‘Tis the Season – Reflecting on What You Learned

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Welcome to December, friends!

How exciting that we have made it to the last month of 2017! What a ride it has been.

We’re not sure if you’ve ever dabbled in project or program management, and either way we’ve got a best practice from some of Coaching Right Now’s PM’ing team this week!

At the end of each project or program we love to capture our “lessons learned”. What are those things that either worked amazingly well that we’d LOVE to make sure we do again? Or, what are those things that did not work so well that we hope to never experience again?!

So for all of us, as we are closing up 2017 and moving into 2018, what if we were to take some time to think about our personal lessons learned?

Need some questions to get you started? Try these!

  • What are three things you are most proud of this year?
    • What made you proud of those things?
  • What is one thing that if you could do differently you would?
    • What is it about it that you’d want to change?
  • What are two things that surprised you about yourself, and would you want to do those things again?
  • What are two things that gave you a lot of energy this year?
  • What are two things that took away a lot of your energy this year?
  • What is something I wish I could have spent more time on this year?

Hopefully these will give you a starting place!

“The future depends on what we do in the present.” – Mahatma Gandhi

‘Tis the season for reflecting on what you learned!

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The Election and Your Team

The Election and Your Team

WHAT AN EMOTIONAL WEEK.

Regardless of which political candidate you supported in the recent United States election – YOU. HAVE. HAD. A. WEEK.

Your team is likely filled with extremely strong thoughts and emotions (both positive or negative or a confusing mix of both). And sometimes, it feels like tension is so high that it could explode if a pin poked it.

What is a Manager to do?

In times like these, one of the most important roles you play, as Manager, is to hold your team together.

How?

Give your individual members of your team the space to talk it out, if and only if they want.

If they want to – choose to ask and actually listen without judgment. Something that often plagues us is judging (or assuming) and not asking, and really being curious about others and their thoughts.

The goal should not be to change opinions, but to allow people to really share their opinions /struggles /thoughts /challenges. These skills can be helpful when talking about the election and in your daily work.

Need a place to start?

First, make sure this is a 1:1 conversation.

Second, ideally this conversation takes place where the person you are talking to is comfortable and relaxed. This is not the time to corner them in the crowded break room or over the water cooler with their peers!

Third, the key is to NOT to argue or ‘fix’ their opinion if you don’t agree with their thoughts. This is the place to give your direct report the space to share their thoughts and ideas. In fact, don’t even say what you think unless they ask you.

Here are some conversation starters:

  • I’ve noticed I haven’t heard your voice as often in meetings during the last week. What’s up?
  • I remember you mentioning your support of [insert political candidate here that you’ve ACTUALLY heard them mention that they support]. What is intriguing to you about them?
  • I’ve noticed recent posts you’ve made on (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat) around the election. What’s been coming up?

Choosing to mention what you are seeing (noticing or observing) and then asking a very open-ended question inviting your direct report’s opinion is extremely powerful.

This may be a new approach for you! So, try it out and let us know what you think!

Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

You’ve got a new position added to your team – yes!

Now you’ve got the challenge of finding the just-right person to fill the role.

Historically, interview questions center around how the candidate has the best skills for the job or what they think sets them apart from all the other candidates.

But how can you be sure they have these skills?

Try interviewing FIRST for character, personality, and culture fit for your organization!

Ready to try it? Here are some behavior-based questions to get your juices flowing:

  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • If you could choose to have any superpower – what would it be?
  • We are sometimes confronted with the dilemma of having to choose between what is right and what is best for the company. Can you please give me an example of a situation in which you faced this dilemma and how you handled it?
  • Walk me through a time you were able to be creative with your work.
  • Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • What does your best day ever look like?
  • Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?
  • We’ve all done things that we regretted. Can you give me an example that falls into this category for you? How would you handle it differently today?

Try some of these out and let us know how they go!

We’d also love to hear some of your best interviewing questions!

 

Interviewing: Tips to nail it

Interviewing: Tips to nail it

To be honest – the past couple months at your job have been R.O.U.G.H.

You know that you want more out of your work- and where you are working just isn’t cutting it right now.

You started applying for some jobs that looked interesting, and much to your delight you’ve got an interview set up!

All those nerves are starting to come back about how you “make sure” to impress them and hopefully walk away with a job offer in the next few days.

This week, we’ve got out top tips on how to nail your next interview.

Stay authentic!

People can tell when you are being yourself and when you are just trying to say, “what they want to hear”. As hard as it is, try to prepare yourself to not give “the RIGHT answer”. Just be true to who you are!

Be prepared for the “trick” question

This can be “what do you see your biggest challenge with the job being” or “what is your biggest weakness”? Think about the intent of the question- why is it being asked in the first place?

Usually, people want to see how you are continuing to grow and change. Think about a way you can talk about your weaknesses or challenges while also highlighting how you are growing from them.

Here’s an example: “One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I tend to assume the best in people. I trust they will get the job done and I tend to struggle in following up on accomplished tasks. I’ve learned to become more consistent in follow-ups. I set calendar reminders for myself the day before something is due. This gives me the accountability structure to help me be the most successful”

Come with your OWN questions

 …And not the “why is this a great place to work” question!

Think about the aspects that are actually important to you in the job and/or company. A few questions to consider:

  • Are you passionate about working for a company with great culture?
  • Do you want a job where the role is extremely defined or one where you are getting a new project each week?
  • Do you feel that regular 1×1’s with your boss are key to your success in your role?

Center your questions around the things that are important to you. This shows that you really care and also give you some information you may need to make sure you are making the best decision for you!

Interns: What to do With Them?

Interns: What to do With Them?

About 4 weeks ago you had a new team member added to your staff.

You could have sworn they were in high school, but this intern is a junior in college and hoping to make some connections before “all gets real” next year.

As these 4 weeks have passed, it’s been nice to have the extra help but you are noticing that you intern is seeming… well – bored?

You can tell they had hopes of what their internship would be and because May (and June) were so crazy this year, you know you could have planned a little better for their arrival.

So, now what?

Here are some tips on how to re-engage with your intern:

1. Start the relationship over – take them to lunch!

  • Get to know them! Where do they want their career to start? What is their dream job? If they could work for any company/ industry, what would it be?

2. Take the time to set the context for upcoming projects

  • Sometimes tasks given to interns seem like the “projects that no one wants”. Make it feel special (in an authentic way!)
  • Take some time to share about why those projects REALLY matter or choose a project that would benefit your team and speak to your interns interests!

3. Have some new resources available

  • You’ve got two goals here: You want your intern to be successful with the new project you’ve given and you want to show thoughtfulness (that you’ve prepared for giving this new project)

4. Offer and ask for feedback – and not too late, either!

  • Give your intern actionable feedback with real examples – it help them to be successful in the future! Make sure to give some positive feedback too
  • Ask them for feedback on what you’ve done well and what else they would have appreciated

Try out these tips and let us know your best strategies for engaging with interns!

Stand For Something

Stand For Something

To all our American friends, Happy 4th of July weekend!

It’s so easy on weekends like this to just enjoy the sales and extra day off work.

And, let’s face it, all the decisions the Founding Fathers made feel removed from our everyday life.

What is amazing about this group of people is that they chose to stand for something they believed in.

Against all odds, they thought it better for the United States to declare its independence from Britain, and then did something about it.

Though we are living over 200 years later, we have the opportunity to stand up for something we believe in.

This could be the next time you notice one of your peers making a decision that doesn’t align with your companies values to choose to say “Hey, I noticed that you’re doing X and I am wondering…”

Or, you’re on a product development team and your most recent development was shot down but you believe this direction is the one to go towards. Instead of choosing to let it go you can research and go back to your boss about why this should be considered.

We are all faced with those moment at work when something “just doesn’t sit right” with us.

Next time that happens, instead of just brushing that feeling off, think about what is it you have the opportunity to stand up for.

Get Inspired

Get Inspired

What is your first thought when you look at the picture above?

I’m going to guess that picture made you want to do something.

That’s inspiration.

As the excitement of 2016 starts to fade away and the daily grind starts to sink back in, take a moment to think about how is your team doing.

Do they need a little inspiration back in their day-to-day?

So many times, all people need is to feel cared about to get that little pop of inspiration back.

Take a couple of minutes to think of one question you can ask each member of your team to communicate that you care about them. Think about something that you’ve seen them do recently or you know is important to them.

Here are a couple examples to get those juices flowing:

  • I heard you mention you were going to the game, what was the most exciting part?
  • I noticed you have been really busy lately. Tell me about one accomplishment you’re really proud of?
  • Tell me a little more about your kids/pets! What’s something funny they’ve done recently?
  • I know you were thinking about moving, did you make any more decisions on that?

The next time you find yourself grabbing a cup of coffee with them in the break room, casually ask them the question you’ve thought about.

Inspiration doesn’t have to be some big speech or moment – it can as simple as the moment when you looked at a picture.