Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is it Safe?

Here is a brief excerpt from my most recent newsletter. I hope you find it helpful.

Is It Safe In Here?

"The ability to establish, grow, extend, and restore trust with all stakeholders--customers, business partners, investors, and coworkers--is the key leadership competency of the new global economy." (The Speed of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey).

A Cultural Lynch-Pin
Trust is paramount. There is no other variable that has a greater capacity to positively influence a culture. It is important that leaders actively create and cultivate a culture of openness where people feel safe to tell the truth.
They should not only be able to speak openly and candidly, but this kind of behavior should be welcomed both by their peers and, most importantly, those who are in authority.
When this kind of culture exists, some very positive things happen.
  • there is a free exchange of information and ideas
  • creativity is unleashed
  • the real problems get discussed (remember they're getting discussed by the "water cooler" anyway)
  • the best solutions come to the surface

Seize the day!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Does Your Team Need a Physical?

Here is an excerpt from my latest newsletter. Hope you enjoy it.

Open Wide and Say, "Ahhhhh"

"A healthy culture is one where people know they are around a leader who will lead, who will actually take the reins, create the vision, be ahead of the pack, make the hard decisions, care about the people, and protect the mission and the goals. The people know who the leader is," says well-known author and clinical psychologist John Townsend (Master Leaders, George Barna).
True Leadership
Do people in your organization recognize you as a leader? You may have a leadership title or spot on the organizational chart, but are you truly a leader? Do people follow your lead because they have to or because they want to?
The answer to that last question will have a huge impact on your true leadership capacity - i.e. your ability to exert significant influence for lasting, positive change within your organization.
Clear, Strong Leadership
As I stated in a newsletter last year, "People want strong leadership...Strong does not mean overbearing or domineering, but rather consistent, capable and dependable."
Here are a series of questions, based on John Townsend's comments above, that are designed to help you honestly evaluate yourself. Read more...

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reaching the Heart of Your Child

I am usually writing to help you become more effective in the leadership of your organization. However, as I have recently had some extended time away with my family and had the opportunity to speak to and work with other families at a camp out east I want to change my focus a bit for this post (and a couple more).

While the ability to lead our organizations is extremely important, the ability to effectively lead our families, and specifically our children, holds a much higher priority in my book. If I am successful in building a great organization, but fail at building the next generation, I have missed the most important mark. Why should the individuals I work with get more of my leadership talent than those who I brought into this world?

One of the most important things to me as a father is to ensure that I have the hearts of my children. So, where do we start? We need to start by reaching their hearts.

The main thing I need to do to reach the heart of my child is to exercise good active listening. I know that probably seems overly simplistic. However, I work with a lot of people in this area and find that most of them are not nearly as good at listening as they think they are.

When we listen well to our children, we give them a sense of value and demonstrate to them that they are important to us. But, many things get in the way: my Blackberry or iPhone, the conversation inside my own head, time pressure, judgments I make about what my child is saying, formulating my response before they finish speaking, not taking away my attention from what I was doing and giving it to them completely...and many more.

Active listening turns everything else off and focuses completely on the one speaking...your child. Active listening involves the following:
  • being intentional (purposeful, making an effort)
  • being curious about what they have to say
  • being focused completely on them
  • going beyond just their words (as much as 94% of communication is non-verbal)
  • paraphrasing and/or summarizing what they've said
It's time to practice. Take the first step toward becoming a better leader for your child. Work on your listening.

What challenges do you face? How can you overcome those challenges? Is it important enough to you to work at it?

Seize the day!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Now?

This past weekend (Thu-Sat) I spoke at a conference sponsored by the Illinois Christian Home Educators. It was a great conference with many wonderful speakers. Even though I couldn't attend many break-out sessions because I was speaking myself, I took away a lot from the keynote addresses. That fact, along with a lot of good feedback from those who attended my sessions got me thinking. For them and for me...what now?

According to statistics that I have shared with you before, only 10% of people who hear a good, new idea ever do anything about it. So, how do we avoid become just another statistic, especially that one. There is a way to make the outcome a different one. It is a simple, but effective track to run on, if you are willing.

First, write down all of the action items associated with the material you took in. This requires that you set aside time to scan through your notes and record what you learned in terms of the action you need to take to make it happen. This can be a lengthy process, especially for those who attended a lot of good sessions and have a lot of notes, but it is well worth it.

Second, decide which action items are most important to you. Make a short list of 3-5 and keep the remainders on a separate list for when you are finished with the first list, or have the additional time to take them on. Steps 3-5 apply to each of the action items you decide to work on.

Third, for each action item, define the next (physical) actions required to move toward final completion. There may be a lot of individual steps, but define them each as specifically as you can.

Fourth, sit down with someone you know who will hold you accountable and tell them about your action item. Explain to them what you want to do and why it is important to you.

Fifth, set an appointment with that person for sometime in the next few days or weeks (whatever is most applicable to your situation) to discuss your progress with them. I encourage you to put together a short list of questions you want them to be sure to ask you.

Statistics show that if you are willing to go all the way through step #5, there is a 95% likelihood that you will do what you set out to do. So...you have a choice. Which statistical category do you want to fall in?

Seize the day!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Helping Our Youth Get a Faster Start

One of the things I have really enjoyed about being a parent has been seeing my children grow up and begin to discover what they love to do...what they were made to do. I have eight beautiful children and they are all very different.

The other day I was having lunch with a friend and was sharing about what my four teenagers are planning on doing for careers. I have one who wants to be a mom & photographer, one who wants to be involved in counter-terrorism work for the FBI, one who wants to be a web/graphic designer and one who wants to be a filmmaker. And, while things could certainly change with time and experience, it is exciting to have children who have a solid idea of what they want to do well before they reach the college years.

The other exciting thing is that most of them are getting a chance to try it out before they sink a college career (and my money) into it.
  • My 18 yr old daughter has already started her own photography business and is really getting some traction. She is very talented. Check out her website to see some of her work.
  • My 15 yr old son is working on websites for his sister, a neighbor and his own business that he started with a friend.
  • My 14 yr old son has been working on editing a training DVD, getting it ready for sale by the gentleman who gave the seminar.
I say these things not to brag (at least not too much), but to make a point. My friend asked me at lunch the other day how in the world this happened. Initially, I didn't know how to respond. But, as I reflected for a few minutes it became clear.

Ever since our children began approaching their teens my wife and I have been very intentional about observing them to discover their passions and talents. And, we have tried to give them plenty of opportunities to explore them and try them out. I have also had my oldest three children take the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment and this has provided some additional insights.

Our children don't have to wait until they are 30 to figure out what they want to do. Instead of being so overly focused on sports, let's help them discover what they were made to do. They'll love it.

Seize the day!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time to "Cut Bait?"

We've all been there. We have someone on our team that "just isn't working out." We know it is true, but rather than do the intelligent thing...we wait. And so, the bleeding continues or the cancer spreads, whichever the case may be. One thing is for sure. The situation rarely improves.

Why do we wait? Why do we put ourselves (and others) through this agony? There are two primary reasons that I have encountered personally and through my interaction with other managers.

First, we blame ourselves. We say we haven't made our expectations clear, or we haven't given them enough time to develop, or we haven't given them the right training or the right tools to succeed, or...or...or etc. We think if we can just fix those things and give them more time it will all work out.

Second, we hold out hope for a major turnaround. We think if we just wait a few more weeks or months they will discover the missing link, the "light" will go on and everything will be just fine.

Ah, yes...the magic potion of time. We fool ourselves into thinking it holds the mystical key to a happy ending. The reality is that it rarely does. Usually, the opposite is true. The longer we wait, the more damage is done...to the organization, to relationships, to our reputation.

In both cases, the culprit is usually our unwillingness to admit we made a mistake when we hired this person.

Let's not let that happen anymore. When we hear that nagging, yet confident voice saying "it just isn't going to work out," let's listen. Let's do ourselves, the organization and that person a favor and end it directly and graciously. What kind of damage is being done while you wait?

Seize the day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Your Role In Organizational Culture

Below is an excerpt from my most recent newsletter on a leader's primary role as it relates to organizational culture.

What's My Role?

If you don't like the culture that exists in your organization there's only one person to blame...you! That may seem a little harsh, but it's true. As the leader, your primary role is to create the culture you want. You need to be willing to say, "The buck stops here."
(to read the last edition of GLGO that introduced the topic of culture, click here.)

Where do I start
Very simply, it starts with defining what you want. Too many leaders launch out to create something before they define the end product. As the old saying goes, "If you aim at nothing, you're bound to get it every time."

This takes time and hard work (thinking) and it typically doesn't come overnight. Answer these two questions:
  1. Why do we exist as an organization? This is your value proposition, or your promise to your clients.
  2. What matters most to us? These are your core values, i.e. the primary beliefs that influence the decisions you make.
Now, determine what culture would be consistent with your core values and give you the best opportunity to deliver on your promise to your clients? I encourage you to include some of your key influencers in this process so this becomes a shared vision. Read more...

Seize the day!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Extraordinary Customer Service

I normally dedicate this blog to issues related to leadership. It is my passion and what I love to talk about and deal with. But, as I pondered what to post this week my subject became very clear. Like you, I have had quite a few distasteful experiences with customer service departments, especially those from very large multi-nationals.

I typically walk away from those phone calls feeling like they could care less about me and my patronage. I am just a small fish, and a very small one at that, in their very large ocean of customers. They have their rigid policies and procedures and force me to converse with people who can't think (or who at least are told not to think), just push the company line and get off the phone and on to the next call as quickly as possible.

In the last two days, however, I have had three, overwhelmingly positive experiences. I have had two different conversations with AT&T and one with Allstate. Wow! They were great!

In one case, I was asked by the computerized receptionist, prior to being connected to a human being, if I wanted to participate in a survey at the end of the call that would give me an opportunity to comment on my experience. I, of course, said "no." By the end of the call, as I was hanging up, I really wished I had said "yes" so I could sing the praises of this very kind, very helpful person who had been on the other end of the line.

There were two common characteristics to all three calls.

First, the people spoke very clear, very intelligent English. I understood their names without them having to repeat it, and I understood every word they said. It was amazing. I have absolutely nothing against people from other countries. In fact, I really enjoy interacting with people from other countries and cultures. But, in the midst of dealing with some aggravating problems, especially over the phone, it was very refreshing to talk with someone who I knew understood my problem and whose responses I understood clearly.

The second thing that stood out was how friendly the people were. And their kindness came across as very authentic, not scripted. Their tone of voice was very pleasant and relaxed and they seemed genuinely interested in helping me. I was so surprised I almost didn't know how to deal with it. But, it was great! My problems got solved and I moved on with my day with a very pleasant "taste in my mouth."

And, here's the thing. It wasn't that complicated. It didn't take that long. They didn't impress me with their amazing technical knowledge or savvy problem-solving skills. They simply communicated clearly and kindly. Now how much can that cost?

How are you treating your customers/clients? What kind of taste do you and your people leave in their mouths? How much does it cost to be kind?

Create some raving fans! Seize the day!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Hard Lessons in a Microwave World

Today's post is a bit extended. But, I hope you will hang in there with me and enjoy the ride.

I had an interesting exchange with one of my sons the other day. He was complaining about a class we are making him participate in. He doesn't see how anything he is learning will help him with what he wants to do with his life. I tried to help him understand how the skills he was learning would be a major benefit in the field he wants to pursue, but to no avail. This is a challenge faced by many parents. I knew I wasn't alone.

Thankfully, the lesson from the movie "The Karate Kid" came to mind. So, my wife and I sat him down at the computer, did a quick search on YouTube and presto, there were the successive scenes we were looking for.

You remember the story. The young kid (Daniel) whose getting bullied by some thugs turns to a local karate expert (Mr. Miyagi) to teach him how to turn the tables on these guys. So, Mr. Miyagi tells him to show up at his place at 6am to begin his lessons. The next day Daniel shows up bright and early, looking forward to starting his lessons. But, Mr. Miyagi's idea of lessons is a little different than Daniel's. Watch this short clip to see (or be reminded of) how the lessons begin.

Daniel is perplexed. He's envisioning wiping the bullies out with his karate skills, but instead he finds himself wiping a bunch of old cars. What's this got to do with karate? And the cycle continues. Day after day Daniel shows up to learn karate only to find himself remodeling Mr. Miyagi's home. If you are unfamiliar with the film I encourage you to watch the successive video clips (lessons 2-4).

This is how my son felt. There was a complete disconnect between what he envisions doing some day, and what he is being asked (dare I say forced) to do today. Well, Daniel finally comes to the end of his rope after days of wearying toil. He is fed up and tired of washing and waxing Mr. Miyagi's cars, sanding his deck, painting his house and painting his fence. All for what?!?! He is about to walk out on their pact.

Watch this next clip to see how Mr. Miyagi handles the situation and how he demonstrates for Daniel the "for what."

Daniel learned an incredibly important lesson. Someone else knew better than he did what he needed in order to get what he really wanted.

Well, my son definitely got the lesson. He now understands where we are coming from. I don't know if his attitude has completely changed yet, but there's a ray of hope.

Are you and I willing to humble ourselves and be taught? Are we willing to do the hard things? In a world where we think we can get what we want from the microwave or from the vending machine in a matter of seconds, are we willing to endure the hardships and trials of gaining valuable wisdom, insight and skills from those who have walked this road before us? What are we modeling for the next generation?

Seize the day!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can Coaching Help?

Here is a link to an article that I came across recently that speaks about the powerful impact of coaching for an organization's leadership.

Read the article. And, have a GREAT weekend. I am loving this warmer weather.

Seize the day!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Does Anyone Understand?

In two of my last three posts I have been writing about how important it is to measure if you are trying to manage something - e.g. a team, a department, a process. I have been sharing an old management adage that drives home the point I am trying to make. This week I will be revealing the third and last aspect of that adage. Here is the entire statement:
  • You cannot manage what you do not measure
  • You cannot measure what you do not define
  • You cannot define what you do not understand
There it is. Plain and simple. But, that's the interesting thing. I find that many times the things that are very simply stated, even intuitive, are often much more difficult to implement or realize than they originally appear.

What makes this last phrase so hard is that it is deceptively simple. We often think we understand something, but we really don't. What usually happens is that we understand just enough to be dangerous. Good managers go beyond the surface. They dig and work hard to understand the intricacies and nuances of the team's dynamics or the process. They make as few untested assumptions as possible.

This is important, because once you have a truly understand all the variables, at least to the degree possible, you can much more accurately define what you want to measure and develop a good method of measurement. Once all three are in place you have the ability to begin managing - i.e. reasonably controlling the outcome. More next time...

What questions do you need to ask about what you are trying to manage that you haven't asked? What assumptions have you made that need to be validated? When your results vary, do you understand why?

Seize the day!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Layers of Culture

Below is an excerpt from my most recent newsletter. I hope you find it valuable.

What's Behind Door #2?

If you knew that the culture of your organization has a profound effect on your team, your clients, and your bottom line, wouldn't you want to find out what kind of culture you have? Wouldn't you want it to be a positive culture?
What is organizational culture?
Organizational Culture is the set of beliefs, traditions and behavioral norms that determine how people interact with co-workers and with other important stakeholders such as customers and vendors.
Why is it important?
It is important because, according to emerging leader and author Jon Gordon, "Culture drives behavior, and behavior drives habits in an organization." This in turn, affects results.
Let's dig deeper.

Sign up to receive the newsletter each month and receive a free management resource.

Seize the day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Measuring - Digging Deeper

Last week I mentioned that you "cannot manage what you do not measure." While this is a fairly simple and even intuitive statement, once you think about it, it is often "out of mind" for leaders. Every time I share this in a seminar or other training situation everyone's pens begin moving. This is one of those nuggets people take home from seminars.

But, there's more to the adage that I almost never see. I was privileged to get it at a seminar I attended many years ago. Here is the next part.

  1. You cannot manage what you do not measure.
  2. You cannot measure what you do not define.
  3. [Come back next week]
Once again, a pretty simple statement. The catch, again, is that this is typically deeper than most leaders are willing to dig.

To really get a hold of the performance of your people, a particular group or the organization as a whole you need to spend some time thinking through exactly what you want to measure and state it in very clear terms. Then, and only then, can you develop the appropriate process and/or tools for getting consistent, meaningful data collection.

There is one pitfall that I have experienced with this (too many times). If you do not clearly define, clearly document and clearly communicate (is that clear?) what you want to measure, you will get people measuring all kinds of different things because they are measuring what they think you meant by what you said. Do not leave it to people's imaginations, or your data will be meaningless - GIGO.

What do you want to measure? How clearly have you defined it? How have you validated people's understanding of it? More later...

Seize the day!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Managing Requires Measuring

Last week we talked about the importance of clearly communicating your expectations to those you are leading. We noted that one of the biggest challenges with this is that many leaders haven't gone through the rigor of defining the measurable results they want.

That provides a nice segue to talking about the next challenge - measuring. I have interacted with a lot of supervisors and managers over the years and measuring results is a consistent challenge. The obstacles are numerous:
  1. They aren't very disciplined people, so they are not very interested in measuring
  2. The systems available to them make measuring what's important a difficult task
  3. The results they are trying to measure are primarily subjective rather than objective things
  4. The process they are trying to measure is extremely complex
  5. They simply haven't put in the thinking time to identify what matters most (i.e. what deserves measuring).
Regardless of the obstacles, I continue to stress that old management adage - "You cannot manage what you do not measure." If you are not measuring then you are merely hoping for the right outcome not managing for it.

Here are just a few pointers:
  • Don't overdo it. Don't try to start measuring everything. Go through the rigor of deciding what matters most. Pick 2 or 3 to start. What has the biggest impact on your ability to generate the profit you want? Or, if you are a non-profit, what most impacts your ability to deliver on your mission?
  • Take a balanced approach, i.e. don't focus solely on financial measures. Measure things related to your customers/clients, your processes and the development of your people.
  • Use my modified KISS principle - Keep It Seriously Simple; don't make it complicated and if you don't already have technology in place, start manually.
What are the critical success factors for your organization? Whose input do you need in making that decision? What means of measurement are readily available? When will you start? More later.

Seize the day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Do They Know What I Expect?

Are the people you are leading confused? Do they know what you expect? Really?

This is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself as a leader/manager/supervisor of people. Unfortunately, based on the work I have done with leaders, we don't typically take enough time to answer the question thoroughly.

Unclear expectations are one of the primary reasons for "poor performance" in the workplace. If you want to be successful and achieve your desired outcomes, then you need to make very sure that the people who are going to get you there know where "there" is.

We could go into a discussion of the negative consequences of followers not being clear about what their leaders want, but I think there is a bigger problem that needs to be addressed. And, the problem in most cases is not a lack of communication. The real problem is that most leaders don't really know what they want. They haven't clearly defined the measurable results they are after.

Leaders usually have big picture goals defined (e.g. a top-line revenue number in a business venture, or the big picture mission in a non-profit organization). And, normally they have a pretty good idea of what activities they want people busy doing. But, the end results they want from those activities hasn't been figured out or well articulated.

Why aren't expectations clearly defined? Because in many cases this exercise is a lot harder than it first appears. Activities are pretty easy to figure out. But the measurable results we want gets a little more tricky - usually because we aren't measuring, or because we don't think far enough.

Here's a quick example. The other day I was working with a company on this. I asked one of the managers to define what results she wanted from one of her administrators. She said she wanted the person to complete all of her A/R collection calls by a certain day each week. So, I asked her if completing the work by a given date was really the result she was after. After some discussion we agreed that the result she wanted was cash collected faster. The problem with her measure (task completed by a certain time) is that it didn't ensure the result she wanted.

In our example, the better approach is to say that we want outstanding invoices paid in a certain number of days (on average). Do you see the difference? In the first case the focus would be on helping the person figure out how to complete the calls by a certain deadline. In the second case, the focus is on designing the process (and related skills required) to get cash in the door. That's what the business really needs to meet its goals, not activities being completed.

What is it that you want? Do you know? Are you defining it in terms of measurable results? More next time.

Seize the day!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Something Different

Today's post will be a little different. Normally I focus on providing you original content, but today I wanted to pass along a couple of other blog posts that I have come across in the last week that I think could be helpful to you.

  • Have you ever made any mistakes as a leader? How did you handle the aftermath. Check out this article for some interesting thoughts.
  • Here is a very interesting blog post regarding "What Is Important When You Refer People?" Don't be fooled by the title. The real value in this piece has to do with what's important for other people to be comfortable referring others to you. Read the post.
Lastly, I would encourage you to become a fan on my Facebook fan page by clicking on the link in the sidebar. Very soon I will be making some special offers on my fan page. I don't want you to miss the opportunity.

Seize the day!




Friday, February 5, 2010

Who Should I Hire? Part 2

This post is a continuation from a thought I began discussing last week. Read that first to get the context...

I learned to focus my interviewing on attitude and behavioral characteristics I wanted. The necessary skills became a secondary, albeit important, objective. Don't get me wrong. There are definitely times where a certain level of technical competence is required. I am not going to hire someone who has been in sales their whole career to be my accounting manager just because they have a great attitude. What I do mean is that attitude is the primary bar they MUST clear before I even worry about exploring their technical skills in-depth.

The next time you have an open position to fill, start by defining the attitude and behavioral characteristics that are crucial to success within your organizational culture and within the specific department or team. Get a clear handle on this first and foremost. If you've never thought like this before, get ready for some hard work. It is harder than you might think to begin thinking about people and positions in a completely new way.

Craft your interview questions to illicit responses that will make it clear as to whether or not they fit what you are looking for in attitude and behavior. If they pass that "test" then you can move on to the things you'd normally do to test the mettle of their technical skills.

There is an additional reason why I like to hire for attitude and train for skills. That way I don't have to break them of a lot of bad habits. As long as they have the fundamental technical training or knowledge, I'd much rather take someone a little green and teach them the way WE want them to do it.

How many times have you heard a person say, "Oh, that's not the way we did over at XYZ Company." I don't care how they do it. They can keep doing it that way. That's why we're killing them on market share and customer loyalty, etc.

So, what kind of person are you looking for? What attitudes and behavioral characteristics matter most within your organization? What kinds of questions can you ask to discern whether or not this person is a fit?

Seize the day!




Thursday, January 28, 2010

Who Should I Hire? Part 1

Hiring new people can be a very challenging endeavor. Not only does it take a tremendous amount of time, energy and often money, but the rate of success is just not that high, based on the numerous conversations I have had with executives and managers.

In this week's post I wanted to share with you one of the most important lessons I learned over my 15-year management career...hire for attitude and train for skills.

I have shared that tidbit with many people over the years and they usually nod their head slowly in agreement, yet the look in their eyes tells me they're still not convinced. The reason is that it is counter-intuitive in some ways.

For example, you have an open position. The fact that it is open often means that there are others who are carrying the weight of the duties and responsibilities of that position until it gets filled. Many times it ends up being you, the hiring manager, who is carrying the bulk of the weight. So, what you want more than anything is relief! You want someone who can step in, take the ball and run with it. That seems to be the best answer...but only in the short-run, as too many of us have learned.

"But you don't understand," you say. "Do you know how much work it takes to train someone? I don't have time for that, " you continue.

No, you don't understand. Do you know how much it will cost in time, energy and money if you hire the wrong person? I have heard some HR experts say that a bad hire can cost six times the person's salary, or more! Can you afford that?

From my experience, most bad hires are the result of a lack of fit within the culture rather than a lack of competence. They just don't get along with the team, don't work well within the established system, don't have the right work ethic, etc. The problem is one of attitude and behavior, not skills.

More next time...

Seize the day!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Getting Back At It

It has been a few weeks since I posted to this blog. The Christmas and New Years holidays, along with visits by family members and the beginning of a new year have kept me more than busy.
However, I am committed to getting back to my "at least every Thursday" schedule and look forward to the opportunity of interacting with you about topics concerning leadership and life in 2010.

Today was an exciting day! I had the pleasure of delivering my "Making Great Managers" seminar in its new, expanded format (i.e. full day). I had a great time interacting with those who attended as we discussed a very practical process for performance management. We covered: 1) laying the proper foundation for successful relationships, 2) how to have a consistent performance feedback and planning session that contributes toward the success of our employees, 3) how to use S.M.A.R.T. goals to fuel significant progress and 4) how to coach for performance in between feedback and planning session.

We shared a lot of stories about how we have seen these principles at work, and the negative effects of their absence.

What kind of environment are you creating for those you lead? What is the quality of your relationships with each of them? How well have you communicated your expectations to them? And, are you supporting them in achieving those expectations?

Seize the day!