DIY Network is casting contestants for its new trade challenge series, DIY Dominator, hosted by Chris Grundy.
Time management is a grand idea when dealing with the things in your life. It’s all about organization, efficiency and getting things done. As a tool for leading people through change, however, it misses the mark. In fact, when leading change, the last thing you want to do is manage your time. Instead, invest it in the people with potential to become change leaders themselves, and the returns you get may surprise you. Following is an incredible story that illustrates the point.
A few years ago I became upset when a player on the NFL’s Carolina Panthers beat up a teammate and subsequently was suspended for one measly game by the team. I felt this punishment was too lax (after all, the attacked teammate ended up in the hospital) and wrote an angry letter to the teams’ owner, Jerry Richardson, expressing as much. Mr. Richardson not only acknowledged my letter after I figured it would end up in the trash but he went one giant-step further. He offered to come visit my thirteen-year-old son, who was a big fan of the team’s, and me, along with the star player in question, wide receiver Steve Smith.
They made the two-hour drive each way from team headquarters to my home and stayed with us for three hours. I learned that day that Steve Smith is a good man who made a bad mistake and was willing to learn and take responsibility for his actions. I admire him greatly for that. From Mr. Richardson, I learned the power of a leader being personally invested in future leaders who can make a difference.
Jerry Richardson invested time in me that day, but more importantly he invested time and energy in Steve Smith, someone with potential to lead changes on the field of play. I can only imagine the discussions they had as they drove back and forth and the bonds they forged and then carried forward. It’s no coincidence that the following season Steve Smith emerged as the team’s biggest star and helped lead them to a Super Bowl appearance.
Mr. Richardson identified Steve Smith as someone I call a ‘diamond-in-the-rough,’ a leader of untapped potential. Then, he personally invested his time and energy to help Steve unleash his potential. You can do much the same for the uncut diamonds in your organization. Here are five tips to help get you started.
1. Hold yourself accountable for people development. Common comfort zones such as crunching numbers and formulating strategy have their place, but both are useless if you don’t have leaders in place to execute. Therefore, hold yourself accountable for the people side of the equation too. Recognize more pressing issues will always come up, so do whatever it takes to make finding and developing people a priority. Schedule time for building relationships into your calendar. Make a list or create a spreadsheet to track your progress if you must. Set goals for people development and hold yourself too them.
2. Identify your Steve Smiths, or your “diamonds-in-the-rough.” You can’t invest in your future change leaders if you don’t know who they are. Some ‘diamonds’ are obvious. Their talent and ability dazzles and stands out, but others may require energy and effort to unearth. This may be especially true if you work in a large organization where talented people lay buried within the bureaucracy. In this case, use Tom Peters’ old technique of management by walking around. Get out of your comfort zone. Visit places in your organization where you don’t know as many people. Talk to at least one new person a day. Take the new guy or woman to lunch. When you visit remote sites, make it a point to meet people relevant to your line of business, then, follow up with those you meet.
3. Once you find them, don’t delegate your ‘diamond’ development. Certainly Human Resources and your training department have a role to play in polishing future leaders’ skills and capabilities. But the savviest leaders take personal responsibility for helping people grow. Once you have identified the people you think could be future change leaders for your organization, get personally involved in their development. Jerry Richardson answered my letter and placed the initial call to me. Jerry Richardson invited Steve Smith to join him on his visit. Jerry Richardson even drove the car himself. He didn’t delegate these duties; he owned them as his. Poor time management? Perhaps. But, poor time management often creates the conditions for great change leadership to occur.
4. Polish your gems by asking questions. The best leaders ask questions – lots of them. They don’t invest much time in running around telling people what to do. In fact, they don’t hire people who have to wait to be told what to do. Instead, they unleash talent by presenting problems and asking for ideas versus offering solutions. They understand their job is to lead, not do. They encourage people to think. They encourage people to act. They remove organizational roadblocks that hold talent back. They ask questions versus bark orders.
5. Explore ideas and build relationships beyond the boundaries of work. Engage people on a variety of topics beyond your common industry issues. Refining someone’s leadership often means helping them look beyond the confines of their everyday world for novel solutions and product innovations they can bring back to it. Become emotionally invested too. Spend time getting to know your future leaders. Find out what matters to them, inside and outside of work. Sometimes engaging in small talk can lead to big insights. You may discover a personal situation that is holding someone down or holding him or her back, such as the illness or loss of a loved one. You may not be able to do anything tangible to help, but simply knowing that you care can be reassuring and provide a boost. If you want people to be there for you when the going gets tough, as it inevitably will when things change, you need to personally invest in them first.
A Final Word
If investing in people sounds like a ‘soft’ activity to you, you’re right. It is. But rare is the business that can consistently return good, hard results without making soft investments in people first. People determine whether you win or lose, whether the game is football or business or life. To better lead change, stop managing your time and start investing it in people. Then enjoy as the wins pile up.
About the Author:
Dr. Gary Bradt is one of today’s most popular speakers on the leadership circuit, addressing corporate audiences around the world on the issue of change and success. His clients include IBM, General Motors, American Express, General Electric, eBay, FedEx and NASA. Dr. Bradt's new book, "The Ring In the Rubble: Dig Through Change and Find Your Next Golden Opportunity," will be available from McGraw Hill in June 2007. For more information on Dr. Bradt's book or speaking, please contact: www.GaryBradt.com.
The combined global land and ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for both April and for the period from January-April, according to NOAA. Additionally, last month’s average ocean surface temperature was the warmest on record for any April, and the global land surface temperature was the third warmest on record.
The monthly analysis from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which is based on records going back to 1880, is part of the suite of climate services that NOAA provides government, business and community leaders so they can make informed decisions.
Global Temperature Highlights – April 2010
•The combined April global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record at 58.1 F (14.5 C), which is 1.37 F (0.76 C) above the 20th century average of 56.7 F (13.7 C).
The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature was the warmest on record for January-April at 56.0 F (13.3 C), which is 1.24 F (0.69 C) above the 20th century average.
•Separately, the global ocean surface temperature was 1.03 F (0.57 C) above the 20th century average of 60.9 F (16.0 C) and the warmest on record for April. The warmth was most pronounced in the equatorial portions of the major oceans, especially the Atlantic.
•The global land surface temperature was 2.32 F (1.29 C) above the 20th century average of 46.5 F (8.1 C) — the third warmest on record for April. Warmer-than-normal conditions dominated the globe, with the most prominent warmth in Canada, Alaska, the eastern United States, Australia, South Asia, northern Africa and northern Russia. Cooler-than-normal places included Mongolia, Argentina, far eastern Russia, the western contiguous United States and most of China.
•El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) weakened in April, as sea-surface temperature anomalies decreased across the equatorial Pacific Ocean. The weakening contributed significantly to the warmth observed in the tropical belt and the warmth of the overall ocean temperature for April. According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, El Niño is expected to continue through June.
•Arctic sea ice was below normal for the 11th consecutive April, covering an average of 5.7 million square miles (14.7 million square kilometers). This is 2.1 percent below the 1979-2000 average extent and the 15th smallest April extent since records began in 1979. It was, however, the 18th largest April Arctic sea ice extent since 2001.
•Antarctic sea ice extent in April was near average, just 0.3 percent below the 1979-2000 average.
•Based on NOAA satellite observations, snow cover extent was the fourth-lowest on record (since 1967), and below the 1967-2010 average for the Northern Hemisphere for the seventh consecutive April. Warmer-than-normal conditions over North America, Europe and parts of Russia contributed to the small snow footprint.
•The North American snow cover extent for the month was the smallest on record for April. It was also the largest negative anomaly, meaning difference below the long-term average, on record for any month.
•According to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, Victoria and Tasmania had their warmest 12-month period since national records began.
•According to the Beijing Climate Center, China experienced its coolest April since 1961. Liaoning, Jilin and Shandong had their coolest April on record. Hebei, Anhui and Jiangsu had their second coolest April since records began in 1951.
•China had its wettest April since 1974 and Tibet had its wettest April since records began in 1951. Meanwhile, Germany had its second-driest April on record since 1901, behind 2007, according to the German Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst).
If you've spent the past few months racking your brain for innovative ways to cut costs, jump-start sales, or make your company run a little more smoothly, you're not alone. Any business owner knows all too well how daunting it can be to tackle all of the problems that come along with the job of running a company in good times (not to mention keeping it afloat in turbulent financial waters!). But what if you weren't the only owner of your company? What if you had a couple, a few, or a bunch of other people to whom you could turn and who could help you shoulder the burden?
If you're not quite following, allow authors Pamela Bilbrey and Brian Jones to explain. They say that when it comes to problem-solving, your employees should be your most valuable asset: after all, those who are closest to the work are the most likely to see opportunities for innovative solutions regarding improving
customer service, reducing costs, and increasing efficiency. And by helping your employees feel like owners of your company, you'll be able to tap into that important source of solutions and innovative ideas right when you need it most.
"Would your employees act differently if they actually owned your company, and if it was their money being spent?" asks Bilbrey, coauthor along with Jones of the new book "Ordinary Greatness: It's Where You Least Expect It...Everywhere."
"I'm thinking they probably would. One of the most valuable things that you can do as a business owner and leader is to make your employees feel like they have a stake in what's going on at your company. When you get them to commit to viewing the organization as if they own it, your employees are more likely to voice their ideas for improvement, and they'll be more passionate about putting them into action."
Good employees generate ideas
Naturally, creating a sense of ownership in your employees doesn't mean handing over the keys to the front door and taking a vacation yourself. It simply means taking the time to ask your employees what they would do if they were in your shoes. Ask them what they would change to help ensure that the organization runs more efficiently and less expensively.
"The survival of any business depends on whether or not the staff remains engaged and invested in the business by contributing their best ideas," adds Jones. "Creating a sense of ownership increases the energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of your workforce and drives results."
So what's the best way to get the ideas flowing and your staff feeling like owners at your organization? Bilbrey and Jones say that the following questions are great ways to get the creative juices, and eventually, your profits, flowing:
Question #1: What would make this a better place to work? One of the most important aspects of any well-run business is employee retention. If your employees are happy and satisfied, they stick around, meaning less time and money spent recruiting and training new employees. Happy employees are also more productive and do better work. If they like the place where they work and feel as though their needs and concerns are being addressed, they are more likely to want to do what is in the company's best interest.
"Managers often shy away from asking this question for fear of what the answer might be," Bilbrey explains. "And most of the time, they are surprised by the answers they receive. It's often the little things that matter most to employees, and the changes are usually minor and very cost effective. It may be something as simple as making sure that the water cooler stays stocked in the break room, or keeping the temperature in the office regulated throughout the seasons. The answers you get to this question will most likely not be outrageous requests, and your employees will appreciate the opportunity to be heard."
Question #2: How can we enhance customer service?As your business grows and you have more details to manage, it can be easy to forget what it was like working with clients every day. And it's possible that in the time since you managed customer service on your own, things have changed. Just because something worked great when your business first opened doesn't mean it's still the best, or the only, way to do things. Ask your staff how they would improve customer service. What do the customers complain about most? What do they seem to like? You may be surprised by what you hear!
"It's so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of running a business and forget that one of the very basic things that built that business was great customer service," warns Bilbrey. "The trick is to stay connected to the people in your organization who live and breathe it every day. They are the ones who know your customers like the backs of their hands. For example, at one organization, the staff kept receiving complaints from clients about their business hours not being convenient. Had the owner never asked his staff what they were hearing from clients, he never would have known that his store hours were hurting business. Simply shifting the store opening time up one hour increased both customer satisfaction andsales!"
Question #3: What would you do away with? The fact that a policy or process exists in your organization doesn't mean that it's necessary. As a business grows and evolves, its needs change. The rules and regulations that were vital at one time may now be antiquated and futile, only serving to cause extra work and headaches for your employees. The best way to weed out these tasks is to ask your employees for their opinions. Ask if they could do away with any one thing—be it a policy, paperwork, your regular morning meeting, etc.—what would it be and why? Again, because many of them are doing these tasks every day, it's much easier for them to see when a process is ineffective or unnecessary. Hearing them out may save you time and money in the long run.
"Too often we allow ourselves to get caught up in the things we think we should be doing rather than really taking a look at what works and what doesn't," says Jones. "Not only does your business constantly change over time, but so does your clientele and the economy. The ability to streamline your business by ridding yourself of tired and outdated tasks and procedures will make both you and your employees happier in the long run, and it will help all of you run a better business."
Question #4: What would you do if you were footing the bill? Ask anybody whose money they prefer to spend, and the answer is sure to be the same: someone else's. As a business owner, this can be a scary thought: while spending an extra $50 a month on paper products may not seem like much to an employee, to the business owner footing the bill, it looks like an extra $600 per year that could be drawing interest in the bank. We are all much more conservative when spending our own hard-earned money, and helping your employees look at the company's money as their own could save you big bucks in the long run.
"Have your employees sit down and look at the money that is spent in each department," suggests Bilbrey. "Ask them to imagine that money coming out of their own pockets (or paychecks!). Then have them help you brainstorm ways to cut costs and eliminate unnecessary expenses. If they were paying for the coffee cups in the break room, would they be more likely to re-use their cups for refills? Suggest that they keep a lookout for coupons that could help cut some of the company's costs. By giving the people in your organization a sense of ownership over the way the money is spent, you'll open yourself up to finding new ways to cut down on costs...and you'll be saving more dough for a rainy day."
Question #5: What is working well, and how can we make it even better? All too often, we focus only on what isn'tworking in our organizations, and we forget to consider the things that are going well. The reality is that it's important to also look at what does work, and to figure out why. By doing so, organizations can find ways to improve upon those systems, and they can use them as a guide for success in other areas of the business.
"Ask your employees what they think is working well in your company," says Jones. Have them make a list of the things that make their job easier or help make them more successful, and why they think that is. Then be sure to ask if there are ways that you can improve upon those things. How could they be even better? What will help systems to continue to be successful? By focusing on the positive, you will find that even more solutions can be born than when you simply concentrate on what doesn't work."
Bonus: The Gallery Walk Exercise.The Gallery Walk can be a fun alternative to the traditional Q&A format for getting employee input. Here's how it works: Workplace scenarios are posted on a series of flip charts set up in a hallway or meeting room. As participants read through each scenario, they jot down their solutions for the issues posted. After everyone has responded to each scenario, small groups get together and discuss the posted solutions.
"The Gallery Walk is a great interactive way to get your employees' creative juices flowing and get them thinking like owners," says Jones. "Not only are you likely to get several viable solutions that come from individuals themselves, once your employees break off into groups, they are usually able to fine-tune and improve the solutions they've come up with on their own. After one simple exercise, you'll have a great running list of ideas and improvements to implement at your company."
"The most successful organizations are the ones that have figured out that
employee ownership is the magic ingredient that can propel an organization to success," Bilbrey concludes. "Every member of your organization should have a vested interest in the success of your company.
"And no matter what happens, don't forget that you don't have to go it alone. You hired the people who work for you because of their talent and skills—and today is the day to start putting all of that talent to use in new and innovative ways. Start now, and you will be well on your way to taking your organization to the next level!"
Registration is open for the ASLA 2010 Annual Meeting and EXPO, September 10-13, in Washington, D.C. Plan now to join more than 6,000 other landscape architecture professionals from around the world to network, to earn up to 21 Professional Development Hours, and to reconnect with the fundamental elements of design. Register by July 1 and save $100.
For registration, travel and lodging details, visit the ASLA website. The theme for the meeting is “Earth Air Water Fire DESIGN.”
No city in the United States better exemplifies the values and sophisticated craft of our profession than our capital. Major Pierre Charles L’Enfant, a French-born aid to President George Washington, planned this city in the late 18th century. The District has matured into one of the most cosmopolitan capitals in the world, in large part due to the contributions of many landscape architects, both in the private and public sectors. Since Andrew Jackson Downing laid out the Smithsonian Institution grounds in 1850, the region has been a laboratory for the best that landscape architecture has to offer. Frederick Law Olmsted designed the grounds of the United States Capitol and the National Zoo. His work heavily influenced the 1901 MacMillan Commission’s neoclassical designs that are so synonymous with the city today.
His son, Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., one of the founding members of our Society who served two terms as its president, played a stronger role in shaping our nation’s capital than any other single person. He influenced the development of the city not only as a member of the MacMillan and the Fine Arts Commissions, but also through his planning and design of the White House grounds, Rock Creek Park, the George Washington Memorial Parkway, the Jefferson Memorial, and many other local projects.