dreamstime_s_44366106 (2)Mercy.  That isn't a word you hear very often, but it just might be the secret to building a great team.  It's first known use was in the 13th century from the Latin for "price paid," a merchant term for the payment of a debt by someone else.  It shows itself in acts of kindness, sympathy, compassion and understanding.

So, how can I use mercy to build my team?  First, you can use it to get past a mistake--yours our someone else's.  We all make mistakes.  Seldom do we do them on purpose.  So stop treating yourself or others as if they were done on purpose.

Second, you can use mercy when someone does the wrong thing "on purpose."   We do what we do because it made sense at the time.  Later we may learn that it was the wrong thing.  It may be we didn't have the right information.  It may be we didn't know of any other option because we lacked the knowledge or experience.  It may be because what we thought was true wasn't true at all.

I'm not suggesting the use of mercy for things done to harm, embarrass, or demean.  What I am suggesting is that when the doer of wrong repents--to express sorrow or fault, and seek to make amends--then mercy may be the right path and perhaps the only path back onto the team and slowly back to a position of trust.

Without mercy, mistakes become mountains no one can cross.  And bad behavior becomes a capital offense.  I know the behavior may so egregious that the person needs to go.  But many times, the person and the talent needed by the team can be save.  And it can be saved with a little bit of mercy.  If it is just a mistake, show mercy.  If it was intentional, but repentance is shown, show mercy.

There is an added bonus.  When mixed with justice you become authentic, genuine, truthful and transparent.  When mixed with humility you become generous, willing to help or give freely.

The next time you are faced with a mistake or even a wrong, try mercy.  You will be glad you did.

dreamstime_xs_1801567 (2)It’s easy to smile when “the livin' is easy,” but surviving in the worst of times is another story. It may not be the worst of times for you right now, but it is for someone. And it may be for you very soon. The challenge we face is we don’t always know when the worst of times will come.

What can you do to get ready?

Let me suggest two ways you can prepare for the worst. First, get off your pedestal and admit to yourself that you may be a part of the problem. A big dose of humility will go a long way in preparing yourself for the worst of times. So, start now being modest and respectful, looking out for the best in other. Help someone in need. Be generous, willing to help or give freely, and practice restraint and discipline in your personal and public life.

Second, be courageous. Stand up for what is right.  Courage shows itself best when you are fair and reasonable in the way you treat people and make decisions. And is most effective when you are authentic, genuine, truthful and transparent.

Humility and courage. Humility and courage. Two ways to prepare for and survive in the worst of time.

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24057795In an article written for People Management International Inc. titled A Game Plan for the Interview, Arthur F. Miller provides some great insights into the interviewing process.  “After name, rank, and serial number,” writes Miller, “where do you go in an interview?  What questions should be asked?  What areas explored?  Within the time available, what data should you seek that will reveal how this person will perform once on the job?” ...continue reading Getting the Interview Right

dreamstime_xs_15706029 (2)One of the biggest obstacles to Lean is the “organization chart,” that antiquated system of departmental walls that enforces a total separation of functions, placing a barrier—real or imagined—between groups of people at work.  Lean begins when we remove those walls of separation and create a cooperative environment where employees are not only willing to help but also to learn from each other all of the time. ...continue reading Our Org Charts Are Keeping Us Fat

What can a nonprofit do to encourage innovation?  Peter Drucker in Innovation and Entrepreneurship, identified four rules that "constitute the specific policies and practices the public-service institution requires if it is to make itself entrepreneurial and capable of innovation." ...continue reading Encourage Innovation in Your Nonprofit

Negativity is a killer.  That is not just a metaphor, but a reality.  In the 1950’s the North Koreans used four primary tactics on their prisoners of war; (a) informing, (b) self-criticism, (c) breaking loyalty to leadership and country, and (d) with-holding all positive emotional support.  These tactics resulted in a 38 percent POW death rate—the highest in military history.  So, the next time you hear someone say “sticks and stone may break my bone, but words will never hurt me.”  Don’t believe it.  Negativity kills. ...continue reading Negativity is a Killer

iStock_000014691385XSmallYou have three choices when it comes to hiring people, (1) hire anyone who applies, (2) hire potential winners, or (3) hire proven winners.  Hiring anyone who applies takes very little time, not a lot of work, and it will likely destroy your organization.  Hiring potential winners takes work and usually takes a lot of time and who knows, you may just find a winner.  Hiring proven winners requires a lot of work and a lot of time.  You must decide.  Is what you are doing within your organization and on your teams important enough to take the time and effort needed to hire the best? ...continue reading Is Your Work Important Enough to Hire the Best?

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photos-pedestrian-walking-dark-tunnel-silhouette-person-underpass-symbolizing-light-end-image38781068Do you remember what it feels like to walk in the dark?  Do you recall how slowly you moved, how you tested every step before placing your full weight on the floor?  Well that is exactly what it feels like to your team when you are not honest, open and transparent about your vision and your expectations as their leader. ...continue reading A Walk in the Dark

The Nine Box Grid provides a map for navigating an organization’s strategic intent.  It is normally presented in terms of manpower or leadership potential against measurable performance.  As a leadership selection and development tool it helps decision makers (1) think ahead in terms of talent development and management succession, and (2) prepare for change by having the required resources at the ready. ...continue reading How To Know If “It” Is A Good “Fit”

We use models to picture things we cannot otherwise see.  We model homes before we build them.  We model communities before we develop them.  We model processes before we invest in them.  We even look for model families, model schools, model everything.  So it is not unusual for us to look for models of leadership as well.  And we have many to choose from: servant leadership, situational leadership, tribal leadership, creative leadership, progressive leadership, self leadership, total leadership, participative leadership, transactional leadership, transformational leadership, appreciative leadership, even Disney leadership. ...continue reading One Model, Two Responsibilities