Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thriving in Your Environment

What kind of environment do you thrive in? I think most of the time when individuals are looking for a job they are looking primarily at the role they will play, the responsibilities they will carry and the compensation package that comes with it.

In my previous posts I have written regularly about the importance of identifying, building and then leveraging your personal talents and strenghts for maximun success. Today, I would like to challenge you to consider, in addition to all of this, the environment in which you work.

In most cases the environment in which you work will have as much impact on your level of satisfaction as the duties and responsibilities. Certainly the people you work with and especially the person you directly report to are important. But, it goes beyond that.

Let me give you an example. In Gallup's StrengthsFinder language one of my talent themes is Learner. In very simplified terms this means that I absolutely love to learn. One clear ramification for me is I thrive in dynamic work environments because I am constantly being challenged to learn new things quickly. A stagnant or slow moving environment, or one in which I am doing the same thing day in and day out, would become stifling and boring for me.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to assess your current or future environment and its fit for you:
  • Do I like the people I work with?
  • Do I like my supervisor?
  • Do my personal core values align with the values of the organization?
  • What is the pace of work?
  • Are the policies & rules rigid or pretty flexible?

Have a great weekend.

Seize the day!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Getting Things Done

I am very passionate about supporting people in their personal and professional growth and in their efforts to get more of what they want and less of what they don't. My work is all about results, personally and practically. So, I was very intrigued when I received an email from a colleague recently that talked about results.

Research conducted by the American Society for Training and Development in 2004 to measure the likelihood of completing a goal and effecting change as a result, found the following:

Percent likelihood that change will happen after:

Hearing an idea……………………………………………………..................10%
Consciously deciding to adopt an idea………………........................25%
Deciding when you will do it.................................................…..40%
Planning how you will do it……………………………….......................50%
Committing to someone else that you’ll do it…………….................65%
Have an accountability appt w/ the person you committed to....95%

Amazing, but true. I see this all the time with my clients.

So, what is it that you really want to get done? To whom have you committed and when are you meeting with them to tell them how it went?

Seize the day!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Soft Zone

Some CEO's and other top executives tend to shy away from conversations about what are called "soft skills." They like to talk about the tangibles of strategy, vision and execution. But, you cannot get away from the critical role that those soft skills play in the success of an organization.

In their book, The Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz reference observations from Gallup by noting that:

No single factor more clearly predicts the productivity of an employee than his relationship with his direct supervisor. More specifically...the key drivers of productivity for employees include whether they feel cared for by a supervisor or someone at work; whether they [have] received recognition or praise during the past seven days; and whether someone at work regularly encourages their development. (Loehr and Schwartz, p. 75)

So, whether you like using the soft skills or not, you need to find a way to work them into your repertoire. If this is an area where you are weak, another wise move would be to have at least one person in your top circle of leaders who is really good at this stuff.

I will admit that early on in my career this was an area where I was severely lacking. Over time, and with consistent effort, I significantly improved in this area. I am still viewed as a fairly serious and probably somewhat aloof person in my leadership style. But, the effect of the growth that I experienced was stronger and stronger teams, especially marked by dedication, loyalty and productivity.

Where can you apply some soft skills today? Who on your team needs to know that you care? How can you invest in your relationship with them?

If you are interested in growing in this area I would encourage you to contact me about a program I offer called, "Conversational Leadership. Download my color brochure and Fact Sheet for more info. One of my former trainees referred to it as "the best real-time training" he'd ever experienced.

Seize the day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Cycle of Trust

In my newsletter that is going out in less than 24 hours I talk about why it is so important to build trust if you want to be a leader - i.e. a person of significant influence. In the newsletter I make reference to a concept I learned years ago called the Cycle of Trust.

The Cycle of Trust is a simple, but powerful concept. Basically, it states that we tend to trust people we perceive trust us and tend not to trust people we perceive do not trust us. Part of the concept rests on the fact that we tend to communicate our trust (or lack of it) in many non-verbal and subconscious ways that other people pick up on. So, even if we try to hide it, we give off "vibes" that we don't trust someone and they are able to pick up on that and it creates a sense of mistrust toward us...and the cycle goes on. On the surface it seems almost too simple. When I first learned about it during some management training I was skeptical, so I decided to experiment with it.

At the time there was another manager that I didn't trust at all... not at all. And, I was pretty sure they didn't trust me either. So, I began to intentionally work on trusting them. I made specific efforts to give them the benefit of the doubt in situations where the facts weren't clear and gave them outward support that I hadn't previously. Slowly, I noticed my attitude toward them changing for the better. I really began to believe in and trust them more readily. Surprisingly, I began to notice their attitude changing toward me. Long story short, our relationship was radically affected. We became friends and worked very well together for years.

Who can you apply the dynamics of the cycle of trust with? When will you start? If you do your part, you too will be amazed at what can happen.

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Seize the day!