True Collaboration Is Inclusive

circlebluemorphospixabayCollaboration is not the easiest means of managing and decision-making. However, it is the most effective. The best collaborations give all members a full seat at the table. Each person’s voice is heard and respected, disagreements are fully aired and considered and when decisions are made, they are made for the betterment of the collaboration, not just of one or more individuals.

This model can work. People, generally, are reasonable and rational and know that not every decision can go in their favor. It may take a bit more time and patience, but it is worth it. Trouble comes in when organizations go hierarchical and dictatorial in their decision-making. Or, when a sub-group, such as younger people, is disregarded. Some feel that because young people do not have the years of experience that older members have, they do not need to be listened to. They should have a full seat at the table and be valued for the unique insight, fresh ideas and enthusiasm they bring to a group.

Next time you are collaborating, give each team member a full seat at the table. You will reap the benefits of better decision-making, happier team members and creative and long-lasting results.


photo: bluemorphos,


Myopic: Lack of discernment or long-range perspective in thinking or planning.

ID-10097959You have often read in this blog about the importance of living in the present moment. There’s no question that living in the present moment keeps you centered. However, that does not preclude looking long-range on a regular basis. You don’t want to be myopic – it does not serve you.

A long-range perspective increases your vision and preparedness for the future. It allows you to prepare for what may come. You can start from the present moment and look ahead at the potential results and consequences of your decisions and actions. Run any decisions or actions you are contemplating out a few years and use your critical mind and imagination to vision what your decision or action could look like at that time. Then, let your vision inform the present moment, as you move forward.

You can live in the present and, at the same time, be wise for the future. Let your vision grow and see grander vistas as you manage.


photo: imagerymajestic,

Trying Again (And Again)

ID-100151386Persistence is a lauded value in the work world. However, there is a point of diminishing return – where your or your team’s output of time and effort is not matched by the return you receive. How do you discern when to stop “trying”? One way is to be alert for that point of diminishing return. Are you putting out a lot of time and effort without the results you want? Are you trying again and again and no one is responding? Is your persistence negatively affecting morale? It is natural to try harder, but you do not want to do so blindly. You want to be aware of signs along the way that cue you into the value of your investment of time and effort. Such signs can be: you are not getting the attention of the people you need to; the project is not progressing at a reasonable rate or you are getting increasingly negative feedback on what you are doing.

At the start of a project, create a tool that allows you and your team to continuously measure the return you are getting. Measure such things as stakeholder and internal response to your project, progress on milestones, team morale and enthusiasm for project, ratio of output to return in terms of your time and effort, relevance of project goals as the project progresses, opposition to project or roots of any obstacles you encounter.

Time is precious and you don’t want to waste it. Effort can be redirected and goals or approaches revised when you need to do so. Make your “trying again” fruitful, not pointless.


photo: cooldesign,

Manager Coaching Skills: Accountability

Accountability is essential to effective coaching. Not everyone wants to hear this word; its use can create fear in some and potentially undo the safe space needed for coaching. How do you bring accountability into the coaching relationship in a constructive and positive way?

When I begin a coaching relationship, I bring accountability up early, as we set up our coaching. I do not impose it, but rather, ask a question: How do we hold you accountable in this coaching relationship? This allows the person being coached to suggest a way they can ensure commitment and results. In my experience, seldom does anyone challenge or resist introducing accountability into the coaching relationship. I think this is due to their involvement in determining how we deal with accountability. If someone does challenge accountability, I ask how they feel about entering the coaching relationship. If it is a voluntary relationship, I let their answer inform me regarding whether they are ready for coaching. If it is not a voluntary relationship, I work with them to ensure there is accountability, doing my best to keep an open and safe space for our coaching.

Accountability does not have to be rigid. At the end of each coaching meeting I ask for an “intent” from the person being coached that specifies what they will do by our next meeting. I check in at the start of our next meeting on their intent and what they have done. Sometimes, much can be learned when a commitment is not carried through on. I explore with the person being coached why it was not done and that exploration often leads to key insights. The thread of accountability has to be maintained however, to ensure results. Accountability matters, as you well know as a manager.

Bring accountability into the coaching relationship at an early point. Allow the person you are coaching to participate in establishing it and keep accountability alive throughout the coaching relationship.



Face Time or Results?

Robert Pozen has written an article “They Work Long Hours but What About Results?” that raises an interesting issue for managers. Pozen writes about work environments where people are acknowledged for late hours and working weekends, but efficiency often goes unrewarded. He recommends rather than counting the hours worked, that you judge success by the results produced. He offers good advice for employees to communicate their results to their managers so that  “face time” is not their primary measure.

How do you measure your team’s work? Do you tend to equate long hours in the office with dedication? Do you have biases favoring those who are in the office after hours? The 21st century work world is nimble, agile and demands fast, high quality results. Efficiency thrives in this world. Face time is an outdated notion and best relegated to the lower tier of your success measures.