Monday, December 31, 2007

New URL for GottaGettaBLOG!

Please note that GottaGettaBLOG! posts from the years 2003 through 2007 will be permanently archived, here, at www.ggci.com/blog, under the heading of "GottaGettaBlog! 2003-2007". But, starting January 2008, blog posts will be posted at: www.ggci.com/blog2.

Furthermore, starting January 2010, new posts will be at:
http://www.ggci-blog.com/.

Please update your bookmarks and automated feeds accordingly.

Thanks!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Prescription of Description

Here's an exercise to help challenge (and sharpen) your creativity. Time needed: About 5 minutes.

Pick an object and write down as many words as you can to describe it without actually naming what it is. When you run out of descriptions, rotate or flip the object to get a fresh perspective and continue. When you run out of descriptions again, close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, put a smile on your face, and try once more.

Repeat with different objects as often as you'd like.

Source: Mental Agility (as cited in an article from a magazine who's name is nowhere to be found on the clipping I saved - Oops!)

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Who Said Quitters Never Win?

As reported in the December 2007/ January 2008 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine:
"Psychologists asked 90 adolescent girls about their tendency to hold on to unattainable goals. Over the next year, they found that the girls who said they never gave up had more quickly increasing blood levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) as compared with the girls who were moderately good at letting go. High levels of CRP often precede the development of heart disease, cancer and diabetes."
Add to that the teachings of Seth Godin in his 2007 book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick):
"What really sets superstars apart from everyone else is the ability to escape dead ends quickly while staying focused and motivated when it really counts. Winners quit fast, quit often, and quit without guilt..."
So, as you look to complete the final month of 2007 and get ready for 2008, what "unattainable goals" might it make sense for you to quit?!

----
Thanks Eddie!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Vulnerability, Teamwork, and Personal Growth

Last week I had the opportunity to spend two days on a rustic team building retreat at Joy Outdoor Education Center in Clarksville, Ohio, courtesy of a corporate client, Hill-Rom, where the group learned about their Insights® colors (courtesy of Scott Schwefel), did a high ropes course and related activities, endured gusts up to 34 mph and wind chills down to the teens (brrr!), shared emotionally-moving and personal stories deep into the night by light (and warmth) of a bonfire, slept in cabins, ate camp food, and stretched and grew in ways that were truly amazing. And that was Day One!

Day Two included a morning of coaching and facilitation, courtesy of yours truly, and an afternoon of detailed departmental planning and goal-setting, led by Phillip Saxton, president of MiTowne.

Initially, I perceived, and prepared for, my role as that of catalyst: "an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action," as Merriam Webster might say. But as I settled into my bunk that first night it struck me that the 'change' I was there to provoke had actually already happened. Every single person, in their own special way, had already become so much more open, courageous, real - and vulnerable - with each other. The team knew it, liked it, and matched it, with a collective support, respect, regard, knowing, and appreciation.

That was the good news. The not-so-good news was that pretty much everything I had prepared for the following morning was now unnecessary and wrong! I no longer needed to help them change; my job was to help them solidify their changes.

It's one thing to watch others being vulnerable; it's something entirely different to be vulnerable oneself. Yet to be truly in service of the group I was there to coach, facilitate, and support, I knew I needed to honor and respect where the group now 'was' - and be completely present to, and enabling of, whatever needed to unfold from that point forward.

So, pre-dawn, and in keeping with the "Pushing the Limits" theme of the retreat, I decided to take what was to be the 'end' of my facilitation - an article called "Life is a ten-speed Bicycle," - and use it to start a conversational unfolding, if you will, where I would rely on my coaching instincts and the collective wisdom of the group to reach for something essential, but as of yet, unknown.

And so, for the next 3½ hours, quite powerfully at times, we explored, realized, agreed, and fine-tuned, what else was needed for this group of smart, capable, and caring professionals to truly coalesce into a single, unified, and unshakable, whole.

The ultimate outcome? Well that remains to be seen. To be sure, they're off to a very good start, but the team must consistently apply the Lessons Learned, aha's realized, and courageousness experienced for the ongoing magic to happen.

Will it be easy? Probably not. Is it doable? Definitely so. Is it likely? I actually believe it is.

As for me, I know that like everyone else, my comfort zone was significantly stretched these last few days - and in a number of different ways! (As I reflect on what that means, I feel a contented little smile coming to my face.) So for that, I thank each and every one of you who helped make that my new reality.

Now if I can just get that campfire smoke smell out of my clothing, I'll be all set!

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Friday, November 09, 2007

Julio Olalla: ICF Conference Keynote Speaker

The opening keynote speaker and Honorary Conference Chair of the International Coach Federation's 2007 Annual Conference was Julio Olalla, MCC, founder and president of the Newfield Network, an international education, coaching and consulting company.

A very engaging speaker, Julio spoke about the 'cognitive schizophrenia' that has developed in the modern world. He suggested that the world insists we focus on our exterior knowing - science, business, objects, the 'real' world, etc. - which we dutifully do. But lost in the process is our ability to connect with our interior knowledge - our hearts and souls, passions and beliefs, hopes, dreams, values, love, loyalty, appreciation for the wisdom of others and the very "cognitive possibilities" that flow from emotion.

The answer is not to swing the pendulum all the way to the other side, or even learn how to ably switch between exterior and interior paradigms in an effort to achieve so-called balance. Rather, he said, the answer is in learning how to unify our exterior and interior knowledge into a cohesive whole. (Coaching, by the way, is one of the few mechanisms available for directly enabling this type of learning.)

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

Our existing 'cosmology', says Olalla - the story we've created for ourselves about how we fit into the world - is externally based:
O --> A --> R
Observers (us) take Actions that yield specific Results. Should we not like the Results, we simply change our Actions and try again. Note that we don't typically consider how we might change ourselves to modify the outcome.

What if we allowed ourselves to change in addition to (or even in lieu of) changing the actions we take? How might we more consciously and intentionally incorporate more of our interior knowing into the "O --> A --> R" model?
Quite possibly, the Actions we'd subsequently take (and want to take, for that matter) would be sufficiently different to enable some completely new Results heretofore unavailable to us.

Easy? No. Possible? Absolutely.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Taking it Off-Line

Scenario: You're attending a staff meeting, tensions are high, pressure is rising, and your boss turns to you and asks a very pointed, but tangential, question that the answer to which is likely to drag things (and possibly you) down further. You try to take it off-line, that is, suggest you talk about it later, but the boss says "No. We're talking about it now."

What to do?~

Talk about it now, responding as quickly, crisply, and in as a respectful, non-defensive manner, as possible, pushing back when necessary, but doing so because it's called-for, not just because you feel like it or don't know what else to do. And hope that it doesn't turn into an inquisition, of sorts.

That said, what can you do to increase the probability that your next 'off-line' request will be agreed to and accepted ? Here are some ideas:
  1. Stay calm and composed - Nothing encourages a boss to go on the offense more than someone's defensiveness. Practice poise under pressure. It will serve you well.
  2. Frame your rationale - There's a huge difference in wanting to talk about something later because it makes more sense to, and wanting to do so because you're trying to avoid even having the conversation. Clearly frame your reasons accordingly, citing one of two compelling reasons why a different time and/or different setting for the discussion would better serve to boss and be advantageous to everyone else.
  3. Leverage your reputation - If your boss already knows you as a trusted advisor, this whole process becomes much more simple. Showing you're not afraid to 'dig in', 'hit things head on', and 'make the tough choices' - on a daily basis - will go a long way in times like these. Building a reputation that says 'credibility' gives you a foundation to stand on in such circumstances.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Higher Understanding through Ping-Pong

An absolutely wonderful article in today's Chicago Tribune titled, Mastering the art of Ping-Pong: Sensei says you must become 'calm and rushed' by By Kevin Pang:

Young Grasshopper hopes to one day become master of the Ping-Pong realm, but Young Grasshopper lacks the wisdom of Ardy S. Taveerasert, flower shop owner by day, sensei by night. Listen to the words of the sage in T-shirt and short shorts:

"Table tennis is like chess and running at the same time," Taveerasert dispenses, encapsulating 30 years of Ping-Pong perspicuity into one sentence.

Young Grasshopper nods. He absorbs. He understands. Everything Young Grasshopper has learned about Ping-Pong must be unlearned.

The setting: A warm, pastoral evening at Daley Bicentennial Park, steps from the Pritzker Pavilion, an iron monkey's leap from Lake Michigan.

The apprentices: Members of the Chicago Slam Table Tennis Club, a faction of all ages and nationalities. Five nights a week, they clash in the struggles of competition (and ostensibly, mankind), and to take in the knowledge of one Taveerasert.

The sage hails from Thailand. In his youth, Taveerasert's older brother forced him to play Ping-Pong. One day Taveerasert finally bested his brother, and then he did it again, and again, and again. A dream was born: to assemble a legion of Ping-Pong warriors, and to make the sport as ubiquitous in the U.S. as Little League baseball. A year ago, the sage became commissioner of the Chicago Slam Table Tennis Club, and a dream was realized.

On this night, Young Grasshopper enters the dojo with a dozen combatants of Ping-Pong at various levels of mastery. One student is Mike Mezyan, a 27-year-old from Jordan, who wears a royal blue athletic crew shirt, collars popped. He shuffles his feet from side to side like Baryshnikov over hot coals. His forehead glistens with sweat. He owns not a paddle, but a blade, which costs $500, and some $300 more a year to maintain its rubber surface.

As blade contacts ball, Mezyan grunts with a feral rage emanating from the depths of his soul.

"You need to be calm and rushed," Mezyan explains. To acquire swift instincts, one's inner-self must remain calm.

Mezyan goes on: Wait for the ball to reach the crest of its arc. The ball will momentarily stop in mid-flight and freeze.

At which point, Taveerasert says -- now standing opposite Young Grasshopper -- do not try to hit the ball.

A counter intuitive strategy, it seems. But soon, the sage's wisdom becomes clear: Trying to hit the ball means one is aiming to hit the ball. One should not aim to hit the ball. One should not try to hit the ball.

One should hit the ball.

"Harder," Taveerasert implores.

Young Grasshopper's guards prevent him from hitting the ball as hard as he could. He does not trust, nor does he realize, his untapped powers.

Harder! Taveerasert's brows furrow.

Young Grasshopper must release his inhibitions.

Harder! Harder! Harder!

Young Grasshopper, with all his might, swings his right forearm in a blur, the blade striking the white ball at the apex of its course. The ball streaks over the net, curves to the right, strikes the table once, past Taveerasert and his outstretched hands. It bounces several times off the floor before coming to a rest. The young apprentice scores one point off the sage. Eyes bulge with shocked disbelief. The student is humbled and the sage smiles.

Through the silence, Young Grasshopper and his master achieve a higher understanding.

-----
Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Is That Me Really Me?

I don't remember the source, but I do remember that we each have three me's:
  1. The 'me' that we think we are
  2. The 'me' that others think we are
  3. The 'me' that we really are

And while we'd like to believe that all three me's are one in the same, they often times are definitely not. Take, for instance:

  • The boss who doesn't think we're nearly as competent or capable as we think we are
  • The coworkers don't think we're nearly as helpful or collaborative as we think we are
  • The friends who don't think we're nearly as available or giving as we think we are
  • The family members who don't think we're nearly as loving or supportive as we think we are

The thing is this: In each case, there's probably some truth in what they're saying, even though our 'me' may think otherwise.

So what does it all mean? It means we're human. But its implications can be far more reaching because if we don't allow for the possibility (probability?) that the 'me' we like to think we are ... isn't, then we're likely to find ourselves in the middle of some very uncomfortable conversations/situations, moving forward.

So for the boss who doesn't think we're nearly as competent or capable as we like to think we are, and for the coworkers who don't think we're nearly as helpful or collaborative as we like to think we are, and for any friends who don't think we're nearly as available or giving as we like to think we are, and for our family members who don't think we're nearly as loving or supportive as we like to think we are ... yes, certainly help them understand where your 'me' is coming from, but be sure to allow for the very real possibility (probability?) that their views of your 'me' are as accurate, if not more so, than your own.

The 'me' we are would expect us to do nothing less from us.

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Thursday, August 09, 2007

Check Email MORE Regularly

Time, again, to play the Contrarian.

Much talk these days about how email is a huge time-management saboteur. As such, many experts are recommending that we only check emails twice/day ... to minimize our interruptions. But I think that's a pretty bad idea. Here's why:
  1. Checking for emails only twice a day will likely result in an inability to keep our inbox current. The resultant Inbox Overload, which I believe is one of the main triggers of workplace overwhelm and procrastination, is a centerpiece of poor time management.
  2. Checking for emails only twice a day will likely result in us missing important, time-sensitive, communications that, quite possibly, could save us from a LOT of unnecessary make-work ... if we only knew that priorities had changed ... before we did all that work we just did.
  3. Checking for emails only twice a day signals to your coworkers that you don't really care much about what they have to say. Being so disrespectful (intentionally or not) is hardly a smart move for anyone who has to depend on collaboration, teamwork, and cooperation to get things done.
  4. Checking for emails only twice a day undermines our cogitation, that is our thoroughly thinking things through before reacting or responding to them. You have to know it's out there before you can even start to think about it.
  5. Checking for emails only twice a day makes you a bottleneck which means that an increasing amount of what you have to do will be under increasingly tighter time frames.
  6. Checking for emails only twice a day prevents us from productively using our in-between moments. Consider:
  • Time you loose while waiting for meetings to officially begin.
  • Time you loose while waiting for meetings to officially end.
  • Time you loose while waiting on conference calls for others to finish discussing what doesn't involve, or impact upon, you.
  • Time you loose while waiting for your boss to finish that umpteenth phone call interruption.
These in-between moments are absolutely ideal for quickly checking your email and getting a meaningful leg-up on reading through some of those FYIs you typically ignore, or replying to the easy-peasy requests you know are buried in there somewhere, or previewing (so you can start cogitatating on) the more complex ones that probably just arrived. Go for it I say.

Can checking email too frequently become a time management problem? Sure. But because of the reasons just stated, I think checking your email too INfrequently creates even more time management problems than it solves.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Networking Mnemonic

Ever not sure how to keep a conversation going when networking?

Here's an easy-to-remember acronym attributed to Dexter Yager by Bob Burg in his book, Winning Without Intimidation (subtitled: How to Master the Art of Positive Persuasion in Today's Real World in Order to Get What You Want, When You Want It, and from Whom You Want It - Including the Difficult People You Come Across Everyday!) - The F.O.R.M. method of asking questions:
  • F stands for a question about their Family.
  • O stands for a question about their Occupation.
  • R stands for a question about their favorite types of Recreation.
  • M stands for a question about their Message, or what they want you to know about them.*

Should you find yourself in one of those Awkward Silence moments with someone you don't really know, ask a F-O-R-M question. In other words, ask a question about their Family. Or ask a question about their Occupation. Or ask a question about their favorite types of Recreation. Or ask a question about their Message.

Another Tip: If they just said something particularly (or even reasonably) interesting, but you're not sure what to ask next, simply say, "Really, tell me more." Then breathe!

Great ways to keep the networking badminton birdie in the air, don't you think?

* "Message" was originally meant to mean, "what they deem important," but I took the liberty to tweak it and make it a bit easier to actually apply.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In Lieu of Email Abandonment

More and more, people are wanting to literally abandon their email inboxes. And increasingly, messages like this are wanting to be sent:
"Sorry, but in my effort to catch up on my unread emails, I've "accidentally" deleted most everything in my inbox. If you've been patiently waiting for me to reply to something you sent - or waiting not-so-patiently, for that matter - please resend it at this time."
If this feels like a breath of fresh air for you, maybe you need to start training your associates how to send better emails. Here are some suggestions:
  • Inform others that each new topic within a given email is to be numbered and bolded to make identifying their segues not only possible, but easy.
  • Inform others that email subject lines are to be used more meaningfully and to indicate more precisely what is to follow and what is expected from you - Approval Needed, Vacation Request, Policy Issue, Project Status, Critical Update, Some Good News, Yikes!, etc.
  • Inform others that their FYI-type updates and emails providing answers to your questions are to be obviously marked as such.
  • Inform others that you're now scheduling your email inbox 'work' (not unlike how the USPS schedules their suburban mailbox pickups) so that the onus is on them to send emails needing your attention on a more timely basis.
  • Inform others that time-sensitive queries are better made in person or by phone, and NOT by email, unless you prefer otherwise.
  • Inform others that 'reply all' responses are to be used judiciously and cc's selectively.
  • Inform others that you will, unabashedly, and as a matter of courtesy, return to sender any email messages that do not comply with these simple criteria. (After all, they'd probably appreciate knowing that you're ignoring whatever it is that they wrote because you don't have the time or interest to try and decipher whatever it is that they intended for you to glean from the obfuscated email they just sent you, right?!)

Sound harsh? Maybe, but the July/August edition of Fast Company (page 46) indicates that improved email sending practices is saving Capital One approximately 11 workdays - that's more than TWO WEEKS - per employee per year, and that Union Bank is saving in excess of $750,000 (based on employees spending just 30-minutes less per week reading emails) per annum.

If none of this works for you, don't worry - there's always Email Abandonment!

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Friday, May 25, 2007

Hobson's Choice and the Counteroffer

Ever been in a situation where a boss has given you a choice between two or three equally UN-appealing alternatives? That's called a Hobson's Choice, named after Thomas Hobson, (1544–1630), "a livery stable owner at Cambridge, England who, in order to rotate the use of his horses, offered customers the choice of either taking the horse in the stall nearest the door—or taking none at all." (source: Wikipedia.)

If so, how do you handle it?

Keep in mind that often times, a Hobson Choice is often less about reality than a lack of imagination, flexibility, and creativity. While, true, you may sometimes just have to comply, it's quite often possible that your boss would actually be open to another idea or suggestion - a counteroffer - from you.

In the case of Hobson, himself, I could see you proposing a counteroffer whereby, for an additional fee that you'd be happy to pay, he'd send his apprentice to fetch you when your horse-of-choice is 'next up.' (Did you like how I used the word 'fetch' to give it a late 1500's/early 1600's feel?!)

In the case of your boss wanting several things done by the end of the week, I could see you proposing a counteroffer that has you completing his/her topmost priority by Friday morning, and finish the rest up over the weekend.

What has been your experience with proposing counter-offers? How have they actually expanded your discussions (and rapport) with your boss?

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Use Your Resources

One of the main ways people become successful is by doing what they do really, really, well. That often leads to them being promoted, which is generally a step in the right direction. But one of the main ways people fail to remain successful is by continuing to do what they did really, really, well in their prior position, in their new one.
Classic Example: The analyst who's promoted, but acts more like the work group's super-analyst than its supervisor.
(Surely you know someone like that. Odds are you've been someone like that - I know I have!!)

It's not easy to let others do what you know you can do so much better yourself ... if you only had the time to do it yourself. But therein lies the rub because you don't have the time to do it yourself. It's likely that you barely have the time if someone does it all for you!

No, relying on others isn't always easy. But it is important. And as we move up-the-chain, it becomes increasingly imperative - not just advisable or desirable, but imperative - for you to fully utilize the "people" resources available to you. And you've likely got more of them than you realize:
  • Direct Reports
  • Peers
  • Staff in other areas doing related work
  • Vendor personnel
  • Colleagues
  • Customers
  • Other outside contacts and connections
  • Even your boss!

So what do you need some help with? Identify three people who could provide you with some meaningful assistance on it. And ask them to help.

Even if two of the three say no, you'll still be better off than trying to slog through it all yourself.

You know I'm right.

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Choosing "Not" and Enabling So

Here's an excerpt from an interesting little book titled, What's it Like Being You? Living Life as your True Self, by John-Roger with Paul Kaye:
"There's a simple but powerful exercise you can use in any situation to move out of the false self and into the true self. Say you are driving and someone cuts in front of you, or you are stuck in traffic when you have an important appointment to get to, or your boss is really on your case, or you're calling your health insurer and get stuck in an automated-phone-system nightmare, whatever the situation, just say three words: I love this. Repeat this phrase in a neutral way, whether you mean it or not. This can be said silently or aloud."
What derails you? What takes you out of your game? Away from your Best Self? If you're like most, it's not what actually happens - or what doesn't happen - it's your interpretation of what's happening. (See: More on Success (and Failure); Good News (and Bad) - a blog post of mine from September, 2003.)

Combining the above, I'm doing an experiment this week where my interpretation-of-choice for whatever is - or is not - happening is, "I love this!" and you know what? A lot of cool things are happening for me. Coincidence? Maybe. But given a choice between getting aggravated about things, or not ... well, I'm choosing "not."

I like how this experiment is going. Check that, I love this!

And you? What are you experimenting with this week? There's still plenty of time to test something, you know.

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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Are you Asking or Requesting?

Ever notice how some people phrase requests in the form of a question?
  • "Would you help me out?" really means, "Help me ... now."
  • "Can you have that back to me by first thing tomorrow?" really means, "I actually want this back before the end of the day today."
  • "You don't need anything else from me right now, do you?" really means, "I'm outta here, so just let me leave."

Requests-in-the-form-of-a-question may seem more polite to the people asking the question, but they actually are often more confusing to the person being asked. The problem is that questions deserve answers, but requests deserve acknowledgements. And these are two very different things. If you've ever tried to answer one of these cloaked requests you know what I mean:

Boss: Would you help me out?
You: Well actually, boss, I'm kinda busy.
Boss: Don't be a smart-alec; help me out ... now.
You, to yourself: Oh great! Why didn't he just say so in the first place?
Boss, to him/herself: Hmm, I wonder if that an under-the-breath comment was a question or a request?

So how do you make requests? (That's my question.) Try making them more directly. (That's my request!) See the difference?

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Monday, February 20, 2006

Curling and the Rules for Success at Work

While I haven't been watching a LOT of the Olympics, one event that has captured my attention is curling - even though I can't seem to figure out the rules for the game.

Actually, I do know a few things. (Keyword: few.) I do know that there are so many of these teapot-looking things called 'stones' - maybe they're called 'rocks' - that are slid across a shuffleboard-looking court made of ice and if, at the end of the round, your rocks are closer to the bulls-eye-looking target than your competitor's, you win points. (I can't figure out how many points you win for accomplishing what, though.) Meanwhile, your competitor can curl some of his teapots into yours to change their placement, so there's some bocce-like strategy needed to prevent that from happening, too. (Not that I know much about bocce, either!) I think each game has a set number of bowling-like frames, but it might also be that you play until so many points are won, like in ping-pong. I'm just not sure.

Oh, and there are these brooms-like things that are used to either speed up or slow down the rocks, when needed. It's a crazy game and I just love to watch it unfold.

The point of this post, though, is not to show off my ignorance - although I've probably accomplished that quite well. My point is that if you want to succeed at work, you can't just be a spectator - you need to know the Rules for Success.

Too many people think that there's just one rule for success, the rule called 'doing a good job is enough.' You really need to be more savvy than that, though. You need to know the Rules for Success for working up, down, and across the organization. You also need to know the Rules for Success when working outside the organization - with vendors and customers, as example.

Do you know you boss' Rules for Success?
  • Do you know what your boss listens for when people speak?
  • Do you know how (and when) to give your boss bad news?
  • Do you know if it's better to ask for permission or beg for forgiveness - and when to do which?
  • Do you know his/her preferred method of communication - email, voicemail, memo, in person?
  • Do you know how often - and on what topics - your boss likes to be updated?
  • Do you know what makes your boss livid? Ecstatic? Bored? Engaged?
  • Do you know what your boss looks for in a go-to person? Are you that person?

In curling, sometimes the slightest nudge is all that's needed to clear the way and enable a score. So too at work. But you need to know the Rules for Success to even have a shot at doing that.

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Another Way of Working Smarter

The challenge is this: How can you do twice as much in half the time.

Ask most people, and they'll say something like, "Well, I'd just have to buckle down and really get things done." But while that may be able to provide a 15%-20% improvement in productivity (I'm estimating here), I seriously doubt that simply working harder could ever yield twice as much in half the time.

There must  be a better way. I'm thinking there is at least, and a number of clients are using a new approach that's giving promising results. The process is this - start with the assumption that you must  do twice as much in half the time - not just that you'd like to, or that you hope to, but that you MUST. Now, given that, make a list of what's preventing you from doing that. Your list will probably include some, if not all, of the following usual suspects , but feel free to add additional items as you see fit:

  • interruptions
  • needing additional information
  • needing someone's buy-in
  • having to wait for something to happen first
  • not having someone you can rely on as you'd like
  • meetings, meetings, meetings
  • uncertainty about what it is that actually needs to be done
  • cumbersome processes/procedural issues
  • Monday exhaustion, hump day blues, Friday euphoria (This reminds me of a fun little piece I wrote back in December 2003, "What else TV marathons have to offer", that offered a whole new way to organize your work week. Check it out. It's pretty clever if i don't say so myself!)

Okay, now that you have this list, work it first.

What?! Yes, that's right - work this list first because for every one of these 'time sinks' that you can meaningfully address, you get that much additional time back to work on your most pressing projects and assignments. So, if interruptions slow you down, set something up to carve some privacy into your day - even if it's only for a period of time. Too many meetings affecting your time? Send a surrogate, talk to the meeting leader in advance and give him/her your ideas on the subject so you don't have to attend. Procedural processes got you down? Create a better way, or learn how to step through the existing process more fluidly.

There's an old saying that goes something like this: "It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe." Time sinks are like grains of sand. Take care of them first, and see if you can't climb twice as many mountains in half the time.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

What "Chapter" are You In?

Excerpted from There's a Hole in my Sidewalk , by Portia Nelson ... An Autobiography in Five Short Chapters:

Chapter 1.

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I cant believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in… its a habit. But, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4.

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5.

I walk down another street.

So what chapter are YOU in? And what's your plan?

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Friday, September 16, 2005

"Hard" Reading made less-so

I like reading non-fiction books physically. I highlight passages, underline key points and dog-ear pages. (Sometimes I even spill coffee or drop part of a sandwich on then!)

I guess I'm pretty hard on my books. But I treat them with the greatest of respect.

What's fun is to go back so many years later and re-read them to see what struck me as important way back when. Oftentimes, when I realize how far I've come in my understanding of certain topics ... or that I STILL don't have a clue ... it makes me laugh right out loud! I guess I'm easily amused.

Along these same lines, a client recently asked, "How many books do you have to read to become an expert on a topic?"

Here's how I replied:

Hmmm. Well, if the topic is how to play tic-tac-toe, I think one book - probably one page of one book - would be sufficient. More complex issues would require more reading. Quantum physics, for example.

Then, there's the issue of how quick of a study someone is and how clearly the information resonates for them. Example: I could read about calculus from now til the end of time and suspect I would NEVER become an expert. Contrast that with my son - he's been doing calculus for, what, two weeks now? And he already gets a lot of it.

Okay, so with those disclaimers in place. I'm going to pick a number, and that number is ... seven.

Here's the rationale: 1-2 books to familiarize yourself with the topic; another 2 or 3 to dig in deeper (that's 3-5 so far); another 2 really nail it (that's 5-7) and maybe one or two more to confirm that you didn't miss anything or to add some additional subtlety to your knowledge.

So how would YOU answer the question?

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Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Solution: Have an even BIGGER Problem

Procrastination is pretty common. So I was eager to learn how a relatively new client would handle a task he agreed to take on ... one he'd been meaning to finish (and start, too, for that matter) for the better part of ... a year.

To our mutual delight, he reported just this morning that he not only started, but finished, the task in its entirety! (Again, congrats, D.)

When asked what helped him finally get it going, he summed it up in this way:
"When faced with an even BIGGER problem, the stuff that seemed impossible got a whole lot easier to just go ahead and do."

In other words, he realized that in order to solve this new problem, he needed to take care of that original thing first. So he did. And just like that, he started ... and finished ... a project he had be putting off for the better part of a year! Just like that, it moved from the impossible ... to completed.

Dependencies and inter-relationships of things can be a real pain sometimes. But in this case, it turned out to be a cure for procrastination.

So, what BIGGER problems can you use to help clear out the backlog of your procrastination?

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Monday, June 20, 2005

What does showing up mean to YOU?

When our self-esteem takes a hit, it’s not always easy to restore it back to its former level. And even if we do, it often only then becomes apparent that it wasn’t all that strong to begin with. So my advice to you is to go deep inside and decide whether you want to take more responsibility for how you let others affect you. I like what Woody Allen said about this: “80% of success is showing up.”

So what does showing up mean to you?

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Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Renewal, Fresh Eyes, and Next Steps

I went to a 3-day coaching seminar last week (thanks, Andrea!) and before the plane even landed in San Francisco I knew this was a really good use of my time. Just sitting with my thoughts for the half-day it took to get from here to there - and jotting down some of the zillion ideas that 'popped' from that - proved to be an incredibly worthwhile exercise. That the seminar had some good things to offer, as well, was icing on the cake. That I got to meet a number of wonderfully interesting people there was even more icing. That several of them were "names" I knew only via cyberspace beforehand, was even more icing! Hmmm, with all that icing, it's no wonder I found myself making sure I visited the hotel's workout facility to shed a few extra calories.

Renewal is such an important aspect of ongoing success ... and personal hardiness. But while renewal is often thought to flow from Balance - as in, take a vacation so that you can re-charge your batteries, and/or stop doing certain things that drain your energy and attention, and/or make a point of doing some new things to stretch your comfort zone, etc. - the kind of renewal I'm referring to here is a result of getting more DEEPLY involved with your work, and doing it in a purposefully different way. When we do that, we tend to be able to see new things, and old things in new ways. It's both exhilarating and downright fun. And it's incredibly motivating, as well.

So when's the last time YOU got out of your office, put on some Fresh Eyes, and took a look at what's going on around you? More importantly, when's the NEXT time scheduled for?

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Saturday, January 29, 2005

Are you more of a Sammy or a Johnny?

Sad about the passing of Johnny Carson. He was a classy guy, straight through to the end, and one of my favorite TV-Guys, along with the likes of him, Ed Sullivan, Dick Van Dyke, Sonny Fox (his Sunday morning show, "Wonderama," was a staple for kids growing up in the New York area, just as Ray Rayner's show used to be for Chicagoans).

Sad about Sammy Sosa, too. He didn't die, but his career as one of the Chicago Cubs certainly did. His fall from grace has been fast and hard. And he handled it very, VERY, poorly - just like all those low-and-outside curve balls he'd swing at and miss for Strike Three over and over (and over) again.

I thought I might compare these two mega-star icons across a few business-success dimensions:
Skills - Where Johnny worked to keep his skills in top form and retired before any decay was really noticed, Sammy resorted to corking his bats and who-knows what else and still couldn't keep his key numbers from going down-down-down.

Ego - Where Johnny kept his ego in check notwithstanding his amazing success, Sammy seemed to think his success entitled him to be bigger than the game itself.

Collaboration - Where Johnny showed total respect for all he worked with, Sammy literally walked out on his teammates before the season was through.

Reputation - Where Johnny's reputation continued to grow over time, Sammy's has tanked - so much so, that he and the Cubs are doing all they can to get him out of town, out of the National League, and out of each other's lives, ASAP.

Say so - Where Johnny was able to choreograph his career to the very end, Sammy's voice has become insignificant in determining his next career move.
I could go on, but I think this is enough to put some context on asking you the following questions:
  • Are the leaders in your organization more like Johnny or Sammy?
  • Are YOU more like Johnny or Sammy?
  • What are you specifically doing to improve your skills?
  • What are you specifically doing to keep your ego in check?
  • What are you specifically doing to collaborate more effectively?

How you answer these questions - and the one's related to them - will determine, in large part, not just your own reputation, but the amount of say so you have in choreographing your own future. So by all means, do take a few moments to flesh them out. And if you'd like some help with that, you know how to reach me.

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Monday, January 17, 2005

Sooner is Better than Later

Here's an interesting statistic from the weekend's football playoffs - in each of the four games, the team that scored first, won.

Yup, it's a fact - the team that scored first, won.

It didn't even matter how they scored. It was enough just THAT they scored.

Keep this in mind as you gear up for the new projects that 2005 has to offer.

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Tuesday, October 12, 2004

More on Shyness

On pages 182 and 183 of Shyness: What It Is/What to Do About It, Philip G. Zimbardo lists out a number of reach-out exercises designed to help shy people get used to socializing. In reviewing the list, many of the items seemed equally relevant to anyone wanting to do more networking, whether they're shy or not.
  • Introduce yourself to a new person in your office building, the grocery store, (Starbucks?) etc.
  • Invite someone who is going your way to walk with you.
  • Conduct a personal opinion survey. Ask ten people their opinions on a current topic. Ask one question about their opinions.
  • Call someone you know at work and ask about a relevant work issue.
  • Ask three people for directions. Shift at least one of them into general conversation for a minute or two.
  • Notice someone who needs help at the office or on the street at lunchtime and offer to help.
  • Invite someone to go eat with you - someone you have not eaten with before.
  • Say 'Hi' to five new people today whom you would not usually greet.
I invite you to experiment by trying some of these reach-out exercises and see what happens. You might be very pleasantly surprised.

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Friday, October 08, 2004

What to do about Shyness

A large number of people I work with consider themselves to be somewhat shy. It's no surprise, really, in that a survey of nearly 5,000 people by Philip G. Zimbardo of Stanford University, and as reported in his book Shyness: What It Is/What to Do About It revealed, "more than 80% of those questioned reported that they were shy at some point in their lives, either now, in the past, or always."

I found Dr. Zimbardo's ultimate message, as summarized on page 205 of his book, to be very coach-like:

+ You have control over what you feel and do.

+ You are responsible for those feelings and actions and for creating the consequences you want.

+ You have chosen to be shy and learned how to act like a shy person.

+ You can now choose NOT to be, if you are willing to UNlearn those old habits and substitute ones that work for your best interests.

+ You are free to do X, even when others say you cannot; you are free to refuse to do X, even when others say you must.

In talking about this with a client yesterday, he proudly said what he knew he needed to do: "I'm just going to find some people who are more shy than me so that I can still be myself, but be incredibly outgoing in comparison to those around me!"

Think about that. He'll probably have more fun, feel more confident, and be better able to be less shy in other circumstances he finds himself in.

That's pretty smart, don't you think?!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

What Next?

On his "Nether Lands" album from so many years ago, Dan Fogelberg asked the musical question, "Where do you go when you get to the end of your dream?" Now, in the premier issue of AdvantEdge Magazine, self-improvement guru Earl Nightgale asks a similar question: "What happens when you run out of goals?"

For many people, success has a real down side ... Getting there. As counter-intuitive as that may seem, many (most?) people are far better at striving for success than enjoying it. To quote Nightingale:
"A person often feels when he's accomplished everything he's worked and struggled
for so long to achieve, he finds himself depressed more and more of the time ...
In fact, everything is finally just as he'd planned it for so many years. And
for no reason that he can put his finger on, all the fun and enthusiasm has
strongly disappeared. He's listless and unhappy and he can't think of a single
reason why."
Well the reason why is simply this - there's no "What Next?". After a lifetime of striving for success, where DO you go when you get to the end of your dream.

Now some may say this is a pretty high-class problem to have. And it is. But that doesn't mean it still isn't a problem. Fortunately, the answer is pretty self-evident:
  1. Congratulate yourself on your success to date.
  2. Get yourself some new goals.
  3. Start working on them with all the vim and vigor you can muster.
So what goals are YOU working on?

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Thursday, September 02, 2004

Coaching = Defrag

You're obviously PC-literate. If you weren't, you wouldn't be reading someone's weblog entry, now, would you?! So when I ask if you're at all familiar with the defrag program on your computer, you probably are, as well.

What is Fragmentation?

According to www.techcareonline.com/os/glossary.htm, fragmentation, and the need to defrag is defined as such:

When a file is too large to store in a single location on a hard disk, it is stored on the disk in discontiguous (not adjacent) parts or fragments. This fragmentation is "invisible" to the user; however. The locations of the fragments are kept track of by the system. Over time, disk access time can be slowed by fragmentation since each fragmented file is likely to require multiple drive head repositionings and accesses. (There's nothing you can do to prevent fragmentation from occurring in the first place, by the way.) A disk defragmenter is a utility that rearranges your fragmented files and the free space on your computer so that files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. This also improves access time to files that are now contiguous.

This fragmentation process is almost exactly what happens to a person's mind when he or she has just too much stuff to think about. Maybe it's work-related; maybe it's life-related. Regardless, what happens is that over time, is that our brains get fragmented and, just like our computer:

  • we get sluggish
  • we can't seem to access important information as readily
  • we can't seem to find any free space
  • we make a lot of chunking sounds
  • we start running short of RAM
  • we freeze up and need to be more frequently rebooted
  • we start seeing all sorts of unusual errors popping up

You get the point, right?

Coaching = Defragmentation

To follow the analogy, then, what the defragging does for computers is what coaching does for people. Think about that. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to organize all those partial thoughts running around your head? Wouldn't it be nice to consolidate your thoughts in a way that brought you clarity and resolve for extended periods of time instead of just for fleeting moments? Wouldn't it be nice if you were able to work harder with less stress and strain because you better understood things in a larger context?

Take a moment and check to see if your computer needs to be defragged. Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter > Analyze. And while your computer's running that diagnostic, check in with yourself to see if you could benefit from working with a coach. (Clue: You find yourself saying, "Yeah, I really do GottaGettaCoach!")

And you're waiting for ... What?

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Saturday, July 31, 2004

"Trade Deadlines" Aren't Just for Baseball Teams

The major league baseball (MLB) trade deadline is today. Why is that important? Because in order for a player to be eligible to play for a team in the post-season, he must be on their roster by the end of the day ... today. So we can probably expect a number of teams to make deals to swap some stars, journeymen, players-to-be-named-later, and cash, as they vie to position their rosters for their playoff run.

This led to this - thinking about the different departments, or 'teams' that exist in the MLB called 'your company'.


Look around. How many of people in your department are no longer as good a fit as you once thought them to be? Is that because they've changed? Is it because the requirements of their job have changed? Because you've changed? The point is that times change and sometimes those who were excellently matched for a particular job, no longer are. Not that they're problems that have to be dealt with, mind you; they've just plateaued in one way or another.

Now if you've got people like this in your department, it stands to reason that others have a similar situation in their departments. So wouldn't it be something if it became standard operating procedure for companies to have Trade Deadlines, too? Here's what that might look like:

  • "I'll give you John and Mary for Fred and a couple of upgraded printers."
  • "You give me someone who can write a crisp one-page memo and I'll give you someone who can answer the phone within two rings."
  • "I'll give you someone who has great rapport with the IT group in exchange for someone who works well with Accounting."
  • "You give me all of your direct reports and I'll give you all of mine!"

The possibilites are seemingly endless. But the bigger point is to remind you of two essential things:

THING ONE - Don't define people by the work they do. Define them by who they really are, and treat them with the utmost respect at all times.

THING TWO - Consider how you might do a better job of matching each employee's particular talents and intersts with the work that needs to be done.

Of course if you can't facilitate that kind of match within your department, you might want to check into what other departments are looking for. Who knows, you might be able to do some sort of trade! And the mere process of getting out there and seeing what's going on in other areas of the company will serve both you and your department in ways far greater than you imagine.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Lackluster Results from Pay-for-Performance

As reported in today's Wall Street Journal, "Many companies' efforts to link employees' performance to their salaries are yielding lackluster results." Findings are based on Hewitt Associates research. So why might this be?

Hewitt suggests that it's a result of what they call 'learning curve' issues - that companies haven't yet figured out how to do it. I strikes me, though, that it's the managers who are having the real problems.

First, they need to be able to articulate exactly what it is that they want their direct reports to achieve. And frankly, that's not easy to do, especially when most managers are professional problem solvers, not employee development experts. Clearly, bosses are far better abled to recognize when someone does something wrong than to tell their employees what it is they're looking for from them ahead of time.

Second, because of their problem-solving mentality, bosses see mistakes as things to clean up and not employee development opportunities. There's simply far too much blame and not nearly enough insight or instruction to help direct reports learn the right lessons from their mistakes.

Third, managers tend to focus far more on criticizing employee weaknesses than on identifying and leveraging employee strengths. But while mitigating weaknesses may stop people from screwing up, real success can only come from focusing on, and better utilizing, an employee's strengths. But alas, most managers simply don't know how to do that in a way that encourages and motivates direct reports to truly excel.

So all you managers out there - as you work on your mid-year reviews, please keep this in mind. It's up to YOU to help your employees understand what's expected of them. It's up to YOU to articulate it in such a way that they not only understand it, but they can achieve it as well. It's up to YOU to help them be their Absolute Best.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Creatures of Habit Walking Down the Street

Habit can be one powerful obstacle. Anyone who's tried to eat less, exercise more, go to bed earlier, get up earlier, stretch a comfort zone, or just try something new can relate to the gravitational pull of habit. That's the bad news. But the good news is that habit seems to have an Achilles Heel - getting conscious, and purposeful, about the choices you make.

Portia Nelson gets at this in her book called, There's a Hole in my Sidewalk. Under the heading of Autobiography in Five Short Chapters she writes, in part:

Chapter One
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in.

Chapter Two
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

Which chapter most closely resembles where you're at with your bad habits?

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Thursday, March 04, 2004

Inspiration AND Craft

I've already recommended Béla Fleck as a musician worth checking out - even if you're not sure what the heck 'fusion banjo' even is! But there's more to the story.

In listening to an interview he gave a while back, he spoke of two essential elements of musical success - inspiration and craft. And it got me thinking about how applicable those elements are to success in almost anything.

Think about it. Craft, is having the ABILITY to succeed. Without it, we really can't ... unless we're incredibly lucky. Inspiration is what gives us the WANT to succeed. Without IT, we likely won't care enough to do what it takes to BE successful. Together, they pave the way to making good things happen sooner.

The application of this insight might take the following form:

Step One - identify something in your personal or professional life that's not going as well as you'd like.

Step Two - Identify whether the 'cause' is more a lack of Inspiration, or a lack of Craft, on your part.

Step Three - Identify three steps you can take to improve that element.

Step Four - Do those steps.

Then let me know how it worked for you.

In the mean time, here's a sample of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones:

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Monday, March 01, 2004

The Confidence Radial©

A 6-Step Process from GottaGettaCoach!® Incorporated for Turning the Seemingly Impossible into the Imminently Doable.

The Confidence Radial - graphically.
The Confidence Radial- in words.

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Monday, December 01, 2003

When are YOU Not Open for Business?

All those cellphone-using store clerks (see Friday, November 21, 2003 entry) got me to thinking ... When are you NOT open for business, either? Maybe it's when you're overstressed, or really tired, bored, or after a long weekend, or just not in the mood, etc.

So as the holiday season starts picking up, and you find yourself wanting to be someplace other than where you are, notice how you react when the phone rings or someone visits. Notice if you're giving signals that say even though you're there, you're really NOT all that interested in being a help; you're really not open for business, either.

It may not be what you're intending to do, but you may be doing it just the same.

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Friday, November 21, 2003

(Not) Open for Business

Went to the mall today to get a thank you gift for some referred business. It was nice to see the shops all geared up for the holiday shopping season. Possibility was everywhere.

Something else was everywhere, too, though - store clerks everywhere were talking on their cellphones! I can't tell you how many different places I saw this.

Now I realize that Friday morning isn't a peak shopping time and the mall WAS pretty empty. But that just made it worse. I'd walk into an empty store and find the lone sales clerk talking on the phone. The thing was, I needed some help finding a suitable gift to buy. But in each store, I couldn't even establish eye contact with the clerk. They were seemingly too deep into their phone conversations to bother with me!

"Excuse me, but I need some help."

The more common response I got was "Sure, hang on a sec" (to ME they said that), but a close runner-up was no response at all, just that blank stare someone gives you when they don't really see you at all because they're so intent on what they're hearing through the telephone.

It was all very disheartening. And what made it worse, was that the clerks that DID end their call to help me were of no help at all. They just said things like, "Why don't you just look around," or "We don't have anything like that," or some other dismissive comment.

Now I don't think it's me. I mean I was ready to buy. But they weren't anywhere near ready to sell. And I couldn't help wonder what the boss would say if he or she knew this was going on. Until, that is, I entered a cute little import store where the owner was ... can you guess ... talking on her cellphone!

So I left. Without a gift. And without that wonderful feeling of possibility. Well at least I got an blog entry out of it!

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Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Effective Post-Mortem Discussions

The crisis is over. The situation is past. Now how do we bring closure to this difficult set of experiences?

Most people don’t use post-mortems, but I think it’s an important step to bring closure and allow healing - especially after a difficult situation. Here are the steps I've used to great success:

1. Gather all players together (including vendor personnel, if appropriate) and thank everyone for their efforts. Focus on trying to put everyone at ease so they know it's not an inquisition and it's okay to relax.

2. Review what happened by having people 'tell the story' of what happened. Encourage everyone to add to the story no matter how small their role. Look to understand, not to blame. Show everyone the utmost respect.

3. Look for Lessons Learned. Ask "What did we learn from all this?" "What changes do we want to make moving forward?" etc.

4. Assign follow-up tasks and due dates, as appropriate. Have someone put these assignments in writing and distribute to everyone within 24 hours.

5. Make them laugh. Thank them again. Get ‘em back to work.

Hope this helps.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2003

"This Time it Counts"

Woo-hoo! A great All Star game, wasn't it? (At least that's what I heard. I boycotted watching the game because of that winner-gets-home-field-advantage-in-the-World-Series-thing. Don't care for that one single bit. Neither did Norman Chad in his Anchorage Daily News article, "All-Star Game is a cross-dressing bearded lady." It's a good read!) But it got me to thinking about the notion that "this time it counts".

Do you think the players would have played any "less hard" if it didn't count? Do you think the managers would have managed any "less strong" if it didn't count? They say no. They say baseball professionals don't game the game that way. Maybe. But business professionals sometimes do.

Go on and admit it. There have been times when YOU haven't played full-out, right? Maybe you were tired, or stressed, or unengaged. Or maybe you figured it didn't really matter because it was some small thing. But maybe it wasn't such a small thing to the person(s) who were counting on you. Maybe to them, it was a really BIG thing. That's THE thing when you work with people - it ALWAYS matters to someone. And it's something worth remembering.

So the next time you're thinking you could care less, tell yourself, "This Time it Counts," and give it your best.

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Friday, July 11, 2003

Trying and Failing - or - Not Really Trying

When things don't go right for you, what's the more likely reason ... that you tried your best and it just wasn't good enough ... or you didn't really try in the first place? A lot of times we quit before ever getting started. And as Wayne Gretzky once said, "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you never take." Now I'm not really much of a hockey fan, but I thought I'd do some checking on Gretzky's career stats to what I'd see. And I found something quite interseting:

It took Getzky 5,064 shots to score his record-setting 893 goals.

In other words, the guy who said "You'll always miss 100% of the shots you never take," made less than 18% of the shots he DID take. He missed 4,172 of his shots. FOUR THOUSAND ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY TWO!

In this context, the "Great One" wasn't really very good, was he? Yet he set the record for most goals scored in the NHL. And he was arguably the best ever in the history of hockey.

So the next time you're thinking about not even trying, do what Gretzky would have done - take a shot at it anyway!

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Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Turnaround Coaching

So they've hired you a coach. Thing is, though, you're not sure that's such a GOOD thing. Seems like maybe they're trying to tell you something you don't want to hear.

That's the question that was posed to Chris Posti in her Q&A column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Reivew. "What we are talking about here," she answers, "is 'turnaround' coaching...to help the person 'turn around' their performance...Alternatives to turnaround coaching are rather unappealing: career stagnation, demotion, even termination." She then goes on to explain how to make full use of the benefits that coaching can offer.

I like her advice. All too often employees underestimate their boss' dissatisfaction with their performance. Or they discount the feedback they DO receive as inaccurate. Then one day - BAM! - they find themselves on some sort of performance improvement plan. Not that long ago, terminations or transfers were the only real options. Now there's another one called coaching. (Not all coaching, by the way, is turnaround coaching. HiPo coaching, that is the coaching of 'high potential' leaders-of-tomorrow, is also gaining popularity.)

So if your boss offers you the opportunity to improve your skills with the help of an external, objective advocate, do yourself a favor and TAKE IT! Ms. Posti agrees, "you will be happier, more productive, and less stressed." And that's good for you AND your boss!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Affecting Change

Wandering the web this morning I came upon an article that asks the question, "Is Coaching for Everyone?" The answer from the author is 'no' and I agree entirely because it's one thing to WANT change and it's something entirely different to be WORK FOR change. Does WHAT you want to change make a difference though? On the surface, executives wanting to improve their management, communications and leadership skills, as example, might think their needs are different from new coaches looking to build their coaching practice. And maybe they are. But they're also similiar in that BOTH need the personal and professional commitment to truly affect the change. Those what want change need to be, as the article says, "people who are ready to really learn how they can have the things in their life and career that will be truly meaningful to them, and who are ready to do the work" independant of whatever the particulars happen to be.

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