Collaboration – News Flash! It’s a team sport.

If you were to take a survey and ask people to respond via yes or no if they are good at collaborating with others, most would probably answer yes. The majority of people want to see themselves as strong collaborators. However, there are factors which impede some people’s ability to either truly collaborate, or collaborate well.

One of the factors which makes collaborating difficult is that it requires people to often agree upon something. It also requires focus and letting down your guard and putting yourself into a neutral state of mind. Or at least an open state of mind. Again, this is hard to do. Now add in having to collaborate with people who you may not know, don’t like, or worse, do not respect. At least not yet.

Often people are asked to collaborate with others they would not ordinarily collaborate with. So, this further complicates the equation. In this case, think of a group of people at a company who acquired another company, and now they are being asked to work and essentially collaborate with one another.

When you think of collaborating, do any rules come to mind? Potentially, but then again, everyone might have their own interpretation of what this means. Given this reality, who will be the arbitrator in this scenario? Again, this will require the parties involved to agree to be open minded in order to give the goal of collaborating a chance.

Trust also plays a role in collaborating. The reality is that not everyone trusts each other. It takes time and experience with one another to build up trust, and certainly does not happen overnight. So, can you fast track building up trust with people you have to collaborate with? Yes, but again, all of the parties involved will have to allow themselves to be vulnerable, and this isn’t easy for most people. In fact, it can be downright scary. So now what?

Just like most situations, there isn’t one silver bullet to address and make the challenge easy. However, here are some tips on how you can build up your collaboration muscles.

  • Collaboration requires warming up and opening up your mind to jumping into actually being able to collaborate with others. So, start with an icebreaker exercise to help the group get to know one another better. It should involve helping each person to reveal something about themselves which is going to be one of their contributions to being a strong collaborator.
  • Each person in the group should give an example of a time they were involved in a successful collaboration. Keep each story to a limit of 2-4 minutes.
  • Have each person state what they envision as a positive outcome for the collaborative project they are working on with the team.
  • Mutually determine what success of the collaboration would look like. Write it down, and it’s fine if this takes some time to come up with. It’s critical to get everyone onboard with this vision and goal.
  • Define up front that everyone will be playing an equal role on the team, and agree that no idea or verbal contribution towards the goal is unacceptable.
  • Ask each person on the team to define what their superpower is. Draw upon their superpower during each of your collaboration gatherings. The point is to focus on each person’s strength, and this helps to level set the collaboration playing field.
  • Agree to have fun collaborating. When you establish this as one of your ground rules, it makes getting to the end goal much easier, and who doesn’t want to have a little fun when they are working on a project?
  • Appoint the person who aligns with being an idea generator to capture your team’s verbal contributions when you are brainstorming during each of your meetings. Also consider brainstorming during each meeting, either to solve a challenge, or to have all team members participating fully. Ensure that everyone is able to contribute to each session.
  • Make sure your collaboration team has an opportunity to spend time with one another doing something unrelated to their project. This could mean doing something as simple as asking them to get together to take five minutes to talk about a talent or hobby, or something they do outside of work which they love doing. Sharing this information helps the team to get to know one another, and this helps to increase trust, as it is easier to develop this when you know more good things about a person.

Since there isn’t a perfectly developed formula for ideal collaboration, you will have to accept that you will need to do your best as a contributor to the team at all times. Yes, some days this might be more difficult to do than other times, but then again, others on the team will help to compensate for you not bringing your “A” game that day. My last point is to embrace that collaboration is what generally leads to exceptional outcomes when we work well together. Isn’t that why we collaborate in the first place? As I said earlier, collaboration is a team sport.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

Win or lose, it doesn’t matter.

Even if you are not a sports fan, it is easy to get swept up in the hype of the Super Bowl. It’s a great reason to get together with family and friends, and to cheer on your favorite team. If you happen to know which state in the U.S. I live in, then you can easily guess which team I’m rooting for. However, regardless of the outcome, my day tomorrow will be the same.

Sure, I might be quietly celebrating my team’s win, but then again, I might also be thinking through the game events which contributed to the outcome of a loss. Either way, I will have personally learned something from this experience, and so will many other people watching the game. Of course, the players from each team will have also learned a great deal too.

Both teams playing today are extremely well prepared for this game, and most of them have been playing the sport for their entire life. Many of the coaches potentially were players at one point, and they too are equally as invested in the outcome of the game as the players. However, so are the fans, and all of the supporting contributors it takes to broadcast and put this event on.

As we know, this is one of the highest watched events in our country. Some people who will tune into the game are actually more interested in the halftime show, and watching the bevy of creative advertisements meant to entice us to favor their brand. Regardless of why you are watching the game, from my perspective this event provides a fantastic opportunity to focus on why winning or losing this game really does not matter.

Why do I say this, and think this way? Because when I look at this event from a different perspective, and from one which is potentially what many would say is “outside-of-the-box” thinking, they would be right.  It is, and this is one of the things I enjoy doing, as it allows me to flex my thinking and deep understanding of a team and their complex dynamics simultaneously.

Having a creative and strategic mindset, doesn’t always have me looking at the game from a win or lose perspective. Anyone can do that. What’s fun for me is the twist of looking at what can be derived from such an event. Here’s my take on what you can learn from this once a year extravaganza.

  • Being on a team is an extraordinary experience, and how well the team actually plays as a team can significantly impact the outcome of the game. This same concept can be applied to non-sports teams too.
  • Trusting one another to do their best and bring their A-game today, or every day is critical. There is a saying that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. The same concept can apply here. Work on strengthening your entire team, and you’ll see far better results than you anticipated.
  • Communication is critical, especially during periods when there is extreme pressure to win. A team that has strong communication skills can often beat a team who is not on the same level as your team’s communication abilities.
  • Experience plays a critical role in the outcome. Both muscle and mind memory experience will factor into the outcome, especially if the players were able to learn from their prior experience, and apply it to help the team.
  • Discipline, focus and hard work will pay off, and sometimes the payoff is different than you might have expected. However, there will always be a solid return on investment from anything you apply discipline to. It’s one of the secret ingredients to success.

Yes, winning can be fun, and losing certainly isn’t the desired outcome for either team. However, both teams will both gain tremendous lessons they will be able to apply both to their future teams, to their life, and as representatives of sharing their experiences and lessons learned with others.

Teaching others and applying your experience to another person’s life is one of the greatest gifts. Regardless of the outcome, each team will be able to have valuable teaching lessons to share. Remember, winning isn’t everything, but having a positive perspective on the outcome is something both teams can benefit from. Let the game begin.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Making a difference? You can be.

A friend of mine is going through a really rough patch. However, what he tells me, and what we have talked a great deal about is how much helping other people is what makes his day brighter. He also said that helping someone else makes him forget about what he is worrying about, and adds a sense of joy to his day.

For some, helping others comes naturally. However, too many people are so self-focused they forget about the importance of carving out time to help others. Helping others should be at the top of everyone’s agenda, and it does not have to mean monetarily helping them. Actually, donating your time or attention to someone or something is better.

The ones who are always helping other people generally do not broadcast what they are doing. In fact, most of the time, the people who are routinely assisting others do so with little to no credit. They know who they are, and realistically they are not looking for praise. No, they help others because they want to make a difference in people’s lives, and put their effort and time towards doing this.

Fortunately, there are companies who allow, and even encourage their employees to donate their time to worthy causes. This is absolutely a win/win for everyone involved. Most of the time, these activities which make a difference in others’ lives, go completely unnoticed. It’s perfectly fine that they do, as not every good deed needs to be recognized. Both the giver and receiver derive satisfaction. This can be enough.

So, are you doing your part to make a difference? I’m talking about making a difference in other people’s lives, your family, your community, your school, your country. Fill in the blank, as there are numerous ways you can make a positive difference, and impact the lives of others.

Have you considered helping others? I’m not buying your excuse about being too busy. I was listening to Elizabeth Gilbert recently at the Boston Women’s Conference. She talked about how everyone can always find time to apply it to what either they want to, or should be doing. It’s a matter of prioritizing your time.

There is a saying that “if you want to get something done, ask a busy person to help you”. Why? Because they are exceptional at prioritizing their time and getting things done. Does this sound like you, or someone you know? If not, then look harder, as there are plenty of people out there who fall into this category.

Still wondering about what you can do to make a difference? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Start by looking for opportunities in your town or city to donate your time. This time of year, many organizations are looking for extra help.
  • If you have a special talent or skill, consider how you can share this with someone who might not be able to afford or have access to learning about the talent or skill you have (e.g., writing, singing, carpentry, just about anything you are good at doing). Let others know you are interested in donating your time and talents, and before you know it, you will likely be matched up with someone who can benefit from this. You could even put a sign up in your office letting your colleagues know you are willing to volunteer your time and talent to people they know.
  • Lots of pet shelters need volunteers. If you like animals, but perhaps cannot have one of your own, this is a great way to enjoy the benefits of providing care for a pet.
  • Most cities have homeless shelters. They are always looking for volunteers. You can simply donate items if for some reason, you cannot carve out time to help them, but try harder.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs across the country, as well as other types of similar organizations are also frequently looking for volunteers. Think back to the time when you were younger and the positive impact adults in your life had on you. This could be you having a positive impact on a young person.
  • Donate your time to clean up a neighbor’s property. Perhaps one who is either elderly or needs physical assistance. You can volunteer to help them in their yard, picking up their groceries or any number of tasks they have difficulty with.

Helping other people and the amazing feeling you get from doing this is something everyone should regularly experience. If you are not doing this, commit to doing this soon, and on a regular basis. Imagine if everyone volunteered their time and talent? Wow, what an amazing world we would be living in.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

Drama. Are you a King or Queen?

Have you ever noticed, and can you name people you interact with at work, at home or in your personal life who seem to have more drama going on than most? I have been watching this occur for many years. Generally, the people who are the drama Kings and Queens seem oblivious to the fact they are likely the ones causing the drama. Or, perhaps they are intentionally causing the drama because they like the attention it brings. Albeit generally its negative attention.

Why would anyone want to intentionally cause negative attention? It serves zero purpose. It is disruptive, and causes an unhealthy divide between the parties involved. Drama generally has a negative perception, and there is no reason for it to exist in the workplace. It appears to be tolerated, or accepted by some people in their personal lives, but if you were to survey people about whether they enjoy it, most would probably say they do not.

Is causing drama a social pattern which people learn from others? Or, is it a type of behavior which evolves from not having learned how to properly interact socially in an acceptable manner? This is sort of like a chicken or the egg conundrum. However, how do you address and help point out to the Kings and Queens that their behavior is not favorable?

The first thing to do is to provide an example of what would be considered a “drama” scenario. I happened to hear about a classic one the other day from a friend of mine. He was telling me about an instance where he was having a pleasant sit down dinner with his family. However, the pleasantries quickly ended when his sister started causing drama. It started with a simple and unfriendly comment to her brother, and escalated from there. The brother admitted he tried to shut down the conversation. Although, what he said back to his sister appeared to increase the level of drama.

Upon looking back at this situation, the brother realizes he had fallen into his sister’s drama trap. He tried to get out of it, and could have if he had simply ignored her initial comment. In other words, his comment back to her was the equivalent of adding gasoline to a fire. It only got worse from there. I asked him why he felt he needed to play into her drama? He told me it was simply a habit of doing so. This is a perfect example of how you can begin to break the drama cycle. It’s really not that hard, but you need to recognize when it is happening, and shut it down immediately.

Based on this example above, do you recognize that you might potentially be the one causing drama? Or, are you on the receiving end of it? In either instance, this is a type of behavior which is highly undesirable. Especially in the workplace.

I have witnessed numerous people who were on a career fast track, and who had this opportunity vanish in front of them due to being overly dramatic, one too many times. This is so unfortunate, because the drama people are their own worst enemies. Although they often tend to blame everyone else for their misfortunes. Sound familiar?

Drama people seem to also have a completely different lens of how they perceive situations. They constantly play the role of the victim. It can be exhausting to be around them. When I encounter people like this, I avoid them. Being around them tends to cause more drama, and drama only has a negative outcome.

So, is there a way to recognize whether you are a drama King or Queen? Yes. Begin by taking a hard look around at your circumstances. Are they self-induced, or do you routinely blame others for what has happened to you? If you are regularly blaming others, chances are high you are the one causing drama. When you recognize and admit to being this way, you can start by instead of blaming everyone for your circumstances, start owning up and being responsible for them.

No one wants to interact at work or home with drama Kings and Queens. So, in the coming weeks, take off your crown, and commit to dropping the drama act. When you do, you will actually begin seeing what positive things can happen in your life.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.

 

 

Leaders, please be yourself, not who you think you need to be.

Some of the most effective leaders I have worked for, and with, have a few characteristics in common. All of them understand the importance of commanding respect, while simultaneously remaining true to their personality.

They are not afraid to show a softer side when interacting with their teams. In fact, this is one of the most endearing and important traits that makes people want to follow the leader.

If you are a leader, work for one, or want to be one, think about whether you or the person who is the leader possesses this quality. Perhaps they do, sometimes, but you only get a glimpse of it, and not consistently. Now imagine what it would be like to work for this type of leader.  Or to be this type of leader.

Some people take on a different persona at work.

Are you a big bad wolf at the office and a cuddly teddy bear at home?  As Dr. Phil might ask, “How’s that workin’ for ya?

The other thing people do is to develop their leadership qualities based on being collaborative, and approachable. They allow their naturally ability of high emotional intelligence to flourish.

Unfortunately, emotional intelligence is not something that can be taught, but it can be mimicked.  If you feel you are lacking, pay attention in scenarios to which you are exposed on a regular basis.

For example, watch as successful leaders properly greet a guest and make them feel comfortable, or ask someone you notice who seems sad, or upset, if they need to take a moment, or want to talk.

Leaders who are open to the human experience, are in no way weak.

Sometimes we conveniently forget that our leaders are human, too, and typically under constant pressure. Having to mask their emotions is difficult, but doing so is not a sign of weakness.

When our business leaders reveal that they are experiencing emotions, it sends signals to the people who work for them that they are simply human.  This makes them more approachable.

Contrary to what you might think, when a leader exhibits emotion, many people either do not notice, or do not comment, if they do.  Some may simply be oblivious, while most are probably reluctant to approach the boss.

It’s okay to ask how they are doing, and do so sincerely.

You might be surprised by the reaction you get.  Be prepared to respond in a kind and empathetic manner. This sentiment will be appreciated more than you can imagine. What’s more, the leader will perceive you in an entirely different light the next time you interact. Why?  Because you allowed them to be themselves for that moment. This is not something many leaders feel like they can or should do.

Climbing up the proverbial corporate ladder can take years, but some people reach the top faster than others. How? There are a number of factors, but one of them is that they are likable, and part of being likable is being human. These people are also typically bright, and able to access both the right and left sides of their brains equally. They have a personality that makes others believe in and want to follow them.

Of course, this is an over simplification of the other criteria one needs to climb the rungs. Typically, it is much harder for those who reached the top because of an inside connection to earn the respect of their team. Authentic leaders who have earned the right to be placed into leadership roles are the ones whom we admire, potentially aspire to be like, and ultimately respect and want to follow.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of MarketMe Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, author of Wisdom Whisperer, and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer who has a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances.

Our expertise is in uniting and bridging teams (sports & business). What does this do for our clients? It provides them with an acceleration boost to reach their goals sooner, and interact with a renewed efficiency, focus and energy level.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com or (339) 987-0195.