Posts Tagged ‘Steven Covey


how rotten is my apple?

Ever been overcome with the need for a good re-charging?  Before returning to work, my father could take a ten-minute nap while home for lunch and would practically leap out of his chair when he was done.  I timed him once, ten minutes exactly – like clockwork, never set an alarm.

I’m talking about a different kind of re-charging actually, more of a company reassessment and regrouping.  This is healthy, normal and more notably – not done near enough by far too many organizations.

A few weeks ago, executive committee members and leaders from within the Texas Trucking Association dedicated some time to take a strategic look at the direction of the organization and assess the progress from the past year.

The grades were great, but perhaps more importantly, our compass was recalibrated.

Steven Covey once said that organizations move at the speed of trust.  It is inherently critical that your team members feel that your organization represents values that they themselves share.  However, trust must flow both ways.  People don’t typically leave bad companies – they leave bad managers.

one_bad_apple_10533Conversely, you may also realize that it’s equally important that you recognize when a team member does not hold the same values that the organization shares.  One day you may look up and have a much bigger issue at hand because you have failed to recognize the spoils soon enough, and worse yet – properly address them.  Remember there is no faster way to pickle a barrel of apples than to allow the ones that are fermenting to remain in the dark.  It goes without saying, those should be tossed out sooner than later.

That is also what good strategic planning entails.  Now you have just identified specific goals and set specific deadlines.  Do you have the proper tools to make it happen? The right people?

Nothing is better than knowing you have the right personnel in place.  Sure there is always going to be constant tweaking on that one, but no one likes to be in the dark.  To clearly communicate those goals – you may have to engage in constant clarification of your mission.  Far too many organizations struggle with engagement, and it takes strong leadership and clearly stated goals to combat that.  Constantly encourage the discipline and focus it takes to achieve those goals.

Lastly, and most importantly, have a little fun along the way – don’t take yourself too seriously.

Here’s a note I got recently from my son’s teacher following a nature hike on 6thgrade field trip:

“This email is to inform you of a behavior event that has been recorded for your child (Joshua Esparza). The details of the event are listed below:walkingstick2

Date of Event: 09/27/2013

Reported By: (Teacher)

Event: Level A Demerit – Non-compliance with school procedure

Description:  The event does not fit this description exactly, but it is non-compliance w/the expectations of LCRA (Lower Colorado River Authority). A student knocked an almost 5 inch long walking stick off the side of a building and Josh saw it, instead of moving the insect to a safer spot. He took his boot and completely mashed it to death. The field trip was about nature and he had been given instructions by LCRA personnel about expectations regarding animal life when we first arrived.”

No matter how clearly the instructions, there will be lapses.  Use them as learning experiences  but make sure they aren’t habits.  It takes good leadership to step back and see lapses for what they are, and sometimes they’re just clean strikes at good pitches.  Be it skill set, personality, human nature, or whatever… judge wisely and move forward.

Personally, walking sticks always gave me the willies too – I guess the apple, rotten or not, doesn’t fall too far from the tree after all.


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