9 Real Reasons Why People Leave Their Jobs

Why do people leave jobs? Good question. I have been actively employed in the professional job market for a while. In that time, I have enjoyed multiple positions with multiple employers achieving both high and low results. However, there hasn’t been one position that I haven’t learned something new or how to become a better leader. In fact, I’ve learned more, become more diverse and become a stronger leader through the character I’ve built through the various situations and interactions I encountered. I wish it were the way it used to be. People got a job, the employees worked hard, the company recognized their value and so employees stayed for 30, 40 or 50 years. Nowadays, most employees get 3-5 years out of a job and turnover has become a day in the life of an organization.unhappy ee However, in my research, I’ve found the cost of turnover and employee retention costs to be astounding. Here is some of what I found:

  • 51 % of workers are looking to leave their jobs (Gallup)
  • 40 % of employees are considering employment outside of their current firm within the next year (SHRM)
  • 34 % of employees say they plan to leave their current role in the next 12 months (Mercer)
  • 74 % of all workers are satisfied with their jobs; 66 percent of those are still open to new employment (Jobvite)
  • Cost of replacing entry-level employees: 30 to 50 % of their annual salary (ERE Media)
  • Cost of replacing midlevel employees: 150 % of their yearly salary (ERE Media)
  • Cost of replacing high-level or highly specialized employees: 400 % of their annual salary (ERE Media)
  • 44 % of Millennials say, if, given the choice, they expect to leave their employer in the next two years (Deloitte)
  • 45 % of employees reported that they would be likely or very likely to look for another job outside their current organization within the next year (SHRM)
  • 47 % of Americans would leave for their ideal job even if it meant less pay (Adobe)

This information made me raise my eyebrows but didn’t really surprise me. Some of these are the reason(s) I left a job or two, and it confirms some of the feedback I’ve received in exit interviews.

So why do people leave their jobs? Here are 9 reasons I put together based on my experience and feedback from others.

  1. The Leader – More than 50% of people leave their job because of their boss. Whether it is a weak relationship or a lack of character and integrity, people will leave a job if they don’t feel comfortable working in that environment. People don’t typically leave a company, they leave the people. This is an accurate statement for me personally. I struggle with people who are poor leaders. Early in my career, I would merely find another job rather than work on my influence with that leader. However, I matured. I’ve realized that you can effectively influence your leader through your diligent hard work and your consistent character. When people see who you are in all situations, they tend to buy into the person and work to change their interactions and ways.
  2. BORED! – Same stuff day after day. People want to feel they’re moving forward and growing in their professional life. They want to have something to aspire to. If there’s no structure for advancement, they’ll look somewhere else. In the meantime, they’re likely to be bored, unhappy, and resentful-and that will affect performance. No one wants to be bored and unchallenged by their work.
  3. Overworked – There are seasons of being overworked. Stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed come with many jobs, but so does burnout.  If the season never changes, then employees will look elsewhere. Consider this,  it’s often the best employees, the most capable and committed and the most trusted that we overload most. If they find themselves continually taking on more and the perception is there is no end in sight, then they feel they’re being taken advantage of.
  4. A Blurry Vision – There’s nothing more frustrating than a workplace filled with visions, but no actions to achieve. I’ve worked at many places where the vision is posted on the website, are framed and hanging in each office. I even had a CEO tape our the company vision to every door in the building. However, I never saw the actions to achieve that vision. In fact, I bet you could still find some of them hanging after 2 years of leaving. What person wants to spend his or her time and energy in support of something undefined or merely hype and talk? People don’t want to spend their time and effort just spinning their wheels.
  5. Profits Over People – When an organization values its bottom line more than its people, the people go elsewhere. The result is a culture of underperformance, low morale, and even disciplinary issues. Of course, things like profit, output, pleasing stakeholders, and productivity are essential, but success ultimately depends on the people who do the work.
  6. Feeling Undervalued – It’s human nature to want to be recognized and praised for a job well done. And in business, recognizing employees is not merely a nice thing to do but an effective way to communicate your appreciation for their efforts and successes. This will reinforce those actions and behaviors that make a difference. When you fail to recognize employees, you’re not only failing to motivate them but also missing out on the most efficient way to reinforce high performance.
  7. No Trust – Trust is crucial to influence, and influence is required to lead people. Employees view your behavior and weigh it against your commitments. If they see you dealing unethically with vendors, cheating clients, or failing to keep your word, the best will leave.
  8. Lack of Transparency – Hoarding or not sharing information will cause people to leave. A person who hoards information does it to control the outcome.Patrick Lencioni’s masterpiece The Five Dysfunctions of a Team indicates the foundation for any good relationship is trust, and that foundation of trust just cannot happen without transparency at work. As a result, employees working for managers who share information will work harder for them, respect them more, be more innovative, and solve problems much faster.
  9. Corporate Culture – While it’s not the top for leaving a job, the overall company culture affects an employees attitude and ultimately influences their decisions to go. Some questions to consider when evaluating the company culture.

Does the organization appreciate employees, treat them with respect, and provide compensation, benefits, and perks in line with competitors?

Is the work environment conducive to employee satisfaction and engagement?

Do you provide events, employee activities, celebrations, and team building efforts that make employees feel that your organization is a great place to work?

Ultimately, many people leave their job because of the boss, not the work or the organization.

Job SatisfactionPeople create results. And Leadership is essential to attracting and maintaining talented results-oriented people. Ask yourself what you may be doing to drive your best people away, and start making the changes needed to keep them.

The 5 Must Have’s For the Balanced Safety Leader

Fotosearch_k10730093What a great time to be a Safety Leader! Yes, you read that right. Let me repeat, what a great time to be a leader in a Safety Professional role! Are you a leader just because you’re in a leadership role? In my opinion, NO. I know many in leadership roles that for the life of me I cannot figure out how they got there.

True safety leaders possess certain traits and attributes that make them successful. There are certain things that leaders are good at and do well. I believe there has to be something that sets them apart from the rest of the organization.

What if there was something that would make you more successful, more efficient, and make your job easier? As leaders, we must learn what it takes to become both effective and successful. These two things, being effective and successful, can have lasting impacts.

This blog will provide you with the must-haves to be a balanced productive and successful safety leader. Your ability to create a balanced approach to safety will ensure your success.

What led to the creation of these top must-haves? After much deliberation, they were the result of a personal need to try something new. More specifically, I was failing as a professional. What I did for many years did not work. I had good performance on occasion, but it wasn’t sustainable. I discovered that a personal approach to leadership was what I needed. One of the things I noticed in many leaders was a general lack of character and an ability to effectively balance our approach based on individual situations. Many safety professionals are regulatory driven. There is an absence of managing the situation from a balanced approach. From this, I saw a personal and professional need to create a balanced approached to the safety professional. This motivated me to develop these “5 Must-Haves”.

Balance is essential, no it is critical!. You never want to go too far one way or the other. Learning to balance your thoughts, approach and interaction with people and situations require continuous, delicate adjustments to maintain a balanced, practical approach. Balance is stressed in every aspect of our lives — from learning to ride a bike to eating a balanced diet. It should be no different in our interactions with employees and others in the organization.

Maintaining a balanced approach to the safety of employees will ensure our ability to influence their behaviors and drive the continuous improvement in safe practices.

The 5 Must-Haves for a Balanced Safety Leader are:

  1. Must have an unwavering PASSION for the profession.
  2. Must have a great ATTITUDE
  3. Must be a PROBLEM SOLVER
  4. Must take INITIATIVE
  5. Must have HUMILITY

Here is a brief description of each.

1.  Must have an unwavering PASSIONLove your profession or leave it!

I am so tired of meeting professionals that hate their job, hate their profession, or those who merely chose their job because they vie wit as easy. If that is you, go find something else to do. All you are doing now is creating a toxic environment for yourself and the employees in the organization. Find something you love and build your passion around it.

Passion fuels will-power as a leader. Without it, you’ll lack the drive to change and overcome obstacles. Look, being safety professional is not easy. It takes patience, a caring heart and the ability to work through the barriers. Let’s face it, we are here because we care about people. Passion is what drives me to learn more and work hard every day so that I can rest easy when my employees make it home safely from work.

2.  Must have an excellent ATTITUDEA great attitude is a positive attitude.

I think it was William James who once said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes.”

Our attitude determines how we interact with others and the way we communicate determines our influence. Safety professional’s have daily interactions with all levels of the organization. If we approach an employee with a bad attitude, the outcome tends to be riddled with talk of discipline, loss of job and discouragement. On the other hand, a right or positive attitude can motivate an employee to recognize their at-risk behaviors and identify what needs to change to ensure they stay safe.

If you have a poor attitude, stay locked up in your office. If you have a right and positive attitude, be present and bring the sunshine where ever you go! Success will follow!

3.  Must be a PROBLEM SOLVER – Can’t let your problems be a problem

Safety Leaders are good at identifying problems, issues, and concerns. Whether it is a condition or behavior, they can determine enough issues to fill a novel. The question is, are you good at solving the problems? Be a problem solver and influence! A good rule of thumb, provide at least two solutions to every problem you identify.

4.  Must take INITIATIVE –  READY………FIRE………AIM.

My staff hears it all the time. What does it mean? Shouldn’t you aim first, then fire? No. Just identify the problem, fix it, and then make the necessary adjustments later. At least you did something. If you never take the initiative to do something, things will never get done! If you identify a problem or something that needs to be done, who is the best person to initiate the solution? YOU!

5.  Must have HUMILITY – Humility is better than humiliation

I always have to include humility in any discussion I have on leadership, regardless of whether I am focused on the Safety Profession or leadership in general.

Why? Because so many leaders struggle with it. They’re under the impression that you must be strict, authoritative, and all-knowing in every situation. I’m aware of this because I used to lead that way.

However, through my many leadership mistakes in life, marriage, parenting, and work, I realized that leadership is about knowing what you know, and more importantly, recognizing what you don’t know. Not only is there intrinsic value in admitting you don’t know all things, but it is also clear importance amongst employees who sense your humility.

Here’s the truth. Employees know things that you don’t know. They may not say it to your face, but trust me; they are talking about you behind your back.

I love what C.S. Lewis and Lou Brock have to say on the subject of humility and pride:

 C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.”

Lou Brock said, “Show me a guy who is afraid to look bad, and I will show you a guy you can beat every time.”

A lack of humility makes us vulnerable. Without it, we open the door for negative things. People don’t want to follow arrogant leaders. They want to support someone whom they believe in and connect with. A lack of humility withholds honest connections with others; therefore, we must act as humble leaders.

CONCLUSION

Here’s a recap of the must-haves for leadership.

  1. Must have an unwavering PASSION for the profession.
  2. Must have a great ATTITUDE
  3. Must be a PROBLEM SOLVER
  4. Must take INITIATIVE
  5. Must have HUMILITY

This is only an introduction to what it takes to become a productive and successful balanced safety leader. Throughout the years, these five must-haves have helped me become a successful leader. Evaluate your current leadership style and identify what will complement your personality and enable you to lead more effectively and bring you success.

Take time and research each of these must-haves and learn how to apply them in your current position. I am confident that you will become a more effective balanced safety leader because of it.

Fotosearch_k15213036

INFLUENCE, The Key to Effective Behavior Change

Influence is an overused word, but few understand the concept. Many think influence is manipulation, force, and/or intimidation based on their position or status within the organization. That is not influence, that is dictatorial power! Influence is an exchange of ideas, a persuasion of others to a known purpose or direction. Influence is gained through the respect of those who are to be influenced.

But what is influence? I want you to think of influence as salt. Salt is not a flashy spice saltlike cayenne pepper or nutmeg. Salt is merely a basic. And yet, it is essential. Without it, food is bland and tasteless. Without it, decay and rot ensue. In recipes, salt serves all the other ingredients by extracting and enhancing their fullest expression and flavor.

As safety professionals.  You are in a profession whereby your ability to INFLUENCE others will be critical to the protection of life and safety. You must learn to influence like salt; in the background, without being visible or noticeable. It must become a part of your character and how you operate.

Why is influence so crucial in the safety profession? Influence is essential because safety professions typically have no authority and cannot MAKE people do anything. However, to have employees follow the policies and procedures, apply their training and follow directions, and ultimately achieve success, we must learn how to influence.

In fact;

we must learn to influence WITHOUT Authority!!!

Influencer and opinion leaderThroughout my years as a safety professional, I’ve found that there are more opportunities to influence than any other position within an organization. Think about it. Executives are relegated to an office.  Managers and supervisors have assigned areas of responsibility and seldom venture outside of their designated area. They may understand the departmental dynamics, but not necessarily how it affects the rest of the worksite or organization.

YOU, on the other hand, have responsibility for the entire facility, region or area. Much of your workday is spent in the field or on the floor (or at least it should be!). Safety Professionals are expected to have a broad range of knowledge and an array of information concerning the business and are supposed to solve a full spectrum of problems. So think about all the opportunities to influence; practically every conversation, interaction, and the situation will offer a chance to influence.

However, not all safety professionals take the opportunity to influence like salt. No, a lot of us prefer to pour salt on the wound instead. Because we cover or touch all areas and all departments, we often become very familiar with organizational practices, the people and the dynamics of various personalities and relationships. In doing so, we become aware of problems, inefficiencies and identify opportunities for improvement.

This is both good and bad.

On the one hand, you can use this information to analyze the safety needs and influence for change. On the other hand, the Safety Professional tends to be solutions oriented and strives to solve everyone’s problems.

As a consequence, this mindset is often interrupted as “knowing how to do everyone’s job and do it better!” This has the tendency to isolate our position and decrease our influence.  When we do things to decrease our influence, we decrease our ability to lead and ultimately get things accomplished by others. In their book, Influencing without Authority, Cohon and Bradford state “You need to INFLUENCE those in other areas, departments and division’s, those you don’t have control over.”  You must learn to influence without authority.

I want to share with you an example of real influence. While flipping through a TIME timemagazine issue listing the 100 World’s Most Influential People. Two individuals were listed, that I suspect are known to very few. Had influence been determined by a vote, I suspect that most readers would have never picked them. Their names are Brady Gustafson and Mary Scullion.

Brady, just 21 years of age, saved his fellow Marines when they came under direct attack in Afghanistan. Though Brady himself had suffered a life-threatening injury, he fought to save his friends and fellow Marines until help arrived.

Mary works tirelessly with an organization to help the homeless in Philadelphia, stating that “none of us are home until all of us are home.” As a result of her efforts, there are now less than 200 homeless men and women in Philadelphia.

These are real stories of influence. In society, influence generally indicates power over others, the power that inevitably reflects back on the one who is influencing. But for Brady and Mary, influence has very little to do with their own glory.

Indeed their influence is not about making a name for themselves, but rather about lifting up those without names and faces who have no influence or who most of the world will never know; homeless men and women and small-town young men who defend America.

What makes Brady and Mary so influential? I believe it is their behaviors. For Brady, he decided to take a risk to save others, knowing full well the potential outcome. However, his desire to defend and protect others generated a behavior that resulted in the saving of many lives. For Mary, it is having a subtle, but effective method of support to change the way the homeless population behaves.

So how does that relate to the Safety Profession?  When we consider the process of eliminating injuries, one must consider behaviors as the single most crucial aspect of a person working safely. With that as the case, changing or modifying behaviors will reduce or eliminate workplace injuries.

How does one influence change in a person’s work behavior? The answer to this question is simple. You must influence the person to exhibit the right safe behavior because it is the right thing to do. To accomplish this, you must do the following;

  1. Realize your character will be crucial to having influence.
  2. Give encouragement. Start every conversation or interaction with something positive.
  3. Let them know you need them. Make sure you establish their importance in the organization.
  4. Create a memory of the conversation. People will refer back to those memories when they are in similar situations.
  5. Say the right words at the right time. What we say is very important in our influence.
  6. Encourage them to make the right choices and decisions.
  7. Remember, you are there to support and influence them. It’s not about you!
  8. Listen to what is not being said. Make sure you listen to understand before you reply.
  9. Find the key to their motivation. Everyone is motivated differently. You must learn how to motivate in short period of time.
  10. Be the first to help. If there are issues, look for realistic solutions and be helpful in solving problems.
  11. Everything is in a name. Use their name throughout the conversation. Nothing is more influential to a person than referring to them by their name during a discussion.
  12. Encourage them to work safely. Get their personal commitment to exhibit the right safe behaviors.

Our ability to influence others is the core of changing behavior and ultimately eliminating injuries. As Safety Professionals we must focus our efforts on becoming influential through our consistent interactions with all levels of the organization.

ACHIEVING CHANGE IN AN UNCHANGEABLE ENVIRONMENT

I recently began a new job with a large organization. The organization is somewhat unique to me because it consists of two legacy organizations each made up of multiple companies. Each organization operated independently until recently when ownership decided to merge the two legacy organizations into a single corporation with shared visions and goals.

“Change is achievable in any environment, as long as all layers are iniated in the change process.” – Denis Baker

I was hired to help create a transformational change where safety and health are Fotosearch_k27534040integrated into the entire operational culture. I believe this is the only practical method for achieving safety and health goals and ultimately an incident-free culture. Safety and health should never be “first” or a “priority,” but rather a core value integrated into the culture of the organization. You see, priorities change, values do not and first is not always. I often use a pie analogy to visualize this. The pie is divided into equal pieces, with safety and health having an equal slice of the total pie. No more, no less, but equal.

Whether your profession is safety or finance, the successful process of change is the same. Here are 10 principles to follow when initiating change. Execute these, and your efforts will be made fruitful.

1. Have compassion and understanding. Regardless of circumstances, change is scary, and you represent a terrifying unknown. Every location I visit, after we complete the professional introductions and small talk, I am met immediate resistance. And most will try and distance themselves. When I begin touring, asking questions and making suggestions, encounter looks of concern or frustration and often hear, “but that is not the way we do it,” or we’ve always done it this way.” To help soften my perceived impact, I often encourage their suggestions or solutions. This creates a great team-centered environment that allows them to consider any of my initiatives. Probably, the most important thing I’ve come to realize, is their reactions aren’t personal; they are just responding to an uninvited change.

2. Reach out and connect with those affected by the change. Success in anything cannot be achieved without effective relationships. Before a relationship can begin, one must first connect with the person or group. Do this by identifying common ground. Look for small wins that build respect and credibility.  In the beginning, change can be frustrating for both sides. It will be tempting to simply brush off questions or concerns, because you may feel it is easier to just do it. And it is. However, I BEG YOU to RESIST that urge! No doubt we want quick results, but you’re better off starting slow and finding common ground. Find opportunities for one-on-one interactions. For change to be successful, connecting with those affected requires consistent, realistic, heartfelt conversation.

3. Influence the influencers. Influence those who have influence, without neglecting the others. Pay attention to group dynamics and identify the influencers. Identify who they are, and get to know them immediately. Learn what they value and be transparent in addressing their needs, concerns or wants. Just remember, you can’t do or control what you don’t control.

4. Expect resistance and don’t ignore it. Resistance is always present for any change, especially culture change. Don’t think it will go away on its own, it won’t. In fact, if left unattended, it will multiply and infiltrate the entire organization. Once this occurs, your job just got tougher. Meet with the discontent. Put your pride aside and listen. Address each issue as it comes up, but don’t make any promises or commitments you can achieve. If that happens, you just lost all the trust and respect you’ve been working to achieve. Gain buy-in by understanding the reasons getting buy-in for your vision and goals for change. Realize that most of the resistors are the influencers.

5. Communicate your values. In the safety profession, it’tempting to withdraw when you encounter conflict, but you have to do the opposite. You’ve got to overcommunicate. Look for ways to demonstrate your values as you explain your vision. You want to reassure people that your principles are positive and show where your values align with theirs. The key is to be steady, positive and consistent.

6. Learn from other leaders. How do others achieve change? Read, ask and network, looking for ways and ideas that might work in your situation. I often tell people to go with their gut. Meaning, if your intuition is saying yes or no, then follow that “gut feeling” and move forward. As we say in the safety profession, “steal shamelessly.” Great leaders learn to steal the best ideas. Remember, their approach or tactics are vetted and proven.

7. Go forward boldly. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. (Just be sure to fix them faster than you make them!) Stop and assess yourself, your process and your progress often, and course-correct as needed. Mistakes are inevitable. Keep it moving.

8. Prioritize and act. Identify the one or two areas where you will receive the greatest benefit and make that your priority effort. However, always evaluate your progress, the level of reception, the level of effectiveness and be ready to make changes as needed.Remember you are the change agent, you must be willing to change.

9. Create wins for the organization. Never underestimate the power of early victories. They give people confidence to keep pushing forward, even though turning the ship is hard. Achieving an early win builds momentum. People trust leaders with a proven track record. They will accept changes from people who have led them to victory before. Remember, it is easier to steer a moving train than stop it.

10. Identify and equip other leaders. If you want to sustain change and start building momentum, you must start developing and equipping the leaders. This is something many organizations fail at. We take the best worker and make them the leader. Great principle, but horrible execution. We tend to neglect the coaching and training needed to make that person successful. Look for those who rise to the top and pour into them your coaching and mentoring efforts to see them become the best leaders possible.

When I am looking for a job, I tend to identify companies where change is needed. In Fotosearch_k21722018fact, I have been a crucial part of at least six organizations where a cultural change was required. I approach each opportunity by implementing these 10 principles. Execute these 10 principles and watch change take place.

5 Ways to Defeat Complacency

 

The phrase,” it is what it is” becomes the motto for many people who allow complacency complacency-2to embed there lives and way of thinking. In fact, that phrase indicates complacency has overtaken their ability to transform their results.

Complacency is like a deadly virus dormant in your system. It is lurking to kill your goals, dreams, and success.  It has the power to rob you blind of new experience, positive change, and personal growth. The worst thing about complacency is the infected person is usually unaware that he or she is at risk.

Complacency occurs in all of us. It is present in our personal life and career. However, success is determined by your ability to effectively avoid or move away from complacency. 

To help you avoid or beat complacency, here are five ways to defeat or prevent complacency.

  1. Let Others Have Influence“Never mistake the power of influence.” – Jim Rohn. Leaders need to listen and be wise, vulnerable and courageous enough to allow others to have influence. I know what you are thinking, being vulnerable as a leader is a sign of weakness. That thinking is out of date. In fact, I believe vulnerability is a sign of strength, creativity, and openness. Vulnerability displaces complacency by ensuring we are allowing others to influence where and when we need it. Let’s face it, complacency embeds itself in the inability to think differently. Influence will enable us to consider options.
  2. Challenge the Status Quo“Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” – Martin Luther King Jr. Evaluate your goals often. As complacency sets in, our ability to think differently is minimized by our inability to process anything other than what we already know. Instead of seeing the opportunity to move forward, we wait to seek permission and find ourselves passed up by great opportunities. Lolly Daskell wrote, “Challenging the status quo takes an open mind, open heart and open will.” When we fail to challenge the status quo, we allow complacency to discourage our intentions and thus weaken our ability to contribute to success.
  3. Be Curious I have no special talents, I am just passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein. What we know is all we know. Without a curious mind and curious heart, we become stagnant in our thoughts and ideas. This allows complacency to become our comfort place. John Maxwell said, “When you lack curiosity, you breed indifference.”  Indifference leads to ruts and routines and creates a complacent spirit. Curiosity, on the other hand, promotes change and adventure and a desire to always improve.  Curiosity requires wisdom and courage, just like the explorers who first set off around the globe. When you are in exploration mode, you may be moving forward or side-to-side, but you never go backward. You put yourself in a position to create influence rather than falling into the traps of complacency.
  4. Kick Laziness in the RearWe often miss opportunity because it’s dressed in overalls and looks like work.” – Thomas Edison. Complacency results from our lack of desire to allow others to influence, challenging the status quo and the lack of curiosity. Why? Because we prefer to remain idle and do nothing. We are just lazy. We accept where we are and what we have accomplished, and there is no desire to do anything more. This creates a complacent environment where we accept our current position. We may have a desire have a desire to be better than we are, but we don’t do anything to move forward. Laziness puts our careers and relationships on hold. We become stagnant and accept our current performance as ideal. Success has no room for laziness. Become a person who desires perfection! In others words, “Just Do It.”
  5. Keep Hope Alive At All CostYou don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr. Regardless of life or business situations, hope will always shine a positive light. Hope drives our desire for accomplishment. Hope is the belief that circumstances in the future will be better. It’s not a wish that things will get better, but an actual belief, even when there may be no evidence that to support it. Talent, skill, and ability gets you in the game, but the hope is the motivation that keeps you there. 

ComplacencyComplacency robs us of our success and achievements. It creates a way of thinking that blocks our ability to achieve the great things we desire. In fact, complacency sneaks up on us so fast that we don’t realize we’ve become complacent until someone points it out. 

Take a pro-active approach to preventing complacency by evaluating your current personal and business position and taking actions to defeat and even avert complacency. Consider these 5 ways to overcome complacency.

 

What Message Are You Sending? PART 1 of 3 – 10 Rules and Etiquette for Crafting and Sending Effective Emails

email 2You’ve been there.  You get an email accusing you of some action or lack of action. The tone is rude and inappropriate.  The sender includes several people, many who have no reason to be involved. As you read what is written, the words spark enraged anger from deep within your soul.

You immediately react by hitting “Reply All.”  In fact, you want to vindicate yourself, so you “Bcc” your supervisor. Through your rage, you unleash a barrage of words that support your position.

Immediately, after hitting the send button, you receive a text from your boss.  Yes!  He wants to congratulate you on an excellent response!  Only when you open the text, it says “meet me in my office first thing in the morning.”

Emails and texting, perceived in the wrong way, can lessen or eliminate the influence email-logoyou have with your staff or groups. The relationships you spent months or maybe years to build and foster are now in jeopardy.

Email and texting should never be a substitute for face to face communication or phone conversation. However, if crafted properly, these can be useful in reinforcing your ideas and increasing your influence.

In part 1 of my 3 part series, I provide 10 rules and etiquette for crafting and sending using emails.

I find these very useful and productive to lessen the chance of responding in a destructive or unprofessional manner.

EMAIL

When preparing or an email consider the following 10 suggestions:

  1. First, consider a face-to-face or phone call before sending an email. 
  2. Send the email to those that absolutely need to know.  
  3.  “CC” people for information only.  “CC” responses should only be sent if the data reinforce or add additional pertinent information.
  4. Make sure the “subject” accurately depicts the content.
  5. Content must be specifically related to your “TO” group. Be precise, concise, and clear.
  6. Begin the email with a positive statement. Sets the tone for the responses.
  7. Continued disagreement or confusion, set up an in person meeting, conference call or video chat.
  8. READ IT BEFORE YOU HIT SEND AND THEN READ IT AGAIN. Read and re-read your email.  Make sure your grammar, spelling, and choice of words portray the intended tone and message.
  9. Emails should NEVER be used to reprimand, counsel or address disagreements. 
  10. When in doubt…….have a face-to-face conversation.

TRANSFORMATIONAL INFLUENCE. The Unexpected Changing of Lives in the Midst of Hurricane Harvey

RAIN TOTALS

As a Native Houstonian, I am experiencing survivor’s guilt. It is heartbreaking to see family and friends suffering, houses being lost from flooding every day. I moved from Houston 6 years ago, and there is very little I can do but pray and encourage. I am also a first responder in my heart. God has given me the talent to keep people safe, and I am unable to do that. Even though there are things I can do to help and support (and I am), I know that friends and families are struggling, anxious at not knowing what the future brings. As of writing, there is still the possibility of an additional 15-30 inches of rain. Pray for their safety, peace, and sanity. Pray that they will know that ultimately good will come out of this catastrophic disaster.

In fact, I already see the good being done. In a nation where there is a focus on the debate over race, religion, and income equality. In a time where the country criticizes every decision made by local, state and federal governments. Where unity is but a distant hope, I see the people in the nation’s fourth largest city and surrounding areas, banding together in solidarity to help their neighbors, friends, and family.

I see the rich and poor, people of all ages, races, religions and rising up hurricane-harvey_culture_getty-1150x724and becoming leaders within their homes, families, and neighborhoods. I see leaders taking time off of their jobs and coming from all over the United States to support and save lives. I see leaders donating money, food, clothes and goods and their time for those who have lost everything. I see leaders risking their lives for others. I see churches and organizations opening their buildings up shelter, clothe and feed those in need. I know there are some working and staffing those shelters that are facing or have lost their home, have family in desperate need and are experiencing the same anxious thoughts as anyone else. But rather sulk in their despair and hopelessness, they chose to serve others and make a difference.

I SEE PEOPLE SACRIFICING THEIR COMFORTABLE LIFESTYLES FOR THE BETTER GOOD OF MANKIND!

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What the Houston area is witnessing is called, Servant Leadership. Serving others unselfishly with little or no regard to their circumstances. Out of this Servant Leadership, I see something much deeper occurring. I call it Transformational Influence. Leaders making a difference in people’s lives by influencing through their generous serving of others, and positive and encouraging conversations. They possess a positive attitude regardless of the situation or circumstance. Transformational Influence is a term I created from witnessing the transformation of people’s lives through conversation, prayer, and commitment to others. Transformational Influence occurs when we affect the way a person thinks, acts or behaves through our conversations, personal actions or simply our intention.

How can you have Transformational Influence in a time of crisis?

  • Be genuine in your relationship with those you encounter – Focus on the individual’s needs and desires. You can only do that by being sincere, involved and curious.
  • Be intentional – Go out of your way to get to know a person. See someone hurting or sitting alone? Go sit with them and let them share their struggles with you. Ask to pray.
  • Be a servant – Serve them with your whole heart. Make it a priority to help them get settled.
  • Be humble – Realize that you are not them. You are not feeling what they are feeling.
  • Be encouraging – Encourage through your conversation or simply just be there for them. Sometimes the most encouraging thing you can do is simply sit there and not say a word.
  • Give them Hope – Regardless of the situation or circumstance, there is hope. Hope shines brightest when the hour is darkest. Let them see and hear hope for something better. Hope is our greatest asset and the greatest weapon we can use to battle our losses. Without hope, there is nothing.
  • Pray for Them, Daily and Often – Prayer changes people. Prayer changes situations. Even if you don’t pray with them, pray earnestly for their salvation and their success in life.

CalvaryUse this catastrophic and tragic situation to transform the lives of others through your Servant Leadership. Have Transformational Influence on those you come in contact with.

To the people of the greater Houston Area……..Continue to UNITE and Serve One Another! Show the world why Texas is the Best!

To those who have traveled to the area to assist……THANK YOU! Your commitment and service will be remembered for generations to come.

GOD BLESS HOUSTON, TEXAS!

Texas Helping Texans

Can’t We All Just Get Along? 6 Principles to Solving Conflict

Look conflict is noEmotional discussiont fun, it’s not pleasant and quiet frankly it  becomes frustrating and irritating.  However, conflict is inevitable and it’s actually crucial for success. Without conflict, one continues on a path of mediocre performance.  However, if  we address the conflict, the clash of ideas, positions and personal preferences can become fuel for change, innovative thinking and thought provoking new ideas. Unresolved conflict will destroy personal relationships and create a division within an organization or team.

John C. Maxwell said; “People naturally see themselves in the light of their intentions, but they measure others according to their actions.”  Man that was me.  I use to avoid conflict all cost. Well that’s probably not entirely true.  I think it would be more accurate to say, that I use to instigate conflict when I could.

Most leaders don’t respond well to conflict.  In fact, I believe most leaders will avoid it and choose the easiest, rather than the most effective way to handle it.  In John Maxwell’s Guide to Managing Conflict”, he listed six typical responses to conflict.  I found these to be right on, so I want to share them with you.  How many have you used?  Personally, I used all six at some time in my personal life or professional career.

  1. Win at all costs.  It’s like a shootout at the OK Corral. It’s quick, brutal, and destructive.
  2. Pretend it doesn’t exist.  Even if they hear no evil, see no evil, and speak no evil, evil will still exist. It will simply grow unsupervised.
  3. Whine about it. Playing the victim doesn’t cure conflict. It just irritates everybody on the team.
  4. Keep score. People who keep a record of wrongs can never start fresh. And nobody can ever truly get “even.”
  5. Pull rank. Using position never really solves conflict. It merely postpones it.
  6. White flag it. Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

But, how can we address conflict and avoid these failed responses?  First, I think you have to truly care about the conflict, reason for the conflict and the person you have a conflict with. Second, we need to fully understand and comprehend the facts surrounding the reason for conflict.  Once we show we care, indicate we fully understand the facts surrounding the situation and we are prepared to approach a resolution from a humble perspective, then I believe you can effective solve the conflict.  How?  By fully implementing and following the 6 principles listed below.  Again, these were taken from John’s “Guide to Managing Conflict”;

  1. Confront a person only if you care about that person. It is more productive to go into a confrontation keeping the other person’s interests in mind.
  2. Meet together as soon as possible. When conflict arises, human nature is inclined to avoid it and procrastinate regarding resolution. The reality is, that by putting off confrontation, the situation can only deteriorate further.  Get together face-to-face.
  3. First seek understanding, not necessarily agreement. The person who gives an opinion before he or she understands is human, but the person who gives a judgment before he or she understands is a fool. The truth is, you cannot reach understanding if your focus is on yourself.
  4. Outline the issue. Be positive, describe your perceptions, state how this situation makes you feel, and explain why this is important to you. Engaging in this process without emotional heat or bitterness is essential.
  5. Encourage a response. Try to build a dialogue – be sure to let the other person talk while you actively listen. Maxwell talks about the following observations when confronting people:
    • 50% of the time people don’t realize there’s a problem.
    • 30% of the time they realize there’s a problem, but they don’t know how to solve it.
    • 20% of the time they recognize the problem and don’t want to fix it.
    • A solution can be had 80% of the time merely by engaging and seeking a response.
  6. Agree to an action plan. Be sure the plan clearly identifies the issue and spells out concrete steps that will be taken. The action plan should include a commitment by both parties to put the issue to rest once resolved.

Learn to identify the potential conflict and make adjustments in your approach, thinking Fight, two fists hitting each other over dramatic skyand desires.  However, if conflict occurs, then it must be addressed.  Following the 6 principles above will help ensure the conflict is fully, effectively and completely resolved.  Dealing with conflict won’t hurt relationships, in fact it strengthens the bond between people and teams.

John C. Maxwell said, “Successful confrontation usually changes both people, not just one.”  I agree.  Every conflict that I have effectively solved has made me a better leader.  I encourage you to resolve conflict quickly.  Don’t let it build!

 

 

GRACE ABOUNDS FOR THE STUPID

On February 23rd (which is today as I write this blog), my wife and I should be enjoying a very nice dinner at an all-inclusive resort in the fabulous Mexican Riviera Maya.We were to celebrate our 30th Wedding Anniversary. This was to be a time where we would reflect on the last 30 years, both the good and the bad. Our marriage hasn’t always been easy, but it hasn’t always been hard either. Through the grace of God and hard work from each of us, we have taken challenging situations and turned it into a wonderful union. Regardless, 30 years is cause for celebration!th-50

White sands, blue water, 80-degree temperatures and a high UV-Index…SHHHHHH, I can feel the sun on my face and hear the waves crashing. Well, that’s what we should be experiencing…but something horrible happened!

 

 MY passport did not have 6 months validity past the day of return. 

I looked at my passport several times throughout the last few months and I never snapped to it. Marlene (my wife) and I got my passport out of the safe a couple of weeks ago and thought we were good to go. We ASSUMED everything was good. Here’s the thing, my passport doesn’t expire until March 16th and we were to return on March 2nd. What’s the problem? As a last minute precaution, I decided to ensure that I didn’t need any other documentation before traveling. It was then that I noticed the requirement for a 6-month validity. Marlene began a frantic search for the truth and much to our dismay, we found it to be true!

I began to research options. One, I could expedite my renewal and go to the Regional Passport Center and spend the day in hopes of receiving my passport in time for travel. Or two, we could cancel the whole trip and get back a portion of the money already spent. The predicament was this; the deadline for the resort cancellation was the 19th (the same day we found out about the passport issue). FullSizeRenderSo, if we did not cancel that day, we would lose the full payment, but if we cancelled by 6 pm on the 19th, we would only lose a 2-night penalty. After much discussion, research and prayer, we decided to cancel. This was very difficult and disappointing decision. Imagine being in Oklahoma and only days from spending 8 nights on the beach in Mexico! Come on, anyone would be saddened!

To make the best of the situation, Marlene and I identified some things we learned from the experience. After all, if you’re going to mess up, you should at least learn something.

We did learn some things.  Here they are:

FROM MARLENE

The following points are directly from Marlene-

  • YOU NEVER “ARRIVE” -I thought I was beyond making this kind of mistake. The truth is, we are all susceptible to making careless errors.
  • THERE ARE ALWAYS 3 FINGERS POINTING BACK AT YOU – Don’t be quick to look down on others if they don’t have what you consider to be your strong points. Again, just because I pride myself on being organized and on top of things, doesn’t mean some things don’t occasionally slip or “fall through the cracks.”
  • I’M DISAPPOINTED! – There are times of disappointment. Be sad, but then put it into perspective. It’s a disappointment, not a tragedy.

When I came home, it was apparent that Marlene was disappointed and I could see she was dejected. Allow me however, to brag on her a bit. Even though it was a disappointing situation, she was not upset or hateful towards me. In fact, she was the complete opposite and tried to take responsibility herself. She felt liable in planning and working out the details of the trip. Although I truly believe I was responsible, her humility was appreciated.

FROM ME

Here is what I learned:

  • PAY ATTENTION TO DETAIL – You must pay attention to detail. Although I glanced at the passport several times, it never occurred to me to check the expiration date.
  • TAKE RESPONSIBILITY – One of the worst things you can do when you make a mistake is point a finger at someone else. Not only does this make you look like you’re skirting around responsibility, but also deflecting ownership will put someone else undeservedly in the “hot seat.” As soon as an error is brought to your attention, accept responsibility in the situation (despite whether or not it could have been avoided). Examine the issue and rectify the situation.
  • AVOID MAKING EXCUSES – Everyone has an excuse for things they’ve done wrong. Excuses don’t eradicate the fact that you made the mistake to begin with. Making an excuse isn’t any different than assigning the blame to someone or something else.
  • FIX IT -Once you realize you’ve made a mistake and acknowledged it, take steps to fix it. My mistake wasn’t anyone else’s responsibility, but my own.  I researched options to rectify the situation, but due to time constraints and the possibility of losing all our money, we chose to cancel the reservation altogether.
  • LEARN FROM IT – It you don’t learn from your mistakes, you wasted a valuable and sometimes expensive opportunity. Marlene and I took a lot of time discussing what each of us could do to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.  We are in the process of renewing my passport and she has noted her own passport’s expiration date. In response, she has created a calendar notice to make sure her expiration date doesn’t slip past us unknowingly. Remember, every mistake is a valuable opportunity for self-improvement. Embrace the lesson learned and move forward.
  • MOVE ON – It’s okay to be sad and disappointed. However, don’t dwell or hold grudges. YESTERDAY ENDED LAST NIGHT! The mistake has been made, acknowledged, fixed and learned from. Realize that mistakes are inevitable and underneath it all, they can be truly beneficial.

I think the biggest lesson learned from this fiasco was that while we were let down, this situation ultimately brought us closer together and made us both realize how easily errors are made. The way we respond and handle stressful situations determines the outcome.

Although we dream about being on the sand, enjoying the sights and sounds of the ocean, great food and the overall culture of Mexico, we have sincerely moved on and feel at peace from what we’ve learned.

IMG_3367I love the couple that Marlene and I have become. There was a time in our early marriage where something like his would have involved blame and lasting grudges. However, with the leading of our Savior and the commitment we have made to one another, we were able to acknowledge our mistake and move on with a stronger marital bond.