Friday, January 8, 2010

The LED Process

It is within the context of a very annoying cartoon that my kids love that I heard the triumphant phrase, "what's gonna work?..Teamwork"! When sung by rodents the this sentiment stings the ears, but the concept in it's simple nature makes sense.

In the past I was the victim of self imposed criticism based on my inability to fulfill the expectations of others. Since then I have learned that the only expectations that matter are my own, projection is often a habit of self preservation and that everybody really just wants to be loved.

We all want to be understood, have our opinions validated and to be part of something bigger. So I ask you dear readers.....what's gonna work?


The phrase has become overused and is commonly affiliated with negotiation exercises, ropes courses and uncomfortably framed roll playing. My approach to teamwork is a little simpler:

You have gathered your team in the conference room: The VP wants to see the ROI, the Director wants to ensure your process meets company branded strategy, the Manager makes every effort to protect his/her team, operations blames sales, sales blames operations and customer service is stuck in the middle.

Amid this battle of attrition is one thing: Everyone just wants to have their opinions heard, understood and adopted. As such, it would make sense to hear everyone out. It is vitally important to know your strategy and to be able to channel the opinions of others within said strategy. This is the key to Dale Carnegie's 16th Principle: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

1. Accept Input
2. Repeat their intent
3. Make a suggestion based on the greater strategy you wish to channel

They got the words out and the emotions off their chest - take the input and run with it.

Every team has the well intentioned individual contributor that has been around for several years and knows the ins and outs of the organization. Let's call him Phil. The reason Phil has been in the same position for 12 years is because he has trouble conveying his good intentions to the point that his outspoken suggestions for organizational improvement are perceived as complaints. No one ever took a chance on Phil and as a result he is alone in a tunnel with no light on the West end. Take a chance on Phil!

You have 3 choices with those who distract progress:
* Ask probing questions to discover the true intent of their message (if any)
* Re-direct their negativity to a productive goal
* Have a heart to heart and tell them how they are perceived

In Unzip Your Soul we concentrate on Re-direction. This is the key element to dispelling arguments, empowering input and creating positive synergy.

How to Re-direct?

Find out what moves people forward and what holds them to the former.

Example: If I tell you that administrative work is drowning me from achieving my sales numbers schedule a one to one 'time management meeting' with me:
- In this meeting identify all the elements of administrative work
- Understand the time dedicated to each area
- Develop a process of delegation
- Use the remaining time to better develop a strategy to dedicate time to the important stuff

100% of the time you will discover that it is not a matter of 'too much paperwork' but a misdirected strategy!

The Benefits of the LED Process:
* Allow individuals to get their thoughts out there
* Let them know they are being listened to
* Create forward moving synergy

Final Thought: It is vitally important to know the greater organizational intent of every task. If you ask your team to do things without explaining have lost their respect!

Don't Forget to Remember!

- Dave


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