Category Archives: High Performance Teams

First Level Supervisor

Gallup said it and so does everyone else….if you don’t like your first level supervisor – your boss,  you won’t stay.  I hear it from my kids, I hear it from your kids, from your midlevel managers and many times from you as well. Managing up, managing down, working with peers, we all want to work with people who treat us with respect, lay out clear expectations and do what they say they are going to do. >

Lost feedback

Did you ever miss a point someone tried to give you? Perhaps you thought it was a random suggestion and swatted it away with a quick rejection, or with justification of the excellence of your position. I wonder if that was lost feedback. >

Extreme Productivity

Even as a little kid, I always wanted to do things faster. Could I load the dishwasher faster? Could I finish watering the front yard faster? Could I take a minute off of my walk home? To me, it was a game. If I got my chores finished faster, I could have more time for the fun stuff, like reading. Still loving to read, I came across an article on extreme productivity that encapsulates many of the strategizes I’ve noted in highly productive people. >

Mentor, don’t instruct

How often does someone try to delegate up to you? Hey boss, how do I get on the shared drive? Hey boss, what should I say to this difficult customer? Hey boss, should we get a different supplier? >

Take time to notice

On autopilot, are we?

We stumble out of bed in a sleepy fog at 0-dark-30 and get through our morning routine by habit (habit is good). Then somewhere after or during the morning shower or maybe not until we turn on the car after our morning caffeine, we begin to wake up. Do we take time to notice? >

Giving feedback

Do you give fair and accurate informal feedback to your direct reports? Teams that do outperform by 40%. Would getting better at giving feedback and receiving it help your company perform better?

Dr. Eve Meceda spoke to my Vistage groups about mindset and gave us a set of clues for how to give fair, accurate informal feedback. My favorite was “to say it how they can hear it”.

That reminds me of a joke I heard many years ago. A guy was telling me that he and his wife had a lot of hallway sex. As a middle aged married woman, I was unfamiliar with the concept and asked him to explain. He said, they would pass each other in the hallway and say Screw you! , “No, screw you!” Okay….Like any good joke, the outcome was totally different from what you might have imagined from the introduction.

This is the same thing that can happen when we give feedback, if we don’t give it with good intentions and in a way that the other person can hear it, the result will not be good.

So, if someone is an extravert, praise them in public. They probably want more enthusiastic acknowledgement, a plaque, etc. If you are an introvert, your style may not match theirs and they may leave because they don’t think they are appreciated. Speak up in a way that may be uncomfortable to you. If you have words of improvement, just call them into your office and tell them calmly what the issue is. Ask them how they see the situation. They can usually speak off the cuff.

If you are an extrovert, and they are an introvert, praise them in private. A simple note may be exactly what they want. Give them time to prepare if you have words of improvement. Perhaps, they can consider what you said and come back in 2 days to discuss how they want to address the situation.

Say it how they can hear it. In both cases, they  will see you as respectful, and you might begin to create a culture of higher performance. Who doesn’t want that? Pick one person this week that you have been meaning to either praise or suggest improvement and try this technique. Next week, we will discuss receiving feedback.



Orchestrate Diversity

Friday night we watched from the seats of Disney Hall as Zubin Mehta, the former conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic slowly walked out on the arm of the violinist Pinchas Zukerman to conduct Brahms’ Violin Concerto. Mehta was carefully guided up a ramp to the conductor’s platform and led the orchestra from a chair due to his frail health. It was a breathtakingly beautiful performance. I had a sense that this is the last time I would see him conduct.

I thought back to when I was in my 20’s and would come to see the LA Phil at the Dorothy Chandler pavilion. It was a much bigger space and did not have the sound quality for which the Disney is world famous. The orchestra was mostly white and almost completely male. Mehta who is from India was part of the blind auditioning that began to hire musicians who played behind a curtain so women and minorities were hired at higher rates.

This Friday, when I counted, (and I always count) how many women, Asian Americans, African Americans… I saw about 35% women, 20% Asian and 2 African Americans, I saw progress, but not enough.

Why? Because we become what we see modeled. We believe we can play for the LA Phil if we see other people like us playing. Obviously virtuosity matters for a world class orchestra. But, what I’ve seen at Disney Hall and I saw recently at the Hollywood Bowl, is Chinese Americans showing up to see Lang Lang play. Then a mostly Hispanic community showing up for La Santa Cecilia, Cafe Tacuba and Mon LaFerte. The jazz concert drew from all of Los Angeles communities.

It seems to me it is good business to orchestrate diversity on stage and the audience will follow.

How do we bring that greater awareness to our businesses? Are we losing potential customers because we have not diversified our team? Are we even aware that our customers may be looking at our diversity as a sign of vigor, future thinking or hustle? This week, let’s ponder how we are doing reaching out to all parts of our community to orchestrate diversity. It can be breathtakingly beautiful.

Remembering Gerry Layo

The code words “sad news” ran across the subject line from a post by a fellow Vistage Chair. The inspirational, high energy, force of nature known as Gerry Layo had a fall and died from his injuries. Oh, how could that be??? I miss him already…

Gerry incited energy and action in his sales seminars. His natural generosity was so contagious, you felt you could do anything if you just created a system per his instructions. Most of us didn’t have his energy, but we sure loved who we became when we were around him.

I only knew Gerry professionally, but I suspect that his family and friends are even more devastated. Gerry lived life full out. He reminded us all to do the same.

True to form, Gerry left us a last blog that perfectly discusses how to kick butt in 2019. Here is the link.

In honor of Gerry and what he asked us all to become, please read it. And, live life full out. He would be all for it.


Communicating, really?

A random comment caught me off guard last week. A senior executive said that their executive team brought in a facilitator and set goals for 2019 and he had real clarity as to what his role would be going forward. Here is what surprised me: He said that in all the time he had worked for the organization it was the first time he had clear goals. Is this team communicating, really? >

Leadership Style?

In a crisis, we look to a firefighter to lead us. In a process or profit maximization, we look for a steady analytic type. Which are you? For your organization, do you have the right leadership style?– It depends on the challenges you are facing. >