Monday, June 29, 2009

Making Lemonade out of (no) Sour Mash

Knob Creek Bourbon has figured something out about marketing! Is this great, or what?! knob creek letterDear Knob Creek® lover,

It seems you've helped cause a bit of a "situation" here at the distillery. See, because you, and many others like you, have been such loyal consumers, we've temporarily run out of Knob Creek Bourbon. And for that you deserve a huge thanks.

With that said, it's quite possible that you might not be able to find us in our usual places for a bit. Should this happen, take a deep breath and keep in mind that our next batch will be fully matured and ready to go this November (we'd bottle it now to boost supply, but then it wouldn't be aged a full 9 years and it wouldn't really be Knob Creek).

And once you've weathered the storm, be sure to proudly sport this t-shirt commemorating this historic event.

Now, hang in there and cherish every drop of Knob Creek like it's the last, because, well, it could be. Until November anyway.

Cheers, Your friends at Knob Creek

P.S. If you can't find a bottle of Knob Creek anywhere, visit http://www.knobcreek.com/ and find out which locations (if any) in your area are lucky enough to have a few bottles left on their shelves.

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Friday, June 26, 2009

Proof that Coaching Works

It's one thing to have beliefs about the positive impact of coaching. It's something quite different when your beliefs can be substantiated as fact through independent, peer-reviewed, methodologically-valid research with meaningful, and statistically-significant, findings.

Consider, for example, the following research studies and findings:

Grant, Frith, & Burton (2009) – Randomized Controlled Trial* (RCT) evaluating executives provided with 360-degree feedback and just four coaching sessions for over a ten week period proved that:
  • Coaching enhanced goal attainment
  • Coaching enhanced resilience
  • Coaching enhanced workplace well-being
  • Coaching reduced depression
  • Coaching reduced stress
  • Coaching helped participants deal with organizational change

Spence, Cavanagh, & Grant (2008) – RCT evaluating adults taking part in mindfulness-based health coaching over eight weeks proved that:

  • Coaching enabled greater goal attainment than using an educative/directive format

Spence & Grant (2007) – RCT of adults participating in a Solution Focused/Cognitive Behavioral (SF/CB) life coaching program (not unlike the type of coaching that GottaGettaCoach! provides) proved that:

  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in increasing goal commitment
  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in goal attainment
  • Professional coaching was significantly more effective than peer coaching in environmental mastery

Green, Oades & Grant (2006) – RCT of adults taking part in SF/CB life coaching program proved that:

  • Coaching increased goal attainment
  • Coaching increased well-being
  • Coaching increased hope
  • and that a 30-week follow-up found that those gains were maintained

Gyllensten & Palmer (2005) – Quasi-Experimental Field Study** of participants from a UK finance organization concluded that:

  • Coaching decreased anxiety more in the coaching group than the control group
  • Coaching decreased stress more in the coaching group than in the control group
More research findings at: www.ggci.com/ROI/research.htm.

Of course individual results can, and do, vary. But this is bona fide academic research cited here, not just opinion or conjecture.

Coaching does work – it's been proven!

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Source: Grant, A.M. (2009) Workplace, Executive and Life Coaching: An Annotated Bibliography from the Behavioural Science and Business Literature (May 2009), Coaching Psychology Unit, University of Sydney, Australia.


* Randomized Controlled Trial: RCTs are quantitative, comparative, controlled experiments in which investigators study two or more interventions in a series of individuals who receive them in random order. The RCT is one of the simplest and most powerful tools in clinical research. (www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39532.)

** Quasi-Experiment Field Study is a scientific research method primarily used in the social sciences. "Quasi" means likeness or resembling, so therefore quasi-experiments share characteristics of true experiments which seek interventions or treatments. The key difference in this empirical approach is the lack of random assignment. Another unique element often involved in this experimentation method is use of time series analysis: interrupted and non-interrupted. Experiments designed in this manner are referred to as having quasi-experimental design.
(en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quasi-experimental_design.)

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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Leaders as Effective Explainers

From an article titled, Great Communicators Are Great Explainers:

Explanation is a key attribute of leadership communications. Leaders know to inject their communications with verve and enthusiasm as a means of persuasion, but they also need to include an explanation for the excitement. What does it mean and why are we doing it are critical questions that every leader must answer with straightforward explanations.
Author John Baldoni continues with three ways to become an effective explainer:

1. Define what it is. The purpose of an explanation is to describe the issue, the initiative, or the problem. For example, if you are pushing for cost reductions, explain why they are necessary and what they will entail. Put the cost reductions into the context of business operations. Be certain to explicate the benefits. [BZ note: Don't overlook defining the underlying rationale, or "why", behind your explanation -- it not only helps others to properly understand what you're saying, it also provides a over-arching context for how you see the issue. So don't just explain that there is a need for cost reductions, explain why the need is legitimate before going on to your solution, next steps, explanation, etc.]

2. Define what it isn't. Be clear to define the exclusions. For example, returning to our cost reduction issue, if you are asking for reductions in costs, not people, be explicit. Otherwise employees will assume they are being axed. Leave no room for assumptions. [BZ note: I particularly like this one. Just as with contracts, it's best to read them twice -- the first time to see what's intentionally (or otherwise) included in the terms and conditions; the second time to see what's intentionally (or otherwise) excluded.]

3. Define what you want people to do. This becomes an opportunity to issue the call for action. Establishing expectations is critical. Cost reductions mean employees will have to do more with less; explain what that will entail in clear and precise terms. Leaders can also use the expectations step as a challenge for people to think and do differently. Your explanation then takes on broader significance. [BZ Note: Those who know me know that I'm not a big fan of using the word expectations -- I much prefer the word requirements. So, while 'establishing expectations may, indeed, be critical, I believe that 'articulating the requirements' is more appropriate ... and even more helpful.]

This said, I'd like to add a fourth facet to the recommendation:

4. Listen for how your explanation lands. Effective Communication can be defined as "Insuring that the message you intended to be heard is identical to the message that actually was heard." As such, it's advisable to "check in" with your audience to insure that your explanation was, indeed, understood as intended and if not, respond accordingly.

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Monday, June 22, 2009

Positive Psychology Conference and Twitter

IPPA

From June 18-21, the International Positive Psychology Association (IPPA) hosted The First World Congress on Positive Psychology in Philadelphia . I attended and used Twitter to capture the experience. (Conference hashtag: "#IPPA"; my Twitter ID: "ggci".)

Here's some of my Tweets (plus some additional reflections added while posting this to my blog):
  1. Heading out to Philly for International Positive Psychology Association conference. #ippa
    [9:30 AM Jun 18th]

  2. If you see me at #ippa - Barry Zweibel, GottaGettaCoach!, Chicago, @ggci - please stop and say hello to a fellow Twitterer. (And many did.)
    [10:17 AM Jun 18th]

  3. Three flight delays and 1, 2, 3, now 4 gate changes and I'm STILL at O'Hare. I'm soooo ready for some #IPPA positivity!
    [12:17 PM Jun 18th]

  4. Day One of #IPPA getting ready to start. Last night's pre-conference lecture last was jam-packed! Already meeting some Tweeps!
    [6:05 AM Jun 19th]

  5. #IPPA - 1500-plus attendees from 52 countries. Wow! (Fasinatingly, Positive Psychology seems more popular in Australia and Canada than in the U.S.)
    [7:17 AM Jun 19th]

  6. #IPPA - Distinction: Happiness as getting what you want vs. wanting what you already have. (Research shows that getting what you want isn't the key to happiness ... it comes more from truly appreciating all that you already DO have.)
    [8:43 AM Jun 19th]

  7. #IPPA - Happiness is a function of BOTH mindset AND circumstance. Individual results can and DO vary greatly. (Two schools of thought have developed in Positive Psychology: Martin Seligman represents the former; Philip Zambardo, the latter. Both, and their constitients are coming to realize that they're two sides of the same coin.)
    [9:02 AM Jun 19th]

  8. #IPPA - Accurately measuring happiness and meaningfulness is not as easy as you might think! (Think about it. How DO you measure happiness and meaningfulness - especially when so many people define the terms in such different ways?)
    [10:13 AM Jun 19th]

  9. #IPPA - lunchtime: Logan Square, museums, cars, people, a lovely fountain, and several street-side hot dog vendors - Mmmmm Good! (Having grown up near NYC, hot dogs, knishes, pretzels, and chestnuts, etc. bought at ridiculously low prices from pushcarts and trailers is real comfort food for me.)
    [12:14 PM Jun 19th]

  10. #IPPA - Coach's Creed - Get to know your strengths as well as possible and how you might better apply them to your challenges. (The operative question is always: "Knowing what my strengths are, how can I apply them to the challenges I'm currently facing?")
    [2:51 PM Jun 19th]

  11. #IPPA - To increase courage, focus on: 1) plan to reach goal; 2) value of outcome; 3) mitigating risk; and 4) controlling fear. (More on different types of courage in an upcoming blog post.)
    [4:29 PM Jun 19th]

  12. #IPPA - Now for dinner with a client who works in Philly. Good fun! – bz (Thanks, BD. Great seeing you again.)
    [4:59 PM Jun 19th]

  13. #IPPA - Good Morning! Starting the day by meeting another client for breakfast. Then back to the conference. Good stuff. (Thanks, DW. Great to have finally met in person!)
    [6:16 AM Jun 20th]

  14. #IPPA Got good and soaked walking back from breakfast this morning. Quick change of clothes and then rejoining conference. (It was a 'positive' rain!)
    [12:30 PM Jun 20th]

  15. #IPPA Research shows more self-reflection does NOT aid goal-attainment; having more insights does. Per study, coaching creates insights. (Implication: We often default to self-reflection when we lose focus on our goals; but insights are what natrually occur when we stay fully-connected to the process of achieving our goals.)
    [12:33 PM Jun 20th]

  16. #IPPA - per Csikszentmihalyi: "We are shapers of our future - where shall evolution be heading?" (Talk about long-term planning! It's not "What do you feel like for dinner?", it's "What can we do today to affect how the human species evolves over the next 50-75,000 years!" Fascinating notion that we can affect evolution, isn't it?!)
    [2:44 PM Jun 20th]

  17. #IPPA - per hotel maintenance guy: "I ain't got time for all this 'glad' shit." (My absolute favorite line from the whole conference!)
    [2:45 PM Jun 20th]

  18. #IPPA Much research happening in the Positive Psychology world. Coaching profession waaaay behind curve on this. Good wakeup call. (Coaches tend to assume, or assert something as fact, and proceed accordingly. Researchers actually prove it using scientific method, statistical analysis, and rigourous peer-review. It's quite impressive, actually.)
    [3:05 PM Jun 20th]

  19. #IPPA - I do believe I've met more people from *outside* of the US than within at this conference. Amazing! (Brazil, Turkey, Hungary, England, Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, Korea, Japan, Scotland, Jamaica, Greece, Russia, Switzerland, and Italy, to name just a few of their homelands.)
    [8:41 PM Jun 21st]

  20. #IPPA - Burns lecture on metaphors was like, um ... a neat new story with both relevance and insight into the power of metaphors! (Get it?! I used a metaphor to describe a lecture on metaphors!)
    [12:43 PM Jun 12st]

  21. Tweeting turned out to be a fun way to consolidate learning at #IPPA. Of course, much more to it than just tweets. (Hence these 'green' addendums and sure-to-follow other writings about the conference.)
    [12:46 PM Jun 21st]

  22. Time for me to now say my #IPPA goodbyes (including to that maintenance guy!) and head back to Chicago. Safe travels, all. [12:54 PM Jun 21st]

  23. P.S. #IPPA - Delayed flights 'bookend' my conference experience. What's the Positive Psychology p-value* of that, I wonder?! [2:13 pM Jun 21st] (As a guess -- because I'm a coach and not a researcher -- I'd say there's quite a positive correlation between flying in and out of ORD and being delayed!)
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(*Note: P-value is a statistical tool used to measure the probability that the particular participants used in a study were suitably representative (or not unrepresentative, as it were) of people as a whole and is a very big deal when reporting on ones research findings.)

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

How to Reprimand Someone at Work

  1. Say it clearly -- "I'm finding the way you're handling this assignment unsatisfactory at this point in time."
  2. Provide the justification -- "As a result of you missing your Phase I deadline, everyone downstream must now revise their schedules to accommodate the delay."
  3. Articulate the implication -- "This not only unnecessarily complicates things, but it also jeopardizes our ability to complete this project on time/to budget."
  4. Pair it with some good news -- "Fortunately, you're working with some very talented people who are ready, willing, and able to help you however they can."
  5. Ask for compliance -- "So in this next phase, can I - can we all - count on you to step it up and not leave us hanging like this?"
  6. Thank you.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ten (Almost) Really Good Reasons to Procrastinate!

  1. Sometimes it takes time to figure out a better way to do something!
  2. There are probably other more important things worth doing first!
  3. Sometimes it just not time yet!
  4. Sometimes it takes time for important information to make itself available!
  5. If it’s really important, they’ll ask for it again!
  6. It may turn out that it’s something that doesn't really need to be done!
  7. Sometimes you’ll be totally delighted with the job you do once you finally get to doing it!
  8. Purposefully NOT doing something is actually an advanced form of action!
  9. Like to complain? Procrastination provides grist for that mill!
  10. Okay, so it's your turn ... what's another Really Good Reason to procrastinate?!

By the way, if it really mattered to you, would any of these Really Good Reasons to Procrastinate really be all that insurmountable?!

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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

GGCI now on Twitter

Follow Barry Zweibel(ggci) on Twitter

Might you enjoy some shorter, more informal, blog posts? Barry Zweibel ("ggci") is now on Twitter.

Come see what the micro-blogging fuss is about as I explore "the spaces between the moments" of business in general, change management, favorite quotations, fear and courageousness, getting unstuck, job search stuff, just for fun, leadership development, life coach - life coahcing, mentoring, motivation, music and music related, networking, success at work ... and who knows what else -- in chunks of 140 characters or less.

I'll be at www.twitter.com/ggci. Followers welcome!

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Friday, June 5, 2009

GGCI earns A+ Rating from BBB

On June 1, 2009, the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois introduced a new Ratings System (a letter grade from A+ to F) for all Accredited Businesses and non-accredited companies that are in the BBB database to replace the previous "satisfactory" or "unsatisfactory" rating. The new ratings will be used by all BBBs across the United States and Canada.

The letter grade for GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is "A+".

GottaGettaCoach!, Inc earns A+ rating

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

Random Act of Kindness, June 2009

Here's a cute little air travel story: I was returning from Ohio earlier this week after doing some in-person executive coaching work and was now at the airport waiting to board what was to be a completely filled flight back to Chicago. Even so, the gate area seemed particularly crowded, though. That's because the flight before mine hadn't left yet -- maintenance issue.

It took a while to determine the source of the problem (delay). It was then determined that the part needed had to be flown in from someplace else (more delay). And, once it finally arrived, it was further determined that the replacement part was faulty, as well (even more delay). After what was now a 5-hour delay, arrangements were being made to cancel the flight entirely.

A frail, 90-year old lady, was one of the would-be passengers for that earlier flight. But after the gate attendant re-booked her for a flight in the morning, the Little Old Lady refused the hotel room voucher she was given.
"That's too much back and forth for someone my age, " said the Little Old Lady. "I'll just stay in the airport through the night."
Well, nothing the gate attendant, or gate supervisor, could say or do was going the change this Little Old Lady's mind. That's when I stepped in.

"Maybe I can help," I said to the attendant. "If you give me that hotel room, and maybe a meal voucher as well, I'd be happy to give up my seat on the full flight so this Little Old Lady can get home to her daughter tonight." Done.

The Little Old Lady turned to me, nodded, and asked,

"Why, sir, are you willing to do something like this for a complete stranger?"

"Because I have a mom who flies, too," I replied.

"I bet she's not 90-years old, though, is she?!"


"You're 90?!" I asked as incredulously as possible. "No way!!"

And her face light up like a Christmas tree!

So with that, I successfully completed a Random Act of Kindness for the month. "And it's still only June 1st!" I thought.

But wait, there's more: It turned out the hotel's shuttle driver was out sick so the assistant manager came and collected me at the airport. I guess he liked my story because when we got back to the hotel he told the receptionist to upgrade me, free-of-charge, to their one of their best rooms!

What goes around comes around.

So I had a lovely evening, got to sleep a little late the next morning, return to the airport, and, courtesy of a one-hour time zone shift, get back to Chicago in time for the coaching calls I had scheduled for the afternoon.

The end.

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