What you can do with this
You can print it, read it, share it, and discuss it.
How to use this material
Introduce. Discuss. Remind. Encourage.
That’s my recommended approach to helping people commit and develop.
I recommend reading and discussing each of the first three articles with your team and repeat weekly.
Each can be read in less than 3 minutes and discussed in 10 – 15 minutes.
How to prepare
Share one of the articles with your team and schedule a time for discussion.
Or, share the guide with your department leaders and have them facilitate smaller discussions.
Ask everyone to read the article.
Ask them to make notes on anything they find valuable or disagree with. If you prefer, give them some questions related to the material for ideas and ask them to provide some advanced thought to them. Include other questions you feel would add value to the discussion.
On your own, read the article, make your notes, and answer the questions you intend to ask or give.
Give some quick thought to any likely objections or challenges to the material you can anticipate from your group. (Who might ask what and how do you want to respond?)
Introduce your upcoming discussions in person or by email
Feel free to use the following as a suggested script to edit to fit your style:
“I came across a few short articles that had a significant impact on me. I thought we all might benefit from reading and talking about them over the next few weeks – one each week.
Each article can be read in less than 3 minutes. Please read the first one
and give some advanced thought to it. Make notes on anything that connects with you.
Let’s kick off next week strong and meet in the conference room Monday morning at 8:00 – 20 minutes, at most.
I think the effort will be good for our work, but it also might be helpful to each of us personally.”
(Mentioning the personal value might help create further buy-in for the effort.)
- Be enthusiastic.
- Avoid interrupting or finishing someone’s thoughts or answers.
- Add a small gap of silence to an answer – just a beat or two. This may allow someone to expand on something and avoid someone feeling that they need to rush through their answers.
- When you feel someone might have more value to add, encourage them with a “How do you mean, Nancy?” or “Can you expand on that?” or “What happened next?”
- Invite different people to contribute to the discussion or have different people lead the talks each week.
- Be ready to help the discussion move on if someone takes too much control of it. (“Good point, Bob. If we have time at the end, let’s come back to this.”)
Discussion #1 – Slippery Moments
The Gallup organization says that in North America roughly:
- 29% of us are engaged and care about our work
- 54% of us are just ‘Going Through the Motions’
- 17% are ‘Disgruntled’ and get in the way of those who care
Of course, we all have our moments when we are not working at our best, but the fulltime ‘Going Through the Motions’ or ‘Disgruntled’ people are challenging to deal with.
Dealing with the ‘Going Through the Motions’ or ‘Disgruntled’ can be slippery and can trip you up.
Slippery Moments Discussion Questions
- How do you think those numbers from Gallup stand up here?
- What are some typical examples of moments we see here?
- What are the consequences for our customers/ourselves?
- What are your thoughts on the problem?
- What are a few specific things we could start doing today to make those ‘Going Through the Motions’ or ‘Disgruntled’ moments less frequent? What else?
Discussion #2 – Distraction Diet
Imagine the incredible results you’d have if you focused more during your day. You could:
- Contribute more
- Serve people better (internally and externally)
- Come up with more ideas
- Waste less time ramping back up
- Create more opportunities
- Plan better
- Be less frustrated and stressed
Five ways to knock out the bulk of distractions:
Establish focus hours for yourself. Set aside chunks of time each day where you’ll be unavailable to anything but true emergencies. If you can, commit to no inter-office communications during focus hours unless it genuinely can’t wait. No small talk. No “Hey… real quick” interruptions.
Turn off email alerts and commit to checking it at the most minimal level you feel is possible without harming service to others.
Turn off chat and messaging apps (personal & team) unless your work requires it to get the job done.
Avoid the web during your money hours (hours of the workday where you make your good things happen) unless you need it for your work. The distractions are endlessly pleasant for those who’d prefer to avoid making good things happen (not your goal).
Face away from distraction if you’re in a setting that allows you to do so.
Distraction Diet Discussion Questions
- What do you think is the most valuable of the five ideas for us? The least valuable? Why? Why not?
- What impact can our distraction have on our customers/colleagues?
- What are some other ideas we could do to improve?
- If we gave out an award for the most focused person on our team/in our department, who would win it? Why?
- How can we help each other when we slip? What kind of agreement can we make with each other to stay committed to better focus?
“The major problem of life is learning how to handle the costly interruptions. The door that slams shut, the plan that got sidetracked, the marriage that failed. Or that lovely poem that didn’t get written because someone knocked on the door.” MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. (1929 – 1968)
Discussion #3 – Do as I say, not as I do.
Given that most of us can’t get it right all the time, is it just more good advice.
- Someone suggests that you be more approachable to invite opportunity and better relationships but then hides behind their desk.
- If a boss is not patient or thankful but suggests that you should be, is the advice wrong?
When I find myself indulging in being grumpy, I’ve found it helpful to remember four things:
- I’m a grown-up.
- It’s not about me.
- I won’t be here forever.
- I want to make good things happen for other people (which in turn will make good things happen for me).
Do As I Say Discussion Questions
- What connected most with you from the article? Why?
- Why do you think someone’s hypocrisy makes it easier for us to disregard their advice?
- What does ‘Go first … and stay with it’ mean to you?
- How do you think we can better minimize our occasional negative moods?
- What would you add or revise to overcome grumpiness?
“You are in charge of your own attitude whatever others do or circumstances you face. The only person you can control is yourself.” MARIAN WRIGHT EDELMAN (1939- )
It’s always the leader.
We try to hire the right people. We do our best to develop and grow those people. And if it doesn’t work out, we need to let them go.
Why wouldn’t it work out?
We might make a hiring mistake by rushing the process or by being inattentive at certain moments while we’re learning about them.
Maybe we missed a lack of needed skills, or we don’t catch an attitude glitch (they’re temperamental under challenging moments and drain teammates, they lack a sense of urgency, they don’t push for better, too much ego, etc.).
Or, we might do a poor job of helping a person grow. Maybe they don’t want to accept the development (they’re un-coachable, their attitude sours over time).
And then, if we find ourselves with the mistakes we’ve made, we hesitate to make a needed change.
Hire. Grow. Or let go.
Remember … it’s always the leader.