How to Build Your Reliability Reputation

One of the pillars of a successful business is reliability. The concept comes in a variety of flavors. Let’s focus on human reliability. Without reliability as an embraced (strategy, hypotheses, belief) in an organization, by all members, the fundamentals of running the business simply will not thrive.

On a recent trip to Australia, I witnessed how the concept of reliability plays such a critical role.

The 16-hour flight provided many opportunities to think about reliability and to see it in action.   The amazing Qantas flight crew worked in harmony and relied upon each other to do their jobs. If you think about all of the elements associated with what it takes to get a large commercial plane off the ground, and the incredible amount of details which need to be executed to make this possible . . . What a wonderful demonstration of teamwork – and reliability.

When people are doing their jobs well, and most are reliant upon others to some degree, amazing things can happen. Conversely, when team members lose sight of the fact that being unreliable can have negative consequences that will impact others, bad things can happen. That’s bad news on the ground, but in the air?  No!

This may seem incredibly basic from a common-sense perspective, but more often than you think, you or your colleagues lose sight of the power of reliability.

So, how do you stay focused on being reliable? What does it mean to be considered a reliable team member?

Staying focused is easier than you think, especially if you care about your work performance.  What’s more, doing a great job is going to help not only you, but others, now, and in the future.

One way to stay focused is to break your tasks into segments. About 30 to 45 minutes is ideal, as most people start to lose their ability to focus well past this point.

Not all jobs will allow you to pause and take a short break, but if you are fortunate enough to be able to do this, the result will be of a higher quality, and you will have renewed energy for resuming the assignment. Your colleagues will likely also be impressed with the outcome, and you will begin to build your reputation for producing quality work, and more importantly, be considered reliable.  You will have an enviable reliability rating!

Another way to remain focused is to segment the type of tasks you tackle. For example, consider checking email at the beginning, middle, and end of the day versus constantly checking messages throughout the day.

If you have the type of work that requires you to be in meetings, whenever possible, plan them at the beginning of the day. That leaves the remainder of the afternoon to accomplish the assignments for which you are responsible.

Save the work you enjoy most for the end of the day. This way, you will have it to look forward to, and, because it is the type of work you like, you will have a renewed sense of energy.

Another trick to remaining focused is to take brisk walks around the office. Consider these jaunts as mini rewards for accomplishing the task on which you were working.  Plus, any kind of exercise is a bonus, and who knows who you’ll meet out walking around!

Being considered reliable is a designation you earn from your colleagues. When you demonstrate to others that you are reliable, your entire team or the company you work for will benefit. Amazing things might also begin to happen.

Think about a time when you had to rely upon someone and they did not follow through. How did that feel like? Not desirable, right?  And it made you think twice about being able to rely upon that person the next time you needed to do so. Keep the concept of reliability in mind the next time you are tasked with a responsibility for doing anything related to your job. It helps to keep you focused on a much more positive outcome, and your colleagues will enjoy working with you even more than they already do!

Dedicated to Elfi at Qantas Airlines. Thanks for your inspiration!

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

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.

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

 

 

Building a Strong Team

When you are at a point in your career when you are building, or developing a team, there are many factors that will contribute to how successful your team will be.

One of these success factors has to do with who you had the privilege of being mentored by as you were coming up the ranks. If you were fortunate enough to have an emotionally intelligent and common-sense oriented boss/mentor, consider yourself fortunate. If your boss/mentor also had mastered being empathetic, and was able to coach you through tough business scenarios, consider yourself to be in an elite group of managers.

What if your former bosses were not skilled people or motivational leaders? How do you learn these skills to build and develop exceptional, performing teams?

There still are ways you can obtain the experience to model after the ideal people leaders who build strong teams.

One of the ways you can do this is to identify a manager within your organization who you or others admire for the management qualities they have, and which you are drawn to learning from.

Since this person is not your leader, you will need to be creative in terms of how you can learn from them, but there is a simple solution to this conundrum. Simply ask them if you can meet with them once per week for about 30 minutes to learn from them.

Assuming they say yes, be sure to have questions to ask, and a well thought-through agenda. Ideally, share your agenda with your chosen mentor(s) prior to the meeting to give them some time to prepare.

You can also ask to shadow them, after you have built up enough time with them to move to this level of leadership mentoring. Depending on the size of your company, find out if there is a management training track available.

Typically, only companies with 250 or more employees will have this type of set-up.

I have been pleasantly surprised by much smaller and innovative companies who see the value of having a management rotation process in place. If your company has a rotational management process, inquire about how you can participate, as some companies will require you to apply, and others will identify you for their program.

For those of you who are already leading a team, how do you know you have the right team in place? I pose this question due to the fact it is not always possible to build your team from scratch. You will often be adopting a team to manage versus building one. For those of you who have adopted teams to manage, you still have an opportunity to treat the team as if you are building it out from scratch.  I have done this on a number of occasions. The best way to accomplish this is to take your team off-site for a minimum of one day, but two days is ideal.

During your off-site, let the members know you want to re-establish the team as if it were new, and you that to get everyone on board.

Check out about leveraging StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath and his concept of identifying each team members top five strengths as the basis for doing a team reset.

Find or assign a facilitator to take you through exercises derived from knowing what the team member’s top strengths are. Doing this will give the team an opportunity to get to know each other much differently and in a way which will level set everyone’s basis for better understanding how to leverage each member’s strengths differently going forward.

If you are in a position to hire a team from scratch, consider yourself fortunate, as this opportunity does not come up often in most people’s careers.

For those in the majority of the business population, who will only be hiring two to six people for their team, here are six high-level guidelines for helping you to hire the right people.

 

  1. Making sure the person you are bringing onto your team fits into your corporate and team culture is critical. Make sure everyone on the team has a chance to interview the candidate. If the vote to hire the person is not unanimous, then the candidate will not be offered the role. Developing hiring consensus is one of the best ways to accelerate the on-boarding process for the new team member.

 

  1. Check the references of the person you are hiring, and ask really tough questions. Too many people skip over this important step in the process. You might be surprised by what you learn – both good and bad about the candidate.

 

  1. When possible, ask the candidate to come in to shadow your team for half a day. You and the candidate will learn much more about each other this way, and it will give each of you an opportunity to test drive the potential experience of working together.

 

  1. Coordinate with your team on what questions you will be asking the candidate. It is a waste of time for your team and the candidate to have to answer the same questions over and over again.

 

  1. Debrief with your team after each person has interviewed the candidate. Include your recruitment manager in the process, if you are fortunate enough to have one. Some companies have a process for you to input your feedback about the candidate into an online system, but if you do not have one, you can improvise and provide everyone who interviews the candidate with a series of questions. Since some interview processes can drag on for weeks, being able to look back on the team interview feedback will be helpful.

 

  1. Trust your gut. Even if the person looks perfect on paper and interviews like a pro, if your gut tells you there is something not right about this candidate, trust your instincts, as they are often spot on.

Of course, there are no guarantees in life, but if you follow some or most of these guidelines, you will have a far greater chance of building and having the ideal team in place to help one another to becoming an amazing team to lead.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

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.

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

 

 

The Power of Resilience

Everyone has the power of resilience, but some have had to rely upon this skill more than others. When they do, and apply it, it is what seriously separates them in an extremely positive and impactful way from others.

According to the American Psychological Association, they define the word Resilience as an ‘adaptation in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or stress: family/relationship problems, health problems or workplace/money issues.’ I like this definition based on the word adaptation, as it is such a powerful trait which we can all learn to develop.

As you know, I’m not a big news watcher, but typically when I do catch the news, it tends to be focused on the negative events happening in our lives. Unfortunately, the format of news broadcasts does not have a follow-up element which allows you to see the negative or positive outcome of what was reported on. Unless of course it was a fatal situation. However, when I do witness an adverse situation either via the media or in life, I always try to imagine how to turn the situation into a positive one.

When you focus your attention on turning a negative into a positive, this is the essence of applying resilience, as you are in the process of learning how to adapt. Just about every situation provides you with an opportunity to practice adaptation. The trick is to recognize this, and look at how to do so.

This past week I had an opportunity to attend an event via the Agile New England organization. They hosted a talk about a subject which was fascinating to me, People Analytics. Kate O’Brien from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard was the presenter. She spoke about how her organization applies predictive analytics to understanding how and whether the employees in her organization are happy with where they are working, and whether they are also happy about what they are working on.

By analyzing the employee’s responses, Kate and her team have the ability to predict which team has potential upcoming retention rate issues, whether the team is a healthy and happy team, well managed and how confident they are in the success of the work they are doing. Using what is referred to as predictive analytics, and based on what Ms. O’Brien shared during her presentation, the Broad Institute is certainly doing something extremely well. This is evident in their retention rates being incredibly high, along with their employee satisfaction rates too. Almost to the point of disbelief.

So, how does the Broad Institute achieve such amazing retention and high employee satisfaction ratings? Part of the reason is because they allow their employees to exercise resilience in the work they do, and they can legitimately state they are in the process of curing cancer as an organization.

The fact the Broad Institute interacts with so many different countries and companies to do their work, strongly supports their employees having to be resilient and adaptable at all times. Especially when their work does not go well. Instead of being focused on overcoming the adversity of their experiences, they focus on adapting and continuous improvement, which is a foundational agile concept.

If you were to take a page from the Broad Institute’s playbook on always remaining resilient and adaptable in the face of adversity, you will have a tremendous model to replicate. This can be achieved either personally or professionally, as so much of the success behind being resilient is having an open mind and the best attitude you can possibly have.  The right attitude combined with the power of resilience is what will allow all of us to not only thrive, but to exceed any and all expectations placed upon us.

If you cannot frame your mind around the concept of resilience, try applying the other power of visualizing your success when you are in an adverse situation. When part of your mind can visualize your success, the rest of your mind and body can help you to achieve it. I exercise this concept regularly, and can tell you it works incredibly well. Give it a try, and not just one time, keep trying it until you get the results you are looking for.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

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.

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

 

Stuck? How to get you, your team or company in motion.

There are numerous reasons and ways to what I refer to as getting stuck, either personally or professionally, and no one is immune from having this happen to them. If you are immune, give me a call, because you are a true “unicorn”.

Generally, when a person, team or company is stuck, there are Drano-like techniques you can apply to resolve this dilemma. However, often it is difficult to come up with the getting unstuck solutions because you are too close to the issue or issues which caused it. So, what do you do?

Obviously panicking about your being stuck situation is not going to solve anything, nor will ignoring it. Although many people and companies try out this approach and what happens? The unstuck situation does not get resolved, can in fact get worse, and the negative domino effect starts to kick in.

So, depending on who is stuck, the first thing to do is to commit to addressing and resolving the matter. Doing this will take immediate pressure off of the feeling of being stuck, and if a team or company is stuck, you will need to communicate with them about the fact you are addressing the matter.

By the way, “you” is either the head of the team or company who is stuck.

Thinking about and discussing how you got stuck is the second step to figuring out a solution, and this should be done in an organized way. One of my favorite ways to tackling this is to whiteboard or back-of-the-napkin how you ended up being “stuck”. I also recommend going through this exercise physically away from where the clog is. If you are the one who is stuck, I also recommend going to a neutral and also inspiring place to think about developing an unstuck solution.

Here is a (10) step approach to getting unstuck. You might only need to leverage a few of them, but there is the possibility you will need to apply all of the steps if your team or company is significantly stuck. I’ll let you be the judge on what number the stuck meter would register.

  1. Write down what makes you feel like you, your team or company are stuck (e.g., lack of energy or motivation, high attrition rates, culture issues, revenue growth is stagnant or under performing).
  2. Appoint a person as the “Chief of Getting Unstuck”.
  3. Limit the amount of people to the “Unstuck” team to less than six people, ideally fewer if possible and depending on the complexity of the matter.
  4. Agree not to play the blame game, and commit to resolving the matter.
  5. Come up with a timeline for how long it will take to resolve and get unstuck.
  6. Outline the reasons which contributed to how you, your team or company became stuck.
  7. Begin brainstorming on resolutions for each of the reasons which contributed to becoming stuck.
  8. Determine if the reasons you became stuck have the possibility of reoccurring. If they might, part of your plan is going to need to address how to reduce or eliminate this from happening.
  9. Share and widely communicate your “getting unstuck plan”, and ask for feedback. Make it clear that feedback offered should only be offered if it is constructive. Have people feel like they are a part of the solution, and not contributing to the problem.
  10. Once you have your getting unstuck solutions which are actionable and agreed upon, commit to applying them with the goal of becoming unstuck.

Getting stuck did not occur overnight. So, coming up with a solution or methods to resolve your situation is going to take some time, and will be different for each scenario. By admitting to and then committing to resolving your matter of being stuck, you will be taking the most important steps towards resolving it. Coming up with your solutions might be easier than you think they will be, and they should also be enormously satisfying when you do.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder/CEO and Chief Performance Strategist at Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at.

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

 

Millennials – Managing, Motivating & Retaining Them

Not everyone would agree, but I love when things change. I especially am excited about change particularly when the changes being applied optimize and improve what they are being applied towards. Having worked with thousands of people during my career, the most exciting generation of people I have encountered are the millennials. Why? Because they are so open to embracing change.

Managing people is probably one of the most challenging tasks to take on, especially to be able to manage them well and unselfishly. Yes, unselfishly, because in order to be a superb manager, you need to put the interests of those you are managing ahead of your own. When you do this, those who you are managing will at first potentially not notice, and when they do, they will then be surprised you are doing this, as this is not a management technique applied or embraced by all managers.

If you think of managing people from the perspective of acting as a coach or mentor, it allows you to mentally shift your thinking and begin to strategically adopt management methods which put your staff needs ahead of your own. When you put others needs ahead of yours, empower them to stretch beyond their comfort level, yet provide them with a safe zone in case of failure, people will respond and perform at a new level you might not imagine them to do so. This management concept works extremely well with millennials, as they are so open to trying new things, and actually crave doing so.

One of the best ways to motivate millennials is to ask them for their opinion, and how they might go about mapping out how to accomplish their role with limited direction from their manager. When you provide a millennial with freedom to in essence design their path forward, they will be more motivated in their role, as they feel they have a heightened sense of controlling the direction they are able to head towards. What you also might be surprised by, is that they will also be more willing to collaborate with the management team and their team peers because they do not feel the pressure of traditional methods of management constraint.

There are numerous books that have been written about motivating people in the workplace, but most of these books are based on motivational techniques which have been around for decades. Although many of the motivational techniques are still relevant, many of them will not be effective when they are applied to the millennial generation. I know this, because I have also managed, motivated and retained hundreds of people from this generation.

Unfortunately, this generation has gotten a potentially undeserved reputation for being selfish. I think this generation is misunderstood, and has been too easily labeled as being selfish due to management techniques not working on them. This is why management techniques to apply to the millennial generation are in need to being revised and adopted. The millennial generation is motivated by things which need to be factored into helping them to be successful. They care about our environment, eating healthy, taking care of themselves and doing what is best for society more than they are given credit for. When employers and management techniques are factored into account for these type of motivational examples, a true paradigm shift will occur.

The days of employees working at a company for more than 5-10 years is becoming a thing of the past, as most employees are averaging lengths of employment sub these numbers. Due to a highly fluid flow of millennial employees changing jobs so often, this puts enormous pressure on companies to try to retain them, even for 2-3 additional years. One of the largest expenses a company has is recruiting and on-boarding new employees. If they have to continuously do this, the strain on having to fund this company expense can have a severely negative impact on their bottom line. So, how do companies address this challenge?

One of the ways companies who have low millennial retention rates can turn this scenario around, is to create a culture that is appealing to them (e.g., offering them clear or varied career paths to consider, opportunities to engage with the local community during work hours, helping them to understand their innate strengths via specialized coaching, access to internal mentors on a regular basis and greater flexibility with when and where they work). Ironically, the things that appeal to the millennials, can be equally appealing to the rest of the employees, with some modifications to account for their culture and career satisfaction too.

Embracing instead of chafing against the millennial generation and the way they are managed, motivated and retained must be factored into a company’s structure of how to run a modern company. When this occurs, a company becomes far more appealing to work at, and in turn competitive in the industry they are competing in, especially since a significant amount of their employees are from or will be from the millennial generation.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at.

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