The Coach's Corner

The Final Quest

June 17th, 2019 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

is a fascinating little book that has significantly impacted me for the past several months.

First, a disclaimer: It’s written by a Christian pastor about a series of dreams (visions) he had about the spiritual world. For that reason, you may want to skip this post.

Secondly, again as a Christian, he’s writing from his point of view of the Bible. Again, if that’s not something that’s to your taste, you may want to skip this post.

For those of you who are still with me, I would highly recommend this book, written by Rick Joyner. It’s a short, easy read. Whether the author’s vision of the spiritual world is “real” or whether he just has a vivid imagination, he’s able to paint a very realistic picture. In my three decades of being a Bible student, I’ve had limited exposure to the dark side of scripture. Joyner’s version of what could be or might be going on is very believable — to the point where I’ve thought of it almost every day since finishing the book. He has expressed a point of view that would explain experiences that I have daily.

As you know, the first category in the Doescher Advisors Executive Health Check-up is “Spiritual Health.” With that in mind, The Final Quest is something you may want to at least consider reading and reflecting upon.

What if what Joyner reports is true? How might it affect you?

Fearless

June 16th, 2019 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

is a 2012 book about Adam Brown, a Navy Seal, I thought I was reading for fun, due to my fetish about Seals over the past decade. Wow, was I wrong. Yes, it was fun and entertaining but it was way more than that.

I believe Adam is a role model for having a clear mission (He knew his “Why”) and he stayed laser beam focused on it.

First a little background. Adam grew up in a loving intact Christian family in Arkansas. He was an athlete and well liked in high school. Sadly he lost his way after graduation and became addicted to drugs. His life got pretty ugly and near the bottom he attended a Teen Challenge drug treatment center. Along the way, he decided he wanted to become a Navy Seal and serve his country as a patriot warrior.

Before reading Fearless, I knew that becoming a Seal was a rigorous process, but it was more complex than I realized. Adam, however, was determined to join their ranks. Here are just a few obstacles he had to overcome.

  1. During his dark drug years, Adam was convicted of several felonies and spent time in prison. This was a huge deal breaker that he miraculously overcame.
  2. Near the end of his Seal training, he became blind in his dominant right eye in a training accident. Yet, he was able to train his non-dominant left eye and eventually passed the precision sniper marksmanship tests. More importantly, he convinced the Navy, that being blind in one eye, would not be a liability to his fellow warriors.
  3. During an early deployment in Iraq, he crushed his hand and severed all his fingers in a Humvee IUD accident. His fingers were reattached on his dominant right hand. Still he learned how to use his left hand, and once again passed the rigorous marksmanship training.
  4. Adam was always the one to volunteer for the toughest assignments, and as the title of the book reflects, he was indeed fearless.

If you are struggling with your “Why” or staying on your “Why”, I would strongly encourage you read Fearless for motivation. I would say that focus is a common challenge for many entrepreneurs and I think Adam is a poster child for being single-minded.

Postscript – I found the book’s reporting of the ups and downs of his Christian faith and his life-long struggle with his drug addiction refreshingly candid and realistic.

World-class Feedback

June 3rd, 2019 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

is what Kim Scott, author of Radical Candor, is referring to when she describes how you can “Be a Kick-A__ Boss Without Losing Your Humanity.” If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know that, on more than one occasion, I’ve encouraged team leaders to provide their associates with quality feedback. At Plante Moran, where I received great feedback from many different partners and associates (I didn’t say I always liked it), we referred to it as “Candor is Kindness.” Scott had the privilege of working for Apple and Google during their formative years and, per her book, both companies, although they used different styles, were havens for constructive feedback.

Here are two specific examples of quality, actionable feedback that I received. Early in my career, Plante Moran’s founding partner, Frank Moran, encouraged me to work on my grammar. I was a young hotshot, recent college graduate with a high grade point average, and Frank’s comments could have offended me. But he handled the situation in the most delicate way, and I’m forever grateful for his feedback. Another time, my team supervisor and mentor, Ken Kunkel — who provided hundreds of great suggestions — gently told me that I had coffee breath. I give these as simple but very personal examples. When I read Scott’s book, I was reminded of both Frank and Ken.

Based on my observations and experiences with privately owned businesses, I’ve found that many bosses aren’t providing good, actionable feedback to their team members.

If you own a business or are responsible for leading a team of people, I would highly recommend you read Radical Candor. Scott, whose mentor was/is Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, offers some great, practical examples and advice regarding feedback and career planning.

I’m going to leave it there and encourage you, after reading the book, to take the risk of giving your team members developmental feedback (stuff you’ve talked to your colleagues about, but have never shared with the specific person). If it would help, I would be happy to role-play a situation with you.

 

Have We Modified Our Behaviors After Listening to Susan Cain?

May 27th, 2019 // Tom Doescher // 0 Comments

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

In my November 10, 2014, post, called “The Power of Introverts,” I shared the epiphany I had after listening to Susan Cain’s landmark (at least to me) TED Talk.

Well, it’s almost five years later, and I continue to observe and read about innovative new workspace, collaboration, and brainstorming ideas. Something I’ve noticed, though, is that almost all of them totally ignore introverts. This stuff is written by very successful business executives and consultants, who get paid a lot of money, so it’s a bit disappointing to me to see this group completely overlooked.

Maybe I get it more because I’m an ambivert who leans slightly toward extrovert. Maybe because I can understand both personality types, I feel the pain of the introverts. As a result, I want to share two very practical suggestions:

Office Space. I know the latest rage is open-landscape office designs and, while this may be great for extroverts, I’d suggest that before you make a change to your office setup, you select a few of your high-performing introverts and meet with them privately. Let them know ahead of time, in writing, that you want their candid input on office design, specifically as it relates to privacy. Maybe list some possible solutions and ask them to add any ideas they have to your list. You can also encourage them to bring their list of suggestions to you one-on-one.

Brainstorming Meetings. Next time you conduct a brainstorming meeting, instead of sending a brief note stating the topic, send a more detailed write-up of the goal of the meeting and explain, in detail, what will occur during the session. Encourage the recipients to spend some (company) time thinking about the subject and recording their ideas. This will give the introverts a chance to think about the subject and write down their thoughts, rather than being put on the spot in the meeting. When the team arrives, collect the sheets and record the ideas on the white board. The super extroverts may not hand in a list, but they’ll be pleased to share their ideas as the session proceeds.

Following the session, send out another communication, this time summarizing the meeting. Again, ask the team members — especially the introverts — whether they have any additional thoughts they’d like to share after spending the day together and having a few days to think about the conversation.

Basically half the population consists of extroverts and the other half are introverts, with a few token ambiverts thrown into the mix. If you want to get creative, innovative ideas from your introverts — who definitely have some great ideas — then converse with them in their own language, so to speak.

I apologize for being so direct, but I hear so much about the need for new ideas and I sincerely believe this is a way to double them at no extra cost.

Some Great Advice Regarding Gossip

April 29th, 2019 // Tom Doescher //

Tom Doescher - Doescher Advisors

Recently, Barbara was meeting with a client who shared their gossip policy. In my decades of business experience, I’ve found that gossip is like cancer in large and small companies alike. The policy below is so well-written that, with our client’s permission, I’ve included it, intact, with only a few editorial comments. If you haven’t addressed this issue in your workplace, consider adopting a similar policy.

NO-GOSSIP POLICY

In the workplace, gossip is an activity that can drain, distract and downshift employee job satisfaction. We all have participated in this, yet most of us say we don’t like it. In order to create a more professional workplace, we the undersigned are making a commitment to change our atmosphere to be gossip-free.

gos·sip n. Rumor or talk of a personal, sensational, or intimate nature. A person who habitually spreads intimate or private rumors or facts. Trivial, chatty talk or writing.

You’ll notice that gossip is a noun — which means it’s something you DO. That also means it’s something you choose to do — and you can choose NOT to do it. You enter into gossip by choice — you can opt out of the activity at work. In order to end gossip, you must end a particular type of communication — and that can be talk or email communications (Editorial comment: or text messages).

• Gossip always involves a person who is not present.
• Unwelcome and negative gossip involves criticizing another person.
• Gossip often is about conjecture that can injure another person’s credibility or reputation.

The persons signed below agree to the following:

In order to have a more professional, gossip-free workplace, we will:

1. Not speak or insinuate another person’s name when that person is not present unless it is to compliment or reference regarding (Editorial comment: factual) work matters.

2. Refuse to participate when another mentions a person who is not present in a negative light. I will change the subject or tell them I have agreed not to talk about another.

3. Choose not to respond to negative email or use email (Editorial comment: or text) to pass on private or derogatory information about any person in the agency.

4. While off the job, speak to another co-worker about people at work in a derogatory light. If I have feelings, I will select to talk to someone not at the workplace.

5. If another person in the department does something unethical, incorrect, against procedures, or disruptive I will use the proper channels to report this to the person in authority to take corrective action.

6. I will mind my own business, do good work, be a professional adult and expect the same from others.

Disclaimer: You may want to have an HR consultant or your labor attorney review your specific wording.

The Advisor’s Corner

Tom DoescherYou’ll find stories from the trenches, business lessons, and pertinent questions to help you find inspiration, professional growth, and leadership savvy.

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