[Classic post from 10-8-14]
As a manager (and this is advice to parents too), keeping track is not about finding out what others do wrong, or not well. It is far more about finding out what they do well.
Although it is important to see what needs to change to do better and by keeping track we can see some of that, it is way more important to find out what they do well.
I was talking with a longtime and dear friend today and he told me what I already knew. He said that he only does a few things really well and though he has many other tasks that are often required of him, he doesn’t excel in those. He only excels in a few areas. Since I’ve known him since 1989, I know the things he is truly good–well, to be sure, not just good, but excels at. I also know the things he has accepted the challenge on that weren’t in his excelling interests. Though he does okay, and he has the heart for helping, it is in certain areas that he excels in.
Having been a manager for well over 40 years, I can assure you that when you as a manager or a parent find the things that they are really good at and that their heart is fully engaged in, those are the things that will lead you as a parent or a manager on to greatness in allowing and encouraging that they focus on those things.
So often as manager, parents, teachers, we think we need to make sure that people are well rounded or some other baloney. It is special enough to come into this life and find things that we are not only excellent at, but those things that we are enthusiastic about and love to be a part of. It behooves all of us to find ways to make those things happen with less distraction.
I remember calling a car dealership once some time ago and the receptionist was what I would call a superstar. She even said what her name was. I was blown away. What always amazed me about the car business was how important the phone was to business and how little the executive managers were interested in making that a great experience. Instead, they found other things for them to do until answering the phone became an interruption to them. Now so many have automatic answering recordings with numbers to punch and so on. I am absolutely positive how much a really attentive and engaged receptionist’s value is to a business. This is just one example at how we tend to take people away from what they are good at and make them busy-looking instead.
Back to the topic at hand: Pay more attention to what people do well or do right and less attention to what they don’t do as well or where they miss the mark. Sure it is okay to pay attention to the numbers, but let us not focus on the negative story from the numbers exclusively. Let us find the positive story in there–even if we have to look for it.
Ask This Question: What Did I Do Well Today? How Did I Excel? What Value Did I Bring? How Was I Of Value?
Spread Some Joy Today–You don’t correct a child by applying logic and helping them see what they did wrong or are doing wrong. You say, STOP! Now do it this way. A child comes home with a report card that has two A’s, three B’s, and a C and a D+. What do we focus on? It isn’t normally the A’s and B’s, but that would be far better than focusing on the others.