putting pegs in holes, or are you saving lives?
So, what are you working on today?
January 18, 2018 Daily Post
You’re really good at keeping rhythm. No, really.
Even if you’re not gifted musically, you know how to “find your groove.”
The problem starts when we don’t choose the ‘groove’, and settle for a ‘funk’. Both have Rhythm.
The nice thing about Rhythm is that we get to “set the tone.” To “march to the sound of our own drum.”
What are your ‘grooves’? What are your ‘funks’? In what ways are you going to “change your tune”?
January 17, 2018 Daily Post
Drug-dealers and missionaries have a lot in common.
They’re both out there trying to create conversions, albeit for very different reasons.
Their messages are different, but they use the same pattern:</p>
When approaching the marketplace, every team follows the handbook of one of these two things. One coerces and traps. The other serves and supports.
Which best describes your team? Is that the answer you want?
January 16, 2018 Daily Post
“It is the business of cavalry to follow up the victory, and to prevent the beaten army from rallying.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
A brand is only as strong as the promises it keeps. Great teams keep their promises. If you do important work, you need to be able to call the cavalry if you get stuck, in case of emergency.
Consider having–and being–cavalry for someone on your team:
With backup around every corner, how much would an initiative like this strengthen your team’s promise to the marketplace?
January 15, 2018 Daily Post
Does your next project excite you or stress you out?
Great teams optimize their work to create leading products and services that create a lasting impact. The answer to the question above determines whether or not this is a possibility for them.
Consider the trade-offs of a team that falls into the latter bucket:
Interestingly, great teams often wind up offering projects their time and their speed for the love of what they do and who they get to do it with.
For customers, “made by a happy team” is the ‘feature’ worth buying.
January 14, 2018 Daily Post
Most of us have heard that, in marketing, it’s more effective to describe benefits than features. You may have also heard that the best marketing changes the product (e.g. learning and executing user feedback), not the ads alone.
We have an opportunity to go further: to let marketing change not only the buyer’s product experience but our trusting audience’s world, by privileging them. This comes with promises from you to them:
Privileging your audience means giving them the gift of an unpayable debt. It’s an opportunity to serve at a much deeper level.
January 13, 2018 Daily Post
“Self-approval is a dangerous state of mind” – Napoleon Hill
Doubt is a double-edged sword: an essential ingredient for doing creative work, and a barrier to even trying. Really, it’s a call to action:
January 12, 2018 Daily Post
Without rhythm, our brains wouldn’t defer breathing to the unconscious. Rhythm means we’ve figured out how to make something work, every time.
And when it comes to breathing, that’s great. But when it comes to creativity, which only appears when we try things that might not work, we have what Einstein would call ‘insanity’ – doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
Creativity needs an extra step to shake things up. How can we be consistently creative? I call it ‘mind salsa’:
Rhythm carries you, for better or worse. If you choose to ‘mind salsa’, you might unlock more of your creative genius. How would your work benefit if you were consistently more creative?
January 11, 2018 Daily Post
Whether it’s a workout or a project, there comes a point where you say, “That’s enough.” The project is all done. Your legs are burning from the hill climb. Nothing.
Nobody celebrates or talks about what we’ve completed.
But we suddenly get very evangelic whenever something is 101% complete. When we went one more hill, created for 10 more minutes, wrote one more email.
Like working out, raising your will creates your new standard. Done together, this is how teams put themselves in a class all of their own.
Raise your will, one more hill, build goodwill, or it’s all downhill.
January 10, 2018 Daily Post
Work. Career. Mission. Which do you have?
Unless you’re a doctor, doing as we’re told works only up to a point, now that the world rewards rule-breakers. Ironically, from that volatility comes the greatest stability.
We assume the world will stay the same. That, in five years time, we’ll type on laptops, search on Google, and your company will survive using today’s tactics.
If your team is on a mission to change the status quo, that gives you an opportunity to be remarkable, indispensable, and supported in your efforts.
It’s either that or doing as you’re told for just a little while longer.
January 09, 2018 Daily Post
I don’t know much about cars. When Ferrari releases under-the-hood photos of a new vehicle, I’ve little idea of what I’m looking at. But it looks good.
Under the hood, most of us wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between Ferarri’s latest and that of an economy-class vehicle… were it not for the presentation. Shiny, symmetrical, considered, cared for, and painted red.
Open the hood of your work. What do we see?
Most daren’t show under the hood of their work. Don’t just show it. Paint it red.
January 08, 2018 Daily Post
To-dos can be deceiving because an activity is not an achievement.
“Leave 10 voicemails” is easy to check off, with an assumption they may lead somewhere. But what if the goal wasn’t to merely leave voicemails, but to “receive enthusiastic interest from Mr. X”?
The problem is, if the voicemails yielded no reply, the to-do is still checked off. You ‘succeeded’, even when your goal remains unachieved. Mr. X isn’t enthusiastic yet–you’ve yet to even speak.
Consider replacing your To-do List with a Result List. It has 3 components:
After a method in #3 creates the result in #1, you toss out the rest of the items in #3. Why do the rest? Your result was achieved!
Ticking off a to-do does not mean achievement, but working through divergent approaches toward a single goal–while being mindful of why you’re doing it–ensures achievement.
Consider your to-do list: how could you turn it into a Result List?
January 07, 2018 Daily Post
Take a look at this week’s calendar. How does it make you feel? Do you feel motivated by the momentum you’ll create, or do you feel locked down by dread?
Dread locks you out of your genius–your ability to do your best work. It moves you from “How can I make today amazing?” to “How can I get through today?” I call the latter state ‘dread locks’. When you have it, for each task in the week, ask yourself:
Life’s too short to do work that doesn’t matter, and your team deserves better than you showing up with ‘dread locks’. How would your week feel without them? How would your work benefit?
January 06, 2018 Daily Post
When you set ‘bad goals’, everything feels entirely within arm’s reach. You need not stretch yourself to attain them.
Microsoft did this during Ballmer’s leadership when they optimized for the 20th century when the rest of the world had moved into the 21st.
When you set ‘good goals’, everything is slightly out of reach. You need to grow from where you are now to possibly reach them. And that creates fear: you might not make it.
If you choose the latter (check out “YIAM Growth Challenges“) you get to decide where to focus: on growing to meet your goal, or on the fear associated with having made it:
How would you feel, what would you think about, and how would you act, if you supposed for a moment that your goal was entirely possible?
January 05, 2018 Daily Post
Creating, leading, or belonging to a great team is a privilege.
Like a great childhood, a great team has lasting effects on us that we wouldn’t change for the world. What makes a great team? And how do you know when you’re on one?
Great teams are rare. How many of these does your team have? Which could you bring to your team?
January 04, 2018 Daily Post
When you belong to a great team, it’s great because of you, as well as the others. Otherwise, it would be a ‘mostly great’ team. But we don’t always ‘feel’ great.
Turns out, we can do something about that. We control more of our emotions with our self-talk than we realize. Consider these contrasts:
Which words sound more like yours, the left ones or the right?
Which would you prefer? What’s stopping you?
January 03, 2018 Daily Post
It’s fascinating how perspective and mental state can totally rewrite our circumstances. A favorite saying of mine is,
“Big problems are just small problems in small worlds.”
Here are three examples of how this might apply:
1. ‘Big’ problem: “I may lose a customer.”
2. ‘Big’ problem: “I don’t know how to solve this problem.”
3. ‘Big’ problem: “I don’t want to
Perspective changes everything and shines a new light on what you should do next.
Consider your biggest problems today. How do they change when you click “zoom out” a few times to see the bigger picture?
January 02, 2018 Daily Post
With development accelerating in AI and machine learning, the world is going to transform in a big way. Some wonder where humans might fit into it all, as blue-and-white-collar professions are altered by robots.
Here are 3 things robots can’t do:
Is your work celebrating your humanity? Do you do the 3 things that robots can’t do?
January 01, 2018 Daily Post
When you go on a trip, a vacation, a hike… don’t forget to take pictures and draw a map.
The same applies when doing important work.
When you go ‘there’ again, you have your map. When you find better routes (or worse routes), update your map accordingly.
Doing so makes every trip–and every project–better than the one you did before it. And better than the one your team did, if you’re sharing your map.
Now you all get to spend your time, energy and genius on finding a better way, rather than merely finding a way.
No map is perfect. But a map you and your team continue to refine together is pretty darn close.
Make sure it takes us somewhere amazing.