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Tag: leadership

Moore to Communication & Leadership

Recently, I was asked to contribute a piece on leadership for our Leadership Tallahassee (LT) community.  It was an honor to do so and I am super grateful to Barbara Boone (LT Executive Director), the LT staff and volunteers, and the LT experience over the years – their efforts make our community better in so many ways.  To say being a part of Leadership Tallahassee Class 24 (photo of our class included) made a huge difference in my life would be an understatement.  In the ten plus years since class 24/7 graduated, I have grown and have learned lessons when it comes to authentic communication and respectable leadership (with more to learn, for sure).

With today’s technology and the unfettered access to information day and night, education centered on communication and leadership is only a click away. Personally, I value the exercise of both within a relationship building philosophy with individuals and teams. For me, it’s the day-to-day interactions where we give the benefit of the doubt, where we try our best with good intentions, where we commit to ethics and integrity, and where we don’t solely focus on who wins or loses or makes mistakes.

Authentic Communication

Want to maintain credibility as a leader? Are you consistently providing an open channel for engagement, communication and input for all members of your team? Do your team members know exactly where they stand in regard to their performance or your expectations?

Being authentic in communication isn’t always the easy thing to do – of course, nothing in leadership is for that matter.  Over the years of working around LT classmates, I’ve gathered some helpful advice.  First, saying what needs to be said is necessary and time and place are significant considerations before doing so.  No matter how bad it needs to be said, there is no excuse for plain old meanness or inappropriateness.  Second, whether you are a peer on an executive team or staff, everyone deserves to be heard and to be responded to – otherwise, we are telling them they are not valued.  Responsiveness and common courtesy should be a constant from leadership, as well as consistent messaging and clear direction.

Professional growth can happen via direct, honest – and critical – conversations, but what will talking around corners do?  How will someone improve/change their behavior if they are not aware of their expectations, wrongdoings, misperceptions, or misunderstandings?  Build bridges and develop trust by utilizing authentic communication rather than feeding deceit and poisoning team chemistry.

Professional growth can also take place via sincere and meaningful recognition – sure, texts, emails, eCards, and social media posts are convenient avenues of complimenting a team member, but face-to-face delivery greatly benefits both parties involved.  In those moments, expressing verbal respect as a means of recognition to teammates creates strong bonds and lasting relationships.

Respectable Leadership

It may seem over simplified, but I firmly believe we all know respectable leadership when we see it and the same goes for the opposite, unfortunately.  Education on leadership is vast – from quotes to books to podcasts to consultants – and all varieties can make a difference in leadership abilities, but nothing takes the place of leading by example.  You can post all the quotes, read all the books and listen to all the podcasts you want, but it comes down to earning leadership respect in all that you say and do – those two things can’t run opposite of one another.  Being alongside LT classmates for years has afforded me great education!

Taking blame and giving credit, defending and supporting your team, inspiring and challenging others, and displaying principled and ethical behaviors – someone is always watching my friends and they do judge, let’s not kid ourselves. Maintaining respect and credibility as a leader is difficult if you are not willing to do the right thing and to hold others accountable, even if it means losing your seat on the bus.  Remember, respect in leadership can take years to acquire, but only moments to lose.

Identifying as a “player’s coach” leader, I have tried to provide clarity in expectations, to build accountability with structure and process, to identify boundaries, and to deliver consequences when necessary.  Simultaneously, success required not asking others to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself and taking time to get to know my team members.  It’s a fact, the more you show people you care about them, the more they will do with you.  Always support those you know are giving it their very best in effort, attitude and gratitude and do your best to temper the charismatic cheerleading role with a bit of humility – there can be a fine line between your intent of exuding confidence and the perception of arrogance.

Being a part of the Leadership Tallahassee community continues to make a difference in my life.  Volunteering on committees, attending special events, and learning at workshops brings knowledge, relationships, and opportunities for growth in communication and leadership.  Being authentic and being respectable in both requires constant improvement and grace.  I sometimes wonder what kind of leader I would be if I had not participated in Leadership Tallahassee!

Moore to business “Whack-A-Mole”!

We all remember the game Whack-A-Mole, right?  High paced game, expecting the player to quickly identify a mole popping from his hole in time to hit it on the head before it escapes back into the hole.  Miss it or hit it, the player then had to refocus their attention to where the next mole may pop up…and the cycle repeats.  Hectic and crazy for the player, but still possible to score some points here and there.  What a reactionary piece of work!

In consultations with individual business executives, I heard the term “whack-a-mole” used when they described their day-to-day activities – especially those centered on revenue generation (i.e. sales, fundraising, development, etc.).  How many of you have felt the same way in your business?

Several phrases can be used to imply that style of business operations – for example, crisis management OR urgent versus important OR even hampster wheel!  I had not heard “Whack-A-Mole” in this sense before and I hadn’t played it in forever.  If you’re a CEO or Executive Director, you are certainly charged with many responsibilities.  I mean, the buck stops with you, right?  Same goes for a Director of Development and the Sales VP in their area of specialty.

What can we do about it?  Change things, of course!

Sounds simple, but so many hold on strong to the idea that doing the same thing over and over will eventually get you different results – no, it won’t.  Changing behaviors through improvements, adjustments and modifications in structures and processes can get you there.  Will it be smooth sailing through this effort?  No.  Comfort and complacency makes expecting others to completely buy-in unrealistic.  However, as a leader you can create buy-in by sharing a passionate vision for the future and leading by example.  Specifically, remember to reiterate the mission and the rewards to come for all concerned (including the mission) if they risk following you through this change.

What kind of structural and procedural changes are needed?  The specific tasks are relative to each business, but maybe consider these questions IF the “Whack-A-Mole” feeling describes fundraising at your nonprofit:

  • Do you have a varied fundraising wheel?
  • Are your donor categories defined?
  • Do you have a communication and event calendar?
  • Are you utilizing multiple channels to engage donors?
  • Are you keeping event budgets accurate and transparent?
  • Do you set clear goals for calls, visits, proposals?
  • Are you coaching behaviors or results? How?
  • Are you practicing by employing role plays with your team?

There are more areas that would impact your future success, but these are a start.  At the beginning of change management, there has to be a commitment at the top – from you, the board chair and leadership.  Things can get dicey through the work of change and to land at the envisioned place of success, you will need leadership to back you.  You can likely imagine the pitfalls that ensue if they don’t.

Back to Whack-A-Mole: What did I do to get better at that game?  Nothing. It was out of my control – e.g. they sped up the moles as the game went along for crying out loud!  The player can’t implement any changes to the structure or process around the game, so I quit playing it.  Instead, I re-prioritized my time and resources and fell in love with Donkey Kong!  Think about it, are your donors or customers quitting because you are doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result – are you adverse to change?  Your retention and growth rates should tell you.

Transitioning from “Whack-a-mole” management, fundraising, operations, etc. requires discipline, commitment, accountability and leadership.  Influencing behaviors through changes in structure and process within YOUR business can be done.  Moore Business Strategies is here to help – email us for a consultation today!

Moore to Boss’s Day 2018?

As National Boss’s Day comes to a close, today represents the first time in almost 20 years that I am not directly leading a team.

Reflecting on those years with Sunshine State Credit Union, Amsouth/Regions Bank, Southern Scholarship Foundation and TMH Foundation, I never took for granted the special role of being a player’s coach and celebrating October 16th with team members each year. I am fortunate to now partner with teams via Moore Business Strategies, but it is a little different.

With that said, I couldn’t resist expressing some gratitude to those I worked next to over the years that gave their best everyday to exceed expectations while also maintaining integrity, ethics and a positive attitude while we strived to go to places we had never been before as a team, organization or company!

There are too many team members to name here.  YOU know who you are!  THANK YOU for helping me be a better person, leader, and boss (as much as I don’t really like that word) and THANK YOU for the experience and for the fun.  Risk and reward came our way, but so did challenges and critical conversations.  Personal and professional growth happens through discomfort and change, and I tried my best to lead by example while on your team.  I am not blind to changes YOU made in me.  With much pride and joy, I fondly reflect on our time together and witness today where all of you are professionally and personally.

I treasure the numerous photos & videos, unique gifts (bobbleheads, plaques, frames), hand written cards, and unforgettable moments that typically accompanied October 16th each year with all of you – including this FAV from #SSF

Thanks again teammates!

Today I am my own “boss”, so maybe a selfie will suffice!  Take time to celebrate your current Boss today too.

Moore to a high school reunion?

My 30th high school reunion is this coming weekend – NSB Barracudas class of 1988!  During a bike ride last week, I pondered on the similarities of relationship dynamics in high school and our places of work.  Being a part of a team, in school or at work, provides a chance to build lasting relationships and to make a difference in the lives of others.  While pedaling along at 16 mph that morning, I focused my thoughts on the following similarities: 1) remember and celebrate; 2) authentic communication; and 3) cheerlead and congratulate.

1) Remember and Celebrate.

Life through our high school years and in the professional world are challenging for varying reasons.  Successes and failures seem to alternate on a regular basis.  Turned down for a date for prom?  Didn’t get a promotion you felt you deserved?  You made the varsity team!  You surpassed your sales goal for the first time!  With these and other happenings over a span of 30 years, you should make time to remember the moments and to celebrate them.

As classmates or colleagues, we are constantly challenged to do more, to be more and to go further.  Making it worse, there are leaders that put more focus on blame than improving the behavior required for potential success.  Be the one that takes time to remember the ups and down for what they were and to celebrate them in unique ways.  We get one trip around – enjoy moments a little more and stress over them a little less!  Celebrate mistakes, remember lessons learned.  You, your team and your friends will all be better for it.

2) Authentic Communication.

What a difference 30 years should make when it comes to our ability to communicate with classmates or with your colleagues in the workplace.  There is no doubt that all of us can improve how we speak to each other.  Being authentic in your communication mean letting people know what is expected of them, where they stand with you, and how much you value them.  Talking around corners and skipping critical conversations doesn’t build trust.  Avoiding confrontation doesn’t allow for valuable exchanges on improvement.  Saying what needs to be said – time and place appropriate – can be done with empathy, emotional intelligence and firmness.

A colleague shared once that she gives others the benefit of the doubt at the initial stage of conflict.  She trusts in the human condition and believes that inherently people want to do their best for the cause.  While I agree, it is necessary as leaders (and friends) that we not shy away from difficult conversations.  It’s also necessary to personally – and sincerely – engage in praise for others.  As proof of my dedication to Authentic Communication, here is my first blogging effort in 2008  I credit my Leadership Tallahassee experience with helping me commit to authentic communication as a leader.

3) Cheerlead and Congratulate.

I am guilty here – if you know me, you know me to be charismatic, energetic and positive.  As a player-coach leader, I strongly value team dynamics – especially in giving credit to the team and having their back when things don’t go so well.  Maturity over the years helped me realize that laying blame isn’t the first step in a crisis and that a leader should share good news (results) as a collective effort – not an individual one.  Cheering others on is a job of a leader – most people need that extrinsic support to stay motivated and to exceed expectations.

Admittedly, in my younger years (high school through early career) there was a drive to be recognized and given credit for any and all things I did.  Through mentoring, education, experience and some failures, the sense of satisfaction in seeing others succeed quelled my own personal interests.  Recognition is verbal respect.  Congratulate others in special ways to build relationships and loyalty.  Success is relative to the individual and aspirations vary from person to person, but the recognition should still be meaningful and as personable as possible.  Be attentive and curious!  The more we know about our classmates and our colleagues, the more unique our congratulations can be!

I am looking forward to my 30th reunion in New Smyrna Beach – a time to remember and celebrate, to communicate in authentic ways, and to cheer and congratulate classmates.  Take time to do those same things with your team today.