If you enjoy journaling then this book will take you to another level. Since my 20s I have journaled to release frustration, learn from my poor experiences and practice gratitude. This book is thought provoking, combined with meditation and you will become focused on those areas of development, that you have not recognised previously or you have chosen to ignore.
If you love yoga you will know that your practice changes all the time due to different parts of the body reacting differently to the moves and stretches. With practice you are highly tuned to your body and where it does not feel normal to you. The stoic journal taps into you subconscious in the same way.
Each day it gives you a question to ponder and then note section for morning and evening reflection. The discipline is addictive, as it channels your energy into those areas that you need to focus on.
The writing creates a calmness and for me, as well as detachment, something that I am challenged by, being a passionate and driven individual. In a years time I know I will look back at my entry’s in the diary and know that I will have moved on, driven to be a better person and leader.
Learning is a life long journey, being open and challenging yourself everyday, is life. My purpose: sharing the journey with others, warts and all. I want no one to believe they have arrived, there is no such thing, until we leave this world.
Today’s question: What is the real cause of my irritations – external things or my opinions?
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?
A common question I get asked is how to connect with peers and leaders in the business, when there is not the opportunity to meet with them in your daily work.
Here are three ways you can connect to a wider circle in your organisation:
1. Share insights, information that you know will be valuable to the receiver. An example is being close to the customers I get to hear what is happening in the market, trends, changes in leadership and more. With this information I would text my boss and bosses, so they knew what was going on. My team also do the same thing, as we work in frontline of sales. I also send a weekly update across the division and beyond as people ask to be added to the distribution. The update contains key information on what is happening in the team, whats in the news relative to the customers we manage, insights, key frustrations for customers and focus for the following week.
2. When you spot a problem, Don’t walk past it, thinking its not your area. Own the development of the problem statement along with interested peers. Set up a workshop to outline the problem and brainstorm solutions with people that are interested in resolving the issue. This is an opportunity to get a cross functional team across the problem. The owner of the solution always emerges. Phenomenal opportunity to work with an extended network in your company
3. Praise your colleagues and leaders by thanking them personally in a call, email and internal workplace. Be specific about what they have done and utilise the company values to call out the behaviour that supported the value, and ensure your include their boss and bosses boss if relevant . We all love to be praised, recognising others is a great way to connect with your colleagues and leaders. Also call out your boss or leader if they have done something that inspires you, helps you or just for caring. It’s important for them as it is for you to be valued.
Creating connection with others is critical to being successful. The wider the network the more effective you can be in your role.
Just completed a 6 week resilience training with Phil Crenigan a leading executive coach and my team. I have personally worked with Phil for many years as a business coach, so the opportunity for team coaching during covid19 on resilience was a unique opportunity. There were many learning’s from our journey.
Three weeks into working from home the team were overwhelmed by workload due to covid19 and the many challenges Covid19 posed. The resilience team coaching was timely as they faced new challenges working from home, concerned for family overseas, financial challenges and motivational issues. The team shared vulnerabilities, what they were implementing from their leanings on the resilience g training, they supported each other and trust was built. Patrick Lecioni would have been proud of us. 5 Dysfunctions of a team
Personally there were many reflections, honest conversations with myself and recognition of what was needed to move forward.
Developing resilience means I can move on quicker from situations that challenge me, spend less emotional energy on catastrophizing, and move to action swiftly.
Building trust in the team is critical for people feeling comfortable talking about something that is so personal. The team have been amazing at sharing and supporting each other
Doing the self-assessment on resilience, I started by putting top marks in all the boxes. That is not being honest with myself. When I revisited I realized I need to ask for Support more.
Tools that I learned or re learnt:
When catastrophizing, what is the worst that can happen?
Asking for help more, working with peers and people outside the team
Greeting people in the lift, supermarket, waiting for a coffee: Lighting up their day
Revisit the team feedback about what I do well, keep doing it
Team coaching is critical to bringing the team together and during Covid having a forum to learn together really makes the difference. Resilience is critical during these uncertain times. Even if you think you can handle uncertainty well, there is always room for improvement.
This book was given to me by one of my team. I love reading and learning, so there is no better gift.
The Challenger Spirit book written by Khurshed Dehnugara and Claire Genkai Breeze, is a book written before its time. The key to being a challenger is ‘does it have to be like this?’ https://relume.co.uk/the-challenger-spirit/
Claire starts with two lasting influences on her life ‘your work is your love made visible’ by Khalil Gibran and the 5th century Philo ‘be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle’
The book is full of gems and sections of questions to ask yourself, very thought provoking. The highlights for me:
Our sales teams are service oriented with up selling and cross sale being a spin off from a conversation rather than the purpose of the conversation.
Establishment leaders v’s Challenger Leaders: Establishment leaders have four blindfolds: Arrogance, Avoidance, Agreement and Antagonism. The book describes each one and how it shows up.
Challenger organisations and their leaders are more likely to fail when they imitate rather than disturb their establishment competitors. They fail when they default to what is already known to be successful.
The process of constant feedback and alteration in your brain only begins to slow down in your eight decade
Once you have made some positive and bold choices created your dream together and engaged people in it, the uncertainty of the environment quickly becomes much easier to navigate
The chapter on growing old disgracefully is all about staying lean and hungry. And what good looks like: say what you believe regardless of political implications. The way you deliver it is the key to success as I have learnt over the years in corporate.
I have always been a challenger, in every aspect of my life. I live by the saying “if it not scary its not worth doing’ and my purpose is all about challenging others to operate outside their comfort zones.
This book is all about how to challenge well and even when the norms of the establishment look like a better way to get on in your career, staying true to what you believe and your values is the right thing to do and always deliver the best outcome for your company.
A new employee in the team a few years in full time work shared with me his concerns about having difficult conversations. He said he is not looking forward to the conversations I have to have with various customers. I was curious as to why, he said they are really difficult you are sharing information with the customer, they really don’t want to hear.
I asked how did the customer respond when I delivered the news around the real challenges not perceived challenges by the customer in a customer meeting a few days prior to the catch up. He responded the customer was really appreciative of you sharing your insights.
Trust is built when we share insights and information that the recipient has not considered.
My belief is that I have a duty of care to provide information that has not been previously considered, so better outcomes can be achieved.
The new employees perception and beliefs play a big part on the approach. He felt very uncomfortable with the information being delivered, he saw it as challenging. The frame of reference for him was delivering bad news, mine was delivering important information to help them be successful.
The same is true when we have performance issues with employees. When we approach it in the frame of mind, I want to help and ensure success, as opposed to you have let me down, your message lands in a supportive as opposed to judgmental way.
What is you intention when approaching a difficult conversation?
Is the intention one of support and advice? If yes go ahead, if no, rethink your own intentions and take the time to approach at a time when you are in a better mind set to have the conversation.
This book is life changing. Why? We are all on a journey, to find meaning and peace, this book is thought provoking and challenges how we live. The book really helps you understand what is important.
Life’s meaning for me, is to help people. I love helping people, whether its to realise their dreams or overcome career obstacles, setting up a business or supporting them in a transition. I feel most for-filled and at peace with myself when I support others.
Eckhart talks to the Egotistical mind and it constantly wanting more. When we control the cravings we find peace and happiness. When we give into them, we find ourselves on the treadmill always looking for the next fix.
These are three of my favourite exerts from the book:
Buddha taught that the root of suffering is to be found in our constant wanting and craving.
Carl Jung also tells the story of the Native American chief who said The whites always want something, they are always uneasy and restless. We don’t know what they want. We think they are mad.
Peace comes from controlling the egotistical mind and also mind strategies that avoid the now: when we make the present the enemy, we feel we are being taken advantage of, neglected we need to drop the negativity the mind has created around the situation or we need to stop and speak to the person concerned and express fully what you feel. One or the other, as not doing this is a huge emotional drain.
This is a book that really makes take a hard look at yourself. Life changing
Companies use the terms CX, NPS, CSAT , but unless your company employees run with the baton, customer experience will always be poor.
Customers hate being passed around from person to person, re explaining their needs. They want to have some one run it to ground to get the outcome for their Customer.
The converse is ping pong, where you get handed from one person to the other, no ownership, just someone trying to move you into someone else’s queue. The lack of ownership or willingness to find the answer, leads to hours of frustration and no outcome and appalling CX.
How do you build a culture of running with the baton?
1. Recognise great behaviour by calling out individuals demonstrating the traits
2. Build it into your values and call it out
3. Build a knowledge base to accelerate finding the answers
4. Be careful not to create a band aid, ensure the root cause is identified and an owner assigned to fix the underlying process.
5. Make sure the customer is updated regularly. Even if there is no news. Better to check in regularly than leave the customer guessing
Next time you deal with a frustrated customer run with the baton.
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.