Have Clear Goals for Your Weekly Meeting

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Just because you have a recurring meeting on your calendar doesn’t mean you have to hold it.

Only convene the group if everyone (especially you, as the meeting leader) is clear on what the objectives are. Agreed-upon goals will keep the agenda focused and ensure you make the most of the time. Here are a few sample objectives to consider:

  •  Share updates and review progress to date, including major milestones or upcoming activities. Ask and answer: “What did I do? What will I do?”
  • Identify questions and concerns related to progress. Ask and answer: “What are the potential roadblocks?”
  • Prioritize and resolve issues and address additional questions.
  • Agree on next steps (for example, what to do if a situation escalates, and what each individual’s role is).

Adapted from HBR Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter

Rework bad ideas instead of dismissing them

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Leadership Tip of Week

adapted from HBR

Successful entrepreneurs rarely dismiss bad ideas outright: They rework them in the hope that there’s a gem yet to be discovered.

After all, the best opportunities aren’t always self-evident. Instead of killing ideas and initiatives when they seem problematic, challenge yourself or your team to push further, reframe the problem and solution, or explore adjacencies.

By bringing new thinking to seemingly bad ideas, you may end up with a breakthrough. Listen to all stakeholders regularly, and don’t stop, even once you’ve decided on a course of action. Pay special attention to new information and edge cases as you go — they often hold clues to move you toward better versions of your idea.

Adapted from “Embracing Bad Ideas to Get to Good Ideas,” by John Geraci

Keep Encouraging Colleagues to Learn

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HBR Management Tip of the Week

The best way for organizations to drive the business forward is to make sure that employees are continually learning. Building a LEARNING culture is better than building a KNOWLEDGE culture, because you create an organisation that can continually adapt to the changing world.

What can managers do to encourage learning?

When you’re hiring, look for people who have demonstrated that they’re lifelong learners. Then look for services that provide up-to-date, relevant content on a wide variety of topics.

Don’t worry if your employees want to learn something that’s not directly related to their job.

By learning something new, no matter what it is, they’re practising the skill of learning, which is invaluable. Plus, you never know how learning an unrelated skill can help down the road. But do take an active role in partnering with your employees to figure out the skills they need to develop based on business goals.

And don’t forget to encourage and reward people who demonstrate quick adaptive learning.

Adapted from “To Stay Relevant, Your Company and Employees Must Keep Learning,” by Pat Wadors 

The Best Leaders Question Everything

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Leadership Tip of the week

adapted from HBR.

It can be difficult for leaders (especially senior ones new to their roles) to pause before acting. But when was the last time you stopped to ask, “Why are we doing it that way?”

Leaders must constantly explore new ideas and seek out new thinking from those around them. You need to regularly ask uncomfortable questions and think about whether to change or abandon an existing strategy.

The best leaders step back and look at the big picture every so often. They surround themselves with diverse teams and capitalize on opportunities to hear and experiment with new ideas. They give themselves time to surface divergent opinions that ultimately lead to smarter business decisions.

Adapted from “When was the last time you asked, “Why are we doing It This Way?” ”

http://www.hbr.org/2016/04/when-was-the-last-time-you-asked-why-are-we-doing-it-this-way

 

Make time for Strategic Thinking Every Day

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Leadership Tip of Week

adapted from HBR

 

If you believe that only senior executives need to think strategically, think again.

No matter what level you’re at, strategic thinking is a critical skill — one that can always be improved. To hone your capacity to see the big picture, start by making sure you have a solid understanding of the industry context and business drivers.

  • Make it a routine to explore the internal trends in your day-to-day work.
  • Pay attention to the issues that get raised repeatedly, and synthesize the common obstacles your colleagues face.
  • Be proactive about connecting with peers in your organization and in your industry to understand their observations of the marketplace, and share this information across your network.
  • Take the time to understand the unique information and perspective that your job function contributes to the company.

Thinking at this higher level will position you to be more strategic in your role.

Adapted from “4 Ways to Improve Your Strategic Thinking Skills,” by Nina Bowman

Make Feedback Feel Normal

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Leadership Tip of week

adapted from HBR

Let’s face it, giving and receiving feedback can be uncomfortable.

To make it easier, you don’t necessarily have to get better at saying the exact right thing; you just need practice.

If you see someone doing something they can improve, offer your observations right away. Don’t wait until your next meeting to provide your input; give it in the moment. You want as little time as possible between identifying and discussing the problem.

After you address the problem, offer a “patch up” to help them know that you respect them. The biggest predictor of whether someone will become defensive after presented with feedback is the motive behind it. If they know that you’re trying to help them and hold them accountable, they are less likely to push back.

Adapted from “How to Make Feedback Feel Normal,” by Joseph Grenny  

 

Show Empathy for your Team

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Leadership Tip of the week

adapted from HBR

There’s no doubt that people want to feel appreciated and listened to at work. As a leader, it’s your job to create an empathetic environment where everyone feels valued. Here are a few simple things you can do to show empathy for your team:

  • Observe, listen, and ask questions. Stop assuming that you know what people are thinking and feeling — you probably don’t. There’s always more to learn if you’re quiet and curious.
  • Stop multitasking. If you’re writing an email to one person while talking with another, neither one is getting the best of you. Put your phone down and give your full attention to the person in front of you.
  • Don’t give in to distractions. There’s always a deadline looming, a crisis to deal with, or an annoyance to put to rest. It’s important to slow down and take a step back from all of this stress. Practice mindfulness, and encourage your employees to do the same. Let them know it’s OK to take some time for themselves.

Adapted from “If You Can’t Empathize with Your Employees, You’d Better Learn To,” by Annie McKee