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I’m A Practical Person! Really!

Have you come across people who say things like that? They claim to be “practical” and “hands-on” people who “get things done”. Now, if only those people in charge of the planning would get their act together and produce plans that actually work instead of having to be made to work!

This seems to be a common sentiment. What’s your take on it? I think it’s because thinking and planning is really very hard work, so nobody wants to do it. Are you aware that skull sweat is actually tougher going than physical sweat? Why do you think so many people choose to just stay on in a stable and secure job that doesn’t challenge them to rise up and grow by the day?

Do you have such people in your outfit? What do you do about them? If all you want is a warm body doing the leg work, fine. And if you want to be someone who is known as a people developer, you might like to do these:

Demonstrate that you are familiarizing yourself with what they actually do

No one leader would be able to be great at every aspect of a business, but every leader worth their medium-sized bucks would be active at getting better at actually doing those jobs, or at least become very familiar with them. This demonstrates that you actually care about how your people are coping. They don’t expect you to be the expert at everything, but it certainly helps to know that you are at least getting to know what they experience on the job! Going out on delivery with your driver helps you get back in touch with how to get deliveries done more effectively. Your driver would certainly appreciate you bouncing ideas off him. Just don’t be dogmatic about it. Plus, you might get ideas on how to become better in other aspects of the business by experiencing how your driver does his thing, too! It’s not a one-way street!

Share “Big Picture” perspectives. A little at a time. A layer at a time.

Map overlayIt is very assuring for staff to know that you the Boss is willing to share “Boss secrets” with them in ways that they can understand and in ways which they know will help them do their jobs better. There is great satisfaction to be had just watching the eyes of your staff light up with an “Aha!” after you share some helpful insights with them. THEN get out of their way! That’s sharing a little at a time. You also need to share the “Big Picture” perspectives layer by layer. What that means is letting them know what the “Big Picture” looks like with all the detail summarized in simple form. As time goes by, you can share that “Big Picture” layer with more and more detail as appropriate. Just think about how you use dashboards. Don’t you just love the ones that are able to present different aspects of the data using different overlays? Same thing. Your staff are smarter than you think! They’ll catch it and run with it!

Have lunches or coffee breaks with one or a few of your staff

If your staff welcome this, you are well on your way to becoming a great place to work. That also means increased value and therefore profits. During these lunches and coffee breaks, don’t just talk about work, talk about whatever comes to mind or is currently in the news, etc. You’d be surprised how insights for bettering your business somehow jump out of the water at such informal sessions!

Let us know how putting those into practice goes for you! Go ahead, be practical!

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