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Many organizations confuse success indicators and health indicators; they’re not the same thing. Yes, the differences can be subtle, but a higher level of success comes to those who have figured it out. For example, in the non-profit world, financial measures are often an important indicator of the health of the organization but not usually an indicator of its impact.

QUESTION:

What are the critical success (impact) indicators for your organization; what are your strategies to make those things happen? What are your key health indicators; how do you monitor and ensure organizational health while achieving the results you have articulated?
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We need a better word. When we use the word “change” flags usually go up, resistance likely goes up, muttering often goes up and productivity frequently goes down. The word “change” scares people. It means loss. It means giving something up. It means abandoning what got us here and often it means disloyalty to the person who got me here.

QUESTION:

What word works better than "change?" Or, what if we moved to what's next by talking about the organization's founding purpose rather than a retooling of its present? What if we introduced ideas, programs and initiatives as an extension of (perhaps even in honour of) the history and the mentor we've shared already? We cannot tell our story too often; what happens if we continue to tell it over and over and then add a new chapter every now and then?
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A leader I know says to his team members, “If you agree with everything I say, I don’t need you.” Yes. The sharpest organizations talk passionately about their work, disagree regularly with their leaders and each other, argue intensely about possibilities, and then make great decisions knowing they’ve considered all angles. All the while, when it works well, those conversations stay focussed on ideas, not on each other.

QUESTION:

Does your work culture encourage disagreement? Do you mine for contrasting opinions when making decisions and plans? What will you do this week to demand critical conversations in order to sharpen your leadership and your organization's processes?
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A leader told me recently that one of the things holding her organization back was civility. Yes, her people are so concerned with being nice to each other that they won’t acknowledge underperformance or suggest obvious improvements if someone might be singled out. Bluntly, being nice has trumped being effective.

QUESTION:

Are you too civil? Is your culture too civil? What are you missing out on by being nice? What must you do to shift that thinking? How can you create a culture of "critical friends"? What one thing will thinking about this cause you do this week?
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The poet David Whyte says:

“anything or anyone
that does not bring you alive
is too small for you.”

Maybe he’s too bold, maybe not. One purpose of poetry is to agitate the mind, to create a healthy restlessness. Perhaps there’s a leadership message for us in his words.

QUESTION:

Who, professionally, do you spend the most time with? Does he/she add to your capacity or eat up your bandwidth? Are they helping you become a bigger person, a better leader; do they "bring you alive?" If the answers are easy, how will you nurture those conversations this week? If those questions are tough, what will you do surround yourself with life-giving people?
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Future Shop closed a number of stores in Canada this week (including my favourite location which was only open for 17 months!). Their business reason – showrooming. What’s that? People come to their store, talk with a salesperson, figure out which product they want (especially big-ticket items), then leave the store and make the purchase online at a discount. Makes sense; doesn’t it? Business is changing in ways that we aren’t imagining. We must open our eyes or else.

QUESTION:

What can you learn from "showrooming;" how are your customers changing? How are their options changing? How are their behaviours changing as a result of new possibilities? How are you staying on top of how they think? What one question will you ask your team this week to open your organization's eyes to evolving customer behaviours?