leadership dot #2459: lunk

In the Planet Fitness gyms, there is a prominent Lunk Alarm that others can set off if a lunk is spotted in the facility. A lunk, as they define it, is one who grunts, drops weights or judges. It is a good-humored attempt to keep the atmosphere light and maintain “a judgment free zone” for all the participants.

Wouldn’t it be nice if offices, stores and other establishments had an equivalent “lunk alarm” to ward off those who may be condescending or judgmental toward others? Instead of letting insidious behavior go unchecked there would be a public way to proclaim that it was unwelcome.

Without putting a giant alarm bell on your wall, think about what you can do to establish norms of respect in your setting. Can you develop a shared language that allows you to call someone out without drama? Is there a ritual or motion you can easily perform that sends the same message? How clear are you about expectations when you onboard or review employees?

I doubt the lunk alarm is sounded often – mostly because it is there in the first place. Be proactive in communicating your expectations before they cause the warning bells to ring.

leadership dot #2455: fake news

It’s easy to attribute “fake news” just to the president or national news outlets, but more and more people are guilty of similar transgressions in their everyday speech. It doesn’t start with big things – equivalent to who will pay for a wall – rather minor falsehoods that we utter without thought.

Examples include:

  • Promising to send a report out tomorrow, but it doesn’t arrive until several days later
  • Telling your partner: “I’ll take care of that tomorrow” but failing to do so.
  • Warning your child: “If you don’t come here by the time I count to three, I’ll…” but not following through on the consequences
  • Saying “I’ll be there at 9:00” and walking in at 9:10

None of these scenarios would seem outside the norm but all contribute to a collection of words that are spoken with intention but not outcomes. Over time, it causes others not to take you at your word or believe what you tell them.

Whether said with well-meaning or not, think twice before giving definitive declarations of what you will or will not do. Filter your speech as if you were a fact-checker. How much of what you say do you actually follow up on and how much is good intentions without the action behind it?

Your integrity begins with your words.

Image by Hattcina on Pixabay



Image by Hattcina on Pixabay

leadership dot #2422: network

University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban may be one of the most successful college coaches of all time. His teams have won six national championships and his overall coaching record at Alabama is 141-21. Part of his success may come from his willingness to reach out to other coaches for assistance.

“Well, there’s been many occasions where the guys that are coaching other places, even in our league, call on occasion and ask questions…” said Saban. “And sometimes I call them and ask for their advice and opinion on things.”

Throughout his career, Saban has developed an extensive network of resources and he has the good sense to use them. Too many professionals focus on accumulating LinkedIn connections, collecting business cards or attending networking events but then fail to take advantage of the knowledge these connections possess.

Reach out. Bounce ideas off others. Ask for help. Learn new things. Double check your assumptions. Commiserate with like-minded souls.

Having a network provides no benefit unless you use it.

Quote from “Saban’s coaching tree casts large shadow by Charles Odum for the Associated Press in the Telegraph Herald, July 22, 2018, p. 8B


leadership dot #2414: hyperbole

The word “emergency” has lost its impact and become a commonplace occurrence.

Our city declared a Snow Emergency which just means that cars can’t park on the street so the plows can clear the few inches of snow that was predicted to fall.

The president claims a national emergency for a caravan of migrants on foot at the border.

The hospital Emergency Room treats as many sprains and viruses as it does true life-threatening illnesses.

With each overuse of the word emergency, it lessens the impact for when a true calamity is occurring. Emergency should mean dire, urgent or immediate. Keep your language free of hyperbole to avoid “crying wolf” one too many times.

leadership dot #2408: 3 questions

A student in my class shared a simple three-question format that her employer uses to allow employees to give feedback to their bosses. People provide answers to these prompts:

What would you like your boss to start doing?

What would you like your boss to stop doing?

What would you like your boss to continue doing?

The format could be adapted to so many other settings: the boss to the employee, colleague to colleague, parent to child, spouse to spouse, etc. It could also have broader applications as to what task a person would like to start/stop/continue doing in their current role, what facet of vacation was resonating with the traveler or how effectively a class was being taught.

With the younger generations asking for more frequent feedback at work, this is an easy yet effective way to provide it. Don’t wait for an annual review process or require lofty forms – just answer these three questions to begin a conversation that quickly gets at the essence of desired behavior.

Thanks, Britini!

leadership dot #2407: matchmaking

You have to look no further than dating sites to get a picture of what a niche market is. A recent article in Fast Company magazine highlighted the plethora of platforms that are targeted at small populations wishing to attract a mate. Opposites may attract, but only if the fundamentals are similar enough for a connection.

There are the big dating services like Match.com and Tinder but the real story is in the growing number of affinity brands that focus on small, targeted groups. Examples include services for those of the same race (Asian People Meet, India Match, Interracial People Meet, etc.), those of a similar age (Our Time for people over 50, Black Baby Boomers Meet, Senior People Meet, etc.), those of common political ideologies (Democratic People Meet, Republican People Meet) or those of shared religions (Love and Seek for Christians, LDS Planet for Mormons, J People Meet for Jewish people and Catholic People Meet).

In addition, other demographics can find their tribe on targeted dating sites: Divorced People Meet, Single Parents Meet, Marriage Minded People Meet, Pet People Meet, BB People Meet (for “big and beautiful” people) and Little People Meet.

Obviously, people fall into multiple categories, leaving it up to them to decide which characteristic is most important in their date and where they should initially seek.

While you may not set out to design a dating app, their model can be applied to your organization as you think about your services and messaging. Ask whether you are like Match.com that casts a wide net or whether you are more like one of these affinity brands that know their population and can target it. Consider how many meaningful ways you can split your market or audience to create pockets that have their own characteristics and needs.

Just like in dating, there is someone out there for everyone. You’ll have a better chance of matching your organization with those who love it if you don’t try to make everyone your someone.

Source: Match Point by Karen Valby in Fast Company, February 2019 p. 32-33.

leadership dot #2396: conspiracy

Denver International Airport has been the subject of conspiracy theories since its opening. The monolith in the middle of the plains seems to attract all kinds of rumors – that there are gargoyles, underground bunkers, demonized statues or headquarters for a new world order.

Rather than become indignant about the falsehoods, the airport communications team opted to embrace the mystery and incorporate it into part of its branding. During recent airport construction, the plywood barricades asked: “New construction? Or new conspiracy?” and Construction? Or Cover Up?”. (There are more examples in this clever marketing campaign here.)

If people are talking about your organization, think about how you react. Does tongue-in-cheek take you further than trying to refute the rumor with facts? Maybe you can take a lesson from Denver and play along.

Thanks, Tricia!