Finishing Out Strong

Finishing Out Strong

Do you remember back in January of 2015 when we asked you what 3 words you wanted to use to describe 2015?

I know January feels like FOREVER ago! As we are starting the process of wrapping up 2015, pull out (or think back!) to those three words.

How’d you do?

We’ve got a couple more weeks – what do you need to do to finish out this year strong?

Maybe there’s a conversation you’ve been putting off – prep for it and have it!

There is that ONE pile on your desk that you’ve been claiming your going to get to eventually – organize it!

Whatever that thing is that you’ve been putting off for the last week or two (….or three….) commit to doing it in the next week.

There is no reason to leave something hanging around from this year.

Commit. To. Doing…. That’s how we can continue to push ourselves to be better than we currently are!

Take a Break- Relationships Matter

Take a Break- relationally

We spend so. much. time. at. work.

Sometimes it feels like there is no time for anything else… especially friendships.

When you are going from work to trainings and then you have that new project added on your plate (that you kinda, really want to take on) and your friends are experiencing the same thing – sometimes making time for each other feels near impossible.

Tim Leberchet, from Harvard Business Review, brought some intriguing insights into the Age of Loneliness we seem to be in. Tim had some great suggestions about how to make some more connections at work.

But building relationships outside of work is important too. Even if we don’t feel like we have the time, we need those non-work related friends!

This weekScreen Shot 2015-10-21 at 5.39.42 AM, we have Spencer Haney with us on what he loves to do [with friends] and how he makes the time!


What is that thing that you love to do?
I love watching and attending sporting events. You can’t beat a good baseball game on a nice summer day!

Why do you love to do that? Sports have always been a passion of mine. It’s more of my place to “get away” and turn off my brain to recharge. It’s also a great way to connect with other people, so it fulfills that need that I have to be social.

In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you find time to do it? Isn’t that why they invented DVR? And yes, yes I do pay a premium to record, watch later, and fast forward through commercials.

What is one tip you’d make to someone who wanted to create a little more space to do something they enjoy? Be intentional about it. Schedule time in your day or calendar to do what it is that you love and don’t be afraid to turn off your phone or leave it somewhere. This way you won’t be bothered by emails, texts, or calls. You can come back at least twice as refreshed and ready to go!

So, this week, make a choice to take a break and engage in your relationship with someone you value!

Would You Ask For It?

Would You Ask For It?

Feedback.

It seems like so many times we only think about feedback when we need to have a hard conversation with someone.

We gather the facts and then “say what we need to say.”

Can you imagine how different your team would be if they were asking for feedback? If they gave you the opportunity to share what you were thinking or seeing?

Crazy. Right?

Well, to get to that place it starts with us, as Managers, to begin that journey of asking for feedback.

Peter Bregman wrote a fabulous article called How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You.

One of his tips was to probe more deeply with questions. Asking questions in different ways helps you to get a fuller answer – painting a clearer picture of what the other person is trying to ask for.

Having trouble thinking of a couple of questions to even begin with? We’ve got a couple of ideas:

  • What is one suggestion you have that I can do to better support my team?
  • If your boss were to give me one suggestion, what would it be?
  • What part of my leadership or management style concerns you the most?
  • How well do you feel I communicate? What can I do to better communicate with those I work with?
  • What specifically could I have done better on X project?

Maybe one of these questions sparked an idea!

So, gather up your courage and go ask for some feedback!

You’ll be a better leader because of it!

Fall Break

Fall Break

If you have been out and about lately, you have probably noticed the large number of college students who happen to be around on the weekend.

For just a day or two is seems like it’s summer again. Around this time of year students enjoy “fall break”, which though is may be only a day or two off of school, allows for a much needed break.

Even though these weeks are packed and you’ve got quite a number of deliverables due, we’d recommend you find a way to give yourself a break. Take yourself out to lunch instead of chowing down on your sandwich at your desk. On Saturday, instead of doing all the things you feel like you should have been doing, enjoy the cooler weather and head to a pumpkin farm or go on a hike. Or maybe even just switch up your work set-up (you most certainly deserve that cool new mouse pad).

Even if you don’t feel like you can physically take much ‘time out’ right now, creating the space to give yourself a mental break or change is really important.

Trust us, it might just be exactly what you need.

Think More Like A….

Screen Shot 2015-09-22 at 8.14.33 PM

It’s probably safe to say that we have all had a moment like this… someone who you work for calls you into their office and says “I want you to think more like entrepreneur”.

What does that MEAN?! Entrepreneur is ambiguous, unclear, and you feel like you don’t have the freedom/power/authority to do what your boss is asking. You walk away wondering what is it that they are actually asking you to do?

Frustrated yet? Me too.

And your boss is frustrated too.

Now what?

The next time you are asked to think more like an entrepreneur, merchant, sales man, lawyer, or like your customer – we’d encourage you to ask some of the following questions:

  • Can you tell me a little more about what that means to you?
  • How can I demonstrate the quality you are looking for?
  • If I were thinking more like [a sales man] how would you know?
  • I am totally on board with working towards this – can you help clarify what success would look like here?

By asking clarifying questions you are engaging the other person to help define what they would like to see changed.

And, maybe think about being a little more descriptive the next time you ask your direct reports to change something they are doing too!

The Battle for Focus

The Battle for Focus

We’re on week two with your chatty team! Did you have a chance to reflect on some of the questions Trish asked last week?

We hope those gave you a place to start. This week we’ve got Coach Sue Oliver based out of Texas on how to leverage the camaraderie of your team to get things done.

Take it away, Sue!

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“The ‘battle for focus’ is one we all wage daily.

We want to motivate and inspire our teams to operate at their best; yet, there are so many opportunities for distractions.

We all know a team in conflict can easily lose focus. A team that gets along well socially and has positive chemistry can also be impacted.

How? The camaraderie and enjoyment of being part of a team that gets along well together can pose a challenge in getting things done.

So, how do you harness the best of what a good team with positive chemistry can achieve without falling victim to unproductive distractions?

One tip is to draw on the positive chemistry of the team to involve them as solution owners.

What does this actually look like?

  • Begin by gathering the team together and laying out the situation transparently
  • Let them know you see the team’s camaraderie as a strength, except when it poses challenges to getting things done
  • Share with the team what the lack of focus looks like
  • Let the team know that you want them to have a stake in the solution
  • Challenge the team to identify the top 1-3 ways they can more clearly focus on achieving their performance goals while preserving the positive spirit and camaraderie of the team

At the end of the meeting or deadline set for team ideas, decide on the top few things the team can do to heighten their focus while preserving the positive atmosphere among the team.

This inclusive process will enable your team to be problem solvers and owners in the solution. You will have solved a problem through motivation and engagement – yielding a much more sustainable solution.”

Thank you, Sue!

By considering the questions from Trish last week and some of Sue’s suggestions this week, we know you’ll start to see some different results soon!

Motivating the Chatty Ones

Motivating the Chatty Ones

You’ve finally decided to connect with your team members on Facebook.

And now, you get new notifications of your team members tagging each other in photos every Friday and Saturday night.

You knew that they were chatty at work but you didn’t realize that all their socializing was encouraged by them hanging out together outside of work too.

Sometimes, the chemistry of your team can seem to take away from their productivity. You don’t want to kill the camaraderie but your team has got to get the work done. Over the coming weeks we’ll hear from two Coaches on some strategies on how to work with your sociable team.

This week we have Coach Trish Brooks from Ottawa, Canada with some suggestions and questions to motivate your team so that socializing doesn’t get in the way of results.

Let’s check out what Trish has to say!

“This is a multi-faceted problem, and there may be several interventions that the manager must make. Today let’s look at one important one – is the team fully engaged with their job. Research has shown that the social part of the job is not a significant reason people come to a company, or stay with a company – it’s not a ‘motivator’. Employees typically leave companies (even though they have great social connections) because the work is not stimulating and they are not developing. If employees are not ‘getting things done’ it means they are likely not motivated to do the work.

So, the first question to ask is ‘are my employees motivated in their jobs?’

  • Is the job aligned with what is important to them?
  • Is their work interesting and are they learning and growing in their job?
  • Are they being recognized, and feel valued? Are they feeling a sense of accomplishment day-to-day?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to all of the above, then it is unlikely that socializing is getting in the way of the work. If employees are bored with the work and are not growing, then socializing will be what they do instead of work.

The best way for a leader to determine whether or not their employees are motivated is to have a discussion that asks questions like:

  • What are a couple of recent accomplishments you feel especially good about?
  • What part of your work interests or challenges you the most and least?
  • What’s important to you and what do you value at work? Is there a good match between what is important to you and what this organization provides?
  • Do you feel valued and recognized for what you accomplish here?

The manager can then determine what the next step is. For example, the manager could:

  • Modify the job objectives so there is more challenge/accomplishment/growth for the employee or help the employee move to a job that is better aligned to their interests
  • Ensure that people are not hired that are overqualified for the job (because they will likely get bored within the first year)
  • Recognize the accomplishments of employees
  • Hold employees accountable, and provide feedback, so they know what is expected (and know what accomplishment looks like)
  • Move people before they get bored in a job. Typically people need a new challenge every three years.

If employees are energized about their jobs, they will still socialize, but it will be aligned with the goals of the group. People get energized, and have fun, when they have common goals that they accomplish together.”

Thanks, Trish! Let’s try these tactics out this week and see what we uncover. And, make sure to come back next week for some more tips!