Thursday, July 20, 2017

Remember Why You Started

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving."
Albert Einstein

Grey, not Black and White
Think back to when you finally broke through and landed that first big job. Whether it was in leadership or not, you soon realized two important things:
- the greater the responsibility you have, the greater the impact you can make
- the greater the responsibility you have, the greater the pressure coming at you from all directions

Finding the balance between the these two things, and not losing your energy and enthusiasm can be a challenge!

The pressure, unclear road ahead, changing dynamics in the workplace, and self-talk inspired depression can often get in the way of why you started down this path in the first place.

Acceptance and Action
There is a fairly straightforward way to deal with these pressures however; one that is often overlooked.

Accept them.

Whether or not something "should be this way" or "should be that way" we must accept the reality that the world is not going to operate exactly the way we think it should.

Accept them.

Feeling frustrated with our colleagues once in a while, wishing we could have avoided a communication failure, or believing we should have removed a poor performer sooner are all normal. Getting ourselves all worked up however, or worse, spending extra time lamenting it all is incredibly counterproductive.

"When we accept the fact that the world of work is never going to be perfect, we free ourselves to remember why we were so excited about work in the first place." 

There are still many opportunities to make a difference. 
There are endless chances to impact another person's life. 
There are no limits to what we can do.

How About You
What is getting in your way as you think about work? Have you allowed yourself to become so frustrated that you spend your days feeling down and depressed? Or, will you decide to accept that we all have our failings, but they should never stand in the way of why we love what we do?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

I've Arrived!

The desire to 'play' at the highest level is a powerful aphrodisiac. Whether in sports, academia, research, entertainment, or climbing the corporate ladder, the laser focus to get to the top is sometimes a hindrance to our success.

Chasing Glory
For many professionals, that first taste of a high level role feels like winning a career championship game. The new found power can often be confused with having "arrived." 

Is that big promotion an end point to a long quest? 

Is that breakthrough job offer an affirmation of what you've always believed you could be?

If the answer was yes, the risks to future success just became exponentially more complicated. You see, chasing the glory of career success is actually a never ending series of milestones and new beginnings.

Years of hard work and professionalism can lead to exciting opportunities. Those opportunities, in effect, are a reset of everything you once knew. The previous behavior, routine, and internal peer network all change. 

You have to be open to change too.

Learning the Role, Not the Tasks
The most important step many successful new leaders miss is the ramp up phase into learning "how" to do their new job. Not focusing exclusively on the tasks listed on their new job description.

Think about that for a second...learning the role, not the work.

How does a junior executive behave? What interpersonal skills are now mandatory, regardless of what feels comfortable? 

Is a fragile ego going to be put to the side in order to do the work, make decisions, and earn respect? 

Or...will the previous goal of "most popular rising leader" be the label that supersedes all else?

How About You
Who do you know that is very talented, yet has not invested the time to learn their role? How are they doing? Could they use your trusted consultative support?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Expectations and Engaged Employees

The concept of employee engagement is used so frequently in the world of work, I often see my leadership colleagues in a variety of industries roll their eyes when it comes up in conversation.

Yet, they publicly espouse the value and priority of having an engaged workforce...that it will make a huge difference in the performance of their companies...and that without it they will fall behind their competition.

Wait, what? 

I think I've stumbled onto one of the disconnects between leaders and engaged employees.

Expectations.

The Leader Lens
In my experience, I see many leaders wishing they could somehow "see" or "feel" the engagement of the employees. I'm not entirely sure what this means though.

- Should there be big smiles all day every day?

- Should there be verbal expressions of gratitude?
- Should there be public displays of a$$ kissing?

Regardless the expectation, the notion that a tangible behavior validates a degree of workforce engagement seems to be more important than whether or not they actually are engaged in the first place.

The Employee Lens
Here's my candid take on the employee side of the engagement issue. 

Create a positive energy in the workplace, prioritize their needs, be supportive and inclusive, share as much as you can as quickly as possible, pay competitively, recognize good performers and remove poor ones, be accessible to the team, be clear on expectations and performance, don't trick yourself into believing your job title makes you smarter than the team, laugh at yourself, be honest, be fair, be human.

Oh, and I don't think they necessarily want to jump up and down in joyful praise...they just want to do a good job.

How About You
Try strapping the employee lens on when you walk out of your office this afternoon. How does your world look now? Any different?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.