Manage without Hovering | Building Trust with Gen Y Series


Avoid managing like a helicopter boss. (4 of 9 in series)

Gen Y’s distaste for institutions makes them a different experience to manage. Their objectives for meaningfulness and fulfillment make them best-off to manage with a coaching tilt. They find fulfillment and meaning in their own personal development, and managers can function as catalysts in the process. They need their managers to give deadlines and hold them accountable to deliverables, but they respond best to managers who come alongside of them, remove barriers, and give constant feedback. Millennials want this type of customized constant feedback from their leaders because it’s what they’re used to. They were told they were special as kids and received trophies even for 9th and 10th place, they’re accustomed to Amazon and Pandora learning and catering to their interests, and they like it when their text messages and Facebook statuses receive instantaneous responses. They desire their leaders to give customized honest coaching that helps them develop personally and get better professional results. Stay away from fear tactics, hovering over shoulders, and invading space. Find customized positive methods to assure results, and you’ll gain sustainable shared success.

Trust in Aviation | Trust in Business


Growing up on a farm in north-central Minnesota, my family put a lot of trust in agricultural aircraft. We relied on a crop duster to spray fertilizer and pesticide and keep our kidney beans healthy and growing.  Now, as a speaker and consultant, my company relies on the aviation industry to fly me back and forth across the country to keep our promises. Many weeks, I’m in an airplane every day, and it’s easy to take for granted all of the moving parts that make it happen.

Like any business activity or relationship, the aviation industry is built on trust. But, there are few industries where the value of trust is so taken for granted when things are going well and so magnified when danger is felt. We drive up to our local hub, as a plane shoots over our roof at 200 miles per hour, type our most important personal information into a machine, hand our bags over to someone we’ve never met, routinely pass our belongings through security where we hope all passengers potential weapons are confiscated, find the gate that was printed on our ticket, sit down on our flotation device, blast off into the sky in a metal cylinder, float through lightning storms, and hurl back at the ground. Our business travel or vacation trip sounds absurd when stated like this.

We take it all for granted when everything goes smoothly, thanks to the laws of physics and trust. But, the minute our stomachs rise and fall during turbulence, we remember how much trust we have in our pilots, the airplane’s safety designs, air traffic control’s technology to communicate from the ground, and a thousand other components. Perhaps the greatest proof is the 30% demand reduction after the 9/11 attacks. Consumers responded to the breach of trust with fear and decided to drive or stay home as alternatives to their next trip.

Any industry, business, or person will experience a shock period after a major breach of trust, but it was dramatic to aviation because of the magnitude of trust’s importance for success. The industry relies heavily on steadying their consumer’s emotions, and it goes great lengths to make that happen. Just think of one repercussion of 9/11 to understand – heightened security. Aviation had to respond to the breach of trust by increasing security personnel, procedures, and technology, and now more hassle is spread out to the entire industry, including us, as passengers. Air transit is the pinnacle of the industry, but it sits on an extensive foundation of moving parts and trust relationships. Many, like me, rely on them to run their businesses, and we all entrust the stability of our economy to them.

Employee Trust: Strategic planning can kill it.


Trust is the foundation of effective and authentic leadership. Without trust, leaders lose teams through attrition, or dangerously low engagement. Among the many qualities of trusted leaders, clarity is key: People trust the clear and mistrust the ambiguous. So, leaders who earn employee trust provide transparency around goals, plans, and expectations.

Sadly, one widely-used leadership tool puts leaders at risk for destroying clarity and trust – the annual strategic planning session. If you ever want to put your team to sleep, just say these two words: strategic planning. While I agree that “without a plan, you plan to fail,” many employees have developed knee-jerk skepticism toward annual planning sessions. Why? Most have taken days at off-site retreats and hours of analysis without doing much differently afterward. Few strategic planning sessions provide clarity around the specific actions and changes required to achieve the intended goals. Without a clear plan, employees are confused and become ineffective – leading to fear, frustration, and a lack of focus. And with every ambiguous strategic plan, trust in leadership erodes. We can’t have faith in a leader who has fuzzy plans or unclear expectations.

How can leaders create a strategic planning framework that builds clarity? One way is to practice quicker planning more often – one hour every 90 days – with a bias for action. While long-term strategic planning can assist certain functions, the world is moving too fast for long-range plans to stay relevant.

Quick Planning: Four Questions

Instead of an annual planning session, try 90-Day Quick Planning (90DQP). It gives leaders and their teams an actionable framework that provides clarity for participants, and leads to tangible results. Simply pick one to three areas of your business you’d like to address, then ask and answer four questions. It should take less than one hour to complete the process, performed every 90 days. I’ve used this same process for my company, for my family, and for losing 50 pounds of weight.

Questions 1: Where are we? If you do not know where you are today, you can’t know where you would like to be in the future. Many leaders like to use SWOT analysis, which is fine – but only give yourself 20 minutes to complete it. Most teams can identify their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats quickly. For my weight loss, I could easily see that I was 50 pounds overweight.

Question 2: Where are we going? Ask, in 90 days, where would you like to be? Would you like to be back to your high school weight, like I did, or double sales, or reach 100 more customers? Write a clear, quantifiable (numerical) goal of where you want to be.

Question 3: Why are we going? If the why is strong enough, the plan does not need to be perfect. If a building is burning and my kids are in it, I don’t need to know every detail – I’m going in because my why is so strong. When your team has a motivating and unifying why, they’ll do the little things differently. They’ll stay passionate and focused, and they’ll finish. Recently, I was with journalist Larry King, when a friend of mine asked him, “What is your favorite question to ask?” He said that his favorite question is why because “the why” motivates people. He said he can conduct an entire interview by simply asking “Why did you do that?” Why did I want to lose the weight? I wanted to look and feel better. But I realized that I also wanted to have integrity. In my work, I talk about doing the little things that make a big difference. But when I looked in the mirror, I felt like I was not living out that principle in this area of my own life. With a more compelling why, I increased my commitment to my goal.

Question 4: How are we going to get there? Why may be Larry King’s favorite questions, but mine is how?How are we going to get there?

I recently worked with a group of health care executives. After a day of training and consulting, they decided the issue they needed to address most urgently was clarity. Their brilliant minds discussed what they would do to be clearer. Their first answer was: “We will communicate more.” I wondered what exactly that meant. So I asked, how?  They huddled and then responded, “We will hold each accountable.” I’ve heard that before and seen few results, so I asked them again, how? They huddled once again. Finally, they came up with something specific they would do every meeting to build clarity. Keep asking how until your team commits to taking specific actions. If people do not start doing something differently right now, the plan does not matter.

Asking myself how? – over and over – was the key to losing 50 pounds of weight. When it comes to slimming down, everyone knows what to do. Eat less and exercise more. But that wasn’t working for me. I had to ask how? until I could pinpoint something specific that I would do differently. I came up with 15 specific “how’s” that led to me losing 33 pounds in 90 days, and 50 pounds in six months. For example, a doctor told me that most men in America would lose 30 to 50 pounds in a year if they simply would stop drinking their calories (8 oz. of orange juice has 110 calories). So I achieved clarity on how to drink fewer calories by asking myself how until I devised a list of things not to drink – and what to drink instead. I knew that if I picked up a glass of water or Fresca, I could drink it. If the glass contained soda or orange juice, I wouldn’t. I was clear on the how, and so were the results of my efforts.

Instead of laborious strategic planning once a year, try this 90-day challenge. Every 90 days go through the Quick Planning process for three areas of your business. Instead of approaching it skeptically or wanting to fall asleep, your team will find focus, energy, and motivation. With greater clarity around your 90-day plan and vision, you will gain the trust of your team – and bottom-line results will follow.

Trust Trends 2014 | Executive Brief on Trust

We’re excited to introduce our executive brief on the top 8 trends of 2014. This report is Horsager Leadership, Inc.’s first annual report on trust. Our goal is to give leaders insights into the hottest trends of the year and reveal opportunities for applying The Trust Edge 8 pillar framework in a timely manner in order to gain a competitive advantage.

Learn how to gain the ultimate competitive advantage through this year’s key opportunities by clicking on the image below. Feel free to download it as a pdf!

Trust Tip Tuesday: How far is too far? | Trust in Government

Everyone is asking the questions: 
When it comes to national security, how much intelligence collection do we really need? How far is too far? 
Should the NSA be more transparent? 
What is the balance of transparency vs. confidentiality? 
Where is the accountability?

If the NSA were to share in the clearest terms possible about about the necessities, there would be more confidence and less doubt and concern about the intentions of the U.S. and it’s use (or abuse) of its technology and security. 

This extent of spying shows the American government’s lack of trust in its people, as well as the rest of the world. And a lack of trust is America’s biggest expense. 

What would you do to change the way our National Security collects intelligence in a ethical and trustworthy way, without compromising the safety of the American people?

Foreign Relations and Trust, Trust in government, NSA spying, merkel, Building Trust

US Government Default = Global Trust Catastrophe | Trust Tip Tuesday

The world is 10 days from what could be the most catastrophic trust breach of the century. Just like the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy, a US financial meltdown would harm the entire global economy, devastating the US lower class and developing world economies. One difference is that the current US debt dwarfs what Lehman Brothers had by 23x.

Trust Tip: Trusted leaders ought to take Warren Buffet’s advice about using the debt ceiling as a weapon for political debates.

‘“It should be like nuclear bombs, basically too horrible to use,” Buffett, 83, said in an interview published by Fortune magazine last week.’

For more, read this.

Decision Making on Syria | Trust in Government

Trust Tip of the Week

The conflict in Syria is incredibly complex, and there are positives and negatives to each decision being considered. Global leaders would do well to contemplate actions based on what is best for rebuilding trust in Syria and the international community. They, and we, ought to think in terms of the long-term over short-term. Response over reaction. Certainty over probability. Greater good over partial interests. Collaboration over dictating. Timeliness over immediacy. Understanding context over stereotyping.  Scenarios over dogmatism. Solutions over punishment.

5 Presidents, 1 Commonality: Trust | The Trust Edge

Today, April 25, 2013, was a significant day in American history as five presidents came together to honor the opening of the George W. Bush Presidential Library. Although these presidents served with different political agendas and ideologies, they all had one thing in common: Trust. Whether it was building or re-building trust with U.S. Citizens each of these men can acknowledge that a lack of trust is your biggest expense.

Whether a president was attempting to build trust with its people after a dip in the economy or rebuilding trust after a public scandal, each president knew that they needed to have their people trust them to be effective in the leadership of the United States.

President Clinton had a breach of trust when he was charged with lying under oath and obstruction of justice in his attempts to cover up his affair with White House Intern, Monica Lewinsky. He also failed to obtain a healthcare reform, and was investigated for his financial dealings. President Carter’s breach of trust came in his inability to handle the 1980 Iran hostage crisis. The mysterious payment of $250,000 from the Libyan government to his brother cost him his re-election. 

Going into office President Bush had success upon success. Because of the events that occurred during his presidency, including the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the Afghanistan and Iraq War, he left office in 2008 with an approval rating of 23%.

President Obama went into office with an economic burden on his shoulders, Republicans at his throat and controversial bills pouring through Congress. At the time of his re-election run his approval rating was at 38%.

So what made the public believe that Clinton’s endorsement of President Obama in the 2012 presidential elections was credible?

Why is it that Carter is now seen as the President who restored balance to the constitutional system after the Water Gate Scandal of Johnson and Nixon?

How is it that President George W. Bush has a 47% approval rating today?

Why is it that at the height of economic discussion President Obama has a 49% approval rating and according to a recent Gallup Poll is the most trusted, with a 57% approval rating, when it comes to handling economic issues?


Clinton proved that over time trust can be restored; it takes patience and consistency and a very sincere apology.

Carter stepped out of the lime-light, and began to contribute to the country and the world through his position as advisor to presidents on the Middle East and human rights issues.  

President Bush refused to respond when verbal assaults were hurled at him. He took responsibility for the events that occurred while in office. He began making huge contributions to American Veteran’s coming home from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to show them his full appreciation for the heroic deeds and actions taken by the U.S. Military.

President Obama’s approval rating skyrocketed because he has been consistent in his message to the people. Whether or not you agree or disagree with him, among the fighting and bickering of the U.S. Congress, President Obama has connected with the American people and shown that he is competent and capable of making things happen.  

Today is a significant day, because these presidents have proven that:

  1. Trust over time, once deeply rooted and strong, can often withstand many storms and challenges.
  2. Even after trust has been broken, there is still hope, over time trust can be restored and lives enriched, it just takes patience and consistency. 


george bush george w bush, president obama, president jimmy carter, president clinton, George W. Bush Presidential Library, Political scandal, Building Trust, Trust in government, 

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