Tag Archives: human performance

Successful Leaders Don’t Focus on All the Details

4 Sep

What if a leader’s job is to look at most things out of focus?Leaders Don't Focus on All the Details

Typically, we think leaders should have a strong vision, focus on that vision, and help others focus on that vision.

But what if a leader’s job is to keep most things slightly out of focus?

When we hear words like micromanagement, isn’t that an indication that the particular leader doing the micromanagement has gotten too focused on some particular details of the organization? This leader would better serve the organization by bringing a situation slightly more into focus but not making it crystal clear. She or he should keep most things at an arm’s length, slightly out of focus.

This does not mean that someone else in the organization shouldn’t be focused or even hyper-focused on any particular situation’s details. This is why you have many people serving in different roles in the organization. Everyone is paying attention to different details.

Key Differences between Successful and Unsuccessful Leaders

But leaders need to separate the details important to them from all the rest. Leaders need to become comfortable with letting others manage details in areas out of the leader’s focus.

I suspect this is a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders. Successful leaders focus on only the most important details and let others manage the rest. Successful leaders have mastered the art of being comfortable with viewing many parts of the organization slightly out of focus.

What Is a Persistent Optimizer?

15 Oct

What Is a Persistent Optimizer?

Once I get a big question in my head, it doesn’t leave. I will drive in to work thinking about insights and answers, spend all day working on solutions, drive home thinking, and then spend my most productive evening hours working on solutions. I will read voraciously the best material I can find about the issue. I will find the experts on the issue, talk to them, and read what they have to say. I will start to zoom in on the large themes and connections I see and develop my own unique response to the question or problem at hand. Though intense, this is fun for me! Finding big answers to big questions is where I gain the most energy.

Persistent Optimization – A Story

In 2007, six months into my current job, I saw that our manual CRM and registration system was not adequate for the future. I saw the trend that people were going to increasingly register and purchase goods and services online. I spent an extra 100 hours outside of my normal work hours in the month of January 2007 analyzing our customer and staff needs, researching potential options, talking to experts, and eventually designing and developing a custom registration and CRM application, from scratch. This was a big and complex problem that was quite fun to solve. We went from 0% online registration to 70% in just one year. We increased our attendance over 30% in the next five years. I estimate that we saved 4-8% in personnel costs, and we drove our mailing costs down to $0 through the use of automated emails and CRM communication functions.

My Strengths

Deep understanding of how to bring value to an organization

I seek out root causes and hate to see surface solutions stall the discovery of root change. I also love data because it gives one important piece of the puzzle when determining whether or not some solution is successful. Data helps you focus on the right things. I know that value is best-measured with supporting data. I bring the highest value to any work because I revel in measuring the details. I design and implement human performance solutions and systems that solve root issues.

Focus on human performance and solutions

I pursued and completed graduate studies in leadership not to simply lead but to discover ways to allow people to perform at their highest levels. I discovered early on in my teaching career that the social and emotional  dimensions of people’s lives are just as important as the cognitive and pyschomotor components. I work to bring good change to people and organizations.

Instinctive ability to work at the highest level

I also love to learn myself and pursue topics of interest as deeply as possible. I am well read across diverse disciplines and am able to walk into any given organization and discern issues and areas of opportunity very quickly, by both observing processes in motion and by talking with leaders, workers, and customers. People want to work with me because they know I am trustworthy and support their success.

Three Leadership Essentials I’ve Learned

15 Oct

Three Leadership Essentials I’ve Learned

Great leaders:

  1. Remove barriers
  • Leaders can quickly enable improved human performance by removing barriers.
  1. Build Trust
  • Leaders can dramatically improve human performance by increasing trust.
  1. Lead with values and principles
  • Leaders can extend their influence, reach, and effect by leading with values and principles.
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