Powerful Questions

Clueless

iStock_000000515657We are always off the mark when it comes to describing our strengths and weaknesses.  Our built-in-bias makes us overemphasize our good points and minimize our bad ones.  For example, 90% of us think we will go to heaven when we die.  Yet at the same time, we think that only about a third of our neighbors will make that journey.  Our halo also keeps us from seeing ourselves as others see us.

That halo also prevents us from being as effective as we could.  In our mind, we see ourselves creating the positive results and blaming others for the negative ones.

True self-understanding can’t happen in a vacuum.  Without outside touch points, nothing keeps our bias in check.  Our blind spots stay blind.

Whom do you have to keep you honest?  To keep you accountable?  Here are three quick guidelines to get started with one.

First, don’t pick the person because they make you feel good.  Pick your partner because they will help you see yourself as others see you.

Second, pick the person who will ask questions and let you talk.  When you ask, “What do you think?” you want them to say back, “you first.”

Third, pick someone who is available.  You want to talk with this person every week or two.  You want to discuss

  • what’s gone right
  • what’s gone wrong
  • your role in it all
  • what you want to do about it moving forward.

Stepping away from your halo is not difficult, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.  We have to learn honesty about ourselves.

What will you do this week to find some clues?

Read More

Weekend Love, April Eighteenth

In your headHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  This handful of links takes you  to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

I saw an old bumper sticker the other day that said, “I just do what the voices in my head tell me.”  Peter Bregman thinks we need to manage those conversations more when he writes about Managing the Critical Voices Inside Your Head.

Stephen Covey referred to the last of the seven habits as “sharpening the saw.” Dan Rockwell has some great ideas along the same vein that he writes about in 12 Refueling Strategies That Work Today.

Pope Francis addressed the leaders of the Catholic Church before the holidays last year about the diseases of leadership.  Gary Hamel translates this into English business-speak.  We all need a check-up against The 15 Diseases of Leadership, According to Pope Francis.

From the archives:  What is it about 4:00 am?  Poet Rives shares his thoughts.  His 10 minute TED talk will give you some thoughts for your next visit to that time.

Click here if the video isn’t showing in your browser: http://www.ted.com/talks/rives_on_4_a_m#t-13119

 

 

Read More

Weekend Love, April Eleventh

Link love 4-11Here are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  This handful of links takes you  to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

This is a story about how life sucks but the story is still going.  It’s uplifting, honest.

Dan Rockwell writes about what to do If You Can’t Be With The One You Love.  He suggests a great course of action.  I’m doing this.  I think every leader should.

Maybe I’m more tuned to articles on time management since I’m doing a series on it right now through Team Connections.  Anyway, here are nine tips on work-life balance from Linked2Leadership.

I found a blog post about sales on a coaching site.  awesomesauce!  Tony Alessandra writes about Matching Your DiSC Selling Style to the Client’s DiSC Buying Style.

From the archives:  Barry Schwartz digs into a common meme for Western society: more freedom of choice is better. For psychologist Schwartz, choice has paralyzed us and made us less happy.

Click this link if the video isn’t showing: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice?

Read More

Why Work at Self-Improvement?

Playing at workUnless your goal is to gain 100 pounds and become a couch potato, self-improvement is probably a good thing for your future.  The real question is not whether you should create change in your life, but what you should call the process of creating change in your life:  Should you call it work or should you call it play?

The word “work” creates a mindset that isn’t always the most productive.  Say, for example, you want to be more productive on the phone; you want to make more calls and close more sales.  When you call it work, you suck all of the energy out of the project.  Before you can start, you have to create a plan, set goals, block time for it, and make sure nothing is going to interrupt you.  You are fearful of failing and falling short of your goal, so your commitment isn’t whole-hearted.  Roughly two-thirds of American workers are not engaged in their work.  The same malaise may be affecting your commitment to work at self-improvement.

Now think about playing at self-improvement.  Let’s go back to our example of phone productivity.  Your commitment becomes one of jumping right in.  You check with others to see what they’ve been doing.  You want to try several options (time of day, number of dials before stopping, text before calls, etc.) to see what works.  You change from doing to learning.  Isn’t that what self-improvement is all about?  You want to learn a better way.  You are willing to risk more because you don’t care about failure.  You care about playing a better game the next time.

At the end of the day, when you play at improving, you are likely to get better results that when you work at it.  Isn’t that the name of the game?

Read More

Weekend Love, April Fourth

camoflage hugHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Four questions to make you go “hmmn.”  The title of Karyn Greenstreet’s article says it all: How Will You Know That You’re Successful, When You Don’t Know What It Looks Like?

At its simplest, coaching is about questions and answers.  Questions that make us think and answers that lead us forward.  Racheal Govender explains Why Coaching works.

Have anything in self-storage?  How about a piece of you?  David Emerald and Donna Zajonc, MCC write about Coming Out of Self Storage.

Best quotation of the week comes from Mark Sisson, “At its best, self-control doesn’t revolve around deprivation, denial or chastising but clarity, intention, and attunement.”  This powerful idea is explored in Self-Control: The Ultimate Exercise in Freedom.

Read More

Weekend Love, March Twenty-Eighth

camoflage hugHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Are you really trying hard?  Naomi Dunford wants you to really look at the playback when she writes, What if You tried Really Hard?

Read this if you’ve ever used the phrase “stay at home mom.”  Jenny Acuff writes about 2 reasons I hate the phrase “Just a Stay at Home Mom.”

When is the last time you asked about what is meaningful in life?  Marshall Goldsmith, considered one of the top thinkers in the world, talks about six things in his YouTube video.

Special for the Week:  Dewitt Jones has a mission to “Celebrate What’s Right with the World.”  As a photographer for National Geographic he has done that for years.  Here are three short (20 image) collections in pdf documents around three themes of sunrises, children, and pets.

Read More

Monday Morning Focus

Monday morning mindsetHow does Monday morning start differently from every other morning for you?

Are you already up to a full run? Contemplating the week? Moaning about all you have to get done before you get to the satisfying work?

Your answers say a lot about you and what’s really going to happen.  You have created your week.

Is it what you want?  The great news is that you get a do-over every Monday.  In fact, you get a new start whenever you want.

When Monday is in your head, you get to own every piece of it.  Everyday.

Friends, lovers, accountability partners and coaches are all people who can support you in remembering this.  Who will you turn to?

Read More

Weekend Love, March Seventh

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Coaches try to avoid giving advice, and sometimes that leaves you and your client feeling stalemated or helpless.  Here are Ten Little Tips to Boost Your Coaching Prowess.

Five Ways to become more Self Aware.  The title says it all.

Trust is one of the key pieces in building coaching and business relationships.  What do you do after you’ve messed it up?  Randy Conly offers 6 Steps to Rebuild Broken Trust.

What would your do-over look like?  Here’s what Joel Peterson says about what he’d do differently.

Read More

Weekend Love, February Twenty Eighth

Link loveHere are some of the great nuggets that I’ve found on the web recently.  Most will be a handful of links to tools or great content.  Occasionally I’ll include one from my “save” file that hits my mood.

Some of the best advice ever comes from Seth Godin this week when he talks about The Trolls Inside.

Does your elevator pitch stink?  Could you at least make yourself sound normal when you give it?  The HBR has some concrete advice for you in their article on Your Elevator Pitch Needs an Elevator Pitch.

My new favorite blogger is Frank Sonnenberg.  He writes about character, personal values, and personal responsibility.  He makes you want to slow down and absorb each word topic over a nice cup of coffee first thing in the morning.  Take this week’s offering called 13 Ways to Spot a Lie.

Think you are coaching?  Want to find out?  Dan McCarthy writes How Managers Can Become Awesome Coaches.  It’s a standalone article, but there are lots of links to other articles if a particular piece strikes your fancy.

Once you become a coach, who makes sure you are doing your job?  Who can help you do it better?  An emerging role, coaching supervisor, may be the answer for you. You can read about it in The Case for Coaching Supervision.

The visual that puts it all in perspective.  http://hereistoday.com/

Read More

Your Business Culture

business cultureWe often don’t focus ON the business because we are so busy working IN the business.  Don’t feel bad if this has happened to you.  It happens to all of entrepreneurs at one time or another.  You get those extra orders, a vendor creates problems, marketing isn’t working and on and on and on.  Eventually you are so busy putting out fires you aren’t thinking about anything other than fighting fires.

That’s precisely when you should call a TIME OUT to decide if this is the business you want to build.  What’s your business culture saying about your business?  Culture is the soul of your community.  Your culture is what lets you say, “we’re similar” to the people around you and “we’re different” from other cultures.  Culture is how you and your business are known.  Here are three important steps in focusing on your culture so that you are happy with your reputation.

First, notice what’s happening around you.  This is a good time to work with a coach.  A coach will support you in noticing how your actions affect those around you.  Write your observations so you don’t lose them.  Ask some key questions like:

  • What changed? Do you like it?
  • How is productivity affected?
  • What’s missing?
  • What still needs to go?

Second, cast your vision.  How can you best spread the word about your values, both internal and external, with your business?  A coach can help you clarify what’s important to you and how you can show that to other people.  Until you talk about your vision, people can only guess what’s important to you.  As you talk to your team (again and again), your vision will start to catch.  And while you can’t control those above you in the business, you can be assured they will notice what’s happening.

Third, repeat steps one and two.  You have created a focused approach.  Now go with it.  You are at the “aim, fire, re-aim, fire, re-aim, fire” stages.  A coach can support you in staying true to your vision and keep you accountable to the things that will help it stick.

Here’s your challenge:  take 30 minutes this week to step back and look AT your business.  Do you like what you see?  Does it stand for what you want it to represent?  Are you ready to get started?

Read More