With the onset of winter snow storms throughout the country it seems like a good time to relate throwing snow balls to beating your competition. Any senior business executive should reminisce to their youth and remember the life lessons learned while pounding their competition with snowballs.
Clearly knowing and understanding the capabilities of your product and services is as important as knowing what type of snow is on the ground. If you take a wide open look at the scene you miss the opportunities and threats therein. Your product has to be right just as the snow must be right in order to make a snowball. Too little humidity when the snow was formed and the flakes don’t stick together. They simply fall apart. It is the right balance of temperature, water vapor, and humidity that create the right conditions for the perfect snowball to nail your enemy. Likewise, your product must be in the right market, price point, and fill a need that your completion can’t that sets you apart.
Now, you pack your snow together and form a nice snowball. Do you want to focus on quantity or quality? How much time do you have to strike? What are your competitors vulnerabilities? Where do you need to hit them to take them out? Can a surgical snowball strike to the job or a mass attack be required? If you have many targets and want to dominate your competition you may want to go for quantity and overwhelm them with shock-and-awe. However, if you have a specific target, a niche, then you want to go for a quality snowball. You want them to be rocked by the impact of the snowball. Also, if you have a niche market, you want to beat your competition with a quality product that they cannot compete with. If you have time to assemble a vast array of snowballs you can go for quantity and quality, but most do not have that luxury. Make up your mind early and build your business, and snow balls, around most effective projectile you can afford at the right place and time and quality that meets your needs.
Don’t throw your snow balls directly at your competition. If you through your snow ball straight at them, plan to run away fast because you will have failed miserably. Your competition is not standing still and you have to anticipate where they will be when your snow ball product strikes. You must learn how to lead the target. Understand the weather, also known as market conditions, to see which way the wind is blowing. Will the wind move your snow ball faster, slower or side-to-side of your target? Adjust your aim and determine if a nice lob or high pitch shot to the body will be best. If you took the quantity route then you have extra snowballs that can miss and still amass maximum destruction on your competition. If you went the quality route you must use precision. You only have a limited number of shots, but when they hit target they are sure to have a knockout blow. If you fail then prepare to pull the snow out from the back of your jacket and hoodie.
Today every organization is trying to make the knockout blow to their competition. By remembering the basic survival skills we all learned throwing snow balls at our neighborhood competition we relearn the basic skills to take out our competition of today. For more in-depth ideas go through snow balls at your neighbors kids and the instinct to survive will instantly re-appear.
The greatest challenge to anyone is not the ability to look at someone else and accurately assess their strengths and weaknesses. It is far more difficult to look inside and determine where you stand and what drives you to success or failure. At the macro level of existence, the measure of a leader, manager, guru, or anyone who looks back and has followers is gauged in the impact they have on the lives of those who choose to follow him. But there is much more to the story than the sum of the group of individuals who want to follow someone else. The grander picture is the internal story of knowing oneself that compels that person to drive forward to complete a vision and connect to the greater masses. The ABC philosophy of leadership and knowing oneself creates the foundation for people to understand and connect to their inner person. Then, armed with these insights one can improve their ability to lead and make a greater impact on the people who follow them.
A: Ability and Ambition
Where ever you are in life, be it at work, a parent, or anything else, try to accurately gauge your ability at what is important to you right here and now. You probably already realize you are better at some tasks and worse at others. It’s simple, no one is perfect. However, in reality you are probably not as good and probably a little worse than you think at tasks. Take an internal look and realistically gauge your abilities. Look at the real you, warts and all, not just the imagined you. The take the leap and ask your peers, subordinates, and friends how effective you are a different tasks. Create the overall picture and determine what you truly need to change. Then do one thing better each day till you become the person you aspire to be.
What is your ambition? What is the internal desire which drives you to take action and reach the next level? Do you know? If you are a store clerk, manager, or senior executive we all have ambition. The difference comes through the knowing where you want to go, and then developing a realistic plan which compels one to overcome their fear to take the first step. No one can force someone else to take the first step, but only show then the path and reassure then that it is safe to walk on. Again, what is your ambition and what is stopping you? By taking the first step, you at least know you made the attempt and will not go through life in wonderment of what could have been if you only tried.
B: Beliefs and Behavior
Somewhere in the deep reassesses of your mind your beliefs are secretly influencing your decisions is the belief pattern that developed over a life time. For every act that is presented to you, solicit and equal response based on your customs, traditions and beliefs. It’s automatic. Most of the time there are no consequences. Other times you are praised or condemned by your reactions. By taking an introspective look into your own belief patterns you can better understand why you do what you do and why you react the way you do. Maybe your beliefs are based in an outmoded mental program that you will realize needs to be updated. Maybe you realize that your beliefs are sound and need to be reinforced. Sometimes they evolve and you didn’t know you had gone through the transformative process. Regardless of the version of your brain operating program, understanding your beliefs allows you the mechanisms to tailor your interactions with the people around you.
How do you behave around people when you are happy, sad, or confrontational? Are you consistent in action or do you harbor emotions until they boil over? Do you know what sets you off? The answer to these seemingly simple questions greatly impacts the people around you. By understanding one’s behaviors allows for the anticipation and mitigation of unwanted reactions to situations as they arise. Then, instead of acting inappropriately, one can act in such a way to mitigate negative events and amplify positive ones.
C: Courage and Commitment.
It takes tremendous courage to take a look inside oneself and examine to the deepest corners to see what drives us. The most effective and truly influential people took the leap and observed what causes them to think and act the way they do. Some made remarkable transformations, while others simply accepted who they are with a clearer understanding of themselves. But they all stopped waiting for something to happen to them. They went on the offensive to take charge of their own destiny. The no longer held their emotions in check to explode at a later time. They utilized the power stored in their emotional batteries and focused the energy to resolve problems in a positive a positive manner.
When making any changes the test comes to your commitment to make the changes over time. Like a New Year’s Eve resolution it is easy to backslide to behaviors that stifle your growth as a leader. It takes 28 days to make new neural connections in the brain that allow you to automatically behave in your new positive manner. But, it takes a life time of commitment to self-evaluate and ensure you are making the necessary changes that allow you to be the synergetic catalyst that makes a positive difference in the people around you.
You are only as good as you choose to be using the ABC method of leadership. Instead of looking at your followers or people you influence and look internally at what drives you to think and act the way you do. Then, you can make the changes that create change in your life that positively impact those of people around you.
I have never met anyone who didn’t want to make a difference with their lives. No impact at all, just coast through to the end. But what is stopping 2 billion people from having an amazing life and impacting everyone else to greater good? Many make excuses. Others simply say, “Life is too hard”. A small group will explain that they didn’t have the power to make changes; other people have all the power. So, are you also powerless? Did I mention excuses? To tap into your power and ability to change your life, your business, or anything else lets introduce you to the number 8 where your past and future merge into your present.
The number 8 represents the unfolding of your life in the present, past and future. Everything is congruent through two never ending circles with the only connection being the present. The bottom circle is your past from which you cannot hide. The top circle is your future which you have the power to influence every second of the day through thought, feeling, perspective values, and the processes used to bundle it all together to become: You.
When you understand the power and reality of the figure 8 you begin to understand how much control you do have over you own life and destiny. No more excuses; success and abundance or the continuation of your present life is in your own hands to shape and enjoy. Excuses begin when common wisdom that you have no control over the future is exacerbated by the ignorance that the past is always longer than the future. Through quantum physics we know that the past and future are different perspectives of the same thing. The figure 8 represents the unfurling of the eternal universe onto itself.
When you were a child the past loop appeared small and the future loop enormous. As you grew the past loop grew bigger and the future loop smaller. Truth is, the top and bottom loop are always exactly the same. They grow in proportion to each other as you grow and experience the universe. The future never exceeds the past. Well, let’s take a deeper look at the idea and change your perspectives for the better. You are linked to your past. Even your first seconds of life are still apart of the loop. As you move along the loop is every second you lived and what you did with it, lessons learned, passions, excuses, all coming together to converge at your present. You future starts with your present and moves forward. As you read this line you have added to your past, and anything you learn in the article adds to the potential of your future. You future is bases on your past and where you intended to go. It loops back around to your present. You decide how fast the 8 will expand. If you sit idle the 8 expands slowly. If you take control of you future, by adding new experiences to your present, and as they are experienced they go to your past, and then you are setting new experiences up for your future. Your 8 expands every quicker because you continually stoking the fuel of the universe. So how do you tap into the power of 8?
Start looking at the number 8 as equal halves. One side is not larger than the other. When one side expands the other will equally. If you are stuck in a rut your 8 is probably not expanding very much. When you see people flamboyantly enjoying their lives their 8 is rapidly expanding to accommodate their past and potential formations of their future. Let the universe expand by changing your thinking and trying new things out. Eat something different next time you are out. When you go to the book store get a different book than you normally wood. Whenever you try something new you build upon your past and your future equally. If you didn’t like something then the future will respond and he experience will not be offered again. When you look at your past, if you found taking on new experiences and challenges was exciting, fulfilling, or important to you development you will try to have similar experiences then your future. With this in mind, other similar experiences will come along as well. If you want a variety of experiences in your future then you must make an equal number of experiences to be a part of your past. Clearly, you can see how trying new ideas, thoughts, and activities, provides the blue print for your future. The key is present in the now to take advantage of the potential that the future provides to you.
If you want to take the concept even future simply fold the 8 in half. Then you see how the past and present are one through your perspective of the present. In order to make an impact on your own life and those around you simply tap into the power of the 8. Remember, if you want to make and impact you must first expand your future through expanding your past by actively living in the present.
“He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise”
“One step Ninja Leadership Training programs for $39.99. Call now and we will throw in a set of steak knives for free; just pay separate shipping and handling. At the end of the 4 hour video, you will be able to Ginsu your way through any leadership problems. When you walk into a room a soft light will shine down on you, and tranquil music will fill the air. You will instantly be able to ‘WOW’ people with your enlightenment.” You see commercials like these on television, usually on weekends, and during late night reruns of B-movies.
Well, I’m here to tell you, there is no one stop leadership training program in the world. Each program must be tailored to the needs of the student leader. A very few people are near the pinnacle as leaders and only need a little polishing. Some have no leadership skills and need an entire program. Most people in leadership positions already possess some level of competency as a leader. These are the people who truly need custom training programs to develop their leadership skills, without wasting time rehashing skills they already have.
A custom made leadership training program creates a higher rate of return for your training dollar. Custom training programs are just that, custom. They assess your current skill sets and create pathways to take you to the next level. However, to save money, you can still attend a large seminar and learn all sorts of leadership techniques that are not worth the price of admission. Its your call to make. Find a certified leadership trainer or call the 1-800 numbers for the instant enlightenment video with steak knives. That simple decision may truly gauge your Splash on the Matrix.
In case you didn’t realize it, and some people apparently didn’t, the Ninja Leadership Training was a parody to get my point across and not a real product.
How can social media help build your agencies brand? Organizational branding is a new concept for public safety. Every organization had a brand which encompasses more than its reputation. The organizations brand represents everything it values and how it operates. In your mind, picture the Texas Rangers, Virginia State Police, FBI and images automatically come to mind. The image may, or may not, be an accurate representation of the organization. Your organizations brand brings words to describe how your citizens see and feel about your officers and organization. Therefore, it is an accurate statement to say: You control your organizations’ brand, or you are relinquishing control to someone else. Social media can help you take ownership of your organization’s brand and increase your overall effectiveness and employee engagement.
To have an effective social media branding campaign your organization must be completely transparent. If your organization is misleading on how it operates or what it values, the negative impact can be insurmountable damaging. By being honest, a “This is who we are, warts and all” attitude, you can make the connections that develop an effective brand. The conversation started during your organization’s social media branding campaign can help shed light on areas that you need to strengthen or change. If your past had been difficult, but you made major changes, social media is a great platform to get your message out.
Now, let’s examine how social media can impact your brand in just two areas. As just mentioned, the first area is getting your message out. Before you can build your brand and share it through social media, you must truly know what your organization values. Does your agency focus on highway law enforcement, strict enforcement of laws over solving problems, community policing, zone policing, sector policing, or another traditional style? There are many more styles; however, each one of those listed has their own unique attributes. What works well in one community may not work well in another. When the style of policing fits the needs of the community, agency, and officers, a synergistic connection is created that improves the lives of all.
Congratulations. You created synergy, but does anyone outside of your region of the world know about your success? An active social media campaign can take you to the second level of organizational branding. Your website is your brochure to the world. Facebook, Twitter, and the others Social Media sites are your connectors that get your message out to your customers, also known as citizens, and the rest of the world. As your message goes out, you receive information from others back through the same Social Media pipeline. You may receive questions on the success of a particular program, or suggestions to make improvements. New South Wales Eye Watch Facebook program has been a great success and help build the organizations brand for outside the box thinking.
The second way an active social media branding campaign impacts your organization is who you attract, retain, and repel for employment. A study completed in 2010 revealed that 30% of public safety officers did not know a significant amount of the host organizations culture before being hired. Imagine the impact on engagement of a person who up-roots their family and moves several hundred miles to join your organization, only to find that the organization’s culture does not match their expectations or desires. The new employee’s engagement levels will drop immediately. Social media can prevent this by creating a realistic job preview of your organization. This will help ensure prospective employees have as much information about your organization as possible before applying. The statement has been made, “If we put the information on the web then no one will apply.” This is more of statement about the host organization than the impact of social media. Your organization may not be socially connected however, the officers are and they talk around the world. Not telling applicants up front about the culture has a significant impact on employee engagement, as well as fiscal impact on the community when officers give up and only perform the necessary requirements to keep their job. By not being honest, your organization builds an international brand as a place to avoid. Proactive organizations build a brand by being introspective and transparent creating a positive international image and become employer of choice.
It is imperative for an organization attempting to get its organizational brand out to strategically use Social Media to connect to its customers, employees, and prospective employees around the world. The brand is more than the reputation; it is a summation of what the organization values and foundation it rests upon. Social media makes the connections and creates the synergy that will allow your organization to continue to build on its success.
Negativity is a growing concern in the workplace. Many stressors in create concerns for management. The economy created a need to downsize companies, lay off employees, cut incentive packages, defer raises, and increase workloads for employees. These stressors created a concern for employee mental health, workplace violence, and negative attitudes. Negativity decreases employee performance, increases safety concerns, and costs the company in productivity.
The first step is to have a leader who is willing to identify and address this issue head on. A proactive leader stays in touch with line personnel and recognizes the early warning signs of negativity. Many times, we find that negativity is the result of a managerial decision, gossip, rumors, or even one bad apple in the workplace. Leaders must demonstrate a genuine concern for the employees wants and needs. Engagement at all levels to create a culture of caring within the workplace is important.
Social media is a marketing and branding tool for many departments. Many departments find social media plays an important part in preventing negativity within your agency. The key to progressively managing your image is paying attention to what your employees post in the social media arena. If you read blogs, websites, and other public social media venues, you can gain the needed edge. Internal feedback gained from suggestions, employee feedback in appraisals, and employee meetings is very beneficial. Utilizing employee feedback tools, like the 90 Degree North Model developed by LeadershipRVA, gives leaders information to facilitate change. This information will help you learn to identify the symptoms of negativity before its morale-busting consequences damage your workplace. It will also assist you in preventing and curing workplace negativity. Using social media to market and brand your organization is a positive step. Providing the public with immediate information about the news worthy events that employees and the company are doing to help the community and the environment will increase your public image.
Refocusing the workplace is the key to increasing performance when negativity has zapped your organization. Utilizing strategies to prevent negativity will benefit the whole organization. Nine rules to neutralize negativity are:
1. Lead by example. The moral and ethical character of the leadership will directly influence all employees.
2. Increase the ability for input at all levels. Allow employees to express concerns, make suggestions, develop ideas, and have ownership in the policies and procedures.
3. Provide responses to the employee concerns in a timely manner. Before the ripples in the pond disappear, a management response is important.
4. Treat people with fairness and consistency. Equality is important for employees. This transparency shows all employees that the department is doing the right thing.
5. Do not use the shotgun effect to address issues. Do not punish the whole organization for one mistake of one or a small group of employees.
6. Explain your actions, decisions, and new policies to all. This makes everyone feel included and important.
7. Give everyone access to training that will facilitate succession management and the ability to gain promotions. Educational opportunities can be a powerful tool to increase morale.
8. Engage employees to be a part of the strategic planning process and have input into the mission, vision, values, and goals of the agency. This can be an education in itself.
9. Develop a plan to review all programs. This gives employees input into changes.
“The Nine Rules to Neutralize Negativity” are merely tools to help prevent negativity and increase morale. Leaders must embrace criticism with an open mind and develop positive responses that build the organization. Put your leadership team to work by challenging them to create a culture within your organization that wipes out negativity and increases morale. Find the best practices and develop strategies to implement these practices in your workplace everyday.