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Personal development

Clean up your own back yard, before criticising others

It’s an easy path to take to criticise others when you are not doing well. However this always reflects poorly on you. I was reminded of this important lesson in a meeting recently where we were brainstorming and were asked to only look within the current year. I automatically only looked at the items that were within my sphere of control.

In a debrief after the session I realised I automatically look at only the things I can control, as beyond that the time and effort involved is significantly greater. My colleagues had a laundry list, very few were within the sphere of control.

Focusing on what you can control to create the right outcome is far more successful than being dependent on others. I use the analogy of a neglected back yard, the weeds are out of control and you cannot see the fence at the back of the yard. Focus on clearing up your yard, before looking over the fence at your neighbours and commenting on how neglected their garden is.

In a previous chapter of my career, I took on a underperforming sales team. I was constantly asked about what others were doing in other areas and always said, I have enough to sort out in my own backyard, that I don’t have the capacity or time to worry about everyone else’s.

That focus and strategy led to turning around an underperforming sales team. That focus has allowed my teams to flourish as we are always maximising what we have control of, instead of consuming time worrying about what everyone else is doing.

Dales Carnegie illustrates this lesson well in his How to win friends and influence people book, Chapter on don’t criticise, condemn and complain.

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Personal development

To be a great leader you have to love developing others

Many people believe leadership is the way to get on in life, but unless you love people you cannot be a successful leader.

The very heart of leading any organisation is its people. Unless you genuinely care about the people and you demonstrate that care through your values and how you show up everyday, you are not a leader you are a manager.

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Career planning Coaching Leadership Personal development

How to get on in corporate?

There are some unwritten and unspoken rules to getting in incorporate. Here are 10 things you need to nail to get on.

1. Get on with everyone. You cannot afford to have any detractors. Always look at how you can help others be successful.

2. Deliver results. Focus on the inputs to deliver results not the outputs. Energy placed in the right place will deliver the outcome

3. Get great at PowerPoint. This is key with point 5. Being succinct on your delivery of information, content for a decision or content for collaboration, be clear on your asks as this is where most presentations fall down.

4. Dont talk too much, learn to ask questions, be the third or forth person to contribute

5. Learn to speak in public and be on point. Remove the waffle

6. Always give execs a heads up on things that may get escalated. A key skill is making sure stakeholders understand a risk of escalation. Content needed what have you tried to mitigate the risk, what you are doing next and the next update.

7. Be a great project manager. Key skill to delivering plans

8. Have great Business process skills. Never bandaid, always find the root cause and fix process

9. Collaborate to deliver great strategy, resolve issues and creating plans.

10. Communication is critical to keep everyone across what you are doing and get feedback.

Corporate is where you accelerate your personal development and develop skills that are critical to driving business success.

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Book Quotes Coaching High Performing Teams Influence Judgement Leadership Mentoring Networking Personal development

Why Dale Carnegie’s How to win friends and influence people is my all time favourite book?

I was 20 years old working for a US software company in the Uk and I was lucky enough to land a boss who was keen for me to develop. He recommended a 12 week Dale Carnegie course based around the book: How to win friends and influence people. The book changed my life and my career trajectory.

I have read the book numerous times and even thought the book was written in 1936. The lessons are as relevant today as they were then.

Each chapters headings are critical leadership skills and life skills. We should teach this to children at school.

My favourite chapters of all is don’t criticise, condemn and complain, followed by seek to understand before your understood.

The book is full of real life stories, that really challenge your thinking and actions. A must read for enjoying life and really developing great friendships and rapport.

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Coaching Influence Judgement Leadership Personal development

Three key takeaways from Interview with Jennifer Palmieri

Three key takeaways from podcast interview of Jennifer Palmieri who was Communications Director on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential campaign by Julia Gillard

This podcast was more than a review of the recent US election it was all about why women don’t make it to the top.

https://podcasts.apple.com/au/podcast/a-podcast-of-ones-own-with-julia-gillard/id1466658814?i=1000494895703

There were three great takeaways from Jennifer in her interview related to commentary about women in leadership:

1. There is just something about her.

2. She’s too ambitious

3. Great Number 2

Do these words sound so familiar? The language of bias.

In the last decade the language of bias is being exposed and shamed in social media. Awareness and education is key as we all have bias.

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Personal development

Don’t trash the past

This is a key learning in leadership. Many leaders come in and to make themselves look good, they need to talk about the past in a disingenuous way. This is demoralising for staff who have been part of the journey.

Many years ago I managed a turnaround for an under performing sales team, I made the mistake of trashing the past, three years later I was reminded of how demoralising it was by my peer. I had no idea the impact I had.

With this approach you treating everyone the same, when it may be due to poor leadership, poor culture and any number of factors that the individuals have been subjected to.

Recently tasked with turning around a team, I recalled those important lessons, ensuring the team where recognised and that the transition was no reflection on the team. A critical lesson for taking people on the journey.

With a different perspective I could see the commitment and effort of each member of the team and appreciate their individual contribution. I felt for each and everyone of them, as the situation was not of their making.

Don’t ever trash the past.

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Personal development

Defensive behaviour

As a mentor and a coach I often call out defensive behaviour and how it reflects poorly on the individual.

Far better when you feel you are being personally attacked especially in a group environment, take a breath, and another breath and then calmly ask the person why they feel the way they do? Why they came to the position they are taking? What they want you to do? In Dale Carnegies words ‘Seek to understand before you are understood”.


Defensive behaviour, hostile challenge and reactive leadership and the same thing: reacting badly to a situation.

I found the creative vs reactive leadership helpful, when dealing with areas I feel attached to.

https://angelalovegrove.com/2020/09/14/reactive-vs-creative-leadership/

What is triggering your defensive behaviour?

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Personal development

Setting precedence

Throughout my career the lens of setting precedence has been a key to success. I always ask, if I say yes to this what is the consequences? If I say no, what message am I sending?

Every day I apply this rule to whatever I am doing. Generally employees are looking for a yes answer to please their customer. Respect comes from setting boundaries and clearly stating the No position, where the commercial ramifications don’t make sense.

In any business there are bottlenecks, when the process is clear then the process is manageable, when the customer enters the process signing a document that outlines any delays may mean going to the back of queue, which equates to a painful delay, they take the signing of the document seriously. The same message verbally may not have impact. In fact has no impact as they are not committed.

When we make allowances, even when financially it does not make sense, we remove the barrier and the new the standard is set, proving the barrier can move. Now you are in trouble as you have no way of resetting as you have moved it once.

When the requests are financially impactful to your business, you are now in territory known as “what has no price has no value” where you are taken for Granted And the situation is financially unsustainable. The only answer as you now have a precedent that is challenging is to rip the band aid off and have the honest conversation, resetting the boundaries that should have been there from the outset.

The rule of precedent is simple, stick to the position where commercially it makes sense, as when you move, there are no boundaries left and you are now in a disrespectful, subservient relationship, which will result in further requests, as you have shown the boundaries move.

Where have you seen precedents set that are unsustainable? What was the impact? What was the outcome? What was the learning? What would you do differently? what was the impact on the cx?

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Personal development

Reactive v’s Creative Leadership

In a recent team coaching session, we learnt about reactive versus creative leadership. https://blog.hrps.org/blogpost/Transforming-Reactive-into-Creative-Leadership which is all about how you to chose to react to a situation. Creative leadership is about asking questions, listening and playing back what you have heard, without indulging in your own thoughts, assumptions and position, just being present. Reactive leadership is where you act defensively and are centered in your own thoughts and not present for others.

The terminology resonated with me and has been work in progress for a number of months now. I definitely feel as if my connections with others is far richer as a result of the creative leadership mindset. Cannot recall a reactive leadership moment in recent times! Its also a great opportunity to learn, when you are in creative leadership mindset you are open to learning new things where as reactive you are locked into your thoughts.

Actively seeking out information that challenges your thinking also feeds into the Creative leadership, being open that their is other perspectives and that there is no right or wrong.

When were you in a reactive leadership position? Did you achieve the outcome you were looking for? What could have you achieved with a Creative leadership mindset?

Categories
Personal development

How it feels when someone listens

Today I was speaking to a colleague and I remembered the first time I met him on his first week with the company. Our first one on one he commented on my fearless challenges, he sensed my frustrations and wanted to know what would happen if we did not act. I was shocked at his observation and his keenness to understand the situation. He put me at ease with his calm voice. I will never forget how he made me feel and how he supported me. What surprised me the most, was how open I was with him on our first meeting.

Twelve months on I was giving him feedback and recalled that time as if it was yesterday. My reflection is what a powerful impact we can have on others. I will ne ever forget how he made me feel.