I once consulted with an organization who’s founder was absolutely obsessed with removing conflict and strife from his team. He understood how it could undermine even the best organizations so he had zero tolerance for internal criticism, back-stabbing, or other expressions of conflict among employees. Since that time, I started
A business is in a nosedive with product sales. A nonprofit’s donor income has dropped by half. A church’s members continue to decline. All around I’m seeing organizations struggling and dreaming about the past. When that happens, what do you do? Most panic. But if you had a choice, which scenario below would you pick (or ARE you picking now?):
Years ago in Communist Russia, a visitor happened upon a group of workers with a sledgehammer clearing a field. It was tough work, hauling huge rocks, shoveling, and moving stones by hand. But the visitor noticed they were all singing as they worked. He asked one of the workers – “How can you sing while hauling rocks?” Without hesitation the worker replied: “Oh, we’re not
How difficult is it to lead creative people? Put it this way – it’s the #1 question I’m asked at conferences and leadership events. My friend Daryl Allen, a producer at Leading the Way Ministries in Atlanta, sent me this quote that puts it all in perspective. It’s from Ed Catmull, President of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation, and author of the book “Creativity, Inc.”. Ed’s quote really explains the delicate balance of leading versus micromanaging:
There was a time when loyalty was everything. My father’s generation worked at the same company for an entire career, professional athletes stayed long term with a single team, and Ford people would never dream of owning a Chevy. In those days, loyalty to a job was assumed. I’ve actually seen employees fired – not because they were incompetent – but because the boss didn’t
When it comes to brainstorming and creative teams, Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com says to keep them small. Usually, when I’m involved in creative meetings with clients, most organizations want 20-30 people in meetings and that’s just too large and unproductive a group to work. With a smaller group of key people, you don’t waste a lot of time and man hours on bad ideas. Plus, like a herd of cats, large creative teams are simply too unwieldy to manage well. Small groups move faster and are more nimble. The perfect number?
Most creative teams are going to have at least one member who’s a whiner. Whiner’s focus on the negative, and thrive on complaining – often about the most insignificant things you can imagine. According to the Wall Street Journal, research indicates that productivity can be damaged by working alongside a chronic complainer. Exposure to non-stop negativity can disrupt learning, memory, attention, and judgement. The problem is more widespread than you think, because
I love to talk about big picture issues like engaging today’s culture. But we sometimes forget that just getting your message understood by your boss, or your employees or team is critical to making the big picture happen. Two types of communicators you need to understand are people who think by talking, and people who think by doing. I’m a doer. Maybe it’s my A.D.D., but I’m really not