Values. Can you name yours?

Although we all have them, our values may not be something we think about on a regular basis. In fact, if I were to ask you to list what your values were right now, could you do so without hesitation?

When we are placed into the position of thinking about and then naming our values, I have seen some people be able to do this within minutes, while others have taken in excess of over an hour to convey them to me. I’m not exaggerating the timeline on this, and I was impressed by both the speed at which someone could tell me their values, as well as the care in which people took to deliberate on what they are.

I think of values as providing us with guidelines on how we conduct ourselves, make decisions and prioritize how we allocate our resources (e.g., time, attention) based on having clearly defined ones. Having them can simplify our lives, and shouldn’t cause conflict, but sometimes they do. Particularly when your values are not in alignment with others.

When our values are misaligned with those we interact with (e.g., family, work, team), it can cause high levels of stress. Conversely, it can also quickly lead to deciding about how to reduce or eliminate the stress by providing you with a clear path forward when you are not willing to compromise your values. Yes, the outcome of your decision may not be in your favor, but there are circumstances where a middle ground of compromise may not present itself.

As I think about the people in my life who have clearly stated, or I could guess what their values are based on their actions, I wonder if they realize how they are broadcasting them? Of course, the values they have are ones I admire. Otherwise I would not be associating with them, and I have had to disconnect from some people in my life whose values were not in alignment with my own, and I guarantee you have done the same.

One of my friends wrote about a micromanager boss he had. Upon reading about one interaction he had with this boss, it brought back a PTSD flashback to several of these types of bosses I have unfortunately had. In my opinion, there is no room for this type of management style.  It is incredibly harmful to both the individual experiencing it, and the effects can cascade beyond the person who is being impacted. What type of value would be represented by someone with micromanagement characteristics? Not one I am supportive of, and due to their actions, and my own values, I easily made the decision to part ways with the bosses who behaved this way.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to consider what your values are, I encourage you to do so. In fact, there are a number of suggestions I have to offer you to make going through this exercise well worth your time. Here they are:

  • Are there consequences to the type of values you have? If there are, consider how you will negotiate a forward path, or whether your values will continue to provide you with challenges that you are willing to confront and accept the outcome from.
  • Commit to writing down what your values are. Your list does not have to be exhaustive, but it should have between 3-10 values noted.
  • If you know what your values are, have they changed over time, or have they remained the same. If they have changed, what were the circumstances which caused them to change? Honestly consider whether your values were enhanced or degraded?
  • Most people strive to simplify their lives, even if it is only in some areas of it. Knowing what your values are will help you to achieve this.
  • No one needs to know what your values are. However, I have found that when I have shared mine with others, they are honored with the fact I did so, and all of them either reciprocated with what theirs were, or said they were inspired to think about being able to express theirs with ease.
  • Your values can be informally woven into conversations. For instance, expressing your values can serve you well in situations where you need to be able to articulate information about yourself when the questions or conversation you are having does not offer direct questions which would allow you to express this information.
  • Consider how expressing your values in an interview might work in your favor. If they don’t, you will be fortunate to learn this early on that you will be out of synch with your potential boss and company.
  • In personal scenarios, you can learn a lot about a person by asking them questions that will have them reveal their values. You can either ask them directly what their values are, or indirectly via other questions that will reveal this information (e.g., What are your thoughts on XYZ?).

Knowing what your values are can be a source of strength, and provide a clear path to helping you to make decisions of various levels of importance. You should also be proud of your values. If you are not proud of them, that’s a whole other topic which I’ll write about another time.

TAGS: #Business #Teams #Success #Values #DecisionMaking #ConsequencesofValues #Micromanagement #Management

Why do we follow leaders?

I’m not known for talking about politics, and in fact I don’t talk about them for obvious reasons. However, similar to business and sports team leaders, the people in these positions all play an important role in our society. Although their respective assents to their leadership roles are generally remarkably, and curiously different. 

Take for example just about any CEO or leader of a sports team organization. Or, a head sports team coach. If you were to ask them where they went to leadership school, most would look at you oddly. Why? Because there are limited ways for leaders to obtain their skills from an educational perspective. Skills that are truly meaningful.

In other words, leaders learn how to lead from actual experience of leading others. Not by simply reading about how to lead others. I’m not disparaging the wonderful leadership books out there, I’m just stating that I have yet to come across a leader who said they learned everything they needed to become an amazing leader via reading about the topic.

Similar to a trade role (e.g., plumber, electrician, welder), leaders gain the majority of their skills by practicing and applying them in a physical way. Although trade persons are highly skilled, they do not have to master the soft skills that effective leaders need to gain. Unless of course they are the owner of the company. Then I would place those individuals in the same category as business and sports team leaders.

The most impactful skills that leaders need to acquire and master are ones which are more difficult to measure. I’m referring to the skills of communication, influence and emotional intelligence (e.g., EQ). Granted I want to stress that the EQ skill isn’t something one can learn, as this is one of the skills in the innate category. You are either fortunate to have lots of it, or not enough for your or others liking. Having common sense is also one of the beneficial skills the top leaders possess. However, it’s one of the other skills you either have, or you don’t.

Of course, all leaders start out as followers. The interesting factor to consider is at what point is the cross over to leadership made? Depending on the type of leadership role, it could in fact take years before someone steps into that role. However, we have all seen instances where an individual is placed into a leadership role they are ill prepared to take on. Everyone suffers when this occurs. With a few exceptions.

One of the exceptions is that the newly minted leader is supported by others to buffer their learning curve. The supporters will play the role of advising the majority of the new leaders decisions, until they reach a point when they can make more of the decisions on their own. However, without this arrangement in place as an exception, the new under prepared leader will experience a steep and often painful learning curve themselves, and for those they lead. I guarantee you have seen this. Perhaps you have even had the misfortune of being led by this individual? The good news is that most of these ill prepared leaders will be filtered out, and replaced by an actual experienced leader. Although not always.

At what point do people know they are ready to lead and make the crossover into leadership? Below are some ways you will know when the time is right for you to make this leap.

  • Gaining experience takes time. Most leaders will need a minimum of a decade worth of experience to have had enough opportunities to learn, and to have made enough mistakes along the way to be effective when they step into their role. With this said, having 15-20 years of experience is even better.
  • You have had the opportunity to learn about multiple facets of the business, or acquire deep knowledge about the sports team you are leading. Additionally, you have had a minimum number of roles (e.g., 2-4) to provide you with insight only gained from having exposure to critical functions which impact the company, or sports team you will be leading.
  • You are at a point where you are able to mentor others.
  • People you respect and who are in leadership roles begin seeking you out for advice or your opinion on how to handle different situations.
  • You are able to see the big picture, and can effectively communicate strategically as well as persuasively to your peers and leadership members above your current role. 
  • You have made enough calculated mistakes and recovered from them without tarnishing your reputation.
  • Others trust your judgement and are comfortable with letting you make critical decisions, as you have solid track record for demonstrating this.
  • Not everyone who can step into a leadership role wants to do so. In fact, many shy away from the enormous responsibilities that go along with being the leader. It’s not a role for the faint of heart, or those who have difficulty with making, sticking to and applying decisions to be carried out effectively.

Moving into a leadership role is a privilege, and not one to be casually entered into.  In fact, I can tell you that you will intuitively know when you are ready to take on becoming the leader. If you can’t trust your gut instinct with this decision, then it’s not likely your time to step out of the follower role yet. 

Tags: #Business #Success #Leadership #Teams #Sportsteams #Headcoaches #Sportscoaches #Coaches #Headsportscoach #HeadSportscoaches #Strategy #Management #BusinessManagement

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

Re-inventing yourself. Do you need to?

Every once and awhile I think about whether I am at a place in my life that I want to be. Most of the time I am happy with where I am. Although there are times when I consider what it would be like to re-brand or re-invent myself. As a matter of fact, I have done this a number of times.

If you are considering re-inventing yourself, the trick is to do it subtlety. In fact, you will know if you have done this well when others start to comment that you either seem different, or that they can’t figure out what is different about you.

Let’s consider you have reflected upon your personal brand, and have determined it isn’t the one you want to have. Or, perhaps you want others to have a different perception of who you are. Is it possible to make either of these changes on your own? Yes, it is. However, you will need to factor in having a plan to do so.

As a former marketing executive, I have spent decades perfecting the art of re-crafting the images of companies and products. I enjoyed doing this. It’s partially due to the fact I embrace change, but really because I love the challenge of re-invention. Do you need to have these same characteristics to alter your image? No, but without experience in doing this, the path to doing so might be slightly more challenging.

To decrease the challenge of re-inventing yourself, I will provide you with some suggestions below about how to approach doing this. If this is in fact your goal.

Before we dive into how to go about changing others perception of you, first consider why you want to do this. This is important to think about, as you might not need a complete overhaul of your image. In fact, there may be some minor tweaks you can make to have a similar outcome from a more aggressive self re-branding experience.

One thing I want you to do before we proceed, is to critically and genuinely rate yourself on your ability to gauge how others perceive you. Is it possible your perception is off? In my experience, many people have not what I refer to as “held a mirror in front of them”. What I mean by this, is that they do not truly understand how they come across to others. Worse, their perception meter is way off, or completely broken.

When someone is challenged with a faulty or broken self-perception mirror, it often will create other problems for them. One of them is that they are essentially blind to how their actions, words and persona comes across to others. How is this possible? One of the reasons this occurs is that people have not developed their self-awareness level enough. Age is independent of this factor, as I have seen very young and self-aware people, and people who are well advanced in their decades who are completely unaware of how others perceive them.

Popping back to the concept of subtly changing your image, what I mean by this is that there are minor things you can do to shift others perception of you. However, you first need to commit to wanting to make these subtle but impactful changes. If you do, here are some ways you can go about doing so.

  • Have you ever genuinely asked someone you trust to tell you how you come across to others? Keep in mind we might in fact need to ask people who see us in different roles in our lives, as it is possible we alter our image in certain situations (e.g., at home vs professionally, with friends).
  • Sometimes it is our exterior image (e.g., what we choose to wear) which impacts others perception of us. Have you ever tested or felt differently when you feel you look a certain way? Possibly you felt more confident. This is a subtle way of being able to shift others perception of you, simply by altering your outward appearance .
  • Altering your outward appearance whether by clothing, or perhaps by a new haircut, getting in shape or eating healthier and looking and feeling more energetic are other ways to shift both your own perception, as well as others of you.
  • When was the last time you either recorded how you speak, or listened to a recording of yourself speak? How did you sound? Did your voice come across the way you think it comes across to others?
  • I have had people listen to how they speak to others and realize they are always coming across aggressively, when in fact they had no awareness of doing so until they listened to themselves.
  • Listening and seeing are different. Consider video recording an interaction you have with someone. Are you able to see or recognize body movements you didn’t realize you do when you are interacting with someone (e.g., you bite your nails as you listen to them, you defensively cross your arms all the time, you appear to not be listening and look distracted when you are engaging with someone, you always appear to look like you are angry or in a bad mood or you look nervous or afraid).
  • The point is, you are going to see lots of body movements you need to be aware of. All of which you can alter to help with your external image re-branding.  The first step is being aware, and then doing something about your new awareness of your outward perception.

If you are considering re-branding or re-inventing yourself this year, be kind to yourself, as it isn’t easy to do. However, if you believe you will benefit from doing so, I encourage you to also think about the goals you will want to be associated with the effort towards this journey. Otherwise, it might not be worth the effort you will need to put in to accomplish this.

TAGS: #Image #Confidence #Self-improvement #Reinvention #Newselfimage  #Howtorebrandyourself #Howtorebrandyourimage #Business #Success