It’s all about the now.  Or is it?

I’ll admit that patience is probably not one of my super powers.  To my credit, I do practice being patient, and many people who have worked with me actually think I am patient.

Perhaps I come across as patient, but if I were a duck, you would likely see my feet paddling extremely fast underneath the calm surface of the water. Being, or appearing to be patient can have advantages. In many business situations, it is imperative to come across as steady, yet able to make swift and well thought-through decisions when necessary.

There have been numerous articles written about the power of now, and a book with that very title by Eckhart Tolle extols the virtues of spiritual enlightenment, living in the moment, and not concerning yourself with thoughts from the past.

In the business world, we are trained to both look in our rearview mirror and to leverage this information to inform our decisions. This knowledge will make us more competitive.

When we take the time to slow down and leverage analysis to help with strategic planning, we go against the concept of instant gratification. However, this is absolutely required and usually takes years of experience to do well, or without guidance.

Being strategic about decisions can be a challenge, especially if you’re a newcomer to the business world. It can also be frustrating to those who are driven by our instant gratification society.

We are fortunate to have technology to rely upon to help provide insights into data that even five years ago would have been difficult to obtain or analyze. Reading and interpreting the numbers is skill that is best developed over time. Having instant access can be enormously beneficial, but taking the time to review the information with others more experienced will serve you well.

An example of this would be reviewing your social media marketing investments to determine if they are providing you with the expected results you desire or forecasted. Fortunately, social media is one of the marketing investment areas which can be adjusted in “real time” if the results are not suitable, and this is one example of appealing to instant gratification.

Not all business disciplines are driven by instant gratification, but sales and marketing teams often are. This is fueled by expectations from senior management who either report to a board of directors or potentially to venture capitalists who have extremely high expectations. In both of these instances, time is not on the side of the teams who are on the front lines of performance. There is a great deal of pressure on these teams to perform well, and in the spirit of now.

Depending on how the powers that be manage their team, employees working for them will be captured by a great sense of urgency and potentially a feeling of being under a performance microscope. It is critical that upper management know how to minimize these emotions, as this type of pressure is not sustainable.

Seasoned managers know how to guide their teams through bursts of pressure and show them how to embrace the power of instant gratification in smaller doses. Since marketing and sales teams are typically quarterly driven, they should pace themselves through their performance journeys.

Some people are naturally adept at pacing themselves, but most people need a bit of guidance or coaching, and over sustained periods of time. Having superior time management skills will contribute to making the marathon pace seem less daunting, and allow the team to embrace the concept of slowing down enough to realize they do not need to have instant gratification for every aspect of their work.

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.

 

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.

Start your day with comedy. It makes a big difference.

Chances are you have not regularly started your day off by laughing, but what if you did? I’m a huge fan of live comedy shows, but all of the live comedy shows I have gone to take place in the evening. Fortunately, there are ways to consume and enjoy listening to comedians any part of the day either via the internet, Sirius radio or any of the cable comedy shows you can queue up on-demand. The best thing about listening to comedy is that the majority of the time, I find myself laughing about what the comedian is talking about, and generally feel much happier and better after I do.

Comedy is a great stress relief, and sometimes you might begin your day with more stress than you expected. So, a quick remedy for this is to shut off the news, and instead find a comedian to listen to instead. I’m not saying you need to listen to comedy for hours, as the positive effects of listening and laughing can be gained in as few as 5-10 minutes.

If you think about it, comedians are a bit like food, as they come in so many different varieties. Finding the type of comedy you like can be a fun experiment, and if I’m still leveraging the food analogy, there is no concern about consuming too much of it. It’s all good for you, kind of like eating healthy.

Over the years my comedic genre has varied, but there are a few comedians who have always made me laugh, such as Steven Wright who has an incredibly dry sense of observational humor everyone can relate to, followed by Jim Gaffigan who is self-deprecating and has a variety of interesting personas he works into his routine. Nick Di Paolo is also one of my favorites, as I started listening to his humor when we were both students and friends at the University of Maine. However, Nick’s humor is not for the faint of heart, and if you do not mind a large dose of crudeness and a complete absence of political correctness commentary served up as humor, then you will appreciate why he makes me laugh.

As we know, workplaces are generally serious places. However, in my opinion, and based on what I have observed over the last two decades, I seriously believe there should be either dedicated or impromptu time carved out for people to have a chance to enjoy humor, or have some fun which allows them to laugh. As I mentioned earlier, you do not have to listen to comedy for hours to laugh, and sometimes you can watch comedic YouTube videos, read comedic stories or cartoons to have the same impact.

Since most businesses are for profit organizations, they are highly focused on achieving financial metrics which will allow them to reach profitability. How each business goes about reaching their goals is what separates the strong performers from the ones who come close to only breaking even or achieve only marginally impressive financial gains. The companies I have been involved with who have been enormously financially successful, are the ones who have a healthy blend of being serious about their achievements and splicing in the right dosages of fun and humor. This is typically driven by company culture, and I have written about the importance of developing the right company culture to assist with financial success as a key performing indicator.

If you have not considered weaving in a bit of humor at the beginning of your day, or at work, I strongly encourage you to consider doing so. Try this for a minimum of two weeks personally, but commit to infusing fun and humor into your business for at least a quarter. There are not guarantees in life, but I strongly believe you will take new delight in seeing what the end results are…financially. Have you already tried this? If not, what are you waiting for? Get going.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me Too. Regardless of the industry you are in, or the business stage you are at, Market Me Too expertly bridges  teams and provides companies with proven techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our results speak for themselves. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.