Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Taking a Hit

Somedays you are blindsided by life - leaders, team members....everyone! 

What to do?

Suck in your abs and take it? You may tear up a little, get the breath knocked out of you, but if you try to be calm, try to be positive, stand up...brush yourself off and get back going wherever life was leading.

An effective leader can help the team take the hit too.  Leaders shoulder the brunt, the fall out will trickle down...usually.  Leaders need to learn to communicate the hits with facts, action steps and honesty.

How can leaders tell if a team member has taken a hit?  Do you look for body language, change in work performance, difference in social interactions in the group?  Take steps now to learn about your team so that when they take a hit, you can be there to help them regroup.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Definition of Entrepreneur

The belief that an entrepreneur is someone who sets the world on it's head is out there in the universe.
If we dig a little deeper into the thoughts and methods, even inspiration of entrepreneurs, the true definition evolves...

"An entrepreneur is someone who takes part in the lifelong effort to create value for others."

The fact that they may turn everything upside down is simply the process of how they create the value.

What do you do that is entrepreneurial?  Do you have entrepreneurs in your organization?  How do you help them thrive?

Friday, May 25, 2012

Attitude Reflects Leadership

Ever wonder when you walk into a business - a restaurant, an office, a store, a bank - why there is an atmosphere? Not just the cleanliness or the smell in the air but a palpable feeling amongst the staff?

It's the attitude.

You need to understand that the underlying tone is any business, any community, any household, is really the reflection of the attitude of the leader.

If you have a leader who throws change at you at the checkout register, doesn't say thank-you, treats customers poorly, you will see the same from the employees in that location - if the leader can do it so will the staff.

What to do? Always be aware of your attitude towards your team, your clients, those around you. It will come back to you in attitude from your team, your clients and those around you. Attitude reflects leadership - always!
Take into consideration the companies that you deal with regularly...I can easily name a few that make working with them a joy - whether as a client, a vendor or just a passer-by:
just to name a few....who can you name?  Would you like to be your own client?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Get Going

Know that feeling at the end of the day...just before the workday ends and knowing that the evening routine is about to begin?

Just when you thought your day was over, it is really just going to start....make or go to dinner, homework with the kids or the latest networking event.  We have so much to juggle that the finish line seems miles away.

How do you get going at the end of the day?  And not simply plodding along, but with renewed and refocused energy?
Here are a few tips:
  1. go for a walk
  2. listen to music and sing really loud all the way home in the car
  3. create goals for the evening - giving you that sense of accomplishment when you are done
  4. make a list of 'have to do' versus 'nice to do' and decide where to start

......and my favourite way - a small piece of really dark chocolate - like 85% Cocoa!
Heck, I feel better, have an energy boost and am refreshed.

Give in....sometimes you just have to do it!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Step Before You Start

Are you thinking about starting your own business?  Ready to take on the challenges of solo-preneurship?
The first step is usually the hardest.  There are so many things to consider, even before you start a business plan.

Usually it starts with an idea.  You know you can solve a specific problem for a specific group of people.  The idea germinates from here and becomes a full blown business (ad)venture!

I took these steps.  My clients have taken these steps too, and sometimes many times over.
Here are some things to consider even before you think about taking that first step:
  1. are you ready for the insecurity of no secure, steady pay cheque?
  2. is your family ready for that?
  3. do you have any idea where to start?
  4. do you have a role-model?
  5. what will it take for you to tackle all of this?  there is quite a lot to do
Have I attacked your passion enough?  You may really be sitting there saying "I'll show you EXACTLY what I can do!!!"

That's what I wanted to know.  Are you passionate enough to get this plan in motion and get it in motion NOW?

Here is a new tool I have developed.  It is called 'Get Started - 7 Steps to Get to the Heart of Your Business'.  This download will definitely make you think through all the heart-centred, passion-focused issues that you could be facing or need to consider as well as provide you with a go to list of other things that need to be addressed in your business planning sessions.

Let me know how I can help.  You can always use a complimentary 30 minute Clear Vision session to start talking about your new business (ad)venture with me, and get clear on how to start

Friday, May 18, 2012

Take A Stand

There are many ways for leaders to take a stand. Most of the ways are not usually bad ways. In fact, we would expect our leaders to take a position on many subjects, decisions and projects so that we can understand our alignment to the overall business or organization. What happens when a leader refuses to participate in a major corporate initiative, and meanwhile, by default eliminates the team from participating? Take it even one step further, throughout the initiative, how can the leader ask the team why they are not participating?

This is truly a question of running-off-at-the-mouth. This leader has put the team in an awkward position - do they participate, knowing the leader's position and therefore potentially become the object of ridicule or punishment from the leader? Or does the team not participate and look like they are guilty of silo-thinking, not being part of the grander scheme of the company? In either situation, the team is not able to properly function within the larger group.

What to do? Ask the leader to advise on his position or re-think it. Provide the leader with the perceptions that could follow for the entire team relating to their stand.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Getting Through the Mid-Day Slump

What do you do in the middle of the day to get the blood pumping and energy flowing?

How do you get through the mid-day slump?

Here are a few things I do.  As a solo-preneur (and leader of the team of ME) I need to refocus and get the afternoon off to a great start so that I can stay productive...or if meeting with clients and prospects, stay focused and present with them.
  1. I take a few minutes to review my afternoon agenda and the next day too.  This helps me to see where I am at, what is left to accomplish and most importantly, see how much I have done so far.
  2. I add in or delete whatever is necessary because some things tend to pop up that need to be dealt with immediately. I feel the sense of accomplishment...get psyched for what is next and jump right in.
  3. If I don' t feel totally ready, I walk outside for some fresh air, or grab a green tea and then get moving.  I find that walking away from my desk (or car) to stretch and breathe gets me re-energized.
If all else fails, I pick up the phone and call a good friend or colleague and ask for help to get back on track....this helps to eliminate any mental blocks I may be having....talking it through gets the job done.

How do you get through the mid-day slump?  What do you do to avoid the slump completely?

The Morning Start

Tough to get started some days isn't it? Well, here are a few tips:

1- before getting out of bed, take three deep breaths, in and out, trying to make your back sink into the mattress and feel the stretch throughout your body.

2- still in bed, point your toes down and up three times, feeling a beautiful movement in your legs

3- get out of bed and go to the nearest mirror and say 'good morning ME'....and mean it.

Bonus Tip:  write out 3 things you are grateful for...even if it is simply the fact that you woke up, you are ready to start the day, and the day is Friday!

Now you are ready for a quick shower, leisurely cup of coffee with your breakfast, and whatever the day may bring.
As a leader, how do you start your day with your team?  Is it a positive start?  Does everyone know where they are heading?  Is all focus placed on the mission for today?  If not, how can you get there?
Imagine if everyone loved coming in to start their day at work because it was so positive.

Monday, May 14, 2012

How Do You Create Synergy?

Synergy can come from any type of circumstance.

Building synergy in and around your business is a leader's mission.

Here are a few ways to do this:
  • collaborate within teams in the organization (this will also help to eliminate silos)
  • join associations that include your competitors - keeps you focused and also helps you stay on trend
  • meet with key thought leaders outside of your business for lunch - pick their brains, and encourage your team to do the same
  • join a Mastermind Team - get input from others in different industries who can share experiences and help you and your business grow
  • get a group coach - teambuilding opportunities with a coach can help new perspectives develop along with eliminate old boundaries
Not difficult to do...just takes action.  Can you do this?  Can you plan even 1?  Let me know how it's going!

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Back Hand

Do They Really Mean it When they Say it?

Here is the story of the Back Hand (sorry, could not find adequate image!) It's kind of like the 'back-handed compliment':

One day, after a particularly long week of meetings, where the leader of this team had been very moody, argumentative and insulting with his team, he made the following statement:

"I was told that I was not professional last week in some of our meetings and the boss told me I needed to apologize to you for my behavior."

Let me ask you this - does this statement sound sincere? does this statement uplift the leader at all in the eyes of the team? or is this strictly an example of how the leader can follow the boss's literal direction, without applying the constructive criticism as it was intended?

Think about if you have ever stated anything similar. Like the back-handed compliment, this apology ends up leaving a taste of '...ok, he may be apologizing, but he certainly lends no weight to it and it will definitely happen again...' in your mouth.

Usually when there is an apology for an action or behavior, the sincerity with which the apology is given leaves a resounding understanding that the person is remorseful and the behavior or action will not be repeated.

What to do? Keep track of this type of statement and see if there is any commitment for implementing the constructive criticism or change in future events. If not, you may need to approach the boss, around the leader and provide confidential feedback on how his level of insincerity is eroding trust and respect for the leader and his role.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How Leaders Cope

Looking at life there are many opportunities to dwell in misfortune, misunderstanding and pain. Usually at the centre of all of this strife is the fact that we feel we cannot cope with what is taking place around it.

Leaders can get to this point at anytime - number crunches, people issues, client retention, operational controls...there are a lot of balls to juggle.  It is easy to say 'just breathe' but it can still feel overwhelming. 

Leaders who focus on good planning, solid obstacle anticipation and great delegating find they are not feeling the same disorganized stress.  At the same time, life happens - kids get sick, parents need someone to attend appointments with them, there is a flood in your basement and on and on.   Life is not slow, it is fast.  Life can also be very complex. 

Well, here goes. Take Control. (I don't usually get too spiritual but I truly believe that you are never given more than you can handle by the universe or then powers driving it) At the very least this gives us the ability to cope, and here is how:

1-believe in yourself, you can get through it

2-care about yourself, make decisions that align with your values

3-have courage. Risks are not easy; taking on new challenges, wading through tough times takes courage. Dig within yourself to find it. It is there.

4-realize your worthiness. You have been put on earth for a reason, you are worthy of the successes and celebrations that will cross your path. Celebrate! Be successful! Get through the hard times and move forward.

You can do it! Take control. Surprise the universe, and yourself!
Solid leaders ensure their team has a mechanism that can help them cope.  It can be a simple as an open door policy or more advance, like a resouce hotline that provides professional advice or care.  Helping your team cope can be a simple as asking how they are doing each day - by learning about them, understanding what pressures they have outside of work, you can be a sounding board, a release valve or a safe haven....a place for rest and focus.
What do you do to cope?  How do you help your team cope?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Pay Your Way with Change

We just completed hosting our 3rd Chick-fil-A Leadercast.  One thing that happens with each event is change. 
  • change in our lives
  • change in how we lead
  • change in how we present the event next year
  • change in how we deliver our messages
Let's face it, every opportunity that we have to grow is really a call for change.  I once had a very smart VP ask me how (he was sending me to a learning experience abroad) I was going to pay for my trip.  He wanted to know what I would do with what I learned.  This was a very valuable question - and since then, every event I have attended or hosted, I ask myself that question before attending and upon my return.
How will I pay for my trip?

How do you pay for your trips?  How can you prepare in advance to make that payment?

Friday, May 4, 2012

Meeting Cancelled

So much for preparation!

In this world of telecommuting, doing more with less including more work with less people or covering more territory with less reps, nothing hurts more than a leader who would choose to cancel a planned meeting the night before without a viable explanation.

The leader needs to realize the preparation the team makes to arrive at the meeting ready to participate - whether it is spending time (sometimes hours) preparing reports, consolidating notes, developing presentations, travelling and finding accomodations. All of the preparation goes for naught and the respect for the leader drops notches at a time!

A leader needs to foresight and discipline to visualize his/her team and understand the pressure they live with to perform above and beyond expectations. Once the leader can see this clearly, they can also capitalize on the evolving relationship and the developing mutual respect.

What to do if this happens? Clearly express to the leader your disappointment and provide the notes prepared for the meeting so that you can ensure that they understand the importance of your participation.

What tips do you have when this happens to you?  How do you fix this with your team when you are making it happen?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Want, Can or Will?

Which one is it? Or is it all three?

Putting energy to anything is a choice for your physical self, just like attitude is a choice for your state of mind. Put them both together and you will be surprised at what you get!

Look inside yourself to find out which way you respond to most questions or concerns.

Is it the want state of mind? The statements or thoughts that say to you, it's all about me? I can do it because it will make an impact on my life, a difference to me? Want is the ability to do something, that you will feel complete or reach a success point if it is done.

Can focuses on ability. You are able to do something. It does not necessarily mean you want to (have a desire to) do it, or that you will be active in accomplishing that task, but you are able, capable.

Will really is action, a verb. Taking control and making a statement that you intend to jump into action and get to it.

In order to become a leader, an empowering and innovative leader, you need to be in all three states to get to the end result. You need the desire, the capability and the effort to turn words into action. As a leader you can see that this could be within yourself, or within your team, or any combination of the team and yourself.

Smart leaders surround themselves with people, who possess the want, can and will philosophy. That way, different levels of each state will create a whole effort that can capitalize on execution and reach higher than expected potential.

So which one is it? Want, can or will? Or is it all three?
Think about this next time you tackle a project, a conflict or a task. You will see where you need to grow or change to make it all work out to the results you want.