Me! Me! Me!

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Firms are fighting for the same customer thereby giving the customer the upper hand.  Each company focuses on catering to the needs of their customers to a point that they provide customized services around the needs of their customers.   Take for example, McDonald’s has it your way, in which you can choose what you want, including super sizing it.  Isn’t it great that the company wants to meet my needs and customize their services to match them?  That’s awesome!   It creates a society focusing too much on individual needs, which results in people thinking that is it is all about me.

The ME-focused society has created a challenge in which people tend to want to do things for the sake of getting the credit.   The need to be rewarded every single time is not realistic, because it creates a shift in focus from team to individual.   Who has not worked with someone who wants to be front and center and take call the credit?   They might have worked alongside everyone, but when it is time to get the credit they are in front of everyone.   Right, wrong, or indifferent, most projects are a team sport.  You need a group of people to work together to get the job done. Therefore when providing recognition, you focus on the team first.

How do we make sure the team gets the credit?

  • Highlight the delivery and what value it brings either to the organization or clients.
  • List all the names of all people who participated in the project.
  • Specify any special process or innovation that we put in place to make the solution better
  • Last but not least, unless someone has done a special job, stay focused on the team effort and commitment

At work, celebrate your people’s uniqueness, but focus on the over-arching goal and how the team accomplished such goal.   State the collective wisdom that helped accomplish the goal.   Highlight innovation and game-changing decisions that help differentiate your company.  Individuality is great, but in a team sport of having many people working on your project, you need to make sure the team feels recognized and appreciated.

Leaders Who Listen

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Take a moment and think of a leader you admire. Focus on how he/she interacts with their audience.

Does the leader listen and provide undivided attention? Or, does the leader at times cut off the other person in the middle of conversation?

Not to take any sides in politics, but former President Bill Clinton has the gift of captivating the attention of the person he is talking to by looking at the person intently like no one else is around them. By doing this, he makes the person feel special.

As Stephen Covey says, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” I personally have done this many times; I listened to respond, instead of listening to learn. As I became aware of my mistakes, I put an effort to listen carefully. At that point, I learned that I was indeed listening, but not understanding, when I experienced that I failed to remember some of the points that were discussed.

I decided to understand the different barriers to listening to help me avoid them: distractions, for example, such as anyone doing something and making noises; emotions that affect effectiveness; inattentiveness; and lack of clarity. By understanding these barriers, I’m able to focus.

A leader listens to receive, retain, process and translate the message. You’ll notice that great leaders are good listeners because they are not afraid to repeat what they heard to ask for confirmation. They also look into non-communication forms like facial expressions, gestures, and body language to get a complete picture.

How Does A Leader Demonstrate Effective Listening?

A leader:

  1. Always maintains eye contact (most important).
  2. Uses body language to demonstrate that he/she understands what is being communicated by nodding.
  3. Asking questions to clarify the points.
  4. Repeating the message to receive confirmation.

To be a good leader, one must master the art of listening. By developing this skill, over time you’ll slowly head in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts on my post. Do you agree? If you don’t, please share your thoughts.

Tell me about a time when listening impacted you!

Leadership in Action

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Coworkers discussing a fileI find it interesting seeing people wanting to be leaders like it is the first-place position in a race.  Each one is vying for that coveted position to be able to lead and tell people what to do. A position that has an aura of power and authority that is bestowed upon them, that enables them to give commands that their people have to follow and carry out.

Such demonstration of intense focus to gain power is akin to purchasing a house, thinking that once the house is purchased it is the end of the journey. But that is far from the truth. While the initial act of purchasing a house requires a huge financial outlay, the work that comes after that is even bigger and more demanding.

After the purchase one has to tend to the needs of maintaining a property, like mowing the lawn, cleaning the gutters, trimming the bushes, planting and caring for the plants, raking leaves, shoveling the driveway during winters and the overall upkeep of the house inside and out. All the ensuing activities are often not clear until the purchase is completed because the intense focus of acquiring it shifts the focus to the house itself.

As John C Maxwell said, “Leadership is action, not a position.”

Most folks fail to realize that there is a lot required of them after they arrive at the destination and are given the opportunity to lead others. They have to serve their constituents; they need to spend a great deal of time and managing people is not easy. As a result, they fail at it because they don’t have a clear picture of what they need to do.

Therefore it is important for leaders to educate their constituents about the work that is ahead of the folks who desire to be leaders. Just like purchasing a house, the single act pales in comparison to the commitment you need to dedicate time to serve and lead others. Until you realize the effort needed and learn what lies ahead, it is best to take the time in your journey to equip yourself with the necessary skills and knowledge to make it happen.

I make it a point to mentor my people of the importance of the work that lies ahead and the commitment that is needed to get there.

John C. Maxwell said that as we move up, we have to give up and do more time with and for our people. Unless one realizes the work needed ahead, they will certainly fail in leading their people. If you’re willing to sacrifice your time and develop people, that is when you should contemplate being a leader.

One must develop the heart of serving others and growing talent around them. It is the best gift they can give to their constituents to help them grow and develop.

Writing is a labor of love, if you agree with my post let me know your thoughts. If you disagree, let me know your perspective, I look forward to learning from you.

What are your thoughts regarding the demands of leadership?

Marginalize through specialization

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Rocks

It is that time of the year where most people work on their New Year’s resolution.   At the same time, people who work for companies also anticipate their performance review discussion to know how their managers think they do during the year.   This is a perfect time to review your three-year plan and assess how you’ve perform in the prior year.   What three year plan? Most people are so focused on getting their job done that they fail to plan for themselves.   In the absence of a plan, you are working on someone else’s plan.

While some people find their way in their career, at times in a roundabout way, it is best to have a plan. A plan that guides you and states what needs to be accomplished and when it needs to be done, the sequence, and has measurable action items to assess how you’re doing.   As you create your plan, what do you want to be in 5 years? Map out what is it you’re passionate about. What energizes you every day? Create a plan accompanied by a timeline that states when you need to do what.

Once a plan is created, you need to step back for a few days and let it sit for a couple of days. Why? To let yourself reassess whether what you wrote is indeed what you want.   This is important because it allows you to think through your dream and passion and how to best apply it. As you analyze your plan, check if you are focusing too much on a narrow segment of a particular field. Why is this important to assess your focus?   You could very well be moving yourself into a corner. The problem is you might be too specialized, which might pay dividends in the near term, but because it is too specialized, when the market trend changes, you might be left behind.   You can move yourself to the corner of specialization, but make sure you’re facing outside and observing what the next trend that you need to embrace is.

Specialization is a good thing, because companies pay top dollar for specialized skills, but over specialization without a plan can caused you to be out of date in a few years. It is imperative that you maintain your specialization while being on the lookout as to what is upcoming and determine the merit to upgrade your skills. I’ve worked with people who specialized and stayed with the same technology until one day that technology was no longer used, at which point they were not programed to learn and had a tough time learning new things.

If you don’t have a plan, create one today.   If you have a plan, review and update it. Make sure that you’re not over specializing to the point your skill will be obsolete. Remember that if you’re not learning and developing, you’re falling behind.   Unless you’re three to five years from retiring, you really need to brush up your skills.

Let me know what you think of my post. Share with your friends or let me know your thought. I can always learn from you. Have a great day!

 

 

5 Ways to Overcome Common Reinvention Obstacles

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I’m excited to have another guest post on my site. For most folks, we change careers at some point during our journey.   Without someone to guide us, this journey will be filled with trials and errors.   Let me introduce Hollis Thomases. She is founder of ReinventionWorks and creator of Mega Reinvention 2016, the preeminent online confab for career transformation. She’s passionate about helping people find their next future. Connect with her on Twitter @hollisthomases

RW_5 Ways to

 

I view reinvention as intention change; as deliberately pivoting away from something you know towards an unfamiliar path. I’ve reinvented myself professionally at least twice before (three times if you count the almost instantaneous pivot I had to do after my last career reinvention), and I’ve reinvented my life significantly at least once. I’m no stranger to reinvention obstacles, and I don’t shy away from them. It’s not that I love jumping hurdles, but I know well enough by now that if you plan to reinvent, you have to accept upfront that obstacles will be part of your reinvention process.

 

The reinvention journey – the path you will follow in order to transform your future – might be one of the most arduous things you deliberately choose to undertake. You will experience joy, liberation, fear, discomfort, and many, many decision trees. It’s why reinvention stories make for such great stories and movies.

 

The obstacles that will be thrown in your way vary from person to person and situation to situation, and therefore we can’t necessarily predict and prepare for them. There are some things that you can do, however, to help you overcome these obstacles.

 

  1. Get your self-reflection on. The reinvention process will force you into self-reflection, of this I am certain. Many people, however, are uncomfortable being self-reflective. Your mind may be a walled garden you have intentionally ignored for many years to protect yourself from feelings and emotions you’ve been unprepared to handle. I will tell you that now is the time to reckon yourself to this discomfort, to embrace it, and to start early. The sooner you become familiar with your sources of discomfort and the areas in which you feel weak, the better off you’ll be able to also conquer your other reinvention hurdles.

 

  1. Muster your courage. Just as you might need to talk yourself into doing something to confront an everyday fear – from taking a perilous roller coaster ride to boarding a plane to fly – you need to fortify yourself for your reinvention journey. Change is already a scary proposition for most people, but intentionally changing away from the known into the unknown can either be terrifying or exhilarating…or a little bit of both. Why not think of your reinvention journey as one big “excellent adventure,” so you’re thinking of working up your courage for something fun?!

 

  1. Tap into your creativity. Sometimes reinvention feels like one big complicated algebraic word problem (remember those? Ugh!). There’s just one problem to solve after the next after the next. Your reinvention journey will require ingenuity, creativity, and old-fashioned street smarts to get you over, through, or around the next hurdle. To unleash that power, do the kinds of things that let you free your mind and find answers (or at least the path to the answer). That might be taking a walk or taking a nap. It might be reading a good mystery novel or doodling on a pad of paper. It might be cooking a gourmet meal, or it might be lifting weights. Whatever “that” thing is for you, just do it…and do it a lot.

 

  1. Be adaptable. If “the only constant is change,” then, by its sheer nature, the reinvention process invites steadily constant change. Just when you think you may have figured something out, you’ll realize you have it wrong. There’s generally a lesson in what you got wrong, so use that lesson and adjust course. A sailor at sea cannot control the wind, so when the wind changes direction, she must adjust her sails. And when the wind dies altogether, there are motors, oars, and currents to take advantage of. Doing nothing for very long, however, isn’t a viable option.

 

  1. Seek support. No one reinvents alone. Time and again, Reinventionists talk about the support they received that allowed them to see themselves through to the end of their journey. That support comes from different places: spouses, family, friends, community groups, resource centers – even perfect strangers. When you’re reinventing, you cannot be bashful. You’ve got to get out there, let people help you, and better still, ask for help.

 

If you’re in need of help, I encourage you to check out Mega Reinvention 2016, the 100% online video conference coming this January. Its curriculum of 25+ sessions, spread out throughout the month (1/2 – 1/31/16), was designed to touch on all of these obstacles of career reinvention, particularly for people in the middle of their careers.

 

Will 2016 finally be the year of your reinvention??

Developing Confidence

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I’ll begin with this quote from Eleanor Roosevelt: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

It is a great quote which reminds us that without our acknowledgement no one can put us down. However, it is easier said than done.

Confidence, although it sounds simple, is not simple at all. It is complex and it is not biased. Many people from all walks of life suffer from lack of it. Some find their way while others continue this lonely journey until the end.

Many folks go through life failing to realize their potential because they lack confidence. These people are not dumb or inept; they are bright and have achieved great marks in their academic pursuit. However, confidence is still lacking. Why?

Confidence is something that is shaped by your environment. The people you’re around and those who influence you. It is also attributed to life events and things that occurred in your life.

Growing up, I had my fair share of suffering lack of self-confidence. In my situation, it was the people close to me who affected me the most. I was not the brightest or the smartest amongst the children of my parents. The strong emphasis on academic achievement was the key measure used by my parents.

I was told repeatedly that I wasn’t smart like my siblings, that I would not be able to accomplish things in life and that my future would be bleak. People around us, including teachers, often made comparisons that I wasn’t as good as my siblings. It did not help at all. People’s perception becomes your reality when things seem to be falling into place which further reaffirm everyone’s perception. It took me many years to snap out of it.

How Do You Develop Confidence?

    • Loving Yourself – Acknowledging that you have a unique talent and abilities, that you exist in this world for a specific reason. Seek to find that meaning and be at peace with it. It is a journey and the more you do the more you get to know yourself. It is like peeling an onion; each layer enables you to know more about yourself.
    • Believing In Yourself – We are all born with unique gifts and talents. No one knows you better than yourself. Remember when you say you can’t, you’re really not able to do it. It is worth noting that world records are not created because people who said I can’t.
    • Take Stock, Start Small, Go One By One – Take Stock of things you cannot do. Then start small and tackle one of them. According to William Jennings Bryan, “The way to develop self-confidence is to do the thing you fear and get a record of successful experiences behind you.” This is exactly what I did. Now, instead of thinking “I cannot do it,” I go ahead and do it and challenge myself. If I used to study three hours, I add one more hour and examine the outcome. If I can’t learn it one way, I ask someone for help and offer to help them too. Little by little you start to develop the competency and strength to improve your self-confidence.
    • Don’t Wait – Do It Now – Don’t wait until everything is just right to start. It will never be perfect and the more you wait the more you’ll fall deeper in the hole of lack of confidence. Remember, building something requires you to start somewhere. Do it now even though you’re afraid. Remember that for each positive outcome, you’ll develop confidence. No matter what happens, life always has challenges and obstacles.
    • List Your Strengths & Weaknesses – Continue to showcase your strengths and create an action plan on how you will address each of your weaknesses. By turning weaknesses around, you’ll begin to feel better about yourself. Remember that preparation is your friend. Waiting and doing nothing is your enemy.
    • Stop Feeling Sorry For Yourself – There is clearly nothing accomplished by feeling sorry for yourself. You start feeling sorry for yourself, hours and even days elapse; nothing changes and you’re still in the same situation. Therefore, what is the benefit of spending your precious energy in an unproductive exercise? Pick yourself up and dust things off and get back on the saddle. You can do it only if you do something about it.
    • Ask For Help – We are not alone in this world, although we might feel that way sometimes. Ask for help, seek guidance and don’t do it alone.
    • Celebrate Each Small Win – Learn to recognize that a big accomplishment consists of daily habit and practice. Therefore learn to enjoy your accomplishments and uplift your spirit.

I’ll close with this:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be yourself and overcome the fear of what people will say about you, because chances are they are not paying attention to you. Do not cloud your mind with worry when you can spend the same amount of energy making yourself better and achieving things you otherwise thought you could not accomplish.

In the end, when we conquer our fears, we will come out of our cocoon ready to tackle the world. Writing is a labor of love, share this to your friends who you think need a pick me up and a catalyst to jumpstart themselves.

No. 1 – Burning Desire with Definite Plan

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I’m an avid golf fan and during Tiger Woods prime years 2002-2008, I was amazed by his discipline, training and mental toughness that enabled him to stay on top for a long time. He revolutionized golf by incorporating physical training as a big part of it. Before Tiger joined the PGA, it was not common to see chiseled men playing golf, in fact it was the opposite, big men with protruding bellies playing golf. Tiger had three major impacts on golf: 1) Integration of fitness as a daily regime, 2) Increase in prize money, and lastly 3) Increase in fan base, as more young people started to think that golf is cool.

When Tiger was young, he set a goal that he wanted to surpass Jack Nicklaus’ 18 majors. He still has a long way to go, having won 14 by age 40, but he has won more tournaments than any active golfers out there. Back then, setting that goal and articulating it was a bold statement. Many people might have wondered who he was and if he could be out of his mind. Because he has a burning desire and a definite plan to succeed, coupled with the fact that he surrounded himself with people that were there to help him along the way, he was able to make progress and make an impact in the sport he loved.

On September 20th, 2015, Jason Day supplanted Rory McIlroy as World No. 1 golfer. Jason Day started golf at 13, which is too late for modern golf standards when kids are starting at 2, 4 or 6 years old. Tiger Woods was his idol. When he was 20 years old, he talked about his desire to overtake Tiger Woods. In 2007, Tiger was at his prime. Because of Jason’s statement, he suffered some backlash when people questioned his capability to achieve such lofty goal. He spoke to his coach and asked what he said that was wrong. Jason was really upset.

What people don’t know is that Jason’s burning desire is intense to be the world’s number-one golfer. He also had a definite plan. He surrounded himself with people like long-time coach and caddie Colin Swatton. His plan consisted of four categories: technical, tactical, physical and mental. Mental was the last stage. This year he had a couple of close calls at Saint Andrews. Over the last three months, he finally gained mastery of the mental aspect of his game and that started a series of wins, including the PGA and subsequently two Fedex cup tournaments by a large margin. The plan called for being number one at age 22, however he made it at 27. What’s the lesson to be learned?

  1. Do not deviate from your plan – if you’re making progress. It might take a long time to get there, but each step is part of the overall journey.
  2. Continue to believe in yourself – no one knows you better than you do, so if you believe you can do it, prove everyone wrong and make it happen.
  3. Don’t be afraid – declare your plan and challenge yourself to get it done. When people know your plan, you have nowhere else to go, but prove to them that you can get it done.
  4. The right people – choose the right people to be on your team who have your best interest at heart. Do not let other people use you. Make sure you trust your people to have your best interest at heart.
  5. Patience – we all want to achieve our dream yesterday. We can’t wait to make it happen, but it does not work that way. It will came when the time is right. You need to be persistent and make it happen.
  6. Winning mindset – you need to have a winning mindset. Yes, you cannot win them all, but you cannot go out there and play for the sake of playing. Just like my daughter’s golf Coach Jun Espiritu always said, “Practicing is not about hitting many balls. It’s about making the most of each shot. Imagine each ball is costing your dad 20 cents. Each time you hit the ball without going through your routine, it’s like throwing away 20 cents at a time. Are you willing to throw away your dad’s money?” Since then our driving range practice consists of 68 balls (medium bucket).

 

Everyone has dreams. The difference between those who make it and those who don’t is the burning desire and having a definite plan coupled with the discipline to make it happen. I find Napoleon Hill’s quote appropriate, “Success requires no explanations; failure requires no alibis.” When we dream and don’t do the work, we have no one else to look to for the result. As long as you work on your plan and be persistent, you will eventually achieve your goal. Throughout your journey, you will be tested. It depends on your courage and determination to see your dream through. Decide what is important to you and dig deep to make it happen.

To close, I’ll leave you with this saying by Napoleon Hill, “If you don’t conquer self, you will be conquered by self.” If you have no discipline, you will never achieve your dream, because your current habit will rule your life.