March 2010 Newsletter

Leader HQ

Leader HQ Newsletter

March 2010

Spring is still a few weeks away, but until then, here’s this month’s Leader HQ Newsletter.

“Unearth The DUH

One of the many parts of a leader’s job is to unearth the DUH moments in their team.  Unearth the DUH? What does that mean?  Every one has had the experience of hearing a revelation so common that the only response is “Well, duh. I knew that.”  But that is usually the response when the simple solution or truth has been overlooked for several minutes, days or years.

There are several reasons why people have duh moments – inexperience, a tendency to overcomplicate situations (i.e. the best is the enemy of the good), or simply being too “busy” to pay attention to their work.

Here are three ways you can begin uncovering those duh moments to help your team, or to amaze and impress your friends.

Start with the Why.   As leaders we are usually quickest with the “what”, as in “Here’s what you need to do.” For some, that would seem to be the best way to get a change initiative moving.  In many instances however, it may be better to begin with the “why”.  Stephen R. Covey in his book  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wrote about the need to begin with the end in mind.  His point was in visualizing the end, you
can more clearly chart the path to get there.  As a leader, beginning with a statement of a problem and the why change is necessary can be a very effective way of gaining understanding and agreement with the desired course of action.

Don’t be afraid of the corpse.   Many times we are too quick to bury our failures.  Following the Bay of Pigs invasion, even President John F Kennedy recognized this tendency and said “There’s an old saying that victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.”  No one likes a failure, but failures provide an opportunity for reflection.  Rather than
burying workplace failures, choose to perform a post-mortem.

TV cop shows often feature scenes where a medical examiner provides an autopsy report with clues on how the crime was committed.  The detectives in those shows use that evidence to find the guilty party.  But unlike in those TV mysteries, a workplace post-mortem isn’t an exercise in fixing blame.  The intent is to see what improvements or recovery opportunities were missed.  By taking the time to review, we often see that sometimes very simple changes may significantly change future outcomes for the better.

The Dope Slap.   Yes, you read correctly and no, not literally.  Even in business, sometimes the dope slap is necessary.  As a leader, it is your job to deliver the tough messages when appropriate.  Those messages may require you being brutally honest about performance or other circumstances where immediate course correction is required.  However, the dope slap is a tool that should be used sparingly and only as a last resort.  A more effective way to avoid an uncomfortable duh moment is to provide regular feedback and coaching.

By working with your team to unearth their DUH moments, you not only help break the “analysis paralysis” or “squirrel frenzy” that can hinder productivity, but also provide them with the confidence of knowing that they can figure out how to do things themselves.

Online Resource

The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) foundation began its series of “TED talks” in 1990.  The talks have provided a platform for some of the world’s most intellectual, most engaging, and most entertaining thinkers to have their say.  However there’s one catch: they aren’t allowed to speak for more than 18 minutes.  In this presentation from the most recent TED Conference, author Daniel Pink takes an interesting look at the science behind motivation.  You can watch the video here.

On the Bookshelf

The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn describes an unusual superstar in customer service, his neighborhood postman.  Sanborn tells the story of how Fred and other like-minded individuals distinguish themselves everyday, and how you can bring out the “Fred” in yourself and your team.

A quick read, The Fred Factor isn’t your typical business book.  It does more than speak to the value of improving customer service.  It gets to the core as to why you as an individual will want to provide exceptional service to not only your customers, but to all of the people in your life. You can find it here on Amazon.

Recipe for Success

Good leaders know that like a pinch of salt, a little bit of Praise can go a long way. Adding a little bit of Leader HQ to your next team lunch may be the right ingredient for increased productivity.Call us today.

This month’s recipe is for Quick Pepperoni Pasta.  It’s easy to make and tastes like you spent a lot of time and money.

3/4lb fettucine
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup breadcrumbs
6 ounces pepperoni – slice it yourself for more flavor
2 cups broccoli florets
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 large tomatoes, coarsely diced

Cook the pasta in boiling water until just tender, and set aside. While pasta is boiling, heat the butter in a large pan and cook the breadcrumbs until they are lightly browned, drain them on a paper towel and set aside.  Add sliced pepperoni to the still warm pan and cook until the edges start to brown and begin to crisp.  Add the olive oil and broccoli and stir until the broccoli starts becoming tender.  Add the and diced tomatoes and lemon juice, stir until the tomatoes start to get soft.  Drain the pasta and it toss the breadcrumbs and the pepperoni mixture until heated through.  Serve immediately.

In This Issue
“Unearth The DUH”
Online Resource
On the Bookshelf
Recipe for Success – Quick Pepperoni Pasta
Workplace Blogs of Note

Check Out These Workplace Blogs.

At times, the internet can be a good place to find supplemental info to help you as a leader. Here are a few good choices.

The Practice of Leadership

George Ambler, a South African Information Technology
professional, shares his insights on leadership development.

Ask A Manager

Alison Green is a full-time manager of a non-profit organization and the author of Managing to Change the World:The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results. She also has been published in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and U.S.News & World Report.

Leadership is a Verb™

John Bishop will convince you that leadership really is a verb in this popular leadership blog.  A well respected writer, Bishop’s blog was nominated as one of the best leadership blogs in 2009.

Weekly Leader

This site wants to be your “Cliffs Notes” for leadership.  The Weekly Leader provides summaries and the direct links to leadership related articles published during the prior week.

Leader HQ is not the biggest Leadership & Organizational Development firm. Our mission won’t allow us to be huge.  In business, big companies typically have large HR or Talent Development teams in house. Leader HQ is focused on small and mid-sized companies who recognize that developing Great Leaders is important, but don’t have internal resources to handle this important function. Staying small allows us to remain focused on serving your needs; not just one time, but for the long term. Visit our website at for more information on our programs and services. Leader HQ – We turn bosses into Leaders.

Copyright 2010 – Leader HQ.  All rights reserved.