Waiting Never Gets the Job Done
Win a FREE copy of “Survive your Promotion” – Keep reading to learn how!
Hey all you Leadership Freaks, give a hearty welcome to guest blogger Katy Tynan professional coach and author of, “Survive your Promotion: The 90 day success plan for new managers.” Enjoy her blog.
Waiting Never Gets the Job Done
Have you ever been to a teambuilding camp? One of those retreats where corporations send groups of people to fast track their ability to work together cohesively? I used to facilitate at one of these programs, and I want to share a stunning observation.
On the first week of the month we ran a kids program. Students in 6th-8th grade would come and work their way through the challenge course as part of their retreat. On the second week of the month we would host corporate clients – adults – for one or two day seminars.
Time and time again as I facilitated these sessions I observed that it took the adults more than twice as long to get through each challenge.
Why would the people with more life experience, and more physical size/strength take so much longer to find a solution to these puzzles? After all, we didn’t provide any additional information or tools to the kids!
The answer is frighteningly simple. In the first 15 minutes the kids tried at least 3 different things. Most of their early efforts failed but they learned from each one and moved on quickly.
The adults spent the first 15 minutes walking around, talking to one another, and considering whether to offer an opinion or whether someone else might have a better idea.
When faced with a challenge, act. Make mistakes, learn from them and move on.
Waiting never gets the job done.
How to win a signed copy of “Survive your Promotion?”
1. You must leave a comment on this blog. You can comment on the blog’s content, explain why you want the book, or leave everyone a bit of leadership wisdom. Be creative.
2. Promise to tweet, Facebook, Linkedin, email or otherwise tell others about Katy’s post.
On March 19, two Leadership Freak readers, who meet the requirements above, will be notified that Katy is sending them a signed copy of her book.
Read my review of “Survive your promotion.”
Purchase “Survive you Promotion,” on Amazon.
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I’ve survived 9 promotions so far, but hey; that’s the army. We also have a couple of aforisms in line with the one mentioned above.
Action is always better than no action
Never postpone the inevitable
And one from the east:
Don’t wait until problems pile up and cause a lot of trouble before trying to solve them. Leaders must march ahead of the movement, not lag behind it. (Mao Zedong, 1955).
Great to hear from you again and very creative using Chairman Mao.
If the books is anything to be compared with the photo above, it should be a “MUST” read book. If there is a photo on the cover can I suggest something? Just sell the photo and give the book for FREE. Lol. On the serious side I just want to say thank you to Dan for the review. Something you wrote that really made me realize something about “Management”. Management is about people.
Building relationships with your team enhances your ability to retain high performers.
Don’t expect to succeed as a manager like you did as an individual.
Use the IROD framework for meetings. (Issues, Results, Options, Decisions)
Thank you so much for this. As a minister of a church, this was so much of an inspiration to me. I truly believe that this book can also be marketed from the angle of ministry. If I don’t win it from your website, I will definitely add this to my priority list of “MUST” read books.
Dan you are an inspiration to me as ‘n minister of a church. I connected to you after I found you on twitter as one of John Maxwells people that he follows. Just love God’s puzzles. Who knows, maybe one day we will see face to face. You are a blessing to the Kingdom. Thank you.
You’re comments are an inspiration to me! Thanks for giving your first comment. I look forward to hearing more from you.
“Act now or forever hold your peace”, sound familiar? I believe in corporate America, that’s what we have become him haw around, people afraid to make mistakes for fear of ridicule, look for others to blame and forget about the reality of what it takes to solve problems.
“Ask not what your Country can do for, Ask what you can do for your Country” JFK 1964
We as a people tend to over look the obvious and make mountains out of mole hills, time and time again.
I would like to read the book for its never to late to learn, and I like to learn something new everyday for one never knows what the future may bring.
Thanks for jumping in and leaving some great quotes. Your comment makes me think about those times when a problem seemed so unmanageable until I tackled it and then the solution emerged.
It’s an excellent story about the kids getting stuck in.
At the same time I wouldn’t want people doing action completely without thought, and I know you’re not saying that either – I suppose it’s about fail early and fail cheap.
Don’t commit or consume expensive resources when you’re still in the investigation phase. I have experience of where this has happened and you can end up far worse off – and I fully agree with fact we do end up at times with analysis paralysis.
Welcome to Leadership Freak. Thank you for leaving your first comment. Fail early fail cheap! And fail fast. Hope you keep stopping in and leaving comments.
For me, the hardest part of surviving a promotion is quitting my old job, i.e., stop doing the duties that made me successful in the last job. The promotion means I’m supposed to be doing something else, something different. You can’t rise up the ladder if you keep one foot on the rung below.
Great to see you again. Your comment makes me think about a blog I have written but haven’t published yet. I think I’ll have to add your quote about the ladder. (IF I can stay within my 300 word limit) 🙂
All the best to you,
I have taken part on quite a few managerial team builing exercieses. Being in Europe they were always on an international level. The hardest part was getting everyone to speak in one language – English – our corporate language, as groups tended to build within the group according to the languages spoken and this wasted a lot of precious time.
The best team building I did was with music. People didn’t need to speak, they just followed instructions and then the whole 200 manager strong team made the most beautiful sound, together, we “got on” and did it and believe me everyone was thrilled with the outcome. It was a simple exercise with a great effect. I think for me the message that got through was keep things simple, but I have always worked that way.
One of the best compliments I had was off one of my Operational VP’s he said “Karen I love to work with you because you keep things simple, you don’t over-complicate everything”. This is what children do, so ok maybe I think like a child…. but it gets the job done!
Let the children lead us! 🙂
I also used to be a “ropes course instructor”, working with school kids, juvenile detention teens and corporate groups. Amazing that the experience is universal! Another thing I noted was that the kids were willing to attempt almost any task, facing their fears head on. They trusted the adults (leaders) to keep them safe, or were given the option to opt out at any time (our motto was, “challenge by choice”). If they weren’t comfortable climbing to the top of the tower, they were given an option to participate in another way (support the kids making the attempt). Their enthusiasm was always contagious. As noted above, the adult groups could be an absolute buzz kill. I had a group of engineers that actually cheated on one challenge to “prove” their superior intelligence…as if the activities were beneath them. Reminded me of how we sometimes forget the importance of everyone’s contribution to their company, no matter what position they hold. Also reminded me of the ever popular, “that’s not my job” attitude. Kids were willing to jump in where ever they were needed. Now, working in corporate settings only, I’ve learned to communicate the value every employee brings to the team.
This book will be easy to promote! Watch for my tweet…
Thanks for another useful comment. Thanks for adding your experience to the “ropes course illustration.”
Thanks for spreading the word.
Joe has no comment.
There… comment submitted. :-}
A man of few words!
We are in the process of putting together the capital funds needed to purchase the company we are targeting. Some are more difficult and scarier. This article is an encouragement to stay bold. We have a good offering, just ask folks to look at it and let it rise or not on its strong financial merits
I hope it works out. If you think of it, send me an email and let me know how things go.
Keep pressing forward,
Sure wish I would have had your book a couple of years ago…long story, for some other time.
One thing I have seen time and time again is the resiliency of children. Talk about the ability to shrug it off and keep going. And there is more and more research that shows that’s the best way to learn. Continuing to push yourself to the edge of your abilities, failing, making adjustments and trying again is the fastest, most efficient way to learn. Imagine if babies acted anything like adults. They would pull themselves up, try and take a few steps, fall down and then stay there. That’s if they ever decided to try and take those few steps to begin with.
Take a long look at what you do on a daily basis. Are you pushing yourself to the edge? Are you failing, making adjustments and then going for it again? If so, congratulations, you’re learning and you’re doing it better than most of us. If not, why not? We can’t be afraid to fail, it’s the only way we discover what doesn’t work.
Thank you for leaving your first comment on Leadership Freak. I love you quote: “(Adults) would pull themselves up, try and take a few steps, fall down and stay there.” I’ll remember that. Thanks for linking to this blog.
All the best to you,
Interesting observation Dan. I remember going through the Ropes Course around mid-career. It was indeed a challenging course, but certainly didn’t reach the level of Navy SEAL Team or Army Special Forces training. I had the same experience you mention with the participants in my class.
As children, I believe we were more inclined to explore options because we had few life experiences to draw upon and less fear, if any, of the consequences. With more life experiences comes more consequences – some good, some bad.
As adults, there are so many contributing factors in our lives that we allow to interfere with taking a chance; sometimes to the point that we become mentally paralyzed.
One of my great concerns today is the obsessive praising parents have subjected their children to in order to insulate them from failure. We have entire generation of kids entering the workforce who have never had to deal with their own failure. If their parents had only allowed them to learn how to deal with minor failures as a child, we wouldn’t have the issues we are dealing with now in the workforce.
I look forward to reading Kathy’s book. Thanks for making me aware of it.
Have a safe and prosperous day,
Welcome to Leadership Freak. Thanks for your leaving your first comment. Your comments about praise and children are an interesting addition to the conversation. I know we had one child who was very afraid of failure. Of course some fear is healthy but too frequently, as you say it paralyzes.
If you read my review of Katy’s book, you know I enjoyed it.
I hope you keep coming back,
If you rely on yourself you can get a quick solution but if you gather others with support through a group effort you will end up with a better solution!
You are another first time commenter on Leadership Freak. Thank you. Short and to the point! Short solutions are tempting and I think thats one reason leaders frequently do the job themselves rather than delegating. Of course at that point, they aren’t leading.
The mindset change from producing an individual, tangible performance result to that of developing future leaders is key. Moving out of your known comfort zone to a place where you, to continue with the kids reference above, just have to “go try things out” can be hard, but it is exactly what your organization expects from you – that’s why you were selected for the role. “Fail often, fail well.”
Welcome to Leadership Freak. Thanks for leaving your first comment. I like the simple clarity of “go try things.” That includes thinking before hand but there’s value in trying things. I think someone has already mentioned the challenge of cost of failure also.
Thanks for jumping in,
I think the analogy with the kids is great. It is amazing how our life experiences can help and hurt us when we are dealing with different challenges. I know when we do things like this is always seems we spend the first 10 minutes deciding what we should do instead of trying things. I think this is another example where brainstorming can help. Let everyone throw out ideas no matter how crazy, try them who knows what will work.
Good to hear from you. I’ve puzzled and puzzled over finding a solution to a problem. Frequently the answer isn’t clarified until I start doing something.
“Survive your Promotion” – This book is written for me ! I read Dan’s review and came back to read your blog, because I could relate to what was mentioned.
Pushed up the ladder to take up new roles is interesting, but when you get pushed into vacuum with no clue on how to go forward or someone to guide you through and with only vague, blanket expectations laid out, it would get utterly demotivating. Finally you struggle and reach there and look back to realize that there is “opportunity for improvement” (cliched – but quite apt)
I look forward for reading your book. And will surely pass on the news to my peers in my office, whom I think could benefit from it – there are lots, as we have this internal promotion in place.
Your post is thought provoking, subtle facts that we tend to ignore. It is said that kids/teenagers learn faster to drive than someone who starts at 40 – may be because the fear of failure is much less, analytical thought processing is less or “get-started” drive is much higher!
Thanks for sharing this wisdom !
A BIG thank you for the review and for introducing Katy’s book. Once I have read the book, I intend to post my own review and reading experience.
Thanks again !
You are most welcomed. I enjoyed Katy’s book and I’m sure you will also. I’m glad you’re spreading the word.
All the best,
Arathi – thanks for your kind words – it’s deeply appreciated! As I’m sure Dan will attest, writing and blogging involves a lot of “putting yourself out there”. You never really know how your efforts will be received, so it’s always wonderful to hear that others are finding value in it! Please stop by anytime and let me know if you or the other members of your organization have questions or topics you would like to see me talk about. Thanks also to Dan for allowing this wonderful dialog to take place!
Each second after our born, we’re already dying. So, living means spending our time the best way possible. But there are times when we’re so afraid of making mistakes while trying something new that we end up making the worst mistake ever: not trying anything. Let’s not be fools! Instead of waiting for a great moment, create that moment… pave your own way!
Life – whether personal, whether professional – is about taking chances, and putting ideas into action. Michael Jordan’s famously said, “I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
You add a sense of urgency to the discussion!
On a personal note, thanks for translating Leadership Freak into Spanish.
I recently transitioned from a secretarial position to a professional position (after completing a Master’s degree) and the most difficult aspect of this change for me has been changing my mindset. No-one will respect me or take me seriously as a professional if I still think, talk, and act like a secretary. I would appreciate any advice on how to reprogram my thinking and speaking to match my current position.
(and yes, I promise to email someone a link to Katy Tynan’s blog entry!)
Congratulations on your promotion Crystal and thanks for leaving your first comment.
Katy’s book is a great resource for you.
Reprogramming your thinking and speaking … I’d suggest you think and speak the mission and vision of your organization. This means you’ll step out of yourself and into the big picture.
Crystal, indeed Kathy Tynan’s book is a great resource. Since it sounds like you are into reading books, I would recommend Michael Watkins’ book entitled “The First 90 Days – Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders At All Levels” and Thomas J. Neff and James M. Citrin’s book “You’re in Charge – Now What? – The 8 Point Plan.
Good luck in your new position…
Hi Crystal! Changing perceptions when you are promoted at your company can be tough. It takes time, so my first recommendation is patience. People get into habits and they don’t change their behaviors overnight. With that said there are some important things you can do to help them make that change.
1) Look and act the part – my grandfather used to say “look your best, it’s none too good” or to quote Coco Chanel “always overdress and never explain”. Even if your dress code at work is fairly casual, one great way to remind people that you are a professional force to be reckoned with is to dress for success.
2) Network – build relationships both inside and outside of the organization with your new peer group. I’m not saying you should abandon your old friends, but make sure that you are making new ones at all levels of the organization, especially your new peers and others in your industry. This can help you change your own mindset and daily habits, which in turn will help others change their opinions of you.
3) Get to know the organization’s goals – make an effort to find out what the larger goals of the organization are and then promote them in everything you do. The best way to get noticed and taken seriously by upper management is to get on the bus with building and advancing the business as a whole. Schedule a time to sit down with the CFO or CEO and ask about the direction of the organization. Treat it like an interview and ask what you can do to help the company meet it’s goals. If you take your new position and role seriously, and the upper echelon of management starts looking at you as a future leader within the organization, you can bet that the others will follow.
Best of luck and feel free to drop me a line if you have questions!
I completely agree with Katy (my apology for misspelling your name Katy). Here is another line of thought you might consider.
Obviously, I do not know you personally, but one of my consulting offerings is discovering what motivates a person and how do these motivations translate into behavioral competencies for success.
People are driven by three motives – Achievement, Affiliation and Power. Power is further broken down into Dependent, Independent, Imperial and Interactive Power. Now think of yourself and those that work for you. Keep in mind, we all have some of each of these motivations, the key is figuring out which one dominates.
People motivated by Achievement take pride in their work and typically do their work in an independent fashion. They are focused on their work and not easily distracted.
People motivated by Affiliation have a very strong need to be liked by others. Often they are quite disorganized, easily distracted, and look for any excuse to do something other than work. They tend to wander around the office looking for conversation. Upon arriving at work, they gather with their “friends” and have to reveal second-by-second what transpired in their life since departing work the previous night. Socializing is their mantra.
People motivated by Power fall into one of the four above mentioned categories.
Dependent Power people are motivated by the power they perceive to have through someone else in authority. BTW, this is rare.
Independent Power people are motivated by the power they have within themselves. Independent Power is often associated with people that are motivated by Achievement.
Imperial Power people are motivated by either personal power (benefits me) or institutional power (benefits the organization). These individuals tend to manipulate others to achieve their objectives.
Interactive Power people are motivated by influencing others to achieve the objectives of the organization. These individuals tend to have high value for teamwork.
Crystal, figure out who you think you are and then turn your attention to those that work for you and then those you work for. Once you determine what motivates yourself and others you method of interacting with these individuals should grow.
There is actually a fantastic 3-day workshop you can take to learn a lot more about motivations and Interactive Power from my friend and colleague David Burnham. Go to here to apply: http://www.burnhamrosen.com/
More reading about Power:
David McClelland – “Power – The Inner Experience” (1975)
David McClelland and David Burnham – “Power is The Great Motivator” – Harvard Business Review, 54.2:100-110.
Be safe and have a prosperous day…Jim
Funny you bring up power. I wrote a blog for tomorrow on power! Great minds
Thanks to all of you! These are very helpful suggestions.
Jim, The Burnham Rosen website has some great links to articles that I haven’t had time to read yet. 🙂 Thanks for the info.
Dan, I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s post!
I opted not to post on power… I started thinking about my first lie at work and went with that one.. stay tuned on power!
I believe that as adults we “know too much” and over analyze things.
I work for a tech support company, and often times I see my co-workers spending way too much time looking for solutions for a problem that they dont fully know yet. Instead of calling and talking to the end user and identifying what the problem is, they tend to do what Katy mentions above.
“The adults spent the first 15 minutes walking around, talking to one another, and considering whether to offer an opinion or whether someone else might have a better idea.”
I find the answer is much simpler when we talk with the end user (Action) first, instead of coming up with all the different possible problems and solutions.
Thanks for giving your first comment on Leadership Freak. You left us a great illustration of “waiting never gets the job done.” I love your quote, “adults know too much.” Knowledge hinders learning. My favorite quote on this topic is by DeBono, “Those who think they know, don’t.”
I’ll keep watching for your comments on other posts.