Ralf Weiser's Blog – Shake Up Your Snow Globe! ©

Stop doing, shake your globe, ponder, dream, start reaching your full potential – live on purpose and do it with a smile!

Archive for the tag “culture”

Find out who is making a greater difference in your life


Find out who is making a greater difference in your life 

What is more important: success or significance? Most societies put a lot of peer pressure on people when it comes to careers, education, and personal / societal status. The pressure is on all of us to succeed. Succeed in what though? What does success look like? How does significance fit into this scenario? Feeling a little confused yourself?

The following 2 different mental approaches may help guide you towards more clarity where you want to draw the fine thin line. It also helps finding out who is having the greatest positive impact on your life.

Let’s take a quick look at 5 brief questions/ scenarios that will get us started pondering “success”:

  1. Who were the last 5 recipients of a Nobel prize (name any that come to mind)?
  2. Who were last year’s 5 top earners in the United States?
  3. Name 5 Emmy winners from last year?
  4. How about 5 Oscar winners for the same time period (your choice of any category)?
  5. Name the last 5 Heisman trophy winners?

These individuals truly embody success. How many did you remember? In pondering all 5 categories myself, I had some significant issues coming up with even a few names.

Now reflect upon the next list of scenarios and take some time to write the results down. By the end of the exercise you will know why.

  1. Name 5 people that you really enjoy spending time with.
  2. List 3 to 5 teachers that have impacted your life the most.
  3. Think of at least 3 friends who have helped you through tough times.
  4. How many people can you think of that changed your life forever?
  5. Name 3 folks for whom you would give your life, because they are so special to you.

Which list affected you the most? The former list certainly is in a league of its own and no one will argue that any of the people you came up with are extremely successful. One thing that probably struck you is how fast the world of the successful passes us right by: Isn’t it amazing how few of them we remember even though their achievements have been very recent.

Wouldn’t you agree that the second list of people is the one that captures significance best? Take a good hard look at the people whose names you wrote on a piece of paper. Some of them will be in your thoughts (and prayers) for as long as you live.

There are two things I would like for you to do. How many of these folks are alive today? If they are alive, do they know how much they mean to you? Please go out of your way telling them this right away. Secondly, ponder what kind of a legacy you want to be known for. Here is an exercise you can use to get there.

How did this mental jogging work for you? Remember that you hold your own life’s snow globe in your hands. Give it a good shake. Do not hold back and start becoming your better self today.

Ralf

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Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote


Getting away from micro managers – learn about the antidote 

Photo credit: Pablo by Buffer

There are five key elements to trust: They are sincerity, authenticity, competence, reliability and timely communication. Micro-management is very much at the opposite spectrum of these attributes. Micro managers have the hardest time with especially authenticity and sincerity. But trust is the omnipotent ingredient to leadership. Without trust there cannot be any leadership. Leading people is much more a process than a final result. Trust can only occur when a relationship has been slowly nurtured into existence by long term planning. “Trust is not deserved, it is earned” is what sales consultant and expert Jeffrey Gitomer wrote about trust in his book “Little Teal Book of Trust”. No manager can expect to be trusted just based on a title alone. On the other hand, the manager must trust learn trusting his employees first – only then his direct reports will show the propensity showing trust in a manager.

This process of learning to let go of control and therefore trusting the employee to do a great job takes time and most of all planning on the side of the manager. It is a recurring theme that runs through leadership like a fine red thread: If you want to see a change in others, you must first be willing to change yourself. This is especially true when a micro manager wants for his employees to achieve and learn new skills. It takes ample time to change people and first the manager must first make the commitment to learning just as much and to be patient with his people who probably need some time to achieve these goals. Impatience kills trust in an instant as does not trusting employees enough for placing them on a pro-active training and goal setting time table.

One certain way out of micro managing is to focus on becoming a master communicator. Mistrust leads to issues in the flow of information, because most managers with trust issues would rather keep the information to themselves and not delegate any work either. This is all poison to any organization. It takes a great sense of organizing skills for a manager to find a way out of the downward micro management spiral. Once the manager trusts himself enough to trust others weekly and perhaps even daily scheduled or impromptu meetings with staff helps breaking the mold. Organizing information should automatically trigger the thought of delegating as many day-to-day tasks to employees who either have the skill set or the responsibility to doing them anyway. This shows trust to the employee and can now reciprocate this with the manager who will be able to tend to more managerial tasks – imagine that, more time for organizing things.

Being able to lead people may be something that comes easy to some people. That does not mean average managers or even micro managers cannot improve because they were not born with these skills. Achieving the first step of trusting yourself is most important as it is the jumping board for being able to genuinely apologize for any bad decisions, which in turns provides the necessary feedback to the employees that it is ok to make mistakes. By not including team members in the cause and effect cycle, the managers will most likely promote long term distrust and thus disengage them from team and company goals. The reversal of this issue is just as easy: When making the mistake of not having involved the team in the process, apologize genuinely and timely. It will re-engage people almost in the short and long term.

Finally there is a solid case for developing a sense and company culture of trust. It comes down to the almighty financial rock bottom Dollar. In a recent Gallup poll the cost for lost productivity and employee disengagement has been around $300 billion in the United States of America alone.   Controlling people is all but impossible, but that is not true for controlling the cost and reviewing and managing the engagement and communication with them.

So the simplest way in which to create a trusting work environment is making a list of the worst traits of micro managers you know or experienced. Then start compiling strategies letting you do the opposite of that.

Ralf

Strange, we are to “Think outside the box” and yet we go to work and school in one


Strange, we are to “Think outside the box” and yet we go to work and school in one Smaller FB

The term “thinking outside the box” stands for doing and thinking in unconventional ways. Step out of bounds and away from the beaten path. Away from routine and what is expected of you. Words like normally, usually, typically, or similar ones like it should not be used – “try something new and radical”.

And yet our routine looks so much different. Our schools and workplaces are placed in rectangular shoe boxes, with little to no natural lighting and even less high quality air. Slapped together to maximize the builder’s and architect’s profitability. Enabled by having harnessed energy to a point where we believe we control nature by being able to climate control our working and schooling habitats.

Rule of thumb here is a simple one: Nice 90 degree corners are good and so is routine and standardization. Where does that leave creativity and quality of life though? Over 70% of working folks would love nothing more than a new job or career because their working conditions and overall career management are below par.

At school this is even worse. Some school settings are outright industrial in where they are located and how the buildings are constructed. They seem to be designed to merely serve the purpose of providing future workers for companies that will then provide a very similar working environment as the newbies were used to from school: the box type building.

What is the antidote? Well, even though it may sound clichéd, but it sounds like our business and school leaderships need to be the first ones who need to think outside the box. Creating a lively and inspiring work and school environment does not take much as long as everyone involved starts from establishing a suitable vision and mission around this goal. Then the tough work starts. Thinking concepts like this through will take time. With great preparation the final product will take a lot less hard work.

One such building (watch the background story here is the one at Aerzen USA. The intense grass roots efforts of a few folks turned into a movement that keeps catching on.

Now think about our children and how they deserve a similar inspiring environment. If we want them to be able to think and act outside the box, let’s help getting them out of the truly boxy type schools of today. Here are two examples (Avon Grove and Kimberton) how some schools have already begun making changes for the better.

Ultimately the choice is always yours and this is neither my time nor place convincing you of anything. But think about if you and your contributions are only a mere SAT score, or some other number. If so, a shoebox building will do. If not, then please help for us all to start acting outside the box – and yes this pun is intended.

Ralf

Two company growth issues companies struggle with the most


Two company growth issues companies struggle with the most Ralf a

Company growth is key to survival for any enterprise. Without it you risk credibility with your investors and most certainly your bank. That is not to mention the impact on morale and corporate culture. You better had a strategy that gets you there though. Strategy is however one of the most misunderstood or misinterpreted terms we use in business and there are two main reasons why this is such a big issue. There are two key issues that let companies struggle with the most:

Reason number one is the most troublesome: Busyness (not business). Your short term growth and tremendous amount of work that you feel cannot or should not be delegated keeps you from even wondering about what your strategy should be. Needless to say, it may even be worse that you have not pondered your “why”, the reason why you are in business in the first place and hence have not developed a formal vision and mission for yourself. If this is you, please start to sit on that rock sooner than later because you may soon have more time again to ponder it because of a decline in your business.

Reason number two is the misconception that driving down costs and boosting efficiency are viable and sustainable strategies without considering the social and thus soft side growth of the business. Your growth strategy is accentuating and expanding on what makes you different. This may entail you having to also worry about your costing, delivery, marketing and sales channels, but those are never to be mistaken for a wholesome and long term sustainable strategy. They are nothing but a sugar rush that lets your energy drop like a rock once the effect wears off. The antidote is similar to reason number one’s: Positively identify your core value proposition to your target market. For instance, are you absolutely certain that you are after a mass product market or a niche market with a different price/ cost mix? Folks who try being everything to everybody typically learn the hard way and unfortunately really quickly how short lived and expensive this strategy is. You also have to make sure that you focus on including a personal growth strategy for all team members.

Big companies are no stranger to this phenomenon. Think about the ill-fated low budget big airline subsidiaries like Ted from United, Song from Delta that were supposed to compete with Southwest. Chances are you cannot even remember them and any smaller brand or organization would likely not be around anymore either.

The two key issues mentioned here are primarily caused by working in your business. Key to long-term sustainability is making sure that you spend more time to work on your business. So when are going to have your first strategy session that will get you into that mode? Come on and kick it up a notch!

Ralf

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