Setting Expectations

Any time you are about to embark upon anything, pause for a moment. Ask yourself if both you and the person or parties involved with the assignment are truly on the same page.  That you agree to what the end results and deliverables are. Doing this before you begin, greatly improves the chances of success. Although, as most of us know from first-hand experience, failing sometimes is exactly what you need to do from time to time.

Tip Number One:  Put expectations in writing. That eliminates any ambiguity that can result from verbal agreements. This is one of the reasons all contracts are put into writing. As the written agreements are passed between the parties, there is the opportunity to go back and forth and edit the document so everyone is in agreement with what the outcome will be. This will mitigate the risk of any unplanned and negative surprises.

When written agreements are being formalized, allow a few days to let the document breathe before making the final edits. Taking time to separate yourself from the document details for a day or two will allow you to see how complete the communication is, or what critical elements may have been overlooked.

One of the projects I took on shortly after accepting a marketing role at a technology company, included reviewing the contracts and projects associated with trade shows to which the previous job holder had committed.

I determined there was one show for which the person had signed a contract nine months earlier. This meant I had just three months to work on a project that normally would take about six to eight months of preparation.

Since I knew how much work was involved, and withdrawing from the contract was not financially feasible, I had to determine the best way to set the right expectations for my boss about how our company was going to successfully exhibit at this trade show.

The first thing I did was to create a schedule working backwards, with a realistic timeline about what I could accomplish in three months. Having years of experience allowed me to be able to design a realistic strategic execution plan, but I knew I was going to need more help to pull this off.

Part of putting the working execution schedule together included communicating that I would need additional budget to hire a part-time person to help me with the tactical work, as I focused on the strategic portion and branding aspects.

By literally detailing almost every day what elements of the project would need to be accomplished, my boss was satisfied with understanding what would be realistic to achieve in the timeframe, and we were able to negotiate from the plan.

My reverse schedule also included, in writing, which specific elements of this project were not feasible. We also shared this detailed plan with the executive management and sales teams, and obtained their support so everyone was in agreement with the final expectations.

Thanks to a solid and agreed-to up front contract with my boss, the executive management, and sales team, by the time we were on the trade show exhibit floor, everyone was pleased. The best part is the fact I over delivered on the initial expectations I had set by 200%. What’s more, I won a company award for flawless execution of a project most people thought was impossible to pull off.

The key element associated with the success of this project was keeping everyone on the big-picture team aligned from the beginning on what could be realistically achieved, and allowing everyone to do their part to help make the project successful. In essence, this was also an example of supreme collaboration, with the underpinning of setting proper expectations up front.

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

Heads up! Everyone is looking down.

Quality time. You hear people talking about this all the time. Most of the time they are referring to it as a long-lost art. Something they used to have more of, or wish they had more of. Can you relate?

No matter where I go when I’m outside of my home; and yes, this happens at my home too, there is always bound to be someone looking down at their phone. I’m not a Chiropractor, but I suspect they see many people in their office due to issues with people that have some sort of neck issue related to looking down all the time.

There have been studies to suggest that many of the applications in our phones are designed to have an addictive component to them. In the software and marketing world, it’s referred to as a phenomenon of being “sticky”. Having spent decades in software marketing, I could bore you to tears on this concept, but I will spare you from these gory details. You don’t have to be a genius to understand how you have probably experienced this “sticky” concept as recently as today.

I can’t say I like seeing my phone remind me at the end of the week via a push notification about how many average hours I spent using my phone, but I’m always surprised by the number. Not in a good way, so I’m not proclaiming to be fabulous at not looking down at my phone like everyone else. However, I do make a conscious decision that when I am out with people and engaging with them, that I put my phone away. To actually engage with them!

For those who are not extroverts, their phone in social settings actually serves as a force field to shield them from feeling uncomfortable. Or, at least this is my perception of how it can help them to feel less anxious or shy. However, although having your phone with you in social settings and using it might make you feel more comfortable, I guarantee people are noticing you are engaging more with your phone than the people around you.

In some respects, we have moved closer to a society of it becoming acceptable to zone in on our phones in social settings. My opinion is that we are seemingly hitting the ignore button with our surroundings. When I think ahead in terms of the impact this is having, or will have on our society from a long-term basis, I’m not seeing a pretty picture.

The term social isolation comes to mind when I see groups of people together who should in fact be interacting with one another; both at work and in social situations, yet they are not doing this. By nature, we are social creatures. Although our phones allow us to be social in a different way with more people, it is via a method which is one step removed from physically interacting. Yes, you might get the sense you are having positive interactions with people in your digital world, but at the same time, you are not able to gain the benefit of an in-person interaction. I’ll refer to an in-person interaction as a multi-dimensional one.

Multi-dimensional interactions with “live” people are what help us to feel less social isolation. However, it can take more effort, and bravery to interact with people, especially ones you may not know that well. However, if we continue to increase the amount of time in front of our screens, and don’t flex our actual social interaction muscles, I’m concerned about our future abilities to be able to do this well are being severely compromised.

In the spirit of offering some solutions to reducing our screen time and heads down phenomenon, here are some suggestions to consider implementing if you find yourself to be part of our heads down society.

  • Consider using your phone as a tool to find interesting topics you can read about, and then discuss with others around you. Naturally you should take into consideration the people in your present environment so the topics you discuss are relevant or at least potentially intriguing.
  • Challenge yourself for one week with limiting your time in front of your phone by as few as 5 minutes and up to 30 minutes per day. Use this time to do something else, ideally something productive or creative.
  • Actually, be aware and record what you are doing instead of looking at your phone. This is equivalent to when you work with a dietitian and they ask you to record everything you eat during the course of a day. Sometimes we are unaware of the amount of time we are spending on our phones, or calories we are consuming.
  • If you are in a social setting and see someone else on their phone, go over to them and strike up a conversation with them. Perhaps you could ask them something related to their phone (e.g., Do they like the current one they have?). Or, you could ask them about what was the most interesting thing they have done lately that did not involve having their phone in use?
  • Instead of looking down at your phone, and it happens to be dark outside, consider downloading a star finder application to use your phone to learn about astrology and the stars. Consider doing this activity with another person so you are leveraging your phone for a more social purpose, while looking up!

I’ll be leveraging my own advice this week, and I hope that some of my suggestions will be useful to you too. Let’s all commit to becoming better and aware of the importance of reducing our screen time. There are so many benefits to spending less time on our phones, do you agree?

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

 

What’s behind that look? Judging other people’s reactions.

Our facial expressions can tell others a great deal about what we are thinking. Although some people have mastered what is referred to as a “poker face”, meaning they are not giving away anything via their facial expressions about what they are thinking. This takes practice to accomplish, and in certain instances can be a great skill to have.

Since most people have not mastered the art of perfecting a “poker face”, it can be important for them to be aware of what their facial expressions are revealing about them. This is especially true in situations involving a negotiation. What people may not be aware of is how much their facial expressions, or aspects of their body language involving even their neck and hand movements can work in their favor, or against them.

Have you ever been interviewing someone and noticed how red their neck and face turns? This is typically a reaction to being nervous, and this does not happen to everyone. However, for those who it happens to, it can work against them, even if they are fully confident with the conversation they are having. Unfortunately, those who have this happen to them may not be aware of the fact this is occurring, and it’s unlikely their interviewer will share this fact with them.

Is it possible to know if your face and neck turn red, and give away the fact you are nervous? Yes, it is. I’m also certain that others who know you well have potentially seen this occur before when you have been in a conversation with them that invoked a feeling of insecurity. If this happens to you, can you do anything about stopping this from happening? Potentially. However, you will need to practice being aware of situations which make you nervous.

When you feel nervous, your breathing pattern starts to change, and this is one of the factors which can cause your skin to turn red. This may sound elementary, but if you want to avoid giving your nervousness away from your red and blotchy facial and neck areas, you are going to have to practice relaxing breathing techniques. There are many places on the internet you can look to find out how to do this.

Another common facial expression that people do not realize they are projecting is looking concerned, or potentially upset. One way to see if you come across with these common facial expressions, is to look in a mirror to see what your face looks like. For instance, conjure an instance when you are thinking of being concerned, or potentially upset or mad at someone. Now, think of how your facial muscles are feeling, and take note of this. You will need to know this muscle combination to realize you might be making these facial expressions when you are talking to someone.

If others have told you that you often look either distracted or uninterested, you will need to work on making sure you are not having these expressions working against you. Again, a way to see what these facial looks are is to mimic what you think your facial expression is projecting when you are feeling these emotions. When you falsely come across with either being disinterested or distracted, this can work against you in both negotiation scenarios, or anytime you are trying to express you are fully engaged and actually interested in the conversation you are having. Those who have ADHD or focus challenges will need to work harder at making sure these lack of focus tendencies is not working against them.

When you are able to fully master the art of both understanding how to control your own facial expressions and properly interpret those of others, you will be moving towards a new level of being able to communicate with others. There are significant benefits of mastering and interpreting and managing your own facial expressions. Several of them are that you will become a stronger negotiator, appear to be a better listener, and you will gain a perceivably heightened sense of communication command.

Leaders in particular need to understand the nuances of facial communications, how to interpret them, and how to master the ability to showcase the proper facial expressions, and mask those which do not serve them or others well.

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, motivating 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.

 

 

(5) Tips on how to tap into your or others potential.

A number of things irk me, and one of them is when I see untapped, underutilized or potential in someone or something being dismissed. I recently experienced an entire roomful of players verbally telling one of their teammates how they could see how much potential he had. Whether this person believed or could see what the others were seeing was in question, and unfortunately about a week later, it was clear he did not see what they could see.

After hearing about the person essentially throwing away their potential by deciding not to participate on the team anymore, I was really upset that this happened. The fact myself and the rest of the team could see his potential was as obvious to us as the nose on our face. However, for some reason, this person did not see or want to leverage what we were seeing. This should not have happened. Although it did, there was still an opportunity to help this person see what they could not see.

One of my abilities is helping to see potential and strengths in others they may not be aware of. In the case of this player, his potential was obvious to everyone else. It truly bewildered me that he could not embrace and seize the opportunity to capitalize on his potential. Instead, he chose to dismiss the potential talent he had, and what others admired in him. There are a number of reasons why this happened, but the main thing to concentrate on is how to help someone in this situation.

If you or someone else you know is dismissive or unaware of their potential, I honestly believe it is each of our responsibilities to help this person. I guarantee you at some point someone helped you when you could not see your potential. I’m also certain it made a tremendously positive impact on your life. Perhaps you are not even aware of this having happened to you? If not, you should take a few minutes to think about when this probably did happen. Why? Because doing this will allow you to appreciate and then see from a different lens how to recognize potential in others.

You do not need to be a manager, parent or coach to see potential in others. You simply have to be willing and open to looking for it.

So, now you might be thinking to yourself, what does this untapped or unrecognized potential look like? It can look like many different things. Some of it is recognized by your gut instinct, and other times it is 100% obvious (e.g., singing, writing, mathematical, drawing, athletic talent). If you are willing to look for it, and help others to embrace and take advantage of it, you will be giving them one of the best gifts we can give to another human. The gift of recognition of their untapped talent and potential.

When people are recognized for their potential, a funny thing happens. It’s similar to giving them an imaginary key to help them to unlock their potential. By doing this, you are allowing them to see what you see. By showing them and making them aware of their potential, you are helping them to develop the talent they were unaware of.

Imagine if everyone was looking out and helping others to tap into their potential? Obviously I believe everyone has potential, and it is sheerly a matter of other people being proactive and helping them to recognize it when they don’t. Here are some ideas on how you can more easily spot untapped potential in others, and what to do when you see this:

  • They are naturally better at something than anyone else. Ask them if they are aware of what they are doing comes easily to them?
  • Someone who is empathetic may not be recognized for their gift of being this way. Tell the person who has a high degree of it, how much you appreciate this talent, and ask them how they are using it to help others on a daily basis?
  • Being a good listener is becoming a lost art. When you come across someone who is a strong listener, let them know how much you appreciate their talent, and ask them how they became such a good listener?
  • Seeing acts of kindness should not go unrecognized, and some people are simply more kind than others. When you see someone being kind, let them know you appreciate their act(s) of kindness, especially if they were kind to you or someone else.
  • If you see obvious, or not so obvious potential in someone and can do something about it, let them know you see their potential. Then take one more step and either help them yourself, or find someone who can do so.

Never let potential go unnoticed or allow it not to be properly channeled. Everyone deserves to have their potential recognized, and be given a chance to make the most of the potential they have. Don’t just be a bystander in witnessing potential, get out there and do your part to help others. The potential out there is unlimited, and will produce amazing results and opportunities when it is tapped into.

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 innovative? I think you might be.

As I’m writing this story, as a country, and as a person who is living in the State of Massachusetts, we are almost four months deep into our Covid 19 life. I’m defining this period as “Covid Life”, as I have tried to embrace the positive aspects of the situation we are in. This is versus dwelling on how our lives were prior to this pandemic, or what some refer to as what our “normal” life used to be.

Naturally being focused on the positive aspects of a scenario is something we should be doing all of the time, but it’s not always easy to do this. Why? Because there are often numerous other distractions we have when we have so many options of what we can be doing outside of our homes. However, given the fact many of us have been sequestered in one place for many months, I’m hopeful that everyone reading this can think of one thing they have done that is something positive they wouldn’t have done without being in our collective Covid 19 life.

When I think about what is the one thing I have done that is unique or would be considered innovative to the time period now, it would be something you will probably laugh about. That’s OK, as it is actually funny when I think about it too. Given it’s summer in Massachusetts, and we do not have a body of water to experience relaxing in our backyard, I decided it would be wonderful to have some type of water to enjoy nearby. Perhaps to simply float in.

As I was considering my options for how to innovatively find a solution for me and my family to enjoy floating in some water in our backyard, the obvious solution of having a pool entered into my mind. However, lots of other people also had this same idea. So, finding an affordable pool, and one that you could assemble yourself became a more difficult challenge than it ordinarily would be. So, what did I do? This is where I had to be innovative with my thinking.

Since most of the pools that would cater to adult people were not available, I thought perhaps non-adult pool options might have to be considered. As I was driving to the store to consider such options, I saw my next-door neighbors’ kids pool. It actually looked like the perfect solution! When I arrived at the store and made my way to the aisle where I would find pool solutions, right in front of me was the exact same pool that my next-door neighbors had. Keep in mind they are ages five and seven.

Given the fact the pool option I was considering was intended for grown-up kids, this didn’t eliminate it as an option. As a matter of fact, it was the ideal solution given how I wanted to utilize it. As I noted earlier, what I wanted to enjoy from having a backyard water option was to be able to float in some water. The water didn’t need to be deep, or the pool expansive in size, it only needed to be able to accommodate one person lounging in it. More ideally, factor in also acquiring a blow-up float to achieve and create the feeling of floating in the ocean on a raft! Yes, that is something I secretly love to do, and I find it to be amazingly relaxing. Warmer water is ideal, but most of the water in the places I go locally doesn’t get above 70 degrees. Hence the need for a float.

Upon solving my challenge of finding a pool that could accommodate my interest in floating in it, I decided to invest slightly more money and bought two more pools and floats so that others in my family could also float in them simultaneously. If you are thinking this solution must have cost a lot of money, my total investment was under $100! Does this solution make me happy? You bet it does. As a matter of fact, it’s even better than I expected it to be. Why? Because when I close my eyes while I am on my pool float, I imagine myself being transported to being in many wonderful tropical places, and all without hurting my bank account.

So, as promised, here are some tips you can consider to inspire and turn on your innovative mind.

  1. Think of a challenge. Any one. Consider how you would normally solve it, and then think of one or two other ways to find a solution.
  2. Pick up something near you that is made by a human. If you were an engineer, designer or inventor, how would you redesign this item?
  3. Take a walk outside. Preferably a place that has some nature you can admire. Look around and notice the structure of any item (e.g., a tree). Could you imagine how it might have been made differently?
  4. Find a half dozen random items around you. How would you put them together to create a sculpture? Try this, and take as much time or use as many other items to have the items fit together to remain in place (e.g., tape, glue, string). Now, imagine if someone paid you for what you created?
  5. Find someone you are living with, or contact someone via video to walk through and try out any of the four suggestions above. Brainstorming with another person is a phenomenal way to crank up your innovative mind.

If you have ever been told, or think you are not creative or innovative, I challenge you to try the suggestions above. There is a descent probability that you will change your mind about whether you consider yourself to be even slightly innovative. Perhaps you are not at a genius level of being that way, but I guarantee you have more creative and innovation abilities than you give yourself credit.

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