Monday, February 22, 2010

Managing by walking around doesn't work . . .

. . . if you're out looking for problems. It only "works" if you're out looking for ways to "help people do their jobs better", say HBS professor Anita L. Tucker and Harvard School of Public Health professor Sara J. Singer in their working paper "Going Through the Motions: An Empirical Test of Management Involvement in Process Improvement".

Their studies show that employees become more discouraged when managers dredge up multiple problems -- even if they fix them all -- than when managers fix the one or two things the employees' believe are most critical.

In what ways is your visibility hindering rather than hurting your employees' performance?

What will you do today to help your direct reports do their jobs better?

Monday, February 15, 2010

What do they want most that we can want for them also?

We often have difficulty getting along with others who want something different for themselves than we want for them; or alternatively, who want something for us that differs from what we want for ourselves.

Think about your children. Are you currently having a conflict? If so, perhaps you are expressing to them a hidden wish that they would want something different for themselves. I want my son to get higher grades. He does not care about grades. We are in conflict.
What does my son want that I can want for him also? What about your child(ren)?

Based on How NASA Builds Teams, by Charles J. Pellerin

Use HAPPS to express appreciation

  • "Habitually: appreciate as a matter of habit
  • Authentically: live in the mindset of gratitude to support you in experiencing what you appreciate in others.
  • Promptly: the closer in time to the valued behavior, the better
  • Proportionally: make the statement of appreciation (verbal, financial, paper) proportional to the behavior
  • Specifically: your expression of appreciation will have more power when it is specific (see previous posts on this topic)"
How NASA Builds Teams by Charles J. Pellerin, page 158

Sunday, February 7, 2010

How do the ways in which you express your emotions make others feel?

I know, I've said a million times, no one can make you feel anything. But any other title seemed less likely to get read.
What are the effects on other people of the ways in which you express your emotions?

As Carl W. Buechner said, "They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel."

How have you chosen to express your emotions today?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What do you tell yourself about other people's motivations . . .

and how does this story-line influence how you respond to those other people? (often our beliefs about others' motivations -- their thoughts behind their visible actions, or story-lines -- are negative!)

When we assume others think something negative, we have a much more difficult time overcoming conflict with them.
Charles Pellerin, author of How Nasa Builds Teams, tells us that he learned in presentation by Robert K. Cooper of Ball Aerospace that research shows "that story-lines about other people's motivations are wrong 95 percent of the time! Would you bet heavily on something important with only a 5% chance of being correct? When you notice you are running story-lines about the motivations of others, stop them immediately."

There are several steps to this process:

1. notice you have beliefs about others story-lines that you create based on their actions

2. drop any story-lines that inhibit your ability to work productively with that person

3. focus on story-lines that facilitate your ability to work productively with that person

Monday, February 1, 2010

how do you contribute to the ways your team behaves?

An excellent tool to answer this question can be found at

On this site, home of How Nasa Builds Teams, you can find two diagnostic tools:

1. Team development assessment
2. Individual development assessment

Even if your team isn't interested, take the individual assessment anyway. You'll learn where you stand in relation to high performing teams. It's free, and takes about 15 minutes, so why not? The site also provides free tools to help you improve your performance.