You Don’t Get Paid to Copy the Other Guy

Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, recently said, “You don’t get paid to copy the other guy. It’s too easy to fall hopelessly behind; it’s your job to have the courage of your convictions and dare to disagree.”

As an entrepreneur I’m picking up what Musk is putting down. Often I meet with clients and they are NOT expecting the status-quo. They’ve come to a point where new thinking is required to solve old problems.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that everything that came before is no good. That’s simply not the case. It’s the leverage of what came before that creates a legitimate praxis going forward. Your original thoughts that help solve other peoples problems are what the world needs. Pay attention to that “counter intuitive” voice inside your head. Decision-making is an evolutionary and dynamic process…have the courage to set a new course and in some cases get out of your own way.

When You Leave, We Hope You Are On A Better Trajectory

Often I go to LinkedIn to research marketing and business thought leaders. I recently read an article by Alex Cresswell, Business Leader & Global Accounts for LinkedIn, where he shared the three things he learned while being with LinkedIn…1) Culture, 2) Diversity and 3) Being Inspired.  If I were to sum it all up, it’s about helping others to be successful.

I loved his favourite onboarding statement when interviewing for new hires, “when you leave LinkedIn, whatever your career trajectory was before you arrived, we want it to be significantly better.”  It is this kind of confidence that I believe inspires many of their employee’s to give their best. How many companies do you know of that embrace the “life afterwards”?

A great way to grow your business is to understand and appreciate that your relationship with your employees is most likely not going to last forever. Embrace this…and while they are working within your organization, do whatever you can to make them successful. Their success will inspire others and everyone’s boat will rise when the tide comes in.

What Information Do They Want to Know?

Jay Ingram was the keynote speaker at a conference I went to in February. Jay is the former host of CBC Radio Quirks and Quarks (1979 to 1992), after which he hosted the television show “Daily Planet” (Discovery Channel) from 1995 to 2011 when he retired. With acumen of this calibre, it was most interesting to listen (and vigorously take notes) as Jay shared his insights to what the public wants and perceives.

He shared that the use of scientific data to support your proposals rarely works when other people already resist what you represent. In fact, when you use this tactic, it typically turns out that they become even more entrenched in their belief against you…regardless of what the science is saying. Why? Well this was the most curious part, researchers have not found a reason why yet…they just know it to be true. Time and time again.

His recommendation when dealing with public speaking or meeting with stakeholder groups…ask “what information do they want to know?” and present your proposal within that context. It will set you up better for success.

Training in Visual Resource Management in British Columbia

Near the end of this month, I spearheaded a boutique training session regarding visual resource management (VRM) in British Columbia. This is a particular niche within professional forestry that I have been fortunate enough to be involved with for most of my career. We had 45 participants with all kinds of background and experience representing government agencies, the consulting sector and industry.

It felt great and I know the people in the room were engaged throughout the day. With one event under our belts, we’re now setting our sights on delivering this Provincially as the need for informed discussions has never been more acute in VRM.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

One of my business mentors once shared with me Patrick Lencioni’s book on the 5 most common dysfunctions of a business or organization. Patrick is the founder of “The Table Group”, a firm that specializes in leadership, teamwork and organizational health.  So, here they are:

1. Absence of Trust: The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.

2. Fear of Conflict: The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive, ideological conflict.

3. Lack of Commitment: The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.

4. Avoidance of Accountability: The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable for their behaviors and performance.

5. Inattention to Results: The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

As a leader in your organization, you need to lead your people by directly dealing with these dysfunctions. Here’s the corollary actions:

  1. Go First!
  2. Mine for conflict
  3. Force clarity and closure
  4. Confront difficult issues
  5. Focus on collective outcomes

When I reflect on the list above, the theme I see is the mucky “elephant in the room” type of issues. Roll up your sleeves and don’t fear the muck…it’s a lot of fun and from what I can tell, it’s just like any skill, the more you do it the better you’ll be.

Doodle Your Meeting

Have you ever wanted to organize an event and found yourself pulling your hair out trying to coordinate calendars for everyone? Ever sent emails out to a group and then found yourself spending more time responding and coordinating the event than the actual event itself? I can honestly answer “yes” to both of these questions too and the expression “herding cats” come to mind 🙂

This past month I found myself getting organized for a training that I will be leading in January. It involves a large group and most of whom I do not have access to their outlook calendars to check availability. Thankfully there is a simpler way with an online scheduling tool called “Doodle”. This nifty little tool simplifies the process of scheduling events, meetings, appointments, etc.

You also have the option of linking it to your device calendar and/ or FaceBook accounts. There is a free version which is good to use to get familiar with things, although limits you to 20 participants.

One handy feature is the “Who is Missing” function. In a long list of attendee’s it is handy to be able to generate a list of who hasn’t participated in your poll yet. In my case, I used that to create a “reminder” email and received an additional 8 responses within 4 hours. So the next time it’s your turn to herd cats you have another option 🙂

Have An Attitude

I reached into my library again this month. There are different theories on reading the same content more than once and personally I find myself reading my favorite books over and over again. Each time gleaning something new from them. This time it was a few chapters from Chris Hadfield’s “An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth”. Last time I shared about this book in 2014, I shared Chris’s perspective on “The Power of Negative Thinking” and “Always Be Prepared” – two great chapters!

This time I want to touch on his insights from the Chapter “Have An Attitude”. Chris states “I don’t determine whether I arrive at the desired professional destination. Too many variables are out of my control. There’s really just one thing I can control: my attitude during the journey, which is what keeps me feeling steady and stable, and keeps me headed in the right direction. So I consciously monitor and correct, if necessary, because losing attitude would be far worse than not achieving my goal.”

Chris uses many quips that his family tagged “Colonel Says” and here’s a few that support his success driven attitude:
“Be ready. Work Hard. Enjoy it!” It fits every situation.
“No one ever accomplished anything great sitting down.”
“If you’ve got the time, use it to get ready.”
“You are getting ahead if you learn.”

The message that resonates most with me from that chapter was Hadfield’s numerous mentions of enjoying what you do, and putting in the effort to learn and prepare. He pictures the most demanding challenge; visualizes what he would need to know how to do to meet it; then practices until he reaches a level of competence that he is comfortable with to perform.