Leadership, Lean and Continuous Improvement, Personal Development

Introducing ‘High Performance Leaders Inc.’

In March 2018 I started this leadership and continuous improvement blog because of my high passion on the topic, my experience, and a strong desire to help and coach others.  What was an unexpected surprise to me was the personal challenge and development I received in the process.  Learning about social media, what works, doesn’t work, interacting with others that read my posts, etc.  In addition, I was blown away with the connections I made and the feedback received on the posts.  At no time did I have any grand plan for where this blogging would take me other than to help others and to challenge myself.

logo10Well, I’ve decided to take the next step.  A big next step!  I’d like to introduce a new company ‘High Performance Leaders Inc.’  (HPL) which was founded by Scott Smith and myself.  I left my position at Amazon to start this new company because of the passion I have for continuous improvement and the development of leaders.  There is so much unrealized potential out there in people and organizations and our goal at HPL is to disrupt that condition!

Click here for more information on HPL and what we do.

A highly engaged and motivated employee is the most formidable weapon that an organization can utilize to compete and win.  This depends on strong and committed leaders, an effective management system structure, and a culture based on respect, trust and performance.   This September HPL is launching a comprehensive and practical skills development program that will provide senior level leaders with a core success factor; the skills to lead and develop a high performance organization sustained through the habits of an Effective Leader.  This 12 month program launches this fall.

To learn more about this program and/or to register, click here!

Follow HPL on LinkedIn to stay informed.

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

Personal Development, The Leader

Stress Reducing Tips Just In Time For Summer!

With the long weekends approaching and summer vacation season about to kick into full gear, it’s probably a good idea to review some previous posts for some timely tips!

Vacation Tips:

activity-adult-adventure-1376960

Taking time off work can be very stressful both before and upon return.  In this age of always being connected, it is even more important for your health and well being to disconnect while on vacation, no matter how long or short it is!  There are some pretty easy vacation preparation things you can do to reduce your stress.  A little bit of anticipation, planning, and learning from the past goes a long way.

balance-beach-boulder-1113552.jpgWork-life Balance:

Whether you are on vacation or not, everyone must have the proper balance between work and life.  Finding it is a real challenge that so many people struggle with.  So what is this work-life balance thing anyway?  Is it real, or just a myth?  This article discusses two analogies to describe work-life balance.  Having the right mindset and expectation helps you find a sweet spot to get you through the twists and turns that life will surely send your way.  With these 10 steps to improve your work-life balance you can get closer to a healthier and happier place in life!

Personal Planning:

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During the summer months when your co-workers are taking time off, or you are taking time off, it is very easy to get out of your routines.  This is likely when you need these routines the most!  This post on personal planning discusses 6 key steps to getting and staying organized on your priorities.  Even if you are familiar with them, review them again and do an inventory to ensure you haven’t mistakenly dropped some!  When you are picking up the slack for others that are away, or playing catch up when you return, managing your time effectively is key to treading water.

 

Email:

angry-annoyed-coffee-52608Is email easier in the summer months?  Maybe, but not very likely!  There are some very helpful built in tools within Outlook and several email apps that can assist you with staying on top of your email.  It is surprising how few people use them and often enough aren’t even aware of them.  You may be a quick and easy mouse click away from some much needed help!  After it was first published, this second post on the @5 Essential email folders. received positive feedback from several who tried these tips.   If you aren’t aware of what the @5 are, check it out!

The summer is never as long as we would like.  Even if you’ve read them before, check out these posts sooner vs later to ensure you have the best and most relaxing summer you can have!  Enjoy…. the summer!

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover Photo by Mateusz Dach from Pexels

 

Leadership, Personal Development

Are You Accomplishing Your Goals?

Did you set goals this year?  If so, when was the last time you checked-in on them to see how things are progressing?  When?  Oh boy, it’s likely time you did a check!

In January there were a series of posts that stepped through the process of setting personal and professional goals and objectives.  If you missed this series, they are summarized with the links at the bottom of this post for your reference.  Now that you are a few months in since setting your goals and objectives, please use this post as a reminder and catalyst to do a check-in and reflection on them.

Some key considerations for your review:

Relevance of the goals & objectives – Things change quickly in this age!  Review your goals and objectives to ensure they are all still relevant.  If not, scratch them off and move on.  Add critical new ones as necessary and be sure to develop tactics and action plans for them.

Target check – Check to see how you are progressing towards your target.  If on target, great, but confirm that it is your actions that are driving this and not just good luck!  If not on track to hit the target, it’s important to dig deep to understand why not and then adjust your tactics and actions accordingly.

IMG_20190427_1843462Action plan effectiveness – Review your action plans and record your status within your plan.  Indicate which ones are completed, in progress or not started.  Confirm if you are on track schedule wise; on, behind, or ahead of schedule.  Consider if there are any barriers that you hadn’t previously considered that may impact your plans and develop mitigation for each of them.  Identify any ground that needs to be made up.  In other words, do you need to double down on some to get them back on track?  Rate your actions for their effectiveness based on whether they are delivering the expected results or not.  Cancel the ineffective ones if you think course correction isn’t in the cards and develop new ones to overcome and get back on track.

Don’t despair – Particularly if you are reviewing your personal goals and objectives, don’t despair if this is the first time your have looked at them since setting them up.  That’s why we have this post!  The good news is, you have now looked at them, right?  So don’t get frustrated and know you are not alone, but do set yourself on a refreshed path to get on track and achieve what you set out to achieve.  Don’t give up!  Do it!

No! Try not!  Do or Do not, there is no try!

– Yoda

Execution – To ensure execution of your actions, you needed to have “operationalized” them.  Take this opportunity to honestly reflect on your execution and be self-critical.  You might be the biggest problem stopping you from achieving your objectives!  Are you following through on the methods you had determined to operationalize your action plans?  If not, why not?  What and why are they not working?  What do you need to do differently?  Do it!  Adjust your plan and go!

Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust – Setting goals and objectives follows the continuous PDCA1improvement cycles of Plan, Do, Check, Act/Adjust or PDCA beautifully.  What we’re doing now is obviously the check phase.  Once you’re done this part adjust your plans and start doing again!  Going forward, ensure your operational steps include the full PDCA cycle, very frequently!

 

If you missed this original goals and objectives series or just need a refresh, the posts are summarized with the links below for your reference.

Reflections Vs Resolutions – It’s That Time Of Year!

Although written with the Holiday Season in mind, this is still a timely post to refresh yourself on the importance to reflect on your goals and objectives.  Key points to think about that are relevant at any time of year are covered in this post.

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Mission Statements

Whether you are doing so as an individual, family, or for an organization, establishing a mission is a critical first step.  A mission acts as your compass which will establish your direction and keep you on track.  This post discusses mission statements and the values that support them.

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Goals & Objectives

After the mission is created, the next step is to develop the areas of focus to be deployed to achieve the mission.  This post describes how to set meaningful goals.

Setting Personal and Professional Goals and Objectives – Tactics or Action Plans

The tactics or action plans are what brings goals and objectives to life and makes things happen!  This post discusses how to convert goals to objectives and specific actions, including some tips on how to “operationalize” your plans.

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com

 

Leadership

How Effective Leaders’ Actions Speak Louder Than Their Words!

Do you sometimes find your team doesn’t understand your priority?  If so, they are probably confused by your actions not your words.  So what can a leader do to ensure their actions speak louder than their words?

In a previous post, A Big Problem With Problem Solving, an example was given where the team believed the leaders placed a higher priority on productivity over quality which ultimately resulted in a significant quality defect.  I received a question from a reader that many leaders often face, and struggle with, on how best to address the following type of unfortunately common issue:

The perception of team members that some attributes (i.e. cost and delivery) take precedence over other attributes (i.e. quality) has concerned me several times.  How do you suggest this can be changed?

A leader’s actions not only have to align with their words, the actions must speak louder than the words!  Also, actions have to be consistent and unwavering from the words particularly when in a time of pressure or crisis.  For example, if you always say safety is the most important thing, that you care for your team, and that you will not risk their safety for any reason, and then when you are under the gun to deliver on time, you instruct your team, or otherwise turn a blind eye, to by-pass a safety standard, process or policy, you’re done.  These are opportunities where your actions can speak louder than your words.  Imagine if during this same example, you shut down the operation until it could be done safely?  Of course there may be a negative impact such as missing on-time delivery, but over the long term, and as it relates to the culture and relationship with your team, which is more important?

Two real examples come to my mind that emphasize these points very well.  The first related to a safety issue that was identified but didn’t cause an immediate safety risk.  Only under certain conditions and situations was there some risk.  Many involved believed that with additional training and other controls in place, the risk could be adequately mitigated.  Further more, the condition had existed for some time but had only just been identified and become known.  Stopping the operation would no doubt impact the customer and add cost to the business.  The timeline to address the issue was significant, costly, and would impair the operation until addressed.  The leader involved, demonstrated conviction to their words of safety first, and shutdown the operation and kept it down until the safety issue was properly addressed.

I was directly involved in this second example and remember the situation like it was yesterday!  Production was behind schedule and as we worked hard to catch up, the quality indicators started to decline but remained within target.  On this particular day, the first passed yield dropped significantly, meaning a lot of rework would be required and the actual completed volume would be lower, adding to the stress of the situation.  We had always and consistently communicated that our top priority, second only to safety, was quality.  I called the management team together and requested that we shutdown the plant and conduct a quality stand-down with the entire plant.  They looked at me like I was out of my mind!  They raised concerns with the additional lost volume this action would result in, not to mention the costs!  We shutdown and communicated the quality concerns, what the top issues were, what the operators could do to improve quality, and reconfirmed our leadership priority and commitment to quality over productivity/volume.  The recognition and appreciation from the team was incredible, which boosted the morale and pride of the operators for being part of an operation that placed quality ahead of productivity.  They wanted to believe!

They wanted to believe!

These examples describe real life crisis situations many leaders have and will no doubt face in their careers.  It is during these times, that true leadership and commitment to a leader’s words, values, and standards is tested and demonstrated.  It is during these times, you either build or destroy your culture and leadership trust.  These decisions are never easy, even though they should be, because of the other ramifications and consequences they create.  However, I’d suggest that typically those consequences are short term focused.  If you lead with the long term in mind, the decision is clearer and easier to make.

The same holds true for a non-crisis day.  Your actions must be consistent with your words.  You can’t walk by or ignore anything that doesn’t align with your words.  You must take action.  For example, no matter what else is happening at the moment, walking past something or someone that is unsafe when you say safety is your top priority, completely discredits your words of the past, present and future.  Look for opportunities to emphasize your priorities and reinforce your words every chance you can find.  Always explain “why” one thing is a priority over another.  If you need to focus on something else that might give the perception that your priority has changed, explain why you are focusing on the other and that it has not in fact superseded the higher priority.

Leave a comment with what you do to ensure your actions speak louder than your words!

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com 

Leadership, Personal Development

How To Be More Accessible To Your Team

As leaders, we all have a lot of demands on our time.  Sometimes, it is easy to get caught up in other things and forget that one of the primary responsibilities we have as leaders is to support our teams.  It might be surprising, but in reality our teams are not there to support us.   Leaders are there to support their teams!  Of course a primary job of a leader is to set the vision and direction that the team needs to go, but after that, our job is to facilitate the team in accomplishing and reaching those goals.

How do you think you stack up in this area?

What would your team say about you?

I’ve realized recently that I need to get better at this.  I know this is a key and important part of my role, but I’m not as good at this as I need or want to be.  You know what I mean?  The frown or sigh you make when one of your team drops by your office and says “Bill, do you have a minute?”.  Sure, you are in the middle of catching up on emails, or reading that monthly report and it interrupts your train of thought.  You aren’t necessarily making the gesture or sound effect towards the individual, but nevertheless, the impact it has on your team is tremendous.

I remember when I worked in a totally open office concept and an engineer came to my desk to ask me a question.  We had a brief conversation and I answered his questions after which he walked away.  Then I sighed and made a comment to the person next who was like my Sensei, that, “It is impossible to get anything done around here without getting interrupted!”.  He looked at me with a surprised look on his face and very sternly said,

But that is your job!

He went on to explain to me that the purpose of my role as a leader was to be there for my team.  To answer their questions, provide direction, coach them, teach them…

I never forgot that.  He was so right!  Ever since then, I have made a concerted effort to make myself accessible.  However, what I realized recently is that I had gone too far.  If I wasn’t in a meeting or on a phone call my door was open, and I encouraged anyone to come in anytime.   In my attempt to give my time to my team, I hadn’t given any time to myself.  To my surprise, the complete opposite to what I was intending was happening;  my “open door policy” had lead to frustration on my part which resulted in a poor experience for someone that did come to see me.

I’ve talked to my team about this and they have given me some suggestions because they also realize, I need time to work and get things done.  They don’t expect me to be available whenever they want, but they do want access to me and want to know I will get back to them.  After all, we all do need to get things done that require our full attention and concentration.  So the first suggestion I have, is to discuss accessibility with your team and get their input as to what they need and expect of you.

Below are a few suggestions to help make yourself more accessible to your team and more supportive when you do:

  • Determine the best days and times of day when you are at your best to receive your team and give them your full attention.  Similarly, determine when your best time of day is to focus and get your own things done.  Plan your schedule with these times in mind.
  • Have open “office hours” in your schedule and communicate in advance to your team to which anyone can drop by to see you.  You may want to schedule the person in to avoid conflicts, but the point is that the time slot is always open in your schedule until someone books it.
  • Close your door or go somewhere private when you cannot afford to be interrupted, but set a time frame as to how long you will do so before coming up for air.
  • Establish an SLA or Service Level Agreement to which you will respond to emails or other requests and commit to it.  Mine is 24 hours.
  • Schedule regular 1:1s with each of your team and allow them to discuss whatever they want to discuss as a priority ahead of anything you want to discuss.
  • Establish informal opportunities to have discussions with them, such as meeting offsite for a coffee, lunch or sometimes dinner.
  • If someone does come to see you, or calls, and you are in the middle of something important that requires your full attention,
    • Ask if it is urgent – nothing worse than telling someone you will get back to them later then finding out it is a drop what you are doing 911!
    • If not urgent, explain to them that you are in the middle of something that you need to get finished, but that you will get back to them by a specific time.  Make sure you do!
  • When someone does drop in to see you, or during a scheduled meeting with you, turn your phone upside down so you can’t see the screen and leave it away from where you are, turn off notifications, lock your lap top and give them your full attention.  Turn and face the person.  At the end of the discussion, summarize what you discussed, agreed upon, and the follow up dates/requirements.

Coincidentally, as I was drafting this post in my mind, I came across a post by John Hall  on social media that was similar in concept and had some great advice.  Worth a read:

Why saying I don’t have time is a great way to lose trust of your teammates

Leave a comment with what you find is a great way in which you give your time to your team.

Contact me:

You can email me with any questions at glennsommerville@hotmail.com, find me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/glennsommervilleL2R/, or on Twitter at  https://twitter.com/gsommervilleL2R.

If you are enjoying my posts and find the information useful, please “Follow” me by entering your email in the follow box on the right-hand menu of my website www.glennsommerville.com.