Reinventing Failure

Reinventing Failure

In 1919, a young twenty-year-old was fired from one of his first animation jobs at the local newspaper. As rumor has it, his employer cited his “uncanny lack of imagination and creativity” as the cause for his termination. This wasn’t the last of his failures – a few years later he started his own animation company that he eventually drove to bankruptcy.

Out of these failed attempts to create something meaningful (and many more that we’re not listing), grew an idea and a dream. This same man later founded one of the greatest innovations in entertainment and hospitality that the world has ever known.

The Walt Disney Company.

Disney has been sharing Walt’s ideas, his creativity, and his passion with the hearts of people all over the world for the last 90 years.

How we fail is important.

What is your philosophy of failure? How do you innovate?

In our experience, most people do one of two things:

  1. The first person runs as fast as they can from every opportunity that could implode to escape from the feared collateral damage of failure. Their self-worth and value as a person and employee is so intricately intertwined in the success of what they do, that they are terrified to fail – so they never innovate. They never challenge.They never grow.
  2. The second type of person charges forward in most every situation. Like an out-of-control train, they never looking back and never realizing the impact of their actions, the people and things they harm, or asking questions about why this or that failed. They skip the step where they ask themselves “how and why did this happen?” or “what can I do differently next time?”

There is, however, a third type of person. A person who innovates – who has a strong philosophy of failure, and who daringly defies the status quo -all the while, learning, asking questions, being sensitive to their failures, but not letting the failures define their success. 

In 2009, Google launched Wave, a technological marvel that seamlessly integrated emails, messaging, social networking, and online collaboration for it’s users.

It was genius.

It was also a complete and total disaster.

By 2010, Google announced that it would be sunsetting the program, and discontinuing all future development.

By 2011, it was, for all intents and purpose, dead. The program never hit the mainstream, it never collected a critical mass of users, and it fizzled out almost as quickly as it was developed. The media lambasted the project, calling Wave an “overhyped bust and a tremendous failure.” And they were right – Wave was a flop.

However, the 60 person team at Google that worked on the project was praised internally. Each of them was highly sought-after for other high-profile, internal projects.

No one lost their jobs.

None of them achieved the creation of something that was successful, but each of them did push the boundaries of innovation. They created something new and different. They dared to think outside of the norm, and made something really special and unique.

Curious about what comes next? Us too!

This week take some time to think about your philosophy of failure and next week we’ll keep talking about how to reinvent your failure.

Defining Shame

 

As a part of jumping into company culture – we want to take a step back and first define shame.

We’d encourage you to watch Brené Brown’s Ted Talk on Shame (above), as we will use this as a launching pad to talk about shame in the work place in the next few weeks!

Let us know your thoughts on Brené Brown’s research, and we look forward to digging deeper in the next few weeks!

Staying Mindful

Staying Mindful

So, did you try some of the mindfulness tips from last week?

Normally, we’ve got a number of paragraphs with thoughts and ideas.

This week, we’re doing something a little different – we’re going more interactive!

First, we’d encourage you to look at the clock and make sure you’ve got about 15 minutes free.

Next, set a timer on your phone for 1 minute.

Close your eyes for a minute and think about your breathing.

           Focus on your breath and clear your mind.

Now, take out a piece of paper and set your timer for 5 minutes.

          Write down everything that comes to mind. Don’t try to think or solve any problems. Just. Write.

How are you feeling? Maybe some of those things that were stressing you out are now on paper and not just being stored in your mind?

Last, think though or write about 1 or all of these questions:

  • What will I do today that will matter 1 year from now?
  • What is 1 thing I want to accomplish today?
  • Is what I am doing the best use of my time?
  • Am I having fun? How come?

We’ve found that staying mindful and present takes a combination of little checks through out your day (breathing when you are frustrated or enjoying your food instead of scarfing down a couple of chips) and taking a couple minutes of intentional time to reground yourself amidst the stress.

Try it out and let us know your thoughts!

Planning for Your Holiday Break

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Somehow it is already mid-December — WOW!

These next few weeks are exciting and stressful as they are filled with days off, celebrations, times with family and friends, AND hitting all those year-end deliverables!

This afternoon, let’s plan the rest of the year. Where to start?

Try working through some of the questions below:

  • What days are you off of work? Who is covering for you (and did you ask/tell them yet)?
  • What are the big projects you need to complete by the end of 2016 (or even early 2017)?
  • What progress HAS to be made now to be successful?
  • What resources are you planning on leveraging to make this project successful? How much do they know about this project? Engage them now, while they’re still in the office!
  • Break your work into small, manageable chunks – give yourself something to celebrate at the end of each day, knowing you’re getting even closer to completion of the goal!

By taking the time to plan out the next two weeks, you may save yourself the stress of wondering how you’ll get everything done!

That way, you may ACTUALLY be able to relax and enjoy your time off.

YOU deserve it!

Prepping Your Team for the Holidays

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Each day we knock out is one day closer to the end of the year!

You know, as well as your team, that there is a lot to get done this time of year. Not to mention the uncommonly large number of personal festivities we all have going on!

One suggestion that rings true throughout the year, but especially during the holidays, is to stay transparent with your team on expectations and deadlines..

You want your team to have a great time with their friends and family AND you want to maintain their fabulous performance! Transparency will help.

What does that mean?

Think about what expectations you hold for your team. These could be things like:

  • Having v2 of product development complete by December 31st
  • Continuing to provide the same level of customer satisfaction your brand is known for
  • Holding a strategy meeting to look into what you can do differently in the first few months of 2017
  • Making sure your team actually takes a couple of days off to avoid burnout

In your next 1×1 or team meeting, share what you want to see happen over the next few weeks.

By openly discussing your expectations and timelines envisioned (or promised!), you’ll avoid hearsay and allow your team the opportunity to ask questions to help further clarify what you need from them (and how you can help them knock it out of the park!).

Try it out and let us know how it goes!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

This time of year can be so interesting. Our time is filled with stuffing ourselves full of delicious foods and navigating our way through stores to try to “find the best deals”.

Often times, as we are spending more time with those in our personal lives, those who we work with see a bit of a different picture.

We are trying to get out a little early… and it can be so easy to:

  • Snap at our peer about not being able to get to the project until next week
  • Tell our direct report that we can help them later or that they are “innovative and can figure it out”

Sound a little familiar?

As we are entering into the home stretch of 2016, let’s challenge each other to stay present in each moment.

You totally want (and need) to leave early, and if you are feeling flustered or pressured, take a big- deep breath, and choose to be present in the moment.

Re-center yourself and *think* about what you are going to say before letting the words come out.

Choosing to do this may help you to keep those relationships supported while also communicating what you need to in the moment.

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!

How to be a Great Manager if You Tend to be Diplomatic and You Need to Drive Results

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This week we have Coach Shannon Goodwin with us sharing her thoughts on how to be a great Manager if you tend to be diplomatic and you have got to drive some results!

Take it away, Shannon!

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“If you are a Manager who tends to be diplomatic, that is often an indicator that you have high interpersonal sensitivity and that you easily and effectively build positive relationships across the organization. These are valuable skills!

 

For Managers who have the strength of diplomacy, there are times when driving results and confronting performance issues can be a challenge. Here are a few ideas to keep in mind if you’re one of them:

 

Use your natural ability to build positive relationships! Understand individual motivators and match mission-critical business projects to the people who will be motived by them.

 

Learn as much as you can about your people– their motivators, career goals, skills and talents. That way, when you need to assign a project or task to drive results, you can look for opportunities to match the people on your team with the projects that will be motivating for them!

 

If the task or project isn’t that exciting or inspirational, recognize and emphasize the value that the task or requirement brings to the company, clients, or the bottom line.

 

The key here is to be genuine and not to try to put the proverbial ‘lipstick on a pig’ or over represent the excitement or attraction of the task if it isn’t there.

 

Make performance goals as clear as possible.

 

Most of us have heard about the importance of having SMART goals. Whenever possible, apply the SMART framework with your team to make sure that their performance expectations are clear.

 

When we have SMART goals, it becomes much easier to assess whether or not they were achieved.

 

When someone didn’t meet expectations, have a candid conversation with them to find out what happened.

 

Most people who are high in diplomacy are not as eager to have these conversations. Whether we’re comfortable with them or not, it is often helpful to prepare ahead of time and to use an approach that will facilitate a constructive conversation.  Below are some tips that you can use to prepare:

  • Plan what you want to say ahead of time; practice aloud and/or write down a few bullets to help you remember your key points. Stay factual and avoid being accusatory or judgmental.

 

Be in a state of curiosity and inquiry; ask open-ended questions. Listen and breathe. Reiterate what you heard.

  • “Mary, the XYZ report was due on Monday. I didn’t see the report in my inbox. What happened?”
  • “So, you wanted to get the report done and you were traveling back from China when your laptop battery died before you had a chance to send it?”

Reiterate the business need. Let the person explore and own the solution. Encourage multiple options.

  • “The XYZ reports need to be submitted by Monday so that we can accurately report the metrics to corporate and ensure all of the commissions are counted before they go to payroll.” 
  • “What could you do to avoid this in the future and ensure that the XYZ report is submitted in time?” 
  • “What else could you try?”
    • Set a time to follow up, if needed.
  • “When would you like to follow up on this?”
  • “Would you mind sending me a calendar invite for that?”

Thank you, Shannon!!

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!

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!