Thursday, December 4, 2014

Perceptions and Reality

We have all heard the saying that people’s perception is their reality. I would like to flip the script on that saying by offering that peoples reality, is based on their perceptions. 

Recently I was visiting my parents.  At the end of the visit, I was going to the airport with my father who apologized for the visit not being very fun.  I thought for a second, and disagreed with him (not an uncommon occurrence).  “What was he thinking”, I thought to myself.  This was a great visit, but his perception is that there always had to be something going on in order for me to enjoy myself.  In fact, it was just the opposite.

I responded to him about all the things that I got to do, and refocused his perception on all the positive things that we did.  I am fortunate that I am mid-40’s, have both my parents still very much alive, have two brothers, and a sister who have all been individually successful.

After thinking about it for a few moments, my Dad agreed that is was a good visit.  His reality is that there has to be activity continuously occurring in order to have an enjoyable time. My reality is that presence is more important than activity.

Here are a couple of tidbits that helped him understand that I had an enjoyable time.
  1. I was with them for Thanksgiving
  2. Thanksgiving was a White Thanksgiving (earlier than a White Christmas)
  3. I stayed with my sister and brother in law during a major power outage
  4. I participated in a 5K
  5. I got to have lunch with one of my oldest friends
  6. I had beers for the first time with my youngest brother who is 15 years younger than I….so did my Dad.
  7. I got to see deer in their front yard within about 25 feet of me
  8. I appreciated where I came from, versus where I was, or where I was headed
So, if you are thinking that a persons perception is their reality, flip the script and realize their reality is based in their perceptions.  Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem.  Make your own positive impression on others by showing them what they have, versus what they don’t have.  In doing so, you just never know how you can flip someone’s perception and change their reality.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Put me in Coach!

Well, it has been a minute or two since I have written a post, and I can honestly say I have missed writing.  Writing is my outlet to clear my mind in so many ways.  With that said, I will say, I have had lots of time to do a lot of thinking and reflecting.  

One of the things that I have been thinking about is how people, when provided with the right opportunity, have an ability to capitalize on those opportunities.  Unfortunately, many ideas and too many people sit on the sidelines patiently awaiting the right opportunity.  In 1985, John Fogerty, formerly of Creedence Clearwater Revival, released the song, "Centerfield".  The chorus of the song says, "Put me in coach, I'm ready to play".  All the player wanted was a chance to show he could play "centerfield".

In the workplace, there is a myriad of "players" just sitting on the bench, wondering when it will be their turn to "get in the game" and make a difference for the team.  Unfortunately, those players can't always recognize that they are already in the game and making a difference.  Leaders take the time to recognize the contributions that each team member makes to the game. From a morale and retention perspective, recognition of the smallest contributions can sometimes yield the biggest performance results.

In my current role, I have had two members of my team that have recently stepped up when asked.  Their contributions have forced us to raise our collective expectations of where the department should be performing. Had they not "accepted the challenge" job dissatisfaction may have increased resulting in them pursuing other lesser opportunities in order to feel more appreciated.  As a leader, I am very proud of the recognition that they are receiving from our external customers.

I have been privileged to work with a great team of professionals ranging from front line team members through senior leadership who have supported different initiatives.  Many of these initiatives have been kick started from the front lines.  It is a great feeling as a leader in my organization to encourage innovative thinking and then see those thoughts progress from a concept to production, with credit all going to the front lines where the idea was generated from. 

Take a look around your team and see what is being cultivated in your workplace. Is it a disease as a result of letting things just exist, or is it the right cure or solution that just has been fully cultivated?  As a leader, it is up to you to decide.  Are you going to listen to those saying, "Put ME in Coach", or are you going to let your bench just erode?

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Are you in pursuit of your dreams?

Are you someone that wakes up each day wondering, what if?  What if I haven't made the right decision? What if I'm not going in the right direction?  What if I haven't provided the right guidance to my kids?  The what ifs can mount up and weigh you down to the point that you stagnate, and you cause those around you to shut down as well.  Take a look at this movie clip….

Jon Gordon, in his book "The Energy Bus" referred to those who suck the positive energy out of a room as "Energy Vamps".  Energy Vamps have a hard time of seeing the forest through the trees and are reluctant to see that new directions can be taken and fostered through positive energy.

One of the things that this clip represents to me is that no matter how old you are, never give up on your dreams.  If you are not where you want to be today, are you going to allow others to remain there.  The great thing dreams is that you decide how you get there.  All your present situation allows for is to create a foundation for future growth.  When a person is reluctant to grow, they stagnate.  When they stagnate as a leader, everything around them becomes stagnant and future progress for the organization  is stifled.

As a leader, not just in the workplace, but in your personal and volunteer worlds as well, if you are not willing to be part of the solution.  You have to first make sure that your vision is alignment with the organizations vision and then do everything you can to achieve those goals.

Too frequently, when we see people leave an organization, there are probably clues that they checked out long before their security ceased working.  When that person leaves, they join a new organization with a renewed energy.  Why as leaders do we have a such a hard time harnessing that energy and enthusiasm?  Instead we allow those individuals to just leave.

I challenge others, as I am challenging myself to figure out what their dreams and aspirations are first, and then begin to work with those around you to see where they are?  Have they checked out?  Do they present a sense of hopelessness of future success like Will Smith's character does in the above clip?

This is my first post in almost a month.  I have spent a lot of this past month working on recapturing the energy that has allowed for opportunities to present themselves for me in my career.  There is still much introspective work to be done on my part, but the process has been underway since the beginning of the year.  What I do know, is that you never know who you have had a positive impact on.

"Don't let anyone ever tell you, you can't do something". - Will Smith from the Pursuit of Happiness