Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Petition for Equal Access to Music Education

My son, Andy, a University of Miami music education student, recently blogged about something that MENC*: The National Association for Music Education is working on:

"MENC has recently begun an initiative to petition the U.S. Department of Education to require the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (now known as No Child Left Behind) to include music education as a required component of each public education curriculum in the United States.

"What does all that mean? In short, they are petitioning the government to require music education be a requirement for all public school students. MENC aims to have at least 1 million signatures on their petition by the time they come before the legislators on June 18.

"This petition is just getting started, but I would urge each and every one of you who has been touched by music in any way to sign this petition, and help MENC make a statement in Washington."

Thanks for the heads-up, Sonny-Boy!

I signed it -- #773. (Andy, too. He's #756.) If music has touched your life somehow, or the life of someone you know, please consider signing the "Petition for Equal Access to Music Education", as well, yes?

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*MENC originally stood for "Music Educators National Conference". In 1998, their National Executive Board voted to change their name to "MENC: The National Association for Music Education" to better reflect their mission.

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Monday, March 30, 2009

Cheery Me!

Cheery Me!This just in from the UK's Daily Express newspaper: Psychologist Dr David Holmes has identified the world's "happiest" names.

Per the article: "The happiest people in Britain are called Judy or Joshua. Stephanie, Linda, Pam and Pat are among the most cheery, as are men named Matthew, Jason, Terry and Barry."

Hey, men named Barry are among the most cheery!

Who knew?! (As if my long-standing "cheerful" membership in the Secret Society of Happy People -- no lie -- didn't already give it away!)

Hunky-dory, this all is, wouldn't you say?!
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Thanks, Leeeeeeeeeeesa!

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Demons of Effective Goal Setting

Ever try to get something started ... only to not?! Ever start with the best intentions ... and then nothing?! Effective goal-setting is a tricky wicket ... especially when the demons start looking you in the eye.

Five such demons consistently like to do that:
  1. The Demon of Procrastination -- Too frequently "Later" morphs into "Whenever" which morphs into "Never".

  2. The Demon of Limited Accountability to Oneself -- It's amazing how so many people are so capable at helping others, but when it comes to helping themselves, fugetaboutit!

  3. The Demon of Poor Prioritization -- The classic mistake: Over-Prioritizing the Urgent, and Under-Prioritization the Important.

  4. The Demon of Trying to Take Too Big of a Next Step -- Doing so either makes the task impossible, or distasteful.

  5. The Demon of Inadequate Support Systems -- It's not always a straight line between wherever you are and whatever you want, so it's essential that you have the proper support in place, from both the people around you and the processes you're engaging.

These demons have an incredible power to derail. And they're just a few of the demons that are out there.

What demons do you see when goal-setting? What sorts of things do you do to avoid their fiery stare?

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Fiery Eye courtesy of: dusktg.deviantart.com/art/Fiery-Eye-11084727.

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Monday, March 23, 2009

Six Courage Quotes

  1. Corra Harris: "The bravest thing you can do when you are not brave is to profess courage and act accordingly."
  2. Brendan Francis: "Many of our fears are tissue paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us through them."
  3. Ambrose Redmoon: "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear."
  4. Honore de Balzac: "All happiness depends on courage and work."
  5. Robert Louis Stevenson: "Keep your fears to yourself, but share your courage with others."
  6. Plato: "Courage is knowing what not to fear."

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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wouldn't You Agree?!

thumbs-upLooking for some positive feedback?
Trying to build some better camaraderie?
Want to soften up the old boss a bit?!

Here's a Quick Tip -- After making your point, ask a rhetorical, "Wouldn't you agree?!"
  • That question I asked was a pretty important one, wouldn't you agree?!
  • We make a good team together, wouldn't you agree?!
  • I thought your presentation went really well, boss, wouldn't you agree?!
Go ahead, try adding "wouldn't you agree?!" to the end of a few of your sentences and see how people react.

I suspect, quite positively.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GGCI Executive Coaching Survey Results

Results from the first-ever GGCI Executive Coaching Client Survey are in. Here are some highlights from GottaGettaCoach! client responses received:

GottaGettaCoach! Client SatisfactionTo the question: "Overall, how satisfied are you with the coaching received?"

  • 92% of respondents chose “very satisfied”
  • 8% chose “satisfied”
  • no other responses selected.

Regarding Leadership Competency Improvements, respondents cited:

  • A 55.9% improvement in "working with and through other people"
  • A 47.6% improvement in "the clarity of your leadership message or brand"
  • A 47.49% improvement in "accurately judging yourself and adapting your behaviors accordingly"
  • A 45.4% improvement in "your ability to delegate"
  • Additional leadership competency improvements reported

In answer to the question: "What do you estimate the Return on Investment (ROI) of the coaching you received to be?"

ROI of working with GottaGettaCoach!

  • 21% of all respondents chose "worth more than $5 for every dollar spent" as their answer
  • the average ROI from all other respondents equaled $2.64 for every dollar spent.

For more GGCI Executive Coaching Survey results: www.ggci.com/ROI.

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Monday, March 16, 2009

Commitment versus Compliance

Over at LinkedIn, a fellow named Jesse posed an interesting question: "How do you get commitment from followers?"

My response:

I think an important distinction needs to be added to this thread -- "Commitment" versus "Compliance".

You already know that in a crisis management situation (your blog indicates you're a crisis management "tiger") success has very *little* to do with a follower "agreeing to do something" (commitment) -- but EVERYTHING to do him/her actually "fulfilling official requirements" (compliance).

I, therefore, submit that if a leader successfully resolves enough crises (through others' complying with their specific, meaningful, and appropriate, "official", requests), followers will almost *automatically* become increasingly loyal and committed to that leader. (Which really just means that these followers will more-readily comply with what the leader requests from them, next time.)

Non-crisis situations, if such things still exist (!!), work in much the same way -- success flows *less* from people being "committed" to achieving certain ends than from them intentionally "complying" with what, needs to be achieved. Again, if a leader successfully enables enough of those needed outcomes to occur, followers will routinely start exhibiting more loyalty and commitment to that leader (by complying that much more readily to their requests, moving forward).

Just for laughs, let's put it even more provocatively -- I assert that compliance (and all the good, value-added, stuff that employees can, and do, bring to an assignment) does not result *from* commitment; rather, commitment is a byproduct *of* compliance … after that compliance results in the successful completion of intended outcomes, of course.

Following this view, leaders do not need to seek the "commitment" of others -- they just need to get crystal clear on the business imperative of their assignments, what probably needs to be accomplished, and who probably needs to accomplish it, in order to increase the probability of actually achieving those ends … because if they
*can* increase the probability of achieving those ends, followers will naturally, readily, and increasingly -- and self-servingly, I might add -- commit to those leaders in the future, without additional inducement.

Helpful?!What are your thoughts on this?

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Turning Dreams into Reality

Question: Is it more important to fully articulate a dream *before* applying oneself to it, or does it work better when it's an iterative back-and-forth between the two?

What's *your* view? How do *you* do it?

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Fast, Happy, Thinking

This in from the Feb/Mar 2009 issue of Scientific American Mind magazine: "A new study shows that accelerated thinking can improve your mood."

Yes, researchers at both Harvard and Princeton Universities confirm that rapid-fire thinking can help you feel "more elated, creative, and to a lesser degree, energetic and powerful." Need a Happiness Boost? Try an easy crossword puzzle or brainstorming quickly about an idea.

The best way to super-charge your mood is with fast and varied thinking. The varied part is very important because if the task is just fast and repetitive, it's likely to trigger anxiety. In contrast, slow and varied thinking can lead to a calm- and peaceful-type happiness, but slow and repetitive thinking can quickly become boring, reducing energy and often spur negative or depressive thinking.

So what makes all of this so?

The researchers concluded that thinking quickly "may unleash the brain's novelty-loving dopamine system, which is involved in sensations of pleasure and reward." Admittedly, the power-boost people can get from fast thinking may be transient, but "these little bursts of positive emotion add up."

For me, listening closely to some complex music, playing my guitar, a good game of Scrabble, watching something visually interesting -- and stuff like that -- works well for me.

What fast and varied thinking do you do that tends to improve your mood?

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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Growing More Go-To People

When something particularly urgent, important, or high-profile comes up, many (most?) bosses rely only on a few of their direct reports as true go-to people - the one's they know they can count on to get the job done right.

Imagine, though, what it'd be like if you could count on your entire staff as go-to people? Imagine what all you could get done if that was the case!

Here are the rules of the game:
  1. Identify the overlap between what each direct report likes to do and what s/he is good at doing -- the veritable "sweet spot".
  2. Talk with each of them about the importance of nurturing and growing their "sweet spot" as a routine, ongoing, and necessary part of their job.
  3. For any task-at-hand, guesstimate its "success probability", if delegated to each of your direct reports, using a simple High/Medium/Low rating. (Note: If you've completed step #1, this should take all of 90-seconds!)
  4. Delegate to an H only if you have more than one to choose from. Otherwise, choose an M or L, making sure they understand that the assignment is twofold: (1) to successfully complete the task-at-hand; and (2) to permanently expand their "sweet spot".
  5. Monitor progress to minimize any "gotchas".

You see, the real problem is not your staff's abilities -- it's your willingness to insure that they grow their abilities.

This go-to game makes that apparent because the game does not allow you to delegate an assignment to an H if you only have one to choose from. It's, therefore, incumbent upon YOU to nurture and grow your go-to people more purposefully than you might otherwise.

What this game also makes apparent is that it's not all that difficult to "frame" an assignment in terms of an individual's sweet spot, regardless of who that individual is. That's a very powerful competency to have.

If you stick with it, you'll soon have far more options, when delegating, than just a chosen few. And that's the whole point.

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