Goal setting is a basic part of any success methodology. We set small goals and big ones – and sometimes even HUGE goals But what happens once the goal is achieved? Do we stop and celebrate? Do we stop and take time to think about the journey we have just taken? Or do we move on to the next goal? I recently achieved one of those HUGE goals, three years in the making. My first reaction was relief. I was finally done. But then I started thinking about all the other things I wanted to achieve and I jumped right into planning and thinking about my next big goal. I had failed completely to do two critical things. The first was to celebrate. After all a three year effort is surely worth some hoopla. Okay. Party planned. The second thing I failed to do was take the time to think about the journey itself. Often the most important part of achieving a goal is the experiences we collect, the people we meet and the things we learn along the way. What do you remember most about the last goal you achieved? How will you apply what you learned? Who did you meet along the way that influenced you, changed you, or made you think in a new way? Goal setting isn’t just about achieving a goal. It is also about the journey. Where are you going next?
I am a foodie. I avidly watch the “The Next Food Network Star”, not only for the amazing food each chef makes, but to watch the growth and development each contestant achieves over time. One of the things that make the final four contestants successful is the ability to articulate their point of view. In this case, the POV is about who they are, what food they cook and why. Being a leader is similar to being a contestant. A leader must know who they are, and what they stand for in order to get others to follow.
At Blanchard, we know that a leadership point of view can be developed. All the ingredients are already present in each of us. We just need to sift, mix, and blend those elements together. Ask yourself “Who inspires me? What are my core values? What do I believe? “ Do the work to think through the recipe that is uniquely YOU, and like the Sandwich King (my personal favorite) or the spicy Mexican chef (another contender), you will discover that the more you know yourself, and are true to yourself, the clearer will be your leadership point of view.
My LPOV is like Creme Brulee – simple ingredients transformed into something satisfying and elegant. What ingredients are in your point of view and what masterpiece will you create?
In the last few years an interesting phenomena has arisen. Technology has provided us with ways to stay connected to the point where we are expected to be connected 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Long gone is the forty hour work week. We are inundated with email, voice mail, tweets, and blogs. In fact, we have made Facebook a verb. We post about what we are doing and how we are feeling.
A few weeks ago I headed out of town for a short business trip. I planned on being in meetings or traveling all day. As a result not only did I put an “out of office” automatic response on my email, I found myself writing that I would have no access to email or voicemail while I was gone. I would not be able to access my email while on the plane, or return a phone call while in a meeting. I planned to be “unplugged.” It was necessary yet uncomfortable.
I have a colleague that plans intensely for a week long “completely unplugged” vacation. We all applaud (and envy) her for her strong boundaries! How crazy is that? We treat being disconnected as something unusual, and yet…
Unplugged? YES! That is when I do my best thinking. Unplugged? YES! That’s when I am fully present. Unplugged? YES! That is when I re-charge, rejuvenate, reconnect and relax.
So I say to everyone who has ever agonized over an out of office message – unplug and enjoy.
How many times are you asked for an opinion, or a thought, or feedback? Perhaps in your last interview, or maybe during a key presentation to your peers? It seems that we are constantly tweeting, face booking, blogging, and otherwise commenting on everything from our personal mood, to great world events. We are asked for our informed or uninformed opinion about almost everything.
I was at a party a few days ago and I joined a group of friends opining about the lamentable state of the economy. I moved on to another group having a heated discussion about religion in the workplace. A third group laughingly discussed the pros and cons of their respective bosses. I found I had nothing to say. Nothing at all. And then what I realized is the less I had to say the more I listened. Really listened. And I learned quite a few things, about my friends, my clients, my colleagues, and my family. I realize that there are times when I will have to offer an opinion. What I am noticing is that I can be much more selective about when and how much I offer. The beauty of this, is that it leaves so much more room for listening. Here is what I learned: Every boss is human and has good points and bad. People really care about connection to each other and to something greater than oneself. The economy is beyond my scope of control. People love to be listened to.
So that’s it. I have nothing to say.
We have had a lot of snow this year. But Spring eventually comes, and blossoms peek up though the snow, spreading beautiful color across our landscape. I was sitting in my office the other day, grumpily telling my husband all about the things that had gone wrong that day. The “to do” list was still 9 items from being complete, and cranky clients and co-workers had expressed their unhappiness all day long. Then I noticed my husband’s smile as he turned his head to look out my window. There, nestled between other perennial growth, stood a lone Iris. And just like that my day brightened. Three years ago my husband took the time to plant several irises though out our yard. He never said a word. He just trusted that one day I would look out and see those gorgeous purple blooms and smile. Coaching is like that. We plant seeds, never saying much about what we are doing, or why. Months and sometimes years later those seeds bloom. We don’t know when we plant seeds if they will ever bloom, but we plant, none-the-less. My day was suddenly full of delight and joy, thanks to a simple act of love by my husband. As a coach, I care for my clients by serving them. I keep planting those seeds trusting and knowing that there is fertile soil and that something of beauty will grow.
So, I leave you with this thought – What seeds are you planting?
My phone rang the other day. In fact, it rings a lot and I have it set to ring only two times before voicemail picks up. My husband jumped up, promptly tripped over the dog, and then got pretty upset. When I politely inquired why, he growled in frustration “The phone was ringing!” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that we have become a society that responds to the ringing telephone, the beep of new email, and the vibration meaning a new text message. I feel the need, nay the URGE , to respond instantly, as if I am the most important person in the world, or as if I might miss out on something world changing. So I did a little experiment. I went for a whole weekend without answering the phone or reading my email. 48 hours. 47 excruciating, unplugged hours. But here’s what I discovered in that last hour. Greeenbay won the Super bowl. My roses are already in bud. My dog still loves to play fetch. My teenager really does still need Mom. That fidgety anxious feeling went away and I had time. Real time, to recharge. I accomplished more on Monday morning that I thought possible. So I challenge you. Unplug. What will you discover?
This time of year we turn our attention to the idea of giving. While a new sweater, or a pair of gloves can keep you warm, I have been thinking about a different kind of gift. Coaching at its core is all about this different kind of giving.
We give our clients the gift of a deep and abiding conviction that they can and will achieve their goals. We give them the precious gift of listening, truly and carefully. We give them a heartfelt gift of trust. At its best coaching is ultimately the gift of belief. When we believe, we invite our clients to believe – and then everything becomes possible.
As a coach, I am often astounded at clients who hesitate to give the gift of themselves in all of their brilliant glory.
They hide their gifts out of fear, or modesty, or for some other reason, and yet these gifts are the very things that drive their purpose in the world.
Giving feels good. And there is no better gift than to be your amazing self.So let me end by asking – How will you give the gift of yourself?
CEO’s fail for other reasons too. They
• Stop listening, or only listen to those directly below them on the org. chart
• Listen for the wrong things (such as evidence that they are right)
• Forget their passion
• Forget that every person that works at the company wants to make a positive difference and has a worthwhile contribution
Feedback is powerful evidence – not about who you ARE, but about how other people PERCEIVE you. Others perceive you through their own unique lens. Their values, beliefs and experiences play a powerful role in the feedback that they provide. So it’s actually evidence about what is important to others, when they observe or interact with you.
We are often afraid, upset or disgruntled by feedback that we believe is negative, and we actively try to ignore it. But what if feedback was actually a tool we could use? One that gave us an inside tip on how to be really, super effective with others?
Perhaps your direct reports give you feedback indicating that you avoid conflict. Maybe your boss says you need to work on building a more high-performing team.
In their eyes, this is what is important and they are giving you a gift. You then get to choose. Choose to ignore the feedback, or choose to leverage the evidence in front of you.
You can choose to intentionally change the perceptions of others by shifting your thinking or your behavior. Ultimately feedback is simply how someone else sees you and you can influence their perspective.