Will you let how much other people earn motivate you this week?©

Jealousy is a waste of time and emotional energy.  I haven’t coached a successful leader yet that focuses on it.  Knowing what other people earn and celebrating them for their accomplishments is what motivates many top performers.  Being realistic about your skills, resources and behaviors will help guide your activities and decisions and will lead to better career and financial outcomes.

Let money motivate youThinking that a position pays $100,000 when a top professional, in that job after 10-15 years, only makes $45,000 can help you plan better career paths.  Many people come out of college thinking they need to make $40,000 to pay their college loan payments, yet are only qualified for positions that pay $25,000-$30,000 because of their lack of experience and practical knowledge to perform the requirements of the job.  This isn’t anyone’s fault.  It’s simply a fact that can be navigated if professionals stay focused on their skills and market conditions.

So how do you find out what people in your industry make so that you can set and negotiate realistic goals?  (or, find out how good you have it where you currently are!)  There are a couple of options:

This site shows you 84 different people and what they earn

Want to know what more than 800 jobs pay?  Click here.

Career Profiles is a source for determining salary ranges.

Glassdoor – a social media site for employees where anyone can post a rating for their company, description of their job, review the company culture, their boss, or coworkers and state what they make, anonymously.  If your organization doesn’t have a page, you might want to create one before a disgruntled employee does for you.

Another way to determine what people make is to ask someone in that industry.  It’s surprising how much you can learn if you simply have the courage to ask.  I’m not talking about being inappropriate or crass.  Be strategic.  Many times someone in an industry knows what different positions pay.  At a conference, at dinner or while having drinks, you can inquire as to what people in certain positions usually make.  You can find out which firms pay the most, which ones have the best working environments, and what qualifications you will need to have to earn the highest rate of pay in that field and with that company.

Earning a good living is not luck.  The professionals I have coached and trained work hard for what they make.  Yes, some make LOTS more than others.  The truth is, though, those that earn more are usually willing to sacrifice more, have taken more risk, and may have some killer people and other skills and talents, along with the emotional discipline needed to motivate and engage team members, customers, and negotiate with vendors.

Do you want to earn more in the next 5 years?  Here are some tips:

  • Be willing to work hard… workers perceived as unenthusiastic and low energy aren’t usually the one’s to cross any finish line first, like being offered the promotion they desire.
  • Stay focused on delivering things that your organization values the most, not just for a day or week, but consistently over time.
  • Create credible connections, relationships, and study those people that are above you or earn more than you do – mimicking the highest performers’ behaviors will go a long way to you being one of them one day.
  • Work on the components of your executive brand/presence that you need to.
  • Read, read, and read some more to build your current knowledge base of your industry
  • Practice, practice, practice, the skills that will pay off the most in your organization or in your industry.
  • Get or maintain optimal health – people want to promote people who have energy and enthusiasm for what they do.

SUGGESTED EXERCISE FOR THIS TOPIC THIS WEEK:

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you earning what you want to be earning? If not, how much do you think you are worth?
  • Can you prove you are worth that amount? Have you been offered that amount of money, or earned that amount, by another company?
  • What skill would you need to obtain or build to be worth what you want to make?
  • Is what you want to make an industry standard for the position you want to have or are you guessing or know one person making that amount?
  • What types of perks and benefits do you have now that a different position, or even promotion might not offer you?

Be realistic about what you want to make for the position you are in, want, or will be qualified to do.  Make yourself known and create the relationships that you will need to land that position one day.  Trust me, you are capable, smart, and hard working or you would not be reading this, and especially not to the end.  Don’t let anything deter you from what you want to achieve.  Leadership is lonely and success is not sexy.  Not everyone makes it because getting what you want isn’t always fun along the way.  Celebrate today how far you have come to get to this point.  Use all of your strengths and those of others to build your success one day at a time.

At Cortex Leadership Consulting  we provide DISC, Motivators, Leadership Competency, Stress, 360 degree and Team Accountability assessments along with workshops and leadership programs to assist you and your team to reach your peak performance.  You can contact us at lynda@cortexleadership.com or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or schedule a keynote speech.

What will you lose because of your executive brand this week?©

Your executive brand (or your unique executive value of you) is communicating something about you as a professional, all the time, whether you are conscious of it or not.  It may be working for you, or against you.

Whether you want to get promoted, negotiate for a raise, land that dream job, start your own entrepreneurial adventure, or lead your industry’s most prestigious organization, your executive brand is the key to your success or failure.  Unfortunately, you aren’t graded on your executive brand out loud.  Your customers, co-workers, bosses, partners and vendors are grading you constantly in the little bubbles over their heads and rarely will you get the opportunity to know what they are thinking about you until it is too late to do anything about.

The following percentages generally represent where others are placing emphasis during a live conversation with you:

7% to words
33% tone of voice
55% non-verbal body language

Basically, as you are communicating, others are more focused on your tone and how you are looking back at them (or not looking) than they are the words you are using.  For that reason, you can lose standing quickly, with who you want to influence the most, if your tone of voice and your “resting face” or body language indicates a disinterest or harsh nature.

For those of you familiar with DISC behavioral styles, Drivers can come across with a harsh and dismissive tone and intense body language under stress.  Influencers can come across as unfocused and “too jovial” under stress.  Supporters, could be too quiet or even shy when the situation may call for a more assertive tone or body posture.  Calculators, on the other hand, may look away when someone is talking to them and seem uninterested which could come across as arrogant when that is not their intention at all.

The great thing about your executive brand is that building it is within your control.  Repairing it, if it is damaged, is imperative if you want to advance.  How do you know if you have an issue with your executive brand?  A good place to start is by doing some self evaluation with these 3 questions:

  1. How quickly do your emails, phone calls, or texts get returned by others and especially those that you want to influence and connect with the most?
  2. In meetings, do the people you report to, your partners, or peers listen to you when you speak or do they talk over you and rarely “give you the floor” to present your thoughts, concepts, ideas or vision?
  3. How often are you asked for your opinion on high level decisions in your organization or department?

Research indicates that there is a wide range of opinions on what creates the optimal executive brand.  One of the simplest models focuses on 5 key areas of executive presence, or brand as many of us call it.

  1. Communication

“Communication is the business currency of today”, says Raymond A. Mason in his video webinar:  Attaining an Executive Presence.  Building your skills in listening for information rather than confirmation is essential.  Most people I study are listening for others to prove that what they believe is accurate and on track.  The highest level leaders I have worked with and coached listen for information.  They want their beliefs, thoughts, concepts, and data to be disputed and debated so they can be sure they are solving the right problems, at the right times, using the smallest amount of resources.

Raymond breaks down communication in these 6 ways:

  • Active Listening
  • Speaking, presenting, delivering
  • Verbal communication
  • Empathy
  • Cross Cultural Sensitivity
  • How are you perceived?
  1. Substance

Know your stuff.  Read.  Read books, articles, and white papers on your industry and new technologies that will be effecting your industry 5-10 years from now.  Be knowledgeable about what you have been assigned to do within your organization.  Competency and standards build trust.  Executives that put forth little effort to be well educated and up to date in their field can quickly fall out of favor.  The challenges facing most organizations today are robust with complex issues.  Being well read and studying topics at hand, before group meetings and key one-on-ones will put you way ahead of your internal and external competitors… and trust me, you are ALWAYS COMPETING with someone whether you are aware of it or not.  You are rarely the only one that can do your job or hold your position.

  1. Appearance

This is about being appropriate for your organization and industry.  If your boss wears a suit to work every day it’s highly possible you are expected to.  Ask about dress codes.  Ask others, that you respect and who will give you direct feedback that you may not like sometimes, what they think about your attire, your hair, and if you’re a woman…or want to be one…about your make-up choices.  I feel like I’ve seen this enough to have to say it:  Holes in your clothes – even small ones, wrinkles in your shirts, highly scuffed and worn out shoes, ungroomed hair, can all be a non-verbal sign to those you report to or work with that you “don’t care.”  Don’t fight the appearance aspect of executive brand.  Let the rebel in you dress however it wants on off hours.

  1. Poise

Refer to a previous article I wrote on emotional discipline.

  1. Surroundings

What does your office look like?  If you Skype, what’s in the background?  What does your conference room communicate to potential hires, to vendors who call on all your competitors, to peers from your industry, and most importantly, to your customers?

One aspect of executive presence/brand I would add to this list is originality.  Copying other’s original ideas, thoughts, and concepts, without giving them credit, as opposed to building on them, will not lead to optimal outcomes.  You are smart, capable, and probably more creative than you give yourself credit for.  Collaborate, don’t copy.

TEAM EXERCISE FOR THIS WEEK:

Assign team members to read or watch any of the following webinars, videos or articles and have them report out on what they learned about creating a strong executive brand for themselves.  Each member could choose a different one and then report out at a session you schedule together.

Have each team member answer the following questions at the meeting:

  1. What was your biggest take-a-way from what you read or watched?
  2. What were the top 3 themes from what you watched or read?
  3. What is one aspect, of your executive brand, you would like to focus on to improve?

Webinar: Attaining an Executive Presence with Raymond A. Mason School of Business Alumni

7 Steps to Developing Your Presence as a Leader article

Executive Presence Learning article

The 7 Traits of Executive Presence

5 Ways to Optimize Your Executive Presence

Look Like A Leader:  Secrets to Executive Presence

Executive Presence – Talks at Google with Sylvia Ann Hewlett

 

Will you read a short letter from Lynda and get hooked this week?

Just passing along some love to you, the leaders, executives and managers I admire the most. Thank you for making the choice to receive this article series, “Lynda’s Launch List” each week.  You and I have been creating this content together, because it is based on your feedback in classes and coaching sessions, since the Launch List was first published in December 13, 2007.  It cracked me up to see the first one I ever posted and distributed on that date.  http://lyndamcnuttfoster.com/today/  We’ve had quite the journey together to build a subscriber base that reaches more than 2,000 executives and their teams each week.

I am grateful for the support so many of you have shown, over the last year, as my husband, Allen Foster and I, launched Cortex Leadership Consulting, which was the merger of a consulting firm I founded more than 20 years ago, McNutt & Associates, Inc.

Our team at Cortex has already coached and trained more than 120 participants in our leadership classes, Leading a Winning Team, and given keynote note speeches about my newest ebooks and audiobook to more than 750 in the last 6 months alone.  Our diverse team of professionals work hard to listen to you, hear your feedback and biggest challenges and respond with content and programs that appear to be transforming you and the teams you lead.  I am hooked on working hard to serve you.  I love what I do and wouldn’t be able to without you!  So, onto what you read this article for each week.

So, will you be hooked on what I discovered for you this week?

Hooked Nir EyalI have not been able to put down Hooked: How to Build Habit Forming Products, by Nir Eyal.  It started when I watched a short video on YouTube one morning when I was on the elliptical.  Then I bought the 30-minute audio summary.  Next came the Kindle version and the hard copy is on the way.  Why am I devouring every piece of material available on this book?  Simple.  It provides a clear path to how people get hooked on things and then build habits around them. The work Eyal has done focuses on products and services.  A previous article from “Lynda’s Launch List” focused on the book The Power of Habit.   Why I am so interested in the formation of habits is that I want to discover easier and simpler paths for leaders to be hooked on the types of behaviors that lead to their, and their team member’s successes.  Eyal talks about wanting to produce products and services that use what know about getting hooked for the betterment of people rather than simply manipulating them.

Consider some of the book’s key take-a-ways:

Behaviors = Motivation + Ability + Trigger

A behavior is created when there is sufficient motivation, an ability to complete the desired action and a trigger to spark the fuse.

It’s much harder to motivate someone to do something than it is to simply make it easier for them to do it.  In Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Switch, they researched and wrote about how important it is to make the “path” easier during any change you want to see.  Eyal found the same thing to be true.  Simply the steps one needs to follow to get to their reward and they are much more likely to get there.  It works the opposite way as well.  If you want to break a habit, make it WAY more difficult to get to the reward and you will be less likely to chase after it.  For example, it’s much easier to collaborate on a project if you have set days and times to meet and everyone is in attendance.  The harder it is to communicate with one another the more likely it won’t happen.

In other words, if you want to not eat ice cream, don’t buy it in the first place.  If you want to exercise more, make your desk sit on top of your treadmill.  Stop trying to motivate yourself and others and simply make it easy for them to do what you want them to do and connect it with one of the 3 types of rewards people seek.

The 3 types of rewards that people seek are:

Rewards of the tribe…people want to feel connected to others.

Rewards of the hunt…people want information or tangible goods and they like to make a small effort to get them.  They like to complete tasks.

Rewards of the self…this one is about our desire for learning and mastering new skills.

Social media sites have been genius at getting many of us and I dare say most of a young generation of folks, hooked on their products.  The sites appear free of cost, yet that is only true when users are not valuing the time they are investing in those platforms.  The emotional reward comes when we go to the site and “hunt” to see what is available to us as far as information.  Once we are invested in the sites by having connected and invited our friends to join we become less likely to disconnect from them, even if a better site comes along.

What if we used the principles and practices described in Hooked to get ourselves and our team members hooked on the types of actions that we know lead to lasting results?

What do you want your team to be hooked on?

Sticking to agendas in meetings?

Meeting deadlines?

Having higher quality conversations?

Lower levels of drama between team members?

  1. Start by determining, as a team, one habit you want to create.
  2. Next, discuss the types of rewards (tribe, hunt, self) team members would achieve if they were to create that habit.
  3. Determine what reward team members are getting now from their current behaviors. (Trust me, there’s always a reward or they wouldn’t be doing it.)
  4. Brainstorm what type of external trigger you can create to help cue people to take action on the behavior. If you want meetings to stay on time and on agenda, agree to send agenda’s ahead of time, get agreement to follow it during the session and have a time keeper of the meeting to ensure they stay on track of what has been agreed upon.
  5. Determine how people will be invested, over time, in the new behavior. Maybe team members receive points each time a meeting starts and ends on time and those points add up to rewards.

Footnote:  I hope that each of you have someone in your life, on this Valentine’s Day, that you are hooked on the way I am my amazing, brilliant, and supportive husband, Allen Foster.  I am deeply, madly in love with him and appreciate him for what he has done to make the last 17 years joyful.

 

Will leaders exhibit emotional discipline this week?©

There’s a part of being emotionally intelligent that is key to leaders successfully creating collaborative outcomes and it would appear, from my experience with thousands of them in training and executive coaching sessions, to be the portion know as “self management.”

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability of individuals to recognize their own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior.  Basically, it’s your “people” skills.  The characteristics include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.  Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, developed the framework for it.  Many organizations use assessments that measure your level of development in each of the skills.  Studies of indicated that emotional intelligence is a higher indicator of success, in many areas, than even a person’s IQ.  Here’s a nice article to compare the two for you.

Discipline is defined as:  the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience.  Discipline used to be something that was coveted.  The concept was honored and honorable.  It still is when it applies to having a perfectly sculpted body (one thing I may never see in the mirror).  Everyone seems to want one of those these days and will go to great lengths to have one.

Emotional discipline, though, is something that we may not be focusing quite enough on, right now, and could be the missing key that unlocks the outcomes we want to achieve.  The leaders I have coached and admired have emotional discipline, which I have found to mean that they don’t always do what they want to do, or say what they want to say, when they want to say it.  They don’t always react in anger when they have full justification to do so.  They don’t do tasks when they feel like it, but rather when they have them scheduled to happen.

Leaders that possess emotional discipline have an impulse, quite frequently, to run the other way when the super tough decisions need to be made, and yet they don’t.  They stand up, when others sit down, and they speak their truth in the face of criticism and sometimes serious consequences.

For those of you that are familiar with the DISC behavioral styles here are some areas that each of us may have an opportunity to develop emotional discipline in regard to:

Drivers – may have an impulse to over-confidently say exactly what’s on their mind, with little contemplation. They may speak from the “gut” and may not give consideration to how it lands on peers and team members.

Influencers – may have an impulse to avoid needed conversations and situations if they feel like they could result in a possible conflict, or deterioration of a relationship or a how much a person likes them.

Supporters – may have an impulse to hold back on their opinion or believe that their opinion isn’t as important.  They may also have an impulse to take all of the work onto themselves instead of burdening someone else which may sometimes lead to not delegating well.

Calculators – may have an impulse to NOT communicate instead of communicating.  Calculators can sometimes be more comfortable in their office with “time to think” instead of seeking others’ opinions.

When the rules of emotional discipline aren’t followed there are consequences for the leader, their team and their organization.  They might include and certainly aren’t limited to their team loosing respect and trust in them.  A lack of emotional discipline may lead to lack luster results because a leader did what they felt like doing in meetings and during important interactions with others, rather than calling out unproductive behaviors. Maybe customer centric standards aren’t kept because it’s easier to overlook poor performance than it is to inspire excellence every day.

We all have work to do to right this ship and make emotional discipline as sexy and common place again as it used to be, when we celebrated and were more attracted to a leader taking a moment to quietly contemplate their answer than blurting out the first thing that came to their mind before the other person was even finished talking.

Here are some things to discuss with your team this week:

  1. In which areas of their work do they feel they are exhibiting strong aspects of emotional discipline?  Do they hit deadlines regardless of the internal or external obstacles they are dealing with?
  2. In which areas of their work do they need a higher level of emotional discipline? Do they need to lean into meaningful conversations that can move themselves and the team forward rather than leaning away because it’s more comfortable and familiar?
  3. Where do team members need help in being more disciplined? Is it hard for them to get fired up in the morning and do the toughest tasks they need to get done, first?  Who can help motivate them and keep them on track?

At Cortex Leadership Consulting (www.cortexleadership.com) we provide DISC, Motivators, Leadership Competency, Stress, 360 degree and Team Accountability assessments along with workshops and leadership programs to assist you and your team to reach your peak performance.  You can contact us at lynda@cortexleadership.com or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or schedule a keynote speech.

If you would like to receive the Leader’s Launch List, each week, in your email inbox, go to www.lyndamcnuttfoster.com.

Will you follow the Platinum Rule for Leaders this week?©

There’s the golden rule:  Treat others as you want to be treated.

Platinum RuleAs a leader, the golden rule works well if the person you are working with has the same upbringing as you did, has the same behavioral style, is motivated by the same things, has the same vocabulary and has the same values.  In other words, if the person is exactly the same as you are and would want the same things then treating that person how you want to be treated, in it’s immediate, literal sense, would work.

Let’s face it, though.  We all want to be treated the way we want to be treated.  I like to be treated the way I prefer to be treated and so, I would guess, do you.  So treating others the way you want to be treated is treating them the way they want to be treated.

Which brings us to the Leader’s Platinum Rule.

Treat others as THEY want to be treated.

This way of thinking will help you:

  • More effectively communicate with others
  • More efficiently get to the goal you want to achieve through others
  • Create more trusting relationships that will result in others being motivated to help you achieve your goals and reach you and your organization’s outcomes.

Who you are talking to and dealing with, many times, is not like you.  You may hate when someone is too direct.  There are people that hate it when you aren’t direct with them.  When you aren’t direct they think you are “beating around the bush” and they are actually wanting you to “get to the point”.

You may think that people sitting there, hardly looking at you when you are talking to them, or who look at you with that terrible, what we call, “resting face” are cold and are ignoring you.  Actually, they may just have a different behavioral style than you do.  You being all bubbly and super positive may be coming across to them as superficial and perhaps, dare I say it, artificial.

How do you find out how others want to be treated?  Ask them things like:

  • How do you prefer to have me contact you? Text, Email, Phone?”  Is there a time, during the day, that works best for me to approach you with certain things?
  • Do you prefer I just come to your desk when I have a question I need answered right away or is there another way that would work for you?
  • When we hit a bump in the road, because everyone always does at some point or another when working together, how would you like for me to approach you with it? Is it best to send you a note and request a meeting, just come up to you and tell you about it, or is there another way of approaching it that you prefer?
  • How is it best for me to get feedback from you about how things are going? Is it best to go ahead and schedule some check-in points now or do you want me to reach out to you in a few weeks, or is there another method that you have found that works best for you in regard to giving or receiving feedback?

If you have taken one of our DISC workshops then you know that different behavioral styles prefer you to approach them with the answers to certain questions if you are requesting something from them.  The sooner you answer the questions that are in their head the sooner you will get what you need or want from them.

D – Drivers prefer you to be direct, to the point, be prepared, and answer the questions What?  As in, what needs to be done?  What are you requesting?  What is the bottom line?

I – Influencers prefer a friendly approach, to talk about personal things for a moment to “check-in” first, and then to answer the question Who?  As in, who will be working on the project, who is coming to the event, who is asking for the donation from us.

S- Supporters prefer you to take a slower pace to approach, be as thoughtful as possible, and answer the question How?  As in, how can I help you?  How can I serve you best?

C – Calculators prefer that you come to them with the facts, take a logical approach, provide them with details at a pace that allows them to absorb the information and answer the question Why?  Why does this need to change?  Why do you need what you are asking for?  Why does this need to be done now rather than later?

HOMEWORK WITH YOUR TEAM THIS WEEK:

In an upcoming work session with your team, start with a round that asks each member to share with the group one thing that helps them serve the group better.  They might share that they prefer to have any instructions in writing so they can be sure to deliver exactly what is needed.  Another member might say that they prefer to get a “heads up” about any changes that might be coming up so they can properly prepare for what’s ahead.  Another person might share that they prefer for people to be direct with them and just say what’s on their mind, to them directly, so that they can handle any issues immediately, before they fester.

You can start the meeting with the question, “What’s going right?” to get your meeting started with the right tone and thinking patterns.

If you would like to receive the Leader’s Launch List, each week, in your email inbox, go to www.lyndamcnuttfoster.com.

At Cortex Leadership Consulting (www.cortexleadership.com) we provide DISC, Motivators, Leadership Competency, Stress, and Team Accountability assessments and workshops to assist you, as a leader, and your team to reach your peak performance.  You can reach us at lynda@cortexleadership.com or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or a keynote speech.

 

 

 

How smart will your failures be this week?©

My big sister, when I used to call her crying over some huge failure I thought I had just experienced used to tell me, “It’s a million-dollar day, Lynda!”  I wanted to hurt her.  She was trying to get me to see that the lesson I just learned was going to make me a million dollars one day.

Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Blah, blah, blah, right?  We all know that things can not always work out.  Yes, we know it intellectually, but do we embrace failure in ourselves?  Do we encourage others to fail?  Do we really lead our teams by looking at it’s members and saying, “If no one is failing then no one is probably trying anything new.”   After all, like Edison found, the faster you fail the sooner you find the right answer or solution.

Failure due to laziness, lack of accountability and effort or just being sloppy and uncommitted is not what I am talking about here.

I’m talking about innovation which can not happen without failure.  If you’re not willing to risk you are not going to innovate.  Lack of innovation is going to be the real failure for many organizations in the coming years.

In the article, Why you should encourage failure in the workplace, they explain why failure is necessary in today’s organizations:

  1. Encouraging risk-taking appears to top talent
  2. Risky behavior can yield huge success
  3. Mistakes are great learning tools

In Harvard Business Review’s article, To Increase Innovation, Take the Sting Out of Failure, Doug Sundheim suggests the following questions to help you and your team define if something was a smart failure in order to determine the right and wrong way to fail:

  1. What makes a failure smart in our organization?
  2. What makes a failure dumb?
  3. What guidelines, approaches, or processes characterize smart risk taking?
  4. What clear examples can we point to, to demonstrate smart failures?

How will you reward smart failures on your team or in your organization this year?  Will you only reward successes or can you create a “Dare to Try Award” which would go to the most thoughtful and well-executed failures?

Will you give the gift of knowledge this week?©

 

People ask me frequently what the best book for them to read is.  I consume books, learning videos and articles about business and leadership like it was chocolate or something.  I’m lucky because it’s usually a client that asks and I know enough about what they want as far as their outcomes to suggest a book that will keep them moving forward on their path.

I thought I would throw out a few varied suggestions if you’re trying to think of a gift for yourself or a team member.

A subscription to Harvard Business Review.  Ask for this for Christmas!  If you want to know and use the latest research by the smartest people on the planet regarding leadership, order this subscription or beg a loved one or your boss to gift it to you.  I use this magazine constantly as a resource for the best research to create my launch lists, ebooks and course content.

How Google Works is a new one by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle.
I’m about half way through it and already have 3 launch lists I want to write about it and definitely is one of my favorite audiobooks of the year.  I haven’t finished it because I stop it like every 10 minutes to take a bunch of notes.  It’s not just a sort of bio on the company itself but it is kind of guide written by leaders that help build Google to what it is today.  So far, it has dissected Google’s hiring process in detail which explains how they recruited and developed such great team members.  It’s a book about how they built their culture and the methods you can steal to get the same results with your team.

10% Happier by Dan Harris
This book just makes you laugh the entire time.  In the audiobook version it is narrated by the author and it totally cracks you up!  It is the cynical and enlightening journey of Harris’ path to discovering a method of relaxation that he believes made him 10% happier.

Any of these books by Malcolm Gladwell are super interesting and good reads.
Outliers (my favorite), blink, The Tipping Pont, David and Goliath.
If you haven’t heard of him here’s who he is:  CLICK HERE.

Conscious Business, How to Build Value Through Values, by Fred Kofman.  It focuses on unconditional responsibility, unflinching integrity, authentic communication, impeccable commitments and right leadership.

The Power of Full Engagement, Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal.  This is a great one to read over the holidays to start your new year right!  Full of practical ways to focus on managing your energy which will help you optimize the time you want to invest towards your desired outcomes.

I wish for you the gift of grace this week.  Give grace to yourself for all that you do to serve others – whether you always demonstrate it perfectly or not.  Grace to those that are wanting to please and serve you.  They don’t always get it perfectly either.  Grace to those you love and care about.  Family relationships come with way too much history to get it right every time.

Merry Christmas, my friend.  You are a reason why mine is so very, very joyful this year, as I have received more grace from others than I could possibly every measure.

 

Will you schedule a power hour for you and your team this week?©

In my new ebook entitled Time Mastery: 7 Simple Steps to Richer Outcomes I discuss the process of planning and executing a Sprint for you and your team.  These are 2-week long periods in which you hyper focus on a major deliverable that you want to accomplish.  These can be highly effective if you have defined the outcomes you want to achieve, have the authority to properly execute them and stay accountable the results you obtain.

As the holidays approach, you may find it helpful to schedule some Power Hours that are like mini-Sprints.  These microbursts of productivity, packed tightly into one hour of time, can help you and your team enter the holiday season with a clear task list and mind.

Here’s how:

  1. Schedule an hour of time this week that you are able to “rope off” completely.  If need be, you can let your team members know so that they can make arrangements to find assistance elsewhere during that hour.  An option is for you and a set of team members to schedule the Power Hour at the same time.  That way you are working in unison to get as much accomplished in one hour as possible.
  2. Determine which activities or tasks have been lingering around for days, weeks, or months that really need to get completed and haven’t. Things like clearing my inbox, scheduling health maintenance appointments, filing, running multiple small errands, and any number of things that have sat on the “side” of my desk fall into this category for me.  Which tasks do you have that you never seem to get around to doing, but that are not going to go away?  That’s your list.
  3. Schedule the hour for a time of the day and week that gives you the best chance at successfully executing it. When are the phones the quietest?  When do you have the least amount of interruptions?
  4. Celebrate when you have completed your Power Hour. Doesn’t have to be big.  Eat a Hershey’s Kiss if you like chocolate.   Declare to the world with fists in the air “I rock!”  The important thing is that you anchor the positive aspect of getting something done that you really didn’t want to do…and you had the discipline and fortitude to do it ANYWAY!

These Power Hours can be fun.  Put in your headphones and listen to music from the best times you can remember.  Challenge yourself to see just how many of the items on your list you can blast through with the laser focus of a Jedi warrior.

Will you plan for what you want in 2019 this week?©

Nope.  Not a typo.  I meant 2019.  I’ve learned from multiple sources and have come to experience it myself.  You can accomplish less in one year than what you think you can and much more in 3.

2019 imageSo, what do you want your outcomes to be in 2019?  Best to start thinking about it right now.  When you take that perspective you can release the pressure of needing everything to happen quickly and allow yourself to dream big and take the right baby steps necessary to get there.  If you want a better culture in your organization it will probably take longer than you think to accomplish, but the payoffs will be much bigger than you can probably predict.  If you want truly satisfying accomplishments, you need to think longer term otherwise you’ll be hitting tons of goals but they won’t mean that much in the long term.

Try asking yourself and your team these questions this week:

  1. What one or two small habits can you change that, over time, will create a big impact if done consistently for the next 3 years?
  2. Who do you need to deepen a relationship with that will result in an important mentorship or collaboration in the future?
  3. How will you plan each day, week, month and the next year to ensure that you are using your energy and talents optimally?
  4. Why do you want something different than what you have right now? Establish a strong reason that ignites your passion so that when things get tough you remember why you are making the changes and sacrifices in the first place.

 

 

 

 

 

How will you manage silos in your workplace this week?©

Silos are naturally and necessarily created in work environments to house team members into groups that form departments and that are designed to lead to the alignment of authority, responsibility, and accountability.  Silos allow for executives to manage smaller teams that allow for them to create communities that focus on areas of expertise and specific work product creation and implementation.

All sounds great, right? Yep, until you need to innovate or become customer centric and organizationally focused.

A silo mentality can be defined as: A mind-set present in some companies when certain departments or sectors do not wish to share information with others in the same company. This type of mentality will reduce the efficiency of the overall operation, reduce morale, and may contribute to the demise of a productive company culture.

 

Three aspects to consider in the organizational silo barrier are:

  • Non-aligned priorities
  • Lack of information flow
  • Lack of coordinated decision making across silos

When these aspects are occurring it will be difficult to make the changes necessary to remain competitive and get the ultimate results you may need to achieve.

What's your strategy?

In the Harvard Business Review Article, The First Two Steps Toward Breaking Down Silos in Your Organization, Vijay Govindarajan makes the statement, “Companies don’t change because they want to. They change because they are forced to by customers, by competition, by advances in science and technology, and by government regulation. Only when change is being forced upon the enterprise will people seek, give, and accept help.”

So if you need team members who currently operate in silos to begin operating in a way that will lead to the results you want to achieve, you’ll need to:

  1. Make a compelling case for why innovation is necessary to the organization and for each of its members. It will need to be an interactive experience for the leader and team member’s that occurs in as many different forums and formats as possible. Change can’t be “someone else’s” job or need to happen because it was posted in an email or there was one tell and sell group gathering that happened. Nope, you are going to need to lead the campaign throughout the organization and take some serious time to connect with other leaders and their team members to make the message and vision stick.
  1. Create an agenda that develops a step-by-step guide that team member’s can follow to reach the vision you will communicate. You need to not only communicate the vision for better communications you need to demonstrate it by clearly articulating, in multiple ways, what you want to see in the culture of your organization. You need to be the catalyst by being the change you want to see. If you don’t start crossing the silo lines by being more transparent with information that can be shared, being inclusive in your mindset and more effectively interactive in meetings, don’t expect others to execute what you aren’t doing yourself.

TEAM EXERCISE this week:

Before your next team meeting, distribute these questions so that your team members have an opportunity, as do you, to consider their answers. When you get together do a round and allow each member to comment on the one that they think is affecting your organizational progress the most.

  1. What priorities do you or your department have that are not aligned with another’s?
  1. Put yourself in the place of the other silo—what would make that silo realize that your need was a priority?
  1. What information do you or your department have that could be useful to others?
  1. What information or assistance do you need from another silo that you are not getting?
  1. In what areas would increased collaboration and giving up some autonomy be more beneficial for the company than maintaining your individuality?

(Questions excerpted from How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things by Neil Smith with Patricia O’Connell. Copyright © 2012)

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