It has taken me years, but I am realizing that I am on my own when it comes to succeeding and leading effectively. I have always been about relationship and still my values reflect this. The change is that I have to see and act through my own eyes and not rely on connecting with others personally. Teamwork is important and necessary. To lead a team effectively I have to understand, motivate and support its members. I also must know my stuff. With this combination I can succeed. I cannot trust others beyond the work we must do together. I must be aware of what is going on around me. And, I must be at the top of my game – always. It’s like a sport. I play well in concert with the team. If I am not at my best and if the team does not support each other in their work together, we lose. I like this. It makes me the best I can be. Ultimately, I rely on myself.
Archive for February, 2007
Last night’s episode offered an interesting dynamic around sabotage, awareness, skill and leadership. The team’s criticism of Aimee, who was Project Manager, began immediately. Aimee knew she had not stepped up as PM in the previous task and tried to correct that by immediately assigning people to tasks. She did not think it out-assigning tasks that could not be done by one person to one person and underutilizing others. Early on as the task began, Aimee missed a crucial point-50% of customers at the mall were Hispanic which meant they needed Spanish speaking capabilities and advertising in Spanish. They limped along on Derek and Muna’s Spanish speaking skills. It wasn’t enough. Their team lost. In the Boardroom a key question was brought up by Don Trump. If Jenn and Derek knew Spanish speakers were important in order to win, why didn‚t they tell Aimee? Derek and Jenn were vulnerable. But Aimee did herself in by being clueless and saying she was not aware that Jenn was told by mall management that 50% of customers were Hispanic. Trump asked her if she looked around. Aimee was fired. Her response, in the departing car, was anger-at her teammates, the situation and essentially at competition. To win she needed good leadership skills, awareness of her environment and respect from her team. She had none of these. It’s a competition and her team outdid her.
In ninety percent of the calls I received this week, people opened our conversation by saying how busy, crunched, or overwhelmed they were. Sometimes I see patterns in people’s experiences during a period of time and this week I saw a pattern of people struggling to keep up with busy lives. My week was no cake walk either. I had several unanticipated issues and projects to deal with and am getting ready to leave for a business trip next week. I dealt with it by trying my best to stay centered and in the present moment. I caught myself as I went over the edge, revised my expectations when surprises occurred and last night just stopped working for a rest. It was an emotionally draining week as well, due to concerns over the direction of a project I’m working on, so I had to make space for that as well. I sense we are going to have to change our relationship with time. Time is ruling many of us now. I do not think the solution is to “manage” time. That worked in the past, but information and activities come too fast now, for us to control them. It may be that we are going to create a new point of view regarding time and re-look at its place in our lives from the center of ourselves.
In the opening of last night’s Apprentice, the scenes from the previous week‚s show included Donald Trump saying to Aaron in the Boardroom, “Aaron will you say something? What the hell is wrong with you?” Whoa — that’s not easy to hear. I find there is an art to knowing when and how to speak up in business situations. In previous Boardrooms, Donald has commented on candidates that speak up too much and those that don’t speak up enough. In my career I have been told I have to speak up more to be noticed. What if there is nothing to say-do you make something up just to be able to talk? I have also been told I speak too much; however I think in many of those cases people either didn’t like what I was saying or were threatened by me in some way.
As Donald Trump gave candidates their task for this week, he said to Aaron, “you weren’t very vocal.” Aaron answered “I let you take the lead, sir.” Donald Trump replied, “You certainly did, but that’s alright.”
At the end of the show Aaron is fired. Donald says he did not see Aaron’s leadership in the task and that he was a nice guy but he didn’t see a spark. I think these comments could be related to Aaron’s not speaking up. It’s a delicate balance, but you have to be able to discern when speaking up is in your interest and when it’s not.