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:

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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, 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.

Personal Development

Simplest Stress Reducing Thing Ever!

I’ve always been a believer in using technology to assist us and to not become a slave to it,  but at some point it got the better of me and sucked me in.  I’m not even sure when it happened.  It was slowly but surely eating away at my well being and sanity.

With 2 personal email accounts, work email, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, my website, Messenger, text messages and many other apps, my phone was constantly buzzing to alert me about the latest and greatest communication that had been received.  I was “smart” though, and used technology to change the tones of the various apps, which ones would vibrate, how many vibrations, and even had different coloured LED flashes to differentiate them.  It was an engineering masterpiece!  It was great the way I utilized technology to bring audible order to my mayhem of social media notifications!

Overtime as I added more apps it became out of control.  My stress levels were going up.  I’m not talking nervous breakdown levels, but nevertheless, my focus and concentration was constantly being broken and I found I had a heightened level of constant irritation.  I didn’t even know it was there really and when I did notice it I didn’t realize the source.

So what did I do?

I simply turned off all the notifications for all my apps, except my phone itself.

That’s it.

For many of you perhaps this is as obvious as your natural instinct to breathe, and for you kudos!  I’m happy for you.  However, this post is to help the many others that I know and see daily falling slave to our technology.   Like me, they likely don’t even realize it nor the negative impact it is having on them.

It is widely accepted that once interrupted, it takes 20 minutes to get back in focus and be productive.   Now stop and consider how many alerts you are getting.  Even if you don’t open the app, that “ping” is usually enough to snap you out of your train of thought, pause during a conversation, or lose focus on the task at hand, as your eyes sneak a quick peak at the text alert flashing on the display.

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Originally posted by Mary Garza

Recently, a teacher in the U.S. had her students turn their phones on loud, and every time they received a notification they went up and put a tally mark under the correct category.   The flip chart indicates the number of notifications received in one class, one period.  Incredible!

Of course we all have responsibilities that we can’t ignore and I’m not suggesting that.  Schedule times throughout your day to check and respond to emails and other necessary communications.  Request your team and family to call your cell phone if urgent.  Establish and communicate a response SLA (Service Level Agreement) to which you will respond and commit to it.

It was shocking to me the difference turning off the notifications made to my state of mind!  It truly was amazing!  Try it!  You’ll like it!

What simple changes have you made to reduce your stress levels?

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.

 

Other Related Posts:

Effective Leadership Skills – Personal Planning

Effective Leadership – Part II – 6 Steps to Manage Your Time Effectively

Effective Leadership – Part III – Email

Effective Leadership – Part IIIb – @5 Essential Email Folders

 

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