Recharge This Weekend

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We made it to the weekend – great work!

So often our weekends are just as busy as the week. This weekend make a commitment, even if it’s for an hour, to do something for you.

Need a couple of ideas of how to recharge?

  • Start reading (or listening to) that book you’ve been wanting to start
  • Organize that “one spot” that always seems to collect clutter
  • Treat yourself – go get a much-needed massage or take a long bath
  • Try some yoga stretches or go for a 15-minute run
  • Enjoy the dessert that has been catching your eye all week

We all need the space to focus a little on ourselves.

ENJOY!

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Leading with Conviction and Purpose 

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Once defined as the study of the well-examined life, philosophy has something unique to teach each one of us on how and why we live. Previously, we looked at how Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations encourage Leaders to care for the interests of their Followers.

Our philosopher this week hails from Ancient China. Confucius, or Master Kong, was a Chinese teacher, politician, and philosopher. His philosophy, commonly known as Confucianism, emphasizes personal and political morality, correctness of relationships, justice, and sincerity, and in his widely-read Analects, he touches on the composition of a great Leader.

Confucius believed that proper thinking paired with decisive action led to the best results.

“Chi Wan thought three times before taking action. When the Master was informed of it, he said, ‘Twice will do.’”

What does this mean? Think hard before doing something, and then act decisively. All too often, we act without thinking, and then come to regret it.

Or, perhaps the opposite — you may think so much, you never get to the “Act” phase and seem to never make those harder decisions!

Whether you are on the “acting too quickly side” or the “not acting fast enough side” the thought of thinking about a large decision 2 or 3 times before acting on it may serve us well.

So, what could this process look like?

Say you’ve got a strategic decision to make for your team. You know you are going to need to bring on at least two team members to be able to support the work that is coming your way in the next few months. You’ve got to figure out what those roles will do and who they will report to (do they report to you or do they report to some of your direct reports).

Thinking about it once: 

Use this “pass” as a pie-in-the-sky brainstorming session. What would you love to see happen? What are the possibilities? Break them down (even if they seem to contradict each other).

At the end of this time, walk away with three things:

(1) The list of possibilities

(2) What other information you need to gather to make an informed decision

(3) Schedule your time to come think about it again

Thinking about it twice:

So, you’ve gathered some more information and now is the time to look at defining your solution. Taking into consideration all your options (and the new info you have), map it out and jot down any questions or concerns you’ve got.

At the end of this time walk away with three things:

(1) The commitment to jot down any other thoughts or ideas you have in the next few days on this

(2) Don’t look directly at the plan or intentionally think about it until the next time you sit down

(3) Schedule your last time to think about it!

Thinking about it a third time: 

Pull your plan back out and read it!

What are your initial thoughts or feelings? Feeling pretty good? Or do you have any pending or lingering questions that just aren’t sitting quite right?

Look at those questions or comments you wrote down (if there were any) and think about how do those play in.

This time, determine if you’ll keep going with what you have or if you want to tweak it a bit.

And, from here – schedule time with the next people you’ll need to involve!

As Leaders today, we’re all grappling with many decisions and difficult problems. Confucius helps remind us to, think responsibly and act with conviction.

Leading a Community-Focused Culture

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Philosophy, while equally loved and despised by people all over the world, has a valuable lesson to teach each one of us (yes, even in 2018!). Over the next few weeks, we’re going to be looking back into the corners of Ancient Rome, Greece, and China to examine how Ancient philosopher’s can show us new ways to think about Leadership.

Our first philosopher stems from Ancient Rome. Marcus Aurelius was the Roman emperor from 161 to 190 AD. His Meditations offer unique insights into who he was as a leader of this great Western Civilization.

Marcus believe that people exist to help one another.

Marcus believed that even though there will always be people who seek to harm others and live selfishly, humanity was meant to live in harmony and unison.

He writes,“…We came into the world for the sake of one another,” and within that society, leaders emerge and rise to the occasion. It is the Leaders duty to be the guardian of their followers, the Leader exists for the sake of their followers, and the followers for their Leader.

Interesting food for thought. How can we apply this thinking to our twenty-first century leadership?

Take a moment this week to think about how you can best serve your Team this week. How can you help create a culture that perpetuates the philosophy of existing to help your Followers?

  • Maybe it’s sending an encouraging email
  • Maybe it’s lunch
  • Maybe it’s popping by their office or cubicle to ask about their week and how you can help

Whatever that something is, we urge you to take the 5 or 30 minutes this week, to make a difference in the lives of those whom you Lead.

Business Travel 101: Managing Work

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Your schedule for the day?

6am: Wake up and get it together

9am: Your meetings start

12pm: Grab a quick bite and travel to the next client

1pm: Your next client meetings begin

4pm: “Down time”

6pm: Working dinner

And mixed into that schedule, you’ve still got to prep for your trip next week, keep sight on a couple pressing projects, manage your team, make sure all your emails are tended to, and phone home to let your significant other know you are still alive.

PHEW!

While these tips might not help you today (sorry!), they may make your next trip more do-able!

Tip 1: Plan ahead

As much as you can, get ahead on any deliverables that are due while you are traveling (even if you don’t send them out!).

We’d recommend the week before you travel, block some time on your calendar and look ahead at what is coming up while you are traveling.

Be intentional about working to get ahead, or at least know clearly what is coming. And as best you can, clear your plate a bit.

Tip 2: Communicate

Let your peers, boss, direct reports, and anyone else who you might be working with know that you are going to be traveling and what they can expect from you. This could be anything from email response times being delayed, to reinforcing what deliverables you intend on hitting, or letting people know that you won’t have time to provide feedback while you’re out.

If you are looking at the week and thinking that you might not be able to hit a deliverable, talk to your team or boss now before you miss that deliverable.

Tip 3: Prioritize the Fires

There are always those fires that just seem to creep in while you are traveling. It really is incredible how they only seem to happen while you are strapped for time anyways.

As those items come up, ask yourself:

  1. Is this something that I personally need to deal with? Or is this something where I could risk a little and use it as an opportunity to develop someone on my team?
  2. What am I saying “no” to by dealing with this? And who do I need to communicate with about that?
  3. What can I learn from this fire to prevent similar ones in the future?

You’ve got this … and you’ll find your rhythm in managing it all

Business Travel 101: General Tips

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You’ve landed … finally.

Your three-and-a-half-hour flight got in 2 minutes early (thankfully!) and you are ready to hit the ground running with meetings today and a business dinner tonight.

And you are anticipating having a packed three days before you hop back on a plane and come home to some kiddos who have really been missing mommy or daddy.

We’ve got a couple tips on how to making your trip feel a little more “at home.”

Tip 1: Unpack

Most people don’t enjoy living out of a suitcase, and it is surprising how many people who travel for business keep their clothes all folded and in their suitcase for the trip.

We’d say, hang up your clothes in that little closet in your hotel room. And while you do, take some deep breaths and think about where you’ll be for this trip.

You can use this to ground yourself and mentally prepare for the next few days.

Tip 2: Go to the Grocery Store

Often times while traveling for work, it can feel like you are always eating out (because often you are!).

We’d recommend you take a quick trip to the store to pick up a couple of things. Maybe you love mangos, or chips and salsa. Grab a couple of your favorite items and be on your way.

Tip 3: Do Something for You

Often on business trips, the days are packed and you’ve got to figure out how to squeeze in all your regular responsibilities into an already packed day.

It can be so easy to run from 6am-6pm (or later), and by the end of the trip feel even more exhausted.

On each trip you take, we’d recommend you get out and go do something in the city or town you are in. Need some ideas to get started:

  • Go for a run or hike to see a different view than you usually do.
  • Take a little time to walk around the city after your dinner.
  • Drive past the cool monument or statue in the city you are in.
  • Go to dinner at a live music place.

So, on your next trip, try these out and let us know how they go! Oh, and feel free to leave us your best business travel tips!

Minimizing the Conference Craziness

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You made it! You’ve been looking forward to this conference for a long time.

The only drawback to the last conference you attended was that you went back to work completely exhausted from trying to make it to all the sessions you were interested in (which, let’s be real, were most of the sessions they had!).

This conference, you’re already torn between a couple of the break out sessions and the keynote speeches. Each day looks fantastic!

As you’re planning out your week, we’d recommend a couple of tips!

Be intentional about where you spend your time.

Take a couple of minutes to look at your schedule, the time you’ll be spending in different sessions, and prioritize.

Even if you make it to all the ones that look interesting, we all know your brain will be mush by 3pm, and dinner will not be fun!

Think about your year ahead, the team or corporate goals you’ve got, and what you know the most (or least!) about. Where is there a gap, or where do you need your thinking challenged or pushed a bit?

Choose what you attend strategically verses just what looks interesting.

Meet someone new.

 At these types of conferences, it can be easy to flock to those you know (maybe team members are there with you or you know other people in your region who will be there).

Even if meeting new people gives you the hives, try it out. In addition to the knowledge you’ll learn while there, just as impactful (and sometimes even more so) can be the people you meet.

Grab lunch with someone sitting in-front of you at a session, or choose to sit with someone new for dinner (even bring a colleague along with you!).

Communicate back

It can be so easy to go to a conference and then share these little bits and pieces with some of your team. When that happens, we sell ourselves short of the impact we can have of all growing towards the same thing together.

Even if you’re not sure that anyone would care that you learned about “x,” consider taking a little time to share some key learnings or next steps with your team.

HAVE FUN!

Stuck on Hiring

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As we’ve jumped into 2018, you have seen that you are going to need to hire another team member (or 3!) in the near future!

You’ve started to see some of those resumes come in and out of all the ones who are qualified. You know you’ve got to choose a handful to interview.

As you are trying to pick your team’s next step, we’d suggest checking out Regina Hartley and her Ted Talk on Why The Best Hire May Not Have The Perfect Resume.

She presents the difference between the “picture perfect” resume, and the resumes that may show you someone who is willing to work to defeat the odds that feel stacked again them.

Best of luck to you and your hiring in 2018!