In 100 Words: The Change Spark

September 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

We are comfortable in our habits which makes behavior change hard. For example, medical studies confirm 90% of patients do not change their lifestyle following open heart surgery. Think of a lasting habit change you made in your life. What prompted the change? Likely there was an emotional spark – something moved you beyond simply understanding the rational benefits.

How does this connect to leading teams and organizations? Both groups are collections of people with habits. A “culture change” will only happen when individuals change behavior. What are you doing to help people you lead identify emotional sparks for habit change?

“People are very open-minded about new things, as long as they’re exactly like the old ones.” Charles F. Kettering

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In 100 Words: State Your Assumptions

August 2nd, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Dialogue is the path people use to shape initial ideas into decisions and actions. As different perspectives are surfaced, it is helpful for everyone to know the line of thinking behind those positions. Leaders can set an example of transparency by both articulating the assumptions behind their positions and asking clarifying questions about other’s statements. “Why are you drawing that conclusion?” “What data are you seeing?” Help people connect the dots of assumptions behind the conclusions. With this understanding, the merit of good ideas will be more apparent. Conversely, faulty thinking can be exposed and poor decisions more easily avoided.

“It is wiser to find out than to suppose.” Mark Twain

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In 100 Words: Inadvertent Bad Advice

June 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

“Bring me solutions, not problems!” can be poor advice. We want people to be pro-active so the adage applies at times. Leaders, however, deal with many complex and challenging problems which either require, or benefit from, collaborative work. Collaborative work entails conversation between two or more people to surface and debate alternative solutions. One person alone will not get to the best decision.

Some people disguise complaining or laziness by merely pointing out problems. Other people, though, raise genuine issues with a desire to be actively involved in collaborative work on a solution. A wise leader discerns between the two.

“Many ideas grow better when transplanted into another mind than the one where they sprang up.” Oliver Wendell Holmes

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In 100 Words: Dear Meetings,

May 1st, 2017 by Troy Schrock

I love you, I love you not…

Time we share together can be so energizing when we are engaged and collaborative. Good ideas flow and build. Conversations are relevant. Debates are healthy. There are clear decisions and follow-up. I want to see you again!

I must confess, though, much of our time together is a waste of my precious time. It’s maddening to experience glowing screens of distraction, conversations without preparation, and boring report-outs. I simply can’t go on meeting like this!

Tell me, am I alone in my feelings? I beg you, can we rejuvenate our relationship?

Yours Truly

“There is always some madness in love. But there is also always some reason in madness.” Friedrich Nietzsche

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In 100 Words: Don’t Let Urgent Win

March 15th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Urgent and Important spar for supremacy in our minds and work. Intentional and strategic thought and action is many times held at bay by the press of immediate demands flying at us. “I’ll get to it tomorrow” quickly becomes next week or month.

Then sometimes a person or event forces us to slow down, and we gain new perspective. We are forced to step out of the day-do-day and think more deeply. If you want to see Important win out in your work and life, consider creating forced slowdowns. Quarterly calibration sessions are one way of accomplishing this exact thing.

“I have two kinds of problems, the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Dwight D. Eisenhower (quoting an unnamed former college president in a speech)

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In 100 Words: Your First and Best Time

March 11th, 2017 by Troy Schrock

Why do we spend time setting the top few quarterly priorities (a.k.a. Rocks) only to put off working on them until we get some free time? Free time will not simply appear in our schedules. To accomplish Rocks we must put in the time. This doesn’t mean all, or even the majority, of our working time has to be dedicated to Rock work.

We should, however, invest our first and best time – our first and best time each day and week. Watch results accelerate when you commit the first hour of your working day to the Rock you are leading.

“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” Alexander Graham Bell

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