Be a Difference Maker

Whether managing a team or running an organization, there are several key things you must address to build on your success for the upcoming decades. The World Economic Forum provided an article by John McArthur that provides insight on the three major challenges the world faces in 2019. These challenges trickle down to every country, business or organization. They are:
  • Re-coupling overall economic progress with gains in living standards, providing fair, good wages to all who are performing. As the economy or business gains, those supporting it should be included in the positive impact, monetarily.
  • De-coupling economic progress from environmental degradation. Discuss the focus on preserving the environment and the effects of climate change. We need to look at this locally and internally. For the sake of this article, let’s think about the work environment. What is the climate like?
  • Ending marginalization so that absolutely no one gets left behind. I have started to call this we-coupling—we all need to feel a part of society’s forward movement together. John McArthur stated, “In every community, groups are tired of feeling marginalized due to some aspect of their identity—whether gender, race, ethnicity, indigenous status, class, religious beliefs, disability, sexual orientation, language, geography, age or something else. All human beings need to be actively included in progress. It is no longer good enough for societies to succeed on average; they need to succeed for everyone.”
As we lead our teams, programs, departments or companies, these three major challenges are our problems too. The effects will impact our personal areas of influence. The solutions and impact need to be addressed at every level if we want to seriously have economic and quality of life success. In this competitive environment, we need to be “DMs…Difference Makers.”

Workplace Culture


The culture of your organization should align with the strategy. The behavior that is exhibited by the people and the processes will drive t he success or failure. Even though there is no right or wrong culture. it can be created from the top down (leadership driven) or the boltom up (employee driven). The point is one will be formed and it can be changed or improved

Delegate Effectively

With the popular song from Disney’s hit movie “Frozen” playing in my head. I say. “Let It Go. Let It Go!” Effective managers and leaders are effective delegators. The goal is to increase productivity, maximizing resources and getting things done efficiently. Sounds easy but if it is not properly done, it can cause more work and headaches.To effectively delegate see the recommended approach above.


Holding employees accountable increases the success of the organizations. Employee engagement increases and additional clarity is provided when we hold people to their actions and results. As a business leader, you need to lead the charge by consistently holding yourself and those on your team accountable to a set of standards and values. Accountability is not just taking the blame when things go wrong which occurs frequently with managers. We should take accountability for the results but also dig deeper to the root cause and address the reasons things occurred the way they did. Here are some suggestions to effectively hold individuals accountable:
  • Set clear expectations. This provides a direct correlation to the results. Having a two-way conversation about expectations brings clarity on what needs to be done, the outcome they’re focusing on, how they are going to achieve it and what success looks like. Lastly, put it in  writing.
  • Provide measurements for success. This should be done, previously, with documented milestones, checkpoints and a plan of action if something goes wrong. Proactive steps provide the framework to increase the level of success.
  • Provide clear and meaningful feedback.Set the feedback parameters before you provide the task or action to the individual(s).Let people know where they stand frequently, with specific information. Provide examples, and ensure information is shared both ways.
  • Provide clear consequences.Rewarding employees for performing should not be overlooked but acknowledged. Evaluating performance may require corrective actions. Telling the individual in writing prior to the infraction ensures fair and consistent performance management


Leaders are derailed when they get out of compliance. It is important that they understand the business that they are in and the skills needed to be effective.Managers and leaders cannot forget or determine not to follow the rules of engagement. Doing the right things for the right reasons for the right people should be their mantra. It is just that simple or maybe not. Here are a few key strategies for helping leaders:
  • It is important to have the courage to do the right thing.
  • Understand the operational procedures of your organization.
  • Conduct a risk assessment.
  • Participate in yearly ethics training. Laws, rules and regulations change regularly and a way to communicate this consistently is needed. It is also a reminder of the expectations.
  • See something, say something. Every organization should have a process or contact to address certain situations. Usually this contact is a manager, HR or ethics contact. Understand the guidelines and use the required  protocol.

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