The Way We Say Goodbye, Is The Way We Will Be Remembered

Honor the space between no longer, and not yet.

NANCY LEVINE

As I have grown in my leadership and tried to do everything I can to build a great legacy with family, friends, and work, I began thinking about the best way to be remembered. After many conversations with leaders in various positions, I realized my legacy is based on what we say and how we say it. 

It is “The way we choose to say goodbye.” If you dig a little deeper into that phrase, the statement doesn’t focus only on the words we choose. Still, it also considers your actions during your limited time.

When we look to leave, most of us will be remembered in work and life for just a few words or actions that made a difference to others. 

So how do we say a good goodbye? Here are five things to consider in your transition.Ma

Make sure you successfully handoff of the baton.

Four runners running a mile can complete the distance much faster than one man.

The fastest runner can complete the mile in 4 minutes, but the relay team can complete the mile in 3.5 minutes, with each runner going full steam. A proper passing of the baton is the most crucial part of the race. 

The US Relay Team was the most talented in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing but lost the race because the baton was dropped. 

When thinking of leaving and transitioning our position, we must be excellent at handing the baton to our successor. So here are some thoughts on how to pass your baton effectively;

  • The one passing the baton must keep running full steam until the baton is passed.
  • There is a temptation to let up because you are tired…almost finished, but you have to keep at full speed.
  • The one receiving the baton must start running before he receives it. The receiver doesn’t begin from a standstill but is already moving to gain speed. The intent is the one receiving is going full throttle, just as the one who is handing it off. Both runners must remain in the same lane. To step out of the lanes is to forfeit the race. The one receiving the baton cannot have a different agenda. The baton must be passed in a timely fashion. There are two distinct lines on the track that designate precisely the area where the baton must be passed. It can’t be extended indefinitely.
  •  There is a beginning. There is an end. If the exchange is handled correctly, it’s possible to gain a step in the transition instead of losing a step. Since the one giving is reaching forward, and the one receiving is reaching back, there can be a jump step gained in the transition if done correctly.
  • Once the baton is exchanged, the one passing the baton does not run alongside the runner coaching him but stops, catches his breath, and walks across the infield to cheer his successor at the finish line.

 I think that’s some excellent insight on baton passing. So, an effective goodbye begins with a successful handoff

An effective goodbye in leadership transition must be the #1 priority of the present leader.

When you are going to make the transition, it has to be your #1 priority. Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, said this, “From now on, choosing my successor is the most important decision I’ll make. It will occupy a considerable amount of my time every day.” He spoke those words in 1991 -Nine years before his anticipated retirement

The successor should have some good years to run the organization.

Back to Welch again from his book STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT, Jack said, “I wanted to pick someone young enough to be in the job at least a decade. While a CEO can have an immediate impact, I’ve always felt people should live with their decisions, especially their mistakes. I certainly have. Someone with less time may be tempted to make some crazy moves to put his stamp on the company. I’ve seen too many examples of that.”

Say goodbye to everyone but leave an open line to your successor.

Jeffrey Immelt, who is the successor to Jack in General Electric, said, “The most important thing Jack can do right now so I can take the reins is leave. I can always call him and ask for his advice, but physically the business can only have one leader.”

Walk away, giving your organization the best chance for future success.

You want to walk away and give your organization the best chance to succeed. 

Dan Cathy, CEO at Chick-Fil-A, said this,  “When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent.” 

When the rate of external change continually outpaces the rate of internal change, disaster is imminent

DAN CATHY

In other words, when we on the inside don’t keep up with the transition on the outside, it’s only a matter of time we are not going to be successful in life. 

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

I am not in the transition process; however, many of my colleagues and friends are either considering retiring or leaving their current position.  

Talking with people got me thinking about the transition process. And as a result, I encourage all of you to consider this information. Any transition requires a game plan. Start thinking now.

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-7168" style="width:200px;" src="https://leaderinfluence.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/db3-1.jpg&quot; alt="">

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">D<em>enis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis </em>c<em>an be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.</em>Denis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis can be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.

You can contact Denis at dbaker@leaderinfluence.net for information on coaching, leadership, team and culture change training, DISC Behavioral consulting or to be an inspirational speaker at your next event.

CONSIDER THESE 5 INSIGHTS TO YOUR LEADERSHIP APPROACH IN 2021

“This is a new year. A new beginning. And things will change.

TAYLOR SWIFT

If you read my recent blog, “Goal Setting Questions Determine the Path Forward,” then you understand the benefits of putting together well-described goals by following the questioning process below.

Xwhere you are now, or your current reality
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish line
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish line

Well, I thought I would piggyback on that topic and share how I will approach 2021. Sure, I have put together 4 goals for 2021. However, in the last few days, I’ve had my inner self (vision) sitting on one shoulder and my outer self (reality) sitting on the other shoulder. Both gave me positive and annoying feedback on how to approach the new year. I know, it sounds weird, but this content came from them.

Being a leader in 2020 has been challenging, but we should be amazed because we have gotten through it. However, as a leader, you should be thinking of your approach in 2021. Things have changed, things will change, and new challenges will come in to play. So we need to embrace this reality and prepare to answer the question;

How do you approach your leadership in these times?

2020 didn’t turn out anywhere near where I thought it would. I hadn’t even the slightest clue the economy would fall, jobs would be lost, and travel would be minimal. I’ve said this before, my daughter’s family moved to Athens, Greece, in January, and we haven’t been able to go and visit. They haven’t been able to come back to the U.S., and my wife and I had to go through Christmas without our grandkids (we face timed). Our hearts were broken! 

I don’t expect 2021 to turn back to how it was before the crisis, but I think we need to think differently and be willing to take a different approach in our leadership. Don’t get me wrong, necessary leadership skills are still valid, but our approach must embrace the current conditions and embrace change. 

Leaders who lead in the real world tend to find success than leaders who lead in a world that doesn’t exist. No one knows the future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t prepare. And while I have no superior insight into the future than you do, I have identified these 5 insights as my approach to 2021. 

1.     Uncertainty

The future is uncertain. Reality says that has been true since the beginning of time. Right now, nothing is predictable. Think about it, a new government and a continual crisis, who knows what will take place.

Leading through uncertainty—requires a whole new skill set. With the future being uncertain, you must lead with agility and flexibility. Those two attributes will allow you to identify change and make the necessary adjustments. 

2. Instability

Uncertainty is one thing. It removes your ability to see what’s ahead.

Instability is different. Instability means the present circumstances are volatile and unsteady. The most effective way to lead through instability is to identify the most traction and utilize your resources to maximize the outcome. The best way to create future momentum is to pour resources into anything that’s producing current momentum. That’s why restaurants are beefing up takeout and drive-thrus. 

In these unstable times, when you find momentum, keep fueling it. And keep the options open.

3.     Economic Unknown

People are spending like there’s no tomorrow and saving money at historic highs. Others on the lower end of the socioeconomic spectrum go broke. Who knows what’s going to happen next? And the U.S. presidential election throws an extra measure of unpredictability into the mix.

How will I approach the economic strangeness in 2021? I will prepare for a season of savings and charity. You can’t give what you don’t have.

4.     Opportunity

Opportunities always exist in a crisis. Innovation is born out of a crisis. A crisis is an accelerator of new ideas. The current crisis has generated changes such as; the emergence of the home as the new hub for fitness, schooling, work, shopping, entertainment, and church. The very obstacle you’re fearing might be the most incredible opportunity you’re facing. It all depends on how you approach it.

Obstacle or opportunity? The future belongs to those leaders who take advantage of opportunities. 

5.     Internationally Grow Yourself

I saved the most important until last, but the best thing you can do is deepen your personal growth for the year ahead. John Maxwell said, “We see the world NOT as it is, BUT as we are.”

I think the best things in life won’t ever come to us (believe me, I’ve approached much of my life that way). No, what I’ve found is I need to grab them. I don’t expect them to roll downhill to me, but instead, I have to climb the hill and grab them.

Every problem or crisis introduces one to themselves. It brings out the best and worse of us. 

The number one catalyst in growth is identifying growth areas. In life, it’s not what we get that makes us valuable. It’s what we become in the process that brings value to our lives. Action is what converts human dreams into significance. It brings personal value that we can gain from no other source.

So how do we intentionally grow ourselves? Here you go.

  • Take action
  • Re-affirm your values
  • Evaluate your character
  • Experience your inner fulfillment
  • Read books 
  • Listen to various podcast
  • Identify a mentor
  • Consider being coached 

If you want to grow yourself, your growth will thrive in these difficult times. Invest your time and effort to grow yourself intentionally. The results will be astounding!

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-7168" style="width:200px;" src="https://leaderinfluence.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/db3-1.jpg&quot; alt="">

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">D<em>enis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis </em>c<em>an be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.</em>Denis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis can be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.

If you would like to strengthen your leadership, teamwork or simply grow yourself, then please subscribe to my blog by entering your email address in the space below and click on thee orange sign-up box.

GOAL SETTING QUESTIONS DETERMINE THE PATH FORWARD

“A goal without a plan and timeline is just a wish”

DENIS BAKER

We are finally coming to the end of one of the most challenging years of my life! I bet many of you would say the same. 

As I look into the many variable possibilities of 2021, I realize that setting achievable goals is a critical path to achieving success. Many of us feel as if we’re floating in our world, not knowing what will come next. Most of us are hard workers, but maybe we didn’t get where we wanted in 2020, and maybe our attitude has fallen to there is nothing worthwhile.

Regardless of the future, we need to continue our goal-setting activities; whether it is personal or professional, the ability to know where we want to go will give us the skill to pick the right road going in the right direction. However, the way we approach the process determines the outcome. The process of setting goals helps identify where you want to go. By knowing specifically what you want to achieve, you know where you have to concentrate your efforts. This will enable you to quickly identify distractions that can lead you off course.

To accomplish your goals, you need to know how to clearly write them. You can’t merely say, “I want,” and expect it to happen. Goal setting is a process that requires careful consideration of what you want, the hard to do and ends with the desired outcome. 

In recent years, I have added a phase to my goal-setting process. Not only do I identify what I want to achieve by year’s end, but I now ask questions to define the specific goal I want to achieve.

Here is my new questioning process;

Xwhere you are now, or your current reality
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish line
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish line

EXAMPLES

Let me give you some example to clarify my statement;

When the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) was developed in the 1950s, the original goal was;

“Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

When John F. Kennedy became president in 1961, he changed NASA’s goal to

“Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”

Let’s put the 1950s NASA goal through the test: “Leading the World in Space Exploration.”

Xwhere are you now, or your current reality?Unknown
Ywhere do you want to go? what will be your finish line?The word “leading” is somewhat vague.  Results undetermined.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish line?Unknown, it doesn’t list any timeline

Now let’s run JFK’s revised goal through the test: “Land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth before this decade is out.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityEarth
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineMoon—with a safe return to Earth. What will be your finish line? A successful launch, landing, and re-entry.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineDecember 31, 1969.

 Looking at these two tests, which one would answer the questions below?

  1. In which decade would you have wanted to work for NASA? The 50s or the 60s?
  2. In which decade was the goal crystal clear? The 50s or the 60s?

If you focus on JFK’s revised goal, I think you know the right answers.

Let’s look at a more realistic example.

ORIGINAL GOAL – “Improve the onboarding process for new hires.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityUnknown
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineTo improve the process. Results undetermined.
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineUnknown, it doesn’t list any timeline

REVISED GOAL – Reduce onboarding time for new hires by 50 percent in quarter two by establishing a detailed onboarding process with at least five training courses and three shadowing opportunities with experienced team members.”

Xwhere you are now, or your current realityLong onboarding process
Ywhere do you want to go—what will be your finish lineReduce the time by 50%.  New hire onboarding process that includes 5 courses and three shadowing opportunities with an experienced employee
WhenThe date you want to cross the finish lineBy the end of the 2nd quarter

Both of these examples provide clear outcomes of asking the right questions to determine the clarity of each goal. 

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

When we have clearly defined goals with expected outcomes and achievement dates, we set the path forward down the chosen road to achieving our vision and desires for the new year.

If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it everytime.”

UNKNOWN
<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-7168" style="width:200px;" src="https://leaderinfluence.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/db3-1.jpg&quot; alt="">

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">D<em>enis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis </em>c<em>an be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.</em>Denis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis can be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.

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WHEN YOU HIT A SLUMP, DON’T JUMP

I don’t sleep, I lay in bed longer than I ever have in years, I get frustrated over the littlest things, people don’t follow the rules and expectations. I think I have fallen into a slump. I ask myself regularly, “is it worth the effort to try and fix this? I’ll answer that in a bit.

Baseball players fall into hitting slumps, the stock market hits slumps, restaurants and retail chains have slumped, running backs can’t gain any yards, NASCAR drivers can’t win a race. Of course, leaders fall into slumps. Come on, we all fall into slumps!

It can be challenging to know when we fall into a slump because it is hard to define when and where it began. But I think we all know when we are in one.

When a leader falls into a slump, the influential leaders will fight their way out. The others will look for the easy way out. We can fall into a slump at any time. Many leaders have found themselves in multiple situations during this past challenging year, where they fall into a slump or two or three. I know I have fallen into slumps several times and have had to work hard to recover fully. 

What are some signs of a slump?

  • Not meeting budgets
  • Not addressing customer needs
  • I can’t get the sales I need to make the salary I am used to
  • The plan isn’t being executed or isn’t working
  • People aren’t following expected safety behaviors or following our policies and procedures
  • My team won’t respond to my expectations

When we fall into a slump, we are often tempted to look for a faster way out. We become somewhat fixated on looking for a short cut to fix everything. Sometimes short cuts put us in an even deeper slump. It may not be now, but it can certainly affect tomorrow. Crawling out of a slump can be a challenge; it is grueling and can be a long road to recovery. We are struggling; the lure of an invincible shortcut can be irresistible.

Giving in to a shortcut can result in a high cost of negativity;

Loss of credibility

  • Loss of respect
  • Loss of trust
  • Confusion among the team
  • Slowing of momentum
  • Reduction in your influence

So, what are these leadership shortcuts? Here are three of the most common shortcuts leaders take when trying to get out of their slump.

Creating policies or procedures

Achieving the vision requires a leader to move people forward. It requires influence, high-performance team members, responsibility, and accountability. But instead of doing this hard work, leaders tend to opt instead to churn out a few policies and procedures. I understand policies and procedures play a significant part in business; however, they can’t be the result of a slumping leader.

Losing it!

When a person loses their cool, it’s like a child throwing a temper tantrum. Our frustration comes out, so we pitch a fit. It’s like we are creating an atmosphere of fear and manipulation. Leadership is not about fear, manipulation, and position; it is about persuasion, engagement, and influence.  

Do it, and create another shortcut.

Reorganizing

Reorganize your team, your vision …or anything else.

A leader paralyzed with indecision will whip out a piece of paper, run to a whiteboard and start drawing boxes, circles, and lines with abandon.

A new and exciting thing will emerge in time, and the resulting change will provide another illusion that real leadership has taken place.

But, once again, it’s just another shortcut.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

Shortcuts, really? Shortcuts are not the solution to the situation, rather they are a temporary fix to creating an everlasting leadership challenge. Leadership can be difficult. Pulling yourself out of the slump requires a lot of effort; moving forward requires a tremendous effort and determination. 

Go deeper, not wider. Going deep will lead to wide.

In difficult times, it can be very attractive to take a shortcut. But resist the easy way “out” and instead be committed to the hard work of leadership.

To answer my question up top, it is worth fixing your slump; the results will be worth it.

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80"><img class="wp-image-7168" style="width:200px;" src="https://leaderinfluence.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/db3-1.jpg&quot; alt="">

<p class="has-text-align-left" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">D<em>enis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis </em>c<em>an be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.</em>Denis is a former VP of Safety, HR and Risk Management and is currently a Director of Health & Safety for a major supply chain organization. As an Executive Director of the John Maxwell Group, Denis is a certified leadership coach, trainer, keynote speaker, and DISC Behavior Consultant. He is a passionate person of influence committed to teaching and communicating practical and relevant influencing techniques. His unique passionate and emotionally driven style resonates with many, creating a desire to become an effective leader. Denis can be reach by email at; dbaker@leaderinfluence.net to receive more information on improving your leadership and increasing your teams performance.

Answering These 4 Questions Will Increase Your Future

“Asking the right questions is as important as answering them.”

BENOIT MANDELBROT

Being a leader in regular times can be a challenge. Being a leader in a crisis can be a complicated challenge. Successful leadership in regular times is hard enough. Trying to figure out what to do during a global crisis is CRAZY!

The best approach to embrace the current situation is to do what is right and ensure you protect your family, friends, and yourself. It also means doing what is necessary to increase your professional efficiency through leadership. But I think the biggest challenge is how we approach the future. Things aren’t going to be the same. 

I like what Thomas J. Watson, the founder of IBM, said,

The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer.” 

I believe he is right on. Questions will generate answers, and answers will generate our actions. I think most of us have some frustrations due to the situation; I know I have. You’ve probably have heard more angry voices in your head and in your ears than ever before. Again, I know I have.  

To help reduce your frustrations and to be able to take the stance of a healthy and efficient leader, here are four questions to consider to outline the future.  

What can I change?

Think back to all those things pre-COVID things you wished you could change or stop doing. Maybe you didn’t change them because you didn’t realize you wanted or needed to change. Maye you but didn’t have the commitment, courage, or energy to make it happen. Well, now’s the time. Normal is gone, Now is the perfect time to make new things happen!  

You must figure out what needs to change and how to effectively make the change happen!

How would you approach a new role in these times?

It can be hard to transition into a new role. Old vehicles wouldn’t do well well in new air emission eras. 

I spoke at conferences and events as part of my pre-COVID life. I haven’t spoken at a live event since February 2020. Everything now is virtual. I’ve had to learn to embrace the fact that you can’t walk through the audience and hug people and shake their hands. My daughter and her family moved to Athens, Greece. Since the beginning of February, my wife and I haven’t seen my son-in-law, daughter, or grandkids in person. 

With COVID positives seeing a surge and mandatory quarantines coming back into play in place, I don’t know when speaking in person will come back or when I will be able to see my grandkids.

If you were launching as a speaker right now, how would you approach it? If you had family out of the country, how would you maintain strong relationships?

Once you know the answer to those questions, I think you will understand your new approach and succeed.  

Existing leaders who think differently and embrace change will have a much better future than their counterparts. 

Where does the real momentum lie?

Momentum is the product of the mass and the velocity of an object. Here is a more simpler definition; strength or force gained by motion or by a series of events. It might feel like you have no momentum anywhere, but that won’t be true for most people. (If it is true—the problems are much deeper than a global crisis.) All of us have some kind of momentum going on. Maybe it is different than before, but it is happening.

For example, you might be focused on getting people back in the offices because that’s where you feel you historically had momentum. The concern is, we focus so much on the past that we become fixated on trying to re-manufacture previous situations that we miss the opportunity to look at things differently. A good example is remote workers. Due to being forced to have people work from home, many organizations have found that remote workers are more productive, have a stronger moral, and seem to be a lot happier working from home. Sure, there are challenges, but remote workers can be just as productive or even more productive when given flexibility.

You probably have momentum somewhere. Figure it out. Study it. Determine why that momentum is growing and the benefits and how to maximize it’s potential.

If you want to exceed your goals, fuel what’s growing, not what’s declining.

If you choose to stay where you are, soon, you’re staring out the window watching the future pass you buy.

Can I sustain the pace?

I’m running into so many exhausted and frustrated leaders right now. Look, I’ve been there myself. Most leaders look to mental time off or vacation to reduce frustration and improve energy. I that approach will never give you enough time off to recover from the stress and frustration. I believe time off can revise your energy and reduce stress temporarily. Here is another example. I am a member of my organization’s COVID Sub-Committee. Our fundamental role is to assist our employees in dealing with COVID related issues. I recently took a few days off. When I returned back to the work environment, the stress and frustration beat me there. I believe we need to take time off and continue to build relationships with family and enjoy the life we have, but time off isn’t going to change your unsustainable pace.

You have to consider how you approach and react to each situation, whether temporary or drawn out. Making necessary mental and physical adjustments to create a sustainable pace is the solution! 

I suggest we ask the question, “how can I create a sustainable pace?”  In my personal approach to eliminate burnout, I make constant adjustments to achieve this phrase:

lead today in a way that you will exceed tomorrow.”

Most leaders lead in a way that will make them struggle tomorrow. We all have to work more hours, which affects our diet, reduces our exercise time and our ability to build our relationships. However, our desire is to find a sustainable pace heading to successfully achieve your personal and professional goals during this crisis and beyond.

SO WHAT, NOW WHAT

Moving forward, ask yourself: what changes can I make to ensure I exceed expectations in this current crisis and beyond? 

Your answers and resultant actions to these 5 questions are critical to your future success. We have to change, and we must maximize our momentum. Think about stopping a train and what effort it takes to get it moving again. The changes we make will determine our ability to lead others through this time of crisis and change.

THE PRIORITY OF LOVING AND CARING FOR ONE ANOTHER

As we continue to deal with the current COVID crisis, many people continue to focus on politics and self-right and not prioritize loving and caring for one another.  One of the most significant people dividers is the topic of face-coverings. Regardless of our personal, professional, and political views, face-coverings play a significant role in this crisis. You can read articles on scientific research and political perspectives. Each of us has our thoughts surrounding face coverings. However, one of the biggest things I believe we have sent to the bottom of our priority list is the overall protection and care for people. We have focused on our self-rights, justice, and comfort. We want things to be like it always has been.

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also the interest of others.”

Philippians 2:4

Whether it is family, friends, grocery shoppers, or people we hang out with on the golf course, we all have a spiritual priority of loving and caring for one another.

I recently read an article written by Pastor Terry Enns of Grace Bible Church (Marlene and I attend).

Perhaps the most-recognized attribute of God is His love.  And it is true. God is love (1 Jn. 5:16).  God not only loves, but His very nature is love — His identity is love.  His nature is love and He loves — He acts lovingly (1 Jn. 4:10).  Further, all love emanates from Him (1 Jn. 4:7) — if there is a manifestation of love, it is in some way a reflection of His love.  We have an ability to love because we have been loved by Him first (1 Jn. 4:19).  And while God loves the world (Jn. 3:16), that love does not preclude Him from pouring out His wrath on those who reject and rebel against Him (Jn. 3:36).

This love from God is a great security for the believer.  It is the means by which fear of God’s wrath and judgment is cast out (1 Jn. 4:18).  There is hopefulness and confidence in this love.  We are safe.

But there is an often-overlooked aspect of this love of God.  When we are loved by God, it means that we also will and must love others.  Love for others is the natural overflow of God’s love for us.  That is one of John’s emphases in explaining God’s love — “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 Jn. 4:11; see also v. 7). 

But this is not just John’s idea.  This is the consistent message of Scripture.

  • The writer to the Hebrews told us to stimulate each other to love (Heb. 10:24-25).
  • James called Jesus’ words the “royal law” and told us to fulfill that command (Js. 2:8).
  • Peter called his readers to love in a variety of contexts (1 Pt. 1:22; 2:17; 4:8; 5:14).
  • John had an entire book about love in the church body (1 John — see 2:5-6; 3:11, 14ff; 4:7-8, 11-13, 19-21).
  • Paul perhaps proclaimed the message of loving one another more persistently than any other biblical writer (Rom. 13:8-10; 14:15; 1 Cor. 13:4ff; 1 Cor. 16:14; 2 Cor. 5:14ff; Gal. 5:13-14; Eph. 4:2, 15ff).
  • And our Savior affirmed that this love for one another is the central means of testifying to the world of the love of God; our evangelistic testimony and influence is bound up in our loving care for one another (Jn. 13:34-35).
  • Whatever happens in the church body, we are committed to loving one another and caring gently, graciously, and abundantly for one another.  Whatever happens in the world and whatever oppression we face in the world and whatever influences we experience from the world, we are committed to love one another above all other things.
  • What does this love look like?
  • I will define love this way — Love is my privileged commitment to give what is good and gracious to you regardless of what it costs because Jesus loves me.
  • Our love for others is our commitment to each other.  We are bound together and we are intentional in our care for each other.
  • We are committed to each other because it is our privilege.  Love is our joy.  We find satisfaction and delight in loving each other (even in confessing and forgiving sin with each other and being content and free from anger and anxiousness when others sin against us).  We are emotionally invested in caring for each other.  We don’t just say, “I love you,” but we love to love each other.
  • In loving each other, there will be sacrifice on our part.  We will give.  We will give not to get, but for the simple joy of giving to another’s need — what is good for the other and gracious for the other person.  Love is not selfishly motivated.  Love is sacrificial and liberal in its gifts.
  • Love further gives regardless of the cost.  That means love is sacrificial and costly.  It will place burdens on us.  But we love to give so much because we have received so much from Christ.  He has given infinite (irreplaceable) treasures to us; how will we withhold finite (replaceable) gifts to others? 
  • So in illness, and in COVID and masks, and with differing political and social opinions, because of Christ, am I willing to love others affectionately and sacrificially in the body of Christ?  Am I willing to sacrifice for others because Christ has sacrificed and given so much to me?  (Or said another way, “whom am I unwilling to love the way Christ has loved me?”) 

So loving one another is our priority.  Whatever else we do, we are committed to caring for one another.  Christ has loved us.  It is our joy to love others.

As I completed read, I started to think about our role as Christians (regardless of political or personal perspective), and began praying for direction and wisdom on how to focus on the love and care of others.

Whether you are a Pastor, high-level politician or someone who simply focus on their own ideas, rights and comfort, I encourage you to pray for direction and wisdom to serve others through how you should love and care for those around you.

AVOID LEADERSHIP FAILURES IN THE 2ND HALF

“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

Winston Churchill

It is the 2nd half of the Dallas Cowboys game vs. the New York Giants. We have just lost Dak Prescott to a season-ending injury in the 3rd quarter. Ezekiel Elliot just isn’t gaining the rushing yards that he is capable of achieving. There is a 75% chance the Cowboys will lose this game. 

As I think about the second half of this year, I reflect on the Cowboys game when Dak Prescott was injured. I asked myself, what things did I do to cause a fall back in my leadership? The areas I determined I had failed in include; 

  • Made poor decisions 
  • Spoke when I shouldn’t have
  • Didn’t change my bad habits

I could have made wiser decisions. I did not have to speak everything in my mind, and I didn’t change poor habits that probably contributed to my leadership fall. 

Leadership failure is like injuries within football. Injuries seem to occur more frequently in the later quarters. Why? I think the simplest explanation is the accumulation of fatigue and the excessive desire to win. 

In this continuing pandemic, leaders are experiencing failure in their professional and personal lives due to the abundance of fatigue and frustration. For example, you make a poor decision because you were frustrated and tired and didn’t consider the outcome. Or maybe you said something harsh in a moment of frustration, causing pain and frustration. 

The reality is that we can’t avoid making mistakes. No leader can do that. But if you recognize your failures and frustrations, you can make changes and improve your chances of success. 

So how do you do this?

LOOK FOR ALTERNATIVES

When Dak was injured, a long time Bengals QB and now Dak’s backup, Andy Dalton, came in and led a game-winning drive. A substitute brings in full energy and allows other players to rest or recover, allowing them to make changes and improve their performance when they return. 

RECOGNIZE SIGNS OF FATIGUE AND FRUSTRATION. 

There isn’t a written process to determine when you need to take a break. That decision depends on your awareness. If you feel frustrated or tired, then take time away from work and do the things you love to do. Maybe it is a hobby or travel (where it is safe and allowed) or simply chilling at the house and playing with the kids or taking your significant other out to dinner. Re-focus your thoughts and approaches, look for opportunities to improve your performance, and re-build relationships.

PLAY YOUR POSITION

Stick to your role. Some people run out of energy and get frustrated because they’re trying to do their job and someone else’s. It doesn’t work for an athlete to simultaneously play several positions, and it won’t work for you either.

USE YOUR TIME OFF THE FIELD WISELY

Grow yourself. By growing your leadership, you will have the ability to lead others effectively. Think about the players on the sideline, riding an exercise bike, or getting attention from a trainer? They’re not doing it because they have nothing better to do. They’re doing it so that they can get back in the game. 

Our behaviors determine our actions and our actions determine the outcome. Be proactive and make the changes to ensure you finish the year strong!

9 SAFETY CULTURE QUESTIONS WE NEVER THOUGHT WE WOULD HAVE TO ASK OURSELVES

When considering the last few months, if we had been given a glimpse of this crazy year ahead of time, we would have thought the world had gone mad.

I feel It probably has.

There has been a significant change in the safety professional’s approach to influencing the workforce and leadership in safety. For some, organizations have a healthy and sustainable culture indicating that the only need is to reinforce the culture and look for continuous improvement. But for most safety professionals, organizations either; don’t have a safety culture in place yet, or the current culture is not strong enough to sustain a consistent, safe workforce. 

While we can’t approach safety the same we have done in the past, we have to ensure our current safety culture is continuously building up strong through our leadership and employees. 

I recently thought about this and came up with 9 questions I believe we need to focus on to ensure the workforce’s safety in this current situation. 

  1. Do your employees feel comfortable with COVID-19 protocols and procedures put in place?
  2. Is safety still a core value, or is the entire focus on revenue?
  3. Are your employees still stopping work when they feel unsafe? 
  4. Do your employees still feel comfortable approaching their colleagues if there is an unsafe condition or situation? 
  5. Are the employees exhibiting safe behaviors?
  6. Are people managers still engaged in the safety process?  
  7. Is safety integrated into every conversation? 
  8. Are your employees under pressure and more inclined to take shortcuts? 
  9. Is the leadership team thinking differently? 

I encourage you to ask yourself these questions first. Ask your team, the workforce, and leadership what their thoughts are and develop an immediate implementation plan to address the shortcoming or redesign processes. The answers to these questions will determine the plan as we advance. 

Your ability to ask questions will hlp determine the path forward.

“The ability to ask questions is the greatest resource in learning the truth.”

Carl Jung

WHAT KIND OF SAFETY LEADER DOES YOUR ORGANIZATION NEED

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For every organization that employs people, the safety of the people is a critical part of organizational success.

Safety methods must be fully integrated into the entire organization, from finance down to daily operations. This ensures safety is always being considered regardless of the conversation being had or activities being considered. 

Being a leader in the current year has undoubtedly put a magnifying glass on this truth. With the number of job losses, the reduction of budgets, and the need to think differently, we have fallen into an unprecedented challenge for the safety of our people. However, we must realize that without workers, companies can’t succeed. So the need to ensure the safety of our workforce is critical.

In our efforts to ensure people’s safety, leaders must be effective influencers to establish or change expected behaviors. To be an effective influencer, leaders need to know what markers are critical to their success. 

What kind of safety leader does your company need? The answer to this question is; All leaders are safety leaders.

To send you in the right direction, I have identified four crucial markers of an effective safety leader.

BE PASSIONATE AND HAVE COMPELLING PURPOSE

Passionate leaders are fully engaged and committed to supporting the safety of their people. When you’re in the presence of a passionate leader, your senses become stimulated, and your emotions are increased as you pick up their positive, contagious attitude and energy. People who work for passionate leaders tend to exhibit very safe behaviors.

If you are not passionate about what you believe, what you do or the safety of your people, THEN DON’T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON THE WAY OUT!

However, as a passionate leader, you need a vision that drives people forward. Realize that everything you do matters! Great lives are produced when they’re committed to a great cause—and the most significant purpose is the safety and success of people.

BE CLEAR IN YOUR PERCEPTION

There are two types of thoughts: those who view the glass half-full, and those who see the glass as half-empty. This is called perception, and our perceptions profoundly impact how we view things. After all, our perception determines our reality. “Perception molds, shapes, and influences our experience of reality,” says Linda Humphreys, Ph.D. 

In other words, we believe what we perceive, and we create our realities based on those perceptions. 

“You must see past your perception to visualize the reality that is coming.” –

Denis Baker, CSP 

Anytime you attempt something, especially change, trouble and resistance will come your way. 

BE CONSISTENCY IN YOUR APPROACH

The term “consistency” is not referring o all leaders are the same. It merely means that whatever style, management techniques, or leadership traits you exhibit, you must implement them consistently. A leader must be predictable, as consistency and predictability are positive traits that provide respect and ultimately allows the influence of others. In most work environments, especially now, leaders are faced with a whirlwind of change, and the leader must provide stability in their leadership.

Inconsistent leaders sometimes require a lot of detail, and on other occasions, need little detail. Sometimes they want you to seek their approval, then later question why you brought the same approval request. That causes a lack of respect and decreases your influence. 

The bottom line is that people working for inconsistent leaders often spend unnecessary time wondering how to proceed or harboring resentment because they cannot predict what the leader wants. This substantially slows down the organization’s and reduces its effectiveness. 

“The lack of consistency results in the lack of safe behaviors, which results in more injuries.” –

Denis Baker, CSP

BE COURAGEOUS AND PERSISTENT

To tackle change, you can’t give up. You must keep doing what you feel is right, no matter what happens. Just because you show courage during difficult times doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. Courage is not the absence of fear. Courage is moving ahead despite your fear.

Persistence is one of the critical markers of an effective leader. To gain persistence requires determination and a mindset that — no matter what happens — you will stick to your principles. Persistence is equivalent to running a marathon. The time you spend training and preparing, and what you do leading up to the race will determine how well you perform. To effectively influence others, you have to work hard and continually find ways to motivate, build respect, and consistently stand your ground.

You became a leader for a reason; success in leadership comes from developing and perfecting courageous persistence. 

People’s safety rises and falls on your leadership.

As a Leader, Will You Stand For What You Believe

“If you wouldn’t follow yourself, why should anyone else?”

John C. Maxwell

Will you to take a stand for what you believe?  

Most leaders won’t! 

I have worked with leaders from CEOs down to the lowest and newest leaders within many types of organizations. With this experience, I can honestly say that many are unwilling to stand up for what they believe. Instead, they will sprinkle pleasant words and act in ways that politically skirt around the issues. 

Why people are unwilling to stand for what they believe

In one of my jobs, I remember having a conversation with my CEO and discussing the need for consistently following our new hire requirements regardless of the person’s position. He tended to hire people without going through the full hiring and offer process. He felt he was in a place to do what he wanted when he wanted, and the rules, policies, and procedures did not apply to him.  

I held him accountable because it was the right thing to do. He reprimanded me because the policies and procedures went against his beliefs. 

Most people would have let it go because he is the CEO. Well, my leadership beliefs align with Collin Powell.

” Sometimes being a leader means pissing people off!

Collin Powell

To stand up for what you believe and what is right will sometimes result in making someone mad. But I say you are a strong leader!

Taking a stand hurts

I see this all the time on social media. People scream at those who oppose their beliefs or have different opinions. We see the protests and everything that goes on politically.

I just saw an Instagram post of someone I’m following that was kicked off a flight because of the shirt he was wearing. The male flight attendant said, “he felt threatened” because of the American flag on his hat and the shirt with a bible verse. He stood up for what the believes but paid the price.

People are willing to hurt others to make themselves feel better and have a stronger position. They’re eager to take down people who don’t align with their thoughts and beliefs.

True leaders have to take a stand for what they believe

You have to be willing to be hurt, tell the truth, share their message, and live a life that is true to who they are. Be prepared to be hurt. That’s the only way you can lead.