Monday, March 20, 2017

Developing the Leader Within You - Problem Solving : Part 1

We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

The Quickest Way to Gain Leadership: Problem-Solving : Part 1

The size of the person is more important than the size of the problem.

This chapter of Maxwell's book deals with the two things needed to effectively solve problems: the right attitude and the right action plan.



According to F.F. Fournies, there are four common reasons why people do not perform the way they should:
  1. They do not know what they are supposed to do.
  2. They do not know how to do it.
  3. They do not know why they should.
  4. There are obstacles beyond their control.

    These four reasons why people fail to perform at their potential are responsibilities of leadership. The first three reasons deal with starting a job correctly. A training program, job description, proper tools, and vision, along with good communication skills, will go a long way in effectively meeting the first three issues.

    The following are five characteristics from Maxwell's life:

    • We all have problems
       - We should remember the words of Paul Harvey who said that in times like these it is always helpful to remember that there have always been times like these.
    • Problems give meaning to life.
      - People need to change their perspectives, not their problems.
      - A life free of all obstacles and difficulties would reduce all possibilities and powers to zero.
      - Eliminate problems and life loses its creative tension.
    • Many outstanding people have overcome problems in their lives.
      - Policies are many; principles are few. Policies will change; principles never do.
      - Dolly Parton sums it all up with these words: "The way I see it, if you want the rainbow you gotta put up with the rain."
    • My problem is not my problem.
      - There is world of differences between a person who has a big problem and a person who makes a problem big.
      - Their "problems" are not their real problems. The problem is they react wrongly to "problems" and therefore make their "problems" real problems.
      - What really counts is not what happens to me but what happens in me.
      - Why do achievers overcome problems while thousands are overwhelmed by theirs? They refused to hold on to the common excuses for failure.
      - They turned their stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They realized they could not determine every circumstance in life but they could determine their choice of attitude in every circumstance.
    • A problem is something I can do something about
      - If I can't do something about a problem, it's not my problem, it's a fact of life.
      - Be careful in resigning yourself to the position that there is no answer to a problem. Someone else may come along with a solution.
    Next time, we will explore more of Maxwell's observations about problem-solving.

     Donald G Rosenbarger
    Senior Vice President
    Delta Companies Inc

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Developing the Leader Within You - Creating Positive Change : Part 4

    We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

    The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.

    Last time we looked at ten strategies for creating a climate for change. Strategy #10 was "Give the People Ownership of the Change." We will explore methods of doing that in this lesson as we wrap up this chapter.


    How to Offer Ownership of Change to Others
    1. Inform people in advance so they'll have time to think about the implications of the change and how it will affect them.
    2. Explain the overall objective of the change - the reasons for it and how and when it will occur.
    3. Show people how the change will benefit them. Be honest with the employees who may lose out as a result of the change. Alert them early and provide assistance to help them find another job, if necessary.
    4. Ask those who will be affected by the change to participate in all stages of the change process.
    5. Keep communication channels open. Provide opportunities for employees to discuss the change. Encourage questions, comments, and other feedback.
    6. Be flexible and adaptable throughout the change process. Admit mistakes and make changes where appropriate.
    7. Constantly demonstrate your belief in and commitment to the change. Indicate your confidence in their ability to implement the change.
    8. Provide enthusiasm, assistance, appreciation, and recognition to those implementing the change.
    Change will happen. The question should not be "Will we ever change?" but "When and how much will we change?"

    Not all change is improvement, but without change there can be no improvement.

    "In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be by remaining what you are." - Max Dupree

    It's a fact that when you're through changing, you're through!

    It is never too late to change.

    Make a choice today to change. And when change is successful, you will look back at it and call it growth.

    Donald G Rosenbarger
    Senior Vice President
    Delta Companies Inc

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    Developing the Leader Within You - Creating Positive Change : Part 3

    We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.


    The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.

    Last time, we talked about the various forms of resistance the change agent may encounter. Today, we will discuss how to create a climate for change.

    Human behavior studies show that people do not basically resist change; they resist "being changed."

    As you read the following, remember: you do not have to be the "boss" or have a title to be a leader.
    We are all leaders or future leaders. So, when you read the word "leader," think of yourself in that context.

    1. The Leader Must Develop a Trust with People.
      • First question to a leader who wants to make changes within an organization is always: "What is your relationship with your people?"
      • If the relationship is positive, then the leader is ready to take the next step.
      • The Leader Must Make Personal Changes Before Asking Others to Change.
        • "As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do." - Andrew Carnegie.
        • Great leaders not only say what should be done, they show it!
      • Good Leaders Understand the History of the Organization.
        • "Don't take the fence down until you know the reason it was put up." - G.K. Chesterton
        • It is important to know what happened in the past before making changes for the future.
        • Place Influence in the Leadership Positions.
          • Leaders have two characteristics. First, they are going somewhere; and second, they are able to persuade other people to go with them.
        • Check the "Change in Your Pocket."
          • Every leader is given a certain amount of "change" (emotional support in the form of bargaining chips) at the beginning of a relationship. If the relationship weakens, the leader gives up "change" until it is possible for him to become bankrupt with the organization. If the relationship strengthens, the leader receives "change" until it is possible for him to become rich with the organization.
          • Always remember: It takes "change" to make change.
          • The more "change" in the pocket of the leader, the more changes that can be made in the lives of the people.
        • Good Leaders Solicit the Support of Influencers Before the Change is Made Public.
          • This ten-item checklist includes all the steps a good leader will go through in soliciting support for a change from a major influencer in the organization:
            • List the major influencer(s) of the major groups within your organization.
            • How many will be affected directly by this change? (These people are the most important group.)
            • How many will be affected indirectly by this change?
            • How many will be positive?
            • How many will be negative?
            • Which group is the majority?
            • Which group is the more influential?
            • If the positive group is stronger, bring the influencers together for discussion.
            • If the negative group is stronger, meet with the influencers individually.
            • Know the "key" to each influencer.
        • Develop a Meeting Agenda that Will Assist Change.
          • Every new idea goes through three phases: It will not work; it will cost too much; and, I thought it was a good idea all along.
          • A wise leader, understanding that people change through a process, will develop a meeting agenda to enhance this process.
        • Encourage the Influencers to Influence Others Informally.
          • Major changes should not surprise people.
          • A "leadership leak" done properly will prepare the people for the formal meeting.
        • Show the People How the Change Will Benefit Them.
          • The proposed change is what is best for the people, not the leader. The people must be first.
        • Give the People Ownership of the Change.
          • Openness by the leader paves the way for ownership by the people.
          • Without ownership, changes will be short-term.
            Donald G Rosenbarger
            Senior Vice President
            Delta Companies Inc

            Monday, January 9, 2017

            Developing the Leader Within You - Creating Positive Change : Part 2

            We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

            The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.



            Last time, we talked about the Leader as a Change Agent. Today, we will discuss the various forms of resistance the change agent may encounter.



            Why People Resist Change:
            • The change isn't self-initiated.
              -When people lack ownership of an idea, they usually resist it, even when it is in their best interest.
              - Wise leaders allow followers to give input and be a part of the process of change.

            • Routine is disrupted.
              - Habits allow us to do things without much thought, which is why most of us have so many of them.
              - Habits are not instincts. They are acquired reactions. They don't just happen; they are caused.
              - First we form habits, but then our habits form us.

            • Change creates fear of the unknown.
              - Change means traveling in uncharted waters, and this causes our insecurities to rise.
              - Therefore, many people are more comfortable with old problems than with new solutions.

            • The purpose of change is unclear.
              - That's why decisions should be made at the lowest level possible. The decision-maker, because of close proximity to the issue, will make a better decision, and those most affected by the decision will know it quickly by hearing it from a source close to them and to the problem.

            • Change creates fear of failure.
              - Elbert Hubbard said that the greatest mistake a person can make is to be afraid of making one.

            • The rewards for change don't match the effort change requires.
              - What leaders sometimes fail to recognize is that the followers will always weigh the advantage/disadvantage issue in light of personal gain/loss, not organization gain/loss.

            • People are too satisfied with the way things are.
              - We choose to die rather than choose to change.

            • Change won't happen when people engage in negative thinking.
              - Regardless of his state in the present, the negative thinker finds disappointment in the future.

            • The followers lack respect for the leader.
              - People will view the change according to the way they view the change-agent.
              - When you love your followers genuinely and correctly, they'll respect you and follow you through many changes.

            • The leader is susceptible to feelings of personal criticism.
              - For growth and continual effectiveness, every organization must go through a continuous four-stage cycle of create, conserve, criticize, and change.
              - Either the creators handle criticism positively and begin to make changes or they will be replaced by those who will embrace change and, therefore, create.

            • Change may mean personal loss.
              - "How will this affect me?"
              - Usually there are three groups of people within the organization:
                      1. Those who will lose,
                      2. Those who are neutral, and
                      3. Those who will benefit.
              - Each group is different and must be handled with sensitivity, but also with straightforwardness.

            • Change requires additional commitment.
              - Time is the most precious commodity for many people.
              - Whenever change is about to happen, we all look to see how it will affect our time.

            • Narrow-mindedness thwarts acceptance of new ideas.

            • Tradition resists change. 


            Next time, we will discover how to create a climate for change.


            Donald G Rosenbarger
            Senior Vice President
            Delta Companies Inc

            Thursday, January 5, 2017

            Developing the Leader Within You - Creating Positive Change : Part 1

            We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

            The first order of things to be changed is me, the leader. After I consider how hard it is to change myself, then I will understand the challenge of trying to change others. This is the ultimate test of leadership.

            Change the leader, change the organization. Everything rises and falls on leadership.


            Unchanged leaders equals unchanged organizations. People do what people see.

            "There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things."  Nicolo Machiavelli

            "You see, effective teaching comes only through a change person. The more you change, the more you become an instrument of change in the lives of others. If you want to become a change agent, you also must change." Howard Hendricks


            The Leader As Change Agent
            • Once the leader has personally changed and discerned the difference between novel change and needed change, then that leader must become a change agent.

                • He must first understand the two important requisites to bringing about change: knowing the technical requirements of the change, and understanding the attitude and motivational demands for bringing it about.

                    • Both requisites are critically necessary. More often than not, though, when failure to change results, it is because of inadequate or inappropriate motivation, not from lack of technical smarts.

                        • A manager usually will be more skilled in the technical requirements of change, whereas the leader will have a better understanding of the attitudinal and motivational demands that the followers need. Note the difference in the beginning the skills of a leader are essential. No change will ever occur if the psychological needs are unmet. Once the change has begun, the skills of a manager are needed to maintain needed change.

                        Next time, we will learn why people resist change.
                        Donald G Rosenbarger
                        Senior Vice President
                        Delta Companies Inc

                        Monday, November 14, 2016

                        Developing the Leader Within You - Priorities : Part 3

                        We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

                        There are two things that are most difficult to get people to do: to think and to do things in order of importance.

                        Maxwell lays out eight Priority Principles to close this chapter.

                        1. Priorities Never "Stay Put."
                          • Priorities continually shift and demand attention.
                          • Well-placed priorities always sit on "the edge."
                          • To keep priorities in place:
                            • Evaluate: Every month review the 3R/s (Requirements/Return/Reward)
                            • Eliminate: Ask yourself, "What am I doing that can be done by someone else?"
                            • Estimate: What are the top projects I am doing this month and how long will they take?
                          • You Cannot Overestimate the Unimportance of Practically Everything.
                            • "The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." - William James
                          • The Good is the Enemy of the Best.
                            • Most people can prioritize when faced with a right or wrong issue. The challenge comes when we are faced with two good choices.
                            • How to Break the Tie Between Two Good Options:
                              • Ask your overseer or coworkers their preference.
                              • Can one of the options be handled by someone else? If so, pass it on and work on the one only you can handle.
                              • Which option would be of more benefit to the customer?
                              • Make your decision based on the purpose of the organization.
                          • You Can't Have It All.
                            • Ninety-five percent of achieving is knowing what you want.
                          • Too Many Priorities Paralyze Us.
                            • If you are overloaded with work, list the priorities on a separate sheet of paper before you take it to your boss and see what she will choose as the priorities.
                            • All true leaders have learned to say 'NO' to the good in order to say 'YES' to the best.
                          • When Little Priorities Demand Too Much of Us, Big Problems Arise.
                            • "The reason most major goals are not achieved is that we spend our time doing second things first." - Robert J. McKain
                            • Often the little things in life us up.
                          • Time Deadlines and Emergencies Force Us to Prioritize.
                            • We find this in Parkinson's Law: If you have only one letter to write, it will take you all day. If you have twenty letters to write, you'll get them done in one day.
                            • When is our most efficient time in our work? The week before vacation!
                              • Why can't we always run our lives the way we do the week before we leave the office - making decisions, cleaning off the desk, returning calls?
                              • Under normal conditions, we are efficient (doing things right).
                              • When time pressure mounts or emergencies arise, we become effective (doing the right things).
                            • Efficiency is the foundation for survival.
                            • Effectiveness is the foundation of success.

                          • Too Often We Learn Too Late What is Really Important.
                            • "An infant is born with a clenched fist; a man dies with an open hand. Life has a way of prying free the things we think are so important." - Author Unknown
                          Donald G Rosenbarger
                          Senior Vice President
                          Delta Companies Inc

                          Wednesday, November 2, 2016

                          Developing the Leader Within You - Priorities : Part 2

                          We will continue our leadership journey, learning new skills and refreshing old ones, with John C. Maxwell's book Developing the Leader Within You.

                          There are two things that are most difficult to get people to do: to think and to do things in order of importance.

                          Last time, we leaned about The Pareto Principle, which states 20% of your priorities will give you 80% of your production. Let's see what else Maxwell can tell us about it.

                          It's Not How Hard You Work; It's How Smart You Work. Working hard only helps if you are working hard on your priorities.


                          Organize or Agonize. The ability to juggle three or four high priority projects successfully is a must for every leader. A life in which anything goes will ultimately be a life in which nothing goes.

                          Prioritize Assignments:

                          • High Importance/High Urgency: Tackle these projects first.
                            • High Importance/Low Urgency: Set deadlines for completion and get these projects worked into your daily routine.
                              • Low Importance/High Urgency: Find quick, efficient ways to get this work done without much personal involvement. If possible, delegate it to a "can do" assistant.
                                • Low Importance/Low Urgency: This is busy or repetitious work, such as filing. Stack it up and do it in one-half hour segments, every week; get someone else to do it, or don't do it at all.

                                  Chose or Lose. Every person is either an initiator or a reactor when it comes to planning. The question is not, "Will my calendar be full?" but "Who will fill my calendar?" If we are leaders of others, the question is not, "Will I see people?" but "Who will I see?" Maxwell's observation is that leaders tend to initiate and followers tend to react.

                                  Leaders:
                                  • Initiate
                                  • Lead; pick up phone and make contact
                                  • Spend time planning; anticipate problems
                                  • Invest time with people
                                  • Fill the calendar by priorities
                                  Followers:
                                  • React
                                  • Listen; wait for phone to ring
                                  • Spend time living day-to-day; react to problems
                                  • Spend time with people
                                  • Fill the calendar by requests

                                  Evaluate or Stalemate. Decide what to do and do it; decide what not to do and don't do it. Evaluation of priorities, however, is not quite that simple.

                                    • What is required of me?
                                      -A leader can give up anything except final responsibility.
                                      -Distinguish between what you have to do and what can be delegated to someone else.
                                    • What gives me the greatest return?
                                      -The effort expended should approximate the results expected.
                                      -A question you must continually ask yourself is, "Am I doing what I do best and receiving a good return for the organization?"

                                    • What is most rewarding?
                                      -Life is too short not to be fun. Our best work takes place when we enjoy it.
                                      -Take This Job and Love it.
                                      -Success in your work will be greatly increased if the 3 R's (Requirements/Return/Reward) are similar.

                                    Next time, we will take a look at the Priority Principles.
                                      Donald G Rosenbarger
                                      Senior Vice President
                                      Delta Companies Inc