Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Selected GGCI Tweets from September 2009

For the uninitiated, Twitter is "a real-time short messaging service that works over multiple networks and devices." Twitter is like a "micro-blog" service where each individual "tweet" is limited to a maximum length of 140 characters.

Some terminology:
  • RT -- This stands for "re-tweet" and indicates a re-posting of someone else's tweet.
  • @ -- This is a public message to someone, via Twitter, that anyone can view. It's typically in response to something that someone's already tweeted about themselves.
  • # -- This is a hash-tag, or user-defined categorization label.
  • http://tr.im... -- Because every character counts, these are fully-functioning URL hyperlinks that have been shortened, or 'trimmed'.

Here, then, are some of my tweets from September 2009:

  1. RT @tonyrobbins: "Put your guts on the line on every day and your dream will come to life" Tony Robbin
  2. “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.” Albert Einstein
  3. Paradox: Why is it that when someone says they're 50% done with a task it usually means they've got about 90% left to do?!
  4. Part 1 of Jan Carlzon quote: "An individual without information cannot take responsibility..."
  5. Part 2 o f Jan Carlzon quote: "... an individual who is given information cannot help but take responsibility."
  6. "Chance favors those in motion." - James H. Austin (thanks, Molly!)
  7. Coaching Q: Are you on good terms with your conscience?! What is it asking you to do that you're not?
  8. True Professionalism = Doing the things you *don't* want to do with as much zeal as the things you *do* want to do.
  9. Day baseball is great / Even with the #Cubs trailing / Still, a few runs please?! #haiku
  10. Coach's Creed: Always get permission BEFORE giving an executive Unsolicited Feedback. Don't just assume you've already got it.
  11. “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” - Dr. Suess
  12. Try this: Do the first few things you do as s-l-o-w as possible & then notice how much faster your 'fast' becomes
  13. Rephrasing the Architect: Our self-talk is simultaneously the source of our greatest strength & greatest weakness. What say you?!
  14. Coaching Q: What one thought could you carry around with you today to *dramatically* increase your impact?
  15. Coaching Q: What one THING could you do before the end of the week that would make a true difference? What's another *one thing*?
  16. Morning Thought: "If you ain't living it, it won't come out of our horn." - Charlie Parker
  17. RT @darrenhicks The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. -- Author Unknown > @ggci adds: To the acorn in all of us!
  18. Have you sufficiently looked after yourself today? If not, make a point of doing so tomorrow.
  19. Yesterday's Thought: "Have you sufficiently looked after yourself today? If not, make a point of doing so tomorrow." Well, it's tomorrow!
  20. (Capital L) Leaders don't just do what they MUST, they do what makes SENSE. What makes sense for YOU to do today?
  21. Quirky and clever. RT @duhism: I'm writing something for Buddhists who want to improve their lives. It's a no-self-help book.
  22. Morning Thought: People who live in aluminum houses shouldn't throw can openers
  23. On Silence. Nice. RT @thomasjwest: "A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence." ~Leopold Stokowski
  24. Coaching Q: So, what's your plan for impressing the world - and, more importantly, *yourself* - today?
  25. RT @yokoono: Listen to the sound of the fire burning in the center of the Earth. It is the same as the beautiful fire you carry inside you
  26. RT @funnyoneliners: Do the other trees wish the weeping willow would just get over it already?
  27. Afternoon check-in: So, that plan for impressing the world - and *yourself* - today? How's that going?! Well, I hope.
  28. #CoachingQ: How can you, sometime today, show the very special people in your life just how very special they are to you?
  29. Coaching Q: How sharp is your edge today? Try using it to cut open a pesky problem you've got and see what you can make of it.
  30. Distinction: Easy ≠ Unimportant - Know that just because something is EASY for you doesn't mean it's automatically UNIMPORTANT.

You can follow all my tweets on-line at http://www.twitter.com/ggci.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting More Done

"We all face the same constraint: there are only 24 hours in a day. But some people seem to get so much more done each day. How are they able to fit it all in?"

So starts a very helpful article, titled, Time at the Top: Productive Work Habits from CEOs and Top Executives, by Ann Gomez, a productivity expert, and President of Clear Concept Inc., and Mark Ellwood, an internationally known productivity consultant, expert on how people spend their time, President of Pace Productivity Inc., and buddy of mine from up in Canada.

They collaborated (quickly and efficiently, no doubt) to provide, based on their interviews with CEOs and other top executives, several "straight-forward techniques that employees at any level can use to fit more into their days":
  1. Know Your Priorities: I've blogged and tweeted about tracking your own "T-O-P 3", Today's (three) Overriding Priories - my version of doing this.
  2. Focus on One Thing at a Time: Developing one's “focus muscle” is an important, yet often overlooked, prerequisite for this.
  3. Manage Your Interruptions: To effectively switch gears and focus on their issue, Gomez and Ellwood recommend coaching people on how to give you some context and background, when interrupting, so you can better understand the issue they want to talk with you about and more easily segue from what you had been focusing on.
  4. Be Strategic About Your Email: Using the preview pane to scan the subject line
    and first two sentences is helpful to some, as is using "non-prime working time" to respond to the non-urgent ones. Others use the Touch it Once principle, acting on each email "the first time they read it." Regardless of strategy, though, it's important to "train" others as to your preferences and processes regarding email so important communiques don't get lost in the cracks.
  5. Run Efficient Meetings: One of the interviewed executives "consistently reinforces
    the designated start time by always closing the door when he walks in, and starting right away." Another, "recognizing that people need time to transition from one meeting to the next, scheduled most meetings to start exactly five minutes after the hour."
  6. Be Decisive: "Executives talked about the importance of committing to a decision, once made." Per one of the executives interviewed, "I make a decision once and go with it. I don’t allow my executive team to revisit a decision unless there is a case that is so compelling (i.e., brought on by new information or the discovery of a mistake)."
  7. Leverage Your Team (a.k.a. Delegate): Encouraging your staff to engage in Unsolicited Updates, is key.
  8. Take a Break: "All of the executives [interviewed] placed great importance on their lives outside work." And, yes, it does take some practice.

"The issues facing executives at the top of an organization are not fundamentally different from managers at any level. A lot of work needs to be done and there are always opportunities to do more. A major theme that emerges from our interviews of senior executives is that they are pro-active about how they manage their work. Rather than haphazardly allowing themselves to be overtaken by activities, they are clear about what needs to be done to be their most effective. In articulating how they achieve maximum effectiveness, they are simply preaching what they
practice."

Thanks, Ann. Thanks, Mark. Very helpful information and insight.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Unsolicted Thank Yous

I've written several times before about the importance of Unsolicited Updates, including:











This, then, is a variation on the theme, called Unsolicited Thank Yous. It works like this:

Taking the time you thank someone - again - especially when they're not expecting it, builds good will ... and increasing loyalty.

Examples:

  • "Thanks, again, for the head's-up on [that issue] the other day. It really helped me do so much better at the budget review meeting."
  • "Thanks, again, for forwarding me that magazine article on [that topic]. The statistics it quoted came in handy that very afternoon!"
  • 'Thanks, again, for facilitating that meeting with [you know who]. I don't think it would have been nearly as fruitful if you hadn't."

Get the idea?!

  • "Thanks, again, for sitting in for me at [that meeting]. I was able to get so much done with my door closed and no one knowing I was in my office the whole time!"
  • "Thanks, again, for handling [that mess] the way you did. Everyone seemed pleased with how it turned out."
  • "Thanks, again, for coaching Tony on [his screw-up]. He seems to understand what went wrong so much better now."

Of course your thanks has to be authentic and real. And they have to 'speak to' the situation at hand. The key is to share how pleased you truly were by the effort.

That's about the giving of Unsolicited Thank Yous, but did you know you can help solicit them, too?

  • "So how did I do with [that gnarly problem] the other day, boss? Did I handle it well?!"
  • "So what did you think of [that crisp, one-page, memo] I drafted for you? Did it save you any time?!"
  • "So with all the things we've done for [your company], haven't we gotten anything right?!"

Try it - from both ends - and see.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

New Leadership Moves for You

As a leader, it's hard not to feel like you're feet are stuck in the mud sometimes. Or worse, yet ... in quicksand. In many ways, leadership is about finding good choices when there are seemingly none to choose from. A multi-tined Morton's Fork, if you will. That's one of the reasons why it's so important for executives to be so vigilant about their continued professional development -- each new problem you're assigned is likely increasingly complex and pressure-packed as compared to the last 'impossible' task you were given.

That's why keeping your staff properly motivated, productive, and engaged is so essential to your own ongoing success -- you simply don't have to time to be an ineffective leader. It's an unsustainable position to hold. And once you start losing traction, you might as well stick old Morton's fork in it because you're, d-o-n-e, finished.

But many executives sometimes do struggle with knowing what to say, or how to say it to their staff. And that's why I created an email learning series called Leadership Moves. Here's the logic:


  • Since the more you think about how to be more effective as a leader, the more likely it is that you will actually become a more effective leader, Leadership Moves automatically sends you a new and different email lesson every 2-3 days SO THAT you CAN think about how to be more effective as a leader more consistently.

  • Since there really ARE a lot of subtleties in (capital L) Leadership, Leadership Moves is a compilation of 32 different leadership "moves" SO THAT you can develop a full picture of the real breadth and depth of (capital L) Leadership effectiveness.

  • Since aspiring (capital L) Leaders really ARE busy people, Leadership Moves is delivered to your email inbox in small, digestible pieces, each one taking only a few minutes to read SO THAT you actually CAN, and more importantly, actually WILL read them, and learn from them.
If this sounds like something that may be of interest to you, please visit http://www.leadershipmoves.com/ to learn more.

(And save 15% all this month by using coupon code 50819C when ordering.)

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

Levels of Delegation

Some great content from over at www.businessballs.com/delegation.htm, by Alan Chapman:

These examples of different delegation levels progressively offer, encourage and enable more delegated freedom. Level 1 is the lowest level of delegated freedom (basically none). Level 10 is the highest level typically (and rarely) found in organisations:

Level 1 - "Wait to be told." or "Do exactly what I say." or "Follow these instructions precisely."

This is instruction. There is no delegated freedom at all.

Level 2 - "Look into this and tell me the situation. I'll decide."

This is asking for investigation and analysis but no recommendation. The person delegating retains responsibility for assessing options prior to making the decision.

Level 3 - "Look into this and tell me the situation. We'll decide together."

This is has a subtle important difference to the above. This level of delegation encourages and enables the analysis and decision to be a shared process, which can be very helpful in coaching and development.

Level 4 - "Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we'll decide."

This is opens the possibility of greater freedom for analysis and decision-making, subject to both people agreeing this is appropriate. Again, this level is helpful in growing and defining coaching and development relationships.

Level 5 - "Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I'll let you know whether you can go ahead."

Asks for analysis and recommendation, but you will check the thinking before deciding.

Level 6 - "Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding."

The other person is trusted to assess the situation and options and is probably competent enough to decide and implement too, but for reasons of task importance, or competence, or perhaps externally changing factors, the boss prefers to keep control of timing. This level of delegation can be frustrating for people if used too often or for too long, and in any event the reason for keeping people waiting, after they've inevitably invested time and effort, needs to be explained.

Level 7 - "Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to."

Now the other person begins to control the action. The subtle increase in responsibility saves time. The default is now positive rather than negative. This is a very liberating change in delegated freedom, and incidentally one that can also be used very effectively when seeking responsibility from above or elsewhere in an organisation, especially one which is strangled by indecision and bureaucracy. For example, "Here is my analysis and recommendation; I will proceed unless you tell me otherwise by (date)."

Level 8 - "Decide and take action - let me know what you did (and what happened)."

This delegation level, as with each increase up the scale, saves even more time. This level of delegation also enables a degree of follow-up by the manager as to the effectiveness of the delegated responsibility, which is necessary when people are being managed from a greater distance, or more 'hands-off'. The level also allows and invites positive feedback by the manager, which is helpful in coaching and development of course.

Level 9 - "Decide and take action. You need not check back with me."

The most freedom that you can give to another person when you still need to retain responsibility for the activity. A high level of confidence is necessary, and you would normally assess the quality of the activity after the event according to overall results, potentially weeks or months later. Feedback and review remain helpful and important, although the relationship is more likely one of mentoring, rather than coaching per se.

Level 10 - "Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It's your area of responsibility now."

The most freedom that you can give to the other person, and not generally used without formal change of a person's job role. It's the delegation of a strategic responsibility. This gives the other person responsibility for defining what changes projects, tasks, analysis and decisions are necessary for the management of a particular area of responsibility, as well as the task or project or change itself, and how the initiative or change is to be implemented and measured, etc. This amounts to delegating part of your job - not just a task or project. You'd use this utmost level of delegation (for example) when developing a successor, or as part of an intentional and agreed plan to devolve some of your job accountability in a formal sense.

Thanks, Alan.

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Defying the Downturn

From a sidebar on page 36 in the 9/14/2009 edition of BusinessWeek magazine, here are 5 tips for keeping your job (and my comments -- and Key Coaching Qs -- in green):
  1. Get Ambitious - be prepared to work long hours, take on difficult tasks, and relocate if necessary. A raise? Don't hold your breath. I like the 'get ambitious' point, but not sure that the flippancy of the last sentence is called for. Key Coaching Q: What absolutely and positively needs to get done today and what will it take to get it done before turning off the lights tonight?
  2. Get Positioned - Identify bosses who are moving up or are overwhelmed. then volunteer to help. Aligning yourself with an 'overwhelmed' boss is good, counter-intuitive, thinking. Coaching Q: Who could benefit most from having you apply your natural talents and skills to a problem they're grappling with?
  3. Get Creative - Suggest ways to save your company money or generate new revenue - and play a role in the effort. I've you haven't done -- that is, already aren't doing -- this, it you're likely already at significant risk. And there's nothing flip about that whatsoever so you better get those creative juices flowing ASAP. Coaching Q: What are 5 improvements that you know can be made without disrupting ongoing operations or processes?
  4. Get Noticed - Recessions are no time to fly under the radar. Tell bigwigs about achievements but avoid shameless self-promotion. I agree with the radar comment. Better than you telling bigwigs about your achievements, do such good work that others can't help but tell the bigwigs about what you've been up to. Coaching Q: How can you meaningfully increase your impact ... as in TODAY.
  5. Get Networked - Be indispensable. Work with other units and stay in touch with newfound allies -- you may need them later. Indeed, in the distant past, it' was "WHAT you know"; and more recently, it was "WHO you know." And, while those both are still important, it's "who knows YOU" that helps most these days. Coaching Q: How are you helping others get to know you better than they already do?!

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Friday, September 4, 2009

GGCI Welcomes GGCI

A hearty welcome to a new (and unaffiliated) "GGCI" -- Global Green Cars, Inc. (www.ggci-us.com) -- and their innovative product line:

GGCI G-1G-1 -- "Pollution-free and affordable. 85% of drivers travel less than 35 miles each way for work. The 100-mile range package would suffice for all this driving with plenty of global green miles to spare. The MSRP is $18,000."

GGCI G-2G-2 -- "This fuel-less car for the in-town soccer mom and dad. It has a range of 100 miles in town and can reach speeds of 90 mph. The car weighs just 3,300 pounds and looks great. It is practical and affordable at $26,950 MSRP."

GGCI G-3G-3 Plug-In Hybrid Truck -- "Payload = 1,000 pounds; Range = 125 miles (depending on how you drive); Mileage = 100+ mpg; Top Speed= 80 mph. The G-3 is the most American-made small pickup in America."



GGCI -- GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. (www.ggci.com) -- wishes you well!

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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Executive Coaching and/or SME-ness

Over in the Q&A section of LinkedIn, Trisha asked,
"Must a Coach have more expert knowledge than a Coachee?"
Here's how I answered:

The seemingly obvious answer is "of course" – and being more of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) than your coachee definitely *does* help ... if the goal is to stimulate a coachee's learning through the transfer information alone.

But if the goal is to stimulate a coachee's learning through his/her own discovery and realizations, then a coach's subject matter expertise is far less important than the coach's ability to stimulate and facilitate a deeper conversation with the coachee about his/her beliefs, assumptions, sticking points, strengths, and possible Next Steps.

That said, "Time is (ALWAYS) of the essence" in the business world. So, in my opinions, a coach that can use his/her “SME-ness” to help jumpstart a coachee's learning and discovery is likely to find his/her coachee demonstrating greater confidence, savvy, poise, interpersonal influence, organizational impact, and executive presence, etc., far more readily … providing sufficient room is maintained for the coachee to connect the dots and discover his/her own insights and answers.

In my opinion, though, the *ultimate* answer has less to do with any particular coach’s subject matter expertise, or coaching acumen, as it does with the coachee’s *readiness* to be coached. As such, it’s essential that the coach be able to establish and maintain a deep, meaningful, relationship with a coachee quickly and effectively so to sustain and leverage that readiness.

Regrettably, many SMEs simply have no clue how to do this.

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Related: http://www.ggci.com/Articles/focus.htm

(Note: Several other LinkedIn responses to Trisha's questions have been posted in the comments section, as well.)

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Odds for 10 Top Job-Finding Strategies

Advice from Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute?, as reported in the September 1, 2009 issue of Bottom Line Personal newsletter:
  1. Mailing out resumes/submitting or posting resumes online -- odds of success: 7%*.
  2. Responding to ads in professional or trade journals -- odds of success: 7%.
  3. Responding to ads on Internet job sites -- odds of success: 10%.
  4. Responding to ads in the local newspaper -- odds of success: 5%-24% (the lower your salary requirements the better this works).
  5. Working with a private employment agency or search firm -- odds of success: 5%-28% (best with low-wage office positions, such as secretarial or clerical jobs).
  6. Networking for leads -- odds of success: 33%.
  7. Knocking on doors unannounced at employers of interest -- odds of success: 47% (especially effective with small businesses with 50 or fewer employees; mid afternoon is best).
  8. Calling companies of interest that are listed in the local Yellow Pages or White Pages Business section -- odds of success: 69% (ask for the owner, explain your background and relevant skills, then ask if s/he knows anyone in the industry in need of someone like you, or if you could come in and talk about the industry).
  9. Partnering with other job hunters -- odds of success: 70% (works best when partnering with those having different skills/career interests than you).
  10. Taking inventory of yourself, then targeting the employers where you ought to be working -- odds of success: 86% (yes, it takes time, but if you can define your skills and the type of work you want to do in as much detail as possible, you will be able to detail what you have to offer to a potential employer far more compellingly) .

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* Based on industry studies/other sources.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Happy September, All!

Yes, Happy September, All, indeed!
Fresh from a month without sans blogging,
I'm ready to dig in again ... tomorrow!
Until then, then. - bz