7 Ways to Sniff the Stink

Success hinges on dealing with things others turn from. Plug your nose when something stinks, if you want to fail.

  1. Ignore anger.
  2. Reject worry. Tell yourself everything will work out on it’s own.
  3. Medicate organizational anxiety.
  4. Dance around challenges.
  5. Discuss comfortable topics – avoid uncomfortable.
  6. Affirm the mediocre.
  7. Tolerate backstabbers.

when something stinks sniff it

Successful leaders lean in when others lean away.

The way you deal with stink determines:

  1. The height of your reach.
  2. The usefulness of your influence.
  3. The effectiveness of your leadership.

Start sniffing when something doesn’t smell right. Breathe deep. Don’t plug your nose. 

7 ways to sniff the stink:

  1. Stay curious when curiosity feels awkward. “I’m wondering about….”
  2. Bring together gratitude and dissatisfaction.
  3. Don’t be happy all the time. You should feel bad when things are bad. Just don’t wallow. Unhappiness instigates change.
  4. Be optimistic. “I think we could do better.”
  5. Declare the pain. “This hurts.”
  6. Pick the scab. “What makes you think things will be different next time?”
  7. Confront negative patterns. “This isn’t working. What needs to change?”

Subtle stink – 4 things lesser leaders ignore:

  1. Meetings that should be 45 rather than 60 minutes long.
  2. Talented people who wing it rather than prepare.
  3. The third conversation about the same issue.
  4. Bullies and backstabbers who deliver results.

Ease is the enemy of excellence. A little comfort strengthens. Constant comfort makes babies of us all.

5 essentials when sniffing stink:

  1. Show some frustration. If things aren’t right, let it be known. Don’t blow up. Speak up.
  2. Embrace dissatisfaction.
  3. Resolve to make things better. If you aren’t committed to improve, just plug your nose.
  4. Know where you’re going. Get clear on what “better” looks like.
  5. Believe in the power of hard work.

The tipping point in your leadership is what you do when something stinks.

What should leaders stop ignoring?

How might leaders sniff the stink successfully?

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