Thanksgiving is only a few days away, and Hanukkah and Christmas are just around the corner. It’s the time for feasting, giving thanks, celebrating with family and friends, and reviewing progress made over the past year. Q4 is already halfway over and, for many of us, the month of year-end reviews is upon us. It’s a time to reflect over the past year and look at how we have grown, jot down our accomplishments, and come up with goals for next year. Performance reviews are a chance for us to assess and evaluate where we were a year ago, where we are now, and where we want to be in the future. Many of us also get to gloat about our teams and, hopefully, get a chance to nominate a few star employees for well-deserved promotions. While assessing ourselves, we’re also evaluating the processes we have in place for reviews and promotions, and how well the company's documentation and communication show people how they can be successful.
As I write this blog article, my husband and I are in first-class flying to Denver, Colorado. As a Vice President in Sales, he travels a lot, so we tend to get upgraded rather frequently. This flight has been different from others, though, because of the flight attendant and her out-of-the-box thinking.
I was in a 1:1 the other day and my mentee and I were discussing what makes a good consultant. The desire to learn was the main focus of our conversation, and we both agreed that to be a rock star, you should always want to learn and improve. Since my mentee is just starting his future as a Project Manager and building his leadership skills, I cautioned him to pay close attention to his team. Some people may not have the quality we were discussing. Others, perhaps, may be too afraid to do anything with their desire to learn and grow. Ralph Waldo Emerson is credited with say “Fear defeats more people than any other one thing.” Where are you noticing fear show up within or around you, and what are you doing about it?
When I worked as a Customer Support Manager for Oracle, my boss taught me that perception is reality. What you know to be true and what others know to be “true” are not always the same thing, and could differ far more than we think. This lesson came about because I had been a Technical Support Analyst and had gotten promoted to Manager. So the people I had been friends with were now my employees, and I had to draw a fine line between friendship and a professional relationship so that the perception of possible favoritism towards my team was as small as possible. There was never going to be a way to remove that judgment entirely, and I worked hard to show everyone I worked with how valued they were.
How many times have you said “I wish I had that,” “I want to be that,” or “I want that job”? And how many of those times did you create goals for yourself to obtain what you want? Doing so is you saying “me too, then!” You are deciding to take control of your life and create your future. Good for you!
The title of this blog post is credited to my manager at my second “real” job, and it is one of the most profound lessons I have learned. I had been going through life thinking that if I continued to work hard and be honest, then I would naturally get what I had earned. By the time my boss said those critical words to me, I was learning that my previous notions weren’t always true. A short while after starting that second “real” job, my direct boss left, and his position opened up. Having no managerial experience yet knowing I could excel in that position, I asked for it. And I got it.
The title of this blog article is one of my favorite sayings of all time, and I first came across it while reading the tiny scroll inside a fortune cookie from the little Chinese food place down the street. I have never climbed a mountain, but I’ve heard stories from people who have, and I know it’s a lot of work. You don’t just wake up on top; you have to earn your way there. While we're talking about mountains, this is true for being the executive of a company, as well. For you to be successful, effort must be exerted.
There’s this awesome t-shirt that has a picture of the Loch Ness Monster with “The Important Thing is that I Believe in Myself” written below it. Naturally, I had to have it, and now it’s one of my most worn shirts. It’s cute, funny, and inspirational all at once! The quote on it is so fantastic because all great things come from a desire to do something and a belief that you can do it. If you don’t believe you can accomplish something, are you really going to try?
I have this great, soft, gray t-shirt that just says “Nope” in black letters that I wear when I know I’m going to have a hectic and stressful day. When I wear it, I stand a little taller as if saying, “Go away world, I’m busy!” Just the fact that it says “Nope” on it makes me smile, and its softness makes my day that much better. Because my calendar is already jammed pack, I know there’s a high chance that I’m going to have to say no to something that comes up on my schedule. And that’s the real meaning behind the shirt.
There are so many facts and statistics around everything to do with business - how long your emails should be if you want them to be read, the best time to post on social media, what kinds of meetings work best for what topics, etc. It’s like we’ve taken all of the emotion out of business and make every decision based on pure facts. For some, that seems like a very good thing. Emotions and business do not belong in the same sentence. But what about our intuition (or awareness, perception, or insight)? Have we lost the art of letting that guide us through certain situations?
The other day I was listening to “7 Habit for Managers” by Stephen Covey (author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” which this audiobook is based on and I highly, highly recommend), and he mentioned that in order to manage others effectively, you have to manage yourself effectively first. I was so excited by that because it’s very much aligned with what I believe yet so few talks/articles/videos about leadership discuss this aspect. So, what does it mean to manage yourself and why is it so essential to being a good leader?
What do you feel when you start to think about work? Are you filled with excitement and thoughts of opportunities, or do you suddenly feel stressed and drained? If you answered the latter, you’re not alone. According to an article from Bustle, one in four Americans say that work is a source of anxiety for them. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) reported that 65% of workers stated that workplace stress has caused difficulties of some kind and 25% of them view work as the number one stressor in their lives. One study done by the Employers’ Health Coalition found that lost productivity was at least 7.5 times greater than productivity lost from absenteeism. Presenteeism is when an employee is physically at work, but due to some unaddressed physical or emotional issues, they are distracted to the point of reduced productivity. This is bad news for both employees and employers.
In my January 8th blog post we discussed how to hold yourself accountable for reaching your own goals. But as a manager or a CEO, how are you holding your employees accountable for reaching the division or company’s goals?
I recently had a septoplasty, terminate reduction, and sinus surgery all at once. Basically, I had a lot of work done in my nasal passages. As part of the recovery process, I had to wear splints inside my nose and there were a few stitches. 5 days after the surgery, my husband and I went to the doctor’s office to have my splints removed - and apparently also to have the worse doctor’s experience of my life.
...in the Super Bowl! After a terrific season up to that point and a record of 10-2, the Eagles’ Quarterback, Carson Wentz, found himself injured and unable to complete the game against the Rams. The backup Quarterback, Nick Foles, stepped in to finish out the game with a win. Nick Foles would also go on to finish out the Eagles’ season while Carson healed for next year. Although Nick wasn’t as strong as Carson on the field and left many fans anxious after his first 3 games as first string, he played very strong in the NFC Championship and he and his teammates landed themselves in the Super Bowl after 14 years. Even though the team’s star Quarterback (who was the #1 ranked Quarterback in the NFL) was out for the rest of the season, the Eagle’s pulled together, changed their strategy, and did the unthinkable. How?
How often do we go through the day huffing and puffing about the way people do things? “Didn’t they even read this e-mail before they sent it? There’s a spelling mistake.” “Who parks their car like that? What a moron.” “Why can’t my kids just put away their laundry? They’re so lazy!” These all seem to be external factors that put us in a foul mood. In reality, though, these are just situations that are triggering something inside of us. This trigger, in turn, causes us to be upset. If we want to know what's actually bothering us, we have to REALLY pay attention to ourselves.
It's Thanksgiving season; the time of year where we send out e-mails and cards about how thankful we are to our employees, friends, and family. It's a feel-good week and we spend part of our time reflecting on how we got here and who helped us along the way. But what about the other weeks of the year? How often will we show gratitude and appreciation for those around us two weeks or two months from now?
My oldest stepson, Jarrett, plays soccer for his high school and a travel team. He plays forward and is the team captain. If his soccer team were a business, he would be the CEO, Owner, or Managing Partner. Jarrett leads his team during warm-ups and helps everyone know what they're doing when they're on the field, making sure to yell "man on!" when someone from the other team is coming up on someone with the ball. Communication is key on the field to make sure everyone is aligned with what the plan is, where there might be gaps in coverage, and when someone may need help. Organizations need the exact same kind of communication for the exact same reasons.
How often do you stop and think about how you may be perceived or what affect your presence has on everyone else you're around? Whether you're a mom, an executive, a business owner, or a manager, how you show up influences those around you.