Lead Your Life

Leadership, Awareness, and Growth

“Take Them To Wonderland” – Maya Juarez February 15, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — laurajuarez @ 9:13 pm

On Valentine’s Day, my COO & I led company-wide meetings about quality.  This was a follow-up discussion to January meetings on the same topic in which the message was candid & dim.  

As I was preparing for the meeting, my 7 year old daughter asked what I was doing.  Which was promptly followed by her surprisingly wise two cents. Here’s her take.   

  1. Decide if you are going to come from your heart or from your head.
  2. Ask them how we can fix the issues.  Don’t say anything until they answer.
  3. If they don’t have ideas, make them  go somewhere without you to solve it as a team.  They should agree on an idea, tell you, and then do that. 
  4. As it is Valentine’s Day, consider cancelling work altogether and having the meeting the next day.  (She was particularly fond of this but was appeased by my response that I planned to hand out chocolate kisses).

She asked about the January meeting, and I replayed the content of the session & the stark message about the impact of poor quality on profitability & our reputation.  She shook her head while eating a tube of yogurt and informed me that “you took them to devil-land instead of wonderland.  This time, you have to take them to wonderland.” 

I asked why, and she promptly responded – now chewing a PB&J – that people will work harder when they are scared but it isn’t always good because they won’t have fun and they may work too hard. 

What did I learn from this miniature munchkin’s leadership prowess?    

  1. Be clear about what you want to communicate and how you plan to send the message.  Define this before you start talking. 
  2. While the results are the ultimate indicator, it is the team that gets you there.  They will get there faster and more comfortably if they are educated & inspired, feel supported, and know what actions are needed.
  3. Engage everyone in the solution by asking open ended questions intended to discover and uncover – not judge and blame.
  4. If still no answers appear, create a think tank.  Keep digging until you know.
  5. Play it forward – anticipate the reaction to the planned message. Make sure it’s what you want.
  6. Remember life is intended to celebrate.  And while I didn’t cancel work because of Valentine’s Day, it is important to pause and enjoy our time together, holidays, & success. 
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