Organization

The Attitude of Gratitude

Posted by on Nov 25, 2014 | 0 comments

Attitude-of-Gratitude_1024x1024Life doesn’t always make us want to say “thank you.” We have ups and downs, successes and failures. And sometimes things happen that simply don’t make any sense at all. I’ve just experienced something like this. And after a week or so of shaking my head and wondering, as the transition plan from one assignment to another is in the works, as I’ve spent way too many hours contemplating how this change will effect me and others, I’ve finally taken a deep breath, regrouped, asked myself some serious questions, and now I have only one main thought:

THANK YOU!

  • Thank you for forcing me to shift gears.
  • Thank you for being the catalyst that made me reevaluate my priorities.
  • Thank you for returning me to my family.
  • Thank you for reminding me that every ending is a new beginning.
  • Thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with amazing people on amazing programs.
  • Thank you for widening my eyes while broadening my experience.
  • Thank you for sharing your passion with me.
  • Thank you for all I’ve learned.
  • Thank you for this new start.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Sometimes our initial reaction to change is knee-jerk, simply because it’s new, it’s foreign, it’s life-changing. Or sometimes, our initial reaction is because we aren’t prepared, we haven’t been paying attention.

Ask yourself, am I paying attention? If your career seems to be sliding into autopilot, if you’ve become satisfied with the status quo, I would suggest an attitude of gratitude is needed. Sit up straighter, write bolder, think broader, and be more grateful!

The right attitude can change your life in ways you never could have expected.

Ask yourself, what is my attitude saying to others and doing to me?

Today, my attitude is one of gratitude. I hope yours is too.

Now, ask yourself, what am I grateful for today?

Start writing!

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15 Things Leaders Do Every Day

Posted by on Jul 31, 2014 | 0 comments

I recently discovered this article on Forbes.com. It resonated with me and complemented my trademark presentation on the “12 Most Basic Keys to Success”.  All credit for this blog post is due to the author Glenn Llopis. You can find many more articles by Glenn on Forbes.com.

From this specific article, I am listing the 15 things most successful leaders do everyday. Listen up and enjoy!

1.  Make Others Feel Safe to Speak-Up

Many times leaders intimidate their colleagues with their title and power when they walk into a room.   Successful leaders deflect attention away from themselves and encourage others to voice their opinions.  They are experts at making others feel safe to speak-up and confidently share their perspectives and points of view.   They use their executive presence to create an approachable environment.

2.  Make Decisions

Successful leaders are expert decision makers.    They either facilitate the dialogue to empower their colleagues to reach a strategic conclusion or they do it themselves.  They focus on “making things happen” at all times – decision making activities that sustain progress.   Successful leaders have mastered the art of politicking and thus don’t waste their time on issues that disrupt momentum.  They know how to make 30 decisions in 30 minutes.

3.  Communicate Expectations

Successful leaders are great communicators, and this is especially true when it comes to “performance expectations.”   In doing so, they remind their colleagues of the organization’s core values and mission statement – ensuring that their vision is properly translated and actionable objectives are properly executed.

I had a boss that managed the team by reminding us of the expectations that she had of the group.   She made it easy for the team to stay focused and on track.  The protocol she implemented – by clearly communicating expectations – increased performance and helped to identify those on the team that could not keep up with the standards she expected from us.

4.  Challenge People to Think

The most successful leaders understand their colleagues’ mindsets, capabilities and areas for improvement.  They use this knowledge/insight to challenge their teams to think and stretch them to reach for more.   These types of leaders excel in keeping their people on their toes, never allowing them to get comfortable and enabling them with the tools to grow.

If you are not thinking, you’re not learning new things.  If you’re not learning, you’re not growing – and over time becoming irrelevant in your work.

5.  Be Accountable to Others

Successful leaders allow their colleagues to manage them.  This doesn’t mean they are allowing others to control them – but rather becoming accountable to assure they are being proactive to their colleagues needs.

Beyond just mentoring and sponsoring selected employees, being accountable to others is a sign that your leader is focused more on your success than just their own.

6.  Lead by Example

Leading by example sounds easy, but few leaders are consistent with this one.   Successful leaders practice what they preach and are mindful of their actions. They know everyone is watching them and therefore are incredibly intuitive about detecting those who are observing their every move, waiting to detect a performance shortfall.

7.  Measure & Reward Performance

Great leaders always have a strong “pulse” on business performance and those people who are the performance champions. Not only do they review the numbers and measure performance ROI, they are active in acknowledging hard work and efforts (no matter the result).    Successful leaders never take consistent performers for granted and are mindful of rewarding them.   

8.  Provide Continuous Feedback

Employees want their leaders to know that they are paying attention to them and they appreciate any insights along the way.  Successful leaders always provide feedback and they welcome reciprocal feedback by creating trustworthy relationships with their colleagues..   They understand the power of perspective and have learned the importance of feedback early on in their career as it has served them to enable workplace advancement.

9.  Properly Allocate and Deploy Talent

Successful leaders know their talent pool and how to use it.  They are experts at activating the capabilities of their colleagues and knowing when to deploy their unique skill sets given the circumstances at hand. 

10.  Ask Questions, Seek Counsel

Successful leaders ask questions and seek counsel all the time.  From the outside, they appear to know-it-all – yet on the inside, they have a deep thirst for knowledge and constantly are on the look-out to learn new things because of their commitment to making themselves better through the wisdom of others.

11.  Problem Solve; Avoid Procrastination

Successful leaders tackle issues head-on and know how to discover the heart of the matter at hand.    Theydon’t procrastinate and thus become incredibly proficient at problem solving; they learn from and don’t avoid uncomfortable circumstances (they welcome them).

Getting ahead in life is about doing the things that most people don’t like doing.

12.  Positive Energy & Attitude

Successful leaders create a positive and inspiring workplace culture.  They know how to set the tone and bring an attitude that motivates their colleagues to take action.   As such, they are likeable, respected and strong willed.  They don’t allow failures to disrupt momentum.

13.  Be a Great Teacher

Many employees in the workplace will tell you that their leaders have stopped being teachers.   Successful leaders never stop teaching because they are so self-motivated to learn themselves.  They use teaching to keep their colleagues well-informed and knowledgeable through statistics, trends, and other newsworthy items.

Successful leaders take the time to mentor their colleagues and make the investment to sponsor those who have proven they are able and eager to advance.

14.  Invest in Relationships

Successful leaders don’t focus on protecting their domain – instead they expand it by investing in mutually beneficial relationships. Successful leaders associate themselves with “lifters and other leaders” – the types of people that can broaden their sphere of influence.  Not only for their own advancement, but that of others.

Leaders share the harvest of their success to help build momentum for those around them.

15.  Genuinely Enjoy Responsibilities

Successful leaders love being leaders – not for the sake of power but for the meaningful and purposeful impact they can create.   When you have reached a senior level of leadership – it’s about your ability to serve others and this can’t be accomplished unless you genuinely enjoy what you do.

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Time Management By Quadrant

Posted by on May 31, 2014 | 0 comments

Managing time is never easy. Life moves fast and we all have responsibilities that often overlap, or even collide. Maybe this simple illustration of how I am managing my time will be helpful to you….that’s my hope!

 

Remember, there are only 24 hours in every day, no matter what we do. Make them count.

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Do Be Do Be Do

Posted by on Oct 25, 2013 | 0 comments

I am underwhelmed by a lot of things, including my own organizational abilities at times. But today I am overwhelmed with the to-do list that greeted me so cheerfully this morning with multiple beeps and toots from my MacBook and iPhone. I wanted to holler – “I surrender, you win!! May the sound cloud in the great internet void beep forever, but please PLEASE leave me alone!”

To do lists save me. They are also my worst enemy. I love them and hate them. I follow them and ignore them. I create them and then redo them.

My name is Jean and I am a listmaker. “To do or not to do” that is my question. Daily. Hourly.

And there you have it. I can make lists like no one else. Getting them done is another thing altogether.

What IS it about a list that makes me, a) feel organized, and b) feel overwhelmed, and on occasion, c) feel satisfied? A list, to me, is everything and nothing. It gives me direction (which I often don’t follow). It outlines a plan (which I typically rearrange). It provides structure (which I reject). And there is the crux of the problem…I reject structure.

Lists are structure in outline form. They guide us to a goal (which is probably identified on yet another list). Lists help us prioritize the multitude of lists we have in our minds and on paper and online.

Lists and more lists. They may be the death of me, and that’s simply not an option….soooooo…..

I have come up with the following solution: I have a single list that I work from. It happens to sync between my iPhone and my computer, and I can print it out if I choose. It allows me to check off what’s accomplished, push a task back on the calendar that I can’t get to as hoped, and beeps me everyday (once) to remind me that I have a list.

This list has helped me tremendously. I used to sub-list my lists…you know, school, church, home, business…but now I simply use one list for everything. If I have a dental appointment and need to take information with me, it’s on my list for that day, which might very well be the same day I have a grant proposal due, and a lunch date with an old friend, along with a manicure, and a conference call with a client. EVERYTHING is on the same list.

There are a lot of apps online that do all these wonderful things, and I have used several, I think you have to try them out until you find the one you like best. My favorite was using TASKS on Google Calendar before I bought the Mac…it was simple, showed on my calendar and I liked it.

HOWEVER, since I’ve had my Mac, I’ve realized that there are better, more inclusive apps available…and so I made a list of them. And I searched for a list as well, and found several. If you want to check them out see the list of lists below.

List # 1. 

List # 2.

List # 3. 

List #4.

My go-to list maker for a long time was the simple REMINDERS app. It worked for me. Not too complicated, not too simple. I can schedule by date and time, add recurring dates, edit, alter, move, delete and check off as I so desire. That’s my kind of list.

And then I found AWESOME NOTE (aNote) and my life changed forever. It syncs with Evergreen, my calendar, my Reminders list, my Notes, my – well, you name it, it probably syncs. I don’t know what I would do without it. I can add travel notes (which I used to keep in Notes), journal entries (which I would scribble onto a calendar near my desk), and anything and everything. If you really want to organize your life, I highly recommend aNote. Claim your life back. Dominate the beeps and toots. Take control, and do it with  a good to-do list management system

Now that should give you something to add to your to do list!

As for me…well, Do be do be do!

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Leadership. I Know! Right?!

Posted by on Apr 23, 2013 | 0 comments

The English language has changed over the past decades, but it’s not the only thing. As our young leaders of tomorrow respond with new affirmations of agreement (such as, “I know! Right?!”), the leaders of today need to pay attention.

We are not dealing with just another generation of college grads who want to change the world; we are dealing with a group of brilliant, worldly, tech-savvy, research-based, reality-driven individuals with a passion for tomorrow that we can’t match.

They’ve lived through a multitude of yesterdays (ours and theirs), are now existing in the erratic world of today (thanks to us), and are hoping their tomorrows hold more promise than ours appear to hold. Yes, that’s what I said…more promise than ours, since a large majority of today’s adults are not prepared financially for tomorrow, and are therefore changing the landscape of our children’s tomorrows. And also because the world’s anger and hatred is apparent and visible and deadlier than ever before.

In today’s corporations, the leaders of tomorrow are often way ahead of the leaders of today. Not in experience, but in knowledge, in networking, and in balance. They do not intend to spend their lives glued to a monitor in a small office, or bound to a company because of a lack of courage to try something different. They are learning as they go, and they are learning faster than anyone ever has before due to the incredible access to information they hold in their palms. They connect with others via LinkedIn and Instagram and other online communities. They socialize more than we did as a result of the online ability to network. They research instantly and have immediate access to information it took us hours or days or more to discover.

Technology has taken leadership to a new level. It’s opened doors that were closed, altered the traditional view from the CEO’s office, charted new territory in underused processes, shrunk the world, expanded opportunities, and it’s made it easier to test the waters without drowning.

Leadership is about inspiring others, it’s about setting the example, it’s about sharing knowledge and experience with those who will follow. And we better step up quickly because the leaders of tomorrow aren’t lagging behind, they are right on our heels, they are following close and they are watching us between texts. Sometimes, they pass us by.

The English language will continue to change. Abbreviated “text-words” may become the Pygmalion of tomorrow. Texts and tweets may someday totally replace emails, phone calls and media reports, but there is no substitute for experience. You can’t tweet it or text it or Instagram it.

A lifetime of experience is something  we have that they don’t. The sustaining element of real human connection is something we built our careers on, but they are losing it somewhat due to the double edged blade of technology.

Let’s be certain we share our experience, because they need to learn from us. Their ability to access instant data may be far beyond ours, but their experience is lacking. They haven’t put in the time like we have.

The leaders of tomorrow are great, let’s help them become greater! This is our role as leaders today.

It’s a huge responsibility.

Huge.

I know! Right?!

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