From: Mike Keesee []
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 5:11 PM
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The Leadership News
Dear Mike,

     Welcome to the November 2007 edition of the Leadership News.  How do you know when you need help?  Sounds like a silly question.  But many business executives get so busy working "in" their business; they never have time to work "on" their business.  They fail to recognize the symptoms.  In the article "How To Know If You're Drowning", some of the symptoms of a business in trouble are described.  Also in "The Best Way To Predict Your Future Is To Create It - Step 2!", we talk about the importance of a "value statement".  I hope this newsletter provides you with some insight that will be of value to your business.

      By the way, don't miss the offer of a free book at the bottom of the newsletter. 
Happy Thanksgiving


Mike Keesee, PMP

President & CEO

JMK Associates LLC

How To Know If You're Drowning
by Mike Keesee
JMK PIcture    

     Maybe a better title to this article would have been "How To Know If You Are Being Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide".  As I understand it, you'd be dead before you knew you were in danger.  But that title was to long, and besides, there are many signs of a "drowning" business that are readily evident if you know to look for them.  I'm going to outline a few in this article.  There are many more.  And, just because one or more of these symptoms exist doesn't mean you are doomed.  In fact, you might continue struggling along feeling pretty good about where you are going - unaware that you could do better.  But if these symptoms exist, the best that can be said is that you are not making the progress you could be making.

     Symptom #1 - Excessive Meetings.  Are you always in a meeting?  Is your calendar full of nothing but meetings?  And do you ever leave a meeting and wonder, "Now just exactly what did we accomplish?". 

     Symptom #2 - Communication Problems.  "What?  That's not what I said!"  "What do you mean you didn't get the memo?"  "Why can't they ever seem to get it right!"  "I didn't know that's what you meant!)  If you are hearing these comments, you've got a failure to communicate.

     Symptom $3 - No Personal Accountability.  "That's not my job!"  "It's not my fault.  She was supposed to do that!"  "I can't help that.  It's not my responsibility."  Do your people accept responsibility for results and not just actions?

     Symptom #4 - Misaligned Efforts.  Are your people all working towards the same goals, or does it seem that sometimes your people are in a multi-dimensional tug-of-war?

      Symptom #5 - Poor Performance.   How many less than satisfactory performance reviews has your organization had to administer lately?  How many "just average"?  Do you feel your people could do better?

      Symptom #6 - Power Struggles.  Do you have to referee instead of manage?  Are "turf battles" the prevailing form of corporate exercise?

      Symptom #7 - Low Morale.  Do you think your people love to come to work?  Do they come to work with "Hi-ho, Hi-ho, it's off to work we go." or the funeral dirge in their heads?

      Symptom #8 - Micromanaging Managers.  Do your managers manage at the results level, or at the activity level?  Do they trust their people to produce, or do they feel they must direct every activity?

      Symptom #9 - Reactive instead of Proactive.  Were you able to plan your day and work your plan, or did you have to "put out fires" all day long?

      Symptom #10 - Lagging Sales.  Are sales where you feel they should be?  Is the trend down?

      Symptom #11 - "Can't be done" Attitude.  What's the first reaction of your people when you introduce something new?  Is it, "But we've never done it that way before." or "Not sure we can do that!"?

      Symptom #12 - Duplication of Effort.  Do you find overlap of effort?  Does time get wasted because two people think they have responsibility for the same task?

      Symptom #13 - Late Projects.  Are your projects always late and over budget? 

      Symptom #14 - Poor Quality.  Do your customers complain about quality?

      Symptom #15 - High Turnover.  Are you always having to train new people?

      Symptom #16 - Not Enough Time.  Do you go home every day satisfied you accomplished everything that needed to be done, or do you find yourself at the office well after dark just trying to keep up?  (Does your dog bite you when you get home?)

     These are just a few of the symptoms of a business that may be drowning.  At the very best, if a business exhibits any of these symptoms - especially more than two or three, that business certainly could do much better.  If you feel any of this "pain", give me a call.  Perhaps over a cup of coffee, we can help you learn to swim better. 

      For more information, visit our website.



The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Create It - Step 2!
by Mike Keesee 

Success Cup

"It is not hard to make decisions when you know what your values are."  Roy Disney, American Film Writer, Producer, Nephew of Walt Disney

"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Peter F Drucker, American Management Guru


     In the last newsletter, we talked about the importance of a vision.  A vision gives inspiration, challenge and purpose.  It inspires us to take action.  But what guides our decisions as to what actions to take?

     Is there anything you wouldn't do for a million dollars?  Tough question.  But of course there are many things you wouldn't do - even for a million dollars.  So what will you not do to achieve your vision? 

     Values provide a framework, a set of boundaries beyond which you will not go, as well as those principles you will follow, to achieve your vision.  Values represent the core principles in the organization's culture including what drives individuals and how they truly act in an organization.

     One cannot ignore the pain some very large organizations have suffered recently because they did not have, or at least did not follow, their core values.  Having a "values statement", a clear statement of the organization's guiding principles is critical in guiding the decisions an organization makes in pursuing it's vision.

     Another reason for clarifying an organization's values is that it makes decision making easier.  It takes many options off the table.  If the vision provides direction for an organization, then values provides a framework in which decisions are made.

     One of the most powerful and respected value statement is found in a well know document, The declaration of Independence.  "We hold these truths to be self-evident . . . " and the words that follow have guided major, national decisions for hundreds of years.

     Your beliefs will form the basis for your value statement.  But be sure to include the interests of your stakeholders in your value considerations.  Stakeholders are anyone who can exert influence over or have an interest in your organization.  They are your customers, employees, stockholders, suppliers, community, etc.  Values should reflect the consideration you give to these stakeholders as you make decisions as to how to achieve your vision.

     Now that we have formed the basis for creating your future, i.e., where you are going and the core values that will govern your journey, we will talk about taking the first step towards the ultimate goal of achieving that vision.  In our next newsletter, we will examine the Mission Statement.


"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step!" 

Chinese proverb

Free Book
All good leaders read.  I have a book I'd like to give you - free!  The title is Fail-safe Leadership.  All you have to do is call me between now and December 31, 2007 to receive your copy.  My phone numbers are 770 943 3657, or 678 773 8036.
Mike Keesee
JMK Associates LLC
770 943 3657
678 773 8036 (cell)
770 943 1450 (fax)

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