Skill Assessment: Up Your Technology IQ with a Few Ps

The PLI Essential Essential of Skill Assessment is about knowing who you are, making the most of what you've got and getting better at interfacing with the world. It amazes me when I hear leaders complain about how technology is making their life more difficult. That is like someone in the 1920s complaining about the automobile or someone in the 1970s complaining about the telefax. It's not the car or the fax machines or the technology that hinders production. It is the willingness (or lack thereof) to learn something new. This is, of course, because learning something new after the age of twenty-one is extremely time consuming and energy dependent. It is hard work.

If your purpose for reading this blog is to become a better, more effective leader and you complain about all the technology around you that you don't understand, stop complaining and..

Pause - When you find yourself in a technology situation that you can't figure out, stop what you are doing and make time to learn something new. It only takes two-minutes to learn how to save that number in your phone. Plus, if you save it once, you never have to save it again. If you choose not to learn how to save it, you are wasting thousands of seconds having to look it up every single time you need it.

Peruse - Everything comes with a manual for a reason. Google is Google because it has answers to your questions. Whatever challenge you are having with your technology, the answer is written down somewhere. Find it. Learn it. Plus, once you learn it, you can forget it over time, but you can never un-learn it. You will then own that information and your Technology IQ will go up.

Practice - After you find the answer to your challenge, fix it right then and try it on a couple of times. Then the next time the challenge comes up, fix it again. Pretty soon, you will either stop having the challenge or you will be able to fix it quickly. It is amazing how tangible and relevant a person's technology IQ is to their personal and professional life. For some people, it is more important than their social IQ. (And you can immediate spot the difference! I.e. - unless you are a leader in a black hole, don't sacrifice your social IQ or your emotional IQ for your technology IQ.)

Praise - Become a proponent of technology. Talk up about it. Most people who are thinking up technological designs and components are doing so to make your life easier, more efficient, more entertaining and/or all the above. Be an Expert Leader and encourage the process.

PS - Here are three cool Internet sites you will find useful and/or interesting and that you will want to share with your friends and peers. (To show them how technologically cool you are!)

Photosynth.net - Microsoft's Live Lab's newest venture. It takes photo sharing and viewing to the next level. On the home page in the top right-hand corner, type in Laubach in the search engine to see a few "synths" I have tried. I plan on using this site over at my speaking skills blog to teach people training and keynote room set-up.

Pando.com - A simple, easy way to send up to 1 GB of data to someone. We use it all the time to "email" pictures of the girls to the grandparents without having to clog up our email servers with megabytes worth of photo data. We also use it to send our Leap Show (which is a 30 MB PowerPoint file) to people who buy it.

Pandora.com - An outstanding way to discover new music. I love my iTunes and my iPods, but sometimes I want to listen to something I have never listened to before, but that is fairly similar to what I like.

Enjoy and have a great holiday weekend!


General: DUH Leadership - Drab, Uninteresting, Heroic

I, like you I'm sure, have a fair amount of cynical, too-good-to-do-good friends. You know the type...

* Too cool to follow the simple, but really important rules (like calling people back, doing what you say you will do, etc.).
* Too self-absorbed to care about others.
* Too good at what they do to be humble.

These folks think that just because they are talented or aren't in an official leadership role or don't feel like it, that following a few basic leadership rules won't make a single bit of difference in their life or the lives of the people around them. When, in many cases, their talent and ambition actually make them a perfect candidate for something called DUH (Drab, Uninteresting, Heroic) Leadership.

I have a friend just like this. The kid is as talented as anyone I know. He has moved up in his industry. Makes a ton of money. Etc. But for some reason, he chooses to live an immoral, unethical, certainly un-leaderly lifestyle. He throws his relationships around like rag dolls. His word is worth less than a button on his $1,000 suits. If he only followed even a few DUH Leadership rules, his quality of life, his relationships, and his reputation would break right through the glass ceiling he has inadvertently created.

So, what is DUH Leadership you ask? Well, it is a simple set of behaviors that are basically very boring when you think about them and even more non-sexy when you do them. Most require little energy to do once or twice, but require a heroic amount of energy to do habitually. And the acronym for them is perfect because most people who struggle with their leadership impact would look at the list of heroic behaviors and think, "Well, DUH! Everyone knows you should do those things." But then, if you asked them to do a self-inventory on how many they do on a regular basis, another DUH moment occurs. They actually don't do many of them and that is exactly why they aren't making a big leadership impact - because they aren't doing the small, mundane tasks necessary to be a heroic leader.

The PLI Essentials give us a good structure to highlight 10 acts that represent the heroic way and DUH Leadership. As you read this list, your thoughts will go to those friends you have who do the exact opposite. Just because they have chosen to be average, instead of heroic doesn't mean you have to. They want you to be "too-good-to-do-good" on the surface because they will have persuaded yet another friend to live the average life with them. However, under the surface, even your most cynical peers want you and need you to be heroic. They know there is a better way to live, they just haven't mustered the strength to do it. You can be the spark they need. How? Here are 10 DUH ideas...

Vision - Talk optimistically about the future.

Integrity - Follow through on every commitment you make. If you're not going to follow through, don't make it.

Innovative - Talk more about solutions than problems.

Wise Judgment - Admit quickly when you make a mistake.

Service Minded - Give your time, money or both for the benefit of a complete stranger in need.

Goal Processing - Create and stick to a "Not-to-do List".

Skill Assessment - Learn something today to move you one step closer to being excellent at a task you do everyday.

Emotional Maturity - When you get mad, step away from the situation before you respond.

Fostering Relationships - Be nice.

Masterful Communication - If an email you are drafting is longer than 5 sentences, delete it and call the person.

A good closing metaphor to demonstrate the power of DUH Leadership is your average American millionaire. He or she is a normal, working-class person who drives a drab car, sleeps in an uninteresting home and lives a normal life. What they did to accumulate a heroic amount of wealth was small, simple, and disciplined daily acts.

* They spent less than they made.
* They started and stuck to a long-term savings plan from a young age.
* They placed more value in the money itself (which, because of compound interest, is worth more with each passing day) than on the things it could buy (which, because of depreciation, is worth less with each passing day).

Very much DUH. Very much uncommon among the masses. Very heroic.

Sent to you from the road.


Vision: A Short Nugget From John Maxwell

A short nugget of leadership wisdom from John Maxwell's Leadership 101...

Achievement comes to someone when he is able to do great things for himself.
Success comes when he empowers followers to do great things with him.
Signficance comes when he develops leaders to do great things for him.
A legacy is created only when a person puts his organization into the position to do great things without him.


Masterful Communication: Handling Nervousness

Click over to the Authenticity Rules blog to see how to turn speaking nervousness into a piece of cake...

C - Change your perspective
A - Audience-focused
K - Knowledge
E - Experience

Go there now