Posts Tagged ‘willpower’

You can’t generate morale and teamwork through “morale activities” and “teambuilding exercises.” You have to act, adapt, and adjust in line with your objectives and mission on a day-to-day basis with strong leadership and effective, efficient management.

Morale is the will to victory. Whether you’re an individual, team, or organization, the following elements are critical to building and maintaining solid morale.

  • A clear and compelling mission and deepset belief that you are helping others by bringing outstanding value.
  • Passion for the work and the results you bring.
  • A support system, including family, spouse, and close friends.
  • The right tools, supplies, and material support to get the job done.
  • Clear goals and understanding of higher level intent and plans.
  • Training and coaching as needed to build skills and knowledge.
  • Mentoring from someone who has been where you’ve been and achieved great things.
  • A technical advisory team consisting of experts in their domains: e.g., accountant, financial advisor(s), IT and web support, marketing, etc.
  • Business advisor(s) who give you honest feedback quickly and effectively.
  • Celebrating and profiting from wins while learning from temporary setbacks.
  • Knowing what you really want. In some cases, this can only come from the gritty world of action. You don’t know how you will react to something until you actually face it.
  • Experiment and learn from trial and error. Feedback from acting generates a lot more knowledge and wisdom than sitting around and waiting for something to happen.

I’m never too busy to discuss your needs or those of anyone else you feel may benefit from meeting or talking to me. So feel free to contact me at any time!

Richard Martin is The Force Multiplier. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to radically improve performance, grow, and thrive in the face of rapid change, harsh competition, and increasing uncertainty.

© 2015 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Too often I find myself trying to take on an obstacle or resistance head on. I could be trying to convince one of my daughters that she should follow my (brilliant) advice. Or I could be in a meeting with a prospect or client. I also know that this is one of the most common occurrences in business and management. Here are some tips to help you manoeuvre around that obstacle.

  1. Is the obstacle real or only a figment of your imagination? I’ve often imagined some future resistance that turned out to be just that, my imagination.
  2. Can you avoid a frontal assault? Say you’re trying to convince someone that they should do something. Why not do so gradually by presenting examples and evidence of its advantages rather than a full on attack?
  3. Do you find yourself trying to argue a point rationally all the time? Instead provide an emotional hook to show the psychological benefits of following your proposed course of action.
  4. Avoid confronting or criticizing people in front of others. People don’t like to lose face, so it’s always better to argue a point or engage in criticism in private.
  5. “Soften” up your target by providing positive feedback and encouragement before bringing up criticism.
  6. Is the obstacle or resistance even worth the fight? A basic military tactic is called “picket and bypass.” This means you go around minor centres of resistance while keeping watch on them to ensure they don’t catch you off guard as you go past them.
  7. Remember the most important principle of military strategy: selection and maintenance of the aim. Keep your ultimate objective and priorities in mind as you implement your plans.
  8. Resistance often crumbles in the face of overwhelming force. If you need to eliminate an obstacle to your success, use maximum resources at your disposal to neutralize it.
  9. No plan survives contact with the enemy (reality). Adjust your plans and implementation of them as you advance toward your goals.
  10. Accept that there will always be naysayers and competitors. Accept also that you can’t predict everything ahead of time. Keep resources in reserve to overcome and adjust to unforeseen circumstances.

Richard Martin is the Master Strategist and Leadership Catalyst. As an expert on strategy and leadership, Richard brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Last week I gave a list of 10 lessons I learned about leadership, strategy, and management that I learned in my time in the Canadian Army and as a consultant, helping executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations to exploit change and achieve outstanding growth in results and performance. I promised 10 more this week, and they can be summarized as “Create the conditions for success,” so here goes:

  1. Never accept a situation as given. There is always something you can do to…
  2. Create the conditions for success, by…
  3. Shaping the “battlespace” and preparing the ground to your advantage.
  4. Then, make sure your people understand your vision, mission, and intent.
  5. Remember that people power is based on engagement, commitment, and initiative.
  6. Morale is about the will to fight, to persevere, and to win, not just about being happy and in a good mood.
  7. Care for your people and they will reciprocate.
  8. Keep things as simple as needed, but no simpler.
  9. Brilliant strategy and manoeuvres are essential, but they depend on careful logistical and administrative planning and routines.
  10. Remember that we fail as individuals but succeed as a team.

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2014 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

I’ve been reading An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Chris Hadfield, Canada’s most successful (and famous) astronaut. Hadfield went to space three times, the last of which entailed a 5-month stay aboard the International Space Station, of which 3 months as overall mission commander.

The biggest lesson I’ve drawn from the book is about readiness. Like probably 80% of boys who witnessed Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon in 1969, Hadfield also wanted to be an astronaut. The difference was that he actually adopted a readiness mindset. It was impossible for a Canadian to be an astronaut until 1983 when Canada launched its own manned spaced programme to be piggy-backed on NASA’s Space Shuttle programme. But Hadfield prepared for the eventuality in case it would become possible. After 1983, he did everything possible in his career to be a perfect candidate, first qualifying as a fighter pilot in the RCAF, then as a test pilot as an exchange officer with the US Navy.

Once he was selected in 1992 in the second round of astronaut recruiting by the Canadian Space Agency, he volunteered for all the courses and odd jobs he could, as an astronaut that is, all so he could be as ready and qualified as possible when the call came. After his second flight on the shuttle in 2001, he was told that he would never fly again, as it would be someone else’s turn. Hadfield decided to keep the readiness mindset that had worked so well for him up to then by continuing to prepare for an eventual return to space, “just in case.”

Even though he was told his chances of flying again were essentially nil, Hadfield volunteered as NASA’s representative to the Russian Space Agency in Star City, near Moscow. He learned Russian. He took extra training to learn how to fly and operate in the Russian Soyuz space launch vehicle. Just when it seemed a return to space was completely out of the question, he was selected to command the space station on mission 34-35, to be flown in late 2012, early 2013. It was Hadfield’s attitude of preparation and readiness “just in case” that enabled his selection. He didn’t give up on his dream to return to space.

Food for Thought
How many of us are ready, “just in case”? Just in case that difficult client calls, just in case that outstanding prospect says yes to our proposal, just in case that opportunity for a promotion or unique posting comes along?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
Morale is critical, but we must also acknowledge and understand all of the components that go into forging an effective organization.

Discussion
The subject of morale often comes up in my work with clients. Unfortunately, there is a very superficial understanding of the concept. As I’ve said before, morale is the willingness to fight and persevere, to make sacrifices to achieve victory or one’s corporate aims. People often confuse morale with other the other main components of organizational dynamics, such as mood, cohesion, and unity of purpose. They all go together, but are all different in focus and purpose. When we add the effects of leadership, we can get a much fuller picture of how to build an effective organization that can perform beyond expectations.

Questions
You can assess the morale in your organization through the following questions:

  • Do people have hope of better days or constant improvement? Are they optimistic or pessimistic?
  • Are your people making plans with themselves in the picture, or are they trying to abandon ship?
  • Do they waste a lot of time or do they focus on ways to continually improve the organization and its performance?

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.

Routine means discipline. If you decide to write an hour a day or call 5 prospects every day, you sit down and you write or make your calls. You do it even if you don’t feel like it. At the end of the allotted period, you stop, whether you feel like continuing or not. The point is to not let yourself off the hook for emotional reasons and conversely to not binge and overdo it when you’re feeling ‘in the zone.’ That’s how your create habits, routine, and discipline.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

Brilliant Manoeuvre
Complaining isn’t necessarily a sign of bad morale. In fact, the opposite is quite often true. If people stop talk, that’s when you should be worried.

Example
Morale is the willingness to fight, to persevere, and to make the sacrifices necessary to achieve victory. When morale is good, people care enough to complain because they know that things can be better, and that there is a better way to achieve the aim. When I was in the Army, I knew that things were amiss when my subordinates got too quiet. This was a sure sign to me that it was time to get them together so we could talk things out. Sometimes, I would stand my ground while explaining my decisions and plans. At least then my people had felt heard and understood my reasoning. They could then better appreciate the decision and apply it as if it were their own. Often, however, it was an opportunity for me to find out what had gone wrong or where I had been mistaken. I could then adjust my decisions and plans to take the suggestions (and complaints) into account if they made sense. The same applies in business, if you are hearing complaints from your people, or hear about them indirectly, it may be time to sit down with them to find out what is happening. You may be surprised at what you’ll learn.

Tip
Set aside regular time, at least once or twice a month, to meet with all your direct reports to hear from them. Ask them what they understand about the situation you’re in. Tell them what your understanding of the situation is and what you plan to do about it. Use this time to garner their input and to make suggestions for improvements. In the Army this tradition is known as ‘platoon commander’s hour,’ but you can also institute your own ‘CEO’s hour’ or ‘manager’s hour.’

Richard Martin is a consultant, speaker, and executive coach. He brings his military and business leadership and management experience to bear for executives and organizations seeking to exploit change, maximize opportunity, and minimize risk.

© 2013 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes are permitted with proper attribution.