Monday, July 19, 2010

Managing people is a balancing act

"I believe managing is like holding a dove in your hand. If you hold it too tightly you kill it, but if you hold it too loosely, you lose it." -- Tommy Lasorda

We have to balance pushing our people hard enough to get their best and backing off when needed. What do you think?

Image: Matt Banks /

Friday, July 16, 2010

One right answer?

In his video, Everyday Creativity ( Dewitt Jones tells us there is more than one right answer.

My students often try to give every possible answer just to make sure they get the one right one. At work, people often argue over the one right answer, digging in their heels and pushing for their solution until relationships are damaged and the solution is watered down to "make everyone happy." At home we worry we aren't finding the one right answer for our children and can get stuck in a sort of paralysis until we're forced to act.

Dewitt is right, though. There are often many right answers. And the key to success is to pick one and make it work, without worrying over making mistakes.

What do you think? In what areas of your life are you searching for the one right answer, always disappointed with yourself for choosing wrong or angry at others for not following yours?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Align your (hidden?) drives with your team's stated goals

People are committed to organizations that stand for the same ideals. We form team identities with teams that enhance our self-esteem by representing high ideals. And we decide the organization's and the team's ideals by the behavior of the leader -- not by the organization or the team's motto, mission statement, or advertising.

Leaders are people, too, though. And while they support their organization's or team's mission, etc., they, like all people, have unconscious goals and desires. These drive their behavior. And if the behavior doesn't match their stated ideals, it seems irrational to their employees.

As a leader, are you aware of your own internal -- perhaps hidden from yourself -- ambitions, drives, and need for self-aggrandizement?

How might your drives lead your behavior to be different from behavior that would be driven by the organization's stated ideals?

How can you align your personal needs and goals with the organization's?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

When leading a virtual team . . .

. . . communicate, communicate, communicate! Use many different tools to reach people.

In this article, Bob Taccini, a Cisco Systems vice president, discusses his use of vlogs (video blogs), blogs, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, discussion boards and the good old fashioned telephone to communicate with his far-flung team:

You'll find a wonderful list of tips for leading virtually in the article as well.

vintage phone image: Daniel St.Pierre /

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Yet, we keep trying to . . .

"You can control cheese, or at least you can keep tweaking and tweaking, trying to get it just right, but you can't control people."

--Paul Stephan, owner and head cheesemaker Blue Ridge Dairy Co. Quoted in the Washington Post Magazine (7/4/2010) on why he prefers making cheese over managing a large restaurant.