(This is Part 5 of Leadership Principles) “So what exactly do you do Mike?” The question was posited by the snarkiest of my direct reports during my staff meeting (a subject I’ll opine on some time in the future). My job was to direct “the business.” Theirs was to run their respective business units. “Well, I set direction for you guys, set aggressive goals, coach, recruit, and mentor team members. Most importantly though, I act as a Human Crapshield for you guys.” Puzzled looks all around. “A Human Crapshield? Give me a break.” “Look – you really never want to know the volume of crap I shield you guys from so you can focus on your job rather than dealing with the crap.” “Yeah, I’m sure the crap is unbearable. Sounds to me like you’re justifying your role as useless corporate overhead.” Ouch. I’d hate to know what it would be like if my team members didn’t like me… Middle managers and junior executives often find themselves in a pickle. They’re no longer the front-line “doers” nor are they the high up muckety mucks who make the big decisions and the big bucks. They find themselves in the purgatory between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie in an uncomfortably undefined role. Yes, they’re responsible for all the items I list above (and then some) but the one role they might be unaware of and underestimate the importance of is the role of Human Crapshield. A Human Crapshield? What exactly does that mean? I’m glad you asked.
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2007-12-07 00:00:002018-06-20 09:31:35Leading Your Team: Be The Human Crapshield
So what? We’ve all been there – sitting through that dreadfully long presentation full of facts, figures, and complex analyses only to leave an hour later wondering “so what?” So what do we do now? What was the point of that? What was the conclusion? We’ve all heard about “tricks and tips” to engage the audience: use props, tell stories, and use flashy PowerPoint. The list goes on. The problem is, if the audience doesn’t “get” your recommendation or personally care about it, no number of tricks can help. Unfortunately as presenters, we often fail to define that key “so what” before we create our presentation. This ultimately leaves our audience wondering what our point was. Fortunately, this problem is easy to avoid. Doing so requires you to identify your “core idea” well in advance of doing any analysis or creating charts. This core idea is the one thought you want your audience to remember. It is the “what should we do and why should we do it?” recommendation that captures their attention and gives them a compelling reason to act.
The twenty-something trainer with the exuberant and bubbly personality bounces at the podium. He is spouting the latest framework and management buzzwords to a rapt audience. The materials are flawless and the theory makes a ton of sense. From the back of the room comes the killer question: “So I get the framework, but how does it actually apply to the work I do every day?” The trainer struggles to articulate a single instance of how he’s used the framework in day to day work environments. Why? Because he never has—his entire career to date has been spent behind that podium. Enter “The Practitioner” There is a rare breed of instructor out there known as “the practitioner.” She has been classically trained on fundamental frameworks, methodologies, theories and tools. She’s applied those concepts and tools in real world business situations. Her resume is a testaments to the impact she’s had: bottom line savings; reorganizations; strategic plans and step-change business improvement. She drives change in her companies. She is so valuable to the team she leads that she spends her career moving into positions of increasing responsibility. Unfortunately, she is one of a just a few who are given a chance to train the next generation of leaders because the rest of the practitioners are too busy “doing their day jobs.” One organization that clearly “gets it” when it comes to using practitioners as trainers is the U.S. Army. Almost every Army service school is staffed by experienced soldiers who not only know the theory but have applied it in actual field situations. They can vividly articulate how theory applies to the real world, which aids student comprehension and retention of the materials (not to mention making it more interesting to listen to in class). Practitioners exist in business as well. […]
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2007-12-04 15:08:002011-08-17 14:14:51Walking the Talk in Training
(This is Part 4 of Leadership Principles) “Intelligence is not the ability to store information, but to know where to find it.” – Albert Einstein Pretty smart guy that Einstein fella, huh? Mark my words – he’s gonna go places that guy… He seems to know what he’s talking about. Unfortunately we regularly ignore his advice and wisdom. All too often I’ve seen folks become hoarders of information or students of endless minutiae in their quest to prove their value as employees (all the way from administrative assistants up to business unit presidents). Everyone is afraid to say “I don’t know.” They believe it exposes a weakness and in our excessively competitive world, many believe a weakness like failure to know something is a career death knell. I prefer to employ the opposite approach. Ideally, I’d like to know nothing. Nothing other than who has the answers. First of all, it makes my life a lot easier. I spend little to no time poring over spreadsheets filled with arcane numbers. I don’t keep troves of information (other than personal financial files but that’s a vestige of my days in the Army where you’d get challenged on a six year old expense report on occasion – and you were definitely guilty until you could prove yourself innocent). I simply try to stay very current on who knows what about what. I stay intimately connected with as many people in the organization as I possibly can. I’ve found this to be effective for several reasons. First, this approach gets me out and talking to people. I love talking to people. Hearing their stories. Learning about their jobs. There are a lot of cool people in your company. You should get out and meet them. You might be surprised by how much you […]
https://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.png00Mike Figliuolohttps://thoughtleadersllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/logo.pngMike Figliuolo2007-12-03 19:26:002011-09-14 06:33:21"He knows more than I do" - Leading Through Humility