Continuing to Navigate

Rapids 2Last week, Coach Terry, PhD, PCC shared 3 steps on how to use political savvy to expand your influence in a positive way. Well, Coach Terry is back to share the final steps to developing your political strategy.

Take it away, Terry!

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.14.22 PMNow that we have recognized the key players, identified their interests, and mapped out their power and authority, let’s focus on getting our political strategy defined.

 

Step 4: Conflicts and Alliances

 

In every situation there are likely to be natural conflicts. While you may have had a strong alliance with a key leader yesterday, a new topic may emerge where you now find yourselves at odds. You can better predict likely conflicts by understanding the interests of key players. Frequent contact with the key players is crucial for political savvy.

 

Best Practice: Mapping out the alliances and the conflicts in any given political situation helps you better understand how decisions may be influenced within an organization.

 

Step 5: Political Strategy

 

In this final step, you will synthesize steps 1 through 4 to develop your political strategy.

 

Consider the following key questions:

 

  • Who are my allies that are likely to support me?
  • Who are my detractors, and how much power do they have?
  • Do I have enough support to overcome objections?
  • Who do I need to talk to further to better understand their positions, concerns, and interests?
  • Do I have enough relationship capital to influence those in authority to get what I want?
  • Is the timing right, or should I wait until there is more support for my position?
  • If I move forward, what will be the likely outcome in terms of future support or resistance from stakeholders?

 

The ultimate goal here is to continually build alliances and to avoid making enemies over the long haul.

 

As a reminder, political savvy can be used in an ethical way in an organization to increase your influence and build relationships. By understanding political savvy as a process, anyone can develop the skills to be successful in maneuvering organizational politics to achieve greater influence and business results.

 

So, try it out! Opportunities come up all the time to expand your influence, wherever you are in your organization.

Let us know how it goes!

Moving Forward on Your Goals

Wunderlist

 

How have your 2015 goals been going? Making some progress? Hoping to make some headway soon?

Sometimes (we’re not pointing fingers here!) it’s hard to remember the goals or deadlines we’ve created for ourselves. It’s also exponentially harder to get things done if we don’t have some accountability.

Want to create that accountability for yourself? We’ve found some apps for that job!

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll review a productivity/tracking app road-tested by one of our teammembers that will help you focus on (and hold yourself accountable to) the goals you’ve created.

Let’s check out App #1: Wunderlist

Who tested it?

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.59.43 PM

Ashley Clark

  • Program Manager for 5, global, complex projects
  • Lover of learning and thinking strategically
  • Wife, frequent Instagrammer, and Mom of 2 kids (under 2 years)

 

Why I like it?

  • Multiple to-do lists for today, this week, this month, this year, etc.
  • Sharing capabilities for some (or all) of your lists with your friends
  • Simple layout, making it very user friendly
  • Easy task management that includes due dates, reminders, stars, and list groups
  • It’s free!

What could be better?

  • No sub tasks on created tasks
  • No option for reoccurring tasks

Ashley’s bottom-line:

This app is very easy to use for both you and sharing your goals with others!  I found it easy to create to-dos and it was helpful in keeping track of all the different things I have going on in a day!

Stay Tuned: More reviews coming your way next week.

Seeing People’s Strengths

StrengthsYou know those weeks where it feels like professionally or personally (or both!) the people around you are just trying to push your buttons?

It becomes really easy to focus on the negatives.

So, if you are having one of those weeks- we want to encourage you to take a step back and gather a little more perspective.

  • Step 1: Take a deep breath and let it out slowly, counting to 5 (we’re serious… you will begin to think more rationally!)
  • Step 2: Ok – now, think back to what was pushing your buttons, but try to think of the situation with the lens of the other person’s strengths

For example:

Someone on your team seems to be impatient and wants to take action on projects quickly. You don’t feel like they are giving enough thought to the project as a whole. But maybe your employee’s strength is taking thoughts and instantly turning them into action. So, this is a teammate who you know you can rely on to help get things done!

Or:

Everything feels like it has gone wrong this week… the deadline wasn’t met, the client or executive team was not happy, and then there was the one person on your team who was upbeat and positive. You were feeling like this was not at all a time to be positive. This teammate is able to easily get others excited, rallying a team together, to have the encouragement to keep pushing onward!

See, your frustration, when seen in another light (may still be frustrating but) makes a lot more sense and puts value back on each member of your team!

Celebrate Your Wins

Celebrate Your VictoriesWe’ve got some goals. And, we know what is driving these goals.

How do you feel? Nervous? Excited? Ready to jump in? Anticipating the busyness of life to pick up soon? We feel all those too.

It is exciting to set goals. Sometimes, though, I feel like it takes a lot to reach them.

This week, we have Coach Teresa Wallace back to share another tip about setting goals.

Here is her encouragement:

Teresa Wallace“Build small wins into your larger goals. 

 

Remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step. 

 

Celebrate that one step, because now you only have 999 more steps to get to your ultimate goal!  Hey, that’s less than 1000 steps!

 

As you celebrate each small win, your confidence builds, your motivation soars, and you reengage with the larger goal. 

 

A great way to do this is by setting goal levels. 

 

What’s the minimum you can accomplish on the goal and still feel like you’re moving forward? What’s in the middle (a realistic stretch)?  What’s the big goal? 

 

Even if you don’t meet the big goal right away, you’re still taking steps forward!”

 

Take those goals you have written and add in “mini” goals along the way.

And, don’t forget to let us know once you’ve made some of those. We would love to celebrate your wins with you!

Creating Inspiring Goals

Inspiration

Do you have your list?

You know… the list we talked about last week with the three words you want to be able to use to describe 2015.

So, now what?

We’ve asked some of our fantastic Coaches for advice on goal setting. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be getting some great tips on how to set (and take action on!) these goals.

To start, Teresa Wallace, a Coach with over 25 years of experience in helping leaders achieve exceptional results, has given us these tips.

Teresa Wallace“In brainstorming about your goals get rid of the “SHOULDs” and “HAVE-TOs”.

“Should do” and “have to do” goals will very quickly start to feel like work and most of us already have enough work. Besides, who really gets excited about things they have to do or should do?

Instead, focus on how you’ll feel when you accomplish your goal.

Satisfied…fulfilled…motivated…happy.

When your goals are inspiring, you’ll be passionate about making progress on them. This passion will keep you moving forward, even when things get challenging.

Try asking yourself the following questions to get started:
• Why is this goal important to me?
• How will my work (or life) change when I reach the goal?
• How will I feel when I reach this goal?

So, this week look at your three words with Teresa’s advice and make sure these are things you are really passionate about.

Looking at where our goals start from is part of the journey to success!

What If…?

what-ifDeadlines. Projects. Holiday celebrations. Family events. More projects. Children’s plays. More Deadlines. Rise and repeat.

Right now, it probably feels like your focus is to make it to December 31st. Then you can go home early, celebrate the new year, and have a day to breathe before going back to work in 2015.

But, what are your plans when you get back?

Many times the new year is filled with resolutions and goals, determined by who we think we should be.

But, what if we started thinking about things differently?

Instead of determining our goals from feelings of obligation, what if we started to ask questions starting with what if?

What if I want to be better than I currently am? What would that take?

What if my staff knew that I was committed to their development? How would the team change?

What if I got the promotion I’ve been working for? How would that benefit my company/career/family/etc.?

Starting with what if gives us the chance to start to dream again.

So, what is your what if question for next year?

Keeping Your Cool

relax-on-the-beachI know… the picture almost makes you cringe.

Maybe it’s because you are experiencing the cold of winter and you can’t even remember what 50 degrees feels like.

But more likely it’s because of all the impeding deadlines you just realized you need to complete in the next 26 days. I know… I feel the pressure too.

Maybe it is a big project? Or two or three…? Or all those sales goals you are expected to make during the holidays? Or figuring out how to pitch to the last big client you are hoping to land before the end of the year?

How do you keep your cool and relax during it all?

These three suggestions given by Forbes are a great place to start. Particularly insightful, especially for this time of year, is the point that a lot of times stress is not one big event but rather lots of little events that built up over time.

During the month of December when there are holidays, family gatherings, work celebrations, and days off- all of the little things that need to get done can add up rather quickly. Recognizing each pressure and creating lists and goals are a great way to prioritize your daily needs (both personal and professional).

Hang in there!

Stop and Refocus

PHD ComicsDo you feel it yet? I do.

The holidays are so close and yet so far away. They are close enough where the bit of cold weather (or snow) is almost exciting. But far enough away that the routine of every day is still mundane.

The next two months are filled with excitement and family celebrations along with pressure and deadlines.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming to manage it all.

So when you are having one of those days when the deadline feels all too close, your direct report needed to have that conversation with you, and it feels like there just isn’t time to get is all done, here are a couple of suggestions.

Stop.

For just a few minutes.

Get up.

Take a walk.

Go get a cup of coffee.

Look out the window.

Think.

Remember why you do what you do.

Picture the celebration of the season.

Remember the feelings of accomplishment you’ve had before.

Know that you will get it all done.

Sometimes taking a 5 minute break from all the pressure can create the mental space we need to get the job done!

How Do You Handle Conflict?

Now that we’re digging into managing conflict – do you know your conflict management style?

We asked Dr. Terry Hildebrandt, Professional Certified Coach and co- author of Leading Business Change for Dummies, about different ways to manage conflict. Here’s what he had to say:

Screen Shot 2014-10-10 at 1.14.22 PM

When we think of conflict, often we assume that there is only one way to handle it. Kenneth W. Thomas (2002) and Ralph Kilmann have actually identified five strategies to deal with conflict – each having strengths and weaknesses. Managing conflict is a critical management skill that involves partnering with others, building relationships, effectively listening, and negotiation.

Conflict arises when our desires or concerns are at odds with someone else’s desires or concerns. The five conflict styles are a function of two variables: (a) how much you try to satisfy your own concerns, known as assertiveness, and (b) how much you try to satisfy others’ concerns, known as cooperativeness. Here is a brief overview of each style.

Competing: This is perhaps what most of us consider when we think of conflict. We try to win or get what we want, and the other party loses. Competing is high assertiveness and low cooperativeness.

Accommodating: When we accommodate, we give the other person what they want but forgo our own needs or desires. We are unassertive and cooperative.

Avoiding: Many people prefer to avoid conflict altogether. In this case, we are unassertive and uncooperative.

Compromising: When we comprise, we get some of what we want and the other party also gets something, but neither party gets all of their concerns met. We take an intermediate position on both assertiveness and cooperativeness

Collaborating: Much has been written the last decade on the value of collaboration or creating “win-win” solutions. Here we are both assertive and cooperative. Not only do we ensure that our own concerns are addressed, we also take on the concerns of the other party and work together to meet their needs as well.

Terry has gone into some more depth on these conflict styles on his blog.

So, this week, think about which category of conflict management you usually work in.

Then, think about a current or past conflict and determine which type of management style would be best in creating a resolution!

Conflict Hit… Now What?

You were hoping for an easy day, weren’t you?

You know… those days where you get to work, know what you need to do, put out a couple of “small” fires, cross off most things on your list, and are able to leave feeling accomplished.

Instead, you came in, started on things like you had planned, and then it hit.

The conflict.

Really, this conflict could have been anything – personality differences among team members, non- compliance with policy, performance review issues, differences in goals… and the list goes on.

As the leader, you play a key role in resolving conflict. Knowing your conflict style, the general flow of how teams work, and how to promote collaboration are all key in how you assist in resolving conflict. We’ll be looking at these tools in the coming weeks.

But for now, here are a couple of key questions to think through when conflict arises:

  • What is the literal situation you have been presented with?
  • What could be at the root of the conflict? (fear, insecurity, anger, confusion, etc.)
  • Who does the conflict involve?
  • What are different concerns, hopes, and fears?
  • Who needs to be present during resolution conversations?
  • What could potential resolutions look like?

We’d suggest considering these questions before addressing the conflict.

Openly identifying the situation, your position, and what resolution could look like will help to create a sense of peace and clarity – even in some of the most difficult conflicts.