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: 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.


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!

When Saying “No” is the Best Thing You Can Do

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Some of us have an aversion to saying the word, “no.”

It may be because of the way we grew up, our personality type, or something we’ve learned over time.

No matter why the word “no” is uncomfortable, there are times when it is the best thing you can do as a Manager.

Before we jump into when to say “no,” to successfully say the word “no,” we have to be honest with ourselves.

We have to be willing to look at and admit what our limitations are and what we can handle before we can successfully say “no.”

When you are honest with yourself, then you can say “no” when…

1. You cannot deliver on something in the way it is being asked of you

We’d all love to believe that we can meet every deadline, fulfill every creative idea, and keep all of the balls in the air all of the time.

And, if we are honest, sometimes the requests being made of us may not always be feasible.

If you cannot deliver, try something like, “That won’t work for me right now because… And here are a few ideas that are possible…”

Remember, having the intention of wanting to help, while being honest enough to say when you can and can’t, will help you and everyone else.

If you can’t deliver in the way that is being asked of you, try to come up with some solutions for how you can still meet the need and present those ideas.

This communicates that this option doesn’t work right now, and I have some ideas that can! 

2. When you aren’t comfortable doing something

Sometimes we are asked to do something that we aren’t comfortable with.

Maybe you feel a gut check, or a tension in your neck or throat.

If you find that you are feeling uncomfortable or uneasy about a request, allow yourself the ability to say “no” temporarily so you can pause, assess what’s behind you feeling that way, and then decide what is right for you.

If you still feel uncomfortable, you may want to share why with the person who is asking.

If that doesn’t feel doable, give yourself the permission to say “no” to the request because it is what is right for you.

And, this is a prefect time to give a couple of other ideas what are possible!,

3. When you are burning out and taking on too many responsibilities

 If you are reading this, you are probably an over-achiever.

One thing to know about over-achievers is that we say “yes” sometimes more than is sustainable, and we set ourselves up for potential burn-out.

When you find that you are stretched too thin, be honest with yourself and find things you can say “no” to.

When you do say “no,” and the work needs to get done, ask yourself, “who could successfully accomplish these extra things instead of me?”

This may be a great time for delegating and trusting others on your team to get the job done.

Prepping for Fall

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 2.52.24 PM.pngCa you believe that it’s ALREADY September 1st?

We can’t!

It seems like just yesterday we were talking about You in 2017 and the words you were going to use for this year.

Now that we are jumping into fall, let’s take some time to look at those words or phrases you chose and think about what else you want for the rest of this year!

Step 1: Grab your calendar and block off 30 minutes

Step 2: Look at the word you chose for your professional life. Write down a couple of ways you’ve seen this word show up in you (purposely or not!). Now, write down a couple of opportunities you might have to grow in that area in the coming months (only 4 more full months of the year!!!).

Step 3: Look at the word or phrase you chose for your personal life and do the same reflective activity.

Step 4: Look at the hobby or interest you wanted to grow or expand on. Did you have a chance to? If so, AWESOME! If not, look at what you could do in the next few months to accomplish that. J

We find that just after the fun and chaos of summer is the perfect time to take some time to reflect and reset on what you are hoping for the rest of the year!