Which environment is harder to lead in: a crisis or the boring day-to-day?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

Which environment is harder to lead in: a crisis or the boring day-to-day?

  • Crises are harder to lead in: 17.%
  • Day-to-day environments are harder to lead in: 83.0%

Harder to lead during the calm. It makes sense that it’s harder to lead a team during day-to-day calm periods. There’s no “enemy” to galvanize your efforts. There’s no crisis to rally the team around. It’s just the boring daily operations that have to be done, but they also have to be done well. Just remember the old military aphorism that how you train in peace defines how you fight in war. If you’re not maintaining standards and holding people accountable during the slow times, they’re more prone to mistakes that can be costly during a crisis. If you place the right focus on the details when things are slow, that will be one less thing to worry about during the crisis that’s inevitably going to come your way.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you address conflict with a peer you have a great relationship with?

  • Ignore it. Things tend to work themselves out on their own: 15.2%
  • Say something directly and get to the root of it quickly: 82.7%
  • Act passive aggressively in retaliation for the conflict: 2.1%

Get to the issue quickly. The vast majority of you identify and try to resolve issues with peers as quickly as possible. Bravo. Letting something linger won’t necessarily resolve it. Granted, there’s judgment involved in which issues to proactively discuss and resolve and which issues (the small ones) to just let slide in the interest of maintaining a good relationship. If you find you tend to avoid issues and are afraid to give feedback because of the reaction you might receive, try using a fact-based feedback model that focuses on the behavior first and then highlights the emotional impact of the behavior. Starting with facts can reduce the tension and enable you to move forward more quickly. And if you’re passive-aggressively retaliating, stop. It doesn’t help anyone -- least of all, you.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How do you deal with slackers on your team?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you deal with slackers on your team?

  • I immediately counsel them and put them on performance plans: 8.3%
  • I try to figure out how to motivate them: 37.0%
  • I ignore things and hope their performance improves: 2.3%
  • I restructure their roles to make them happy: 1.7%
  • I use a combination of tactics: 50.7%

It’s about motivation… and consequences. Clearly the majority of you focus on finding your slackers' motivation. That’s the key. They often have the skills and abilities to do great work -- they just choose not to. Unlocking a slacker’s motivation is the key to turning around performance. That said, sometimes it’s impossible to find a way to motivate them in their current role. In those situations, the combination approach of finding motivation but then doling out consequences, up to and including termination, are on the table. Regardless of which approach you choose, doing nothing is not an option. The rest of your team sees the slacker getting away with it, and their morale suffers as a result.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How well does your organization anticipate and influence regulatory changes?`

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How well does your organization anticipate and influence regulatory changes?

  • Very well. We see them coming and help shape them: 27.7%
  • Well. We see them but could do more to shape them: 37.1%
  • Not well. We’re sometimes surprised and don’t shape much:27.7%
  • Not at all. We’re always caught off guard: 7.5%

Staying ahead of the rules. All businesses are impacted by new laws, rules, and regulations. Ignore their development at your own risk. It can be a terrible outcome to be unaware of a rule change until it’s announced. Doing so can cause massive disruptions to your business and lead you to incur significant costs. On top of that, you’ll be at a competitive disadvantage if you’re remediating regulatory issues while your competitors are attacking you since they’ve already remediated their issues before the rule was finalized. Even better than staying apprised of pending regulations, see if you can influence their development. There are many opportunities to provide input into the regulatory process. Don’t miss the opportunity to shape the rules you’ll compete under in the future.

URL: http://www.thoughtleadersllc.com/2018/07/proactively-dealing-with-regulatory-changes-to-keep-your-business-safe/

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

What’s the most exciting part of your job?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What's the most exciting part of your job?

  • My teammates: 25.4%
  • Our products/services: 17.0%
  • My growth and development: 18.6%
  • Market dynamics and challenges: 15.1%
  • Something else: 10.0%
  • I’m not excited at all about my job: 13.9%

Maybe it’s time to quit. Answers about what excites you about your work were pretty evenly distributed across teammates, growth, and the work you do. The striking answer that jumps out is that 14% of you aren’t excited at all about your jobs. Acknowledging that we all don’t have the flexibility to up and walk out to find another job, something needs to change. See if you can get your responsibilities changed. Find another department to work in. Pin down the top dissatisfiers about your work and figure out how to change them. At the very worst, if you hate your job that much, maybe it’s time to quit. Life is too short to be uninspired and miserable. Don’t just sit there – figure out a way to change your situation.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What has your experience been when working on a cross-functional team?

  • It’s been great every time: 17.3%
  • It’s been OK most times: 40.7%
  • It’s been hit-or-miss: 32.0%
  • It’s been horrible: 3.3%
  • I’ve never worked on a cross-functional team:6.7%

Cross-functional teams function -- most of the time. Most of you have had good experiences on cross-functional teams. For those who have had it be hit-or-miss, consider the following culprits for the misses: team members aren’t fully committed to provide time and effort, they don’t have their supervisor’s support, goals aren’t aligned or there’s no clear charter for the team. These are some of the most common dysfunctions of a cross-functional team. All of these can be solved during the initial stages of forming the team. Do all you can to drive commitment, alignment and direction as soon as the project starts. Skipping that step can spell disaster.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How often do you try to meet new people when you travel?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How often do you try to meet new people when you travel?

  • Very: planes, lounges and hotels are great places to meet new people: 18.0%
  • Sometimes: I’ll occasionally make an effort to meet new people: 40.1%
  • Not very: I’d rather keep to myself most of the time: 32.3%
  • Not at all: leave me alone: 9.6%

Networking opportunities abound. Look around you when you travel for work. You’ll notice many people who look like you. They’re business travelers too. Meeting them could create great new opportunities for you in the form of customers, partners, employees or future employers. But you have to make the effort to meet them. There are many examples of great connections to be made while traveling. All it takes to get started is a polite “hello” or a simple offer of assistance. The vast majority of you report that you don’t take these steps to expand your network. You could be missing out on your next big opportunity. Next time you travel, offer a kind greeting and introduce yourself to someone new. At the very worst, it will make the world a friendlier place.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How effective are you at using found pockets of time to get work done?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How effective are you at using "found" pockets of time -- 10 to 30 minutes -- to get work done?

  • Very: I always have a ready list of tasks to do in these small moments.

  • Somewhat: Sometimes I use it productively and others I waste the time.

  • Not very: Most of that found time goes to waste.

  • Not at all: I never get anything done in those pockets of time.

Make a list of small tasks. Most of you are somewhat effective -- or less than somewhat -- at using small time slots of “found time” to get things done. This occurs because when we find 15 or 20 minutes, we spend 10 of it trying to figure out what to work on and then 10 minutes saying we don’t have enough time to finish the task. An effective way to use this time is to maintain a list of small tasks that can be done in 15-, 30- and 60-minute spans. When you are given the gift of some found time because a meeting ends early or is cancelled, you can immediately turn to your list, pick a task and get it done. This small productivity enhancer will help you fill these times effectively and get a lot more work finished in a given day.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How many close personal advisors do you have that you can go to for guidance in challenging times?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How many close personal advisors do you have that you can go to for guidance in challenging times?

  • 5 or more: 3.0%
  • 2 to 4: 55.7%
  • 1: 21.0%
  • None: 20.3%

Build your personal advisory board. We don’t have all the answers. Getting fresh, objective and outside perspectives can help you make better decisions. Consider creating your own personal board of directors. Find people you respect and trust and, most important, who think differently than you do. They’ll push your thinking, offer good ideas, challenge your assumptions, and help you make better choices. The board doesn’t have to be large but it should be larger than the zero to one people 41% of you have (or don’t have) as advisors. Investing time in these relationships can be one of the best investments you’ll ever make.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."

How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How frequently do you get overwhelmed by the amount of work you have to do?

  • All the time: 11.1%
  • Frequently: 29.3%
  • Sometimes: 36.6%
  • Not often: 19.2%
  • Never: 3.8%

We all get overwhelmed. The question is: how do you deal with it? 77% of you report you’re overwhelmed “sometimes” or more frequently. The pace of business won’t let up. Change and complexity are ever-present. Your ability to cope with stress is a key determinant of how successfully you’ll manage the chaos you deal with every day. Resilient leaders perform better and are generally happier and healthier. Do you have techniques you use to build resilience? Do you have practices to help you cope with stress every day? If not, build them into your routine. Working out, meditating, pursuing a hobby and building strong personal relationships are just a few ideas for how you can become a more resilient leader.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."