Training the Collective and the Individual

Watching my son run cross country I put the term “jumping the gun’ into context. Certainly in a race jumping the gun is obvious even if there are 300 runners on the starting line. However, the metaphor  ‘jumping the gun’ takes on a clear management, and more so, leadership context. Business spend billions of dollars on hiring and training new employees and in a large part, the organizations rely on norms that may or may not fit the workforce. Hence, all employees do not train at the same rate or in the same way so ‘jumping the gun’ in this context is real.

Working in complex work environments driven by personalities, deadlines, skill sets, and feedback we are continually matching our efforts to timing. The more a person demonstrates leadership the more timing and effort coincide seamlessly. However, when an individual crafts timelines and effort out of context of the complex organization the more that person is demonstrating management traits to a fixed environment.

Further, individual staff members have different skills and training styles that require a deft hand to ensure optimal job satisfaction and organizational productivity. The leader will determine how the staff works collectively, in small groups, and individually to best derive leadership capacity. Managers work collectively. Leaders work in small groups and individually. The difference remains ‘jumping the gun’ on the capacity of the staff members.

Of course, there will is a min and max to this concept base on the complexity of the organization and the surplus of workers in that specific field. If the field is complex and the surplus of workers is thin then the cultivating of the individual employee is paramount. The work to get that employee into the business requires not jumping the gun to ensure job satisfaction. For industries with low complexity and a large surplus of employee candidates training and cultivation can be shorter in timeline making ‘jumping the gun’  less consequential. Yet, hiring is costly and the more collectively trained the team becomes the better for cost control.

Every employee is different. Employees have different levels of learning  capacity and this remains crucial to cost containment and retention of staff. Understanding this premise of ‘jumping the gun’ can only help the bottom line.





Juggling Life: Some Balls will Fall!

…we invariably have balls fall!

How often do you hear someone say ‘too many balls in the air.’ Is it really true that we have too many balls in the air? Or, is it that we have the perfect amount of balls in the air and sometimes balls will be dropped as a reality in life? Either way we are juggling balls and not, say, eggs or cell phones so if they fall they don’t break!

If we are fully committed to our families, our communities, our work, and our friends then we will invariably have balls fall. What we have to do is be prepared mentally for this. The you think you can plan for everything then you will be in for a real surprise. I think the headlines in the paper and leading stories on the news illustrate that we can plan but it does not mean that we can have every variable covered.

Yes, balls will hit the ground that we throw up, our spouses toss up, our children heave ho, and so on. Now we have all kinds of balls hitting the ground. It is a juggling nightmare. Yet, we still have some balls up and we are still in the game for those that we care about. It is not the fact that balls are dropping. Rather, are the balls that matter the least dropping. Or, if it is an important ball, figure out how to pick up the right balls.

Forgive yourself early and often if you drop a ball. Each ball dropped is an opportunity to pick up another one and figure out how to keep it in the air. Juggle away. Why not?

Walking the Walk in Negotiating

Keys to negotiation and maintaining self dignity.

I continue to notice how the needs of people rarely completely align with the perceptions of other people around them as issues become more and more tense. What causes tension? Money? Time? Effort? Ability? The art of negotiation is to know who you are and ensure that clarity is established between you and the person that you are having dealings.

All of these cause tension when people are unable to be clear on perception or message delivery. Tension increases as clarity is fogged by personal beliefs, core values, and fears in communication or the message being communicated. Certainly this can be mitigated by having courage and walking the walk.

The six steps to walking the walk to align perceptions even if agreement is not met:
Clearly state your position and if needed the rationale (core value, company policy, or legal precedent)

  1. Clearly offer choices to the ideas that are available and if choices are not available inquire with the other person possible solutions
  2. Reach for the best possible agreement or move the idea forward to be addressed at a later time
  3. Email a follow up to where the discussion ended including what was discussed and what the next steps are for agreement
  4. Follow up the conversation and seek agreement and follow up with an email
  5. Stick to your core values if agreement could not be met with resolution and dignity
  6. Do not yield on the core values, company policy or the legal precedent as an employee or an employer when reaching agreement

Live to see another day  because this is only a small blip in your overall life. Truly, which hill are you willing to ‘die’ on? Also, remember that when you make a deal be sure that it is OK to replicate with others because others will certainly find out about it and if it is great they will want it too!









Remaining Balanced!

Keeping your core values and keeping your core friends and family in harmony.

Our ability to manage our internal compass that keeps us rationale with the irrational inputs from external sources is critical to communicating with those that we love and to be honest, those that may not be our favorite people. Certainly we are bombarded by the news, the news of the news, and the analysis of the news of the news. All of this can be daunting and centers on you to be assertive.

First, (1) how do you know your own core values and how do those core values drive your own life? (2) How much do your core values drive your conversations with family and friends? (3) How much does the external noise push the core values out in a more overt way from you to others? (4) Are your core values interfering with your relationships?

Each of the questions build on each other and may, or probably will, create increased tension with friends and family as your core values become overt. What does all of this mean? Truly, in my view, it means remaining balanced because we as individuals can and should control our own core values, maintain our core values, and maintain the relationships that we have with other people that may or may not share our core values.







Eliminating Discomfort

Keep a common calendar!

I am most vulnerable to discomfort in a relationship when I fail to communicate the simplest of ideas. I find that if I fail to alert my spouse of a meeting that I am attending after work or double book at work I find myself on the defensive and kicking myself (almost literally!). If we communicate clearly what we have going on during ‘shared’ time we will always be on good footing.

Strategies abound including shared calendars, emails, and texts to alert those on the shared calendar. This seems simple but our lives are not getting less complicated.


Starting with a nice word!

The greatest injustice that I can do to my co-workers, family, and friends is to regurgitate all of the ideas and thoughts that I have before I even say hello. Truly this is my weak spot that I need to be aware of every day! Simply, my goal is to find out how things are going with the person that I am talking with before I offer my ideas. Better yet, sit on my ideas until the time is right for both people rather than push my ideas too soon. This seems so pedestrian but for those of us that are in a continual state of churning and thought crunching it is not easy.

The note for the day is take a deep breath and spend more time thinking about the other person than yourself. This allows for such a smoother entree into your ideas and also allows to learn something new from somebody else. As some wise people told me, ‘listen’ and ‘ask questions.’



Forgiveness seems to be a difficult proposition for people. The idea that my feelings are so important that I am unable to forgive someone is quite a proposition. If I am unable to forgive someone is it a relationship that I don’t value? Is it a relationship that I don’t think will last even if I do forgive? Do either of these notions matter?

Perhaps I am steeped in biblical references to forgiveness. Setting my chin like flint when I am struck. Turning the other cheek to allow the person to strike me again. This seems so Roman Empire but in fact it happens even today. It is so easy to forgive those that we love but how about forgiving those that we do not love. Forgiving workmates, classmates, neighbors, or friends?

Forgiveness is the secret sauce to a successful relationship. If you can forgive then you can maintain the high ground established thousands of years ago. If you can’t forgive how do you feel? If you can’t forgive how will you cope?

Can you think of someone that you should forgive? In my view, forgiveness will only increase your positive attitude and improve the bad feelings.