Posts Tagged ‘motivation’

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Conversations, Actions and Results

April 16, 2014

“The conversations we have

drive the actions we take

that lead to the results we achieve.”

-Dr. John Bennett

I have found that this quote perfectly sums up why my clients work with me…they are ready for things to be different, to feel different. They are ready to start down a path of accomplishing a goal, having a BREAKOUT year, or finally taking control of their days (and their email) in a way they haven’t tried before. In reality this quote drives home the point as to why anyone decides to work with a professional to help themselves improve, whether that is with a business coach, personal trainer or therapist. For the most part my clients know what they need to do but sometimes they need direction and expertise and almost always…a push on the execution phase.

Second quarter is upon us…first quarter of 2014 is done and gone. You can’t get it back and you can’t have a do over. So how is your year shaping up? I encourage you to take a moment (especially since tax day is behind us) and think about what you want to accomplish this quarter. Using the periodization model, each quarter – or 12 week period – is treated like a year itself. So if 2014 actually ended on June 30, what will you do differently, what would you push into overdrive, what would become a priority that is not?

Let’s make second quarter the best it can be…especially before beach vacations, tee times and the pool start competing for your attention.

You can do it! And if it is time for you to make more money and find more time…let me know.

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The Only New Year’s Resolution You Need

December 30, 2013

The countdown is on to ring in the new year…just 31 hours (at the time of my post) to go until we welcome 2014.  It is at this time of year many sit down to reflect on the current year (great idea), set goals for the next year (even better idea) and write out a few New Year’s resolutions (bad idea).  Ok, so New Year’s resolutions aren’t all bad but according to Wikipedia 88% of those who set New Year resolutions fail (2007 study of 3,000 people from Richard Wiseman and the University of Bristol).  My issue with setting New Year resolutions is the belief many have that there is an expectation of failure.  And the expectation of failure is rooted in the truth (see study I just mentioned).  Now, yes, some don’t accomplish their goals but they don’t set them expecting to fail either.  I believe there is a voice in the back of many, many people’s mind when they set a resolution that they expect to fail by Valentine’s day.  So why do we think we will succeed at accomplishing goals and not New Year’s resolutions?  It is all in how you use or define a resolution. According to Wikipedia a New Year’s resolution is “a secular tradition in which a person makes a promise to do an act of self-improvement starting on New Year’s Day.”

There it is…a “self-improvement” act!  Changing ourselves is the hardest thing to do, especially when we have to change decades of bad habits in the process.  So don’t look at it that way…focus on setting your goals (business, personal, health, community) and resolving to master only one self-improvement resolution this year.  The only New Year’s resolution you need is…

To get back on the horse.

There are things you want to change about yourself, projects you want to tackle and finish, revenue goals you want to blow out of the water…hold fast to them all because the only thing you have to commit to when you get off track is to be 100% committed to getting back on the horse.  So for example….you set a goal to lose 10 lbs and in late January you find yourself eating fast food on the run as the schedule kicks into overdrive…it’s okay…just resolve to get back on the horse and make the next item you put in your mouth healthy.  Or did you set a goal to have the best sales year ever and to truly focus on your daily prospecting activities but by March 1 you are ignoring your “prospecting time block” on your calendar…it’s okay…just get back on the horse and make the next hour (or two) about prospecting.  As in immediately pick up the phone, send an email, go to a networking event, or do whatever your prospecting time entails.  Whatever you do just don’t say…”I’ll try again tomorrow”…”I’ll get it right next time”…”Tomorrow I start fresh.”  Get back on that horse and before you know it you will stop falling off so much and be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

Here’s to you and to 2014 being a “BREAKOUT” year!

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Is Corporate Loyalty Dead?

December 4, 2013

Nope, but it is a former version of itself.  It doesn’t look the way it looked 30 years ago…gone are the days (for most) of working at a company for 25 to 30+ years and retiring with the gold watch.  So if loyalty from employees is different…what is it, how do you define it, and most importantly…how do you capitalize on it?  Consider this example…

In my local December 1st paper there was an article on airline frequent flier miles and transferable policies.  It compared the largest U.S.-based airlines on clear and published polices vs. vague, unpublished and inconsistently applied policies.  It also compared on specific policies like if the accumulated points were transferable and if a fee was charged, or not, on transferring the points.  Another policy compared was whether there were limits to whom you could give your points too, especially after death.  (In case you are wondering, US Airways was the clear winner on providing clear guidelines and in my opinion had the best consumer policies.)  And the last sentence of the article packed the biggest punch…”the average American is a member of 22 loyalty programs.”  Twenty-two!  A quick look in my wallet had me as a member of 16 loyalty programs.  I was kinda surprised…who knew I could be so loyal?  The research firm in the article – Colloquy – estimates that “memberships in such programs increased more than 26% in the past 2 years, and all those miles, points and rewards are worth some $50 billion.”

Clearly Americans love loyalty programs.  Why?  While the programs provide repeat customers to the company, in the consumer’s eye they benefit greatly, and in some cases in really big ways. (Think lots of free flights.)  A loyalty program puts me at the center…I get sneak peeks on new items, first notification of big sales, free products and some special treatment.  Loyalty programs put ME first (or for the most part I have agreed to believe they do)!

But companies are different with their employees…they expect loyalty before giving you big rewards. Consider that for the most part all I have to do is sign up for a consumer-based loyalty program and I’m accepted.  So what if companies flipped the idea of “loyalty”.   What if loyalty was no longer equated with job stability or employment for life, as it is defined today.  But what if it was defined as how a company invests in you – from day one.  Put the employee at the center, support them in their development, provide clear, published expectations and throw in some fun rewards!  And remember to remind me of why I am loyal…a consumer-based loyalty program reminds me every time I check out and get a discount with my card or redeem my miles/points for free stuff.  Companies need to do the same too.

Final thought:  To all the companies…It’s true, I may not be employed with you for the next 20 years but we could have a good 3-to 5-to 7-year run in which I do right by you and you do right by me.  Loyalty, redefined.

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What have you fixed today?

November 21, 2013

I should clarify…what have you fixed at work today?  Not to downplay the importance of the things we fix at home (Superman has me to thank for getting his head back on), but let’s focus on work.  Think back over your day, your week…what problems did you solve, what issue did you fix?  Showing up every day at work — in your office, cubicle, window table at Starbucks, or dining room converted into a home office — did you add value by solving a problem?

For some it is an easy question with an easy answer…for others, not so much.  In the September issue of Talent Management magazine, a column by Jac Fitz-enz, talked about an experience he had at a hospital in which the doctors told him he had a problem and they were going to figure out what it was and fix it.  He discusses the “massive” investment in the machines, technology and facilities the hospital had made and pinpoints the real competitive advantage…”all that technology would be useless without the knowledge and skill of the people to leverage it.”  And in this case they leveraged it to fix him.  Now his article focuses on what HR/OD/TM divisions within companies should do to help fix business problems.  His argument is strong, but let’s take it one step further.  To you.  Yes, you add value to your company, to your team, to your clients and vendors when you solve problems…but more importantly you add value to yourself.

So look around…do see an issue, concern or problem…are you the one to fix it?  As 2013 quickly wraps up end your year strong by adding value to your work world (and take some time to add value to your personal world as well).

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Well That is Just Depressing

November 7, 2013

I recently read in my local paper an article titled “Not happy with work? Wait till you’re 50 or older.”  The article provided data from a study conducted by The Associated Press – NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.  The study found that 9 in 10 workers who are 50 years or older say they are very or somewhat satisfied with their job.  It seems older workers, regardless of who they are, reported higher satisfaction with their job.  The assumption drawn from the study was that “older workers generally have already climbed the career ladder, increased their salaries and reached positions where they have greater security, so more satisfaction makes sense.”  The study also reports that 38% of young adults express deep satisfaction with their work as compared to 63% of those 65 years and older.

So if I’m not engaged and satisfied with my work I should just wait until I get older?   That can’t be right.  Yes, I understand the subtle point the article is making…there are more variables to cause me unhappiness in a job the younger I am.  And as I age I can become more settled in the direction of my life and my career.  But waiting till I am 50 years or older to be satisfied in my work is just depressing.

When I work with companies or teach classes/workshops on employee engagement I break engagement down into four parts, four equal parts yet some are truly more important than others.  Those four parts are the individual, the manager, the team, the company. (For smaller companies there may only be three parts as the company isn’t large enough to have different teams.)  Engagement starts with the individual so the idea of just waiting around to grow older to become satisfied or engaged doesn’t add up.  You can’t motivate someone who doesn’t want to be motivated but it is an employee’s responsibility to show up willing, with a mindset, that he or she wants to and can be engaged in their work.  And that doesn’t just happen with age.  That happens by choice.

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There’s an Employee Appreciation Day?

March 5, 2012

Did you know last Friday, March 2 was Employee Appreciation Day?  Yep, just one day on a random Friday that I guess probably went unnoticed by your boss or at your office.  And thank goodness it did.  Can you imagine celebrating Employee Appreciation Day when your company doesn’t appreciate employees in general – makes for an uncomfortable pizza or cake party?  Reminds me of a client meeting last year when it was mentioned that “Administrative Professionals Day” was coming up and they all quickly grabbed their phones and made a note of it. It’s like grandparents day too.  If it takes a day for you to recognize and thank your employees or assistant (or even your grandparents)…you might be dealing with a bigger problem. 

Why does it take a publicized day to remind you to thank those who make your life better (assuming your employees, assistant and grandparents actually make your life easier)?  In theory we understand the statement that companies don’t function without their employees is true but sometimes theory and practice couldn’t be farther apart.  You, and every boss or leader at your company should be showing your appreciation to employees often and for reasons that matter.   So what are the reasons that matter?  Here’s a bright idea…ask them.  Those employees can be quite clever and they typically know what matters to them in terms being recognized because they are appreciated.  I’ll give you a few ideas to get started when recognition and appreciation is needed…taking on a stretch project no matter the outcome, going above and beyond the “typical” work load, coaching or mentoring another employee, dealing with a  difficult client, trying to stay focused on work when dealing with a personal issue…and there are so many more. 

Also, don’t show appreciation for just showing up – that is hollow and meaningless.  One of the greatest ways to show appreciation is to thank your employees individually for their contribution and explaining how their contribution matters to the company.  Make the connection to how they matter to the work they do, to the company’s clients and the company overall.  When you are able to consistently show your appreciation you’ll never think twice about a throwing an awkward pizza party on some random Friday in March to remind your employees you care and they matter.

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He Can’t Read Cursive and Being Different

August 16, 2010

Generational Moments Continued…

He Can’t Read Cursive

When I first heard the mom say this about her son I thought it must be a learning issue, not generational.  But no she insisted.  Her son is headed off to college this month on a full ride, makes great grades and just can’t read cursive handwriting.  She explained that she asked her doctor about it and he explained that since her son has grown up reading mostly, if not all, plain text he hasn’t been exposed to cursive writing enough to read it well (and he wasn’t pressed to either).  “Think about it,” she explained.  “Everything he reads is pretty much on the computer and phone (or text book) and all papers he writes are typed on the computer…all of which are plain text.”

So I’m wondering…will this impact him when he joins the workforce?  Unless you do calligraphy for a living do you need cursive?  Is cursive a dying font?  I still remember sitting in kindergarten (or maybe first grade) tracing the sandpaper cursive letters which is how I learned to write in cursive.  Do they teach that in school today? 

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They are just different.

Over the Fourth of July, I went home for a few days and caught up with my college Greek life advisor for lunch.  I graduated from college (can’t believe I’m admitting to this) ten years ago, and about eight years after I graduated she moved to my hometown when her husband was transferred. 

As we chatted over lunch she described the students she worked with in her last few years as not being like my generation.  “They are just different – lack being self-starters and don’t seem to care the ways you guys did.” 

It’s not an uncommon description I hear when people from the Generation X or Baby Boomer generations describe the Millennials.  Now I don’t know who in particular she was talking about, but if they worked closely with her it meant they were sorority and fraternity presidents, recruitment chairs or Panhellenic or Fraternity Council officers.  (Yes, I hear the snickering now, but when I was in college they were highly sought after positions and provided incredible leadership opportunities.)  She poured her heart and soul into the job and I can understand how it would have impacted her to work with new leaders that brought a different degree of commitment to the position.  I’m sure many can relate to working hard on a project that is supposed to be a team or group project and feeling like not everyone is pulling their own weight. 

We didn’t have time to really dive into the conversation more as we had lots to catch up on and the four kids between us kept diverting our attention.  But my assumption is if I asked her and the students to define commitment, what a job done well looks like and what it means to be a self-starter, their definitions would be different.  And it is the difference that creates tension and disappointment making this a generational issue. 

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What are your thoughts?

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