2022 Blog

April Newsletter – Mindfulness

It may seem like obvious advice, but do you make a point to give yourself space during your day? Space to think and to breathe and to consider how you are reacting to what is going on around you? Or do you spend your days in a defensive and reactive stance, mentally and physically? If we slow down long enough to give ourselves time to pay attention to how we’re feeling in the moment without judgement, we may find our pulse slowing down and realizing that we don’t have to just “get through” the day on auto-pilot.

Give it a try. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find it hard to focus on you; mindfulness is a discipline of sorts, so it takes practice. In time, you may find it useful in every avenue of your life.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session

Consider a Long Term Commitment to Talent Development

It’s gratifying to see companies initiate changes in their organizations by inviting their leadership to gather for a day or two to do a deep dive into their way of relating to one another.  Usually, these events help build awareness, open dialogue and urge people to see things from a different perspective.  The participants stop their work to examine how they are working together. However, the shelf-life of this often expensive effort is very short and the results that are produced are short term at best.

Think of this in terms of any dramatic change you want in your life: whether you’re thinking of changing careers, gaining or losing weight, building physical strength, fortifying relationships, enhancing your spirituality, or learning a new language, real change, permanent change, takes time.  Real change requires a long term commitment to a process with repetition, multidimensional training and coaching, accountability calls, checkups, and demonstrations as support.

Now think of your talent development plan…long term. Instead of thinking about a two day “getaway,” think about a one to two year investment, one that helps change behavior, habits, limiting beliefs, and culture over the long hall. One that builds on a series of content that brings a compound affect to the investment. And budgeting? How much is this going to cost – is often asked. Although there is no wrong answer, I do encourage people to think of % of improvement. If you could improve how the team operates by 10%, what would that look like? What would be happening more of/less of with this investment? And then build the program around that outcome.  Then, think about taking at least 10% of a person’s salary, and setting that amount aside to invest in them over that 1-2 years. Trust me, if you are not making this minimal investment in them, you are losing the money in other ways – including low energy, malaise, gossiping/complaining, struggling with conflict or stress, and a myriad of other “leaks” in your system.

The talent wars are real. You want better people? Build them internally – invest in them while they are still on your team.  Just like you wouldn’t use cheap steel to build a bridge because it will fail down the road, don’t skimp here – the costs of a low investment can be life threatening to your bottom line.

Infographic: Team Engagement Proces

 

Download a copy of the infographic here.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session

The Plague of Presenteeism

The growth and ultimate success of any business is not how good their product or service is; the true fuel of a success story begins and ends with the people who make it all happen.  And they will only make “it” happen if they CARE about what they do and who they are doing it for AND when they feel cared for while doing it. When this drops away, a very expensive phenomenon can also set in: apathy or indifference.  So, what you see is people coming to work – what you don’t see is how they engage at work. This is also known as presenteeism.  Presenteeism, the occurrence of having employees physically present but mentally and emotionally absent, is more pervasive and potentially damaging than having employees chronically absent, because it is almost impossible to detect, harder to quantify, and difficult to define.

Presenteeism doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It occurs as a result of prolonged inattention to how the corporate culture and the structure of the workday affects your employees’ lives as individuals.   When operational demands are prioritized over the needs of the human beings, those affected will, consciously or unconsciously, begin to distance themselves.  The feeling of not feeling “seen” or “heard” can start a chain reaction that can lead to an organization literally paying for apathy.

The cycle can begin in several different ways:

  1. Employee A and Employee B disagree.
  2. No clear involvement (or resolution) from management
  3. Lingering disagreement erodes trust between the two parties involved resulting in suspicion.
  4. Prolonged suspicion leads to evidence gathering to support their individual assertions or assumptions and consequently a feeling of victimization.
  5. Prolonged lack of communication finally results in PRESENTEEISM. Showing up but not working.

 

Or:

  1. Operational or personnel changes are made at the highest level
  2. Employees are either not informed in a timely fashion or at all
  3. Lack of communication seeds misunderstandings [lack of information spurs the imagination]
  4. Victim mentality sets in, resulting in apathy and finally PRESENTEEISM.

 

What makes presenteeism particularly insidious is that it is impossible to tell at a glance whether the individual sitting at his or her desk is producing quality work or just waiting for the workday clock to run out.  This is why it is critical that employers pay attention when they notice a change.  If the quality of the work has decreased, if they seem distracted or unusually hard to communicate with, it is time to act.

One of the easiest antidotes to fighting the plague of presenteeism is throw the doors open to a type of communication that is often difficult to achieve: total transparency. Completely honest conversation can feel very dangerous if participants don’t feel the support of a psychological safety net.  This is where you may need a professional to help facilitate peer dialogue that hopefully will result in constructive change.   Our next blog will spotlight the process we undertake when trying to help an organization make the lasting changes that can lead to improved workplace morale and productivity, and ultimately business success.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.

Your Culture Survey is Done, Now What?

If you are like many savvy leaders today, you understand how important it is to understand and protect your culture. A culture survey, when done properly, will reveal what your employees think are the values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that are in place on a daily basis at work. Your corporate culture determines employee participation, drives decisions, impacts innovation, and substantially influences the overall performance of the organization.

So, let’s say your team has agreed to take a corporate culture survey, they invested considerable time and effort and you clearly conveyed why it is important to the organization. You got a nice return of 89 percent participation and are now ready to put the results to work. What’s next?

As part of the overall culture survey process, communicating the results to the team is paramount. There are a few ways to do this:

  1. Town Hall – you gathering the entire team for a group discussion on the results
  2. Management Meeting – only management are present to preview and analyze the results together.
  3. Small Group – results are filtering down to individual teams once the full scope is understood.

 

Regardless of how you decide to approach communicating the results, all involved should have full access to the information.

Your employee portion of the culture survey is about perceptions, and rightly or not, perception is their reality. Assigning “right” and “wrong” labels to opinions devalues those who were honest enough to express their true feelings. So consider the results their truth. Bothered by some of the comments? GOOD! That is what you are looking for: the survey uncovers what is NOT being said when you are in the room.

Here is an example of the power of a culture survey:

One company executive team likes to think of themselves as being a “fresh” and a solid long-standing employer. They have low turnover at the top, and decide to conduct the survey to “validate” their perceptions. What gets revealed? They do have stability and do believe they are innovators in their field by adding mobile technology to their workflow. But the survey results come in with terms like old-school, bureaucratic, and limited possibility of advancement. So they added current tech, but the old regime still sits at the top.

If you want to attract and retain up-and-coming talent, changing this type of cultural perception is imperative.

Commit to putting your survey results into action, this will show the entire company that you are willing to change to make things better. Consider working with a certified team coach to reveal both the perceptions and agreed upon alternatives in a setting that is safe and collaborative. Allow your employees to offer solutions to the perceptions, and ask that the leadership team remains objective and open-minded. This approach will enable you to mine wonderful ideas and create a refreshed workforce that will help you implement real change.

Remember, change takes time. It can often take up to two-years to see a shift in culture. Don’t be impatient and don’t get discouraged, you WILL realize changes in incremental and sustainable way.

 


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.

5 Communication Skills Every Effective Leader Uses Daily

What’s the difference that makes the difference? What is it that some leaders do that others don’t?   Why are some leaders more effective than others?   It turns out, it’s not the MBA or the PhD.  Nor is it the title on the door or even the years of experience.  Ultimately, it’s something much more intangible than that:  It’s all about HOW they communicate.  What they say, what they don’t say, how they say it, what they believe, their temperament and even eye contact can make a huge difference in how they are perceived.  Whether we want to or not, we are always “saying” something- we are always communicating even when we’re not saying a word.

So how can you improve your effectiveness through communication? This is a subtle, yet critical part of your leadership package.  It is not taught in school, though it should be, and unfortunately there aren’t many role models in the workplace (yet!).

In an effort to make your life easier, and to give you practical easy-to-understand tips for being a more effective communicator, let’s focus on the following FIVE skills:

LISTEN:

Listening, truly listening, and not just HEARING is a powerful way to communicate. Yes, you can actually communicate when your mouth is shut. Learning to listen needs to be taught because as humans, we are naturally egocentric and need attention. We want to be heard (see next topic). We want to share our ideas, make contributions, and demonstrate what we know.  And we often do this by talking.  And frequently, interrupting.

Learning to listen requires that you focus 100% on the other person. It is not about you; it is all about them. No matter what you have to offer to the conversation, listen without interruption.  More importantly, listen without judgment or an agenda. This is not as easy as it sounds.

How to ACTIVELY listen:

  • Select a place where you won’t be interrupted, shut down all mobile devices and develop and maintain eye contact.
  • Set your intention: plan on being in receiving mode, not in advisory mode. When you truly listen, your only objective is to fully understand the other person’s position.
  • Take notes: write down thoughts so you’re not thinking about them in hope of remembering them.
  • Ask questions to fully understand and enable the person to fully explore their point of view. Some people do their thinking when they talk. Before responding, ask if they want your input!  Yes, ASK before you jump in. Not everyone wants your opinion, but they DO want to be heard.

When you listen, REALLY listen, you honor the person in front of you. And you broaden your frame of mind by learning a new or different perspective. This is how you become more flexible in your leadership presence.

VALIDATE AND APPRECIATE

Nothing is more painful to the ego than not being “seen” or recognized for your talents. It erodes your self-esteem and consequently, your productivity. When leaders embrace this simple human need, and apply 1 minute of effort to fill this need, amazing things can happen.

How to validate and appreciate:

Validating and appreciating someone is one of the most gratifying for both you and the person who’s efforts you are recognizing.  It’s fast, free and easy. You can do it in person (best!) or even in an email (ok). When you go to the effort to hand write a note (very special!) the ROI is palpable.  Go ahead, try this today and notice the difference in that relationship.

LET GO

As a leader, the only way to help others is by letting go, so others can grow. Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because you give someone something to do, that you are actually letting go. To truly let go requires faith, communication, and a point in time when you will circle back and review.

Be sure to you follow all three of these important parts, because one missed step can create chaos, uncertainty, and the desire to take all the work back again.

Faith:  If you don’t believe the person can take on a task or responsibility, chances are they know it and will live up to those low expectations! Evidence of this powerful (silent) communication is demonstrated in the term “Pygmalion Effect”. This term refers to the phenomenon in which the greater the expectation placed upon people – often children or students and employees – the better they perform. People tend to live up to what’s expected of them and they tend to do better when treated as if they are capable of success. So faith is your first step to truly letting go.

Communication: Be sure to spend enough time with the individual to fully transfer the task or responsibility.  Make sure to share these six categories:

  1. Why is this task is important? How does it fit into the bigger picture; how have you done it in the past or how would you like it done; when is it due; who needs to be a part of the process; and finally, check for understanding. Make sure that they feel safe in coming back to you for clarification. This can be done simply by the tone of your voice.

Review: Make sure you set a date and time to review the effort.  Without review, even if it is just acknowledging the work, you will not be in a position to decide when to let go again. Reviewing is the fastest way to get to Faith, because you can correct, compliment or agree on how the project/task went.

FEEDBACK

We all need it, most of us want it, some of us crave it, and it is hard to grow without it.  So why is this communication technique so underutilized? Because sometimes it’s painful to receive feedback.

It’s human nature to avoid conflict (although not exclusively), and in the past we may have been given feedback in a crude or unskilled manner that deflated us rather than inspired us. So we think feedback is bad. We avoid giving it, because the only model you have had to follow was painful.

What if you could learn to give feedback in a way that was constructive, inspiring and even measurable? Whether it is for great performance (see validate and appreciate above), corrective/constructive skills development, or non-compliant behavioral feedback, we all benefit from this information.  Every great leader knows how to do this and can use this communication skill every week.

When you choose to engage non-performing team members in the feedback conversation, you will get insights to the root cause of the lack of understanding. You have the opportunity to truly change their lives for the better. Learning this skill can save you hours of anxiety and frustration with underperformers, and enable you to create loyalty with your high performers.

COMMUNICATE OFTEN

One of the most common concerns I hear in companies is lack of communication. Many leaders believe that if they tell their employees something once, it will be understood.  This is far from the truth, especially when it comes to communicating a change.

In addition, we all learn differently.  Some of us capture the gist of the message with a single conversation.  However, most of us need the double-decker communication sandwich:

Conversation + Visual + Conversation

And we need it more than once.

Consider all mediums:  email, text, phone, face-to-face, impromptu and planned. Printed, verbal and visual expression of the same message may seem redundant to you, but trust me when I tell you, repetition is the key to success. (How many times in your life did you tell your children to brush their teeth? Point made).

Communicate often and using different mediums does not take more time…it saves you time, energy and frustration in the long run.

Try this the next time you want to get a point across.  And if you want, let me test it for you!  As a communication expert, I can critique your delivery methods and guide you to a better message.

Which of the 5 Communication Skills Every Effective Leader Uses Daily will you use today? And which will you try tomorrow?  Take a moment right now and put these five tips in your calendar to “try on” in the next 5 to 10 days.  Otherwise these ideas may get wrapped up in the folder you file this report in.  Don’t miss the opportunity to be a better communicator, starting today!


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.

Fear and Your Career: How to Use It and How to Lose It

Fear is one of six thousand emotions, but unlike many emotions, it is typically a learned reaction. When we are born, we only fear falling and loud noises. While many learned fears help with our survival, such as not touching fire, others only hinder us in our lives and careers. We can overcome these learned fears simply by recognizing our fears, shifting our thinking, and seeking help when we need it.

How to Use It

Fear can be a great catalyst to success. A client of mine, who is in the commercial real estate development business, uses fear to his advantage. There is lots of money at risk, and there are multiple players involved. The fear of overlooking a deal’s details really motivates him to do his best, to do the extra work necessary, to double check everything. He manages to step through his fears and uses it to educate himself and work diligently to be thoughtful and accurate.

When you want to advance in your career, fear can help you move. Employees that fear demotion or losing their job are motivated to get additional training or to work harder. The fear of losing a client for an entrepreneur can lead them to go beyond the expectations of the client. They might even find a new service, a new discovery, a new creation to add to their practice. Always recognize fear, and allow it to motivate you rather than freeze you in your tracks.

How to Lose It

It does not matter that you are scared; fear is mostly imagined scenarios that have no basis on reality (eg: what if I blow the interview?) Uncertainty is the biggest culprit of fear and can often lead to procrastination. So when you find yourself “stuck”, just do anything to take a step forward: pick up a book, speak with a friend, read over your notes on the subject. Jump right into your fears. Once you make that first step forward, you will be on your way to breaking through that fear while gathering more information.

Have faith in yourself. You are more equipped than you think you are. By being in a state of fear, you are giving yourself permission to stay where you are. It is all about saying, “Alright, I know I can do this.” Break it down. What is it that you fear? What is the worst thing that could happen? What is the best thing that can happen? Now give power to the possibilities that you want; give power to the best things that might happenrather than the fear that you hold. Just by shifting your focus slightly and giving the energy to that positive information, it can really move you through the fear. Play mind games with yourself by daydreaming about those positive possibilities, the money you want in your checking account, the new job, or the client you are going to meet at an event. Focusing on the worst-case scenario can only hinder you.

Most importantly, do not hesitate to seek help. Talk with your friends and family. Train by practicing or watching other people who appear confident. If you really need help getting over your fear, hire a professional coach. Many professionals, including myself, have hired a professional speaking coach to improve public speaking skills; this is a great investment in your career. Recognize that moving through fear to advance your career begins with a decision that you want to adjust your subconscious thermostat so you can have more of what you do want instead of what you do not want. If you need help, a coach might be exactly what you need to nudge you forward.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.

Five Essential Attributes for Executives: Courage, Conviction, Wisdom, Clarity, Credibility

CCWCC. These 5 letters stand for 5 essential traits that every successful executive today needs to embody. Courage. An executive needs the courage to speak out against conventional thinking, to innovate, and be unafraid to voice an unpopular, but true, opinion. Conviction. If you want to convince anyone that you are right, you must be steady with your opinions and defend them with passion. Wisdom. Sometimes, you can be so sure that you are right that you get tunnel vision. A great executive has the wisdom consider all opinions, not just their own. Clarity. You need to be able to explain yourself clearly, so that everyone understands what you are saying. Credibility. If you lack credibility, then no one is going to take you seriously. Great executives need to build credibility with their thoughts, opinions, and actions (small and large), so when they speak, everyone will be listening. Don’t be afraid to “go back to school” or to learn again! Coaching can help you embody these 5 attributes in the privacy of your office. By internalizing these traits, your ability to communicate your ideas will strengthen fivefold.

 


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.


Why Coaching Works: The Most-Requested Corporate Professional Development Methods

The development of talent in the corporate world is a very high priority for leaders and rising stars in the workplace. Leaders want the best, and rising stars want to become the best and coaching can bring out the best in the committed professional. One-on-one coaching is very popular because a coach can really get to know an employee or executive and focus entirely on their goals and their (sshhh!) blind spots. Team Coaching can help a small group all at once. This is a more economical solution and, in addition to serving more individuals, it provides a place to fortify the team and their agreements.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.

Working Through Language, Time, and Cultural Differences

With a multicultural and increasingly diverse workforce, communications skills are more important than ever. If you find yourself working with someone who isn’t quite fluent in your language and comes from a very different culture background, you may have difficulty communicating with them. Remember that the language barrier goes both ways. If you are frustrated by their lack of understanding, they probably feel the same. Find the resilience to push past that barrier. If you need to talk about something complex or technical, you have the option of using a free service like Google Translate to help facilitate communication. Remember also that using pictures is a much more universal language. It all boils down to patience and endurance. Take your time, making sure to explain things clearly, and if necessary, use translation tools to help. If they have different cultural values, acknowledge them and find common ground. If you are talking to someone on the other side of the world (Isn’t technology wonderful?), work to compromise on the time so one party doesn’t need to get up insanely early or the other stay up insanely late.


Business Stamina offers dynamic, energizing, and effective executive team coaching and alignment services to help companies and individuals achieve their professional goals. Whether you need assistance with succession planning, team development or calibration, business retreats, or leadership coaching, we are dedicated to your success. Discover the high-performing team within your organization using a coaching approach. Contact us to schedule your private exploration session.