What’s your growth plan?

For some people, the thought of putting a growth plan in place might seem difficult to do. Conversely, for others, they couldn’t imagine not having one. Especially one that may be refined at the beginning of a new year. Do you fall into one of these categories or possibly in-between?

Although Stephen Covey may not be known as a self-growth champion, he is certainly well revered for helping millions of people become organized and focused on creating daily or longer-term actions to be focused on. Sure, you could potentially consider action plans to be associated with a growth plan, but my take on a growth plan is slightly different.

When I think about crafting a growth plan for myself, I consider a number of different factors prior to launching into this project. One of them is to factor in what my values are. Typically, I choose around five values to weave into my growth plan. The second thing I do is to think about what I want to accomplish in the year ahead. I also break down this list into smaller time increments so that I am able to see steady progress.

As I am contemplating the items I want to include in my growth plan, I will also think about whether my goals are purely self-serving, or if in fact I have some which will positively impact others. Having goals which will impact others is important to me, as it supports my value of giving back to others. It also personally supports another goal I had not considered until about three years ago when I was experiencing suicidal level pain from a back injury. Which I was fortunate enough to have back surgery to address this challenge. The goal I am referring to is to craft something tangible that I can leave behind as my legacy one day. I’m referring to my content that I develop and share with others.

For the last several years I have published one book a year, and as of December, I began writing my sixth book in the Wisdom Whisperer series. When Covid came into our lives in the first quarter of 2020, it impacted my plans to launch and promote my second book called Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer. Sure, I could have altered my plans to promote my book differently, but instead I chose to hold back and re-launch my book in 2021.

Publishing one book per year is one of my goals which is both something I personally want to achieve as part of my growth plan. It is also a way for me to give back, and impact others by sharing my experience with them via my writing. For those of you who prefer audio or video, I’ve got you covered in my plans too, as I’m working on an audio recording of my first book this year. Prefer watching video? I’ll be back in the TV recording studio to record my 26th Murf & E Unfiltered show this month.

You might be surprised to know that one of my growth plan goals this year is to leverage my TV content, as I have admittedly not done a good job with promoting it. However, about a dozen of my shows are available via my YouTube channel in case you want to check some of them out.

Now that I have shared a few of the steps I factor into developing my own growth plan, below are some other ways you can approach developing your own, as I am a firm believer everyone should have one.

  • Brainstorming what your growth plan will look like can be one of the first steps in your process for assembling one. You can informally do this alone, or with someone who you trust to support making this happen.
  • The statement “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words” both make sense, as it is easy to verbally express your plans and goals. However, stating them out loud doesn’t always support committing to them, unless of course you recorded them, and have proof you said them.
  • It is a more supportive approach to write your growth plans down. You choose whether you prefer paper or a digital format. Either is fine. The point is to have physical evidence of your commitment to your growth plan.
  • Once you have determined what you want to accomplish as part of your growth plan, apply a timeline to each of the elements. As I mentioned previously, you might want to break down into smaller increments some of the growth plans you have. This can make it easier to achieve them, and see your steady progress.
  • Consider whether your growth plans are in support of your values. If they are not, you will be conflicted with wanting to pursue them. Don’t self-sabotage your ability to achieve your plans because of this misalignment. 
  • If you have never put a growth plan in place, I applaud you for doing so the first time. Once you have put one in place, you will find it much easier the next time to do so.
  • Some growth plans will need to be modified. This is perfectly acceptable. However, I suggest you put careful thought into why you need to modify your plan, and consider putting more structured thinking into how to achieve the goal with your modified plan.

By crafting a growth plan, you will set yourself on a path to achieve more than you would have accomplished without this plan in place. There is tremendous satisfaction we can experience when we are at various points during the year, and look back on what aspects of our growth plan we have achieved. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be achievement oriented, I guarantee you will want to at a minimum attempt to put your annual growth plan in place.  You have nothing to lose by doing this, and so much to gain. Good luck!

Tags: #Goals #Business #Success #Growthplans #Growthplanning #Self-achievement #Leadership #Motivation #Goals #Goalplanning #Achievement #Achievinggoals #Sales #Marketing #Teams

Impact. What’s yours?

Math has never been one of my talents, and calculating someone’s impact potentially is associated with a mathematical formula. Having acknowledged this, I would rather interpret impact via other methods. In this situation, my interpretation is more closely associated with emotional intelligence and common sense. For fun, let’s toss in awareness too.

The explosion of social media use has certainly amped up the awareness people have on the Sir Issacs Newton’s three laws of motion. You can look this one up if you are not familiar with it, but when I was considering another factor contributing to a person’s impact, this scientific principle came into my mind. In the simplest way of describing this concept, it has to do with the basic science theory of by doing something, you get a reaction. Perhaps not the reaction you want, but generally a type of reaction will occur.

Some forms of impact are calculated. In the case of social media, people are generally trying to have an impact. Whether they are strategically planning the impact or not, there is a subconscious element of them wanting to have some reaction and impact based on their activity.

If a person is plotting to have a positive impact, then all the more power to them. However, we know there are unfortunately people in our physical and digital worlds who are intentionally scheming to have a negative impact. In my opinion, this is purely wasted energy, and sad that people do this. Especially since they have the capacity to instead have a positive impact, but choose to go in the other direction.

When you think of a brand, which one or two comes to mind? Generally, they will be one that elicited an emotional response. A response tapping into one of our six basic and core human desires (e.g., anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness and shame). I would add the following to this list and include feeling safe, loved and hopeful. The next time you see your favorite brand, consider which of the core human desires they are tapping into. I assure you it is one of them.

Having an impact on another person, or multiple people, when the intention of doing so is positive, should be the goal. I believe it is, and I am immensely grateful and supportive of people who are in this world who do this. Particularly ones who do not appear to have a selfish agenda or hidden motive behind their actions.

Someone asked me the other day why I continue to write my books and produce my business tv show. In other words, they were wondering what my motivation is. I asked them what they thought it was, as I was curious about what their interpretation of my actions happened to be.

For the record I am not influenced by what others think, but from time to time I like to hear what others consider my impact to be. Mainly as a method of having an instant feedback system. Granted I am aware of who I am asking, and typically I will only ask people who I know will be brutally honest with me. This isn’t always easy to do. However, I consider it necessary to keep a pulse on whether my impact is heading in the direction I intend it to be.

If you are looking to have a positive impact on either a person, or many people, below are some suggestions I have you can consider applying to do so.

  • Think about yourself as a brand. Which of the core human desires do you regularly elicit when someone interacts with you, or based on your actions which impact a wider audience?
  • Have you ever stopped to think about whether your impact is positive or negative? Hint. It is likely a mix, but only you will know the percentage of what the mix is.
  • If your impact is leaning towards being more negative, is this something you want to address?
  • If your impact is negative and you want to address changing your impact to be more positive, have you factored in ways you can do this? Perhaps you will need a partner to help you do this.
  • If you intentionally want to have a positive impact on others, think about what steps you will need to take to make this happen. I always start with writing what I want to accomplish on a list. Why? Because putting something in writing feels more like a commitment versus simply talking about it.
  • Factor in what will be your measurement system for knowing whether you are having an impact. You do not need to share this with anyone, but being aware of your influence can be both motivational and provide a tangible way of defining what impact level is.

Those of you who are considered to be achievement and goal-oriented people have most likely thought about what impact they are having on others. Perhaps not. The point is everyone has the ability to have an impact on someone or something. If you haven’t figured out how to do this, and want to do so, I hope my suggestions above will kick start you in this direction.

TAGS: #Brand #Business #Productivity #Self-awareness #Sales #Marketing #Leadership #Teams #Management #Impact #Brandimpact #Personalbranding #Communication #Perception #PersonsalPerception

Preparing for what’s next.

Let’s face it. Having a crystal ball would help us in many ways. However, there may in fact be certain things we don’t want to know about. Although knowing some information ahead of time might help us to be better prepared emotionally. That would be the upside, but there is a downside too.

Due to the fact we don’t have a crystal ball to see into the future, or at least I don’t, how I look ahead and prepare for what’s in front of me isn’t a perfect science. However, let’s say my system is a work in progress and continuously being refined. I would say it’s better to have a system in place than not. Or, at least I find comfort in attempting to have plans in place, or a contingency plan.

When I talk to business leaders and sports coaches, I am always fascinated with their different approaches to how they lead and guide others. Especially in times of adversity.

Adversity is something no one is immune from experiencing. Especially teams as they can be more complicated to deal with versus comparing them to an individual and how they handle adversity. We all know that when you have multiple factors involved in a scenario, it tends to complicate the situation. However, there are ways to simplify and confront a team dealing with a difficult situation.

One of my favorite business memories was when I was working with a sales team who was struggling to meet their numbers. I’ll contrast this with a sports team I was also working with who was rebuilding their team, and the challenges that were present.

In both of the team scenarios, neither one had an adversity contingency plan. This is fairly common, as most teams will strictly be focused on achievement and the process of everything going well. As we know, this isn’t realistic, and precisely why teams and their leaders get into trouble when adversity shows up.

By discussing with each team leader how we were going to handle adversity if it occurred, I prepared both teams in an entirely different manner than they were accustomed to. At first there was some reluctance on both team’s leader/coach to the approach I was recommending, as they thought it would be detrimental to think about something negative occurring.

There is a phrase that I’ll make less crude, and refer to as “life happens”. We know it does, but we are not always willing to embrace the fact that things may not go the way we want them to. However, when we have a contingency plan that can prepare us for a situation that takes us off track, it is mentally much easier to deal with the adverse circumstances when they do occur. In fact, how often do plans typically play out one hundred percent the way you expect them to?

Let’s go back to the two different teams I was referencing. They both eventually conceded and agreed to putting a contingency plan in place. In fact, they put multiple ones in place in order to handle a number of adverse situations they may encounter. Once the contingency plans were in place, both the leader and coach admitted that crafting their respective contingency plans was easier for them to do then they had originally expected.

There is another expression attributed to Benjamin Franklin that I will often cite, and which is related to this topic. It is “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Yes, this might seem slightly harsh, but it has served me and many others extremely well. Especially when an adverse situation occurred.

So, if you are curious about some techniques you can apply to help you or your team prepare for what’s next, below are some ideas for you to consider.

  • Make a list of the positive outcomes expected from your team.
  • Using your positive team outcome list, create a second column and include one or two potential reasons the outcome may not be reached.
  • Leveraging your two columns above, create a third column. This column will include a proposed solution to handle the potential adverse outcomes of your plans.
  • Some of your contingency plans may in fact be able to cover multiple scenarios.
  • If possible, it is recommended you include your team in the contingency planning.
  • If you do not include your team in the contingency planning, make sure you convey to them you have a plan in place if they get off track from their expected positive outcomes.
  • Ideally, you will want to role play the contingency plans. This is because, if you have to put them in place, it will be a more fluid experience for the team since they have knowledge of what is expected of them to do in the contingency planning scenario.
  • Mindset plays a large role in helping your teams to get through adversity. Make sure you have thought about what plan you have in place to leverage your team’s positive mindset when you need to do so in adverse scenarios.

If you are wondering whether these two teams had to enact their contingency plans, I can assure you they did. More than once in fact. However, they were incredibly relieved they had them in place. Even better? They both achieved and exceeded their initial plans, despite the unplanned and encountered adversity along the way.

Tags: #Business #Success #Adversity #ContingencyPlanning #Leadership #Management #BusinessManagement #Strategy

Feeling appreciated? Or not?

For years employers have been regularly conducting surveys to help them determine the level of satisfaction their employees are feeling. One of the factors in determining employee satisfaction is to ask them to rate on a scale how well appreciated they feel.

If you are not fortunate enough to work at a company who regularly takes your pulse on your level of satisfaction to work there, you are not alone. However, you should be concerned this isn’t happening. Why? Because doing so is very inexpensive to accomplish, and is as simple as sending out an on-line survey with some well thought through questions to help determine your level of satisfaction. Hint, make the survey anonymous for better results. 

Independent of the type of industry you are working in, the role you have, or geographically where you work, everyone can be positively influenced by feeling appreciated by their employer. So, why is this seemingly a concept that appears to escape being carried out on a regular basis?

Let’s peel back the onion on this question, as there are many layers to consider why this is happening. In my opinion, this is partially caused by our society being dismissive about the power of saying two words more often. Thank you. Yes, this is easy to do, and should be conveyed sincerely. However, potentially like you, I have witnessed hundreds of missed opportunities to accomplish this.

Another reason people do not feel a greater sense of appreciation in the workforce, is due to unspoken or poorly articulated expectations by managers of their employees. When assumptions about performance are not clear, everyone loses in this scenario. Worse, is that the employees will immediately head down the path of feeling unappreciated.

Although most employees are considered to be employed by their free will and not under strict contract guidelines, this doesn’t mean they are exempt from feeling they are being taken advantage of. Of course the feeling of being taken advantage of can be highly subjective. However, it is worth considering this as a potential cause for why employees feel underappreciated.

So, how do you determine if an employee is feeling unappreciated, and what can you do about this? Below are some suggestions to consider to potentially turn around a toxic employee work environment.

  • Ask your managers how often they engage with their teams to get a pulse on their level of satisfaction of being on their team, or more generally, at the company.
  • Have your managers been trained on how to gauge their teams’ level of energy? When a team’s energy level is low, this is one of the leading indicators there is a problem brewing, or on its way to escalating to a level you don’t want it to reach.
  • Has your company ever sent out an employee satisfaction survey? If you answered “never” to this question, consider doing so within the next few weeks. There are plenty of on-line resources to consult and help you to craft questions to do this.
  • If your company has not sent out an employee satisfaction survey within the last year, it’s time to do so. Generally doing this several times a year, or potentially on a quarterly basis would be ideal.
  • If you are on the management team, consider the factors that contribute to your level of feeling appreciated at your organization. Are these factors that your team members would be positively influenced by too? Or, are they factors which only apply to someone at the management level (e.g., you receive quarterly incentive bonuses, but your team members do not)?
  • Consider doing something early next week to increase the level of everyone’s satisfaction of being on your team. Can you think of what this would be? Perhaps you could start by making sure you simply acknowledge and say hello to everyone on your team each day. Something as small as this gesture is more powerful than most give it credit.
  • Noted above was sincerely saying thank you to someone relating to the work they are currently doing or worked on and accomplished. Do you routinely do this? I’m always amazed at how often this gesture is overlooked, and the damage it does when it does not occur.
  • Write down a list of 5-10 items which contribute to making you feel either appreciated, or potentially more appreciated. Factor in which of these items are actionable right away, or that will take some time to implement. Then put them into practice.
  • Have a conversation with each member of your team about what makes them feel appreciated. There will be some people who will need time to think about what would be on their list, and make sure you follow through with them to determine what’s on their list.

When you put measures in place to have people in your organization feel appreciated, you will noticeably begin to see a difference in the results outcome of your business on numerous metric levels. Productivity will be one of them, and so will engagement, which both will positively impact your bottom line.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too. She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One

Are you in career survival mode? Many are.

If you are like the majority of the people I talk to, your career is similar to the ocean. What I mean by this is that there is an ebb and flow of when and how often you are satisfied with your current job, or the career you are in.

Surprisingly, many people end up in a career they didn’t intend to be in. Or worse, stay in the one they don’t desire to be in. How does this happen? In a word. Life. Even the people who carefully plot out what they think will be the perfect career for them might not calculate this decision perfectly. If this happened to you, hang in there, as I’ll be sharing some ways to cope, and perhaps thrive again in your present or future and different career.

Speaking of thriving, no one signs-up for a career where the best they can hope for is to be in survival mode. Sometimes survival mode happens in one’s career sooner than they anticipate. If you are one of the fortunate ones and have not experienced this, congratulations! You are in the minority, and should consider yourself fortunate. However, a large percentage of people will find themselves in career survival mode at some point.

What does it mean to be in career survival mode? It’s similar to when you lose motivation about the very thing you are either passionate about, or never dreamed you would become less than enamored with. Other what I’ll refer to as ‘symptoms’, are lethargy, less patience, you can’t seem to think of other options, and you are feeling trapped without an exit sign anywhere in sight. Do any of these “symptoms’ describe how you feel, or have felt before?

Yes, generally, others will notice you are in career survival mode. Although some people are experts at acting as if everything is fine. In my opinion, the energy that it takes to do this isn’t worth the effort. I would prefer to see someone invest their energy into figuring out a better career for them to be in.

I professionally work with people and teams (e.g., work & sports) on helping them to leverage and harness their natural talents every day. Because of this focus, I would be remiss in not mentioning that I would want to see everyone focused on knowing and applying their strengths towards the career or careers which would best suit them. Unfortunately, not everyone has been made aware of the advantages of knowing what their top strengths are when they are making their initial career choice decisions. I certainly wish everyone did.

As a matter of fact, one of my own career passions is to have as many people I come in contact with learn what their Top 5 Strengths are. I know you are smiling right now if you know me, and have learned what your strengths are because of my passion for you to know them.

However, hang with me for a moment on this thought, and imagine if we started out with this knowledge at a much earlier age? I can tell you that I might have ended up in a different career, but the one I initially choose seemed to suit me for a number of decades. It was marketing, in case you didn’t know this.

If you are currently in career survival mode, as promised, here are some suggestions and thoughts for you to consider, and potentially take action on to get yourself out of being in this mode.

  • Consider how you ended up in the career you are in. Was it by choice, or did someone steer you in that direction?
  • If you were given the opportunity to pick a new career starting tomorrow, have you given thought about what it would be?
  • If you could change your career, do you think you would?
  • Be honest with yourself. Are you more satisfied with complaining about how much you do not like the career you are in, versus taking action to do something about this?
  • Is it possible you are currently in a burn-out mode from not being able to, or taking any time off?
  • Have you kept up with the educational demands of your career? This may not apply to everyone, but if it applies to you, perhaps you are in survival mode because you have not kept up with the knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in your role. Maybe you couldn’t afford to do this, either monetarily or because of lack of time and other obligations. Or, perhaps both and other contributing factors.
  • Some careers are more demanding than others from a physical, emotional and intellectual perspective. Perhaps all three, or more! Is it possible to reduce the level of any of these factors to a more acceptable level?
  • What if you looked at your current career from a different perspective? Is there a new lens you can look at it, and which would re-energize you to be in it? Make a list of the things you like and dislike about your job or career. Is one longer, or could if you had a different perspective add more items to the “like” category?
  • Ask people in your circle of influence what other career they could envision you in. Make sure you ask people who know you really well, and can see you from a multi-dimensional perspective.
  • Regardless of your age, and how long you have been in your current career, would it be possible to shadow someone who appears to be in your desired career? Or, perhaps to talk to them about how they ended up in this career, and why they made the decision to pursue it? You might find clues about whether this may or may not be the next potential career for you to consider exploring or aiming to be in.

As an eternal optimist, I can always see the upside of every situation. In the case of experiencing career burnout, I look at this situation as temporary. Life moves fast, and circumstances can change quickly. The trick is to focus on knowing this, and realizing that even though your situation may seem permanent, it isn’t. As my Mom likes to say “this too shall pass.” Hang in there, you will survive.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of two business books (e.g.,  Wisdom Whisperer, Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer), and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

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.

“NEW!” Guide for Teams:

Every team is dysfunctional at some point.  Click on the link below to obtain a “free guide” with (5) Proven Strategies To Turn Your Dysfunctional Team Into An Epic One