What is your Gold Standard?

Getting the best results from your team requires a consistent process that measures performance tied to a specific standard.

In a recent Fast Company article, Michael Phelps’ coach Bob Bowman has a few things to say about getting the most performance out of people. Coaching 22 gold medals from one athlete gives him a lot of authority to speak as to the level of standards that need to be set in order to achieve consistent excellence:

sochi-2014-olympic-medal_large_verge_medium_landscapeDETERMINE YOUR GOLD STANDARD.
“Each business has a gold standard,” Bowman says. It’s up to the leadership to decide what that standard is and how the organization gets there. Once the gold standard is set, everyone on the team needs to buy into it, he says. “We (the staff and athletes at the North Baltimore Aquatic Club where Bowman is CEO) try to be very process-oriented, performing up to a certain standard every day,” Bowman says, “(You can only) control what you can control.”

‘Disruption’ and ‘innovation’ are now the norm in our daily work flow. It is more critical than ever to determine what we CAN control and create process which will consistently delivery our high standards in regardless of the unforeseen yet inevitable challenges. We make our day to day business decisions based on what we perceive as standards for success. If these standards are not clearly articulated AND agreed upon by the entire organization – we will waste resources and experience failure. And if we want to achieve sustainable success, then we must create consistent process which deliver these standards or we will experience inconsistent results.

What is your organization’s standard for excellence?
and HOW do you consistently achieve this Gold Standard?

Would I do this for another?

The story of the Barnes twin sisters has been ricocheting around the world. WHY?

It’s a story of:   • Sisterly bond    • Selfless love    • Standing for someone else’s greatness
and as Guinness claims, ‘The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.’

BUT even of more importance, this is a shatteringly compelling story because it challenges us to ask ourselves the profoundly difficult question – Would I do this for another?  Watch Guinness video 1:04.

Tracy & Lanny

While we most likely will never have to wrestle with giving up our earned Olympic berth or even a coveted job to someone whom we are deeply connected – this question can provide us a great gift into our own self awareness. It forces the follow on questions of:
• What is most important to me?
• What opportunity might I create for another?
• What opportunity should and must I fully own as it is uniquely mine to celebrate in the world?

This is NOT the story of whether Tracy did the right or wrong thing by giving her sister Lanny the spot Tracy had earned on the U.S. Olympic biathlon team. This IS a story about someone who did something very good out of self-less love for another.

Tracy and Lanny have provided an inspiring context for us to ask ourselves some deep, powerful questions that will give us greater insight into our own truth. Don’t miss this opportunity to ask the big questions of yourself, and don’t miss Lanny and Tracy in Sochi.

Why? It’s all a matter of Perspective…

Last year NW Michigan lamented the meager 135″ of snowfall for the entire winter.

All winter-related industries/jobs suffered greatly as the newspapers expressed hope for a ‘better’ winter ‘next year’. Well – next year is here – and we got it. It’s better… and more better… and even more better.

As we continue to dig out of 188″ to-date, of the white-stuff, we have to fight to maintain a positive mental attitude knowing that over half of the winter… is still yet before us.

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This photo may offer a shift in Perspective to my fellow Michiganders who have ‘had enough.’

Or they may just mail a snowball, and a nasty note to me here in Alabama. 🙂

What made Martin Luther King an extraordinary leader?

Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King

Harry Belafonte and Martin Luther King

On the 85th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s birthday, Fast Company looks behind the legend to the man, to highlight four attributes that profoundly contributed to his effectiveness as a transformative leader. MLK was extremely intentional about everything he did and said. In order to be effective in our intentionality – we must commit ourselves to constant self examination so that we can choose the best path as a leader.

1) Emotional Agility
Being aware enough of your emotions, and then choosing a response rather than reacting. What level of emotional agility do you possess – especially with the emotions of anger, confusion or fear? We will write on this more here at Courageous Thinking

2) Systems Thinking
We often focus too much on winning the battle, and lose sight of the war. No one thing creates sustainable change. It must occur within a system. What is the change we want to make? What is the larger system we need to effect, and work in, in order to make that change?

3) Occupy DC
To change a system, it takes a combination of critical mass and changing policy. MLK knew that DC was the platform he needed in order to cast his ‘Dream’. What platform do you need in order to create the change you are committed to?

4) Humor
It is scientifically proven that laughter creates positive physiological effects in addition to relational healing and fostering increased creative thinking. Where can you add appropriate humor to a situation?

Leadership does not require us to rise above our humanity, but to be aware of who we are, and to CHOOSE the best path to create healing and wholeness. Whether our change objective is within the spheres of civic, corporate, mission or social success – we must be intimately aware of who we are, and choose our response and strategy.