Trust is the Key Element

Young man in formal clothing and eyeglasses swearing in being trustworthy while looking at camera.

Have you ever been in a situation with other people where something just seems to be missing? There is an uneasiness in conversations. This really stands out among teams. Discussions about work and assignments just seem to have this “air” about them. Something just doesn’t feel quite right.

Then it hits you. There is a lack of trust. Either you don’t trust them or you get the eerie feeling that they don’t trust you. It may even be both. As a result, things are not flowing. Work is not nearly as productive as it could be. You may even be missing deadlines. Communication suffers. The team just does not mesh together. And until that is resolved, it will only get worse.

Trust is Character

Some years back UCLA did a survey of 1300 executives around the country and they asked for five traits that were keys to advancement for employees. All 1300 of them included INTEGRITY somewhere in the list.

Here’s the real kicker.
71% of executives rated INTEGRITY AS NUMBER ONE TRAIT!
Integrity comes from trust. You can’t have integrity with others unless they trust you. So, obviously, being trustworthy is a critical character trait if you want to move up the corporate ladder, keep your employees, or build your customer base.

 

  • Bob Burgwill tell you that “all things being equal people will do business with people they know, like, and TRUST”.
  • The first law of the Boy Scout Law   , which defines how a Boy Scout is supposed to live their life, is A Scout is Trustworthy.  Here’s the explanation: “A Scout always tells the truth. He is honest and keeps his promises.  People can depend on him.”

The Key to Any Relationship

Trust is critical to any relationship or team

Our trustworthiness is also quite obviously a key to our relationships with others.  

  • If your spouse or significant other can’t trust you, the relationship is destroyed.  
  • Once your friends learn not to trust you and count on you, then they will simply no longer expect anything from you and eventually will simply stop being around you or having your around.
  • When your co-workers can’t trust you, then you will not be able to function as a team.  
  • If your employees can’t trust you, they will become disengaged and productivity suffers; not to mention the bottom line.

We know this, yet somehow the focus on trust seems to be lost somewhere in the desire to “close the deal” or secure what we want.

When we focus on trust, however, we find that acquiring those things and closing that deal becomes easier because of who we are and what we stand for.
When we are trustworthy, we are the goto person that everyone counts on to make it happen.  That has value in so many ways, including financially.

The Kiss of Trust

Trust brings opportunity. Many years ago I was part of a training development company that had just made the INC 500 list.

Our development team was small – I was the third member. Despite being the junior member of the team, I was given a prime opportunity to be trustworthy.
The company focused primarily on software training. For a particular course, we would typically produce a disk and a manual to accompany it.

Opportunity to Build Trust

A new software, something called

Windows

, was coming out. The president, a man of great vision, saw that it would become big. We needed to produce a premier training product for this. At the same time, he wanted a total redesign of the product. He came to me. “I’m putting you in charge of this,” he said. “I’ve seen your work and I think you are the man to give us something totally new. Raise the bar! No limits!”

“Oh, you have one week to give me a prototype!”
One week! To give something totally new and evolutionary. I didn’t know how I could possibly deliver something like that. Yet I knew that I was being counted on to deliver. Mess this up and we are behind.
I delivered. On time. I turned it in to him for review and thought nothing more of it. Just doing my job.
The next day this company president sternly walked into our office space. “Paul, come here a minute,” he ordered as he placed a chair in the middle of the room. I was confused. Had I failed? Was he going to publicly embarrass me for my failure?
He ordered me to stand on the chair. Now I was really bewildered. Was I going to change a lightbulb? “What in the world is going on,” I thought!
“I’m doing this because my back can’t take my getting on the ground,” he explained. 

Then he leaned over and KISSED MY SHOE! 

“I absolutely LOVE the new product! I knew you would come through and you did! I felt I needed to make sure you knew it!”
He had placed his trust in me for this new product. As a result, I was determined not to let him down and I put in the long hours to get in done. I did my best to go above and beyond to exceed his expectations. I did not want his trust to go unfounded.
And because he made himself vulnerable I learned I could trust him. Because he showed me respect I knew I could count on him. I trusted him. And from that moment on until the end of my time at that company I was prepared to do whatever he asked me to do. We are still friends today and I still greatly admire and respect him.
Being trustworthy is the deal-maker…or the deal breaker.

Trust is a Two-Way Street

It’s not enough that we are trustworthy as leaders, it is also critical that we can trust those whom we serve. In fact, the first move is always ours. If you don’t trust them, they will never trust you. You can have a proven track record yet if you make it clear that you don’t have trust in your team they will never fully trust you. They will always think you are holding something back. You may even have their grudging respect but will never have their trust until you first learn to trust them. 

Here are some ways you can build trust on a daily basis:

  1. turning up the dial on trustLEARN TO TRUST – start small by delegating out small tasks you would normally do to individual team members. Give them a deadline. Offer support. And let them have at it. I believe you will be surprised at the results.
  2. PRODUCE RESULTS – when you have a proven track record of accomplishing things people will trust you to do the things you say you are going to do.  Meet the deadline or accomplish the task no matter how challenging it is.
  3. GIVE YOUR WORD ONLY WHEN YOU MEAN IT – Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
  4. KEEP YOUR WORD AT ALL COSTS –  This is critical.  When people know that no matter what you are going to do what you say you are going to do, then your trustworthiness grows and builds over time.
  5. BE CONSISTENT – Consistency is a key to both trustworthiness and integrity.  People need to know what they can count on.
  6. RESPECT YOURSELF AND OTHERS – When you show respect for other people and respect yourself, then people will believe and trust that you are who you say you are and you will do what you say you are going to do.
Is that team dynamic not quite there? Don’t let it get away from you! Let’s fix it together! Schedule your free Discovery Strategy Session    and let’s see how I can help you and your team MOVE TO THE NEXT LEVEL!
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Team Success Depends on Everyone

Chef cooking over a fire. A good chef knows how to use each ingredient for the best dish. team success.WARNING! DON’T READ THIS WHILE YOU ARE HUNGRY! There are going to be a lot of food references here but they all have a point. It leads to what it can teach us about team success.

You ever watch any of the cooking competition shows on television, like Iron Chef America? In that particular show, chef contestants are given the same set of ingredients and asked to make a meal. Not just a dish – a meal. Oftentimes, the ingredients they are given to use will seem totally mismatched with one another. Yet they are required to use each and every ingredient. They can add but they can’t subtract. A judging panel evaluates them on taste and how they incorporate everything.

Sometimes the chefs find it challenging incorporating all the ingredients into the meal. They may barely use one item and overuse another. And when that happens, they are marked down for it in the final result. The winners are usually the ones who effectively utilize each ingredient for optimum taste and contrast.

The Leader As Chef

In much the same way, as leaders we know that our greatest team success comes when we utilize everyone on the team. If we are lucky, we had a say in who exactly is on our team. We were able to hand pick them and choose them for the special talents and skills they can lend to the effort. It’s a beautiful thing when that happens.

On the other hand, more often than not we are like the Iron Chefs. We are given the team members and told to make something out of it. We might be able to add but we can’t subtract. So we have to figure out how each team member can best contribute to team goals. Our success depends on finding the right combination.

And it’s important that your team members understand that as well. The more they understand the importance of inclusion and the value of each team member, the better they can appreciate what each person brings to the table.

Potatoes and People

potato with straw hat and glasses in a pile of golden french fries. Use uniqueness for team success.Here’s a cool exercise you can use with your team or with a group of leaders to help them understand inclusion.  I learned this with leader training we use for teaching Boy Scoutsto be effective leaders. Try this sometime as a lead-in to a meeting or as an exercise in a training session.

  1. You are going to buy a bag of potatoes (or gather rocks) and call your team or company together.
  2. Hand each of them a potato (make a very solemn occasion of it.  adds to the fun!)
  3. Send everyone off by themselves for a couple of minutes and tell them to get to know their potato. They want to examine their potato and notice all of its unique characteristics. Give it a name if they wish.
  4. When they gather back, you are going to ask each of them to introduce their potato to rest of the group.  They can have a lot of fun with this – that’s all part of it. But they need to describe their potato as completely as they can, including its uniqueness.
  5. After everyone has introduced their potato to the group, collect all the potatoes back in a bag and then randomly redistribute them.  Then challenge everyone to find their unique potato.
It will be a lot of fun, but they will also learn something about Inclusion.

Using Both Diversity and Inclusion

We hear a lot about Diversity and Inclusion these days but they don’t naturally go together in most organizations.

Leaders learn to use diversity and inclusion for team success.

Diversity is all about recognizing and celebrating the differences in each of us.  No two potatoes are exactly alike; they have different shapes, different sizes, different textures and skin colors, and even the placement of the eyes. Yet each one is still a potato and still useful.

Inclusion means I can bring two or more potatoes together and even though each is a different size and shape and color; when I put them together they make a tasty meal.  With inclusion in the workplace, we take the differences in each of us; the different skills sets and strengths, different backgrounds and attitudes, and we learn how we combine them together to be most productive for the team or the organization.
Many organizations practice diversity (mostly as a public relations mandate) but don’t practice inclusion.  That’s a waste.  It’s a waste of human resources, financial resources, and time.
Why spend the money hiring and training someone you aren’t going to make an integral part of the whole? When we practice both diversity AND inclusion, then we have produced a team that is productive, effective, and profitable.

four ways to create your inclusive and productive team

  1. CONNECT WITH YOUR TEAM MEMBERS – As a leader, it’s very important that you connect with each person and get to know them well enough to understand their goals and their dreams.  What do they see as their strengths? What do they like to do? What do they don’t like to do?  Where do they see themselves fitting into the whole?  Listen carefully! A lot of times they may very well be right. For this part, it is more important to listen than to talk.
  2. IDENTIFY STRENGTHS – Start with an assessment.  There are lots of great ones out there, free and fee-based.  If you’re not sure, give me a call and I’ll help.  The important thing is you want to identify those strengths because that’s what we are looking to use.  You don’t want to worry about weaknesses except in terms of how we can complement that.
  3. BUILD A STRENGTHS-BASED TEAM – Build your team based on the strengths of each person complementing the weaknesses of other team members. This is where the real Iron Chef leader comes out of you. You may find you need additional strengths you don’t have on your team. You may find you have too much of a particular strength. Still, you have to find a way to utilize all of it for optimum team success.
  4. FOSTER CONTINUOUS GROWTH – You want to build a mindset in your team for continuous growth and improvement of their strengths.  Continuous personal growth allows them to take the strengths that they have and making them stronger.  As a result, they will be more effective for the organization and happier. Your teams are going to be more cohesive, more productive, and you are going to see the results in your bottom-line.
Trying to get started as your own Iron Chef team builder? Are you frustrated with the challenges to being a leader? Looking to move you and your team up to the next level? Schedule a free Discovery Strategy Sessionwith me TODAY!
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The Decisive Leader has impact and influence

Making a decision can seem like the world in falling down on us.Have you ever let a pending decision freeze you? You know a choice has to be made. All of the options have pros and cons associated with them. You feel like EVERYTHING is hinging on this one decision you need to make. What do you do? The decisive leader knows how to make critical decisions and acts in the best interest of the team.

It seems one of the most difficult and terrifying things we do as an individual or a leader is making decisions.  In the background is this agonizing thought that somehow the decision we make is going to send us irrevocably in the wrong direction and it will lead to disaster.  

Over time, we find that it’s just not true. There will almost always be a way to recover.

Frozen by Fear

Why do we get that way? What is it about making a decision that can seize us up? To understand that more, let’s first understand three of the decision maker types that lead to mistakes.

  1. Snap Decision-makers who take immediate action because they think they need to act quickly. They fail to explore options or gather information before making a decision. They go on initial gut instinct. Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.  When it doesn’t work, it can be disastrous.
  2. Deliberative Decision-makers want to make sure they weigh all the options and have ALL the information before making a decision.  The problem is you will NEVER have all the information and often if you deliberate too long you can miss valuable opportunities. In fact, sometimes collecting too much data complicates decision making. We get “paralysis by analysis”.
  3. Never Decision-makers are ones who don’t ever make a decision. They feel the weight and importance of every decision. As mentioned earlier, they feel that everything is crucial and they fear the wrong decision. So they (often intentionally) don’t make the decision. Of course, not making a decision IS a decision and one that almost ALWAYS leads to disaster.

“Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.”   -John Maxwell

The Decisive Leader

Cartoon of keynote speaker in 'be decisive' seminar, although speaker himself is indecisive.Being a decisive leader doesn’t always mean that you are the only one who can decide. Don’t fall into that trap! It’s what ties even the most decisive person up in knots and can lead to poor decision making.

It does mean, however, that you know when decisions need to be made and you influence having them made at the right time

The good news is that there ARE ways to make better decisions and make them faster and easier.  It will never be easy, but it can be easier.  And it starts with applying three keys.

Know your core values

Core values are the principles that determine who you are and what you are about above all else. Core values are the soul of the individual or organization. Your core values are unshakable – no matter what you will always reflect these values in everything you do.

They also help establish the non-negotiables. These are the things you will not give up or change no matter what changes around you. 

For a decisive leader, core values tell them which options to take off the table and which remain viable. If it violates a core value, it simply isn’t under consideration.

“It’s not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are.”  –Roy Disney

Here’s a key tip on core values. If they aren’t written down somewhere, you don’t really know your core values.  You want to have them written down where you can refer to them again and again.  Another advantage of core values is discussed here.

focus on your purpose or intent

You have likely heard of the book by Simon Sinek titled Start With Why. In the book, Sinek talks about how purpose – our why – drives what we do. When we look at our options and think about only about WHAT to do, it becomes strictly a balance sheet of pros and cons. Decision making can become harder, especially when the choice on the balance sheet just doesn’t FEEL right. 

The decisive leader knows that the best option is the one that matches up with our purpose or with the outcome we intended. it may not come out on the balance sheet, but it is more in line with who we are and what we are about. 

As you look at the options of a decision, examine each as to how they match up to BOTH your core values and your intent or purpose.  If they don’t match up to both, it is probably not the best option for you.

A while back I was approached with the opportunity to do a series of training programs. The opportunity would take time to develop and deliver yet would also be a good income generator. The challenge was that it was a subject matter I am not really expert on and it wasn’t really consistent with my focus area. On the other hand, as an entrepreneur, I don’t like to turn down money making opportunities when they come along. 

I said no. While the opportunity would not compromise any of my core values, it was not consistent with my purpose. Despite the chance to generate income, it was not consistent with my purpose.

seek wise counsel

Use wise counsel, such as an inner circle, to become a more decisive leaderBefore we talk about counsel keep in mind that every decision does not necessarily need to be made by you alone. The decisive leader knows when a collaborative or delegated decision is better than a command decision.

When the decision is yours alone that does not mean that other perspectives and feedback have to be excluded. In fact, the decisive leader takes advantage of the resources available to them to make better decisions. 

This is one of the advantages of having an Inner Circle. That’s a group of people you can rely on (and often they rely on you) for being a sounding board. They should have values similar to yours. You are confident in trusting opinions. They will not be “yes men” but will hold you accountable. Share your challenges and thoughts with them. Allow them to ask you questions.  They will then give you perspective and help you consider options. THE DECISION IS STILL YOURS TO MAKE! Yet wise counsel can help guide you in making better and more confident decisions.

Coaches make a very useful part of your inner circle. My motivation and purpose is to help you be successful. Schedule a free Discovery Strategy Sessiontoday and see how I can help you. or contact me atpsimkins(at)BoldlyLead.com  .

 

 

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nurturing employees Involves more than a paycheck

Is your organization living from paycheck to paycheck? I’m not asking how your financial ledgers are; I’m asking how your employee ledgers are. When the primary relationship with our employees is transactional we are shorting the ledger. Demand 40 (or often more) hours of work a week in exchange for a piece of paper with numbers on it or a direct deposit to the bank account. If we are not nurturing employees we are living paycheck to paycheck as surely as most of our employees are.

The Animal Nature of Nurture

trainer and killer whale. the relationship is similar to how we can be nurturing employeesOne of the benefits of living in Central Florida is all the attractions around here.  One of the attractions, of course, is Sea World.

Sherry and I love to watch the animal trainers work with the animals at Sea World. It’s really interesting how they can do so well with it.  There seems to be a very special relationship with the animal and many an animal trainer will tell you exactly that.

I discovered how they are able to work with them so effectively. I had the benefit of attending a special session with the some of the animal trainers at Sea World, including one of the whale trainers. They shared how they are able to create a level of predictability in performance when animal behavior can be so unpredictable.
When an animal trainer is going to work extensively with an animal, it is critical during a developmental time that the trainer spend one-on-one time with the animal.
  • They will feed the animal
  • They make physical contact
  • They talk to the animal and encourage it.

This nurturing, one-on-one time allows the animal and the trainer to build reciprocal trust.  The reciprocal trust and the nurturing that allow the trainer and animal to be able to work together effectively and safely.

Nurturing Employees as a Leader

If you want an engaged and productive workforce, you must include nurturing employees as a part of the relationship. It transforms the relationship from merely transactional to one of collaborative. It provides meaning and purpose to their job and not just a check. Without taking an employee beyond that transactional level, you will NEVER help them reach their fuller potential, when means they will never be as productive as they could be for you.

The Human Nature of Nurture

As humans we like to think we are different from the animals. We are more advanced, more sophisticated, more intellectual. And in many ways we are. However, in matters of emotions and needs, there are ways where we aren’t any different from the animals.  We need nurturing ourselves. Our desire for relationship supersedes all else and creates desires for more.
  • Our need to trust others and be trusted.
  • We are desperate for people to recognize that we are significant
  • For others to recognize that we have an impact.
  • We crave for them to encourage us
  • Our deep need for them to guide us.

As I have often said before, it’s all personal and it’s all emotional. If you keep it transactional your organization is living paycheck to paycheck. You can survive that way but it’s hard to really thrive.

Giving Nurture

The flip side is that we all have the ability to nurture other people, it doesn’t come out naturally.  It has to be intentional and it has to be developed over time.

Why would I want to bother to do that in a business environment or as a leader?

When you are able to nurture people, you are able to connect with people.  When you can connect with people, you can build influence with them.  When you can build your influence, then you can help them get the most out of themselves.  That’s what great leaders do. It’s the very nature of leadership: to get the most out of others.
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  -John Maxwell

Here’s some things you can do to build those nurturing relationships:

  1. COMMIT TO PEOPLE – you have to be committed to their development.  It doesn’t mean you are an enabler, it doesn’t mean that you take over their lives; it simply means that you provide the circumstances and that you are committed to helping them help themselves if they are willing to take the steps to go in the right direction.
  2. BELIEVE IN PEOPLE – If you don’t believe that they can become better or that they can achieve greater things, then you are not going to be able to get anything out of them because that belief will show through.  Whether you believe they are worthless or believe they are worthwhile, it will show through in everything you do.
  3. GIVE WITH NO CONDITIONS – Pour yourself into them and do it without setting any conditions.  A lot of people thing that giving is a reciprocal thing; I do something for you and you do something for me.  No conditions here.  Go in and pour yourself into them simply because you want to see them get the best out of themselves.  You will benefit in the long-run but you can’t go into it with the expectation of a tradeoff because there isn’t necessarily going to be one.

Build your relationship power! Develop the leader in you and see the profit in moving beyond the transactional relationship. Let’s work together to move you beyond paycheck to paycheck. Contact me today for a free Discovery Strategy Session.

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Having It All Together … Right!

You probably know someone who seems to always have it together.  They are everywhere and in everything. To the naked eye they always seem to excel at everything they do.  

There is no slowing down! Is there a committee? They’re on it. Have an event that needs organizing? Ready to go! They are raising 55 children and spent quality time with each of them. Working two full-time jobs. Volunteer at the local shelter. Raising money to fight some disease. Writing a book. And have the happiest spouse in the world.

Social media amplifies this picture. Not only do we get descriptions but also vivid pictures of their perfect life, perfect children, perfect job, and idyllic state of mind.

In reality, there are parts of their lives that are neglected. That’s not a maybe, it’s a certainty. The picture we see, often filled in with our own perceptions, is a flawed photo.  I exaggerated the description above intentionally because that’s what we often do when we think about those high achieving types. We make them bigger than they are. Then we compare ourselves to them, imagining that they have everything in their perfect life while our lives are hollow shells full of meaningless events and a cesspool of problems.  It’s unfair!

The law of sacrifice cannot be violated

It’s also unreal.  The truth is that people who seem to have it together are not living perfect lives.  They may be accomplishing more than we are right now, but that’s not because they have it all together.  It’s not because they are necessarily more talented than we are; in fact, often they may be less talented.  And they have problems too, they just don’t share them around as much as some others do. THEY KNOW THAT EVERY THOUGHT THAT HITS THEIR HEAD DOESN’T HAVE TO HIT SOCIAL MEDIA!

Applying the Law

But what they really have that helps them succeed is an good understanding and effective application of the Law of Sacrifice.  As one of my mentors John Maxwell says, “You must give up to go up“.  You have to let go of some things in order to have other better things.

That’s a scary prospect for many of us and perhaps even a little depressing.  When we think about the Law of Sacrifice or giving up, we picture big things.  We can become a CEO but our family life is non-existent. If we want to make a lot of money we have to get rid of our moral compass.

Again, it’s that penchant for exaggeration.  And it’s also good old resistance helping us find reasons to not make any changes.

Simplicity in the law of Sacrifice

Even a time turner can't save you from the Law of SacrificeIn truth, the Law of Sacrifice is actually pretty simple. It’s all about priorities. Every single one of us has the same 24 hours in a day and seven days in a week. Barring Hermione Granger passing down her Time Turner to us (which you can actually buy) we cannot change that restriction on our lives.

That being the case, we change what we can. If we can’t change time, we change how we invest our time. Most of what takes up our time aren’t major things, they are trivial things. Therefore, most of the sacrifices we have to make are not between two high priorities, but between a high priority and a low priority.

Giving Up Good for Better

You actually look at giving up lesser things in order to get greater things.  You sacrifice an hour of television time every day in order to read a personal growth book.  Give up a couple of free evenings each week to work on a master’s degree.  When you learn to really apply the Law of Sacrifice, what you are really doing is simply learning to

Say No to the Good So You Can Say Yes to the Best

My father excelled in the credit union business during his career.  He was President and CEO of several credit unions over the span of many years and also was a high demand consultant to credit unions nationwide for many years after that.  He was a pioneer in the industry. We have the largest ATM network in the country due to his efforts.

To get there, he had to spend long hours working. He gave up some evenings of watching TV to earn a GED and then a degree.  Yet, he was never an absentee husband or father.  He coached Drum Corps and Little League.  He was a Scoutmaster. We went on trips.  Dad was at dance recitals for my sister.  While there were sacrifices to reach the level he achieved the sacrifices were giving up lesser things to get those greater things.  He did not give up one great thing to achieve another. Was he perfect? Did he mess up the choices sometimes? Certainly. Yet he made the decision and honored the commitment.

Obey the Law and Love It

Know that you have to give up to go up. The Law of Sacrifice is alive and well and it is immutable.

Embrace that. While it sounds like you are being deprived you are actually being set free. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice and set your priorities it frees you from what isn’t a priority. When you shape your schedule around those things that are priorities, it frees you up to say no to scheduling lesser priorities.

Some laws are intended to provide liberty instead of tyranny. When you apply the Law of Sacrifice there will be hard choices to make. But the good news is that the choice is always yours.

do you have trouble finding clarity on your priorities? Not sure where to start? contact me today for a free discovery strategy session.

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