(10) Reasons why we should all be daydreaming

When was the last time you caught yourself daydreaming? This is something I find myself doing regularly. It often serves as inspiration for the work I do.

Daydreaming can even be helpful in solving challenges – an extension of the thinking-through process. Some might refer to the act of daydreaming in other expressive ways.  This concept serves multiple purposes and results in more positive than negative outcomes.

No one would argue that time is one of our most precious resources, but they might tell you daydreaming is not a productive use of time. I disagree.

Let’s imagine if people did not daydream. Would they be more productive, happier, healthier, and ultimately more satisfied with their life? Probably not. Daydreaming is a form of natural therapy which can calm anxiety provide hope and inspiration to do and achieve what once seemed impossible.

I have found that when daydreaming, I am, in fact, architecting in my mind the potential outcome.

I use daydreaming to help me think through conundrums either for myself, my clients, friends, or family. Since most of us do not remember our overnight dreams, I am thankful we can remember our daydreams. We can leverage them to transport us to places we might not otherwise be able to go for any number of reasons – health, mobility issues, finances, fear . . .

Do you daydream?  If not, why not?  Is it because you think it is a waste of time? Is it because you do not have anything you think is worthy of daydreaming about? Or, does the possibility of seeing yourself in a better place seem too scary? Regardless of which camp you find yourself in on the debate of whether daydreaming is a worthwhile exercise, here are my ‘pro’ daydreaming reasons.

  1. Daydreaming can be like taking a mini mental vacation each and every day.
  2. Daydreaming can encourage you to do more than you think you can.
  3. Daydreaming allows you to place (or imagine) yourself in different scenarios and can help you to prepare to step up or in when the actual time comes. It is similar to the concept of visualization.
  4. Daydreaming can provide your mind and body with a way to decrease stress by thinking about things that are more positive.
  5. Creative minds need time to relax and capture mental power from various sources. Daydreaming is often a source that fuels those with creative minds.
  6. Inspiration can come from daydreaming, which in turn allows you to continue, to pursue or to embark upon something you want to achieve.
  7. Numerous inventions have been inspired by daydreaming as the catalyst for the idea to come to fruition.
  8. Problem solvers, or people who have to figure out solutions to challenges will often apply the act of daydreaming to help their minds switch gears and develop methods and solutions.
  9. Healing can take place when our minds have an opportunity to check-out from reality and go to a happier place, which in turn can release natural healing chemicals in our brains.
  10. Those who are dealing with physical or mental issues can apply the pros of daydreaming to help them see themselves in a better and more positive situation than the one they are currently in.

In other words, daydreaming can offer people hope. On days it may be in short supply. Since daydreaming does not cost anything, and is easy to do, why not give it a try? See if you change your mind, or reinforce your beliefs, about the benefits and positive aspects of this practice after you have given it a try for a week or two.

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. Our coaching takes place individually, or via customized workshops.

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.

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.

Leadership – How do you know if you are a great leader?

Leadership is not for everyone, and even some people who are in leadership positions do not belong in this role. Having worked for numerous leaders during the course of my twenty-five years in the business world, I can tell you there is a wide array of leadership types and levels of competency. Fortunately, I have learned something from both the amazing and not so great leaders, but the amazing ones are different from the average leaders based on a number of similar characteristics.

During my professional marketing career, I worked at a combination of both start-up and well established companies (e.g., Constant Contact, EMC/Dell, Hitachi). The start-up company’s leaders were the ones I learned the most from. I attribute this due to the fact these leaders had to be so dynamic and multi-talented with their skill sets. Their multi-faceted skills were what enabled them to navigate and grow the companies in the face of continuous high risk, especially during hyper growth or unknown growth periods when a new product or service was being launched.

In my opinion, the number one skill the best leaders each possessed was their high level of emotional intelligence, also referred to as EQ. To the best of my knowledge, this is not a skill which is taught in business school, and is purely an innate talent. When someone has a high degree of EQ, this does not guarantee they will be a successful leader, but the best ones I worked for leveraged this skill every day in highly demonstrable ways.

Some of the ways the highly successful leaders leveraged their EQ was by being able to easily read people and know how to motivate them. They were also able to get along well with them, regardless of the role they played in the organization. Possessing the ability to provide a crystal-clear vision both verbally and in writing of where and how a company will achieve its goals, is also an essential skill the best leaders I worked for possessed.

The majority of the best leaders also exuded charisma, and were very likeable people. They also earned your respect, and you wanted to follow and do your best work for them. The majority of them were also demanding and had extremely high standards across the board, but they were also fair and non-judgmental. Being open minded was an attribute they all possessed too.

Ironically, not all of the people who I would classify as a leader were in fact leaders. However, they possessed the characteristics and traits associated with successful leaders, and were clearly heading towards being one at some point in their career. I’m sure you can name a few people who fall into this category, and I hope they will be given the opportunity to step into the leadership role they are destined to fill.

A recent and non-business example of a person who is destined to be a leader is a young man I recently worked with who was on a sports team I was the performance and motivation coach for. This young man would be the first person to tell you he was probably the least talented player on the team from a field skill perspective, but this did not truly matter, as his role on the team was more important on the sidelines and in the locker room.  He exhibited all of the characteristics of a leader in the making, and his teammates recognized this at the end of the season and by naming him to be one of the captains of the team during his senior year.

If you think you are a leader in the making, wish to be one someday, or are in fact already a leader, this is one of the most important roles you will play in your professional life. Having worked for some of the best leaders in the world, I encourage you to model your leadership style after well know leaders, regardless of the industry they are in. For developing leaders, or if you are a leader and you have not fully developed the essential characteristics and skills to be a great leader, there is still time to do so.

Please do not delay in developing your leadership skills, as you are doing a disservice to yourself and those you are leading when you do not possess the right or essential leadership skills.

How will you know if you are a great leader? Chances are you have been told you are, and if you have not regularly heard that you are, then you might have some more work to do to get to the great leader designation.

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 Whisperer whichis 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.

 

 

 

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.