Thursday, December 31, 2015

Review Your Work (last day of 2015)

We are all doing this.  We are reflecting on our last year and looking forward to the next.  After all, without reflecting on the past, how can we set goals, make plans or even learn?

By taking time at the end of the year (or project or quarter or month) to review and see what you accomplished, or didn't, you have the opportunity to relive (see them again in your mind's eye, enjoy/celebrate one more time!) some moments, and put others away (get closure, finalize, remove/delete).

Here is my ReLive List for 2015:
  • my sons graduating to their next level of education
    • new clients that asked me to join them on their journey
    • trip to the Bahamas - new spot to visit
    • Las Vegas with my mom & dad!
    • becoming part of a virtual team 
    • new wineries to visit (numerous!)
    • hosting The Art of Inspiring Conversation
    • watching all of How I Met Your Mother with my hubby
    • birth of a new family member
    • new business opportunity (more on this next)
    • reading 2.75 books per month - opening my eyes and my mind to new ideas
    • starting a develop-myself trek by 'reading' while running - bless the inventor of the audiobook & the authors who read their own work!
    Here is my PutAway List for 2015:
    • falling off my plans for posting regularly
    • not hitting 2 goals for this year 
    • firing a client
    • realigning my time to focus on what matters most - and then not sticking to the plan  (It was the Year of Ship....every year should be the Year of Ship....)
    • arguments, fights and wasted time in toxic encounters
    • tears of not enough, when we are all enough
    • mistakes, misunderstandings and miscommunications
    • realizing I still need to forgive and grieve in order to move forward (that one hurts still!)
    Writing this out, I can see that the ReLive list certainly includes more other people than the PutAway List - that tells me something right there, doesn't it?

    Part of getting this out is to help us see where we can make changes & grow.  The other side is to look at what behaviours, feeling and accomplishments do we want to repeat & how do we do that.  Starting tomorrow, it's all about finding the way to enjoy more, regret less; hope more, grieve less; ask more, be present, give back & be kind.

    Monday, November 16, 2015

    Time to Open Your Eyes

    a revised post from an old post

    The same person is now in charge of the project. This happens every time.  You are not happy because you have complained numerous times about their lack of organization and inability to lead teams and the fact that every other one of their projects is either off the rails or has been put back on the rails by a rescue effort.  You wonder what colour are the glasses your boss is wearing?  What is he seeing that you do not?  What is he seeing in you, or rather, not seeing in you?
    What to do?
    This one is easy.  And it is a 2-parter:
    • Think about when you complained, did you offer any solutions or resolutions or alternatives that would have been better, or was it simply a complaint?  If it was only complaining- like sour-grapes, then re-think that strategy immediately.  You are not contributing by whining.  Always provide a solution or an alternative. This regular choice may be the go-to choice because they are unaware there is an alternative.
    •  Ask why you are not being considered.  What is it that you have to learn/do/experience before you are given these types of assignments?  Showing that you are open to learning will no doubt give your boss something else to think about.  Your initiative can open their eyes.

    Monday, November 9, 2015

    An Impression & Validation

    In private practice and working 1:1 with business owners, there are many different ways to know if you have left an impression.  Most of the time this deals with the goals my clients set, and how I hold them accountable to the steps they create to get there.

    This Summer, one of my clients was travelling in Spain and took a photo of a bar that is completely covered in post-it notes - with names and locations of everyone who has stepped into the bar.  He said he immediately thought of me.

    I work with flipcharts, post it notes of all sizes and apps of post it notes of all types depending on the client and project and its needs.  I was honoured that he thought of me while on his trip....he took this photo to share with me in his next session.  It made me feel that I had left a mark...I had influenced his thinking.  Funny to call it validation - it just feels good.

    Monday, November 2, 2015

    The Adventurous Life

    So many words to contemplate - 
    Try one thing each day to step outside your comfort zone, be a little on the daring side, opening up your heart, or putting your toe in....
    You can never be sure where it will take you - the risk is always worth it, even when it doesn't feel like it at the moment.
    In the end, whether you land on your feet or fall flat on your face, 
    at least you can say 'I did'....and that is saying a lot.

    Monday, October 26, 2015

    The Sweet Spot

    The sweet spot is described in many ways.
    The sweet spot is where every single one of us, no matter who we are or what we do, play and work at our best.
    The sweet spot is the combination of work and play - it feels good to do it - you can do this all day long everyday and still feel refreshed and energized.

    Here the Sweet Spot helps us differentiate from our competitors.  In the currently trending personal branding space, this is what sets us apart from everyone else.
    And in this last image, it truly is where the heart is - your passion, your focus and your ability to give to others from this space makes you who you are and provides you with your purpose.

    Monday, October 19, 2015

    Tomorrow is Loading

    Most of us are really good at making a list for tomorrow, or saying we will start that tomorrow - whether it is work related, health related or anything-else-related, tomorrow always seems like a good time to start.

    Well, leaders of the universe.....we start now.
    We start now to commit to ourselves that we will do what it takes to share our experiences, build great teams through inspired communication, connect with like-minded individuals who want to change the world, while being grateful that we have hearts, minds and hands that can be put to the task - whichever one we decide to tackle first - and now, not tomorrow.


    What is that one thing you have been meaning to do?  Go.  Go NOW.  GO do it.

    Tomorrow is always loading....and it never really gets here does it.  What would you do if you did not have a tomorrow?

    (I am currently reading Becoming Steve Jobs, this book inspired my thoughts...and now inspires my actions)

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    80 Days Left

    If you were to leave today, you could get around the world in 80 days, just like Passepartu in the movie of the same name.

    If you left today, you would be back on January 1st, 2016.
    The New Year.

    So get ready to pack your bags.  If you were actually going to leave today, what would be the 3 things you needed to get done so that...
    ...your business could operate with you mostly disconnected from it?  (Or could it?)
    ...your team could handle the day to day, making decisions you would be confident that would reflect the brand, protect the brand and the client and move the organization forward?
    ...your life could continue in a new way upon your return?

    With my coaching clients in the last 20 days, we have completed work on what we called the "100 day sprint"  ...what do we each have to get done/completed/wrapped up by the end of this year to start the New Year fresh.  This took some soul-searching because in this 100 days (and now 80 days), there are weekends that are tied up with 'stuff'; holidays; days off; committed days and more.  Time gets quite limited so you need to become realistic fast about what goals you must accomplish.

    We spent a few hours focusing on 'the 100 day sprint' list & then pared it down to what was realistic.  As we evaluated some of the lists, it became evident that some of the items on the list were really steps to a more major item and we could group them together.

    Example:  I am focused on getting my book published by the end of the year - my list included publishing the book, completing the images, completing the final draft etc.
     - publishing is the goal
    - the image creation is a step
    - the drafts are a step

    By grouping together, and looking at each goal on the list, we were all able to develop and set an appointment (with ourselves if needed) to complete the next 1 step.  Our commitment was to plan the next step (step 2 or 3 and so on) after completing the first one.

    So far, its working.  From client feedback it's working. (We report in to each other & hold each other accountable).  You try it....see if it works.  Let me know...and reach out if you want to talk it through.

    Tuesday, September 22, 2015

    Time for Change

    Nicole Storey Fall
     Happy Fall!
    In Canada, it is officially autumn - and my 11th wedding anniversary.  A day to reflect on what the year has brought, in more ways than one.  And, to think about how grateful I am for each day of this year so far.
    Once that is complete (which takes a long time and of course continues over days, runs, walks and cooking time), I start to list all the things that are yet to do this year.  It is a slippery slope that comes when this day arrives - so many events to plan, things to do, goals to accomplish/complete or revise.
    Today is about Time Out. Will you take some time out with me for your own reflection and start thinking about the rest of the 100 days left in 2015?

    Wednesday, August 26, 2015

    Highly Engaged or Becoming Disengaged?

    Check out this infographic - the percentages speak for themselves. 
        Think about your top performer - where do you need to help them?
    How about your lowest performer - where do you need to help them?

    Need to learn how to do this...or see if you are on the right track - reach out, let's chat.

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    Emerging Leaders Unite

    You are an emerging leader.  You are really always an emerging leader...if you are not, you must have stopped learning along the way somewhere.

    If you are new to leading in your organization (department, own business, team), then there are many activities in which you can participate to get going developing your leadership skills.

    Here are a few ways to tap into the smarts around you  - all with leaders uniting for a common purpose:
    1. Get a mentor:  many companies have mentoring programs so that you can build a relationship with another leader who has travelled the path you would like to travel.  Their main role in your professional life is guidance, to build relationships, open doors and help you navigate the waters of the organization.
    2. Get a coach:  coaches work with you to help you achieve the goals you have set out for yourself - sometimes this is a skill-development goal, sometimes it is a numerical or business-related goal.  A coach can provide you with a sounding board, a safe space to explore ideas and hold you accountable to your commitments and action steps to reach your goals.
    3. Get involved:  search out opportunities in your community to learn from others, join the conversations and become connected & self-aware at the same time.
    Did you see what I did there?  I focused you on determining what to do to unite with other emerging leaders - with the common purpose of growing themselves as leaders too.  All 3 above ideas would not work if the people involved were not leaders themselves and of course, not open to learning from others....see always emerging!

    Friday, August 21, 2015

    A Rant...reprised

    OK.  So I need to say this today.  This has been driving me crazy and I need to send a wake-up call out there.
    I mean it.  You need to step outside of your business, stop working IN it all the time and work ON it!
    Really, how on earth can you see what is going on, what the future of your business is or  if you are still on track with your mission by staying buried under the day-to-day tasks that really should go to someone else but you keep hanging onto them because no one else will do it like you do it - or so you think!

    Can you tell I am frustrated?  I hear over and over again how hard it is to keep businesses moving forward, except there is no thought to actually checking to see the progress of the business.  When I ask how the business is being marketed or if there is a marketing plan I get 'the deer in the headlights' look.  Or, if I ask what the forecast is for the rest of the year, you would think I asked them to fly to the moon

    Business needs leaders.  Business teams need leaders.
    Innovation and new revenues streams come from leaders and their teams who are not afraid to challenge the status quo; from leaders who are not afraid to invest in themselves and their team to develop new ways of thinking, find new opportunities to leverage the strengths of others - inside their industry or from outside their industry.

    Why are you not investing time and money in your own development? 
    When you develop a new product or service it costs money.  You are the extension (and sometimes, the face and the feet) of your business - why are you stuck IN it and not working ON it and ON yourself? 
    What is stopping you? 
    Are you afraid to admit you don't know everything? 
    Are you worried what people will think of you? Are you too busy (doing what I am  not sure) to take a few minutes to evaluate how you could be a better leader for your business and your team? 

    Are you afraid to find out that you could do things differently, be challenged, given new perspectives and actually have to change your old ways for new, more productive and exciting possibilities that can make you even more successful?  Now that is a scary thought! 
    You could actually be more successful if you decided to take action.  
    When will you decide to tack action for yourself.....and work on you - the best part of your business, the reason why your business exists?!

    Sure, it's a rant....and sometimes I just need to get things out.  I see it often, what I have described above, and while I would go to great lengths to ask the same questions of my clients (not in a rant of course), I felt the need to share this here.

    Leadership is not easy.  Leadership is action.  Leadership is developing other leaders.  When are you going to take action to develop yourself....and along the way, your business and your team?

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    Bridging E-Learning to the Real World

    E-learning continues to evolve as a go-to tech solution for onboarding, training and documentation of learning in workplaces around the world.
    There are some great ways to use e-learning for tracking completion, quizzing/performance tracking, and of course, hours put into usage.
    • E-learning is relatively low cost, once developed.
    • E-learning is available on demand - wherever and whenever you need it, just sign in
    • E-learning is accessible
    • E-learning is awesome for technical training or mandatory training like policies.

    Unfortunately, as with most things tech, they end up focusing on individual learning, scoring performance for an individual...and if everyone does not complete the assigned programs there is always a gap in who knows what, and when.

    The disconnect comes with the fact that there is a lack of application - once I leave the computer, I may never use what I have just learned, or have to relearn from someone else.  Couple that with the fact that you basically have to hold me hostage so that I will complete all assigned modules by the given timeframe and I am already not in a learning space in my head - I am more focused on clicking through screens, passing the test (if there is one) and getting on with work.

    What if we could make it so that we took the online learning and applied it into our work immediately - wouldn't that make learning a priority?  Even better, what if we were able to have a discussion with our team on what we are learning and create actions or commitments that would help us apply this in our workplace right away?

    Imagine that?!  I can....and so can you.  I can show you how.
    (I want to be perfectly transparent here - I work with Actionable Workshops as a key resource and tools that compliment my coaching practice.  I LOVE them, and my clients do to because they can see the measurable changes in their leaders and their teams....not to mention how this affects the way they conduct business.)

    Join me at the Art of Inspiring Conversation, or drop me a quick email and I will happily take you on a tour of Actionable Workshops - a great way to bridge e-learning into real world application.

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    It's My Birthday

    Today is a great day for reflection & celebration.
    And Gratitude - 
    I am grateful for the life I have...
    that I can get up everyday, healthy & happy, with a wonderful husband and amazing kids + family, friends and so much more.
    Thank you for being a part of my life.

    Friday, August 14, 2015

    Make It Stick

    You have a great leadership development program.  Your Learning & Development Team spends a great deal of time working to facilitate great classes.  And yet, you still don't see the principles practiced with the team.
    The words sound good, there is just no translation to a shift in culture.
    What do you do now?
    You find an innovative and inspiring way to create conversations.

    In my practice, and with my clients, I focus them on tools and workshops that are actionable...and they come from Actionable Books.  You can see the details here & even sign up for a free workshop (value $300).

    My practice is now 'powered by Actionable Books' - it is how to practice the coaching you get.  Plus you get to (and I get to) see your results translated into feedback, commitments from your team and changes in behaviour.

    Ready to start?  Let's talk about your next step to make your Leadership Programs stick.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Are You a Dancing Guy or a Leader?

    This set me smiling, brought tears to my eyes and made me think about how I nurture followers.
    Have a great day!

    Monday, August 10, 2015

    I'm Baaaaaaackkkkkkk

    Life is full of mistakes.
    That is how we learn.
    And so, with this latest mistake, I have decided to move my blog back here to Blogger.

    Here is what I learned in attempting to change this location:

    1. my website platform does not yet support the amplification I need
    2. I would have had to spend more time, instead of less time, posting and feeding the feed - Blogger has that all wrapped up in one easy spot with a neat little feeder
    3. you don't know until you try
    4. you should really map out your steps before taking the leap (although I do talk about excellent versus perfect.)
    5. and own it, fix it and move on.
    So - I am back - and with a revamped blog, website and links.

    Feedback always welcome!!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    I'm Moving...well, I already have moved....

    It's Official.
    I am streamlining all my social media sites to get de-cluttered.  This has been a feat of growth for me as I have been procrastinating about it for a long time.
    So here is what has happened in the last few months:
    • I moved my social media post scheduler to a different platform
    • I figured out how to consolidate my various email & Google accounts
    • I created a new & in-sync blog on my website (Blog 2.0)
    So what does this mean?
    Yes:  I will still be blogging regularly
    No:  I will no longer be blogging here - the new blog is on my website 
    Yes:  You can still find me on Twitter @linxcoach
    Yes:  You can still find me on LinkedIn
    Yes:  You can find me on Facebook & I am becoming a little more active there now as well

    Why did I do all this?
    I have a few projects in the works that will be launching in the next few weeks and then over the course of the next few months so I needed to make space (in my head, in my networks) for clarity and solid easy processes...that means not skipping around to a million different sites to get work done. (I know this was a huge problem because I would end up chasing shiny objects aka online shopping/reading/listening instead of getting down to work - it was easy to do).

    I feel more confident.  I feel de-cluttered.  I feel that you will have a better experience with me on the new Blog.

    I want to thank you for being with me here since 2011 or even earlier.  

    See you soon!  Posts are already live over at the new place.

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    The Difference Between Excellent & Perfect

    The difference in time it takes you to get from excellent to perfect is a waste of your precious time. Period.

    The difference in money it takes to get from excellent to perfect is a waste of money that could be better invested elsewhere.

    The difference in what your customers see from excellent to perfect is invisible.

    From the quote, and even from your own work, you can see it takes such a lot of hard work to get to excellent.  When everyone tends to interpret perfect in their own way, how will you ever succeed at reaching perfection? (Somewhere in here is the law of diminishing returns)

    How are you calculating the wasted time & money that is spent on making a minute move from excellent to perfect that the most important people won’t even know exists?  And if do invest this time & money, how are you going to justify the upcharge to your customers?

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    Right Thing at the Right Time

    How do you focus on getting the right things done at the right time?  

    This seems to be more of an art than a science.   Right things and right times are as different as we are in each of our roles.  With the rapid pace of change, and the ongoing flexes that happen in our lives and our businesses, knowing when to do what can sometimes be a challenge.  Here are a few tips that could help you with this:
    1. eat that frog:  do the big, ugly stuff first - it gets it done…and usually its the stuff you keep putting off
    2. plan at least 1 fun thing a day:  fun has a different meaning for everyone - it could be planning 10 minutes of extra surfing time on Facebook or Twitter, or it could be an ice-cream treat at the end of a long series of meetings.
    3. know what is making you money right now - this changes just like the seasons do - who is buying what and in which quantities changes - set your sites on marketing to the ones doing the buying next so that you can ‘prime the pump’ as they say.
    4. know when you are most productive:  some people are more productive in the early morning, some late afternoon, some are night owls….put your most creative tasks into those timeframes - you will get them done and build momentum for the rest of your work.
    5. step away:  from your desk, from the phone, from anything that is connected and find some fresh air…then breathe in and out, perhaps adding in a stretch or two.  This will help you focus on what you are next going to tackle.

    Monday, July 6, 2015

    The Mañana Effect

    Mañana means tomorrow in Spanish.

    When I hear Mañana, I think of my lazy vacations in Mexico, relaxing in the sun, drinks with lots fruit, fresh seafood and of course the beach.  What could be further from getting things done than that image?

    This time of year tends to lend itself to putting things off until the Summer is over and the school year kicks back in.  How do you eliminate the ‘mañana effect’? (also known as Summertime Procrastinators Dilemma)

    For yourself:
    • develop and try to stick to a Summer work routine - by doing this, you can build in some flex time for fun stuff
    • set 2-3 small goals for each week and then write “DONE” all over them when you have completed them - feels good & you can look back later and see how productive you were (and can be again).
    • be more flexible with your schedule - starting a little earlier instead of staying late, putting in some extra time on the rainy days
    • DO the Work!!  or delegate it and follow up on what you expect.

    For your team:
    • have more frequent & much shorter update meetings to help everyone stay on track
    • take a lunch break outside together - have fun playing outdoor games or even simply blowing bubbles - be kids again & let loose
    • schedule some extra time off in the Summer months, working through this together as a team - perhaps just an extra afternoon off or a later start time once each month can be a reward for eliminating the mañana effect

    For your current clients/future clients:
    • book the rest of the Summer meetings now - if you have a schedule of implementation to follow with them, they will be less inclined to cancel or not book the appointments later
    • let them know that your Summer is filling up, time to get on the calendar is now, giving them only 2 or 3 options from which to choose will help eliminate procrastination
    • take the appointments somewhere fun or interesting, not just in the office or their boardroom - get outside at a cafe, or bring a summer treat to the meeting….it will relax the atmosphere just a little & perhaps change the outcome a lot.

    If you have tips for eliminating the ‘mañana effect’….please share!

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    The Tools of Your Art

    Focusing on what we do is very difficult at this time of year (as you can see by the later than usual post!!)

    Time seems to tick by quickly & with so many away or starting vacation in this week of North American holidays (July 1st in Canada, July 4th in the US), many people are simply not around.

    Focusing becomes difficult.  If everyone else is out playing, then I should be too, right?

    Not true.  This is the perfect time to focus on what you do.  Think of the quieter time as a gift - a moment to reflect on what you do, why you do it and the tools you use to create your art.

    What tools do you have?  What forms your palette, brushes and creative material?
    Reviewing and reflecting on this can help you refocus for the rest of the Summer and prepare you for the back half of 2015 (I know....uggghhh, I did write that!)

    So start here:

    • what tools do you use to track your work, your performance or your clients? (idea:  Freshbooks & time tracking, Trello & Evernote!)
    • are there better ways to tweak your outputs?  or do you really need to? (idea:  post it goals for the day & week planned out over the summer)
    • what tools do you use for learning?  how much time do you spend in learning mode? (idea:  download audiobooks for your daily walk or run)
    • what tools do you use for creating?  what is obsolete & what is your go-to tool?  is it effective, still? (idea:  seek out cool tools on Indiegogo or The Grommet)
    • where do you use your tools?  and consider how?
      • example:  I read many books and post it note them to when the weather is beautiful I get my butt off the couch or kitchen stool and head to a deck chair in the breeze...same work, new me new & fresh perspectives too.
    Take a moment and tell me about your tools, share some tools you like to use & what value they hold.  Everyone creates differently, so sharing this information can help others move in new directions too.

    Monday, June 22, 2015

    Is Your Heart In It?

    With June being the 6th month of the year, it is the perfect time to reflect on where you have been, where you are going and anything new that has cropped up that was unexpected?

    If you are a solo business owner, this exercise can help you be sure you are on track to accomplish your goals for this year (and beyond).

    If you have a team that you work with, its a great time to check in and see what is happening with their projects & their goals from a broader perspective.

    After all this reflection and checking in, you may need to do some course correction.
    Course correction looks like this:

    • reset of timelines or deadlines
    • juggling people resources to meet the needs of the project
    • determining which items need to 'fall off' the list to make room for new things
    • looking at your priorities and aligning (or re-aligning) them
    Why do you need to do this?
    You need to understand if your heart is still in it.  I know that our minds (and our bank accounts) drive a great deal of what we do.  But what is the point of doing it if our hearts don't align?  

    It's gut-check time.
    Do you want to end 2015 with your goals accomplished, a huge smile on your face because you know you have made a difference with the work you love to do?


    Do you want to end 2015 with your goals checked off as done?

    I know which one I will be working for - with my heart & my head! (funny when this happens, the bank account becomes less of a motivator)

    Monday, June 15, 2015

    What Do You Do With a Bowl of Frogs?

    Here is this guy.  A single, happening' frog.  Easy to deal with - it's only one, right?  Pretty easy to control, get messages to & understood, interaction works - together you are engaged.

    Now what do you do with an entire bowl of these guys?  They are hopping all over, you can't contain them all, you reach for one and another pops out.  And the peace sign quickly seems like it is turning into a different (and single-digit) sign!

    I recently heard the 'bowl of frogs' theory from Seth Godin at Leadercast 2015 - he attributed the bowl of frogs to Ellen Langer.  He was speaking about brave comes from not hanging on to everything, controlling things, but from allowing growth, magic & change to come from letting some of those frogs escape.  Ellen fills us in on "the rhythm of the familiar lulling us into a mindlessness"...instead of a mindfulness

    Frogs are all those mindless things that take away from our ability to be creative, brave and magical!

    Let's look at (what could be classified) as your frogs:

    • all the things you do because you have always done them
    • all the people you hang onto in your organization because you think that eventually they will contribute in a meaningful way
    • the safe way to get your job done
    • the easy-road decisions
    What are you going to do with this bowl of frogs?  It's mid-year....time to take a moment and evaluate the frogs that are staying in the bowl and letting out the frogs that need to leave - this will give you the space/flexibility/opportunity to let some frogs bubble to the surface; give you some space for magic & growth; drive challenges to where or to whom they belong & most importantly, get you focused on mindfully creating your art...instead of mindlessly working through your day.

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015

    It's That Time of Year

    Both of my sons are graduating this year.  One onto post secondary education & one to grad school!  I cannot believe how fast the time has flown by.  And to tell you the truth, I have been emotional about all this change....and thanks to a Facebook post last week I realized why.

    It's not that the boys are leaving (they well might do that), it's that they have been successful in completing this step in their lives and are ready to move onto that next big step.  Scary for them (though they will not admit that!) and scary for me too!  

    • Did we do everything we could to prepare them for what comes next?  (as much as we could without a crystal ball) 
    • Are we ready to let them go? (not really & yes! at the same time)
    • Where do we fit now? (still as their support, confidantes, sounding-boards, shoulders to cry on....etc)
    It took me a few days & a few long walks to figure this out.  And then I started to think about how this same scenario plays itself over and over again in life - in my client's businesses and in our communities.

    These are called Necessary Endings or as Dr. Henry Cloud talks about "pruning to grow".  I tend to think about this as the endings/beginnings loop.

    Some endings/beginnings in our lives and our businesses are necessary so that we can all grow; all be better; all have the chance to step up.  It does not mean that what we have done to this point is means we have done what we could to make others successful and by moving into new stages or roles gives the opportunity to shed some of the trappings of the past, and look to develop new skills, features and take on new challenges.

    In the case of the boys - they are not really at an ending, but at a new beginning - contemplating courses of action, next steps for the next few years and more.  We can choose to see this time of life in either lens.

    In the case of organizations - succession planning and growing talent, that sometimes stays within, or sometimes leaves can be seen through the same two lenses - an ending or a new beginning.

    Our role as leaders is to help everyone involved cope with the changes that will come from these endings/beginnings....including those that are doing the actual moving.  Here are 3 clear ways to help the team deal with this:
    1. be as transparent as possible - in the world of privacy & confidentiality policies, this may seem difficult so by being clear about the steps that will take place and how people will be affected, you can still provide a level of transparency that helps everyone stay engaged
    2. be available - people will have questions that don't come to them right away - allowing time for contemplation, reflection and listening will help everyone deal with the new situation
    3. be ready to observe - sometimes what we plan on doesn't work out the way we want it to.  Be ready to observe what is happening in the business/organization that is causing concerns or that can be an indicator of success & then, share it  - transparently.

    Reflect on your endings/beginnings from the past 6 months....where will you head in the next 6 months?

    Monday, June 1, 2015

    Today I Was Mistaken for a Millenial

    So I get a funny phone call today....
    Asking me to quarterback a social media event for a very large Canadian organization.
    Being one of the busiest weeks of my life, I cannot squeeze this in to my time.
    Instead I connect the person to other real millenials to actually do the work.

    Just was an interesting phone call - they specifically asked me to connect them to 'other millenials' that could help create the social buzz.  I still giggle thinking about it.  I am not the most active on social media - I like it & enjoy engaging....and while my consistency has been lacking of late (corrected now!), my name was given as a referral to this individual.  I guess the fact that I am active and understand how all this works (and am learning more everyday!), that was enough to put me into the millenial bucket.

    I am a Gen X-er through & through.  I apply my geek-i-ness to technology because I love things that solve problems for others; love to figure out how things work; I love to be creative, innovate and find new ways to apply learning....if all of that makes me a millenial then I gladly embrace the new moniker.

    Here is the lesson - you can always teach others and learn from others; you can allow, NO, encourage people to be who they are without adding a nickname to it. (My husband is a Gen X-er too, at the very early end of the spectrum, but if I were to really call him by a generational nickname it would be Baby Boomer! - see what I mean?).  BONUS - connecting people together is why we are here - to share who knows what with others, for no other reason than to be helpful.

    We need to honour people for who they are and what they bring to us - for as long as they are a part of our team/group/family.  And smile at the differences and similarities - they bring us together and help us move forward.

    Monday, May 25, 2015

    Are We A Fit?

    As leaders, we often need to help our teams 'fit' together.  This 'fit' reaches far beyond our corporate culture, it also is a requirement for our clients.

    Many times, and especially in regular transactional businesses (retail, wholesale etc), clients or customers self-select in and out of 'fit'.  They decide if they align with the brand and what it represents; they decide if they are going to make a purchase of a specific product....they are in control.

    In 2 places (and I am sure many more) there are opportunities for leaders to determine the selection:

    1. team members
    2. in the entrepreneurial world (and maybe this isn't the correct word but you will get the gist)

    In the entrepreneurial world, where niches are much more narrow and defined, it is critical to understand who is the best fit for you as a client.  It is important to have a description (some say persona/profile etc) of this client so that you can do your best work.   Sometimes this is a focus that you have internally, perhaps a vetting process - other times it may be more obvious.

    You can see how I created that outline on my website.

    I chose to describe how I work in and what I deliver in my coaching practice to help potential clients understand expectations.  This offers them the opportunity to connect or not to based on what they read and where they see themselves - less time wasted on both sides.

    How do you determine 'fit'? Or do you even bother?

    Monday, May 18, 2015

    Do You Know Who Is In Your Corner?

    Here is the situation:
    You applied for a role in your organization. It is a step up, a promotion.  You jump all the hoops - interviews, travel to meet people, research on others in similar roles across the country, find out information on your own and it is now time for the big day - the decision.

    The one person - a VP of sorts, called to tell you that you did not get the position. That was it - no explanation, except for a promise that your direct supervisor will let you know what you need to work on in the future to be in the running next time.

    Instead of the supervisor having a one-on-one face-to-face conversation with you, he waits until the VP schedules a conference call so that you can all talk about this together.  In the call, you are told that the one of two things you are known for in your current business and stake your reputation on, you do not do.  You are pissed off at this comment but decide to play it cool and listen, perhaps the supervisor will step up to your defence and inform the VP of the numerous examples they have discussed with you & actually asked you to share in the area.  

    The supervisor does not step up.

    You walk away feeling worthless, angry, disrespected, disappointed and alone.

    What do you do now?

    You have 2 options - wallow/stop/quit or figure out what went wrong.  The first is not an option, really.  You are not that type of person.  Instead, you find time to have a straight talk with the supervisor.  It's time for you to step up, realizing that when you do, next steps may actually be the former (moving on, the fit is not there.)

    This is not an easy conversation to have, as you do not want to come across as whiny or a sore loser.  This is a conversation that needs to be fact-finding - asking questions that focus on the next step:

    • what can I do to showcase how I XXXX? (include examples of how this has been done in the past, seeking clarity on what could have missing)
    • how often can we meet to discuss my progress in XXXX? (include examples of past discussions and seek clarity around providing further details)
    • is there a mentor that can help me with XXXX? (this shows willingness to learn & grow, deepening understanding of the company culture)
    The point here is to seek clarity around the situation while still pointing relevant information and seeking to grow in the organization.

    If you were in this situation, what would you do?

    Monday, May 11, 2015

    The Power of an Actionable Workshop: lessons from the Mental Warrior

    (my apologies if this seems like shameless on to find out)

    On one of the biggest days of my business (and professional development) year - Leadercast Day, the most unexpected, and unplanned for event occurred.  This is not pretty - we had a power outage and I could only present 1/2 of the presentation.

    I had a room full of attendees who had just finished a great lunch, and were networking and enjoying the beautiful sunshine and 85 degree day when a blip occurred and we (along with an entire grid-section in our area) were without power.  With 20 minutes left to go before we restart for the afternoon sessions, in collaboration with our venue host - who is scrambling to figure out what is going on...such grace & calm under pressure, together we decide to wait until there is 5 minutes before out start to make any announce.  At the same time, he and I determine that we can set 3 different contingency plans in place - and we did.  (At the utmost service at all times, he was willing to open his theatre for us on any day of the week or weekend at anytime and be there himself to ensure everything went off without a hitch).

    At 5 minutes to our afternoon session, we were given information that the power would not be restored for at least 2-3 hours.  That being said I needed to inform the group.  On such a nice day, people were everywhere, so we needed to get everyone into seats to inform them of next steps.

    I was able to thank them, share the options and put myself in the centre of gathering their information for next steps.  In less than 15 minutes, we had all attendees taken care of with their chosen option.  Done.

    When I find myself in these situations, and there have been a few, I go to resolving what needs to be done and making sure everyone is as satisfied as the situation can allow. While I missed the opportunity to share in the Leadercast experience for the rest of the day with these wonderful community & like-minded leaders, I did get the morning.

    At my desk later is when I experienced the 'freak-out' and the impossible task of making myself realize that 'I can't take this personally'.  Mother Nature did not conspire against me to cut the power.  It is not the universe telling me I should not be hosting events of this scale.  I did not let my attendees down.  This was not easy.  So what did I do....

    I stepped back and remembered the Actionable Workshop I had just completed with a team, and also with my Actionable Team, called The Mental Warrior.  This workshop is inspired by Don Miguel Ruiz book The Four Agreements.  One of the Four Agreements is to not take things personally - it goes along with Be Impeccable to Your Word, Don't Make Assumptions & Always Do Your Best.

    While I needed to wallow for a moment in my little pity-party for a moment, I was quickly able to recall the feelings of the morning sessions and know that we had delivered a solid presentation to that time.  We had delivered our best.  I had provided clarity around contingencies and then delivered on that too.

    So what am I saying really?  The power of Actionable Workshops not only impacts the team with which they are being facilitated, the facilitator, no matter how many times they facilitate, can learn, grow and take action in new ways.  Our experiences inform what we take away from each workshop and what we learn about anything, ourselves included, we cannot unlearn - what we can do is re-apply our learning in new ways.

    Disclaimer:  I work with the Actionable Books Leadership Team as well as am a Leadership Coach that uses the licensed Actionable Workshop materials in my daily work with clients.

    Monday, May 4, 2015

    Why Not Today?

    There comes a time when we need to heed our own advice.  It has been a struggle for me for most of the last 2 months to get my routine in place so that I am productive, focused and shipping regularly.

    Now I have arrived.  And at the same time, know that I need to continue to focus so that I don't get derailed.

    Here is advice and a few comments I have received/gleaned along the way:

    • focus on the One Thing - what is it and do all roads lead there
      • the issue with this is that while the One Thing is a super idea, we are always juggling more than One Thing.
    • it is difficult to work on more than 3 projects at any one time if you are really trying to move the needle
      • breaking the year down into projects over months and putting hard timelines in place for main components (development, marketing, launching, revisiting) certainly helps put perspective around workload and ability to ship
    • life happens
    Crashing through the pace that the world is currently throwing at us, we all need to understand how to keep the focus and ship.  What other ideas do you have on shipping regularly and sticking to your plan?

    Monday, March 9, 2015

    Everyone On the Same Page

    With the pace of work, life and everything else around us, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same page.

    Ask yourself if your team is always focused and moving in the same direction.  Consider these few items as you think about your team:

    • do your team members trust each other?
    • do your team members trust you?
    • do they listen and understand what they have heard?
    • do they understand each other's role in the business and on the team?
    • do they have a way to communicate that they each understand?
    • do they get the objective of the team?
    • do they understand the vision YOU have for the team?
    So if you can answer 'yes' to all of the above -totally cool.  Share your ideas and how you did this so others can learn too.

    Bonus Question:  can you keep them all on the same page once they actually get there?  no straying to the next chapter or wandering off to daydream land?

    Check out this awesome workshop series based on best selling business books that will get your team focused and keep them on the same page!

    Monday, March 2, 2015

    Shipping Is Not Easy, Is It?

    I guess you could say that shipping is easy - get stuff done and send it out into the world of cyberspace.

    It is true not easy if you are passionate and focused and want the world to see your best.
    This past 6 weeks, having to focus on developing something interesting, and knowing that in the past, perhaps this same process has not worked as well as I wanted it to (my choice not yours...and this is the learning!).  I worked to develop something different, with a twist, that may be a little risky and at the same time I am still very excited about it.

    Brava will ship for real in 2 weeks.  You get a sneak preview - and I would love your feedback.

    You may think developing this was just as simple as putting some images together and recalibrating my usual mastermind team focus.  Well, when you put it that way, I guess it could be.  

    It wasn't.

    Here are the things I had to face (and still face):

       what if I get no response?
    answer to myself:  plan right and execute the timeline to drive the response

       what if I am not good enough to do this?
    answer to myself:  get over yourself, you have awesome team sessions all the time, this will be no different.  Bring yourself to your work - head, heart & hands and you will deliver an exceptional offering.

       what if it works?
     answer to myself: imagine that - doing what you love even more, coaching others for success and seeing them reach their peak.  And, you need to keep doing it.

    What do you need to face each and every time you ship?  What do you say to yourself?