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.

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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!

Surviving the Holiday Parties

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It is that time of year again… you’ve been invited to your companies holiday party.

Surviving or thriving at holiday parties doesn’t seem to ever get any easier.

We’ve got lots of suggestions here!

And, if you need a quick reference:

Starters: Need a topic to talk about? People LOVE to talk about themselves.

You can try something like “I am trying to figure out what to do for next year’s summer vacation – what’s your favorite vacation spot? Any recommendations?”

Stoppers: Politics – if you can, we’d highly recommend not to go there!

Stallers: In the middle of a conversation that’s not going well?

You can always use the bathroom as your friend. Excuse yourself, head to the bathroom for a quick moment, and then rejoin a different group.

Good luck and have fun!