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Coaching Mentoring Time Management

Time Management

Moving from reactive to proactive has been the key skill I have had to coach for individuals to progress in their career.

Reactive activity: Activity driven by Emails and phone calls, demand from stakeholders including customers

Proactive: developing and overall strategy, steps to achieve and setting up cadence calls. Building stakeholder relationships, focus on the projects and only check emails once or twice a day.

If you are the most productive in the morning, dont check email, allocate time for a project where we are at our peak in terms of attention and focus.

If you have worked in a customer service role where you have been responsive and reactive and then move into sales, you will need to adjust to Proactive work from mainly reactive. To make this transition look at training, reading the below book and also getting a coach.

It takes time to change behaviours but this adjustment is well worth the effort.

https://gettingthingsdone.com This is a great book to really nail your productivity.

If you are starting out in your career, learn project management skills as this will be a core skill for the Proactive time management.

Categories
Personal development

When passion is dangerous at work

I’ve had personal experience and witnessed too many highly-passionate people risk their relationships, risk their reputations, and neglect to appreciate the people around them in order to pursue a dream. I’ve seen too many fail–because their focus on the future makes them oblivious to the present. https://www.inc.com/todd-nordstrom/how-passion-can-destroy-your-potential-according-to-5-experts.html

There is so much written about pursuing your passion at work. There is a health warning that comes with it in the corporate context. In the wrong environment, over used passion is seen as emotion that represents in an imbalance in the person. In startups and entrepreneurial organisations it is celebrated and rewarded.

So why the extremes of perception. I have worked in both and seen it from different lens.

Corporates are looking for calm leaders, who never get emotional or passionate, (may be beneath the surface) just calm and considered. Gravitas. In start ups and SMB, passion is seen as essential to drive success and the team.

When passion is dangerous at work?

Categories
Book Quotes Coaching Mentoring

The grass is never greener

grass is never greenerThere are many times in my personal and business life I have given this advice “on the grass is never greener” to others. We always look fondly at what other people have or at our past and wonder why we are not fulfilled today and the answer is that you can never be happy if you have this mindset.

The rest of the well known saying is “unless you water it” in other words work on the present.

Feeling content with what you have and keeping your ego is check is the only way to happiness. When we are constantly craving what others have we can never be happy.

A year ago an ex peer of mine landed a role that I thought was ideal, recently I spoke to her and she said the money is poor and environment not good, for a moment I had to check myself, as I really did think she was better off. The grass is never greener.

So to keep yourself in check, practice gratitude every day. You can write them down or just find 5 mins every day for reflection.

Also read Eckhart Toll The power of now for dealing with the ego. He has some top tips, which mean you live in the moment and stop craving what you dont need!

 

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Mentoring Personal development Work life balance

Taking responsibility to how we get treated

treatmentToday I was in a coaching session with a young female I have mentored for over 6 months. She has grown so much in a short amount of time, she is also happier and equipped with skills to ensure her success. Today I asked her about how she is getting on with repair bridges that have been well and truly burned. The same question I ask her each time I see her. She had made no progress.

I asked her what was getting in the way of having the conversation. She opened up and said that it would be too painful. Do you practice forgiveness? She looked alarmed. Forgiveness is the opposite to resentful, when you let you go, the emotion and time spent feeling resentful is released into positive energy that you can use far better.

Holding on to resentment is not helpful or healthy.

It’s too painful, she repeated. I asked Why is it so painful? She replied: It was bullying and it went on for months. What did you do about it? She stopped, I did nothing, I was embarrassed. Did you speak to anyone about it? No. So you suffered not knowing what to do. Yes she replied. She went on to say I want to forget it and move on. I replied, it will happen again, I can guarantee you, so what are you going to do about it when it happens? She looked surprised and taken back. It will happen, I talked through some incidents that I had personally dealt with. As a women, certain leaders(men and women) need to assert their authority and the way they do it, is not acceptable: Humiliating, raising voices, aggressive and threatening. If they do it once they keep doing it as the boundaries have not be set properly.

These are the steps when incidents with people who put you down or harass you or raise voices and aggressive:

1. Straight after incident document verbatim what has happened including time and date.

2. Within 24 hours and when you are calm, take the person to one side in a room and not where others can hear

3. This is what you say: The incident yesterday where you said quote un quote, you made me feel inadequate and very uncomfortable. Your actions destroyed my confidence, something that is extremely fragile in women. I dont want you to ever do that again, do you understand me?

Once the accused has acknowledged and apologies. Say this is not going to be discussed ever again, this is between you and me. Lets move on. Confidentiality is critical as it rebuilds trust.

I promise you will never have another incident, with this person.

In that moment the lights came on and she said ” I own this, I can take control”. Absolutely you do! Never let anyone make you feel bad, people who do this are fundamentally insecure. There is no excuse for the behaviour, but you are responsible for setting the boundaries.

Categories
Coaching Influence Strategy

Why I can’t get cut through on my strategy?

strategy4This is a question I am often asked by mentees . My answer today is very different to a few years ago.

When we are attached to an outcome our strategy, we are so focused on ourselves we don’t listen to others, we don’t hear the objections and therefore don’t address the concerns head on. Ignore objections at your peril, as these are the opportunities to engage and path the way to cut through.

Here are the 5 things you need to do to sell your ideas or strategy:

1. Connect with stakeholders, build trust. It’s not about you, it’s about them. Understand their drivers and needs before sharing your strategy. As Dale Carnegie wrote in how to win friends and influence people ‘first seek to understand before you are understood’.

2. Ask questions of stakeholders, present your thoughts on the strategy, draw out their concerns, what they like and what is not clear. Collaborate to evolve the strategy. No one person can come up with a strategy on their own, its always the culmination of many inputs, experiences and knowledge

Don’t present at a Fait Accompli

3. Address every objection. Ignore objections at your peril. Objections show an interest, but never move on, without enquiring, why are you asking this question? go deep, as the objection raised often masks the real concerns.

4. Challenge your own thinking. Attachment without being open to others views can be career limiting.  Thank others for their contribution and ensure you acknowledge individuals for their valuable input and evolution of the strategy

5. If you are unsuccessful, learn and move on. I mean move on, let it go, what did you discover along the way.  Journal or share your leanings .

Success takes patience and time.  Take others on the journey, collaborate, acknowledge inputs of others into the strategy.

Categories
Coaching Collaberation Influence Laughter Leadership

Laughter the best tonic for stressful situations

I published this article last year, and given the Current crisis thought it would be a great reminder of why laughing is so important.

My team are great fun and they make me laugh daily with the challenges of working from home. We have a Online coffee catch up in the morning as a social check in.

Mondays conversation was about how is the Italians ran out of coffee first and the Australians toilet paper! It seems that many in my team are stockpiling Nescafé for when the coffee pods run out.

Tuesday the conversation turned to getting comfy with a chair and desk at home, so there was trips to office works and IKEA! Apparently some love building flat packed furniture. Ummm..

Wednesday the teams attention is now on the lack of steps one reported 66 in a day. One of the team chose to post a video of mini home workout, starting with a set of 5 press ups, etc. adding one on each day. Great video! Everyone very happy with wearing activewear. Started online meetings with some yoga stretches… Fun on video!

It is important that we laugh at ourselves and with others. Laughter will ease the stress and pain of this situation.

Here is the original blog on laughter is the best tonic for stressful situations.

As a teenager I was told off when telling a funny story about my auntie at the tea celebrating her life, post funeral. Everyone was laughing, then my mum pulled me aside and I was told it was inappropriate to laugh, I needed to be solemn as a mark of respect. My Auntie would have been laughing with me if she was alive and celebrating life is very important.

This learning about being more solemn did not just play out at the funeral, but in the school and the workplace. In the UK it was often frowned upon in business meetings to be laughing and having fun.

That belief stayed with me until 6 years ago when working with my business coach, Phil recommended a class with a comedian, on how to release tension by laughter. I had feedback that I am very serious at work and quite intense. We were told on the course that in the work place when their is stress that making a self deprecating joke or having fun, will release the stress and it does. Learning to have fun and laugh at work, makes the place a great place to be for everyone.

Just completed jury duty and we were able to laugh inspite of the stress of deciding a verdict. I am not sure how we would of got through without the laughter and fun, it relieved the tension and helped people not stress about the task at hand.

If you are reading this and you cannot remember the last time you laughed, its time to take stock and ask yourself what did you last laugh at? Who makes you laugh? Watch something that makes you laugh. If your beliefs are that it is inappropriate to laugh in certain situations then rethink that belief, as the relief from those around you will lead to greater collaboration and teamwork.

Laughter is a tonic and you need it like you need food and exercise. Let go of inhibitions and have some fun.

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership Personal development

Great Leaders ask Great questions John Maxwell

Just finished reading this amazing book. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Leaders-Ask-Great-Questions-ebook/dp/B00I829QJ8. Thought provoking and some sage advice on Leadership. John’s curiosity in others, inspires great questions. This is a must read for anyone looking to grow in their career or find telling is their default mode or fail to influence others. Great questions are the key to influence.

The highlight: the structure of each chapter, the great questions and answers were insprirational. The latter sections on succession, how much time to spend on leaders was particaully useful and validated many on my own thoughts.

Did not agree with the section on trust with a leader, that there is no going back. Great leaders forgive and hold no grudges. It’s never personal.

Forgiveness is critical to being a great leader, there are many times when I have almost given up on someone and seen them realise what they need to do to change the future. My experience is that great leaders believe in others and allow people the room to reflect and grow. Poor leaders, see this person is not performing its reflecting on the leader and take action to remove them. Self serving leaders have a short shelf life as staff turnover is inevitable. They are also seseptable to yes men that never deliver results, because their is no diversity of thought.

Categories
Book Quotes Judgement Leadership Legacy

Eckhart Tolle New Earth

Just finished reading this life changing book. Understanding ego, how it works and why we get ourselves into situations where we are unhappy. https://www.amazon.com/New-Earth-Awakening-Purpose-Selection/dp/0452289963

Our ego is our identity, without it we believe we are nothing. The reality without it we are happy people who can be present. So how does ego show up?

Eckhart Tolle uses examples and stories, that help you recognise where ego gets in the way of happiness.a new earth

Our image of ourselves is derived through where we live, the car we drive, the gym we join, telling others who we know, our celebrity encounters, what we know, our experience, qualifications and the list goes on. We believe we need these to be successful, but what is success if you get there are you are having no more fun!

“Nonresistance, nonjudgement, and non attachment are the three aspects of true freedom and enlightened living.” Summarised beautifully by Eckhart.

These are articles previously written on the topics:

How quickly can you forgive?

What am I working on? Judgement

The five levels of attachment

This is a book on spirituality and is not a religious book. There are references to religion only.

Further reading on Ego is the enemy of good leadership by Rasmus HougaardJacqueline Carter. https://hbr.org/2018/11/ego-is-the-enemy-of-good-leadership?utm_medium=email&utm_source=tgr_newnlsignup&utm_campaign=nlconfirm_mtod_notactsub_v20191101&deliveryName=DM60315

 

Categories
Coaching Influence Leadership

To be an effective leader you need to slow down

Words I have heard many times. For many years I thought that I was productive and a great leader. On reflection the failings of working at speed are many, here are a few:

  • slow downDon’t listen properly
  • Don’t take time to connect with others. John Maxwell in Great leaders ask great questions refers to his lack of awareness regarding connecting with others. https://www.amazon.com/Good-Leaders-Ask-Great-Questions-ebook/dp/B00I829QJ8
  • Don’t take others on the journey
  • Impossible to collaborate when you are going at 90 miles an hour and often have reached the decisions before others
  • You are seen as rushed, as if you have no control
  • Take away from your team as you often taken on too much, when the team can benefit

How do you break the cycle?

  • Take time off and delegate projects whilst you are away. When you get back progress will be made without you.
  • Once back continue to delegate more and more.
  • On the balcony, on the dance floor a key to adaptive leadership. Spend time thinking strategically about the overall organisation not just your area!
  • Ask others to hold you accountable if you are in
  • Work from home, so you are not call and the team supports each other, rather than coming to you as default

When you break the cycle of speed, you empower you team and you are far more effective leader. You create better connections inside and outside the organisation which leads to better collaboration and more success.

 

 

Categories
Leadership Mentoring Personal development

Looking in the mirror

look-mirror

In the last few years I have been in situations where I am with someone who has exhibited the same behaviour as me,  not a good behaviour,  I look on in horror as I have a ‘ahah’ moment.  This has happened many times in the last few years, but never happened before that point.  The first time was a women who came in for an interview. She was gregarious and laughed loudly at her own jokes.  I froze thinking is that the impact I have? Wow there is work to do!  I have toned down that side of my personality and it has made a difference.

Yesterday I was listening to a colleague vent on the same topic he has being going on about for weeks, repeating themselves and as I listened I knew that is me. Wow is that the impact I have… I have some serious work to do. I am still reflecting on the impact and how I can change my behaviour.  We all vent, but repetitive vents are time consuming for the receiver and show no leadership or recognition of failure.  When we vent, what I am observing is where we fail to influence. Influence is a key skill for any leader.  So now when I catch myself venting or repeating frustrations, to take a breath, ask what am I going to do differently no one is interested in your venting!

What I don’t understand is why I have never noticed this until relatively recently. My reflection is that I am now centred in others and not myself and that transition has made the difference.  When we are centred in ourselves we are not actively listening or present, that shift has allowed me to listen and be present, leading to another level of awareness and some of the best leanings.

Self awareness is a lifelong journey.