Planning for Change

Planning for Change

Change. It’s – well – part of life!

So, what do you do when you had an expectation that things would go one way, and in reality, they have taken a gnarly turn?

We’ve got Coach Melissa Creede, an amazing business Coach who has been with Coaching Right Now for 2 years, here to share some of her knowledge with us!

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“Picture this – a company hired a dynamic, new leader who had a bold vision for the organization. We’ll call her Sarah. She joined the organization full of possibility and enthusiasm to take them from the effective organization that they already were, to one that she saw as having truly exceptional and influential potential in its industry.

The leadership couldn’t wait to see results.

Unfortunately, that’s not how it all played out. In fact, the first six months were nothing short of a disaster.

9 months into the process, Sarah and her most senior counterpart were both on the verge of leaving the company, and the best staff were frustrated and actively looking for other jobs. They were further behind than when they started.

And sadly, this is an all-too-common experience.

What went wrong?

What could the they have done differently to ensure a successful change endeavour?

  1. Create a vivid, exciting, and aspirational vision of what’s possible in the future TOGETHER

Sarah’s approach was to identify the problems the Senior Leadership wanted to ‘fix’ and then try to ‘sell’ their plan to the employees. When it didn’t work, they blamed the employees for being resistant to change and for ‘sabotaging’ the process.

Ideas to try:

  • Start asking curious questions without judgment or attachment.
    • If we were at our best, what would we want to be known for?
    • What impact would we be having?
  • Let the bold vision emerge rather than being dictated solely by your personal vision.
  1. Build from strengths

A mistake Sarah made when she first arrived in the organization was to plow head first ‘selling’ the vision she had for the organization. She was quick to point out what they weren’t doing and came across as condescending and critical.

Ideas to try:

  • Change your mindset – there are always strengths in an existing system or workplace.
  • Name those strengths! Appreciate them and how they have created the space and place you are in now.
  • Build from them – take them and bring them to the next level.

Try out these tips this week and come back next week for three other ideas on what they could have done differently and some practical ideas to try!

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Set It Up

Set It Up

We all have different ways of organizing our homes, lives, and creative spaces. But what about our offices? When you have the freedom to work from home (and cube walls won’t be the defining factor of your office space), where do you even start to organize yourself into a productive zone?

Kelly EllisOur Team member, Kelly, has some helpful tips:

Organization – my favorite topic! I have worked in two types of set-ups since beginning the work at home journey: a cramped desk in my kitchen and my new dedicated office room in my home. Here are a few things I’ve learned about organizing in both types of office spaces. 

First – minimize distractions as much as you can. Clutter (even creative clutter!) can form a thought barrier between you and your task at hand. My tip would be to focus on what you need and have those items as your mainstays on top of your desk.

THAT’S IT.

I’m pretty disciplined about this – I typically only have my extra monitor, laptop, notebook for to do’s and tasks, and my trusty pack of pens on my desk. And sometimes my cat – but that’s really not my choice.

I’ve also found it extremely important to make my deskspace ‘Kelly-zone’. When I am in Kelly-zone, I am working and focused. I don’t sit in Kelly-zone while watching TV – being in my office chair is a signal that I am ready for business-time. Also, no TV in my office! I have a hard enough time focusing on the task at hand, but when a TV is blazing it’s multi-colored glory – I’m a goner.

Organizing your space is easy, but I’ve found the hardest part of organizing an offices space is the mind. Even though the word ‘routine’ sometimes gives people mental hives, it is AMAZINGLY helpful to have one when working from home. Without the visual cues to end (or start!) your day, it’s very easy to work way into the evening or not start on time.

Try out a few routines to see what works best for you. Always try and start with some way of gathering your thoughts and documenting them – to do lists are magical – but even getting out on paper what you’d like to accomplish today will make you ten times more likely to get it done.

Lastly – and this may be the most important – keep one thing nearby that makes you smile. If a color makes you happy – paint a canvas in that color and hang it in your line of sight. That awesome picture from your most recent vaca? Put it front and center on your office bookshelf. Even though your colleagues can’t see your space, it will make you feel a LOT better about the time you spend in your zone if you make it your own. 

Thanks, Kelly, for your tips!

What’s your work-at-home situation? How do you organize your space and mind when working from home? We’d love to hear from you!

Working At Home

Working At Home

As the world gets more and more virtual, so does our work. Studies have shown that 3.7 million employees (2.5% of the workforce) now work from home at least half the time and more and more companies are moving to be totally virtual.

Sound exciting? We agree – at CRN, we’re proud to be in those ranks as well.

BUT – if you have worked from home for even a small portion of your week, you might have found some interesting traits about yourself and home/work style:

  1. You are so PRODUCTIVE. When you’re not concerned about the commute home, worrying if you locked the front door, or if you have to sign for that delivery – some of the typical stress of being away from your dwelling is completely out of mind and taken care of. You also don’t have the social cues to head to Starbucks with a colleague, or spend a bit more time at the proverbial water cooler, so those extra minutes are spent knocking things out!
  2. Some days, it’s harder to stay focused on the tasks at hand. AND stay motivated. The joy of working from home is that you’re, well, at home. The not-so-joy? All of the off-work distractions are front and center – and there’s no one physically there to hold you accountable.
  3. I’m kind of lonely. It’s harder to fulfill that basic human interaction need when all you’re doing is staring at a computer screen!

What other aspects have you found out about yourself while working from home?

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be looking at a few of our Team’s tips and tricks on how to keep the work-at-home productivity rockin’ and the distractors at bay – to have the most productive, work-at-home day ever.

Stay tuned!

Take a Break- Know What You Need

Take a Break- What You Need

Over the past couple of weeks we have talked about different ways to think about taking a break.

Have you ever taken your typical break (getting outside / creating something / spending time with those close to you) and were left, well, needing ANOTHER break?

Different times call for different types of breaks.

It’s important to take “each kind” of break and make time for it. If you are always making the time to take mental breaks but never making the space to be around those you love, you’ll still be fighting to feel like you’re getting the break you need.

Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 7.22.41 AMThis week, we have Sheila Clark with us, sharing about the different types of breaks she really enjoys.

What is that thing that you love to do? I love to read a good book, and occasionally enjoy some creative time behind a sewing machine.

Why do you love to do that? My grandmother instilled the love of creativity into my life at a young age. Through the years, I’ve developed some great relationships among others who share similar hobbies. Both sewing and reading also allow me some time to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and rejuvenate.

In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you find time to do it? In all honesty, I have to schedule time for these things, and it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. Reading a chapter or two at night before turning out the light, or in the morning over a cup of coffee. Scheduling a half hour in the early morning or on the weekend to work on a project behind my sewing machine.

What is one tip you’d make to someone who wanted to create a little more space to do something they enjoy? It’s just as important to take care of yourself as it is to take care of others or to work through the daily agenda. I have more energy and capacity to meet the busy demands of my life when I’ve invested some time in my own self-care. 

This week, we’d encourage you to be a little more reflective and think about what types of breaks you do well, and what kinds you can make a little more space in your life for.

It’s just as important to take care of yourself as it is to take care of others or to work through the daily agenda.

We will leave you with this thought, I have more energy and capacity to meet the busy demands of my life when I’ve invested some time in my own self-care.

Take a Break- Be Creative

Take a Break- Creative!

“I want you to CREATE something.”

I would guess you just felt one of two things… either thrilled excitement OR a sinking pit in your stomach.

From quite a young age, we seem to “identify” ourselves as either creative or not – and it’s usually based on what we perceive our artistic ability to be.

We are all creative – we just tend to think about creativity with a very narrow definition.

Dr. Lynne Levesque, a business creativity consultant, is known for her work in this area. Lynne identified eight different styles of creativity to bucket talent in organizations.

A couple of these styles are:

  • The Explorer: whose catalytic creativity is like that of many serial entrepreneurs and successful marketers
  • The Visionary: whose futuristic creativity is represented by internet gurus, prophets, and strategists
  • The Pilot: whose strategic creativity we see in skilled project managers and organizational designers
  • The Diplomat: whose collaborative creativity is revealed by humanitarians, civil rights activists and caring 
leaders

Additional research shows that getting out of yourself and into a creative space (whether it’s painting an acrylic masterpiece or creating an entirely new organizational design) allows you to experience an expanded sense of time, become a better problem solver, and even experience stress relief.

Kelly EllisThis week we have Kelly Ellis with us sharing what she loves to go to take a break with her creativity.

What is that thing that you love to do? My new hobby is refinishing furniture (I’m a re-furber!)

Why do you love to do that? There’s something magical about taking something old and not so pretty, putting in a lot of hard work (and sometimes blood, sweat, and tears), and then stepping back and directly seeing what I accomplished.

In my day job, it’s hard to see what’s actually been completed each day. It’s even harder to see if it’s gotten done with excellence. Lots of meetings, lots of pep talks, lots of shuffling schedules / tasks / resources. But with refinishing furniture, I get the satisfaction of seeing the direct output of my time and energy (both good and bad!).

In the midst of a busy schedule, how do you find time to do it? I focus on taking baby steps toward the completion of my projects – planning out what needs to get done in large buckets first, then dissecting each bucket into smaller tasks. This means that I can complete a small task (think sanding the top of a table or taping a canvas off for painting) that takes less time than a whole bucket, but still leaves the same feeling of satisfaction of moving forward.

What is one tip you’d make to someone who wanted to create a little more space to do something they enjoy? Sometimes the act of starting a huge task / project / challenge is paralyzing – even when we are doing what we ENJOY to do. By breaking your goal into smaller chunks, you’ll consistently make progress – keeping your motivation high, happiness levels up, and creativity flowing!

Think about what type of creativity really excites you and find time to take a break from your normal routine and make time for it.

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!

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!