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Be Grateful

It’s easy to examine your life and have a sense of dissatisfaction as to how you are progressing towards your short- and long-term goals. This dissatisfaction can lead you to doubt.

Be Grateful

I have been there a few times. It’s so easy to:

  • doubt your ability to reach your goals
  • doubt the viability of your goals
  • doubt your purpose in life
Doubt is the slippery slope to unbelief. Yet, to succeed in life, you need to believe in yourself. Doubt can make you act in a manner that is contrary to your succeeding in life. You become reactive rather than proactive.
So how do we combat doubt?

Zero Tolerance to Time Excuses

While New Year’s resolutions are good for you, University of Scranton’s New Year’s resolution statistics show that only 8% of us are successful in achieving their resolutions. One of my goals this year is to have a zero tolerance to time excuses. In plain english, I intend to get much better at keeping my time promises.

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Do you keep your time promises?

If you say ‘see you at 10am’, do you arrive at 10:05 or even 10:30, apologise and then get on with business as usual? I do that and I intend to stop that this year.

Time is the most precious element of human existence. The successful person knows how to put energy into time and how to draw success from time – Denis Waitley

Your attitude to time is one of the things that could lift you up from the floor of mediocrity to the heights of excellence. Winners do not tolerate time excuses from themselves or from the people they deal with.

A look at Formula 1 (F1) Racing

I love F1 racing. However, I am one of those fans who cannot bare to sit down and watch grown ups driving round in circles at high speed for sometimes more than 66 laps! One thing I am crazy about are the incidences around pit stops. The pit stop is where the cars get a change of tyres, their damaged body parts replaced, and their front wings adjusted in a matter of seconds. The fastest time for a tyre change pit stop is 1.923 second. Now think of one crew member making an excuse for overrunning by 2 seconds. The team principle is likely to have a zero tolerance to time excuses.

It’s up to you to make the effort to keep your promises regarding time.

Time-related issues to consider.

  • Turn in the report on time
  • Pay your bills on time
  • Arrive for meetings on time
  • Start and end the meeting or event on time
  • Finish your speech or presentation on time

Having a zero tolerance to time excuses is a good start to boosting your chances of achieving your time-related goals this year. It all starts and ends with your attitude towards time.

Five things worth considering as you aim to be on time this year.

  1. Have a time and place for everything. This can save you the time it takes looking for your keys or wallet.
  2. Start your day the night before. Make sure that everything you need from the time you get out of bed to the time you get out of the house on your way to work or wherever you are going is all laid out and ready.
  3. Organise your work environment. Someone once said rather colloquially, that ‘a scattered table means a scattered mind’.  A tidy desk is worth its time in minutes. Take time to organise your physical and electronic files.
  4. Don’t run a tight schedule. Allow some time for some events to overrun. Late trains and traffic jams can be out of your control. Plan for this in your day’s schedule.
  5. Continually develop time-saving and productivity habits.
Make no excuses. If you are late, accept responsibility and make the necessary adjustments to arrive on time the next time.

Now you can put your newly saved time to some good use by reading, writing or prayer and meditation.

How can you find 30 minutes in your daily schedule to spend on a new routine that will help you achieve one of your goals this year?

Top 7 Benefits of Hiring a Leadership Coach

It’s almost 2015! You might want to consider hiring a coach to help you accomplish your career goals for the new year.

Working Together

You may think that having a coach is a waste of time and money.  But when done with the right coach, coaching will enable you to achieve performance levels you might not have achieved on your own.  Successful athletes understand the value of coaching inmaintaining a high level of performance.  No athlete became a success without the help of a great coach.  Today, innovative companies and goal-oriented individuals are also understanding the value of coaching more and more. Here are the best reasons you should hire a coach:

Clarify your goals

Everyone’s faced with so many career choices nowadays. Previous generations would advise you to take a safe 8-5 job with benefits and opportunities for promotion. But today, a freelance or virtual or part-time job can be just as lucrative and fulfilling. Plus, online learning now makes it possible for you to pursue more interests.  A coach is tremendous help if you’re confused about the career path you want to take. He will help you clarify your values, so you can focus on the direction that best fits your priorities.

Keep you accountable 

Accountability is an important leadership principle if you want to significantly improve performance and become more confident.  The best organizations should have a process for keeping their members accountable, but there’s still no substitute for having a partner that’s committed to doing this for you.  A career coach will keep you on track and motivate you to action.

Develop leadership skills

The best coaches are models of leadership. Through their example and advice, you can become a better equipped leader. Acquiring skills can’t be done by simply reading books. You need to go out there and apply your knowledge. Your coach will help you identify and create opportunities for that.

Help you achieve work-life balance

Coaches keep you grounded on the fact that success at work is inevitably tied up to success in every aspect of your life. There’s a huge chance that work is going to be affected if you’re too exhausted or your family life is in shambles.  A good coach will help you maintain the proper perspective for each of these priorities.

Identify roadblocks

You can’t be self-aware all the time. Leadership coaches help you identify blind spots and other issues that might be hindering your growth.  You can count on them to be honest, because they won’t have any other motive but to help you succeed.

Achieve your goals

The goal of a coach is to make sure you follow through with plans and make sure they’re actually doable. It’s hard to be motivated all the time, but with a coach to keep you accountable, you’ll be able to keep it real and accomplish your objectives.

Increase satisfaction

If you’re focused, motivated, and active in achieving your goals, you’ll have a greater sense of fulfillment.  While a leadership coach can’t promise perfection, you can count on greater professional satisfaction.

 

5 Simple Ways to Motivate your Team

Are you part of a team that seems to be lacking in passion? Here are some simple ways to motivate each of your teammates into action.

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How do you maintain the spirit of enthusiasm in your organization?  It takes a bit of creativity and persistence on any leader’s part to keep his team motivated. But the simple solution actually lies in setting an encouraging and empowering team culture. Here’s how you’re going to do so in five simple ways.

Share the vision collectively and creatively

Staff meetings are a great way to share your organization’s vision to a group of people.  Be more creative in planning these events. Instead of boring meetings, why not integrate team building activities and brunches into your monthly meet-ups?  These meetings are essential in keeping everyone’s eyes on a worthwhile goal. Plus, the atmosphere that you set during these meetings (high energy, fun, creative, etc.) will also be pivotal in pumping up everyone’s enthusiasm and making them look forward to the next company meeting.

Share the vision with each team member

Group meetings are important. But talking to each of your team members individually gives team members an added push. As you share the organizational goal to each team member, take the opportunity to tell them where their skills and capabilities fit into the whole picture. This sends the message that each of them is valuable to the team.

Encourage new ideas

Before shutting down any one’s ideas as too outrageous, too simple, or just plain impossible, hear them out. If an idea is undoable, communicate clearly why this is so. At the same time, look for the best points in the idea that was presented to you. Maybe there’s a way to rehash the idea into a doable plan? Or maybe it can be kept in the “parking lot” for later use. Also, resist the urge to spoonfeed answers to problems. Allow your team members to brainstorm and find solutions on their own. This way, you can give them credit when their solutions work.

Acknowledge and appreciate

Be generous in giving praise, and acknowledge the people who have done good work.  Sometimes, a simple thank you will do to make people feel appreciated. Sincere gratitude is an added motivation to anyone who’s part of a team.

Challenge your team members

Sometimes, team members feel demotivated because tasks have become routine and don’t even require them to exercise their capabilities. You can assign group projects to build the team spirit, but you can also give each one an opportunity to lead. Challenging yet reachable tasks are opportunities that help team members learn new skills and give them a sense of accomplishment.   This strategy will also help you determine who your next leaders will be.

If you want to lead your team to success, deliberately and intentionally maintain an encouraging and empowering team culture. It will take commitment and patience on your part, but the trade-off is worth it when you see your organization slowly but surely reaching its goals.

 

 

 

5 Effective Ways to Train Your Team

Training is one of the best investments you can make for your business. Organizations that invest on training have lower employee turnover, which in turn leads to higher productivity and profitability.  The question is, what training methods should you invest in?  Here are some ideas:

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Live training

Live or classroom-style training can be used for product and skills training where students would need hands-on practice.  It also works best for motivational trainings, since students can participate in recitations,group work, and other real-time activities. One of its biggest advantages is that more students can benefit from the discussion as opposed to one-on-one methods.  An instructor can also readily respond to questions that need complex answers.

To determine the ideal class size, consider classroom equipment, safety concerns, and training complexity. Some studies indicate that a small classroom size would be better for trainings that require higher cognitive thinking.

Recorded lecture

This can be a recorded webinar, podcast, or lecture. E-learning has two big advantages. Training time can be drastically cut down from one day full training to just 40 minutes, since a lot of distractions and added commentary that come up in classroom-style training are eliminated.  It also gives greater flexibility for students, since they can review content, break up long lectures into more manageable chunks, and take breaks without missing any part of the training.Although interaction is very limited, instructors can still give assignments after a session. For a recorded training to be effective, make sure your content is engaging, concise, and relevant. When done right, recorded lectures will save you a lot of time, money, and effort.

Live webinar

A live webinar is a webcast of a training done in real-time. This is especially advantageous if you want to gain the expertise of a speaker from another region. Participants may still interact with the lecturer through voice or text chat.  A lot of subject matter experts now offer recorded or live webinars for netizens, so be on the lookout for these free trainings.

One-on-one coaching

One-on-one coaching pairs up a team member with a compatible and usually more senior coach.  This gives employees the opportunity to share their ideas and plans in a private setting.  The coaches’ role is to listen to and draw out key issues from the person he is coaching. Coaches build a culture of accountability between him and his junior. The frequency and duration are left to the discretion of the coach. While one-on-one sessions can be time-consuming for leaders, they also result to highly motivated employees who feel recognized for their contributions.

Tasking

One of the best ways to learn is to actually do.   Start by giving team members small tasks. As they gain skills and confidence, let them handle bigger responsibilities. Later on, you can actually get out of the way and let them strategize and decide on their own.  This is one of the best ways to build up your organization’s next generation leaders.

Combine different training and coaching methods and see which best works for teams and individuals.

5 Things Leaders Do that Hurt Business

There’s no such thing as a perfect leader, but this shouldn’t be an excuse to constantly assess yourself when it comes to leading your team. Check to see if you or your leadership team is guilty of these bad leadership practices.

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Undesirable work habits can slowly invade your company culture and escape the undiscerning eye. The negative effects are especially great when leaders themselves commit these bad work habits. Sure signs of leadership dysfunction are rebellion against authority, distrust among teammates, low employee morale, and unprofitable companies. If you’re experiencing the symptoms of an ailing business, check to see if you’re guilty of the following hurtful practices:

Winging it

Many leaders are passionate influencers and visionaries. Many are also gifted with remarkable intuition. This is definitely an advantage. But there’s just too much hype on “passion” and “vision” that concrete plansand action can sometimes be sacrificed. No organization can thrive with only “gut-feel” and passion as driving forces.  You need a clear plan and strategy for the rest of the team to follow. Without a blueprint, members will be unable to move as one unit, and you might find yourself at a loss amidst the competition.

Internal Politics

According to Med Jones’ Workplace Politics and Poor Performance, the leadership team is your most important asset, but it can also be your worst liability. All is well when the leadership team is built on a foundation of trust and transparency. But when leaders start bickering and pulling each other down in a desire to gain advantage over other leaders or hold on to their positions, you can be assured that poor performance and failure will be the results.

Lack of a feedback system

An effective feedback system paves the way to transparency. It gives people the confidence to voice out their concerns to leaders and teammates. Year-end appraisals aren’t enough when miscommunication and other problems can crop up anytime.  Instead, work hard to promote a culture of accountability every day. Feedback can be done one-on-one, during meetings, or on paper.   What systems do you have in place for members to give constructive criticisms to one another and to leaders themselves?

Over-management

Overly controlling behavior is never healthy for any type of relationship. Are you monitoring your employees’ every move?  Do you automatically treat new ideas with suspicion? Do you find yourself doing all the work, because you just can’t trust others to reach your standards?  Rules are good; distrust and over-management are not.

Decreasing standards

In an effort to increase profits, some leaders choose to cut corners and decrease their standards.  You may choose to lessen the quality of products or to neglect having effective safety procedures at work.  You may reduce your expenses doing this, but you will also inevitably lose customer loyalty and lower employee morale.

If you’ve identified one or more of these leadership practices in your organization, act quickly and implement the necessary adjustments.  It might take a bit of time to rectify some errors, but the results will be worth it.

5 Things That Make You Feel Productive But Which Are Really Unproductive

We pondered on the meaning of productivity and realized how sneaky the concept really is. You can feel productive without really being productive.

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You measure productivity in terms of efficiency and results.  To check if you’re productive, you measure the inputs against the outputs and see if the inputs are converted into useful outputs.  No useful results equals zero productivity.  However, there are many instances where you may be duped into feeling that you’re being productive only to realize that you just wasted your time.  Here are some of them:

Getting caught up in tasks that hardly contribute to the goal

You’re caught up in the daily grind of answering emails, organizing files,and basically just trying to do something the whole day. The big problem is, you’ve lost sight of the goal. Your team doesn’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing, and you’re just working to sustain things.  Maintaining order and sanity in your organization is important. But you also have to keep your eyes on a much greater objective. Are the majority of things you do every day contributing to this purpose?

Holding endless meetings

One sure productivity killer is meetings that don’t lead to decisions and actions. How many hours do you consume debating, arguing, and deliberating?  Has the time you spent on discussion led to significant decisions and meaningful actions?

Depending on task management and productivity apps

Procrastinators have the tendency to collect all these software without putting them to good use. You can spend time archivingand amassing a huge amount of information without creating an output. Writing and collecting info is a good start – but actually accomplishing your action steps is what leads to useful results. If you’re a sucker for all these productivity apps and software, make it a goal to synthesize all that you’ve collected into analyses and action. Clear up everything after a few days. If they’re still sitting there after a week, then chances are, you don’t need them anyway.

Delaying decisions

The way to conquer roadblocks is to make quick decisions.   When you put off important decisions, you end up using up more energy revisiting that task. You have to rethink the repercussions of making that decision, which could have been avoided if you just made a decision in the first place.

Saying “yes” to every invitation

Are all or most of your engagements aligned to your objective?  The trouble with some leaders is that they’ve become so busy being everyone’s bestfriend that they’ve lost sight of the bottom-line. Reality is, you’re just one person, and you can’t be everywhere and please everyone. The most productive thing you can do is stay in control of your schedule and tactfully say, “I’m sorry, I don’t have time for that.”

Being productive doesn’t entail being the most passionate or the most highly motivated person. To stay on top of your game, you simply have to work smart. Focus and use your time on what really matters.

 

 

 

Are you an Influential Leader?

Do you have what it takes to lead with influence? Take this mini-assessment to find out.

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While the prevailing literature in current leadership studies tell us that leading with influence is more powerful than leading through position, a lot of leaders still fail in this aspect. Organizations are still stuck in traditional modes of leadership where titles and positions are used as a basis of authority. While it’s true that position automatically requires respect, some people have the “it” factor that makes others willingly follow them. Do you have the traits of an influential leader?

You are visible

An influential leader may be an introvert who likes his space. But he may also ironically find himself put in the spotlight many times because of his abilities and personality. You make yourself available to others’ needs and are willing to take the lead when the situation calls for it.

You attract people

You may not be the most physically attractive or the most extroverted. But when a problem needs to be solved, when something needs to be done, and when others need encouragement, you’re the “run-to” guy. People have commented that there’s something about you that gets them to open up or seek your expertise or experience.

When you speak, people listen and take action

Your team respects your take on weighty issues. You communicate clearly and powerfully that others can’t help but listen.  During meetings, you may not be the most talkative, but when you do finally speak up, others agree with you or at least reconsider their positions. Your team members willingly lend their support to your plan.

You find it easy to enlist others’ help

One sure sign of influential leadership is your ability to persuade and engage others.  You have the knack for spotting others’ strengths and getting them interested in your ventures.  You know exactly how they’ll be able to contribute, and you impart your passion and excitement to them.

People want to be like you, and some of them have even become better than you

Some say that the test of a successful leader is in his ability to replicate himself.  You may not always be in the forefront, because you’re developing others to lead. In fact, influential leaders may also be “invisible leaders.”  You work quietly without much fanfare, but the rest of your team is moving, taking action, and leading.  This is not because you’re lazy. Rather, it is because you inspire others to lead. You’ve modeled leadership for them, and the result is that they want to lead like you do.  You even find yourself amazed and happy that many of your “juniors” have reached heights you yourself have never reached. And even if they have, they still verbalize that you were the mentor who inspired their success.

If you’re gifted with the ability to persuade and engage others, then you have a powerful tool in your hands. Cultivate influence, and you can positively impact others’ lives.

5 Types of People You Want on Your Team

Leaders, these are the types of people you want on your team.

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Organizations usually hire based on specific skills and accomplishments. But these things are only a result of important character traits that help create successful teams. Aside from checking for the lists and statistics in someone’s resume, be on the lookout for these key traits.

The Visionary

This person is the driving passion and inspiration of your team. His is a world of ideas – he sets the goals and has the ability to communicate them in a way that motivates other teammates to strive harder and be the best versions of themselves.  Even if this person seems to be shooting for the moon, he has the uncanny talent to make his vision seem concrete – the goal becomes achievable, and everyone else wants to level up just to get to that utopic future.  He’s also very influential in winning partners over to your side. A visionary with a high degree of positivitywill give your team a grand purpose.

The Realist

Every Visionary needs a counterpart to balance passion with reality. This is where the Realist comes in. This person may support the Visionary’s grand plan, but he’s also firmly grounded on your organization’s situation at present.  What’s the state of your finances? What are your strengths and weaknesses?  The Realist gives the brutal yet much-needed assessment. He is a crucial member who takes notes of the details others may have missed.

The Strategist

How do you get to your goal? This is where the Strategist comes in. He has a quick mind that has the ability to analyze and synthesize data.  He’s highly creative and resourceful, tapping on strengths and potential resources that you didn’t even know you had and seeing important connections that are invisible to most. He’s also very intuitive, gifted with correct timing and razor-sharp tactics based not just on facts but also on “gut feel.”

The Mentor

While the visionary motivates his team with his glib passion, the Mentor inspires by connecting with others on a very personal level. He is very discerning about the strengths and weaknesses of each of his teammates and knows exactly what to do to encourage them. The Mentor is generous with his time and his knowledge – he’s not afraid to go the extra mile to help a teammate who’s struggling and take a step back to give an opportunity for others to rise up.

The Administrator

Any team needs someone who will organize all details, gather everyone who’s involved in a project, and set all your plans into motion. The Administrator is the central personality in these tasks. Others will balk and become overwhelmed by all the minutiae that need to be taken note of in organizing events and projects, but the Administrator will thrive on the particulars.  You need him if you want to keep your organization sane.

This list is far from exhaustive, but it pretty much sums up key personalities you might not have considered before.