You’re a Reflection of…

Recently read a short piece in Facebook that my good friend, Carole Anne Burchette posted…something to the effect of “When you’re in a relationship, you represent that person wherever you go. Your actions define the way you love them & how they love you.”

My reaction?

Totally agree AND…

“Same goes for EVERY relationship in life…at work, with friends, on a team, amongst your family, in church, at school, etc..”

It’s important to remember that while you’re, indeed, an individual & will often be “rated/graded” on your OWN actions & accomplishments, you’re truly a reflection of your team, your area, your organization & your company (and, in a larger sense, your industry).

Whether or not you want or intend to.

And whether or not you realize it.

You can be an individual contributor or even, a sole proprietor, but you’re always a member of something.

Part of a group of programmers or, to some, “those Systems people”. Techies.

Part of the community of small business owners.

A member of the leadership team, especially when viewed by people in other areas.

One of those “lucky people” fortunate enough to work for a top-notch company like Citi, USAA, HEB or a host of other highly-regarded firms.

What you do, how you act, what you say (and how you say it), the results you produce all have an impact, often a lasting one, on others.

And I’m not just referring to the quality & value of your work.

How you do stuff is, often times, just as important (and, sometimes, more important) as what you do.

You can do the smallest thing for someone, or even deliver “hard news”, and people will be accepting & pleased with the overall experience.

Conversely, even if you deliver some great news…

“We just had a fantastic quarter, but if we only…”

“Thanks for your help. However, you knew very well that…”

“You did a good  job on that case. Next time, though, I’d like you to…”

…you can leave people with a sour taste in their mouths.

Try to put yourselves in other people’s shoes, especially when it comes to your people, your customers & especially, your communications.

How will they perceive this communication? Will they actually understand these rather-technical instructions? Am I using too much jargon? Making too many assumptions?

Do I realize that my intent may not actually match my words, actions & manner in which I deliver them?

Do they REALLY realize how much I care for them, worry about them, support them or do I simply assume that they “must know that, right?”.

How do junior members of the organization…who don’t know a damned thing about me, at least not, on a first-hand basis…view me?

What example am I setting about how employees treat others around me?

Am I an approachable leader?

How are they gonna see others…other managers, other peers, other support personnel, other whatevers…after they’ve experienced me?

In no way, shape or form am I suggesting that you be a phony or plastic.

That crap NEVER works!

(Note: I did, indeed, work for a couple of organizations who spent WAY, WAY TOO MUCH time, energy & resources trying to LOOK good rather than fanatically focusing on actually DOING good!

“Psssst, when you concentrate solely on DOING good, you’ll find that the “looking good” part just happens naturally!”

No need for any creative accounting, glossy presentations or manipulation of the facts to make things appear way better than they really are.

Is it better to have 8% attrition (and exceed your target ceiling of 7.5%) – – OR – – come in at 18% & but stay below the 20% max mar???

I know what most people’ll say, but that’s easy to do when you set, and constantly adjust, your own standards. (the latter)

Give me the place that actually does better bottom line! (the former)

Yes, I was the king of putting a positive spin on stuff, but I also knew when people were simply shoveling shit my way!)

*returns to story…”That crap NEVER works!”*

On the other hand, “being yourself” is great…if & only when you’re projecting the right image.

That you’re a good person.

That you have solid values.

That you stand for certain things.

Yes, be yourself, but ensure that you’re happy with the “self”!

You’ll unknowingly impact WAAAAAAY more people than you ever imagined.

When you take the time to walk over to Josie & say, “Thanks so much! I really appreciated your help!”, all her work neighbors are gonna notice & she’ll tell others as well.

But God forbid if you come down hard or unjustly on someone in public (unless you specifically intend on doing so), they’ll tell 10 times as many people!

And when you’re a leader, your every word & action will get amplified a thousand times…often, outside your immediate area as well.

Be aware.

Ask others for their opinion of your style.

Request that HR conduct a “climate review” of your area. (They’ll meet confidentially with your staff, discuss various topics & report general findings back to you, without any specificity whatsoever as to who said what. Unless the feeling was unanimous, you’ll never really know.)

Ask for a 360° year-end review of your performance…from your peers, subordinates, immediate/matrixed bosses, internal customers, external customers, etc..

HR should help you by conducting the actual surveys & preparing the results/findings. You name as many as 10-12 people in each category of respondents & they’ll secretly select those (up to 4 per category) people to actually complete the survey.

You’ll find this effort to be incredibly informative & enormously beneficial!

Read every single result from your annual employee satisfaction survey (no, you won’t ever be able to see individual surveys, and if your team has less than 6 people who responded, you won’t see your individual team’s results, either, but the next larger group of which you’re a member instead), every anonymous comment (HR or the vendor will never release names), every analysis comparing “your team’s” results vs. prior periods, vs. other teams, vs. organization results, vs. company results.

Same goes for free-form comments provided in customer satisfaction surveys.

Usually, ONLY people who are extremely satisfied or extremely dissatisfied will take the time to write down comments. They do so as they have “something important” to tell you…and you need to be there to hear it!

Take each & every bit of feedback…formal or otherwise, good or bad, well thought out or just emotional…to heart.

Exit interviews are also great sources of information as many people could care less about burning bridges & will provide raw, unfiltered feedback.

Get yourself a mentor, actually, more than one & while you’re trying to learn from them (try to pick the best from each person as everyone has their weaknesses), ask them for feedback on you, how they perceive you, what they’ve heard from others.

I never, ever bemoaned any one of my people for making a bad, or the wrong, decision…only if it was an uninformed decision.

If they didn’t do their best to first gather the applicable information in other to make an intelligent decision.

BTW, an “intelligent decision” & the “right decision” are not necessarily synonymous. Intelligent decisions require preparation.

The right decisions?

Could be the result of proper preparation…or luck…or a change in certain factors or circumstances along the way…or an act of God…or someone else along the line acting unexpectedly or differently.

Unfortunately, those can also be the same factors resulting in a poor, or bad, decision.

It’s all about going with the odds.

*swallows yet another pill designed to keep me from going off on a tangent*


*tosses the bottle into the garbage*

*grins knowingly*

Tough trying to keep you guys entertained.

Pls have yourself a wonderful day!

And as always, thank you so very much for listening!

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