What’s Next For You?

We are coming towards the end of the year and to the holidays that start to wind things down. It is a good time to think about the year to come. What would you say is “next” for you? Figuring this out helps you focus and set your intent.

Here are a few questions to help you get started:

• How can I grow?

• How has my perspective shifted this year?

• What do I want to leave behind in 2017?

• What am I willing to commit to in 2018?


photo: geralt, pixabay.com

Creative Destruction

It can be very uncomfortable leading your team through creative destruction, but it is usually worth the effort. Creative destruction is an economic term coined by Joseph Schumpeter in his work entitled “Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy” (1942) to denote a “process of industrial mutation that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.”

In this post, I am stretching the term a bit to describe situations where the old is being destroyed in order to create something new in an organization. In this context, creative destruction can be caused by changes you initiate as a manger, changes initiated by your organization or changes initiated by outside factors. The destruction may be intentional or unintentional, within your control or not. Many times you or others cannot see the creative potential and see only the destruction, thus affecting your perspective of events.

How can you lead your team through creative destruction? By acknowledging that the destruction is an inherent element of its creativity. By accepting that something is being created and will result from the situation. By navigating the situation by staying aware, protecting your team, keeping them informed, helping them through, understanding what you can control and what you cannot and creating a set of values to guide you and your team through (for example, developing resilience).

Does this seem like mentation without much practicality? If yes, take a moment and think of the last time your team experienced a system, person, process or otherwise being “destroyed” and something new being created in its place. It’s a concept that may help you navigate the turbulence we all encounter as we lead and manage.

What Are Your Values as a Manager?

Values guide us in many areas of our lives. What are your values as a manager? Here are some questions to help you begin identifying them.

• How would you like for others to describe you as a manager?

• What is important to you regarding the way others treat you in the workplace or market?

• Which of your personal values transfer to your work as a manager? How are they different, if at all, when you bring them into the workplace?

• What kind of work environment do you want to create for your team?

Values are an important foundation for your work as a manager. Know your values. Let them guide you


Photo: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Managing Within Uncertainty

Managers make decisions within uncertainty daily. Sometimes, critical decisions made within uncertainty involve high risk for a manager. When I worked as a manager at The US Environmental Protection Agency, one of our team’s most challenging projects was to develop guidance for scientists and regulators addressing decision making under uncertainty. In the project, we put a lot of our focus on the assumptions scientists and regulators made for each decision. Good assumptions can mitigate the risks inherent in decision making within uncertainty. Ideally, you have the time to make solid, well-researched assumptions, but that is not always possible. So, what do you do? Fly by the seat of your pants? No, you do the best you can in the time available to you. Some strategies for making critical decisions in uncertainty: bring your team together and use all your brainpower to identify first the unknowns involved and then the risks; devise the best course of action in the time available to you; document the assumptions and identified risks involved in your decision; get the concurrence of upper management both on your decision and on going forward within uncertainty. The unknown can become a bit more known with time, but will often remain, and decisions must be made. Get as comfortable as you can with uncertainty. Create a strategy that helps you deal within it.


Photo: FreeDigital Photos.net



Two Managers Heard in Starbucks: Leadership Not Evident

Last week, I stopped into Starbucks for about a half hour while in-between meetings. I settled in near two managers working on their laptops, talking on their cells and communicating with each other. It was clear they worked for the same company and interacted in their work. They seemed rather regular for managers, until one of them got a phone call from a subordinate. Hearing the manager’s end of the conversation, I found him to be dismissive and disrespectful to his subordinate. After the call, he said to the other manager (who appeared to be at a higher level of their organization), “Did you hear that call? ” It would have been hard not to, as his voice was raised during the call, as if he wanted others to hear. He then proceeded to criticize and disparage the person he had been talking to, smiling and appearing to think he was building camaraderie with the other manager. To me, he looked small.

It made me pause, witnessing the disrespect shown by the manager and the use of that disrespect of a subordinate to bond, or look superior, with the other manager.

Leading demands respectful treatment of each individual you work with; especially when interacting in view of others in an organization. Using someone to make yourself feel better, just doesn’t fit. Get over it.

Image From FreeDigitalPhotos.net