The Common Sense Blog

22
Oct

What are You Teaching Your People About Mastery?

Byron and Kelly showed up at my house this week to replace our 38-year-old furnace. As I watched with fascination, they removed the old beast from a very tight spot and installed the new unit. Then came the process of fabricating the sheet metal plenums that attach the new furnace to the air conditioner and the exhaust stack. Each time

Read more

15
Oct

Three words – Discernment – Extrapolation – Inference

My wife and I have been managing people for more than thirty years – she in higher education and I in a small business. As a result, we are always chatting over dinner about the actions and decisions of those around us. Over time, the same three words have continued to come up in our conversations – discernment, extrapolation and

Read more

2
Oct

Beliefs Inform Behavior

This past week, a colleague reminded me of the old saying “beliefs inform behavior.” Chances are, everyone reading this post has heard this adage, or a similar sentiment. While mostly invoked when considering your own thinking and outlook, it is important for those supervising others to consider it as they oversee daily activity. Having managed people in various settings over

Read more

25
Sep

The Role of Intuition in the Top 15

A few weeks, I recommended employers identify the 15 weekly or monthly decisions made in front-line positions and teaching the process for resolving each to brand-new hires. In response to that post, someone asked how intuition would play a role in that practice. “That’s a great question,” I thought. So, allow me to answer it here. First, we have to

Read more

18
Sep

Top Decision Makers Lead with Reason Rather Than Rules

Think about the last time, you heard someone say. “I’m sorry, the rules say we can’t do that.” What you were trying to accomplish was perfectly reasonable. Yet a policy had been put into place to prevent it. We sometimes laugh at the absurdity of these situations. But we also feel an underlying frustration at our lack of control. Over

Read more

11
Sep

Asking the Uncomfortable Questions

We’ve all been there. You’re discussing something with a colleague, an employee, or a vendor. The two of you seem to be making a decision as you hash out the issue. Yet, your intuition tells you something is missing. Maybe it’s a critical insight that’s been left unsaid. Perhaps you can see that the other person is hesitating because they

Read more

6
Sep

Want Them to Learn? Hang Up on Them!

Kevin is a service supervisor for a mid-sized mechanical contracting firm. He has six technicians visiting customers every day. As new technicians joined his team over the past couple of years, more and more of his communication with the field would go like this – The phone would ring. He would answer it. The technician on the other end would

Read more

28
Aug

The Magic of Freedom Within a Framework

One of the questions I get from time to time is, “How do I provide the freedom to make decisions without losing control?” This question coincides with the employees’ question, “How far can we go in making a decision without crossing some imaginary line?” Ranjay Gulati, writing in a recent issue of the Harvard Business Review, observes, “Leaders cling to

Read more

21
Aug

Customer Utensils? It’s Not on the Checklist

I frequent a particular fast-food chain because I like their salads. But I’ve noticed a little detail that can be annoying, yet easily fixed. That’s the issue of placing plastic utensils in the to-go orders. Twice in the past three visits, I have forgotten to grab a fork before leaving the store. In both cases I’ve ended up someplace and

Read more

15
Aug

Well Intentioned But Tuned Out

I was sitting in a booth at a fast-food restaurant grabbing a bite to eat. The store manager was in the next booth with five of her employees, holding a staff meeting. She was going on and on though the topics she needed to cover. It appeared to be a list of about ten items – “This policy has been

Read more