Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Run Your Day

He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.
Friedrich Nietzsche 

You have two choices as you enter each day.  You can either "run your day" or "your day can run you".

Which will you choose?

Get a plan or someone will get one for you.  Do something and start running your day.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

People Development is the Key to Organizational Improvement

All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded the individual. 
Albert Einstein

Organizations will only improve as the people who work there improve their practices.  Much of what we currently do in terms of people development is isolated, ever-changing, and rarely related to organizational goals.

How can we begin changing the face of professional development?  

Effective professional development occurs at the intersection of meeting both organizational needs and individual needs.  How often does that typically happen in your workplace?  

Here are some ideas to begin moving towards more effective professional development in your workplace.

1. Differentiate - One size fits all doesn't meet the needs of your stakeholders  
2. Simplify - Choose one focus area the Development Plan
3. Recognize - Tap into individual strengths while raising the bar in other areas
3. Involve - Provide opportunities for individuals to be instrumental in developing their plan
4. Consistency - Avoid the temptation to constantly change your focus
5. Follow Up - Monitor the progress of individual plans through conversations and focused questions

Organizational improvement has ALWAYS been about people improvement.  Effective professional development will be the key to your organization's success in the new year.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Stop Waiting For A Map

"Please stop waiting for a map. 
We reward those who draw maps, 
not those who follow them."
- Seth Godin

This is one of my favorite quotes from the book Poke the Box (a definite must read for all individuals that breathe in and out).  

Leaders have a responsibility to initiate the drawing of maps that will move their organizations forward.  Unfortunately, these maps often appear in the form of lengthy, comprehensive improvement plans.  These plans are largely ineffective and stakeholders rarely get passed the first page.

I believe leaders should create a very different type of map.  Create a map that is similar to one that you would use in a GPS device.  These maps provide structure for reaching your destination but still offer you choice and flexibility.  They are relentless in getting you to your destination no matter how many times you fail.  They will reroute you no matter how many times you get lost in the journey.  Better yet, they typically fit on one page/screen. Leaders must take a GPS approach to moving organizations forward and exceeding goals.  

Put away the volumes of improvement plans that have done little to move organization forwards.  Instead begin creating a map for your organization by...

  • Involving stakeholders in creating a map that will move your organization forward
  • Including checkpoints to make sure that you are on the right track
  • Honoring that all of your stakeholders at different starting points
  • Differentiating development opportunities 
  • Embracing failure that will eventually get you closer to your destination
There are many other factors involved in the creating maps.  What would you add?