Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember THIS Job Interview Strategy?!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Don't Squat with Yer Spurs On!

Selected words of wisdom from "A Cowboy's Guide to Life," volumes I and II, by Texas Bix Bender:
  1. Never take to sawin' on the branch that's supportn' you, unless you're bein' hung from it.

  2. A lot of good luck is undeserved, but then so is a lot of bad luck.

  3. Go after life as if it's something that's got to be roped in a hurry before it gets away.

  4. Don't let so much reality into your life that there's no room left for dreamin'.

  5. Ain't never seen a wild critter feelin' sorry for itself.

  6. Honesty is not something you should flirt with -- ou should be married to it.

  7. Avoid flasharity, foofaraw, and fumadiddle in dress, speech, and conduct. leave the peacocking for the peacocks.

  8. You can't weigh the facts if yo'uve got the scales loaded down with your opinions.

  9. When you forgive and forget, forget that you forgave while you're at it.

  10. The best way to knock a chip off a shoulder is with a friendly pat on the back.

  11. Work lessat worrying and more at working.

  12. Advice is like a pot of chili: You should try a little of it yourself before you give anybody else a taste.

  13. If you ain't pullin' your weight, you're pushin' your luck.

  14. Nothin' keeps you honest more than witnesses.

  15. The purest metal comes out of the greatest heat.

  16. You're not being diplomatic just because you put "please' in front of "shut the hell up."

  17. Smetimes it takes a lot more thinkin' to deal with changes than to make 'em.

  18. You'll feel better when it quits hurtin'.

  19. The bigger the mouth, the better it looks shut.

  20. You can't tell how far a frog can jump by its croak.

  21. Always walk tall and keep your head up -- unless you're walkin' in a cow pasture.

  22. The best way to break a bad habit is to drop it.

-----
Thanks to A.W.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Conflict Trigger Mitigation and Avoidance

Here's the scenario:
  1. Person A wants to talk with Person B about something, and does so.
  2. But the way that Person A raises, or discusses, the issue unintentionally triggers* Person B.
  3. Person B, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally triggers Person A.
  4. Person A, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person B.
  5. Person B, having just been triggered - and re-triggered - in a matter of moments, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person A.
  6. Tensions and exasperations peak, for *both* Persons A and B - individually, and collectively.
  7. Any ability for Person A or Person B to engage in a meaningful or constructive way, at this point, has been lost.

Or maybe, it goes like this:

  1. Person B wants to talk with Person A about something, and does so.
  2. But the way that Person B raises, or discusses, the issue unintentionally triggers* Person A.
  3. Person A, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally triggers Person B.
  4. Person B, having just been triggered, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person A.
  5. Person A, having just been triggered - and re-triggered - in a matter of moments, reacts in a way that unintentionally re-triggers Person B.
  6. Tensions and exasperations peak, for *both* Persons B and A - individually, and collectively.
  7. Any ability for Person B or Person A to engage in a meaningful or constructive way, at this point, has been lost.

Likely both scenarios turn into one, big, round-and-round, ongoing, mess-of-a conflict.

Now keep in mind, no one actually has to be at fault here - Person A (or B) can be triggered just because Person B (or A) did, said, or even just *wore* something that reminded Person A (or B) of a trigger-worthy something/someone in his/her past. It's all very Pavlovian, for you Classical Conditioning fans out there. The point is, though, that triggers can be triggered for reasons totally unrelated to the "triggeree".

But, if Persons A and B can get more "consciously aware" of this whole triggers-triggering-triggers thing, they will likely WANT to work, in true partnership - yes, in TRUE partnership -, on:

  1. Trigger Mitigation - that is, helping each other to UN-trigger more quickly and effectively, should they inadvertently trigger, or be triggered by, each other;
  2. Trigger Avoidance - that is, helping each other to NOT trigger, or be triggered by, each other, nearly as often in the future.

Not to sound sales-y about it, but coaching (along with a Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) Assessment) is an excellent way help someone better understand his/her own triggers, how they may be unknowingly triggering others, and how to better manage these conflict dynamics.

So if you and someone - or someone and someone else you know - are in seemingly constant conflict with each other, there very well might be something we can all do about it to make things better.

----

*Triggers --> Whatever causes one's fight/flight instinct to suddenly, and dramatically, engage.

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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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Friday, July 17, 2009

Risk Tolerance and Reality

Financial Advisers talk about Risk Tolerance -- the amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your investments trend in the wrong direction. But Risk Tolerance applies to more than just Wall Street dynamics.

Consider where you stand with respect to:
  • Career/Job Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your employer choose to restructure or eliminate your current position.
  • Leadership Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with as the boss of those facing current, impending, or recently-experienced Job Risk.
  • Interpersonal Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should an important relationship of yours hit a rough patch.
  • Self-Confidence Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should these or other things at work or in life not go as planned.
  • Self-Esteem Risk Tolerance -- The amount of uncertainty you're willing to cope with should your self-confidence dissipate and work/life continue to trend in the wrong direction.

The underlying question here differentiates between PLANNING for potential realities...and dealing with ACTUALITIES.

So what do we do when we find ourselves needing to cope with more risk than we would typically tolerate?

When financial advisers talk about money-matters, many (most?) suggest that we not 'change horses in the middle of the stream' but rather establish, and then stick with, an allocation strategy or plan that's properly aligned with our overall Risk Tolerance level. That, they say, will serve us BEST in the long-run.

Yet isn't it true that airplanes never actually fly in a straight line from here to there but, instead, must make a series of continuous, albeit minor, adjustments along the way to properly correct for the realities of what's going on in the skies around them?

Planning for Reality is important. But effectively handling Reality is more so. Is it not? (This reminds me of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs -- self-actualization may be the ultimate goal, but if you aren't getting your basic needs met, it's sort of irrelevant.)

So how ARE you handling the REALITY of your work and personal lives these days --not just your financial reality,but your entire reality?

  • If you're struggling some, what might you do to bolster yourself and your situation?
  • If you're not, how might you help someone who is?

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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! Newsletter Now Available

Not Just Talk! - the quarterly newsletter of GottaGettaCoach!, Inc.The 3qtr2009 Not Just Talk! quarterly newsletter from Barry Zweibel and GottaGettaCoach!, Inc. is now available and ready for viewing at http://www.ggci.com/NotJustTalk/. Included are:

Enjoy!

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Monday, July 6, 2009

Unlock Your Full Potential

Per Rober Kega, PhD, Meehan Professor of Adult Learning and Professional Development at Harvard University Graduate School of Education, from an interview with BottomLinePersonal (Volume 30; Number 14):
  1. List the things you do -- and the things you don't do -- that inhibit your progress toward your stated goal.
  2. For each inhibiting behavior that you listed in step #1, ask yourself, "What fear or fears are raised in my mind when I imagine myself doing exactly the opposite?"
  3. Rewrite the fears you listed in step #2 in a way that expresses your commitment to your hidden conflicting goals.
  4. Go back to the fears you described in step #2, and list the assumptions that are built into them.
  5. Imagine what would happen if you pursued your stated goal and things did not go perfectly.
  6. Discuss your desire to alter your behavior with those who will be affected by your changes.
  7. Adjust your behavior in small ways that challenge the importance of your conflicting goal without forsaking it entirely

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Stretching Yourself

“Women who stretched themselves said that they enjoyed more success compared to those who didn't keep stretching.”

So said Nellie Borrero, director of global inclusion and diversity at Accenture, in Roaring All the Way to the Top, an article in the May 2009 issue of T&D magazine.

Based on her online survey of 3,600 global business executives, it was also reported that:
  • 78% of women who are are very successful agreed that "I am learning new skills to move to the next level." 67% of women, overall, agreed.
  • 81% of women who are very successful agreed that "I take on additional responsibilities and complexities to advance." 67% of women, overall, agreed.
  • 75% of women who are very successful agreed that "I regularly stretch myself beyond my comfort zone." 61% of women, overall, agreed.
  • 65% of women who are very successful agreed that "I regularly ask my supervisors for new challenges." 50% of women, overall, agreed.
  • 76% of women who are very successful agreed that "I am willing to consider a new position or role to advance." 67% of women, overall, agreed.

Draw your own conclusions.

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

(Big C) Collaboration

(little c) collaboration is about Obligation, talking to others because you MUST.

(Big C) Collaboration is about Idea Synergy, 1+1>2.

Play BIG.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

"Expert In" AND a "Student Of"

Just read a very interesting post by Andrew Bryant in which he talks about the importance of Intentional Practice:

"Intentional Practice is perfect practice and perfect practice makes perfect. Intentional practice requires knowing “Why” you are doing what you are doing and complete “Attention” to the task."
It reminded me of the value of striving to be BOTH, "expert in" and a "student of".

Perhaps some examples would help:
  • An Attorney can be both expert in intellectual property law and a student of litigation.
  • An Architect can be both expert in residential housing and a student of eco-responsible design.
  • A Musician can be both expert in music theory and a student of creative expressionism.
  • An Executive can be both expert in getting things done and a student of leadership.
  • A Life Coach can be both expert in asking the right questions and a student of the human condition.

Indeed, embracing the "mind of a student" often helps the Expert get past the ego-imposed limitations of not wanting to look foolish from, or be embarrassed by, not already know everything there is to know about their particular area of expertise.

Students continue to learn and grow as a matter of course. Experts, similarly, continue know and do with incredible skill.

Striving to be BOTH "expert in" AND a "student of" may take a fair amount of Intentional Practice, but it's most definitely a worthy goal.

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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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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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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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Friday, February 6, 2009

Fast-Track the Possibilities

Quick -- Name one thing you can do, one person you can call, or one thought you can complete, in the next 10 minutes, that could make a difference.

Then fast-track the possibilities before you get distracted by something else.

Name one step you can take, one question you can ask, or one idea you can share, in the next 15 minutes, that could increase your impact.

Fast-track those possibilities before you talk yourself out of them.

Name one step you can build on, one conclusion you can re-validate, or one recommendation you can support, in the next 30 minutes, that could truly help make things better.

Fast-track the possibilities before you forget what you were even thinking about.

Use the next hour to get that much more interested what possibilities are readily available to you, to become that much more aware of the possibilities around you, and to commit that much more fully to furthering these possibilities, sooner, rather than later ... rather than not at all.

Quick -- fast-track the possibilities before the moment is gone.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Impact Competencies - Who Gets Listened to and Why?

Ever been in a meeting where you raised what you thought was a really powerful objection to something and everyone else in the room roundly dismissed it as off-point?

Ever been in a meeting where someone else raised what you thought was a totally irrelevant objection to something and everyone else in the room roundly hailed it as amazingly spot-on and insightful?

What's that all about, actually?!

Here's your assignment: Look for this dynamic - when comments are validated or not - and see what you can glean from what you see. Find the patterns.

  • Compare and contrast who gets listened to ... and who really doesn't
  • Compare and contrast how they say things ... their tone, their rate of speech, their affect, etc.
  • Compare and contrast any key words they use that seem to engender, or dilute, the support of others
  • Compare and contrast what's said immediately before they comment
  • Compare and contrast what preparatory work they have/have not done on the topic

From this exercise, develop a list of Impact Competencies - that which helps people get listened to.

Discuss.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Developing Your Leadership Development Plan

Welcome to 2009. Here's wishing it's the best one yet for you - at work and in life! From a work standpoint, what's developing with respect to your leadership development efforts? What are your plans with respect to what I like to call the five Key Domains of Leadership?
GottaGettaCoach! Key Leadership Domains
Key Leadership Domain #1 - Managing UP the Chain. Establishing and maintaining - and growing - your relationship with your boss and others above you in the organization, is an essential component of being properly recognized (and rewarded) for your results. Too, it helps determine how much of your boss' value-added flows back down to you. That said, take a moment to list out 3-5 new things you can try to meaningfully improve how you manage UP the chain and commit to putting at least one of them in play this week.

Key Leadership Domain #2 - Managing DOWN the Chain. Effectively leading A-caliber players is one thing, but more likely than not, your leadership success will ultimately be determined by how you lead your B- and C-caliber staff. Getting people to consistently over-achieve is a definite leadership competency. That said, take a moment to list out 3-5 new things you can try to meaningfully improve how you manage DOWN the chain and commit to putting at least one of them in play this week.

Key Leadership Domain #3 - Managing ACROSS the Chain. Leading without formal authority is another essential competency in business. Without an ability to influence your peers and get them to willingly follow your lead, you significantly limit your organizational impact. That said, take a moment to list out 3-5 new things you can try to meaningfully improve how you manage ACROSS the chain and commit to putting at least one of them in play this week.

Key Leadership Domain #4 - Managing OUTSIDE the Chain. Vendor personnel, contract employees, consultants, industry contacts and connections ... valuable resources, all. That said, take a moment to list out 3-5 new things you can try to meaningfully improve how you manage OUTSIDE the chain and commit to putting at least one of them in play this week.

Key Leadership Domain #5 - Managing YOURSELF. Although isolated here for simplicity sake, your ability to make meaningful improvements in any of the aforementioned domains is contingent upon your ability to manage yourself ... and the gap between your self-perceptions and how others - up, down, across, and outside the chain - perceive you. That said, take a moment to list out 3-5 new things you can meaningfully try to improve how you manage YOURSELF and commit to putting at least one of them in play this week.

Effective leadership development best happens when it's more than just an ad hoc effort. Taking a few moments you take here, in January, to develop your leadership development plan will likely yield considerably better results than by just winging it.

So what are some things you're likely to list out - and focus on - this year? Who can you encourage to work on this exercise, as well?

(For more on the five Key Leadership Domains, see: http://www.ggci.com/leadership-coaching/scope.htm.)

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Out-Loud Leadership

Effective leadership is about pointing others toward success. It's also about pointing out - out loud - when others are already moving in that direction.

Case in Point: While reviewing a rather content-rich spreadsheet with the employee who created it, his boss stopped mid-sentence to turn to the employee and say,

"This is really very good work, you know. Thank you."

What a great leadership moment! In less than 10 seconds, the executive had recognized the value of the work that had been completed to date, spoke out loud to that value, and took the time to recognize the employee for having been the one to contribute that value.

Was it necessary? No. But was it beneficial? Absolutely!

I know this because of what happened next: The employee smiled, sat up a little straighter and engaged even more thoroughly in the conversation the two of them were having. He was clearly delighted in having impressed the boss.

Kudos to the executive for pointing out - and saying out loud - what she had been thinking. Clearly, it had a positive impact ... and will likely continue to inspire that employee far longer than it took to say what was said.

Nicely done. Very nicely done.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Maintaining Morale in Tough Times

A member of a LinkedIn group I subscribe to wanted to know how to help his staff maintain morale in tough times. And, while many offered some pretty good suggestions about reminding people of their accomplishments and reiterating Big Picture goals and objectives, I took a slightly different tack:

"I’m actually not all that sure that “Maintaining Morale in Tough Times!” is the right goal in these times. I think that maintaining “realness” might actually be more appropriate. Three potential problems with the “morale” play:
  1. It can too easily come off as being manipulative
  2. It belies reality
  3. Many (most?) managers probably can’t pull it off as intended

“Realness”, however, is … well, REAL. In other words, it passes the sniff test. So I’d suggest any five or six of the following:

  • REAL authenticity
  • REAL respect
  • REAL regard
  • REAL focus
  • REAL attention
  • REAL caring
  • REAL interest
  • REAL authenticity
  • REAL courageousness
  • That is, REAL ... leadership!

Agree? Disagree? What'd I miss?

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Common Sense Office Politics

"Political skills in the workplace can determine one’s ability to perform at a high level, foster camaraderie and ultimately, be the difference-maker between a successful company and failing one." So writes Dr. William Moskal, in the December 2008 issue of Baseline magazine.

What follows are his his top 10 "common-sense management principles that can harness political energy to foster successful teams" [along with my comments in green]:

  1. If you've seen one relationship, you've seen one relationship. To achieve success, you must know what motivates people and apply that intelligence to guide them toward achieving a common objective. [And remember, just because something works particularly well for one person or group of persons does NOT mean it will automatically work well with others. Each person, regardless of the role s/he happens to be playing at any particular point in time, is a unique individual.]
  2. Without structure, there is no freedom. Without structure, anarchy reigns. People need rules about how to interact within a team in order to create responsibility and accountability. [Think jazz improvisation - total freedom "within a pre-determined, formalized structure." See my "Management as Jazz" post for more on this.]
  3. People panic in herds and recover one by one. Recall the last meeting at which employees were notified of organizational change. Likely, there were nervous glances, discreet whispers. After the meeting, employees gathered for conversations where rumors spread. [Don't assume that just one speech, meeting, presentation, or conversation will be enough. Socialize your issues - early and often. Hang out by the copy machine or where your floor's mail is delivered; chat-it-up while waiting for the elevator; purposefully take a few extra trips to Starbucks to talk with informal opinion-leaders; plug into the grapevine; etc. A well-timed conversation - even one of the shortest duration - can have amazing restorative powers.]
  4. There are no obstacles; there are only possibilities. Lead by example and maintain a positive, encouraging attitude. [Sure, it may sound a bit trite and hackneyed, but it's still smart.]
  5. The Platinum Rule: Treat others the way they would like to be treated. [A tip-of-the-hat to Tony Alessandra who coined the term.]
  6. When you jerk the socks on the clothesline, the underwear jumps. Consider consequences, assume accountability and be very clear when communicating an action’s potential impact. [Okay, so I might have used another analogy, but not anticipating Unintended Consequences has ruined many an initiative - and short-stopped many an executive's career.]
  7. Reward and recognize good behavior. Reward and distinguish the teams first and the stars second. [And reward stars for their ability to raise everyone else's level of performance, even more than any individual contribution they happened to make themselves.]
  8. If you own it, you take care of it. [I'm not such a fan of saying that a leader 'owns' his/her team, but the 'take care of it' part is rock-solid advice.]
  9. Trust requires predictability and provision of benefit. Employees need to know how they will benefit if goals are achieved and to understand the consequences if results fall short. [But don't get trapped by "The Dangerous Allure of Trust".]
  10. It’s about people, not politics. [Office politics are neither good, nor bad - they just are. If you have trouble with this concept, consider the word 'politics' to simply mean the process by which communications flow within organization. Thus, playing politics is just another way of saying that you're trying to communicate with your coworkers as effectively as possible. That some are more 'unsavory' about this than most is by and large irrelevant.]

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interpersonal Networking - Holiday Style

This just in from the Name Tag Guy, creative thinker, and savvy networker, Scott Ginsberg -- 13 Ways to Network without Being a Nuisance. Here are a half-dozen of my favorites:
  • Identify why you’re there. Is this an opportunity for you to meet people, or is it an opportunity for them to meet YOU? This simple attitudinal change will alter your business forever.
  • Be The Observed, not The Observer. Lead the conversation. Invite new people to join your table or conversation. [C]onsider being a volunteer.
  • Remove the threat of rejection. If you’re afraid of starting conversations with strangers for fear of looking stupid or being rejected, approach people who HAVE to be nice to you. Leaders, volunteers, hosts, bartenders … these encounters are perfect opportunities to achieve small victories that will build your networking confidence.
  • Lead with your person; follow with your profession. Values before vocation. Personality before position. Realness before roles. Then, when the time is right, find a way to gently introduce how you deliver value. Don’t force it.
  • Stop asking people, “So, what do YOU do?” [N]ot everyone has a job. Nor are all people defined by their work. Instead, ask questions that enable the person to take the conversation in whatever direction makes them feel comfortable, i.e., “What keeps you busy all week?” “What’s been the best part about your week so far?”
  • Friendliness is underrated. I know it sounds dumb, but just be friendly. Friendliness is so rare; it’s become remarkable. Use it. Do it. BE it.

And a few additional ideas of my own:

  • Get yourself ready. If you need to rest a bit beforehand, then do so. If you need to do something physical, do that. Do what you need so that you can show up 100% as the True and Authentic YOU.
  • Set a goal. Decide, in advance, how many new people you want to meet. Don't overwhelm yourself, but do stretch. And know that without setting a number, you're likely to meet far fewer people than you would otherwise.
  • Let your conversations swerve. Don't just stick to the facts, tell stories, share tidbits, ask some light-hearted questions, digress, welcome more detail. Superfluousness is often a handle that others can grab ahold of to engage more vibrantly in their conversations with YOU.
  • Go to the gratitude place. Okay, maybe this is a bit heavy for most networking events, but it is the Holiday Season so you most certainly can get away with asking people what they're most grateful for this year. And don't be surprised if much of what you hear is wonderful and heartwarming.
  • Identify a reason to follow-up. Build on what you've learned and continue your conversations afterwards. Did you talk with someone about great vacations? Share your itinerary from that trip to Banff and Jasper you took last year. Did you find a music buff? Let them know that Phish is getting back together. (Yes, it's true!) Did you talk sushi? Ask for the name of that great restaurant you talked about. Have a lead to share? By all means, share it.
  • Leave on a high note. Allow for the serendipity that the person you'll connect most with is someone you meet on the way out. And if not, no matter. You'll still have left the event with a spring in your step and a smile on your face. The memory of that alone will surely help you get yourself ready the next time.

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Conflict Dynamic Profile for Individuals

GottaGettaCoach! has just started working with a new assessment called the CDP-I, or Conflict Dynamics Profile® for Individuals.

The CDP-I is now available through GottaGettaCoach!, Inc.

"The Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) was developed by the Leadership Development Institute at Eckerd College to prevent harmful conflict in the workplace. It provides managers and employees with a greater awareness of how they respond when faced with conflict so that they can improve on those behaviors causing the most problems.

"The CDP's focus on conflict behaviors, rather than styles, emphasizes an action-oriented approach which lessens the problems associated with harmful or unproductive forms of conflict and results in more effective conflict management skills.

"As a psychometrically sound instrument, the CDP shows solid evidence of reliability and validity and has been normed against a variety of organizations. Easily completed in 20-25 minutes, the CDP comes with a thorough Development Guide offering practical tips and strategies for strengthening conflict management skills."

More specifically, the CDP-I assessment:

  1. Identifies your Constructive Responses, that is, how well you demonstrate the following desirable behaviors during a conflict
  2. Identifies your Destructive Responses, that is, how well you control the following undesirable behaviors during a conflict
  3. Identifies your Hot Buttons, that is, what tends to frustrate or irritate you about how others behave.

So why is this even important? Because once you are more fully aware of your automatic "reactions" to a conflict, the better you will be able to more effectively self-manage your "responses" to that conflict and properly de-escalate it.

If you're interested in the CDP-I, please drop me a line and we'll assess your conflict behavior together.

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Friday, October 24, 2008

How to Have More Courage at Work

From our friends at BNET, here's a six-minute podcast on how to have more courage at work:








(direct download)

Description: "Courage isn't something most managers think about instilling in their employees. But management consultant Bill Treasurer says it’s vital to business success. Resistance to change and taking chances can hurt morale, productivity and profits. In this podcast, Treasurer explains how to inspire workers to move beyond their comfort zones and embrace risk. Treasurer is author of Courage Goes to Work: How to Build Backbones, Boost Performance and Get Results."

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Self Doubt? Get Out!

An article in the March 2008 issue of Dance Magazine (my daughter subscribes!) caught my eye. Written by Anne L. Wennerstrand and titled, "Hang in There," the piece "counsels dancers not to let self-doubt stand in the way of building a career."

Indeed. And there's broader applicability, as well. Per the author:
"No matter where you are in your career [bz: or what career you're in], you can stay encouraged by learning how to respond differently to your circumstances. With a little benign curiosity, you can feel more empowered and energized in the face of inevitable disappointments."
Benign curiosity. I like that notion.

Emily was an accomplished ballerina who held an unquestioned belief that if she wasn't "special enough" she wouldn't be worthy of future success and approval. As a result, she placed way too much importance on what others thought of her work. Through benign reflection she realized that this was due, in large part, to her early ballet teachers who "devalued her abilities in class, forcing her to prove herself worthy of their attention." Wow!

Michael, a musical theater dancer, would become extremely anxious and fearful when preparing to audition, notwithstanding his success in a number of prior shows. Through benign curiosity he learned that the voices in his head were really those of his family, who never really supported his love of dance in the first place. Hmmm.

So what is YOUR self-talk telling you and where did those ideas initially come from?
Likely, from a very long time ago. "The voices of self-doubt that a dancer [bz: or anyone else] may hear," writes Ms. Wennerstrand, "are often the result of the “outside getting inside.” These voices can be those of parents, teachers, and authority figures who were once relied upon for safety and approval. By developing awareness, dancers [bz: and others] can learn to question some of those internalized voices."

So don't just listen to your negative self-talk and accept it as truth, wonder about its truth. Question its truth. Consider that it may NO LONGER be true. ASSERT that it doesn't have to be true.

And tell your self-doubt to get out!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Some People Like To Make Life, Tougher Than It Is

The band: CAKE
The Album: Pressure Chief
The song: Tougher Than It Is



Well there is no such thing as you
It doesn't matter what you do
The more you try to qualify
The more it all will pass you by

Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is
Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is

Well the more you try to shake the cat
The more the thing will bite and scratch
It's best I think to leave its fur
and to listen to its silky purr

Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is
Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is

Well there is no such thing as you
It doesn't matter what you do
The more you try to qualify
The more it all will pass you by

Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is
Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is
Some people like to make life
a little tougher than it is

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Monday, October 6, 2008

How Happy Are You?

So how happy ARE you?! Here's a fun little quiz courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and the Psychological Flourishing Scale:

Step One - Answer each of the 12 statements below:
  1. I lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  2. My social relationships are supportive and rewarding.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  3. I am engaged and interested in my daily activities.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  4. I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  5. I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  6. I am a good person and live a good life.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  7. My material life (income, housing, etc.) is sufficient for my needs.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  8. I generally trust others and feel part of my community.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  9. I am satisfied with my religious or spiritual life.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  10. I am optimistic about the future.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  11. I have no addictions, such as to alcohol, illicit drugs, or gambling.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree
  12. People respect me.
    A. Strongly agree
    B. Agree
    C. Slightly agree
    D. Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree
    E. Slightly disagree
    F. Disagree
    G. Strongly disagree

Step Two - Calculate your happiness/flourishing score as follows:

  • Give yourself 7 points for each Strongly agree response
  • Give yourself 6 points for each Agree response
  • Give yourself 5 points for each Slightly agree response
  • Give yourself 4 points for each Mixed, or neither agree or nor disagree response
  • Give yourself 3 points for each Slightly disagree response
  • Give yourself 2 points for each Disagree response
  • Give yourself 1 point for each Strongly disagree response

Step Three - Consider your results:

  • 80-84 = Extremely high flourishing
  • 74-79 = Very high flourishing
  • 68-73 = High flourishing
  • 60-67 = Flourishing
  • 48-59 = Slight lack of flourishing
  • 32-47 = Lack of flourishing
  • 12-31 = Extremely low flourishing

Step Four - Next Steps:

Happy with what you found?! If so, GREAT! If not, review the 12 questions and decide which ones you want to happily flourish more with.

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Monday, July 21, 2008

Air Cover: Getting Support from the Big Boss

Scenario: You need to do something that you just know a coworker, Mary, is not going to like. She'll dislike it so much, she'll likely go over your head to to complain about it.

So how can you increase the probability that you'll get the 'air cover' and support you need from the Big Boss?

By bringing your boss up-to-speed before you roll out your plan so s/he can comfortably say, "Yes, I know of, and approved, the approach taken."
Can't get your boss to approve your plan exactly as is? Then just tweak it a bit so that you can.

Then, play it out: Tell Mary. Let her complain to your boss's boss. (You can't stop her, anyway.) Watch as your boss's boss asks your boss, "What's this all about?" Then, see how:
  • If your boss can speak intelligently about your plan, you'll likely be supported by the Big Boss; and
  • If your boss cannot speak intelligently about your plan, you'll likely get overruled.
It's not just about how good your idea is; it's about how well your boss supports it when it's ultimately challenged.

End of story. Try it yourself and see.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Five (or Six) Truths About Fear

Susan Jeffers, in her ground-breaking book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, identified five basic truths about feara:

  1. The fear will never go away as long as I continue to grow.
  2. The only way to get rid of the fear of doing something is to go out … and do it.
  3. The only way to feel better about myself is to go out … and do it.
  4. Not only am I going to experience fear whenever I'm on unfamiliar territory, but so is everyone else.
  5. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from a feeling of helplessness.

"By now you've gotten the picture," writes Dr. Jeffers. "We can't escape fear. We can only transform it into a companion that accompanies us in all our exciting adventures ... Some people have told me they are never afraid, but when I question them, they reveal that we are just differing on semantics. Yes, they feel nervous or anxious sometimes - they simply never labeled it as fear."

Know, though, that whether you label it as fear, or not:

Unfamiliarity with HOW to do something is not the same as Inability TO do something.

So, the next time you find yourself "feeling the fear", or feeling nervous, or anxious, or whatever it is you feel when you're in an unfamiliar space ... STOP ... and remind yourself that just because you haven't done this particular thing before, it does not mean you're incapable of doing it (or learning to do it).

This simple realization is central to all personal / professional growth ... all relationship growth ... all leadership growth ...all life growth ... all everything growth.

So I want to add a 6th Truth of Fear to the list:

  1. Our ability to push through fear has far less to do with the difficulty of a given situation - real or imagined - than it does with our readiness to learn and grow, regardless of circumstance.

As such, it seems to me that fear can be recast as a basic "invitation to learn", rather than an inhibitor of learning.

Ha! I guess you could say that while "opportunity knocks but once," fear rings the bell again and again and again - until you accept its invitation to come out and play!

----
aTaken from Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright ©1987-2008 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Archived Topic: Fear

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Stupid Questions and What Happens Next

"There's no such thing as a stupid question."

Wrong. There are all sorts of stupid questions. We hear them every day. We ask them every day. We label them as such every day. And life, amazingly, goes on.

But whether a question is considered stupid or not is not really the issue. What matters more - much more - than the caliber of the question, is what you do with the answer.

If the answer has you (and everyone else in the room) lapse into silence, it probably wasn't a question worth asking - at least not at this particular time, in this particular place, or to this particular person.

If the answer has you say something like, "Well if that's the case, then ....", or "So it logically follows that...", or has you offer up some insightful inference that helps move the conversation meaningfully forward, then it's GOOD you asked your stupid question - GOOD for everyone!

And if the answer has someone else say something like, "Well if that's the case, then ....", or "So it logically follows that...", or has them offer up some insightful inference that helps move the conversation meaningfully forward, then it's REALLY GOOD you asked your stupid question - REALLY GOOD for everyone!

That said, the best way to avoid the harsh glare - and potential embarrassment - from asking a stupid question is to ask it with the intention of applying the answer (whatever it is) in an absolutely brilliant, or at least quasi-intelligent, way. Fear not how you'll do that, just set the intention to do that ... and proceed accordingly.

Not sure how to do that? Not sure how you'd apply the answer (whatever it is) in an absolutely brilliant, or at least quasi-intelligent, way? Then maybe it's a stupid question that's better to not ask at this particular time, in this particular place, or to this particular person.

And what if you're asked a stupid question? Two things on that:
  • Thing One: Please, puleeeeeze, don't say, "There's no such thing as a stupid question!" (Sorry, pet peeve of mine.)
  • Thing Two: Answer the question thoughtfully and immediately follow-up with a stupid question of your own - something like, "So what can you infer from my answer?"

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Friday, April 25, 2008

From (totally) Perfect to (merely) Excellent

I work a lot with executives who relish their perfectionism - and why not, it's what, in large part, got them promoted to be executives.

To help them 're-frame' how they think about their work, I have them do a little exercise. First, I have them draw a line from left to right, with arrows on each end; a continuum, if you will:

a continuum

On it, I then have them put a big A on the far left and label it (inescapably) Awful; and a big P on the far right and label it (totally) Perfect. Like this, perhaps:

from (inescapably) Awful to (totally) Perfect

I then ask where on the line they'd put an E,which stands for (merely) Excellent - still excellent, but just barely so.

E

(merely) Excellent?!

If you do this exercise yourself, be sure to notice that wherever you put your E - it's likely somewhat left of P, but still considerably to the right of A. That is, meaningfully less than (totally) Perfect, but still nowhere near (inescapably) Awful.

My challenge to them - and to you - is to spend the next two weeks operating in the E space - wherever it's located - to see what that's like.

If you do, you'll likely find, as they do, that not one person (excepting yourself) will notice any decrease in your performance whatsoever. And, by allowing yourself to be just (merely) Excellent you'll free up literally hours of time in your workweek - and at home - that you can then use to complete several other things in a (merely) Excellent way AND still have time to clean up your overflowing email inbox already, for crying out loud!

It's a fun little experiment, one that I invite you to try.

And what if someone becomes dissatisfied with your (merely) Excellent performance? Don't worry. For now, just apologize and indulge yourself in making things (totally) Perfect.

It'll still be the exception, rather than the rule.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Fear 303: A Revised Model of Fear

Last month I forwarded a model - Fear 101 - to explain how many people conceptualize fear. As you may recall, there was an inner core of Fearlessness, surrounded by a ring of Courageousness, encapsulated in a vast Infinity and Beyond called, The Land of Fear.

Since then, I've received numerous emails and phone calls from people telling me that that's exactly how they envision fear, too. Very gratifying, indeed.

The Next Step in the process, then, was for me was to figure out how to re-frame fear so that it would not be so large-and-in-charge as it is in the Fear 101 model. The “aha moment” came once I was ready to accept the possibility that Infinity and Beyond was just too big and unlimited a space for fear to claim so unilaterally. It was only then that I realized that Infinity and Beyond was not, ipso facto, the Land of Fear – it was simply a Benign Unknown.

What a wonderful shift!

The resultant upgrade, dubbed Fear 303, looks and works as such:

Fear 303 Model

Starting at the back of the pack is this huge Benign Unknown stretching out in most directions. Within it (and bubbling out of it in places) is this thing called Opportunity.

So that we're clear, Opportunity is a good thing.

Next, as the blue bubble indicates, our natural response to Opportunity is often Fearlessness. This, too, is a good thing, as Fearlessness often empowers us to positively leverage Opportunity.

For sticklers to detail, it should be noted that the Fear 303 model recognizes that, sometimes, Fearlessness splashes out past Opportunity and into other areas of the Benign Unknown that may neither be opportunities, nor so benign. But that's just the way things are, sometimes, right? (I failed to recognize that in Fear 202, which is why I didn't post it between 101 and 303.)

So here’s where I think it gets nice and juicy: Instead of allowing Fear to "own" all of Infinity and Beyond, Fear is now relegated to a small little cloud in the lower right-hand corner of the diagram. Like Fearlessness, Fear also overlays Opportunity - some opportunities do, indeed, frighten us - and parts of Fear splash out, as well, into the Benign Unknown, and into parts of the Unknown that may not be benign. That really is the way things are, sometimes, right?!

But in the Fear 303 model, Fear is clearly a whole lot less featured – especially when you consider how Fear is mostly covered by Courageousness in service to Opportunity.

Sure, sometimes Fear still prevents us from moving forward, but it does so to a considerably lesser extent than in Fear 101. Indeed, once we recognize that Fear does not have to be our default reaction to the Unknown, it is majorly dis-empowered and has significantly less automatic say-so over how we react to what's going on around us. We are at choice.

That feels very motivating (and plausible) to me. How does it feel to you?

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Fear 101: A Model

I've been talking to a number of people about fear lately and decided to diagram what a prevailing mental model is for many with respect to fear:

Fear 101 As you see, the inner core represents one's fearlessness – that is the place where we have no fear. For some this is a very big place; for others it can be fairly small. As they say, individual results may vary.

Surrounding this inner core is a ring of courageousness – the place where, as Susan Jeffersa would say, we are willing to "feel the fear and do it, anyway."

As with the fearlessness core, the courageousness ring is a very big place for some, and a relatively small place for others. Too, and this is something you've likely already experienced yourselves, the actual size of these two areas will vary greatly depending on circumstance, mood, comfort level, and a variety of other variables.

Surrounding all of that – and this was the real light bulb realization for me, as it may be for you – is a veritable Infinity and Beyond ... of fear. Yes, for many people, anything outside of what they're already fearless - or willing to be courageous - about, is a never ending Land of Fear.

Of course, not everyone looks at it this way - although a surprising number of people really do. (And to a certain extent, you might, too, if you're being really honest with yourself.) So perhaps you can appreciate that I mean no disrespect when I say,

This is hardly a Model for Champions!
What it is, though, is a pretty frightening diagram. Scary to even look at, actually, with its big, hairy, eyeball staring back like that. Remember that Far Side cartoon – “Warning: Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” and all you see is one big, fat, blood-shot, monster’s eyeball?! Like that, don't you think?!

Although that may just be the fear talking!

But, when we consider that virtually everything outside of our fearlessness and courageousness zones is in the Land of Fear, it's no wonder why feelings of fear, worry, and doubt can seem so incessant. After all, Infinity and Beyond, by it's very definition, is a pretty big place!

Okay, so this said,the Next Step is to figure out how to re-frame our model so that fear is not so featured as the kingpin of the whole thing.

Stay tuned!

----
a Taken from Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway®, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. Copyright ©1987-2008 Susan Jeffers, Ph.D. All rights reserved.

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