Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Value-Added Reciprocity

Pick someone you have an important working relationship with, and ask yourself the following two questions:

Q1: What does s/he need from me to feel completely confident in - and appreciative of - my ongoing value-added-ness to him/her?

Q2: What do I need from him/her to feel completely confident in - and appreciative of - his/her ongoing value-added-ness to me?
Share your answers with the other person and ask them for theirs. Compare. Contrast. And repeat as necessary.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

[W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA, or not

This in from client, Mary:

Apparently, yesterday (January 22, 2007) was the most depressing day of the year. This is not based on superstition but a formula, by a professor (Cliff Arnall) in Wales. This professor’s so-called formula looks like this: [W + (D-d)] x TQM x NA:

W: How bad the weather is at this time of year.
D: Amount of debt accumulated over the holidays minus how much is paid off.
T: The time since the holidays.
Q: Amount of time passed since New Year’s resolutions have gone south.
M: Our general motivation levels.
NA: The need to take action.

Thanks, Mary. And two quick addenda from me about this :

Thing One: I'm glad it's no longer yesterday - it actually was kind of a lousy day, now that I think about it.

Thing Two: It seems that Dr. Arnall also has a formula for predicting the happiest day of the year: O + (N x S) + Cpm/T + He:

O: Being outdoors and outdoor activity.
N: Nature.
S: Social interaction.
Cpm: Childhood summers and positive memories.
T: Temperature.
He: Holidays and looking forward to time off.

This year, it will be on Friday, June 22nd so you may want to note that on your calendar so you can remember to make it so!

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Friday, January 19, 2007

Life Coaching: Bridges to Fulfillment

In what I think is a very informative and well-written, article about life coaching and how it works, Elite Magazine just published: Bridges to Fulfillment - Life Coaches Help Close Gaps Between Dreams and Reality, by Jennifer Mifflin. It features yours truly and one of my clients, Melissa Coulter.

If you're a current or former client interested in being interviewed for an article like this, please let me know. Thanks.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

On Having an Aura

Illinois Senator, and fellow Land of Lincoln resident, Barack Obama took another step in history yesterday by filing the necessary paperwork to establish a formal presidential exploratory committee. Regardless of your political leanings, you're gonna wanna watch this guy - he's got a definite charisma-thing going on.

Back in 2004, shortly after his powerful keynote address to the Democratic National Convention, the Chicago Sun-Times interviewed me to get an executive coach's assessment of the man's appeal.

I used the acronym A.U.R.A. to help explain it:

A=Assured: "People with charisma tend to be very much assured. They're confident but not necessarily arrogant." They also have a vision, Zweibel said, a savvy, and are "larger than the stage they're on. Clearly, in this case, [Obama] was larger than the stage he was on."

U=Unique: "They are something new. ... [Obama] is new, he's young, he looks different. Kind of almost too thin, tall." Part of this is "a magnetism that catches your imagination, forces you to pay attention," and mystery. "Think about Obama and it's like, 'Yeah, where is he coming from? How did he stay hidden for so long?'"

R=Relevant and Resonant: "In a way, he was showing us he's like us, even though he's not like us. And he was saying he's different from us, even though he's similar to us. So I thought it was wonderful how he approached it from both sides."

A=Alive: "And clearly he was. There was a spirit, a joy, an enthusiasm in him. There was an energy and a focus and, I guess, a clarity."

In the coming weeks/months/years, notice how this Lincoln-esque Illini ("almost too thin, tall" from Illinois) uses his A.U.R.A. to amplify his impact. And notice those around you, too, who do - and do not - exhibit charismatic tendencies or their own.

Practice how assured, unique, relevant and resonant, and alive you can be in your interactions with others. You'll soon be impressed with what you can do when you put your mind to it!

And so will they.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Look Ma, No Hands!

You've seen the Lexus commercials where the car parks itself - as in literally? Well here's something even cooler: cars that drive themselves!

According to monstersandcritics.com, "DaimlerChrysler says it has conducted successful field testing of a car to car communication system with vehicles warning each other of a dangerous situation or obstacle on the road."

Forbes Magazine has also reported (Car Talk, January 29, 2007, page 52) several intriguing possibilities, including these:
  • if you approach a car to quickly, your car will automatically brake
  • if a car is in your blind spot, an indicator will light on your dashboard or mirror, and your seat will start to vibrate if you turn on your blinker anyway
  • if your car breaks down, it will 'notify' other cars fast-approaching whether or not they are in line-sight of you

And with your car's on-board technology and wireless capabilities:

  • the local gas station could send movies to your car's DVD player as you fill-up
  • you could synchronize your car's music system with your home computer ... or your buddy's ... while driving
  • local weather forcasters could really know the weather by monitoring the number of cars with their windshield wipers on high

"The catch," says Forbes, "is that the authorities would also know if a driver were doing 90mph - the car would be broadcasting that information" and raises the intriguing question: "Can a police department get sued for not stopping a speeding driver it knew about who later killed someone?"

Ladies and Gentlemen, fasten your seat belts - it seems we're in for a very interesting ride!

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Friday, January 12, 2007

On Jelly Beans and Pumpkin Seeds

According to neuroscientist Allan Snyder, and as reported in Discover Magazine, 'jelly-bean counting' skills in normal people can be significantly improved with transcrainial magnetic stimulation - powerful magnetic pulses to the brain.

For an hour after the treatment, 83.3% of test subjects were "twice as accurate" in estimating the number of dots flashed on a computer screen.

I once won a 92-pound pumpkin by accurately guessing its weight. (I guessed 93.) I could have used some transcrainial magnetic stimulation to help me guess how many pumpkin seeds it contained!

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Consumer Trends for 2007

The January 2007 Trend Brief over at www.trendwatching.com/briefing has identified what they consider to be the Top 5 Consumer Trends for 2007. Here they are:
  1. Status Lifestyles - Rather than amassing additional possessions, consumers will be more interested in (and value more) brands that offer new and varied experiences, direct participation, opportunities to connect with other people, and eco-friendliness.
  2. Transparency Tyranny - Consumers have opinions and aren't afraid to post them on the web for all to read, listen to, and watch. Non-performing brands will surely feel their wrath; top-performing ones will surge.
  3. Web N+1 - First came the Internet. Now mobile-web is really hot. What next? Who knows, but count on the fact that it will be something!
  4. Trysumers - There are loads of new products and services to try out. And so people will, without much regard to brand loyalty.
  5. The Global Brain - "This year, expect many corporations, small and big, to aggressively court the 1% of most creative and experienced individuals roaming the globe."

It will be interesting to see how well GottaGettaCoach! - and your company for that matter - is prepared for these coming trends.

Say, does anyone out there know how to write programs for SmartPhones and Pocket PCs?!

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Preventing Problems: Non-Event Successes

Which are you better at: solving problems, or preventing them?

People who solve problems are critical to the success of any organization. Bosses tend to adore skilled problem-solvers and rely on them continually - which can be a problem in and of itself. But Problem-Solvers tend to enjoy a higher profile than most. They're often seen as heroes by the Big Dogs and, as such, tend to get bigger raises and bonuses, as well.

People who prevent problems, though, are even more critical to the success of an organization - even if their accomplishments do tend to be unnoticed, overlooked and undervalued. Not having a problem costs organizations far less than cleaning one up.

Why then the disparity in reputations?

The main difference is that while the Big Dogs accept that problems occur and need to be cleaned up, they often never realize that a particular crisis was averted. Needless to say, they also tend to not realize that the non-event resulted from the Problem Preventer's sterling efforts. Simply put, they don't know if they don't know.

So how can a professional Problem Preventer increase the profile of his/her success without being seen as making much ado about nothing? Here are a few ideas:

1. Keep your bosses updated on the issues you're working to prevent - Don't assume s/he doesn't care. And don't assume s/he already knows.

"Hey boss, don't know if you know about this or not, but in doing a routine audit of my department I found something I want to take a closer look at ..."

2. Don't make it look so easy - Let the Big Dogs know that the situation you're dealing with is fraught with danger, mon cherie. Discuss the ramifications of it actually becoming a problem and what you're doing to prevent those ramifications from happening.

"Yes, Big Dogs, while it's great how well our proposal was received, I'm getting a huge push-back from the customer on some contract specifics that could significantly impact our ability to actually close the deal ..."

3. Talk about the forks in the road - No doubt the situation you're facing is complex and nuanced. Seek input from the Big Dogs as to what route makes the most sense given the circumstances. Show them, through requesting their counsel and the dialogue that ensues, that you've got a brain and you're not afraid to use it.

"So, Big Dogs, I want to get your insights at this specific juncture because depending on the Bigger Picture, what looks good to me might not look good for you. As example, should my strategy focus more on ways to reduce costs, or increase revenues ... or just positively affecting the bottom line? ..."

4. Share the Good News - Wipe the sweat off your brow and send a Success Story up the chain. Even better, get someone else to tell your boss what a great job you did to prevent something terrible from happening.

"Hey boss, get a load of this: Remember how we wanted to help Stuart get off to a fast start in his new position as department head? Well I hired an executive coach for him and it's already paying dividends. He dodged a huge bullet in a staff meeting yesterday and came off smelling like a rose ..."

... or better yet ...

(To your boss from one of Stuart's direct reports) "I think Stuart's going to help us do good things - he's not afraid to say what needs to be said. Thanks for promoting him."

Don't underestimate the value of preventing problems before they occur. But don't underestimate the value in increasing the profile of these non-event successes, either.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Leadership Development web page added to GottaGettaCoach! web site

Hi All ~ Barry Zweibel, here. To start the new year off with a new page on my website, I offer you: http://www.ggci.com/leadership-development/.

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Monday, January 01, 2007

Welcome, 2007

Nothing personal to 2006, but here's hoping that 2007 is the best one yet for you and yours.