The Second in Command (WT604)

The Second in Command (WT604)


WT 604 The Second in Command

This week I thought we’d talk about leadership and what it means to be the Second in Command (2IC).

In a few weeks I’ll be launching my new book called The Loyal Lieutenant: How the Second in Command Brings the CEO’s Vision to Life.

Before we look at the role of the person in your organisation who supports the boss, let’s look at the boss’ role.

The CEO, Managing Director, CVO (Chief Vision Officer) or whatever title the head person goes by, has the responsibility of creating the vision and direction for the organisation.

Being able to see what the majority cannot see is a true gift. That’s what makes them so valuable. They see possibility where the rest of us see darkness.

But – the majority of visionaries lack the ability to clearly articulate their vision in a way that others can see.

This is where the 2IC shines.

The 2IC is an interpreter. The 2IC gets the vision and is able to explain that to the team in a way they can understand.

The 2IC is responsible for bringing the vision to life; for developing the strategy and the plan and the actions that need to be completed by the team.

The 2IC is there to guide and support the team; to provide the resources and to solve problems.

The 2IC is the conduit between the team and the visionary.

The visionary wants to know where the projects are up to and the 2IC is the person who provides the progress updates. Communication is key.

Have a look in your organisation, even if your organisation is your family unit. There will be one person on your team who has the vision. There will be another who interprets and communicates this to the rest of the team, who will get stuff done.

Here’s an example that can be applied at both the workplace and at home.

Visionary decides to take the team to Disneyland. This is the destination.

The 2IC questions and clarifies what the visionary sees and shares this with the team and comes up with the strategy and the plan and then assigns the tasks to the team:

  1. Someone to arrange flights and accommodation
  2. Someone to arrange meals
  3. Someone to arrange insurances
  4. Someone to create an itinerary of activities
  5. Someone to organise transport in America

Every single person on the team contributes to the end goal in some way. Think of it like an orchestra with many different instruments, all led by the conductor. The 2IC is the conductor, guiding and mentoring the team.

Question: if you have a team to complete the tasks, should the 2IC be doing the tasks?

No. The role of the 2IC is coordinate and make it happen.

Who is that person in your organisation or family?

If it’s not you, are you supporting them by doing the tasks or are you standing back and letting them do your job?

The role of the 2IC is to bring the vision to life.

What’s your role?

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It’s Not Okay (WT603)

It’s Not Okay (WT603)


WT 603 It's not Okay

Mostly, I love humans.

Every now and again though, some do some things that really challenge my value system.

We visited a friend for dinner and had parked Harry Hilux in the street. We enjoyed a lovely dinner and were feeling very relaxed and happy when we left (no not drunk, just happy).

We walked up to the car.

Harry Hilux has a tray back and when we got to him there on his back was a half full carton of chocolate milk.

“Really!” Someone had left their rubbish sitting there.

We looked around for a bin. No bins.

We didn’t want to leave it in the street, so I ended up carrying it home in my hands whilst Ross drove and threw it in the bin when we arrived home.

In these days of Covid, I was also a little anxious about touching the rubbish.

What goes on in people’s brains that they think that sort of behaviour is okay?

It’s not okay.

Even if there wasn’t a bin in sight, please take your rubbish with you until you find one.

Okay, rant over.

What would you have done?

Would you have left it in the street or found a bin?

Let’s not litter Australia.

Let’s take responsibility for our actions and look after this amazing country and planet we call home.

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A Team Gets the Job Done (WT599)

A Team Gets the Job Done (WT599)


WT 599 A Team Gets the Job Done

This week I was searching for some inspiration for the Weekly Thought.

As one colleague mentioned to me, “Now that you’re not travelling anymore we won’t get to hear about your adventures”.  No pressure.

Well, today that changed in a heartbeat.

I was so inspired by the immense display of teamwork that occurred as a result of the news that some of our team members had been exposed to not one but two people who were Covid positive.

As soon as the news came in the leadership team swung into action.

Initially a conference phone call, it soon turned into a zoom meeting to invite feedback and involve the senior leaders.

One leader briefed us on the situation. Another who was responsible for the Covid Strategy and making sure we complied with the Public Health Orders briefed us on the NSW Health Covid Matrix for categorising the workers as Close or Casual Contacts or Notify to Monitor Symptoms.

Another made a list of all the people who needed to be contacted and informed.

As a team, we came up with a list of actions.

One by one team members volunteered to complete the various actions.

Within 15 minutes after the meeting, most of the actions had been completed.

It was an incredible example of how a team gets the job done.

Each team member contributed something different.

Each team member relied on the others to ensure the mission was a success.

Whilst we can’t wave a magic wand and change the Covid Positive status, we can support those who have been impacted by the situation and do what we can to prevent further spread.

In times of crisis it’s often when you notice how quickly and efficiently a team can form and take action.

Your job this week, apart from staying safe and well, is to look to your team and consider how your team would respond.

And if they would swing into action, then I urge you to show your appreciation because it takes a team to get the job done.

Regards Shirley

P.S. We’ve set the dates for our next Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience for 2022. If you’re thinking about embracing change and having some support, check out Experience starts Thursday 10th February and Early Bird Discount ends 31st December (saving $1,000).

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Manage the Risk and Make Quicker Decisions (WT595)

Manage the Risk and Make Quicker Decisions (WT595)


WT 595 Manage the risk and make quicker decisions

Last week I mentioned I would share a little tip with you to help you make quicker decisions.

It’s something I came up with during a recent coaching session.

My client, we’ll call her Trudy, had been given feedback from her boss that he was frustrated with the length of time it was taking for some of the projects he had asked for, to be completed.

Trudy was committed to the projects, however when she went to action them, her brain kept posing different “What if” questions. What if this happens? What if that doesn’t work out? What if so and so doesn’t like it?  The list of What if questions was endless and it was preventing her from taking action.

As often happens when I’m coaching, I saw a picture. The picture was the Risk Assessment Matrix that is used to eliminate or reduce work health and safety risks. (See below.)

I shared the Risk Assessment Matrix with Trudy and asked her a “What if” question.

“What if, for every question you come up with, you ask yourself two more questions?”

She leaned in.

“What is the likelihood of this happening and what are the possible consequences if it did?”

“Wow!” she exclaimed. “That could really work.”

We tested it out on a couple of her “What if” questions, e.g. “What if John makes a mistake with the task?” (This was preventing Trudy from delegating.)

“What’s the likelihood of John making a mistake?” I asked.

“It’s possible”, she said, “but probably unlikely”.

“What is the consequence if John makes a mistake?” I asked.

“It’s not really a big deal”, she answered. “After all, he knows the software and uses it all the time.”

With that she made an instant decision to let go and let John do the work.

She was on fire. All she had to do was ask the two questions in the Risk Assessment Matrix to help her make quicker decisions.

It’s your turn. Have a go and let me know some of the questions you ask and what you decide as well as if it helped to make your decisions more quickly.

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P.P.S.  Dates have been confirmed for our next Leading Yourself and Leading Others Experience:  Thursdays – 10th, 17th, 24th February and 3rd March 2022. Early Bird Discount finishes 31st December 2021. More information click here

It’s Not the Number of Tasks You Do (WT594)

It’s Not the Number of Tasks You Do (WT594)


WT 594 It's not the number of tasks you do

As we drive around in the motorhome we like to listen to audio books.

One book that I can highly recommend is Measure What Matters by John Doerr.

The book is all about what he calls “OKRs” – Objectives and Key Results, why and how to use them.

But that’s not what I want to share in this thought.

One of the points that stood out for me was a little sentence for managers.

You see, lately I’ve been coaching a number of Chief Operating Officers at various companies as well as having been the COO for Kip McGrath Education Centres, an Australian international franchise organisation and currently COO for a start up business, this sentence really resonated for me and if you’re a COO or manager or you aspire to be, then I really want you to take notice of it and assess yourself.

Are you ready?

I forget the name of the person to quote, so we’ll say “source unknown”.

If you’re a manager, you don’t get paid for the number of tasks you do, you get paid for the quality of the decisions you make.

I’ll repeat that. If you’re a manager, you don’t get paid for the number of tasks you do, you get paid for the quality of the decisions you make.

To illustrate my point, when I was working at Kip McGrath Education Centres, Kip walked past my office one day and poked his head in and said, “Shirley, if I walk past your office and you have your back turned away from the door and are staring out the window with your feet up, I’ll be really pleased.”

“Ok, I’ll bite”, I said. “What will you be really pleased about?”

“It will mean you’re thinking about how you can improve my business” and with that he walked back to his office.

So, what does this mean for you? Are you running around doing everything? Do you have the mindset that only you can do it?

If so, you are severely limiting your career options and chances for promotion.

What any business owner or senior leader wants to see is people stepping up. People thinking about and acting on how the business could be improved; how processes could be streamlined, how expenses could be reduced, how customers could be wowed. The list is endless.

And if you have trouble making decisions, next week I’ll share a little tip with you that will make all the difference and help you feel much more confident to make those decisions.

Now you have a decision to make. What will you do with this week’s thought? Will you read it, think about it and then forget about it or will you read it, think about it, discuss it with your mentors, other managers and colleagues and find ways you can delegate some of those tasks that someone else can do just as well, if not better than you?

Let me know what you decide. Remember, it’s not the number of tasks you do. It’s the quality of the decisions you make.

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Get a Mirror (WT587)

Get a Mirror (WT587)


WT 587 Get a mirror

I fell off my pushbike today.

I was following Ross and he navigated a tricky pedestrian crossing at the lights.

A car stopped for him and the driver waved him on.

I was happy to stop and wait, however the driver waved me on too.

I felt pressured to keep going, although I’m not as proficient at riding as Ross.

Of course I fell over.

Right in the middle of the road.

Right in front of the driver.

Right in front of all the other cars that were stopped at the lights.

I was embarrassed.

I was hurt and Ross was nowhere to be seen.

The young driver called out to see if I was ok.

I had somehow landed on my backside with both legs in the air and I managed to roll over and found myself laying there with hands, palms facing down on the road, for what seemed like minutes before I gathered myself and untwisted the bike and walked to the other side of the road.

Where was Ross?

All I wanted to do was cry and melt into his arms.

He had ridden up the road and was waiting; sitting on a seat outside our destination.

Now I was mad.

Instead of melting into his arms, I wanted to punch him.

“Get a mirror”, I screamed

“Get a mirror on that damn bike so you can see what’s happening behind you.”

Of course, this outburst came because of an earlier frustration I had had with him not hearing me call out when we were riding in Darwin.

And to my point, no matter what we are doing, we need to be present and remain alert and of course, not pressure ourselves when we’re in situations that are uncomfortable.

What will you do?

Will you get a mirror?

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