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?