Going out for lunch and coffee is more important than you think.

Link to the CBS Radio interview about this article on The Price of Business with Kevin Price on July 9, 2018 from Dublin, Ireland.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

It might seem obvious as a relationship building tool, but have you taken full advantage of getting to know one of your colleagues, or perhaps your boss or team better via a cup of joe or soup? When I ask people how often they make plans to go out to lunch or coffee with others they work with, I am always surprised by how few people are doing this. Or, at least not on a regular basis. Personally, I have experienced incredible transformations in terms of the relationship I had post my coffee and lunch interactions with people I have gone out with.

As a matter of fact, there was one time when I asked a colleague out to lunch simply to see why they were acting so passively aggressively towards me. Some of my other colleagues thought I was crazy for investing any time or energy in the relationship with this passive aggressive individual. However, the outcome from just one lunch with this person turned them from being a nightmare to work with, to being one of my biggest supporters, and who post our lunch experience, worked collaboratively with me from that point on. What made the difference from having lunch with this person? It was actually pretty simple. This person did not fully understand the work I was asking him to do, and he thought it was a waste of his time to be doing the work. What he did not realize was that the work he was doing was enormously helpful to me and understanding the analysis he produced. When he realized his work was perceived as being a valuable contribution to the business, his passive aggressive behavior evaporated, and he turned into a nice person to work with. We continued to have lunch, and actually have kept in touch since we stopped working together.

The example I have given you was not in fact an anomaly, and I have been able to repeat similar results with almost 100% of the people I have spent time with. This simple exercise is absolutely applicable to any person in an organization you are working with. All you have to do is ask them out for coffee or lunch.  Here are some questions you can use to have similar results I have experienced.

  • Start by asking them if they like to travel?
  • If they have not done much traveling, ask them about what are three places in the world they would like to visit someday.
  • Ask them to tell you if they have any pets.
  • Ask them to share with you if they have any favorite charities.
  • Ask them how they picked the career they are in?
  • Would they recommend their career choice to others?
  • What would they say is their “super power”, and how do they use it on a regular basis?
  • Do they enjoy learning about topics unrelated to their profession, or do they invest their free time learning more about topics related to how to advance in their current role?
  • Who inspires them?
  • Basically, get them talking about themselves, and you will be amazed by the fact they might not reciprocate and ask you anything about yourself.

If the conversation goes the way I predict it will; and I have years of experience with coffee and lunch outings, by the end of your time together, you will have “planted-the-seeds” to develop an entirely different relationship with the person you spent time with. Now, the next step in this process is to make a list of the people you need to start queuing up coffee and lunch experiences with. You can either invite them informally by talking to them and agreeing upon a date and time to get together, or you can send them an email invitation asking them when (not if) you can “treat them” to coffee or lunch.

The more experiences you have with going out for coffee and lunch with the people on your “list”, the more opportunities you will have to expand your network, be considered an influencer, and in general take your career in a direction I promise you would not be headed in without doing this.  So, what are you waiting for? Start putting your list together and sending out your invitations today. Doing so will open up a whole new world of opportunities for you on your professional journey, and it is never too early or late to do this.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Weirdness – Yes, You Can Do This in a Professional Environment.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Why do so many people want to emulate others or be like someone they are not? Maybe because it is actually hard or uncomfortable to simply be yourself, or because it looks likes it would be easier to imitate what someone else is doing. Lots of people do this, but they are not being true to themselves or allowing their actual talents and personality to be fully actualized. Part of the reason people act like others is because they think they need to conform and fit in to be accepted, or because they do not want to call too much attention to who they really are. Why wouldn’t you want to do this, and why wouldn’t you want to fully embrace your uniqueness or what I will playfully call your “weirdness”?

This week I saw a Broadway show called Dear Evan Hansen. The story was about a teenager who wanted to be noticed, and how desperate he was to have others acknowledge him as a person. However, he did not know how to go about getting noticed, and indirectly through an action he took, he got more attention and was noticed not in the way he had anticipated he would be noticed. This presented a challenge to him which he was unprepared to handle, but he handled the situation the best way he could, which was via a series of lies he told which spiraled out of control. Ultimately Evan was able to get the situation back under control, but it wasn’t until he realized he needed to embrace who he was as a person first in order to do so. Sound familiar to the experience you may have had as a teenager? Now fast forward to your 20’s and 30’s when you may still be trying to figure out how to express your true personality while being accepted for who you really are, and in a professional environment.

Allowing your true personality in a professional environment to come out is not an easy thing to do, but it is possible to achieve this. The trick is to be honest with yourself about who you really are. Are you someone who is empathetic to your co-workers and truly interested in collaborating with them? Are you highly competitive and only interested in getting ahead no matter who you upset or burn bridges with? Do you enjoy making others laugh and bringing a “light hearted” air to your working environment?  Or, perhaps you are the creative or analytical type who want to share these skills with your colleagues? If you had to describe yourself in 2-3 words, would you be able to do this easily? Would others have an easier time doing this, or would they perhaps describe the person you are portraying to be, rather than the person you really are?

So, who are the people who embrace their “weirdness”? In my experience, they are people who are the happiest and most successful in terms of having found what they want to be doing professionally. They do not look at their work not as work, but as something they enjoy spending their time doing and happen to get paid for it. When I ask them about how they figured out how to incorporate their interests and potentially their passions with the profession they have chosen, often they will tell me the work they are doing best suits their personality, and this is what makes them happy and allows them to be true to who they are.

Since most people know what type of personality they have, using your personality traits as a foundational basis to help you to pick your profession will serve as solid guidelines to allow you to truly express your personality in a professional environment. If you are in a profession currently where you do not feel like you can be yourself, have you stopped to consider why? Are you in the right profession, or are you trying to conform to be accepted in the environment you are working in because you think this is what you have to do? If you are conforming to fit into your environment or profession, perhaps it is time to stop doing this. If you have not thought about this, think about what you can do to be truer to your personality and what makes you unique. When you allow yourself to be who you really are and accept yourself and embrace your “weirdness”, everyone benefits from the unique qualities you are then bringing forward for them to enjoy, and for you to be free to express.  There is a saying “be yourself, as everyone else is already taken”. Embrace this statement, and start seeing how much happier you can and will be, both at work and in life.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is Fear Driving Your Decisions?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

All of us are making continuous daily decisions, but have you stopped to think about whether your decisions are based on being completely confident with your decision, or are your decisions fear based due to your lack of confidence with trusting your gut instinct? Trusting your gut instinct is something most people in general have a hard time doing. Why? Because we are so conditioned to seeking others opinions or the acceptance and approval of others, that we often make decisions based on how other people will perceive the decision we made, and is essence, this is fear based decision making.

Many work based decision making scenarios involve having to come to a consensus.  This is often when the ultimate decision which is agreed to is less likely to be based on what would be the best decision. The result is that the decision was heavily influenced based on fear contributing to the decision inputs. When a group decision consensus is required, people will generally resort to projecting in their minds what they think others will want the decision to be, and not what it should be if fear were not part of the equation. So how do you stop having your resulting decisions being based on fear?

I often have conversations with business people about the concept of listening to the voice of reason in their brain. To convey this concept in a simplistic way, think of there being two voices in your head. One of them is a positive influence and the other is negative. The positive voice is your “gut instinct” providing you with sound and reasonable guidance, while the negative voice is the fear voice. The fear voice is not based on any type of instinct. The challenge is to practice drowning out the negative voice in your mind. You can start doing this with less complicated decisions you have to make such as thinking through a typical scenario everyone deals with. The example is to think about your response to the decision about whether you should stay a bit later at work to finish a project. If you listened to your positive and gut instinct, it would tell you it is alright to spend slightly more time at work to complete your project. As a result of doing so and listening to your positive voice, you will not be stressed all night at home about the project not being completed on time or advanced further to a point of comfort. This decision illustrates not being afraid to commit some additional time in order to have more time to relax later.

If in the example of staying later at work, you decided not to stay later, your negative voice was probably telling you fear based reasons about why you should not stay late (e.g., you don’t have the energy to stay later, you should have planned your time better to complete the project, you will be missing out on so many other things later that night due to staying longer). Another way to look at understanding why fear plays a role in our decision making is to actually think about potentially what fear really stands for. I do not know who to credit the breakdown of the word F.E.A.R. into a memorable statement, but the one I especially like is that the word fear stands for “False Expectations Appearing Real”. This particular explanation of fear nicely supports the “negative voice” concept I was discussing, and about 99% of the time, if I stop to think about something I am afraid of when making a decision, I remind myself of this fear based explanation.

When I am working with business executives or people in general, and we are talking about how they go about making decisions, I ask them to consider whether they are making the majority of their decisions based on fear. Most people will admit some percentage portion of their decisions are based on relying upon their “gut” or the positive voice, but far too many of them are making a large amount of their decisions based on fear. The first and best step to take to start eliminating making fear based decisions is to recognize and admit to doing so. The next step is to begin to slowly and consciously make and think through your decisions based on what your initial gut decision would be, and to then stick to it. The third step is to be retrospective about the decisions you have made with your gut, and to see how often these are the best and strongest decisions. Once you start to become comfortable with relying on your gut or positive voice, you will approach making decisions in an entirely different manner. You will also feel a new sense of freedom of not second guessing or making decisions once made primarily from a position of fear.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Navigating to the Next Level – At Your Company or at Another Company.

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Most people at some point in their career have thought about what it will take to move up to the next level. For those people who work at companies with over 100 people, the company generally has developed a career path for you. However, if the company is a start-up company and grown rapidly, then this may not be the case. The reality for most people is they are working at a small to mid-size company which has not put thought into developing a career path for all of its employees. So, without a defined career path, how does a person navigate to the next level in their career?

Let’s make the assumption most people are interested in what would be involved with moving up to the next level in their career, and they believe they are ready to do so within the next 3-6 months. Some companies may have a policy in place defining how long a person needs to remain in their role before they can be considered for a promotion. So, it would be helpful to know this before you start down the path of inquiring about your next role and be disappointed to find out you will not be able to move into a new role for a period of time which may not suit you. However, knowing the “rules of engagement” when it comes to moving and navigating to the next level in your career will serve you well. Generally, you can find out if a company has a policy by asking your HR department if they have defined a policy on career advancement. As I noted earlier, most companies will not have this, so here is my advice on how to develop your own career path to the next level.

This may seem counterintuitive, but you need to first think about why you want to move to the next level. Is it because you have been in the role for more than 12-18 months and have plateaued in terms of your learning curve? Are you interested in moving to the next level to gain more responsibility or a pay raise? Or, are you thinking it is time to move to the next level simply because you see your peers in the company or at other companies making upward careers moves?

Most companies will offer an annual performance review, and this is the perfect time to talk to your boss about what your career path options within the company would be. If your company does not offer an annual review, you can ask your boss to provide you with one, or ask your HR department if they could assist you in this process. Prior to going through your performance review, think about and chronicle all of the things you have accomplished in your role in the past year, and be able to provide examples of how these accomplishments have contributed to helping the company. Next think about how you would be able to take on more responsibility in your role or explore opportunities to take either on-line classes or attend industry related events or go to networking sessions to learn more about how to become better and advance in your current role. Networking opportunities will provide you with a chance to talk to others who are in roles above you, and to learn what they did to move up to the next level. The majority of people you talk to will be very happy with sharing how they navigated their career advancements, and what you will quickly find is that there are multiple ways to do so.

As I have talked about in one of my articles about the importance of having a “mentor make sure before you begin your journey of seeking out your career path advancement, that you have a mentor who can also guide you through the process. Your mentor can either be someone within the company at a senior level, or someone outside of the company. Your mentor will be able to help you to think through and plot out a strategy for your career advancement discussion to have with your boss. They can also candidly let you know whether they think you are ready to navigate to the next career level, as you may not have the insight and experience required to know whether you are truly ready to navigate upwards.

Navigating to the next career level can be both exciting and nerve wracking simultaneously. Using the energy from being excited to explore moving up to the next level in your career takes practice, so keep this in mind as you are going through the process. Be sure to also leverage others advice as you are plotting your upward mobility strategy, as this is really a “team sport” exercise even though it may not appear to be one.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.