Smart Managers Get More & Do Better


Some people take pictures with Hollywood stars.  Not me.  I take pictures with Gallup stars!  Yes, this is me – in my Gallup Geek Girl moment with Curt Liesveld (on the left) and Al Winseman (on the right).  I’ve just returned from Gallup in Omaha and had my 2nd experience with these StrengthsFinder wiz kids.  Wow, I’m so impressed by what they know, how they give it away, and why it’s necessary in our world right now.  And, why you want to know this, too.



What they know … that I know now, and YOU should too

If teams are going to be high-performing & productive in an exponential way, managers must do one thing really well, all the time:  Individualize!   Managers win and teams excel because of this.  Said another way, high-performing managers see and manage ‘individuals’ not teams; these individuals just happen to make up teams.  There is no one-size fits all approach. Does this take time and intention?  You bet.  Are the results worth it?  Uh, yeah (see below).  And, it’s the biggest difference maker you’ll find.


How they give it away … and I will, too (4 smart tools)

Great ideas and compelling reasons will likely sit on a shelf if we don’t have great tools to use and a plan to move forward.  I find this is often true for my clients, too. These awesome Gallup guys shared research that proves out what the best of the best managers do (individualize) and how they do it with smarter tools.  These managers:

  1. Identify the right talent for the right role (this goes way beyond availability, skill & experience)
  2. Define the expected outcomes & let each person find his/her route (yikes – really?  Yes.)
  3. Learn what motivates each person about his/her work and motivate like that (individualize, again)
  4. Develop people by helping them find roles that they’re naturally ‘wired’ for and help them do more of what they’re great at  (build on their innate talent – it’s how we create heroes)


Why this is necessary … right now

Managers have the toughest role in most organizations, and many times they’re not well-equipped to do their jobs.  Why?  Because they’ve either been given no tools to manage & develop people, or they’ve been given broken tools from 20 years ago.  Either way, it’s not working.  Gallup research shines the light on what works!  The best of the best managers do the things noted above and it results in quantifiable, measureable results.  PERFORMANCE gets better and people are having more fun, too!  Check out these results:


  • Teams that focus on strengths every day have 12.5% greater productivity
  • Teams that receive strengths feedback have 8.9% great profitability
  • People who use their strengths every day are 6x more likely to be engaged on the job
  • People who know & exercise their strengths are 3x more likely to report an excellent quality of life


Bottom line?  Be smarter. Get more. Do better.

Who doesn’t want some of this?  If we want to create different/new/improved outcomes, we will maximize our results when we focus on being smarter in managing our people.  A strengths-philosophy works – it just does.  It’s contrary to how many of us have “done it” in the past, but it also produces results that significantly upgrade what we’ve gotten in the past.  Bottom line – want new results?  A strengths-philosophy is something you should check out.  My client teams are believers; they are seeing the difference in who they are, how they collaborate & what they produce!  You and your teams can be, too.  And, it sure helps to have the scientific research of Gallup to prove it all out.

Talent focus = Success quote

How I was {almost} stupid!


4 years ago today, I was almost stupid. For a “collaboration guru” — ha! — I just about blew it.


Almost Stupid blog pic 3.13.14.docx

I actually say this with a smile on my face — because I wasn’t stupid…I just almost was.  It was March 13, 2010.  What was significant about this day?  Well, it was my first date with Patrick — the man who is now my husband but almost wasn’t.

You see, e-harmony paired us up, and we decided to make a date of it.  This was our first time to meet face-to-face.  Sure, we had exchanged emails and chatted on the phone, but being in-person with someone is quite different. You know how it is.


So, we agreed to meet up after the concert he was playing…uh hum, a Bluegrass concert.  I arrived and saw the last 2 songs his band played (redeeming note: I meant to arrive earlier but didn’t plan my travel time very well.)  We met right after the concert and decided to go have a glass of wine together; there we started getting to know each other.


What the heck?

As I sat there with him, I was having fun but also my mind was reeling:  bluegrass music?  cowboy hat?  boots?  what????  This cool guy who intrigued me came with all of these interests and passions that, well, didn’t exactly mirror … or even come close to mine.  Hmmm, I wasn’t quite sure about all of this.


But, I said yes to a 2nd date.  I liked this guy; I just couldn’t figure out what to do with all of these differences.  On our 2nd date, we continued this ‘getting to know each other’ pursuit.  I learned that he loved Bluegrass music & his pop-up camper and that he had never heard of Norah Jones nor the Nasher Sculpture Center;  he also found it interesting and amusing to know that people actually paid to take cooking classes for fun.


Country meets City

Oh dear.  How in the world could this Country Boy meets City Girl be a match?  But, I said yes to a 3rd date.  I really liked this guy, still.  But our differences and “uniquely distinct” interests couldn’t be ignored.  It was like being at a great outdoor garden party — lots of beautiful things all around the fun including gnats that were distracting you from the beauty.  You know what I mean?


After a great 3rd date, the “liking-ness” was building but my concerns remained.  In fact (with a touch of embarrassment), I remember talking to my neighbor after the 3rd date, and saying, “he has worn boots for all 3 of our dates;  what if those are his only shoes?”  With love and straight talk, she said, “really, do you hear yourself?”  She was right.


The almost stupid part of me

At that moment, it hit me — am I really going to write-off this incredible man who has the qualities I most desire in a partner because he is coming in a package different from what I expected?  Really, I mean, that would be just plain stupid.


And I’m not stupid, even though I almost, unknowingly was.


What I learned that’s changed everything

I’ve learned that our best decisions, our best partnerships (personal & business) and our best pursuits often come dressed up and looking unlike what we expect.  With eyes wide open, I now look into my choices with a different level of hope and possibility.  You see, Patrick and I had qualities that aligned, but our external worlds were really different.  And, you know what we’ve done with that?  We’ve made each other’s worlds bigger.  How wonderful is that!


My 3 things for you

I share all of this for 3 reasons:


* to celebrate the significance that March 13 will always have for me:  meeting a super great man who made my world bigger and is the best thing since Jesus that’s ever happened to me


* to acknowledge the life lesson I’ve learned:  being open-minded and big-hearted to unexpected packages in people, places & circumstances may just make our worlds bigger, better, & brighter than we could’ve imagined


* to encourage us all to look at today and ask ourselves, “is there anywhere I’m being almost stupid right now?”  and then save ourselves from it, and don’t be stupid!   Be brilliant, see possibilities, and make new, big spaces to be delighted, surprised & stretched by the unexpected.

Almost Stupid blog wedding pic 3.13.14.docx