Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Bounce Back

You may think I am talking about an email gone awry.
In fact, I am talking about resilience - the ability to bounce back.

Leader who are resilient have a knack and aptitude for moving forward even when stress and pressure are mounting.

  • Resilient leaders keep calm
  • Resilient leaders check their egos and figure out what's next
  • Resilient leaders channel the stress into passion 
  • Resilient leaders lead others to a safe landing
  • Resilient leaders identify stress points in advance and develop coping mechanisms, becoming a problem solver rather than a problem 'reactor'.
  • Resilient leaders stay positive 

With year end approaching, there will be some stress to get projects wrapped up, dollars in the accounts and deals closed.  How resilient are you?

Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Cadence of Your Business

In a meeting with Paul Foster, the Business Therapist, and another mutual client, he used the word 'cadence' to describe the meeting timing we would be following.

I love that word.

It brought to mind a regular flow and rhythm leading to accountability that could be measured and follow up that could be executed in a timely manner.

Read a blog post from Paul on how leaders set the cadence of their business.

Then take a moment and reflect on the cadence of your business, and just who is setting that.

When you look at your business you will be able to see a regular ebb & flow.  Even the most fast-paced tech company has a beat to it....a cadence, a musical rhythm that they fall into - even in development.  It may be a seasonality - like retail.  It may be a regular client meeting schedule.  It may be a regular process that is followed at a certain time.

What did you find out?

(I can hear the metronome in the background.)

Friday, November 28, 2014

What is On Your Meeting Agenda?

It's time to review all the meetings we have had in the last year.
Ask yourself this:

  • how many meetings did I have this week?
  • how productive were they?
  • did they each accomplish the objectives they were set out to?
  • what actions did I take away and execute?
  • what did I learn from each meeting host that I can apply to my own meetings?

In having these same discussions with clients as we start to wrap up one year and head into the next, I am drawn to the same question over and over.
When writing a meeting agenda, do you also attach to the notes, the objective of that particular item or the time spent?

Example:  If the agenda item is about compensation for 2015/2016, is the objective to have a discussion, make a decision or simply share information?

Once you have decided the objective of each topic and share this with the meeting attendees in advance, you will find a more succinct and productive meeting.

Two other tips that work with meetings:

  1. have them standing up - increases blood-flow as well as sense of urgency around getting through the items
  2. schedule meetings for 45 minutes instead of an hour - the same will be accomplished because of your fabulously clear meeting agenda and everyone will get some extra time back into their day. 

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Thanking You Today

A quick post to thank you for all you bring to my life.
I am truly blessed.
Enjoy a wonderful day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things that Get in the Way

It has been an interesting past few days.
See, last week, I had a household accident and broke some toes.
Funny how toes can really hurt - they are so small, and you think inconsequential until something happens to them.

Now think about all the small processes you follow, all the seemingly small things you do, the decisions you make every day, all day long.

If one of the pieces was broken, what would you do?

  • Could you still go about your day?  
  • What changes would you have to make?
  • What creative solutions would you come up with to still get everything done?  
  • Or could you use this blessing in disguise to figure out what can be eliminated permanently?

This 'broken-ness' is getting in the way.  So instead, make it useful.
Thankfully, my clients have been understanding of appointment changes and location changes.

And, my kids & wonderful husband help out, while laughing, in whatever way they can as I am wearing a fancy boot on my left foot and getting around is interesting.

We have had to re-organize.  I have had to become creative about getting house-type things done, and getting to and from meetings.  It's an in-the-flow process.

So when things get in the way - take a moment and breathe.  It happens.  So stop, regroup (put your foot up for a second, in my case) and then keep moving.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Boost, Now!

When we wind down the year, sometimes it's hard to get to the end of the line/project and we need a boost.

As leaders, we need to be able to identify the signs that our teams give us so that we can help them achieve those last objectives before the year-end arrives.

What do you do to boost that energy?  Here are a few ideas:

  • take an afternoon out as a team to re-align projects and understand exactly what needs to be and rejuvenated 
  • have a group lunch or breakfast with no talk of time
  • watch an inspirational or no-brainer movie together, with popcorn and all the trimmings (the brain break will help create focus)
  • implement a daily 5 minute recap huddle to share progress and quickly overcome obstacles....builds momentum, helps share the issues
  • celebrate successes each day.....creates a checkmark and solidifies feeling of completion
  • chocolate & treats....actual energy boost...sugar always works!
  • breathing time to refocus the brain with oxygen
  • leeway....everyone boosts differently, give the team some leeway & let them share their energy-boosting ideas with the team

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Have Seeds Have You Planted Lately?

We are constantly planting seeds.  The words we use, the expressions on our face, the body language we present, can all be considered seeds.

When we think about our work, our teams, our families, our clients and ourselves, we need constant nourishment to move forward.  We need actual food, and at the same time we also need hugs, words of praise or recognition, good conversations, inspiration and smiles.  We need positive interactions that fuel us.  All of this helps us build momentum, build confidence, gives us strength.

Think about your latest interactions.  Have you planted seeds?  Have you provided nourishment to those seeds?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Make Your Own Road

Reflecting on the week, I was happy to discover that I was able to engage with so many wonderful people who are making their own roads.

  • cool clients who 
    • are seeking new ways to apply their skills
    • are collaborating with others in their industry to become better at what they do and improve the products they provide
    • are reaching across continents to tap into skills that can push them further
    • are putting on the brakes and working in bite sized pieces to be able to test their work and move forward with working parts
    • are facing their fears and reaching new clients
    • are asking questions and looking for help
    • are failing and picking themselves up and moving on with renewed energy
    • are looking to the future and planning next steps
How was your week?  What are you doing to make your own road?

Friday, November 21, 2014

This is Clear

I simply wanted to share this image & quote says quite a lot!
What is dragging you?
Who is dragging you?
Why are you letting that happen?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Snow Day, Really?

Alright, it's the middle of November and there is snow everywhere.  As a southwestern Ontario-born Canadian, this is a little off!  This is like February weather!!!  And  I don't like snow or cold then either.

Does this mean we are in for a long, cold, crummy winter?  Possibly.

Dwelling on this cold and snow led me to think about how our teams feel when we are tackling projects or stuck in a productivity rut, what do we do to help our teams see the positive and through the snow squall that is looming?

  1. as leaders, do we anticipate the needs of the project/problem from the team's perspective?
  2. as leaders, have we understood the obstacles that could be standing in the way?
  3. as leaders, have we connected with the team to brainstorm ways of getting through the problem and reaching our objectives within the prescribed/committed timelines?
  4. as leaders, have we allayed the team's anxiety by sharing our commitment to them and inspiring their next steps?
  • for the snow day - 
    • have we pulled out the winter clothes, stocked the car with the scraper and wiper fluid, grabbed mitts & hats, boots & scarves?
    • have we planned easier routes to travel so that we can avoid roads that could be dangerous?
    • have we stocked up on hot chocolate and warm goodies to share?
    • have we made sure that the fireplace is ready & planned a fun day in with movies of the season?
It's all in the attitude & the approach - attitude reflects leadership!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

What's On the 'Let Go' List

Hopefully you have found some time to reflect on the past year in business.....if not, get to it.
In reflecting, I am sure you have taken stock of goals achieved, goals missed, things still in progress or on radar, financial results, appointments & meetings held, proposals written, team members added and many more things.

All that said - have you figured out what did not work?  What goals no longer mean anything?  What processes and habits that are still needed?

It's time to figure out what to let go of so that you can move forward with planning 2015.

Try this:

  • write out & look at your current day-in-the-life (what you routinely do everyday!)
  • examine what activities you are completing juste because you always have in the past and decide why you do them by the following list
    • just because I always have 
    • because they are fun 
    • simply because they give me a great start to my day/afternoon/evening
    • because they drive sales
    • because they connect me with people
    • because they stretch me
    • because I have to
  • think about how much value they add to your day
  • think about if those activities make you more productive.
It is difficult to let go of activities in our routine - almost as hard as creating new habits to replace them.  This is the challenge.

The next 6 weeks will lead us all to the end of 2014 - building this 'let go' list in advance, even if it is a list of 1 thing will make a difference in the New Year.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Reasons, Seasons & Lifetimes

Last week a dear friend, who I met by producing a monthly meeting many years ago, moved to a new State and a new job.  He dropped by to give back a few books he borrowed...and we shared one last hug.

I'll miss his quiet voice, his even temper and his thoughtfulness.  His insight was different as was his perspective and he always made me think.

I am grateful for having him in my life - for the reason & the season.

As leaders with engaged teams (or even disengaged teams) do we think about the reasons, seasons and lifetimes that come as gifts from the people with whom we build relationships?

While we may realize, as the poem says, people come into our lives for a reason, a season or a we actually stop, while they are in our lives,  or at least, if they leave our lives to realize what they brought to us?  What they brought to our team or our organization?

This can be said of team members, clients and even family members.

Take time to reflect today on the gifts from the people in your life - the ones who have moved on specifically - what have they left you with that you use today?

Monday, November 17, 2014

New Glasses for Leaders

I needed to get new glasses....and that sucked....
I realized a few years ago that, when driving at night, I didn't need to see the road signs because I simply knew the way to get where I needed to go.  And so, I admitted to myself that I needed glasses. 
I did not like that at all!

And in the last few months, I needed to update my prescription - even worse.  What a blow!
Anyway - I did it....and bought new glasses.  And now I can see much better.
Don't worry, they are not the fancy/tech-y ones in the picture...they are pretty regular = black and silver, of course.

Thinking about those glasses, I started to think about how we lead.
Do we always have the same glasses on or are we afraid to update our prescriptions?
Even worse, are we afraid to admit that we need glasses at all - to see things (and people) better?  or more clearly.  Or do we let our own self-image get in the way of seeing clearly?

Just a thought.  How are your glasses today?

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Old School

You have seen my post-its and my markers, and that I live with my iPad....and there are some times when kicking it old school can really get the juices flowing.

I was invited to prepare a proposal for a multi-day leadership workshop with a small group.  One of the criteria from the leadership team offering me this chance was that all digital tools needed to be off during the event.  Since this group is very high-tech, this would be a challenge.

My Plan:
Collect all the gadgets at the beginning of each session.
Let the group know the plan so that they can get back to their tools and connections.
Take more frequent breaks so that they can check in (they will be tetchy otherwise and I will lose them along the way)
Give a long lunch that gives them space to get back up to speed
Thank them profusely for participating.

Sound odd?  I don't think so our world and work today we are always attached.  We have to find ways to make the tools and people go together & allow learning and free head-space to take place.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Guess What Is Coming?

The New Year is truly right around the corner.
Are you ready to review 2014?
And set new goals for 2015?

Try this:
make a list of everything you accomplished this year by going through your calendar
You will be so amazed at the number of appointments you had, new people you met, deals you closed.

Use this review to set your plans for next year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Creativity is Sitting Still

So many things can come together in new and innovative ways.  Creativity comes to us when we pause.  When we allow the world to give us gifts.  When we let focus become unfocused and we take joy in the little things around us.

Last week, at an appointment, the service provider said to me 'sit still for a few moments & I will be right back'.  I was so grateful for the permission to 'sit still'.  In this world where we move at a million miles per hour (okay, figuratively, not literally!) I was given permission to sit still.  I thanked her.

And then, I berated myself for having to seek permission to sit still.  Now I am following the Oprah-what-I-know-for-sure principle of finding time every day to 'sit still'.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Watch Where You Are Walking

With technology all around us, it is really easy to get caught up in looking at our tech-toys and not watching where we are walking.

Not only can it be dangerous (watch a video) - it is also difficult to be present for the responses too.

It's Monday - take your time today.  Pay attention & be present.  Put the tech toys away as you walk, and especially as you interact with others.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Which One Are You?

Have you seen this before?
Which one are you?
A simple thought as you plan your week.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Work or Life or Both

Not sure if you know about this - the Downtown Project is an inspiration to the world & a challenge to other communities to figure out how to capitalize on the space/people/talent/energy they have in their midst.

I share this project as an example to lots of clients - a way that things can be done differently.

Gaping Void's image above truly says it all - I believe that there is no such thing as work-life's about integration.  Work and Life together make up who you are...and that comes from the heart & love....

Friday, November 7, 2014

Who Is Your Smelly Cat?

You all know I love Friends!  and Phoebe is a particular favourite.  (story-alert:  in the past I have been likened to Phoebe and I take it as a complement every time!)

Think about Smelly Cat - what are they feeding the smelly cat?

Think about your team.  Do you have a team member who is always slightly off?  Does the rest of the team compensate for them?  Things are 'not their fault'?

You will need to ascertain what the smelly cat needs.  Do they need a development plan?  Do they need to understand their role and how it fits with the team?  Do you need to help the team understand how each role fits together?

Go find your smelly cat.

Thursday, November 6, 2014


As we grow in life, and business, things evolve.
Here is my new logo - well, the tag line is new.

In the last 2 years, I have travelled the road of development (- a favourite focus of mine!) and when assessing, reviewing and planning, my work has become more tailored to leadership strategy - coaching for leaders on leading business, teams and themselves in better, deeper and more authentic ways.

From this internal work, I have discovered that I also have my own unique process, that thanks to many books, authors and tests, it has become pretty standard.  While I just typed that, I also know that it will evolve too, as I grow and as my clients evolve too.

So, on the heals of this, in the next few weeks, you will see an updated website and blog.  Be ready.
And of course, feedback is always welcome.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Do You Know This About Your Team?

A quick thought - do you know if this is how your team feels?  Are they engaged?
If you don't know, you should find out.
Here are 3 quick ways to do that:

  1. anonymous survey - ask how they rate themselves on the points above
  2. town hall meeting - open discussion on engagement and values
  3. brainstorming session - get them talking about the organization and how to move it forward
When your team is engaged, you will see an up-tick in morale, productivity, client satisfaction and even bottom line results.

Check it out.