Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Distractions Never Quit - Arm Yourself

Here is something worth remembering as you prepare to embark on the journey to achieve your goals in 2010. You will have a few distractions.

Hopefully they will be the type to go away quickly. But if they are not, you’ll need to find a way to stay on track. How can you do that? It is not easy, but it may help to have a blueprint of where you intend to go or what you intend to achieve.

That sounds a lot like having written goals doesn’t? Okay, you win! That is what I am promoting here. Take the time to write down your goals for 2010.

I know you have heard it before, people who have written goals are more likely to achieve success. There are many reasons why this is true. I can think of one, can you? Imagine yourself going shopping at your grocery store. There are more than a few things you need to pick up. You may have a good memory but having a list just might save you some aggravation.

Consider what might happen if you don’t have a list and you run into an old friend you haven’t seen in a while. The chances are you are going to forget something you wanted to get. You don’t have a bad memory but you did experience a distraction – pleasant as it may be.

So, the list is analogous to writing down your goals. I know.., I know it is a bit of a stretch but hopefully you get the idea. Don’t let distractions push you off the track. If they try, you can simply pull out the goals you have written down and keep shopping for what you want. HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Use the Change Grid

Sometimes a leader has to be a manager. This is true when it comes to evaluating the performance of people in your organization. Don’t you just love it? I am sure your people love it – NOT. So, why is there so much anxiety when it comes to appraising the performance of others? I think it has to do with the role of being a judge or being the one judged. It is a big, big issue when it concerns promotion and money.

Many organizations are now giving employees the opportunity to evaluate themselves. It is a step in the right direction but still does not get to the heart of the real issues relating to performance or change development. The real issue is tension and tension management.

Tension management can only be addressed effectively by using the Change Grid. The Change Grid is a tool that reveals the level of productive tension a team member is experiencing at a given moment in time. The tension I refer to relates to the activities involved in the work they do. The Change Grid provides a more subjective examination and it is a non-judgmental process. Think about it the next time you want to address performance for your employees or team members.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

You’re The Leader…. Or Are You?

Okay, you have a team or a group of people who work with or for you. Seems to me you either have an opportunity and/or a responsibility to be the leader. You decide which is more important to you. Personally I see it as an opportunity. But what’s really important is how you show up - If you show up at all. My point is you cannot lead if you are absent – perceived or real.

You may have a committed group of people who are very good at what they do, but they still depend on your presence. Think about it. What happens to a group that has no true leader?

The answer: A leader will emerge or the group members will seek new directions or new alliances. The result can be a fractured organization or team. That can have a negative effect on your organization’s overall productivity and profitability.

When I talk about presence, I am not necessarily talking about being physically present. That is not always possible. But what I am talking about is being in touch, consistent, reliable and forward thinking. If you are not doing these things at the very least, are you really a leader?

People are only followers if there is someone who leads. Imagine That!!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Our Human Capital

Times are tough. Everyone around you feels it. As the leader of a team or organization you need to be aware how these tough times affect your employees. This is especially true when it comes to their ability to perform on the job. You don’t want to ignore the concerns of your human capital. Now is not a time for guessing. There is much at stake - namely, the future of your business.

So, how can you learn what’s going on with your employees? The obvious answer is to ask. But you need to be prepared to offer a meaningful response. The message you deliver needs to be clear, relevant and truthful. You may not have all the answers but you are among other human beings. It is the common thread. The message you give needs to say “we are in this together.” These times will not last forever. Nothing ever does.

After setting the table, you will be better able to address areas for performance improvement. Here you can introduce the idea of subjective performance development assessments. This means you can help your employees to assess themselves to discover what and where support will be most helpful on the job. Remember “we are in this together.” Keep that intention in mind. You’ll be able to receive more cooperation and collaboration. And, the bottom line…, well let’s say it will be impacted. Imagine that!!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Are You A New Creative Leader?

Below is a list of 5 traits of the new creative leader. They are found in the article "Why Are Creative Leaders So Rare," by Navi Radjou. The subject was a tip from Harvard Business Publishing's Management Tip of The Day.

So, Where Do You Stand?

Yesterday's leadership skills will not work in today's fast-moving and evolving world. Only creative leaders who are visionary and empathetic will succeed. Here are five things you can do to succeed as a creative leader:

1. Instead of commanding, coach your team and organization toward success.

2. Don't manage people, empower them. The know-how, experience, and solutions are often out there; it's a matter of helping people discover them.

3. Cultivate respect by giving it, instead of demanding it.

4. Know how to manage both success and failure.

5. Show graciousness in your management rather than greediness. Be humble about your successes and whenever possible, give someone else the opportunity to shine.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Being in the Dark

I am going to go out on a limb and make a guess that you enjoy the work you do. I certainly hope this is true. But I imagine there are times when you feel a little challenged doing all the things you must do to achieve a desired outcome. You are not alone.

Some of our days are better than others. You have a task and you get it down. But what about the other days…what could be going on? That is a question you may ask yourself. If fact, it is one of many questions you ask yourself each day and every time you do work. They are the same type of questions the people you work with ask themselves. If you are the boss, you may even be asking questions about your people. A question like – How can I get my people to be more productive?

The answer to many of your questions can be revealed with the Change Works System. Trust me, I know ignorance may be bliss, but it can also be costly. Can you afford it? Can your organization afford it?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Return The Call

Today I talked with a leader who told me that he is truly surprised how many people seem too busy to return a phone call. He said it seems to happen more and more these days. So, the question is why is it happening? The truth is I don’t know why – exactly. However, I do have my ideas about it.

* People are too worried about themselves
* They are afraid to commit
* Their life and work is out of control
* Your call is not important to them
* Maybe they just don’t care

I am certain there must be other reasons. But, I believe returning phone calls is a matter of courtesy. And it reflects a respect for humanity. Imagine That.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Working The Plan

Growing your business means following your plan. That is assuming you have one. If you don’t have one then you may grow, but by accident. The operative word is “accident.” I have tried to do things without a plan but keep coming back to the idea. Fortunately for me I do have a plan. Each time I refer to it, I feel reassured that I am doing the things I need to do.

Also, it gives me a better understanding of my effort and results. You know – “the cause and effect.” The results will come and I expect it. Doesn’t that make sense?

I am sure you have heard a lot about plans. Here are a few items that are important for you to keep actively in focus - your concept, market strategy, image and environment. Make sure your plan and activity includes these items. They are often overlooked in growing a business. What I mean by that is they are often forgotten. The reality is they need constant attention. There it is! Continue to work on, and follow your plan.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Goals Time

It is time to review and update your goals. If that seems like a surprise it shouldn’t be. Many people seem to think the right time to work on goals is the start of a new year. But, I say why wait? And who said that we should do our goals once a year.

There is no doubt that every new year will bring something new -- I get that. But the new year is not the time start your life or to start realizing business success. We all know tomorrow is not promised, so why wait. The things you act on today will bring you closer to where you want to be tomorrow or in the new year.

So, here we are. We have 3 months left of 2009. Are you planning to cruise the rest of the year? What a waste. By the way, some people have the opinion that no one wants to start anything new at the end of the year. Don’t buy it. If you do, I suggest you stay home. Now is the time to push yourself, your associates and your team. Set your goals and get into action.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Is it time for vacation?

I am back from a wonderful vacation experience. Did you miss me? If you did, I apologize for my absence, but I must say taking time away from the normal to do something unusual is wonderful. I took my vacation to beautiful Morro Bay, California.

I kayaked the bay, peeked in on a Peregrine Falcon, hiked through Montana de Oro State Park and trekked up to San Simeon to tour the Hearst Castle. I even made a visit to the Saucelito Canyon Winery in San Luis Obispo. Yes, I was on a vacation. What made is truly special was the time spent with my family and friends.

Taking vacation is important. It can be great for your soul. It is a time to renew and refresh. It reminds me of the feeling I get each spring. That is when even old and familiar things seem new. If you are looking for a fresh new perspective for your business and your organization, I recommend a vacation.

Go away and turnoff the cell phone. Discipline yourself. Forget about email messages for at least 72 hours. You can do it! I know you can.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Observances

Today is officially Labor Day. I am off to Morro Bay, California. What a beautiful and relaxing place to vacation. If you haven’t been there, I strongly recommend it.

What about Labor Day? It is a day to celebrate our collective productive energies. Since 1884, we have been celebrating Labor Day which has roots linked to the New York City Central Labor Union's first observance in 1883. For more than 100 years we have been observing Labor Day. And although it is not a time particularly for memorial, I hope you have fond memories from years past. If you don't, it is time to create a few special memories you will want to acknowledge for future observances.

What are you doing to recognize and celebrate? Whatever you do, I am sure I don't need to remind you tomorrow is a work day. So be sure to enjoy! As for me, I will be venturing out to do some kayaking this morning. After that, well… I’ll do whatever feels right.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Change vs. Transition

This week I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of local business professionals. My talk was on the topic of Change. Before launching into my presentation I asked the group what they hoped to learn from our discussion. A few had specific questions and most seemed curiously interested in what I might have to say. One question or thought offered from the group was about change, and knowing how and when transition occurs. You may be thinking Change and Transition… aren’t they the same. The answer is yes and no.

Change is about seizing control and Transition is all about the unique and specific steps or milestones one goes through to arrive at a different place. Change and Transition for sure are closely related. The thing they have in common is the presence of Tension. The bottom line is the degree of tension will always determine the pace of a Change or Transition. That is something to think about.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Understand Change in Business

This week I have been preparing to speak to my local business association. I am confident they will enjoy what I share with them. I am not bragging, I just know the information will be helpful to those who choose to apply it. It would be for anyone interested in knowing the real truth about CHANGE. Now, before you think to yourself – what does CHANGE have to do with business? Let me say it is more than you think. Here is a question for you…, and you need to think deeply before you answer- are you ready?

What was your state of mind when you made your last major buying decision?

Were you anxious, excited or indifferent? The odds are you were a little anxious or excited - but why? It was about the change you were making. Certainly there is more to every story, but if you are human (I know you are) there is little chance that an element of excitement was not present when you decided to buy. But this thought only scratches the surface of what’s true.

There’s more and that is what I will covey to members of the business association. The difference it will make is they will gain a better understanding of what moves people to buy. And, by understanding it they will be better able to help their prospects and clients. That translates into more business success.

Everyone knows change is real, but understanding its relevance is crucial. Can you imagine?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Looking Back to Move Forward

This morning I was thinking of things I accomplished in the past couple days and decided to review my work. Have you ever done that? If you haven’t you should occasionally do that. It is often pleasing to see work you have accomplished, but sometimes it can be little disappointing. That is when you realize you have an opportunity to improve.

Yesterday, August 20th, I posted my first blog message. If you read it, you know it was referring to business, change and control. I think it was a thoughtful short piece of information to share. The objective was to stimulate your thinking. There was not much depth to it - that is by design. However upon reviewing what I wrote I realized you – “the reader,” might feel a little confused by my wording or leaving out a word in the final paragraph. Imagine that!

If you noticed the omission, boy are you a sharp one. If you didn’t what does that say about you? I am just kidding – a little. Maybe you read it so quickly you unconsciously added the word I missed to complete the thought. There is also a chance that you made a judgment about me and my attention to detail.

Whatever is true, it is a reminder to me and to you that we need to check and recheck our work. Unfortunately, we all know we are often judged by the simple things in life. You say what?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It Stands Between You and New Business?

In times like these we often wonder what can I do to drive more business. You think you might achieve more if you work a little harder or get a lucky break. This falls under the category of doing the same things and expecting more or new results. How has that worked for you so far?

You probably know where I am going with this, ... or do you? If you are thinking you need to work smarter not necessarily harder you're on the right track. But what does that mean? Well, it seems to me it is important to really understand the dynamic of change. That's right, that word that we really don't understand very well-"Change." If fact, most of us believe the main thing about change is we are all highly resistive to it. That is not true. We experience it everyday. What does it have to do with you and new business? Consider this, it is the greatest obstacle that stands between you and new business. So you ask, is that true? I believe it is true.

Change is about control - gaining it, keeping it, or losing it. To take it a step further, it is important understand it is relevant to you, your customer, client or prospect. So, the real challenge is finding out how to satisfy your need and your client's by managing the issue of control. Imagine that!