“Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” -Melody Beattie
From the entire MCFA team, we hope you had a great Thanksgiving surrounded by family and friends. We are grateful for our team members, our big business and small business partners and our clients.
As we enter the Holiday season, here is a gentle reminder (to myself, as much as anyone) to have a get-to and not a got-to attitude. This time of year can be filled with peace, magic and joy…or it can be filled with shopping lists, endless errands and busyness. It’s all a matter of perspective. Because the shopping, errands and holiday celebrations aren’t going away, if we shift our perspective from “I got to ________ (insert task – go shopping/run errand/ attend holiday party) for/with ________,” to, “I’m so lucky I have all of these friends I get to ________ (insert task – go shopping/run errand/attend holiday party) for/with,” your perspective will shift from overwhelmed to grateful.
And one more gentle reminder (again to myself as much as anyone), don’t wait for New Year’s resolutions to hit the gym, eat healthier, start gratitude journaling or…name your goal, resolution, better habit! Treat December 1st, or better yet, November 26th as January 1st, and get a kick start on 2022.
And if you happen to be a veteran (or know one) who is retiring or transitioning to the “civilian world” next year, we’d love to help with the transition. Call, email or LinkedIn me – we want to help however we can.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” -John 15:13
This week has been a hectic week of travel and conferences. It was great to be back at a live event with people – building new relationships and reconnecting with old ones. I often say we are in the people business. After all, consulting is all about the people we serve and the people we work with. A lot of time, crazy contracting processes and procurement departments convince us that we are working for agencies, but at the end of the day, we are working with people. So, while this week’s SAME Small Business Conference has me thinking about many different ideas, projects, and people, I can’t help but talk about a relationship that shaped who I am today.
1LT Dennis W. Zilinski, II.
For as long as I live, I will remember him and this day. Dennis was my West Point classmate, teammate and friend. He was killed on November 19, 2005, in Bayji, Iraq. 16 years ago today. He was 23 years old and would be turning 40 next month. 16 years have gone by, and in those 16 years, Dennis’s life has given me more life and leadership lessons than I can fill in a quick email blast, but Lesson Number 1 is life is about the people around us – making them better, making life better.
So that’s what I want you to think about this weekend and as we approach Thanksgiving. Gratitude for the people in our lives. Because like consulting, life is a people business.
Let’s take a lesson from 1LT Dennis W. Zilinski II, and make people better. And, if you happen to have an adult beverage nearby when you read this, raise a glass to a life that was full of love for people.
“Opportunity is lying on the floor of every organization you walk into, just pick it up!” -BG (Retired) Duke DeLuca
BD is the key to growing yourself and your organization.
No, I’m not talking about Business Development. I’m talking about Better Delegation.
Yes, delegation. The art of having someone else do something for you.
Sounds easy, right? Maybe.
I have been dealing with delegation my entire life. Mostly in organizations where I was either the “doer” or the “leader.” Growing up, I had chores. What started as “helping” my dad blow leaves or mow the lawn became him telling me, “Mow the lawn.” I would execute just as I had learned – angled lines and all.
As a freshman on the swim team, I was the doer. A senior on the team would say, “Plebes get the lane lines in,” and us plebes would jump in the pool and execute a task we had done all of our lives. Eventually, I was the senior, repeating the order, and plebes were repeating the task.
Even as a Platoon Leader in Iraq, I was handed a mission set, and with a talented, professionally trained team of 30 Soldiers, we would execute missions – day in and day out. I would delegate to the Platoon Sergeant and Squad Leaders, who would delegate to their team leaders and eventually down to their Soldiers. A well-oiled machine. But somewhere between mowing lawns, leading combat patrols to the complex project development, and the program management world I live in today, the “tasks” became a little more complicated.
Maybe it’s because the tasks aren’t tasks. They are stated as a problem. A “complaint” or “vision.” A “what if,” “future risk” or “desired outcome.” That’s not a task at all; that’s an idea. Idea’s need to be translated to projects, and then projects need to be translated to work plans. You see, we are constantly dealing with new problems and projects, not repeatable, assembly-line tasks. And we need to be able to teach our kids, our students and our team members the process of turning a “delegated project” into a work plan with iterative check-ins. We need to get away from “it’s easier to do it myself” and move towards a world of crawl-walk-run training and delegation. Processes and People are the paths to scaling – not overtasking ourselves.
At MCFA, we say that delegation is a two-way street. It’s on the delegator to communicate clearly and set expectations, and it’s on the delegated to ask clarifying questions, request resources, etc. While I don’t use it intentionally all of the time, a tool I have found that always reminds me that delegation is more complicated than just sending an email is this project delegation tool from Michael Hyatt & Co.
This tool might be the first step in defining a project, new internal process, new job description or better yet, realizing you are spinning circles with a bad idea or undefined project that you are blaming your team for “not getting,” when really you don’t get it.
And while Business Development is important, I guarantee Better Delegation is more critical to your growth as an individual, a leader and an organization.