SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT ABOUT WFXR – Virginia@Work: I am very excited and honored about becoming a regular commentator on the Fox 21/27 WFXR, Virginia First news! My first appearance is TONIGHT, Sunday, May 1, 2016 at 10p and I will appear live at 7:30a tomorrow for the launch of Virginia@Work. I appreciate being chosen by Becky Freemal who was intrigued by how we might work together to help her viewers learn more about ways they can be more effective in the workplace. I’ll be on with January Keaton and Kyle Benjamin most Monday mornings at 7:30am. The above picture is in the studio during the recording for tonight’s short appearance. Tomorrow morning will be LIVE where we’ll focus on my ebook’s topic of Time Mastery: 7 Simple Steps to Richer Outcomes in a longer format.
Lynda’s High 5 for Leaders: 5 Ways to Finally Stop the Email Madness©
By: Lynda McNutt Foster
(Be sure to check below to see if you are the winner of March’s High 5 prize)
It’s madness. The amount of emails executives are processing a day is nuts! I was with one last month that gets about 300 a day. Email is not the best place for conversations. It’s really a medium to transfer information and it’s not really ideal for that if there is a pattern to the information and an app could organize it more effectively.
I can not count the amount of coaching sessions I have had where a manager or supervisor had spent the last day or two trying to interpret an email they got from their boss or a peer. Maybe they hadn’t heard anything back from their boss on a request for a decision they sent via email. Sometimes they received a response back but aren’t really sure what their boss meant by it.
Research taken from the book Conversational Intelligence by Judith Glaser notes that conversations are interpreted by us in this way: 7% by words, 38% by tone, 55% by non-verbal or body language. In email, 93% of the interpretation is LOST. If you do not have a relationship with someone, or worse, if you have a bad one, the way you interpret their tone is probably how you will label their intention and therefore the meaning of the email.
An email as simple as:
“Thank you. What exactly do you mean by that?”
Depending on the relationship of that person with you, the positional power that person has over you, the culture of your department or company, could set you off on a quest for tone that could send the gerbil wheel off in your head for a day or more. (Try reading it putting the emphasis on a different word each time, like, WHAT exactly do you mean… or what EXACTLY do you mean…or what exactly do you mean by THAT)
Email is costing most companies and organizations hundreds of thousands a dollars a year in lost productivity. As I have been collecting data by taking surveys in our leadership classes for the last year, the average time that leaders say they are spending, during working hours, sorting and managing email threads is at least 2 hours a day. If the cost of that leader with all of their benefits added in is only $50 an hour, that cost is $100 a day, $500 a week, and if they have 2 weeks vacation, that’s $25,000 a year… managing email. Many of my client’s time is worth well above that hourly amount. Some as much as $500 or much more an hour. What’s interesting to me is that executives are believing they are being efficient by not having an assistant and handling all correspondence themselves. The cost to the leader’s productivity and increased stress level of managing upwards of 100+ emails a day is hard to calculate in exact numbers. It would appear to be very high, though.
So how do we work together to stop the madness? Here’s 5 things to do this week to reduce stress, increase productivity, and manage your time more effectively when it comes to email:
- Create, if you have the power to, and if you don’t, suggest it to the powers that be, that you determine a list of “Rules of Engagement” for email with your department or organization as a whole. Determine when email is required to be responded to, the boundaries around what should and should not be put in an email, who should be copied and who shouldn’t. This is a big one. If you send an email out that takes 2 minutes to read to 10 people that is 20 minutes of productivity time that has been eaten up not to mention the time it takes to understand whether or not each of the people is supposed to respond to it. Some of the most successfully run companies in the world now have Rules of Engagement for email which they strictly adhere to.
- Stop, thinking you know the person’s tone or intention in sending the email. If you need interpretation, pick up the phone… yes, that dusty thing you only get texts and emails on now, and call the person for clarity. It will actually save you time so you can work on the task being requested rather than trying to interpret what they mean.
- Start, creating a task list or better yet, put tasks on your calendar so you can start tracking how long they take. Don’t use your email inbox as a to-do list past a few days.
- Set times to check your email. Responses to people don’t have to be perfect. Waiting days and days to get back to someone can delay processing of important projects and tasks. If you don’t know and need to get back to them, say that and put it on your calendar to respond to them.
- Turn off the bells and noises that alert you that a text or email has come in. The sound is triggering your lowest level thinking in your brain stem/amygdala. Not good. Those bings and dings are actually lowering your IQ by 10-15 points during the day according to the research shown in Your Brain at Work by David Rock.
There is probably little chance you have not heard some of these before. Why aren’t you doing it? Why is everyone still so distracted by email? You may not have the power to create the change you want to see. I understand. Perhaps passing this on to the folks that do could go a long way in starting a new wave of focus in your department or organization.
Suggested Team Exercise for this week:
Get serious about creating a list of “Rules of Engagement” for email within your department. This may take a few shots at it to get it in alignment with your culture and it will certainly take quite a bit of follow up and policing to ensure compliance. I can assure you that the effort will be worth it when you see the productivity increase and stress levels go down.
Courtland James, an Executive Coach with Cortex Leadership, did a fantastic job facilitating an open forum discussion with a panel on the Generational Divide event at the CoLab last Wednesday night. Thank you, to each of you that attended. There wasn’t a seat left! Courtland was also interviewed on Fox21/27 in regard to the event. Thank you, Becky Freemal, for the great story.
Courtland also got married recently and the picture you see at the top of article is from his reception at the Colonnade Club at the University of Virginia on Sunday afternoon. Congratulations, Courtland, you rock!
Lynda’s High 5 for Leaders
5 Ways to Prime Your Mind for Success Tomorrow Morning©
by: Lynda McNutt Foster
Each morning I pick a different video to crawl on the elliptical with. It’s got to be something interesting or there’s no way I’m pumping for 20 minutes on that thing. I give videos about one minute to see if they have something that will add to my library of knowledge and have the ability to keep me from checking every 30 seconds about how far I have left to go.
This morning I was priming my mind with material to assist Courtland, one of our executive coaches, prepare for tomorrow night’s forum, The Generational Divide, at the Grandin CoLab in Roanoke. It starts at 5:15p if you want to attend. Let me know and I’ll save you a seat. Anyway, I was watching this video. It’s real. It’s raw. It’s a TEDx Talk by a Millennial who educates Generation Xers and Baby Boomers, like me, about how to best work with that group. Man, she really made a good case about anything, good or bad, we’re experiencing we created in them. She’s probably right.
The average American watches about 4 hours of TV a day. “Watches” is the key word I think as so many people are doing other things while the TV is in the background. Years ago, now, I used to wake up flipping through Facebook. I’m off that addiction now, all together, as I realized that it simply primed my mind for drama and there’s plenty of drama in the world without having to scroll through FB looking for it.
So what are you priming your mind with in the morning? Are you intentionally focused, each morning, on what will create the best you to show up in the world? Do you have a routine that awakens your prefrontal cortex (that’s the CEO of your brain) and gets your blood pumping through your veins in a way that is not just caffeine induced?
Here’s 5 ways to seriously prime your mind for a focused, productive, and satisfying day ahead:
- Watch any of these: channels on Youtube. You can seriously feel like you’ve read a book a day in less than like 15 minutes with Brian Johnson channel. One of my favorites was Your Brain at Work by David Rock OR Evan Carmichael. Believe. Stuffed full of “Top 10 rules for success” he edits together the best highlights from famous folks to bring you a quick guide to get your day focused on the type of behaviors that lead to their success. One of my favorites is Will Smith’s Top 10 Rules for Success OR Fightmediocrity is another great channel for condensing books into their biggest themes. If you haven’t read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People here it is in under 8 minutes.
- Listen to any of these: Audiobooks are great primers. If you haven’t listened to How Google Works there is a massive amount of useful information for any leader in that book. It could be worth it to spend some time listening to Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset. It’s one of the best sellers in leadership circles in the world right now. And, well, if you want to learn quickly how to design your time for richer outcomes (WARNING: shameless plug ahead) in less than 111 minutes you can listen to my book on Audible, Time Mastery: 7 Simple Steps to Richer Outcomes.
- Do any of these: Exercise for 12 minutes (the amount of time Dr. Medina wrote about in Brain Rules) to get the blood flowing to all parts of your brain OR Do stretching exercises for a few minutes to loosen up and prepare your body for the day OR Do a 7-minute gratitude meditation OR Eat a smoothie with spinach and blueberries (big time brain food).
- Ritual of appreciation. Priming your mind, each morning, with appreciation is like setting off fireworks in your brain. It activates all different parts of your brain and creates the best possible environment for higher level thinking and being for the day.
- Be this. There’s no rewind button on life. Yesterday is gone. Today is not here yet. You’ve got today and even more importantly, right now. This very moment. Embrace it. Be alive in it.
I am asked by clients and participants in my classes what the best books to read are, videos to watch, etc., so I thought it might be helpful if I started sending out what I am reading or listening to each morning on Twitter. You can start following that feed at @lfosterva.
How does your team prime their minds in the morning? Try some of these practices that can help prepare your team for higher levels of thinking and success each day.
- Greet one another pleasantly in the morning. Nothing throws off people’s day more than when the boss or a co-worker walks right by them without as much as a word.
- Review your co-worker to do list. Is there anything you need to respond to a co-worker about that would allow them to have a more productive day? Is there a task or decision you need to get complete for them so they can finish one of their to-dos that has been pending?
- Start with what went right. If you have morning meetings, begin each one with a quick round or announcement of what has gone right. This type of asset based thinking builds trust and primes your team’s mind for looking for strengths in themselves and others.
Lynda’s High 5 for Leaders: Do you know 5 Things Influencers would love for you to do this week?©
By: Lynda McNutt Foster, CEO
Cortex Leadership Consulting
It’s easier to treat people the way they want to be treated if you have some idea of what they want. DISC helps with that. DISC is a behavioral assessment that can be used to help predict how you will act in certain situations, how you may respond to others’ interactions with you, and can also be used to discover people’s strengths when it comes to workplace challenges. The I in DISC stands for Influencer.
An Influencer is someone who tends to be friendly, smile frequently, move at a faster pace, likes to interact with people, connect with them and build relationships. They like to have fun and enjoy work environments where people laugh and get along with each other. They tend to avoid conflict if they feel like to will create discord in a relationship that they deem is important to them. They are often people who talk with their hands and jump from topic to topic, in a conversation or meeting, with ease.
If you are not familiar with DISC, click here for more information. Last week’s article, 5 ways to get what you want from a Driver, provided some helpful hints on how to best communicate with the D part of DISC.
Here are 5 things Influencers you work with would love for you to do this week:
- HAVE FUN. Influencers love to have fun! Just saying the word fun in a sentence can make them smile. The mere discussion of a party or a way to get together that could lead to people laughing and enjoying time together will endear them to you.
- EMBRACE CHANGE. Influencers love change. Doing the same thing over and over again in exactly the same way doesn’t seem like much fun to them. Variety and doing something that is new and exciting will motivate them towards doing even the most difficult of tasks or assignments. They like to be challenged, it just needs to be towards something that will lead to something they will enjoy. They tend to have lots of new ideas they want to share and have others consider. They are okay if you don’t want to take all their ideas for changes, they just like to feel heard.
- LISTEN TO THEM. Influencers love to talk to people who listen to them and talk back. They want to know you like them and enjoy their company. They can get uncomfortable if you stare at them with a blank gaze for too long. They need to know you like them and enjoy their company….I mentioned that already, right? Yeah, it’s because they disconnect quickly when they feel like that is not happening with you.
- SAY GOOD MORNING. As simple as this sounds, an Influencer can take it quite personally if you walk right past them with no smile, “hello”, “good morning”, or acknowledgement of any kind. They find it rude and unfriendly.
- SEND THEM ON A TRIP. The vast majority of Influencers we’ve studied love to travel. They love to see new places, meet new people, try new things, experience new surroundings. They are the first ones, normally, to raise their hands to go to conferences, and usually have just come back from someplace fun or are planning their next adventure.
Quick leadership tip to engage and motivate an Influencer on your team:
Assign them something that requires positive interaction with people.
THIS WEEK’S EXERCISE FOR YOUR TEAM:
Consider doing something this week that will connect and energize your team. Get ideas for what that activity would be from one of your Influencers. Ask them what they think that people on the team would like to do together. Have them poll the group and see which type of activity people would be open to and get excited about (although tell them that the C’s – Calculators, won’t really get too “excited” but it’s a win if they simply agree to do it with the team). Give them a budget and an amount of time the activity can take. They usually have lots of ideas so you’ll need to make time to hear them and help them decide on the best one.
Influencers love team building activities because it gives them a chance to connect and get to know everyone better. Remember, they just want everyone to get along and have fun!
BIG HIGH 5’s go out to the following professionals and organizations they serve this week:
Ariel and Fe at the CoLab. They are two, big ole I’s, who love to have fun and are doing a bang up job leading new initiatives that serve the business community, in our region, in important ways. We had a blast facilitating a discussion at their (X)po Wednesday event last week about self publishing and appreciate them inviting our team. We were able to explain how Joseph Carleno, all things digital for Cortex Consulting created the digital version of the Time Mastery book and Sean Eddy of Eddy Communications coached, recorded and edited the audiobook version.
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
“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
- Cross Cultural Sensitivity
- How are you perceived?
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.
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.
Refer to a previous article I wrote on emotional discipline.
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:
- What was your biggest take-a-way from what you read or watched?
- What were the top 3 themes from what you watched or read?
- What is one aspect, of your executive brand, you would like to focus on to improve?
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- 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 email@example.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.
There’s the golden rule: Treat others as you want to be treated.
As 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (540) 776-9219 to book a workshop for your team, a customized leadership program for your organization or a keynote speech.
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.
- Encouraging risk-taking appears to top talent
- Risky behavior can yield huge success
- 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:
- What makes a failure smart in our organization?
- What makes a failure dumb?
- What guidelines, approaches, or processes characterize smart risk taking?
- 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?
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.