Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here's Why I Support The United Way...

We all have reasons why we're motivated to give, support or stand up for a cause.  In my case, I've been a long time supporter of the work of the United Way and its member agencies for almost 15 years because  I think the work they do to build the capacity of our communities is so important to the growth and strengthening of our overall society. So when they approached me and gave me a chance to tell my own personal story as to why I give them my time, energy and money year after year, I jumped at the opportunity.

Check out the video below:

Audley's story from United Way of Peel Region on Vimeo.

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Engagement: The Jean Luc--Picard Way!

Many would remember the character Jean-Luc Picard played by Patrick Stewart from the popular television show, "Star Trek: The Next Generation".

Picard was that self-assured, confident and reliable 24th Century Starfleet captain who guided his crew of the USS Enterprise across the endless reaches of space basically moving from one adventure to the next.  Whether it was doing battle with Klingons or resisting the Borg, Picard could always be counted on to be that fearless leader who his team could rely on.

I loved the show a lot and was really drawn to the cast of compelling characters from Data the android to first officer William Riker.  The occasional Whoopi Goldberg sighting was quite enjoyable as well. Overall, all the characters were great but by far, Jean-Luc was always the most appealing one to me.

He had a confidence and assertiveness to him that came across loud and clear and there was never a doubt that he was unsure or uncertain of what he was saying or what he wanted from others.  For example, look at the signature phrase he used to order for the Enterprise to blast off onto the next mission.  

It merely consisted of one word, "Engage!" 

That's it! No extended speech, no rant or no diatribe.

But the best part about it was that the entire crew got it and knew what exactly needed to be done.

The irony with Picard's one word command and hand gesture is that the actual process of engagement between leaders, coaches or star fleet captains is that it goes beyond just saying one word.

Effective leaders recognize that a key component of a healthy thriving organization is a well thought out and even better executed engagement strategy.  They also know that a foundational piece of a sustainable engagement is the strength of our relationships with others that include trust, respect and transparency.

So bearing that in mind, here are a few suggestions on some great ways leaders can engage those around them:
  • Play your position - Allowing team members do or be a part of things they enjoy will increase the likelihood of maintaining their level of interest and connection to the organization;
  • Stick to the clipboard - Clear messages that don't contradict previous directions will help ensure that you can be followed and your destination is clear;  

  • High five - Appropriate recognition or praise tells others that their efforts are appreciated and valued;

  • Keep the scoreboard running - Ideally any person on the team or in the organization should be able to clearly articulate where the organization is going; 

  • Step up your game - Be supportive of team member's individual growth development;
  • Be a point guard - Empower others so they can freely make their own decisions, this will likely increase their accountability because they have ownership of the decisions made.

If the organization or culture demonstrates that it cares about its followers then they'll be more apt to do things like stay late to finish a project, put in extra practice time to improve their game or stand up to the Borg for the sake of the universe.

So my messages to leaders and coaches is quite simple: Make It So!

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Pug That Everybody Loved!

I've never really considered myself much of a dog lover but much to my surprise a short, wrinkled faced Pug  recently put that belief to the test.  It was a warm day in the middle of September and I was sitting at an outdoor patio having lunch with my friend Nancy.  As we were enjoying the weather in a shaded area away from the blazing sun, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a white coated Pug who was having its leash secured to a fence by its owner.  She apparently was about to do a bit of shopping at the grocery store and intended on leaving her dog outside.

There was a slight breeze that would reveal itself from time to time but if you didn't have the protection of the shade, the intensity of the sun made sitting outside a bit uncomfortable.  As the owner gave her dog a rub behind the ears and headed into the grocery store, you could almost immediately tell that she was going to be sorrowly missed.  The Pug started off with a mild whimper that slowly grew in both volume and duration, while at the same time stretching its head up in the air and rotating it in a telescope like fashion as it searched for its owner.  The little Pug definitely got our attention but soon we weren't the only ones. 

Perhaps it was my own ignorance as a non-dog guy but I have to admit that I was caught off guard at the number of passerbys who took a moment to pause from whatever it is they were doing to show concern for the little Pug.  Because Nancy and I were the only ones in the vicinity, we were asked numerous times, "Is that your dog?" or "Do you know where his owner is?"

At one point, a group of about a half of dozen people walked by and each and every one of them stopped to acknowledge the dog in some way.  Including a young lady who went so far as getting a plastic container filled with cold water for the Pug to drink.

By this time, the little Pug was soaking up all the attention (literally) and acts of kindness and was clearly loving it. The one that probably floored me the most had to be the guy who stopped and gave the dog a drink out of his own metal water bottle!

I'm not kidding!

After reflecting on that experience a couple days later and replaying the image of a happy little Pug bouncing up and down because of all the attention he was getting, I spent some time thinking about how much of an impact we can have if we stopped and took the time to notice others?  What kind of difference can we make to someone's day if we sacrificed a little bit of our own? The possibilities are truly endless and the ability to do so lies in our hands.

I've written numerous times about the fact that leadership isn't defined by title or position, it has much more to do with the difference and impact we can make.  The situation will always determine what that looks like so don't count on the approach always being the same.  In the case of the Pug, a rub behind the ears was sufficient but I'm guessing that the people in your world will most likely need a bit more.

See you on the court! Follow me on Twitter @TheAudman


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