Monday, April 8, 2024

Chief Work Officer

 No organization has this role…at least not any that I’m aware of.

We focus on tech; and trends; and hot button issues; and external drama; and quite often a heck of a lot of internal drama too; we can be fearful to hold people accountable because we may bruise a few egos; but…

…how much time is devoted to execute and improve the actual work?

Have we become so ‘busy’ that we don’t have time to do the work?

Often times we refer to “operations” as having this responsibility. Yet, isn’t operations focused on execution and delivery? That feels different than improving how work gets done.

Maybe it’s just me; but I’d love to hear how your organization brought a laser focus to improving work. 

What intentional decisions did you make to dramatically improve how the work is done?
What barriers did you face to gain consensus to make the investment necessary?
How did you measure your success?

Work is a complex concept…thinking about it holistically can make a dramatic difference.

Thanks for being here.

Jay





Monday, April 1, 2024

Two Things That Drive Organizational Change

I’m back from some time away to rest and recharge. During that break I couldn’t help but think about the world of work, and why it all seems to be so difficult. Conference content is loaded with the challenges we face, how we might begin to climb the almost unclimbable mountain of problems in front of us, and how the world seems to be changing faster than ever (more coming on AI soon.)

And then I heard a comment from Dr. Po-Shen Loh that absolutely resonated with me…one which kept popping into my head last week.

“We should only hire people who have two primary qualities: they love change…and they are incredibly curious.”

That one hit hard. 

Imagine, everyone on your team embraces change and does not get hung up on the petty slogans of “that’s now how it used to be around here” - and, they have a need to learn more, explore more, challenge traditional thinking more.

Wow.

How might the challenges you face be addressed if your team prioritized change and curiosity?

The possibilities are endless, right?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, March 18, 2024

1,000

More than 13 years.

Some years with many things to say…some years with very few.

Self-doubt;
Self-confidence;
Vulnerability;
…all constant companions.

Professional growth.

Career pivots.

Personal growth.

Dark valleys;
No path forward;
Fear;
…and suddenly light.

Bucket lists.

A book.

Forever taking risks through it all.
And some of you have been along for the ride since day one.

1,000 blog posts in the rear view mirror. Many more to go before it’s done.

Thanks for being here.

Jay

 

Monday, March 11, 2024

Affirmation Not Information

When was the last time you changed your mind about something? It seems like we should be changing our minds all the time when we review data, understand complex issues more fully, and take the time to think something through.

But we don’t.

We often look for the data elements that will reinforce our already locked in point of view. Candidly, that’s a shame. It’s as if we would rather be unaware of reality instead of taking criticism for changing our point of view.

Think about the number of new ideas that bubble up in organizations only to be shot down by more…seasoned…leaders who believe they are the only ones who see the path forward.

For politicians the journey is even more treacherous. What happens the moment an elected leader changes their mind? They are immediately labeled as flip-flopping on issues. 

Yet, lobbying groups, normal citizens, and just about everyone else is constantly trying to educate those same politicians to better understand the issues and make better decisions.

Better decisions. A novel concept sometimes.

So help me understand why changing our minds is a negative?




I believe it comes down to one thing: we love to affirm our opinions, but aren’t necessarily excited about real information that might change our views. 

Fair statement? I think so.

When was the last time you changed your mind?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, March 4, 2024

Indomitable

Indomitable. What an impressive word. It speaks to inner strength, conviction, and a level of dedication unmatched by most.

You are indomitable.

Sounds good, right?

But, how does one get to a place where this powerful word actually applies? Is it something we’re born with…something we learn…something else?

We’ve seen leaders who appear to have it all together. They’re polished in front of a crowd. They are composed. They think quickly and rarely misstep.

…and we think to ourselves…I want to be like that.

But how? Mentors can play a vital part. But don’t wait for your employer to launch a mentorship program. Go find the one you want. Breakthroughs come when we bring them to life, not because we waited around for someone else to tap us on the shoulder.

How else? Pay attention to those inside and outside your organization who are making things happen. Moving toward indomitable is a proactive series of steps.

And always, ask for feedback. Show your humility in order to get stronger. Those that are always ‘strong’ are burning a tremendous amount of energy hoping you’ll believe their story is true. No one is always on top of their game 100% of the time. 

No one.



So, how do you get to a place where this applies to you?

You decide, that’s how.

Indomitable. That my friend, is you.

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, February 26, 2024

When to Bet on Your People

When do you know it’s time to give a member of your team a new opportunity? How can you tell if someone is ready for the next step in their career? What are the signals that indicate you should trust one of your people to lead an initiative, particularly when you may not agree completely with their path forward?

Despite the dramatic shift in worker expectations, the world of remote work, and more pressure than ever for companies to perform, the challenge of leading people is still, in many ways, unchanged.

Senior leaders still make the decisions that allow more junior leaders the chance to grow.



It would be great if there was a playbook that told us exactly what needs to be done before we take the risk and let those junior leaders fly. 

I would love a checklist that guarantees those decisions so I wouldn’t look bad…and neither would that young leader. Their success is my success, right?

But these tools, in most cases, don’t exist. We have to gather multiple data points to help us gain confidence and make that decision. 

It’s their time…and we have to let them fly, fail a bit, coach them back on track, and watch them succeed.

What process do you use? Or, is it simply easier to do everything yourself?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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Monday, February 19, 2024

What Do Other People Get Wrong About You?

What do other people get wrong about you? Do they make superficial assumptions because of your style, hobbies or other interests? This has been a struggle for me at various times when I find myself being too judgmental of others. Why is that such a persistent element of human nature? 

I don’t like it…particularly when I’m the one doing the judging.

We’re all complex people. For example, I’m passionate about effective, inclusive leadership and view that as the only legitimate way to shoulder the responsibility of leading others with any measure of credibility. I have a deep faith, attend a men’s small group bible study every week, and am on the Board of the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, FL. 

I also love tattoos, heavy metal music, and have more energy than just about everyone I know (and want to be ‘on the go’ all the time.) 

I told you…we are all complex beings.




So, where does that place me on the assumptions continuum? Am I a decent person, a scary person, or maybe just like you…unique in my own way?

I struggle with judging others and work hard to minimize the impact. My approach is (usually) this: if they’re not hurting anyone, they’re okay with me.

What do others get wrong about you? And, how do you combat the instinct to judge others and risk getting it all wrong?

Thanks for being here.

Jay


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