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    Leadership & Team Advisor

    Improving Leadership ROI through daily leadership and team development practices. Mark McCatty, Inc - Leadership & Team Advisor

    Wow! Where Did the Time Go?

    By Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

    When I was a kid, my only concern was with being able to play a little bit longer. Was it the same for you? Then, as we grew older our focus was to extend our curfew a little while longer. Later, we begin thinking about our future, career, our family and life goals. Suddenly, you say to yourself, “Another year already! Where did the time go?” And you find yourself beginning to pay more attention to commercials when they talk about relieving pain and living longer.

    There are many reasons why people look back over their long – or short – life and feel like they have lost time. Time is easy to waste and there are a lot of reasons why this wastefulness happens. My favorite “reason” for lost time goes back to the story of the two farmers talking together. One farmer says to the other, “Hey, can I borrow your axe? I need to chop some trees.” The second farmer responds with a no because he’s making soup. Puzzled, the first farmer wonders out loud what making soup has to do with loaning out the axe. “Nothing,” the second farmer explains, “One excuse is as good as another.” Bottom line, it doesn’t matter how time passed so quickly without positive results. Any reason [excuse] will suffice.

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    Men Can Do Laundry; Dealing with Poor Performance

    By Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

    How many times have you heard a complaint about what somebody did wrong? The expected performance was poor. Frequently, that’s an issue that has been brought to me. The situations are various but the bottom line is the same; they did me wrong. I came across this interesting statistic that illustrates the point well.

    Per recent survey results; * Men do 29% of laundry each week. Only 7% of women trust their husbands to do it correctly.

    There is an obvious distrust from the clear majority of the wives who took part in this survey about their husband’s ability to safely handle the laundry tasks. I believe the tasks for maintaining the household should be a shared responsibility. I think that most women would agree that all household tasks should be shared. I would assume that they would not want to take on the laundry tasks alone. I further imagine that more than the small minority of men identified in the survey would, in fact, want to assist their partner by helping with the laundry more.

    Think of the traditional approach of pointing out, very clearly, what a sorry job was done when the the laundry was prepared.

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    Getting Teams Moving

    I was called in to work with an existing team. This team was a highly-motivated team working in a manufacturing environment. The management structure wanted teams. Well, they wanted people to take accountability and manage the process. So, management supported the team effort. And the hourly employees were hired on with the expectation that they would be working in teams to manage their daily production [and related] activities. The problem was that…well, there was little observable productivity coming from these teams.

    John Maxwell, in his book on the laws of leadership, talks about the law of The Big Mo – Momentum is a leader’s best friend. All leaders will face a challenge when they try to start [or change] a process. No matter how much everyone wants to change, there are natural drivers against change. We are plagued with inertia.

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    The Human Cost of Lack of Engagement

    Studies tell us that fully 50% of employees today are not engaged at work. These employees do just enough to avoid discipline. And an additional 1 in 5 are so unengaged that they have become cynical and negative about their work. There is a significant cost to businesses with only around 1/3 of the employees engaged and motivated at work.

    Beyond the more obvious costs of lost production, lower quality, and dissatisfied customers there is also a human cost. There is a social impact from low engagement work environments that reach far beyond the balance sheet. There is a cost that can never be recovered.

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    Who is Affected by Today's Technologies

    By Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

    I recently promoted last year's Live2Lead leader event in my home town. The Live2Lead event was viewed by thousands around the globe. Along with John C. Maxwell, Simon Sinek was one of the key presenters and he was highly appreciated for his presentation. Simon Sinek has been viewed by thousands talking about the challenge of technology for our younger generations. He talks about the addictive effect that using technology provides and how it destroys the ability to develop positive relationships.

    There is a lot of talk about the challenge that younger people face because of dealing with technology. Along with the talk of the problem younger folks have with their addition to technology is the [sometimes] disgust that is expressed with the impact this dependence on technology has on those who live and work with this younger generation.

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    But let's be real about the issue with technology.

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    The Sound of Silence in a Culture

    by Mark McCatty, Mark McCatty, Inc. Leadership Results Through People

    Company culture represents the values that are elevated within the organization. It’s how things are done. A healthy culture is robust and full of ideas and exchanges. A healthy culture is a noisy place; Full of positive activity. This does not mean that everyone is always in agreement. It does mean that everyone knows full well where everyone else stands and that they respect the positions that others have taken even if that position differs from their own.

     

    The “happiest companies” [What Happy Companies Know] have warm corporate cultures, modest, sincere leaders and flexible, engaged employees. Positive companies have an invigorated company culture where there is an expectation and appreciation for true honesty. As Bill Gates says, “Bad news must travel fast.” Microsoft employees are encouraged to speak their minds even if they must deliver bad news.

     

     

     

    Culture Trumps Strategy

    The sound of silence can mean discord and disconnection. You know what it’s like when you walk into a room that immediately goes quiet. It is not a good sign when the breakroom buzz goes still when the manager enters. Therefore, many managers tend to shy away from employee meeting areas. They may say that they “want to give the employees their space.” This is the same management who believe that they cannot be friends with the staff; no fraternization.  They do not understand the leadership power of their ability to connect with other people.

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    SCRUM Team Leaders Learn from Failure

    by Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor
    “To err is human.” The reality is that humans err. We all make mistakes. Some errors go by hardly noticed while other errors people make cause catastrophic consequences. So, the issue is not whether errors will occur; they will. The issue is what do we do with the tendency to make mistakes, and how do we benefit when they occur. There are some pretty interesting results from research about why we make these annoying errors. Some of the more commonly known causes of errors are:

    ·         Stress. Mental stress increases as familiarity the decreases. When under stress we tend to operate emotionally and not cognitively.

    ·         Fatigue. Fatigue is affected by on-the-job demands, and off-the-job life style. Trying to do complex tasks while recovering from a late night out can create errors.

    ·         Difficulty seeing one’s own error. We all think that what we do is good. People may fail to detect abnormalities when working closely to a task, especially when preoccupied. How many times has someone pointed out a needed edit [to a document] that you failed to see?

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    Transformational Leadership in the USMC

    by, Mark McCatty, SAMC, SCT.

    Organizations exist and survive because of the good people within the organization. There are those in leadership who can create a vision and inspire, while others catch the vision and provide their part through person effort. But all involved are adding by using their strengths and willingly contributing their abilities to the vision.

    Every organizational leader desires to have a followership that is committed to, above all else, providing their unique set of strengths, and their discretionary effort to getting the job done. Having this type of followership does not guarantee that things will be easier, only that goals would be more fully realized through the committed effort of all those involved. Many hands make the load light.

    What I learned at Parris Island

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    The GIFTS of Great Leadership

    by Mark McCatty, of Mark McCatty, Inc. Mark is a Leadership & Team Advisor. Helping organizations get results through people.

    I have been asked to re-post this. It’s that time of year…

    GREAT LEADERS BRING GREAT GIFTS
    At this time of year with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, our thoughts turn to gift giving. But, gifts aren’t just for family members.  Great leaders bring GIFTS to their organizations, too! A leader cares about the employees in his or her organization and recognizes their contribution.  As a result, the leader has a positive impact on the organization and its people. The GIFTS a great leader brings are:

    • Goals
    • Inspiration
    • Focus
    • Teamwork
    • Success

    Another GIFT great leaders can bring to their organization is their leadership style.

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    What Value Do You Bring?

    By Mark McCatty, SAMC, SCT

    I was humbled by a compliment I received when I was visiting a client’s office. When I walked in I was greeted by several of the team members. As I was leaving one of them said that they were glad I stopped by. They continued to explain that they feel a welcome calmness come over the office whenever I am there. It stopped me cold. Wow! That’s one of the best complements I have ever received.

    It reminded me of the book by Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown, Multipliers; How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter. [http://www.getabstract.com/ShowAbstract.do?dataId=13031.]  In the book they describe the two dominate types of leaders in organizations today; Diminishers & Multipliers. Diminishers sap people’s energy while leaders who act as Multipliers magnify and extend the results of those around them.

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    Managers, Let Your Team Work

    Time management or lack thereof, is a frequent complaint that many managers have of their team members. These managers frequently say things like “they don’t complete their work on time”, or “they always wait until it nearly becomes a crisis to get things finished”. The manager often throws around words like lazy and procrastinator when describing their people.

    What I find, in many cases, is not a situation where time is not well managed. Occasionally, I do see a case of deliberate procrastination or lazy work ethic. But this is the general exception and not the rule. Rather, most times I find that priorities are not clearly understood. In fact, many managers create ADT [Attention Deficient Trait] characteristics in the team members.

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    Quickest Rate of Change

    By, Mark McCatty

    There are two types of change that organizations deal with. The two types of change are planned change and emergent change. Planned change is top-down and mainly driven by management. While emergent change is bottom-up and comes mostly from employee levels.

    Planned change is compelled by a business need that the management structure observes. The desire of management is that those responsible for implementing the change will understand, accept, and be fully devoted to carry-out the change initiative.

    Emergent change is driven from lower in the organization. Emergent change, at this level, is driven by those lower in the organization while the change needs to be supported by those higher in the organization. Support from those at the top is needed because it’s those individuals that have the authority and capability to support the emergent change effort – or quickly kill it.

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    Goals for a Self-Organizing SCRUM Team

    By, Mark McCatty

    An important SCRUM principle is the principle of self-organizing team. As opposed to traditional command-and-control style of management, SCRUM utilizes teams more fully. SCRUM offers that today’s workers have much more to offer than just their technical expertise and that the team can deliver greater value when self-organized. By making these teams cross-functional they have the ability to handle all the work tasks within their areas of responsibility. By arranging the teams into self-organized units the teams have the ability to be flexible to respond to obstacles quickly.

    There are very measurable team characteristics for determining effectively self-organized teams. These characteristics are:

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    Improve Your Leadership ROI

    Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

    Leadership is influence.

    Leadership Return on Investment reflects the amount of value that a leader generates through their leadership efforts. Leaders are judged by the results they obtain. Leaders are influencers and have the power to generate change. The hard truth is that a manager who is unable to effectively create desired change improvements through the people in their area is judged to be an ineffective leader. Remember: that leadership results come through people.

    Creating change is always a challenge. People go through predictable stages when faced with the possibility of having to change. These cycles of change have been compared to the grieving cycles. When people are presented with the need to change, when the change is dictated to them, they will go through a stage of initially denying the need for the change. Then they may move to resisting the change.

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    Characteristics of Successful SCRUM Teams

    by Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor

    What makes SCRUM so effective as a project methodology is its team aspect. Projects fail, not for lack of process. Rather failure occurs in projects because of a disconnect in the social environment.There are specific characteristics that high performing SCRUM teams have in common.

    1. The team is cross-functional. Cross-functional teams are multi-disciplined. They can bring a holistic context to their effort. Sometimes this diversity creates slightly longer delivery times than the functional teams. But this loss of efficiency is covered by the significant increase in effectiveness. Cross-functional SCRUM teams deliver a better, higher quality end product.
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    Good Conversations Lead to Trusted Relationships

    Leadership is influence. Leaders influence others to work together to accomplish shared goals. Effective communication is an operational means of influence. By sharing ideas, discussing concepts, and seeking common values to align around, leaders are able to utilize their influence to obtain mutually beneficial results.

    True leaders understand the value and influence that come from having strong connections to others through positive conversations. Good conversations lead to trusting relationships. Having a trusted relationship is critical to a leader’s ability to influence. Challenges that organizations face, and the obstacles to successful outcomes are frequently found – not in the technical environments – but in the social environments. The social environment is where the value of affirmative connections yields positive results.

    Conversations Create Connections

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    Practices of Authentic Leadership

    By, Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor with Mark McCatty, Inc. Authentic leadership describes the character and intentions of the leader. These traits compel the leader to work to remove obstacles – not impede progress – for those who trying to accomplish the vision. They engender feelings of comfort and competence from those that are lead. These leaders help others see what is possible.

    Leaders that lead intentionally and with authenticity have a sense of purpose that extends beyond their own person benefits. These leaders build positive relationships and connect with others. They lead from their heart and operate with the right motives. They have a clear understanding of their values and they discipline themselves to hold to these values.

    Sense of Purpose

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    A Leader's Role in a Healthy Organization

    As was stated in a previous post – An organization that sustains success is one that has 2 critical elements. The organization is smart and it is healthy.

    The leadership of an organization has four primary responsibilities regarding the development of organizational health; the ability of the organization to grow, and sustain that growth. Those four responsibilities for organizational leaders are: Inspire; Innovate; Collaborate; and Execute.

    It is not the leader’s role to fulfill each of these responsibilities personally. Rather, the leader must develop a climate that nurtures and encourages these characteristics in the culture of the organization.

    To inspire the leader must work to motivate and excite others to take action for common purpose, model positive leadership by treating others with respect, and by coaching and developing others. To innovate the leader must generate and support innovative ideas, encourages calculated risk-taking, and foster and encourage innovation. For collaboration a leader must act for the good of the organization, collaborate with others across the organization, and be a team player. To execute the leader must possess an orientation for results and promote the health of the organization.

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    SCRUM Can Get it Done

    What is the SCRUM Methodology?

    SCRUM is a popular agile methodology that helps organizations manage a project faster and more effectively. SCRUM is sometimes referred to as agile project management because it provides an adaptive, flexible framework designed to deliver working products in incremental steps throughout the project.

    The project is divided into a series of concentrated work cycles, called “sprints,” in which the project team works on a set of features from idea to implementation; these features are then integrated into the developing project.

    Why SCRUM Works

    Although SCRUM is often used to deliver software, the agile SCRUM framework is structured in such a way that it provides effective results within all projects and industries.

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    The Challenge for Change Remains the Same

    I was speaking with a group of non-profit leaders recently and we had a very interesting conversation about organizational change. From our discussions I learned that non-profit organizations have the very same struggles that other organizations have. These leaders shared some frustration with the fact that there is some hesitation to accept and adopt to change, even among those we would call engaged employees. This is the same frustrations I’ve heard for years  from leaders in manufacturing, financial institutions, and higher education/university work environments.

    There are two types of change that organizations deal with. The two types of change are planned change and emergent change. Planned change is top-down and mainly driven by management. While emergent change is bottom-up and comes mostly from employee levels.

    Planned change is compelled by a business need that the management structure observes. The management group decides that a change is required to support business values. These business values may be related to safety, productivity, customer satisfaction, quality, or budget/profit. The expectation is that the decided change must be implemented in order to achieve the desired positive outcome goals for the organization. The desire of management is that those responsible for implementing the change will understand, accept, and be fully devoted to carry-out the change initiative.

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    As a leadership and team advisor, I have helped numerous organizations, through speaker presentations, group training, and individual coaching, to meet the challenge of creating engaging and purposeful work environments. 

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