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.

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.

Finding Motivational Energy

Generally, when you need to be motivated to do something, it can seem like a daunting task to accomplish. Why? Because it is far easier to procrastinate than it is to be motivated. Does this sound familiar and something you can relate to? If so, you are not alone.

The good news is you can quickly get past the procrastination stage you often get stuck in. You can also do this by applying some of the motivational techniques I regularly apply, and share with others.

An example of applying motivational energy comes from a recent experience I had working with a sports team. The team was coming off an emotional two game loss, breaking their five-game winning streak. Half way through their next game, and with extremely low field player team energy, and what looked like was going to be a third consecutive loss, I talked to the team at halftime.

What I talked to them about was their attitude and the negative mental energy I could literally feel being emitted from them. I asked them the rhetorical question – “Do you want to lose this game, or do you think you have what it takes motivationally to win this game?” I told them I truly believed they had what it took to win the game. I said this with the fact they were down by five goals, and a strong likelihood the other team thought they had an easy second half win ahead of them.

When the team took the field at the beginning of the second half of the game, I told the bench players they were going to have to do something they might not have done before. What I told them is that they were going to need to transfer their positive physical and mental motivational energy to their teammates on the field in order to win the game. As you might imagine, after having said this I got some interesting looks. However, I also told them at this point of the game, they had nothing to lose by trying this, except possibly losing their third straight game.

As soon as the bench started to amp up their energy and cheer on their field teammates, you could feel an almost sudden shift in the game momentum. Literally within minutes of the bench transferring their positive energy to their teammates, the team began scoring and playing like the winning team I knew they could be. They were also applying what I will refer to as their ‘human strength roles’ on the team, and each of them knew what this meant. However, this was the first time they were truly applying this concept, even though we had been talking about the power of their “human team role” for weeks.

At the end of the third quarter, and coming off of a five-goal deficit, the team exploded with delivering double the amount of goals they had in the first half. They also ended up winning the game with a comfortable four-point lead. The other team was completely shut down. They were also stunned by the new momentum and motivational energy provided by the bench members. What made the difference in the second half of the game, was the fact the bench team members were able to successfully transfer their motivational energy to the field players, who really needed it.

This same concept of transferring the energy you put into procrastinating can be thought of like a mental on/off switch. You will literally need to give yourself a pep talk to do this, or perhaps ask someone else to do this for you. However, when you do this, you can literally shift your mindset away from not having motivational energy, to finding even a small spark which will ignite the rest of your motivation.

By committing to focusing your mind, energy and attention to what you want to accomplish, anything is possible. Even when it appears all of the odds are stacked against you. This same concept can be applied at work, or everyday life scenarios. I guarantee if you sincerely try doing what I have outlined, you will see far different and better results than you thought were possible. If you do not believe me, just ask Coach Wright, or any of the 27 young men on my sports team, or any sales person who has ever worked with me before. Happy “belated” Mother’s Day.

Kathleen E. R. 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 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 executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

This article is dedicated to Coach Sean Wright, Coach Mike Marshall, Coach Chris Harrington, Coach Ken Boyer and the entire Chelmsford, Massachusetts High School Boys Varsity Lacrosse Team.