Becoming a Better Technical Leader

If you are interested in some tools to help you implement the ideas in this article and associated book by joining our mailing list. I once left a high paying job merely to escape from my direct boss. It was a good job and I was leading a team I loved, but none of that was worth working for this person. Others on the team joined me out the door over the next few months. That’s the impact of poor leadership and my experience is that the impact is heightened when leading technical teams. I enjoy leading teams of smart, capable people. I’ve also made plenty of mistakes that slowed team progress and project completion. My work and capability took a big leap forward when I read the book “Becoming a Technical Leader” by Gerald Weinberg. “Becoming a Technical Leader” is the rare type of book that has become more relevant over the years. Written over 30 years ago, its importance has only increased for a number of reasons. Here are two … First, the world and workplace is becoming more technical. There are, today, more people who spend their work lives in or managing technical jobs. More and more people need to learn the specific skills related to managing the technical worker, understanding that the distinction is important. In this book, Weinberg lays out a problem-solving approach that is both simple and effective. Second, as technical work has increased the “real” distance between leaders and reports has also increased. The advance of important and effective tools such as Slack, Jira, …

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Free 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Implementation Package Available

We just published a new Book Tools implementation package for The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People … wooohooo! This package is designed to take the fine & timeless ideas in the book and make them work in your life. There is one page with an overview of the 7 Habits model and 8 tool template pages to help apply specific ideas and exercises from the book. We’ll describe the available tools over the next few posts and you can view all posts for 7 Habits here. For now, here’s a quick overview of the habits … Be Proactive: You are response-able and the master of your own fate. No matter your circumstances you are capable of making a choice to better your situation. Recognize and act on it. Begin With the End In Mind: Before tackling any major effort, spend some time planning and thinking about how you want it to look at the end. This effort is most critically applied to your very life. Who do you want to be and how do you want to be viewed? Spend some significant time thinking on these questions to ensure your less important efforts support your grandest pursuit. Put First Things First: Once you have established the purposeful direction of your life, make sure you spend the needed effort and time to those things that matter most and will help you accomplish your primary objectives. Don’t get caught in the “thick of thin things.” Think Win/Win: Seeking only your own interests does not serve others or yourself well. Instead, work …

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Free Book Summary and Tool for Willpower by Roy Baumeister

We’ve just posted a new Book Tool package for the fantastic (and relatively new) book Willpower by Roy Baumeister and John Tierney. Head over to the Book Tools page where you now have access to a whole TWO (2) tool packages!

Know and Honor Your Goals

In the last post I talked about finding out the needs of the other party and how important that is in negotiations large and small. This post is a call to never forget your own goals! If you allow your attention to be pulled off of your own goals and objectives and give up what you need you will be left with a result “less than zero”. Yes! Your goals are of supreme importance and must figure into anything and everything you do. This definitely dips into paradox territory as we seek to know the other’s needs and while still honoring our own objectives. But finding the balance is critical and in the end the major job of any successful interaction in business or otherwise. But here’s the rub … are you sure you know your goals and are you acting in a way that will get you to them? It really is a tricky deal trying to figure out just what your goals are. Are you thinking long term enough? A quick win might be available to you, but will it affect the long term relationship and therefore the long term money making prospects? Make sure you are comfortable with your goals and how they will affect you today, tomorrow and down the road. The other potential pit in this process is remaining faithful to your goals. For instance, I have a personal goal of raising my children to be wise, healthy and happy. I know that this means communicating with patience and disciplining with the “long view” in …

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What Do They Want

One of the hardest steps to learning successful negotiation is the paradox of knowing and honoring your goals while focusing on the other party’s needs at the same time. Why focus on their needs? Because that’s where successful negotiation begins and ends. If you can discover what they TRULY want and find a way to satisfy that need in the context of your own goals … you’ve got it made. At that point it isn’t really a negotiation as much as a deal finalization. Often, though, their real needs are not apparent to you … or sometimes even them! Somewhat counter intuitively, you need to learn to spend more time asking questions and listening to them in the midst of a negotiation. What is the subtext of what they are saying? Is there an unspoken 3rd party that holds great power over their ultimate decision? Is their a more basic need that there demands are masking? Is a resolution even possible, or are their needs out of bounds with what you can really give them? All of these questions and so much more must be explored as you are attempting to discover possible solutions. And this is the case with negotiations both large and small. Want a comp’d room upgrade after a disastrous first night in the hotel? What does the manager need? How about a little respect first, and a promise of an acknowledgement of fantastic customer service to their boss later? It might not work all the time but it will some of the time and that’s all …

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Baby Steps to a Better Life

“Baby steps get on the bus, baby steps down the aisle, baby steps …” – Bill Murray as Bob Wiley in “What About Bob?” If you suffer from work paralysis, your problem might be that you don?t know how to take “baby steps”. Just like you can’t eat an entire Thanksgiving dinner in one bite, or weed your yard with a single pull … you also can’t get to where you want to be in a single moment. In “Getting More” the author, Stuart Diamond writes … An analogy: If you are a .280 hitter in baseball, and you get one extra hit every nine games, you become a .310 hitter in baseball. And that is worth a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame, and $10 million more a year in compensation. All for one extra hit every thirty-six times at bat. I’m not trying to hit home runs in negotiations. I’m trying to get one extra hit every nine games. It’s a good lesson for negotiation, and a good lesson for life. A few incremental improvements and you will be fabulously more successful. Incremental success is not only more reliable, it’s more doable and more done. Trying to make $10 million off your first website is an exercise in futility and is actually counter-productive. You first need to learn the ropes through small success and then move on to more difficult and challenging opportunities. Just the act of trying dramatically increases your chances that something good will happen. This is true for a number of reasons: First, not …

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