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3 Thoughts towards being innovative

Innovative ~ in·no·va·tive [ˈinəˌvādiv]

Adjective (of a product, idea, etc.) featuring new methods; advanced and original: innovative designs

Innovation requires white space

When your mind is quiet, the best ideas will come to the surface. “when we quiet the mind through contemplative practices such as meditation, we eventually discover that awareness or consciousness exists beyond it.” (Jan Birchfield, 2013)

While this doesn’t necessarily mean, you have sit in a corner and contemplate your navel (although that also works) it suggests that, through common practices that allow our minds a break from the daily cacophony our subconscious to open and allow new thoughts forward.

 

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Innovation requires energy

When you think of people who are innovative, lack of exuberance is generally not associated with them.  People like Richard Branson or Tony Robbins are powerhouses of eRownergy.  Going to the gym is not enough, it requires a commitment to self that includes, basically, taking care of yourself; “The corporate athlete doesn’t build a strong physical foundation by exercise alone, of course. Good sleeping and eating rituals are integral to effective energy management.” (Jim Loehr, 2001)

Energy doesn’t dissipate, it only becomes something else.  So, with this in mind, it only makes sense to produce positive energy, starting with yourself, and put it out there.

 

 

Innovation requires learning

Warren Buffet’s partner, Charlie Munger said of his partner, “If you watched Warren Buffett with a time clock, I would say half of all the time he spends is just sitting on his ass and reading. And a big chunk of the rest of the time is spent talking on the phone or personally with people he trusts.” (Wu, 2014)  It is said Buffet read over 500 pages per week and, to this end, he has credited his success to that voracious reading.WP_20141230_004 3

With today’s technology ‘reading’ can be sought via many ways.  Whether through podcasts or newspapers that have an .mp3 function to audiobooks, there is not excuse to not have a bias-to-learn attitude.

 

Works Cited
Jan Birchfield, P. (2013, Jan 29). The Huffington Post: Blog. Retrieved from huffingtonpost.com: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jan-birchfield-phd/business-innovation_b_2563774.html
Jim Loehr, T. S. (2001, Jan). The Making of a Corporate Athlete. Harvard Business Review.
Wu, G. (2014, Oct 16). Gary Wu Personal Development. Retrieved from garywu.next: http://www.garywu.net/influential-people-importance-reading/

 

— AFTER THE CREDIT SCENE —

Innovation requires listening

True connection comes from real connections and thankfulness.  No room here for false platitudes, take time and actively listen to what’s going on around you.  Whether in meetings or at home, listen to learn

END OF THE YEAR COFFEE…A REDUX

Just over a year ago I wrote about having that Your End Of The Year Coffee With… Yourself.  Basically, my thoughts were about putting some time aside to reflect, review and renew what you have just gone through, how it aligned with your goals and what changes (if anything) over the next year you want to make.

Now’s the time

This time of year is good to mull over those thoughts and take stock in your activities.  I still believe in taking out a piece of paper and writing headlines along the top in order to help guide yourself.  Along with this, it’s also time to be disruptive to yourself.  No, I don’t mean, “wind-sprints- ‘till-you-drop.” Ask some additional questions to help pull out some constructively disruptive ideas as they could lead to both creative and innovative pathways.

“The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.”

 Theodore Roosevelt

Disorderly for Goodness’ Sake

I’m a fan of #TimFerriss and while I don’t subscribe to everything he does, I follow most of his stuff.  Ferriss believes in taking time for self-reflection and openly thinking about ways to mix things up.  If you want some additional motivation, listen to this recent podcast from the polymath on being a better version of you.

While you are at it, brainstorm about how to mix up your own environment (work or personal) by jotting down the first ten things that come into your mind if asked, “How could I positively disrupt my pattern over the next three months?” or (as Ferriss suggests), “If I needed to accomplish [all] my goals in the next six months, what would I need to focus on?”  If you stop and think about the last bit there for a second… it’s kind of powerful and worth repeating; If you had to get it all done in six months…. what do you need to focus on, right now, to set up the win?

The Forest and the Trees

Why should someone do this?  Because looking over the master plan and ensuring you’re still on course helps you see your goals and take stock in those things you are doing right.  When reflecting upon conducting warfare President Dwight B. Eisenhower once mused, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”  By planning, we make it easier to stay of course when random acts of the universe come to mix things up…and you know they will.

 

“Every time I find myself stressed out, it’s because I do things primarily driven by growth.”

Tim Ferriss

 

As for me, this year I was fortunate enough to get away and discover some white space this last week. With no electronics (except for the ever-present smart phone for emergencies) or distractions, I had a few days of reading, reflecting and note taking.  And yes, I also found some quiet time for my own cup of coffee with myself…and a friend.

jack

 

Note: Last year several people wrote back to me and shared their own thoughts after having that cup o’ joe with themselves and (more importantly) what they discovered.    Let me know how yours goes too.

Keep your head down

 

How to level up….easily…

Riyadh 2010 (24)It’s 2230 hours somewhere in East Asia. The principal has finally gone to sleep and you have put her chief of staff to bed, as well as the two folks from the communications division that tagged along on the trip.  You’re in your room mulling over the schedule for the next day because the local branch of the company has made some changes to the schedule and the boss approved.  Satisfied that you have an understanding, you decide to get some sleep.  As you get ready for bed, you hear something going on outside the window, most likely down in the entryway. You think “Radio” but then realized they are not allowed in this country for foreign teams. Texting your partner, they indicate they are trying to get your local support on the phone.

Quickly running options, you say, “Get the cars around to the side checkpoint and call me back in 5 minutes.” Pulling on your polo and grabbing your small bugout bag the hotel phones rings. It’s the principal. She wants to know if your tracking all this. You calmingly state you are and that she needs to stay put, you’re coming to her. She asks about the staff. You say they should be in their rooms and she replies the last thing they told her was that they were going to the lobby bar for a nightcap. She wants you to organize everyone into her suite and hangs up the phone. As you’re moving you pick up the cell and call your #2 thinking, this detail just got a lot more complex…

What do you do? How would you plan? What contingencies are running through your mind? Are there any locals you can call? What’s my network like? Can we make it to our safe zone? Why did they go get a nightcap when you told them not to?

IPSB III

Understanding the experiences from incidents and trials others have had helps us plan our own details and future contingencies.  The aim of the International Protective Security Board (IPSB) is to spark these types of exchanges thru education and networking activities. Building a positive and deeply rich extended group of contacts is helpful. At times, I have needed everything from language support on a person of interest who popped up (long story) to suddenly having to change out an entire local provider at the last minute (more long stories).

Come meet up with other fellow practitioners and share stories, break bread, extend friendships and engage in new professional contacts. We are going to have a full range of speakers and will be covering a wide range of issues, from tactical to the strategic.  I’m personally excited to see the new tac-talks that are coming.

This is an event by practitioners, for practitioners. It doesn’t matter what school or group you came or work with… this is our industry’s time to come together. Mount up and come be part of the conversation this December 2nd and 3rd in Vegas!

 TO INCREASE ACUMEN, CLICK HERE!

 

~Chuck Randolph

July 2016

Priorities and Requirements: a Primer for Leaders

Show up. Chat with co-workers. Perform tasks. Respond to emails. Work on a Project X, Y or Z. Make Phone calls. Attend to tasks. Have a cup of coffee. Scan internet. Put it to bed…wake up, rinse and repeat.

Every day, people everywhere perform and repeat this pattern, or something similar to this.  It’s not a bad thing.  Come in, do work, socialize a bit, eat, do more things and then call it a day.  Every once-in-a-while things get taken home or the occasional early/late meeting is attended to account for an international colleague.  Generally, we know this as work…  and it is, for most. – It is a requirement.

Riyadh 2010 (24)

contemplate your team’s priorities.

 

You…you, however, are a leader.  Those tactical things I just referred to as “requirements,” they are items we are expected to perform and they make up the reason that we were brought on in the first place.  Ensuring mission planning is done, making sure we have met our weekly plans, attending meetings and reporting out on activity, etc. etc.  These are activities that, while a major motion for a lot of our team, make up one part of what we as managers (or leaders) must execute on.

Mentoring, thinking, tasking, tracking, advising, spending time and strategizing…these are activities which drive us as leaders.  They are the things we need to get done in order to move our organization forward.

They map to larger ideals like:

  • Culture Change
    • Reinforce a climate of communications, collaboration and innovation that creates a “bias-for-action”
  • Knowledge Management
    • Establish an environment to capture/refine/share organizational knowledge
  • Strategic Business Planning
    • Thoughtful, deliberate, timely and cost-effective decisions
  • Cross-Functional Alignment  
    • Improve overall efficiency through coordination and synchronization

It’s daunting.  When we were hired to be an agent or analyst it was fairly simple to show up, do the list, move on to the next item and check that block…MAKE A DOUGHNUT.  Now we have to do that and more… MANAGE AN EXPERIENCE.  It’s because we have a higher sense of responsibility to feed, manage and take care of this beast that we own. –  It is our priority.

Former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer once said, “If you’re going to do a job… do a job.”  Simply put, he was explaining to be a part of something, you need to be all in.  You need to give of and beyond yourself by… doing the deep work.

That’s the thing, though.  What is my j-o-b?  Your job is to help conceive strategy, be thoughtful and deliberate, to understand your line of effort, listen and, above all else, take care of your people.  After all, they are the ones fulfilling the requirements as we work on our organization’s main priorities.

Bodyguards and Functional Fitness: Why practitioners should care about how they move

Let’s step away from the strategic for a moment and discuss a base level issue which affects everything we do… health and fitness. Realizing many may have already decided to “swipe left” and move on to another spot, I’m asking you give 3-5 minutes.

kbell

“In all forms of strategy, it is necessary to maintain the combat stance in everyday life and to make your everyday stance your combat stance. You must research this well.” – Miyamoto Musashi

When you boil it down, practitioners lives’ can be pretty mundane with occasional boughs of adrenal rushes brought on by unknown risks or complex problems manifesting in the most unexpected moments. Not ever having our heart rate up around the 175 beats and trying to perform means in an actual situation our cognizant senses will begin to give way to basic muscle movements. We are told, from day one to “keep it on a swivel” and to cherish mottos like the US Coast Guard’s, “semper paratus.” A bodyguard is made to; plan-and-wait-and-go-and-wait-and-go-really-fast-and-wait, well you get the picture. Between the waiting and going, are periods of foraging for food and trying to find some moments to either energize or get some rest. Easily sustainable for a short amount of time, but over the long haul, the toll is felt. Keeping your health up often becomes a, “if I get to it.”

What do we mean…fitness?

When I say fitness, I’m not talking about working out to star in the next Expendables, here. What we need to understand is training and health for the daily rigors of life and the job or a functional fitness. The former thought is both untenable and not germane to the job of protection.

So, with this idea of a functional fitness what is it that Close Protection Agents do on a routine basis? Top of mind – but not limited to is:

  • Stand (Halls and walls people!!)
  • Sit (Surveillance Detection anyone?!?!?!)
  • Lift/Hold (Heavy-ish) Objects (ever put your buddies gear or a starlet’s luggage in the rig)
  • Sprint (with a principal’s briefcase or managing the designate through a spontaneous riot)
  • Jog (anyone who has ever worked with a principal who is a runner just groaned)

While I’m certain we could come up with many more basic ideas of what we do (some could be specific to your particular detail) we can agree these are basic elements that make up or job ~ hell, they look like a lot of other jobs, too.

CHR DC

Make it an adventure

Several years ago, my team performed an experiment; we decided it was time to “re-learn” how to work out. Many in the group being former military, the observation being what instruction we received may have been arguably good for [soldier X] it was not necessarily a good for our jobs in close protection, ages (yup, said it) and overall lifestyle. As a result, we arranged training through a local CrossFit gym (aka a box) to learn/re-learn how to do functional lifting, cardiovascular and functional routines. For the next three months, the majority of the team went to a weekly class worked out between the instructor and our team. While there was CrossFit type activities involved, we were clear our goal was on learning the right way as opposed to the rigorous workout of the day (WODs) associated with this style of fitness.  Over the weeks and as we progressed, this idea of functional fitness really became highlighted as the way forward.

It’s about getting strong, durable, and relentless in simple, old-school ways that a man can train, test, and measure.” – Daniel Duane “Everything You Know About Fitness Is A Lie

Put the F(itness) in Function

Putting together a personal program which supports the primary aspects of our job is key. Most would suggest you always start with a baseline that begins with working with your doctor to understand where you stand. I’ll leave that to you and hope you choose a medical practitioner who understands your job and is a forward leaner when it comes to things like fitness and nutrition. Let’s assume you do this already; how do you get towards a routine that supports the function?

Our above list suggests we need to have a program that allows us to lift, pull, and perform at a decent cardiovascular level and sprint. Basically, a routine that encompasses:

  • [Weight] Lifting / Strength Training (Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength)
  • Plyometric Activities (Jump around…Jump around!!!)
  • Stretching (Namaste, people!)
  • Cardiovascular (the Slog)
  • High Intensity Training (intervals, sprints, breathing hard activities)

Make your routine about these things. I would suggest if you’re heading into the gym and the only thing you’re pumping out is a massive chest and biceps, try getting on a treadmill and running for 45 minutes – better yet – go outside! Conversely, if you are the marathoner… get into the gym and focus on some deadlifts or kettlebell swings. And both of you should incorporate some pull-ups, step ups or box-jumps.

My point being, examine where you are and what you’re trying to get out of it for the job. Take your ego out of the picture and look at it from a strict “I need to do ____ to do this job.”

While I remain a fan of the spirit of CrossFit, it’s important to note there should be a line (albeit thin) between the two terms. CrossFit has grown into a pretty massive industry. And while I think these athletes are amazing, functional fitness remains a very base level philosophy to me, wherein the executive protection industry is concerned. They are mutual, but I do not believe the two are exclusively so. In fact many functional type fitness efforts like movnat (Moving Naturally) or Tactfit (Tactical Fitness) are also beginning to make their presence known as well as the Phenom that has become Tony Horton’s P90X workouts.

Other Factors worth exploring

Eating Habit

This is probably the most important factor in maintaining your health (especially on the road). So many things written on this subject. Vinnie Tortorich’s idea of “No Sugar No Grain” is a good place to start if you have nowhere else to go. Another concept worth exploring is the free ranging “Paleo movement wherein eating “real foods” and not shirking off of protein is concerned. While I am not a doctor nor a dietician we all know in the middle of the night you sometimes have limited choices to refuel and grab three hours of sleep before you have to get back at it.  Honestly, if we know this is going to happen, we should plan for it. In the end, a little discipline and moderation won’t fail you.

Mobility

A rapidly growing trend it reminds us that agents are athletes in our own right. While we aren’t going to making jump shots or running down the guy making a play for home plate, it doesn’t take a lot to imagine scenarios in which we must be able to move in a non-linear fashion. This requires we are limber and ready to explode those muscles. Also, we need the ability to keep moving after the moment and adrenaline have pumped out of our system while dealing with the rigors that the halls-and-walls routine takes on our bodies.

Sleep

You’re laughing. I know it. More and more this idea of, as Tony Schwartz coined in The Power of Full Engagement, “energy management.” Your plan should include getting some down time. Even during a long detail, understanding when to shut off all the non-essentials to the detail and focus on relaxing and re-energizing is as important (maybe more so) than working out. Lack of sleep (over a period of time) does all kinds of things to you and has a distinct negative effect to you, tactically. Any fans of LTC Dave Grossman’s “On Combat” will agree.

We’re not meant to run at high speeds, continuously, for long periods of time. Science tells us we’re at our best when we move rhythmically between spending and renewing energy — a reality that companies must embrace to fuel sustainable engagement and high performance.”– Tony Schwartz – The Energy Project

“Opera Non Verba”

This piece isn’t to say “what specifically to do”, but more about you getting outside of yourself. The most important factor is the point we take stock in where we are and what the endstate is for you and your team. It should be part of your operational and business plan… your routine.

Buds working out

Find someone to hold you accountable

You don’t need three hours a day in the gym to be functionally fit, either. Most of us are lucky to get 30 – 40 minutes of training. Make that count. Remember – sweat doesn’t equate results…results, results do. Focus on what you’re building and then, sustaining it. Here is my week. I often pair up with a teammate or a buddy for the interval training, too:

  • Monday – HIT Interval training (could be P90X3 or a WOD)
  • Tuesday – 3 to 5 mile run
  • Wednesday – Weight Training Circuit
  • Thursday – Interval Training/WOD
  • Friday –  HIT Interval Run and stretching or yoga
  • Saturday – Weight Circuit
  • Sunday – Walk or easy 3-5 mile jog (this is more about relaxation than anything)

Remember, we are talking about being a professional practitioner, if that bleeds into our personal life and makes us a better, parent, spouse, friend, etc. all the better. Please don’t fall into this trap of “I need to get fit to….get fit” either. The naked truth is this; bad guys don’t give a damned about your ego. In fact, they are counting on it to get in your way. That way, the day you need that extra seconds of speed… it will fail you.

We pride ourselves in honor and an uncanny ability to plan and maintain discipline. Shouldn’t our own health have the same protocols?

Keep your head down and get moving.

Intelligence and Close Protection: A Practitioner’s Primer

When Industry giants ask you to write a piece…you only have one answer; yes!

Recently, Tony Scotti (of the International Security Driver Association) asked for an article. So, I co-authored an article with the Intelligence Community’s Kristin Lenardson Schwomeyer on Protective Intelligence from a practitioner’s POV. The experience was awesome and I learned a lot in terms of sharing and collaboration on the subject from two separate industries (EP and Intelligence). I’m pleased with the outcome and hope people find it useful.

Please enjoy and let me know your thoughts!

http://isdacenter.org/intelligence-close-protection-practitioners-primer/

Here is the story, for non-ISDA members:

Intelligence and Close Protection: A Practitioner’s Primer

The article is the personal opinions of the authors and not their employers.

The notion of ‘intelligence’ covers a broad spectrum of concepts.  It conjures an array of images from military operations utilizing drones to attack a predetermined target, to clandestine spies meeting with sources in a dark corner of a bar in Prague, or computers utilizing algorithms to monitor big data.  It is also an essential part and beginning of any protective detail’s advance work.  How you find and use it can help set the operation towards success.

WHAT IS INTELLIGENCE?

The word intelligence itself has sadly become an almost meaningless buzzword in today’s society.  Although there are a lot of different types and definitions of intelligence, the easiest way is to think of intelligence as information.  In this context you can utilize it for a strategic or tactical need and this how it is best suited to support a Close Protection detail.  In this manner, it is generally referred to as Protective Intelligence (PI).

From someone who is not a career Intelligence Analyst, doing all this may sound really complicated, but it’s actually much easier than you think.  For the most part, many Executive Protection (EP) professionals already do this.  However, here are a few ‘suggestions’ for conducting your PI efforts more efficiently.

TACTICS, TECHNIQUES & PROCEDURES (TTPs)

What makes it Intel?

Why do we keep referencing, ‘information in context’ as intelligence?  There is so much information floating around and it is easy to quickly use a search engine (like Google or Bing) to find almost any information you may need for your advance.  Things like street maps, building schematics, and background information about your location start to create a good working file before you even put “boots on the ground.”

This is all tactical information to assist with your planning.  Strategically, you can search for information on your principal’s background; which may include, but is not limited to, negative information about this person, their company or business interests which could affect how you assess the needs of your detail.

The real issue is this; sometimes there is too much information online.  Putting it ‘in context’ means you discern what information is actually important to your principal and the detail; this turns the information into intelligence.

Does it matter if you find an article from three years ago about your principal working for a company conducting animal testing?  It does, if while researching you identify a potential PETA protest at the event your designate is attending.  It may not be pertinent if there doesn’t appear to be any prospective animal rights protest activity at the event.  Again the context of the information is what makes it strategic intelligence that you would then have to mitigate operationally.

Stop Check

Always think critically about what’s called “all-source” information.  Unfortunately, just because it is easily accessed does not mean it is accurate.  Be wary of the information you are consuming because if the information is incorrect or unreliable, your intelligence will be off.  An easy example:

A popular TV commercial says 4 out of 5 dentists prefer a certain toothpaste brand. Sound legitimate?

The question you should ask is how many dentists they asked, 5, 50 or 50,000.  The difference in the number of sampled data sets can be a huge discrepancy in the actual results.

The second question that should be is asked is what is the background of the 4 dentists who picked this toothpaste brand.  Are they being sponsored by the company?  Did they choose the toothpaste due to the effectiveness of cleaning someone’s teeth or did it just taste better than the other brands?

Yes, this is a really simplified example, but it shows how a seemingly legitimate statement can be skewed because a “so-called expert endorsed the brand.”  The moral of the story being – Vet the authenticity and accuracy of the information you are researching via multiple sources.

Sourcing

Know what sources are available.  The Internet makes it so easy to find information, however, that does not mean you are finding accurate information or using the best material.  Often, US media sources can (more often than not) be slanted, jaded or just plain ridiculous due to the sensationalist approach. A quick exercise:

Read an international news story from a US news source, and then read a story from another country’s media, like say the BBC.  This will quickly open your eyes to the discrepancies in mainstream US media.

Social media is one of the fastest communication mediums in our society.  Among other things, it provides a really good strategic overview of public perception.  Social media can also be utilized for tactical PI.  An example of this was seen during a recent protest where many activists were live streaming and utilizing Twitter to post the ongoing activities on social media.  By reviewing this free and open source information, one could make tactical decisions regarding how ongoing risks may need to be mitigated while in the middle of a detail.

Besides the Internet, there are a lot of really great free sources available to a close protection professional.  For example, government entities, like the Department of State, Overseas Advisory Council (OSAC), will provide geopolitical security risk intelligence.  However, this is still considered single source information.  Remember, PI should be a combination of several different sources.

Another great source of PI includes other EP professionals or trusted contacts.  Human intelligence is a very reliable form of information.  In most situations, other close protection professionals have had to work similar details, so your peer network can be a wealth of information.

If, by doing your open source research it is determined the threat level (or situation) is complicated enough, a number of really good paid vendor intelligence groups exist.  These groups provide services that can range from fairly economical to ridiculously expensive.  Additionally, they can cover everything from social media monitoring, geo-tracking, international risk intelligence, and so on.  If you find the need for an intelligence professional, try to be clear on what you want prior to engaging.

In the end, protective intelligence starts with you and the mission.  Determine your end state and work to fill the intelligence gaps.  Think critically and vet your sources.  Don’t let the process overwhelm you or the team because any plan will change the moment you hit the ground and so will the intelligence.

Good luck and keep your head down!


Charles Randolph

Has over 19 years  of experience working in the Executive Security industry and over 20 years as a military officer. For a major Fortune 500 company Charles plans the strategic development and tactical deployment for a global security team. He also oversees a global sized [open source] intelligence unit.  He has deployed and continues to serve, in a reserve capacity, for the military.

His specialties are: Strategic Planning, Executive Security Leadership, Intelligence Management, Special Investigations, Surveillance Operations, Joint Operational Planning, Bodyguard Tactics, PSD, Budget Planning, Military Leadership, Tactical Deployment, Small Unit Operations, Program Development, Mentoring, Presentation and Speaking.

Kristin Lenardson Schwomeyer

Working for a major health insurance provider Kristin develops the Threat Intelligence Program to support core Corporate Security functions and provides critical incident support with on-call availability to support global security operations.

She  monitors and analyzes intelligence from security vendors, government partners and public source media to proactively identify and deliver threat assessments to the company. She created the Global Security Travel Program with key internal partners. Actively monitors and assesses risks and threats to international travelers, assets and facilities.

Prior to her present position she worked for the FBI with a duty assignment as a US, United Kingdom and Australian Military Liaison in Balad, Iraq, as part of the FBI Counterterrorism Program in 2006 and 2007.

A trio of thoughts for today’s leader

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The other day I was able to grab some time to sit and, well, think.  Opting for some “Chinese Fast Food,” I found a corner table, enjoyed my meal and made some notes. You see, the day before I had spent some time talking to a few people about leadership challenges and wanted to synthesize some things rattling around my mind.  As a result of green tea and orange chicken, here are three ideas around leadership abilities for better team dynamics:

FOCUS

While there are many priorities to track, we can only really work on one thing at a time (science is with me on this one, folks).  Life outside of work comes with us when we get to the office (and vice versa).  Take time to work on… work.  Set an alarm, shut your mail off and turn your text functions off (yeah, I said those things). Put time on your schedule to focus on [task X]. Even 45 minutes of dialing it in on a long term project will bring great rewards and clear up your strategic objectives. Encourage, mentor and counsel those your responsible for to do the same. Trust me…. If there is a problem….someone WILL call.

PRESENCE

Show up and make the rounds.  See people and listen to them.  Not just about the game or the news, either. While those are important subjects, ask your people what they are working on, ask them if they need anything and (most importantly) ask them how you can support them.  Notice I didn’t say “ask what their problems areask questions that spark thought and let them tell you what they are thinking.  As a leader (and by default) your part of the solution or the problem ~ depending on the day.  To the troops, strive to be seen as a positive force.

COLLABORATION

Use space and time to ask “who else should be involved, needs to know, etc.”  Reach out and help solve problems at the appropriate level.  Sometimes what is required is to put some people in a room and facilitate a conversation-for-solution.  I’m not sure what is worse; not having the sense enough to know when there is a problem or knowing there is a problem and saying “it’s not my issue.” Your team will watch the smallest things you do and react off of that.  Ensure you’re setting the tone.

There you go, three short ideas to help concentrate your leadership abilities, set a proper tone and help your team achieve higher success.

What are your ideas and what do you do, outside of a detail, to hone your team and your own leadership abilities?