Uncertainty and decision making

Overview:

Let’s face it. Most people when asked if they like uncertainty will tell you they don’t. If asked to choose between the two, they will more often favor decision making. However, both of these topics can make people uncomfortable, yet they don’t have to. So, who are the people comfortable with both, and were they always this way? Can you be one of them?

Learning how to embrace uncertainty versus fearing or dreading it isn’t something which comes naturally. When we think of the concept of uncertainty, we often wish that we could definitively know what the outcome will be. When we can anticipate or predict the way anything will turn out, it also gives us a sense of comfort, or perceivably more control. Although some people don’t mind being surprised by an outcome. Especially outcomes that have a higher potential to be a positive one.

Although I am not an actuary, a significant percentage of outcomes mathematically will have roughly a fifty percent chance of a favorable outcome. So, why do we as humans tend to ere on focusing on the potential for a negative outcome? One of the reasons we do this is to protect ourselves from disappointment. If we expect the outcome not to be in our favor and it is, then we are happier about the results. Another reason we think negatively, is that we are not confident enough in our abilities, planning or circumstances to warrant the outcome we would prefer.

What if you could alter the way you think and embrace uncertainty? Part of being able to do this will involve re-training the way you think. This isn’t easy to do. Yet it can be incredibly gratifying to achieve being able to do this, even occasionally. To begin down the path of embracing uncertainty, one of the factors I noted above was to become more confident in your thinking this is something you can do. Let’s start there. Can you do this? Yes, this is a rhetorical question, as I know you can.

As you already know, our subconscious mind has a great deal of power. When we tap into it, and we suggest to ourselves that the outcome of any scenario will be favorable, we begin laying down the path for this to happen. Have you ever tried doing this? I’m sure you have, but potentially not all of the time. Consider a time you didn’t do this, and how much energy you put into thinking the outcome of your situation wasn’t going to be in your favor. Yet, it was. What if instead you could have channeled that wasted negative energy into something else? For one thing, you would have been less anxious, more fun to be around, and likely have had more energy to appreciate the positive outcome.

Let’s switch gears and focus on decision making as something you enjoy doing, and do well. For those reading this who feel they have mastered the art of decision making, consider how you could or would teach others how to do this. If you are in the category of needing to learn how to make better decisions, I have some suggestions on how you can go about doing this.

  • I recently met a woman who uses a method of visually thinking through her decisions. What she does is to draw a square box. In that box is the topic related to her decision. Around the box she places other boxes that have words or phrases that either support or don’t support her topic. This is similar to a pro and con list, but it is using a different visual representation to help you think through your situation.
  • Now would be a good time to consider putting together either an informal or formal board of advisors. It doesn’t have to be a big group, and it should be people who you know, and can rely upon to give you input from an objective position. Not necessarily what you want to hear, but a more neutral or alternative way of thinking about the outcome of your decision.
  • Depending on the type of decision you are making, is it possible to do research, or more research on helping you to determine an outcome? Perhaps a positive one?
  • Part of becoming a decision maker and mastering this concept, means you will become more comfortable with relying upon your gut instinct. Start slowly if you are uncomfortable with doing this, but think about what your first thought was. Then think about whether it is based on fear, or has merit for being a good decision.
  • When you vacillate on your decisions, you typically do this due to lack of confidence in your ability to decide. You will know you have mastered the art of decision making, when you stop vacillating on your decisions.

Yes, life is full of uncertainty, and we would be hard pressed to live a day without having to make any decisions. So, given the reality of this, the best course of action for ourselves is to embrace uncertainty and decision making, and to become pros at both of them. Let’s get you started today!

Tags: #Business #DecisionMaking #Uncertainty #EmbracingChange #Marketing #Sales #Leadership #MakingDecisions

Why I don’t waste time criticizing people.

People who are constantly criticizing others are typically insecure and because of this, they focus their attention on other people instead of being reflective about themselves. When you come across someone like this in the office, steer the other way, as they probably have already taken on the reputation of being a negative person, and who wants to be around “Debbie Downers”? No one, and it is not advisable to be around them, as others could also perceive you are this way too. However, what if you have tendencies of being overly critical of others and do not realize this?

Let’s take a virtual walk around your office and come up with some scenarios of interactions you might be having with others. The first scenario takes place in the morning shortly after you have arrived at work. You exchange your pleasantries with others, or so you think, as you may not have realized you provided negative commentary on an interaction you just had with one of your other colleagues about what they told you they did over the weekend. Did you need to be judgmental about what they did and share your opinion with others? Let’s say…..no, you did not.

The next scenario involves talking with one of your colleagues post a meeting you were both in. Instead of providing constructive feedback or potentially something positive about the meeting and the person who was running it, you criticized the person for how they delivered the information, and about how you did not like the meeting format.

Another interaction which is ripe for negative people to spread their criticism is during the afternoon walk around the building. These walks are generally short walks, and can be highly refreshing and opportunities to have upbeat conversations. However, if you are an overly critical person, you tend to leverage this interaction to share your negative commentary on whomever you have recently interacted with. Does this sound like you, or someone you work with?

If you are “the” person who is highly critical of others and do not realize this, there are ways to determine you are behaving this way, and to course correct on this type of behavior.  Here are ways to first recognize you are behaving this way:

  1. After interacting with someone, think about the conversation you had with them. Did the conversation involve passing judgement on another person in a negative format?
  2. Consider the interactions you have had the last few days. After the interactions did you feel better, neutral or worse after you spoke to your colleagues? If you felt better or neutral, was there a positive outcome from the conversations you had, or did you simply feel relieved about sharing your opinion on someone?
  3. If you had to rate your conversations with others like you were rating a restaurant on Yelp, what rating would you give yourself and why?
  4. Are there situations or people who “trigger” your overly critical nature? Begin to recognize whether these are routinely happening, or only periodically.

and here are some tips on how to stop being overly critical of others:

  • Write down positive things you can share and say about others you work with, then sprinkle these positive expressions into your conversations with others. Did you notice if the person you were sharing this information with reacted differently?
  • Create a list of the typical things you converse with others about. Categorize these topics and take a look at what percentage of them are critical versus being constructive or positive. Do this exercise for one week to work towards changing the conversational type of exchange you have been having.
  • Ask someone you are friends with outside of your office if they think you have tendencies to be overly critical of others. If they are a true friend, they will be honest with you and tell you that you are. Do not be mad at them for being honest with you, and instead thank them for their candidness.
  • Challenge yourself to work towards being a less critical person, and check your progress from week to week to see if you recognize you are decreasing your negative commentary about others or situations.

No one sets out to be overly critical of others, and sometimes behaving this way is also a result of picking up this bad behavior from observing others who might be doing the same thing. The trick to becoming less critical and ultimately more fun to be around, is to acknowledge you might be this way, and then to work towards overcoming this bad habit. Once you become less critical of others, you will become a much happier person when you are conveying complimentary comments about others versus the negative verbal exchanges you are accustomed to expressing.

How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #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