Are You Blocking Your Own Leadership?

Most of us don’t like to admit we may be the problem in any situation. In leadership it’s even more difficult to look in the mirror and say, “I see the problem.” Reality is, even if you’re only 5% of the problem, you must fix the 5% first. Your credibility as a leader will be heavily damaged if you don’t acknowledge your mistakes. Your team, colleagues and clients will respect you more and your successes will increase. Don’t be afraid to communicate your errors and definitely tell how you’ve fixed the problem.

My SIMPLER SYSTEM features 7 Steps, with the first one being SELF. Join me on May 28th to learn more about you, and how to make more money and have more time for yourself.

Are You Writing For Yourself?

My colleague, friend, mentor and coach, Betty Cooper, always tells her clients, “Write to express, not to impress.” How about you? Are you writing to impress or express? Too much of what I read seems to be to impress. Let me show you how competent I am! Let me tell you how much research I’ve done! Let me demonstrate my brilliance!

Frankly, I don’t care how brilliant you are. I care about how your writing can help me. In this case, it is all about me … your audience.

To write for your audience requires focus on action. In business we communicate to get action from someone else. So, your first step in writing is to determine what action you want your reader to take. If you don’t know what the action is, don’t write. Save yourself and your reader some time. As a first step, put a plan in place so the outcome is of value to you and your reader.

The next step is to communicate in the way your reader wants you to communicate. If your reader, your audience, wants an e-mail, send an e-mail. If your reader wants a person-to-person connection, connect via phone or in person. Don’t default to the easiest method … for you! An e-mail or text may be quick but if it’s not getting results, it’s a waste of time.

The third step is to follow-up. “Well, I sent you an e-mail and you didn’t do what I asked!” Are you sure I got the e-mail? Did your subject line get my attention over the other 200 e-mails I got yesterday?

It’s not my responsibility to follow-up to ensure you communicated well. It’s your responsibility, if I haven’t responded to your request, to follow-up to make sure the communication loop is complete.

Back to my original question, are you writing for yourself or your audience, the person or people you want to move to action?

Garth Roberts

How Do You Cope With Change?

“We expect around 11,000 flights to take place today in European airspace. On a normal day, we would expect 28,000,” said Kyla Evans, a spokeswoman for Eurocontrol.

17,000 flights cancelled translates to thousands of lives affected by a natural occurrence. Having watched behaviour in airports when flights are cancelled I know that some people can cope and other just can’t. How about you? If you’re one of the many affected by sudden change, do you cope well?

Leaders cope! The may not like change any better than the majority, but they learn change is the only constant in business and in life. A leader’s ability to instigate change, accept change and benefit from change is one of his or her greatest assets. True leaders anticipate change so they are ready to inspire and lead their people through change. Are you a true leader or are you a reactionary leader, just waiting for the world to happen to you.

I enjoy change … most of the time. How about you?

Garth Roberts

How Is Your Customer Service?

15 managers and supervisors spent yesterday analyzing the customer service at their company. It was a good day because all of them were committed to improving their customer service. Their company has been around for almost 100 years and is family owned. None of the participants are members of the family and they are still dedicated to serving their customers and helping the company grow. This company, Burnco, ( should be commended for doing what so many other companies don’t – continuously investing in their people.

But continuous investment is evident as our conversations about customer service showed improvement, not starting from scratch, is what will work for Burnco. It’s refreshing to see a company that is building on yesterday to make today and tomorrow greater. Too many times I work with companies that discard the past to reinvent today and looked longingly to tomorrow. How is your customer service? Are you reinventing or reinvesting?

A good friend of mine, Jeff Mowatt, is a customer service specialist. His trademark is Influence with Ease and I had the pleasure of recommending Jeff’s program to help Burnco in their continuing growth in customer service. You can check out Jeff’s tips at

Garth Roberts

Have you had a Fierce Conversation lately?

Conversation makes the world go round. Good conversation makes life an incredible journey. Leaders who understand the art of conversation tend to be inspiring leaders. If you’re struggling with your conversations or if you just want to continually improve, I recommend Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott.

I learned a long time ago that how I talk has a direct impact on how effective I am as a leader. Only recently have I discovered Susan’s book and I know my conversation skills have gotten even better since I began applying her principles.

Fierce Conversations is all about achieving success at work and in life, one conversation at a time. If you want to learn how to interrogate reality, come out from behind yourself, and to take responsibility for your emotional wake, pick up this book.

To learn more about fierce conversations, check out

Garth Roberts

Spam in leadership

This blog has become the target of spam artists who seem to feel it’s their right to inflict their brand of internet “marketing” on the unsuspecting masses. Fortunately this is a moderated blog so I can eliminate the spam before it’s published. The one bright side of spam intrusion is it prompted me to look at the concept of “spam leaders” in business.

Do you know of any leaders who toss out directions or advise with the same focus and accuracy as our spammers?

Unfortunately I’ve met too many leaders who “spam” their offices with mindless directions, advise, opinions and self-important pronouncements. None of which increase productivity or encourage empowerment of the rest of the office.

So, are you a leadership spammer? I certainly hope not. From my perspective the most effective way to ensure you aren’t viewed as spam is to do three little things: plan, communicate and follow-up.

In my presentations and when consulting I prod clients to spend time planning before doing anything else. I’ve had one frontline leader say, “But Garth, you don’t understand. We don’t have time to plan around here … but we do have time to do it over again tomorrow.” He had a smile on his face to suggest that he was joking, but planning wasn’t one of his leadership skills.

Think about it for a minute. If you stopped for 30-seconds to plan what you’re going to say to a boss, client or colleague, how much time would save? No confusion in what you wanted or what you expected. No other person wondering what you really meant. No repeat of a task or project. I’ve heard estimates that 1/3 to 2/3rds of what done in offices every day is redo. Even if it’s only 10%, that still a huge saving of time over a year and that time translates into money.

While it’s true that planning takes time, simple logic tells us it saves more time that it uses. So, what tools do you use to help you plan? I use Outlook to keep me on track and I supplement that with a paper daytimer for those times when my computer isn’t around. In the past few years I’ve been more consistent in my planning and have forced myself to stick to each plan, or justify to myself why I should change. Guess what, I’ve noticed a marked increase in my productivity and effectiveness.

As to the other two elements of my productivity trio – communication and follow-up – more on that in my next post.