New on the Website
I’ve created a video showcasing reviews of my work with eight different clients. The video is roughly 2:30 minutes, and just 2 minutes if you skip my intro. I’m happy to share it and a special thanks to the clients who participated. My website has a lot of written reviews, which are terrific, but the video gives you a more complete sense of the work we’ve done together. Thanks to the firm of Hook & Blade for their help in putting it together.
About a year ago I started working with a cartoonist to capture some of the humorous things I see while working with different organizations. Every other month I’m going to share one of these cartoons, and my monthly reflections section will highlight a related topic. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did creating them!
Succinct or Clear (How about both?)
I see a pattern among many executives: they deliver a message to their team, or business unit and assume everyone in the room gets it. They are then dumbfounded upon hearing that their team has different perceptions of what the strategy is since “I talked about this at our meeting last month!” Here’s the thing: if you want people to understand and absorb what you’re saying, you’ll need to make it really easy for them. And the challenge for many leaders is being specific but also succinct in their communication efforts.
Brevity is important because people can only digest a small amount of information. But keeping your message short can’t be at the expense of clarity. Leaders establish direction and define the work to be done. So being able to effectively convey your strategy, resolve complex issues, and execute plans relies on your ability to be both succinct and clear. Your teams will find it much harder to meet your expectations if the primary elements of a message are surrounded by too much detail. Their confusion is compounded when the message is equivocal, lacking precision, or in conflict with other messages.
The onus is on you as a leader every time you engage, whether that is in person, videoconference, on the phone, and especially email, to be “on message:” what do you want an individual or group to understand and take away from your communication? Taking a moment or two before meetings, calls, or writing messages to ask yourself that question can help you focus on the correct level of detail you need to convey. A minute or two of thinking goes a long way toward eliminating confusion and misunderstandings that can multiply within companies and teams. Think of the time, effort and energy you can save!
A Slice of Life Balance
The holidays will sneak up on you, I promise. Not that you’ll be surprised they’re here, since every retailer, television commercial and radio station will bombard you with holiday cheer from the moment Halloween is over. But no matter how hyper-aware we are of the holidays, I’m always surprised at how fast they actually arrive. Suddenly you find yourself facing impossibly long to-do lists and a calendar full of festive activities. The combination equals exhaustion.
If you want to head that off at the pass, do your holiday shopping, card preparation, etc., during the first two weeks of this month. There will always be a lot of extra things that pop up in December, but that’s to be expected. What you can change is your ability to relax and really enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate, closing out the year with a sense of peace and reflection instead of frenetic tasks and stress.
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