Leadership Simplified: Doug Van Dyke


Leadership Principles That Deliver Results

Volume: February 2013

By Doug Van Dyke, Leadership Simplified, www.leadershipsimplified.com


Do you wish that you could snap your fingers and suddenly increase the productivity of your team? Would you also like to give your personal productivity a little uptick in the process? Well, snap away my friends because the business desires you seek are closer and easier than you think.


Recently, I delivered a keynote speech to a business group. They were nice: Well-dressed, intelligent, good note-takers. The topic they requested was Leadership Principles That Deliver Results. During the talk, I touched on six key actions that leaders can take to deliver solid results. Let’s take at look at three of these areas. We began with the topic of integrity, and a story.


  1. Integrity

Ken owned a company and employed 24 people. They did well. He was interested in raising the bar. He contacted me to facilitate a full-day workplace teambuilding and skillbuilding session. It was the morning of the initiative and 22 of the 24 team members were in their seats at 8am (our start time). I turned to Ken and asked, “Shall we begin?” Ken made a curious statement. “Since we are missing two people, let’s wait a few minutes for them to arrive.” Ten minutes later, two people wandered in, unapologetically. As they headed to their seats the rest of the team shot dagger-stares at them. It was interesting, because the reasons that Ken engaged my services were, “We have some Us versus Them going on between a small group and a large group of our team members. Also, nobody in this company takes deadlines seriously.” Here I was ten minutes into an initiative and I clearly knew where the problem was. His name was Ken and he owned the company. What Ken did not realize was that his behaviors were rewarding bad behavior, such as showing up late without any consequences, and punishing good behavior, such as showing up on time. Further, how could Ken expect his people to be serious about deadlines if he did not start meetings on time?


This story has a happy ending. Not only did our teambuilding day go well, but Ken was very open to one-on-one coaching. Once Ken’s actions and their unintended consequences were brought to his attention, he was very open to changing his leadership behaviors. As a result, Ken embraced the following:

a.  He started and ended meetings on time (even if only one team member was present). In addition, he would not bring late comers up-to-speed on what they missed. They quickly figured out that things had changed and began to show up on time.

b.  He did what he said he was going to do

c.  He became fanatical about delivering on his promises. In the process, his team got quite serious about meeting deadlines.


  1. Personal Productivity

The second area discussed during the keynote speech was how leaders can be productive, while leading others and operating in a turbulent environment. It is challenging for leaders, because we cannot exactly close our door for a day and get things done. When leaders close their door it tends to cause unease in the workplace. People wonder why the door is closed, and the grapevine begins to grow. Yet, sometimes leaders need an hour or two to simply get some work accomplished. As such, consider placing a sign on your closed door that says “Power Time.” Discuss the concept ahead of time with your team and seek their buy-in. Let them know that when the Power Time sign is up and your door is closed, it merely means that you are working on important tasks that must be completed, as opposed to structuring a reorganization. In other words, seek to find a 60-minute sweet spot each day during which you are thinking your best. Guard that sweet-spot judiciously, employ Power Time, and see if you do not increase your productivity two-fold.  


  1. Communication Stickability

Research shows that on average people retain approximately 20% of what they hear. Think about the amount of important communication that takes place verbally, yet we only retain 20%. With regard to information that is presented to team members and others, it is not their responsibility to “get the message.” Rather, as the leader, it is our responsibility to make certain that our messages stick. How we do that is by repetition. Specifically, by exposing team member to the information at least five times. Your diligent repetition will greatly enhance the probability that team members will properly register the information and behave accordingly. The five “exposures” can range from verbal exchanges at meetings to memos to phone calls to emails. The important elements are the clarity of the message and strategic repetition. In sum, your repetition of information will increase the stickability of your message by driving home the point that what you are saying matters and is deserving of attention.


Bottom Line: World-class leaders do what they say they are going to do and deliver on their promises. They live in a world of integrity. In addition, they craft each day so that they maximize their personal productivity. They lead by example. Finally, they communicate in a fashion that gives their messages stickability. They are clear communicators. Make your workplace better leaders; you have all the tools to do so!



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