I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Jim Masters of CUTV News Radio. Jim and I talked about organizational change and leadership. I hope you will enjoy this conversation.
When was the last time you had a good conversation with a colleague or a team member? Did this conversation result in new insights? Did you learn something new? Did it up-lift you or provide valuable information?
A conversation is described as an informal exchange of information between two or more people. A conversation involves two aspects — sharing information and listening. Too often listening, I mean really listening so you hear what is actually being said to you, is lost. Communicating by email, text or notices shares information but lacks the engagement and “hearing” components of a conversation.
According to Gallop, “Great managers who have meaningful ongoing discussions with their employees also take ongoing action based on what they hear in those everyday conversations. They ask good questions, including disarmingly simple ones, and they pay close attention to the responses. They keep the wheels of engagement turning all the time, just by talking.”
In my role as a Consultant I have the opportunity of observing the interactions of many different people in the workplace. I also see and work with the impact of poor communication and the lack of meaningful conversations.
Make Eye Contact
What does eye contact have to do with conversations? You can’t connect and initiate a conversation if you don’t see and acknowledge a person. How many times have you walked down a hallway at work and not made eye contact, smiled at or acknowledged the other person?
When I am working with clients who are disillusioned with their job or their workplace, they frequently say they don’t feel valued. Many also tell me “the boss just ignores me unless I’ve done something wrong.” Others report they don’t feel heard because their boss doesn’t make eye contact, but looks at paper on their desk or their computer screen.
Eye contact during a conversation can be difficult for some people but it is vital for effective communication. People are more willing to talk to you when you make eye contact and you are more likely to hear them too.
Your challenge… When you get to work make a point of making eye contact and saying good morning to every member of your team. Make a point to acknowledge each person you pass in the hallway or who gets on the elevator… see what happens.
One way to build engagement with employees and to connect with what is happening around you is to have daily huddles. A huddle is an opportunity for you to connect with your team and to plan your day or gain insights. Huddles are short (less than 15 minutes) and to the point. They are not for problem solving or lon
g-term planning. Huddles are probably one of the most effective interactions you can have with your team.
A huddle isn’t just a “report out”. Instead, its an opportunity for every member of the team to share information, insights and to ask questions to help them move forward. You’ll build connections, improve organizational productivity, enhance the culture and keep your finger on the pulse.
I also have used huddles to connect individually with team members during the day. I’ve used these exchanges to touch base, learn more about employees and share. These meetings don’t have an agenda other than to connect but I’ve shared positive feedback, asked questions about a challenge I’m aware of or to check on progress and to offer my assistance.
Your Challenge — Connect with every team member in your team and have a conversation.
Learning without thought is labor lost. ~Confucius
One of the best opportunities a manager has to positively impact their organization’s learning and to lead change is to teach. I don’t mean in a classroom style, but through a conversation. Traditionally, when people attend a workshop or conference they become excited about new information or insights they have learned but this goes by the wayside when they return to their desk. Why? There is no mandate to integrate it into their job.
After an employee attends a conference, have a conversation to identify what their key insights were and if there is something they would like to integrate into their work? Can you help them set up a personal challenge to instill an action plan into their work? Book follow-up conversations to monitor progress.
Do you provide in-house training sessions? Coaching has helped organizations to support employees to actually implement skills they have learned into their daily work habits. Daily conversations can also help improve employee engagement on skill integration as well.
Your challenge — Establish regular conversations with each member of your team as a way to integrate learning into their daily work habits.
If you are interested in how to integrate daily conversations into your workplace to improve employee engagement, learning or productivity, contact us for more information on the options we have available to assist you.
Did you know that 50% of people who start an exercise program drop out within 6 months? That statistic is high, but it is similar in other areas of our lives too, including goal attainment! To me that is sad. 50% of people never attain their goals! Why?
Well there are many reasons… too many to discuss here. Some never set concrete goals — this way they don’t get let down. Drifting through life may seem like a great idea but you’ll stay where you are or fall behind! Some people don’t write down their goals so they are unable to stay focused on what needs to be done to achieve the goal. As the saying goes…”failing to plan is planning to fail”.
Here are a few more key obstacles you may face in reaching your goals and some questions to ask yourself and actions to take so you become the 50% who do attain their goals!
1. Change is challenging!
Yes, change is challenging. Change causes temporary pain… and who wants pain? Isn’t life challenging enough without adding new challenges? Having said that, if you want different results you have to implement different tactics or use different processes. Change forces you outside your comfort zone. You cannot operate on autopilot and you have to make time.
We are now in the middle of February. Did you set goals for 2012 in January? Are you still working the plan to achieve those goals or have they slipped to the side so you can deal with “today”. If you pushed them aside, do you have a plan to bring them back to the forefront so they become integrated with your business or career? If not, why? What are you avoiding? Why are these goals taking a back seat to putting out today’s fires? Will these goals, if accomplished, solve the types of challenges you are facing today?
As challenging as it is, change is necessary for you to grow and develop so you make your goals and dreams your new reality. No one said life (or business) was easy. No one said you have to do it alone either. Can your team assist you? Would journalling help keep you on track? Would a coach or mastermind group provide the insights and support needed when times are tough?
2. Want great results with little effort!
How many times have you wished you could have the goal without doing the work? I know every time I am doing my fitness routine I wish the inches and weight would just melt away so I didn’t have to work so hard. Determination, persistence and effort are all needed for change. Great results occur when we change our thinking, our actions or our effort! Nothing comes for free!
Consider this: You have a goal that you’re passionate about. It’s a goal you really want to achieve, but there are critical steps along the way that you don’t like doing (or maybe you just don’t know how to do them). This is normal if you are stretching into new areas. Yet, you consciously or sub-consciously procrastinate or just don’t take action.
This is where the perceived pain of these critical steps (no matter how large or small they may be in reality) become a huge barrier to your progress. When you exert a little effort to shift your mindset from negative to positive, why does it always seem less onerous than you thought?. How is it, when you shift your thinking, you can identify new opportunities or approaches to reduce the pain!. As Nike says, Just Do It! If you don’t want to do these critical steps, can they be delegated, outsourced, or incorporated into other tasks to save money and time?
The biggest excuse in the book… I have no time! I know, we all feel like that at times but there are ways to overcome this obstacle too. Why is it some people are so much more productive and successful in the same 24 hours you have? What are they doing different that would allow you to achieve the same results?
Creating efficient and effective processes is one way to achieve more in less time. Are routine tasks being done in a way that helps you move forward, grow or save time or money? Time is money!
Things can get out of hand when people fail to create new habits. Habits take persistence and consistency. There is no “success pill”. If you fall off the horse… get back up and keep riding. The same holds true for your goals. If you stray, reposition yourself and get back on track (even if its a new direction) that will lead you to success!
My challenge to you…. go back and revisit those strategic goals. Break them down into bite-sized goals and schedule time into your calendar each week Value Yourself!! Reach out for help and support from others to keep you focused on the big picture, particularly
Only you can ignite the process so the SPARK allows you to GROW and LEAD.
Take action today. Book your complimentary business assessment session to identify key steps to add SPARK to your career or business.
(originally shared Feb. 2012)
Have you ever noticed that once a change is initiated in your organization or in your personal life, a series of subsequent changes occur? The ripple effect of change is a normal phenomenon and one that many people find uncomfortable. Why? Because these changes may happen outside of your control.
What is a ripple effect?
Wikipedia describes it as “a situation where, like the ever expanding ripples across water when an object is dropped into it, an effect from an initial state can be followed outwards incrementally.”
I have been working with a client on an organizational change project which has rippled through so many areas of the organization. The most recent was repositioning a division to be more responsive to their clients. The change was initiated by the CEO when he recognized a lack of relevancy between the division’s deliverables and the wants/needs of their clients.
This desire to change prompted the director to resign. The change process continued and eventually two staff members also resigned. It’s sad when you lose great people but the flip side offers you, and your organization, a great opportunity to embrace the changes and continue the process.
Here are five tips you should consider when leading changes
1. Share your plan. Communication throughout the change process is critical to success. It is important to let all team members, and those who will be impacted by the change, what is happening. Sharing the big picture and how they will fit into this new environment will settle fears, engage your team, and provide valuable feedback.
2. Prepare for the Changes – Once you know what you want to achieve, taking time to document the action steps that you want to take and the milestones you want to reach will pay dividends. Not only will a written plan increase the chances you will actually achieve these outcomes, it also allows you to identify gaps and opportunities.
3. Act decisively. As a leader, it is important to be confident and decisive to keep team members engaged. Expect others to push back, question or refer to “the old way”. When you listen to concerns/comments/objections, and take action with confidence, people are more likely to accept the change process and follow along. I often hear “You seem to know what you’re doing so I keep going.”
4. Recognize the challenges others face and be willing to review and rejig the plan. In every well created plan an unforeseen glitch will occur or new information will come to light. Nothing is perfect. As a change leader, you want to be open to options, feedback and other insights. This new information may cause you to change your plan or adjust an outcome or methodology. Review is vital and more often than not will only improve the process of change.
5. Keep the momentum. Change happens continually and maintaining momentum is key to avoiding the panic. Systems that you have put in place will create a great foundation to leverage time and effort. Keep the above four steps in place and you’ll be positioned to navigate the changes you, and your business, face.
Our done with you, done for you approach to coaching and consulting offers you a way to navigate the changes you’re facing. Let us assist you. Book an Ignite Call (using contact button below) and we can explore your next steps.
PS Don’t forget to check out our Ignite Summer Mastermind Program to get started today in a unique coaching/mastermind program for business owners, professional and entrepreneurs.
How do you react when you face obstacles?
Is it a challenge to be over-come or a barrier that stops you in your tracks?
Every week I work with executives or professionals who are leading their business efforts in new directions. More often than not, these highly motivated and successful people can become stuck and unable to move forward. It may be a fear, a past experience or a lack of clarity which holds them back from making the progress they desire.
When you “hit the wall”, you can view it as a barrier that will stop you or one in which you will overcome. Alternatively, you can view it as a challenging opportunity leading you to shift and move forward.
Last week at a networking meeting the speaker discussed creativity and leadership. Interestingly enough, he presented examples of how two leading chocolate companies in North America (Hersey and Mars) have navigated the challenges and opportunities in the competitive confectionery world. Over several decades these two companies have jockeyed to be number one. The one common denominator in their path has been how they each have overcome obstacles and converted them into an opportunities to grow and diversify.
Creativity in their thinking and leadership were two key factors. Here are three more tips you can consider when facing obstacles.
1. Keep it Simple.
How many times have you faced an obstacle and viewed it as a huge problem, only to later realize it wasn’t nearly as bad as you first imagined? At first glance, a set back or obstacle may look insurmountable yet a simple change in your perspective, the integration of some creativity and keeping things simple can quickly change the landscape in front of you.
One of simplest steps is to review your current situation and the actions taken to your plan. Observe where you are now and how you got there. Your observation skills will offer valuable information. Gain the insights from your team. Now consider where you want to go and what steps are needed to move you in that direction. Stepping back, giving yourself some space and taking a more strategic look at your business can help simplify and infuse a spark of creativity.
2. Stay Focused
When things get challenging, it is so easy to get distracted by new ideas or things that are within your comfort zone (but may not be moving you and your company forward). If you get distracted in this situation, you are not alone.
One of the best ways to stay focused is to break down your challenges into simple action steps that allow you to make small steps forward to a solution and your goal! Then identify which step you need to work on and set aside time to work on that step. Set a time limit for working on that step. It’s easier to make progress when you know you only have to work on that activity for a short time. Remove yourself from distractions. If your office isn’t working for you, can you move to another room or another location. One of my favourites in the summer is to move outside under a tree where I still have wi-fi. The calm surroundings revitalize my thinking and help spark my creativity and focus.
3. Embrace Support
One of the most important things you can do is to reach out to others for support. If you work with a team, what can they do to help you find the solution or take the necessary steps to over-come your obstacle. Can you delegate or outsource tasks to others. For example, if you have lots of ideas but get blocked by writing, can you record your thoughts and have someone else transcribe your story. If you don’t like marketing yourself, can you hire a marketing person, a copy writer or the services of a Virtual Assistant to connect with potential customers, set appointments etc.
Working with an Executive Business Coach can offer you the support, encouragement and accountability you need to keep moving forward. Your Coach offers a confidential and safe environment to share, explore and overcome obstacles. Together with your Coach, you can brainstorm challenges, identify fears and distractions, face new situations and create a plan. Your Coach can also offer different perspectives, help you explore options , identify action plans, timelines and solutions. A Coach can also help you revitalize your approach, your leadership style and guide you through the changes you need to take to ensure your business is successful under your watch.
A mastermind is another option where you can bring your A-game and build you confidence, expand your network and your thinking. A mastermind, facilitated by and integrated with coaching will create greater results faster – its the key to the success of many top leaders so why shouldn’t you tap into the same system?
Whether the obstacle or challenge you face is a new opportunity, a goal that stretches you outside your comfort zone, a downturn in business or revenues, or a change you must, or want to undertake, these three tips will help you overcome the obstacle and allow you to achieve the results you envision.
Last week I was fortunate to attend a speakers meeting. Everyone attending the event was a speaker in their field. The format of the meeting was quite similar to a Toastmasters meeting but each of us was asked to make two short impromptu presentations.
The topic for the meeting was “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking With It”. When I was first told about the topic I was not very clear how I could incorporate that topic into a short presentation. On my way to the meeting, I realized that the best topic to speak on was change! [Read more…]
In my work, I am always dealing with change. It may be helping clients to implement new systems, facing behaviours that are not working for them, creating new products/services, starting a new business or switching jobs (or careers). No matter how we look at it, change is a constant. There are many commonalities in how business owners, leaders, organizations and industries are dealing with this reality but there are also many differences. Some organizations are internalizing the changes (looking inward and identifying ways to restructure, identify efficiencies, and plan for the future), while other organizations are looking outward for support and ideas in addition to looking inward. It doesn’t matter if the organization is large or small, there are examples of both approaches in each category. [Read more…]
Are you the type of person who starts with tons of enthusiasm
but one to two months into the program your focus falls short?
Do you want to really ADD VALUE & LONGEVITY to your goal strategy efforts?
Goal Strategy Success
Starting to use a new system is exciting and all of your good intentions are intact at the out-set.
With time, life and business demands begin to interfere. Sticking with the program can be challenging and sometimes downright impossible.
Don’t let your enthusiasm and dedication to leading your business / career suffer when times are tough. [Read more…]
Are you feeling stale in your job?
Do you have a sense of uninspired leadership?
Are you isolated or feeling unsupported?
If you answered yes, our Leadership Mastermind programs are for you.
A mastermind group is also referred to as a peer mentoring group or personal board of directors. Napoleon Hill shared the concept in his book “Think and Grow Rich” [Read more…]