3 Ways You Can Do More Than You Thought Possible By Setting Goals And Taking Action

 

Where Will Your Next Step Take You? - Photo Credit smswigart via Morguefile.com

Where Will Your Next Step Take You? – Photo Credit smswigart via Morguefile.com

If you read billboards, or advertising on public transport, you will already know this is your year to:

  • Meet someone amazing
  • Achieve your ambition
  • See the difference you make

No pressure then if your work or life goals are smaller in scale. How often does the big vision you have of a personal project stay in your head? Taking the first steps towards turning your mental vision into the real-world outcome you want can be hard.

If your vision is a bit more modest you could take inspiration from the historic achievement of Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgeson who scaled El Capitan this week. They have been working toward that outcome for years. Naturally they believe Teamwork and Persistence pay off in the end.

Here’s a link http://bit.ly/Inspiratonal_El_Capitan to the BBC coverage of the story. For me this is Kevin’s killer quote

He said the experience of scaling a peak by a route no one had taken before

“recalibrates your perception of what you can do and what’s possible”

3 Ways People Can Do More Than They Thought Possible

In the real world people get by with what they can achieve. With a little inspiration they can achieve more.

Understand the nature of the person whose problem you are trying to solve – I was on the receiving end of an email a while ago from someone with whom I was collaborating on a project.

Their email was a bit of a rant over several topics on the edge of our project. Luckily I read and remembered something from Dale Carnegie’s classic book How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Carnegie quotes what the founder of the car making company Henry Ford said about understanding others:

“If there is any one secret of success it lies in the ability to ‘get’ the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

With that thought as my inspiration I made time to make a phone call. I really listened to what my friend was saying. I understood that the rant was actually about fears that their voice was generally going unheard.

A phone call and some deep listening took the heat out of the situation. By understanding what was underneath the rant I was able to move the relationship forward. Good news for the project too, since there were no serious disagreements festering under the surface.

Practice to improve your skills – most people don’t have special powers. Initially we make do with our natural abilities. Then we grow. There are ways to work with what you have got to improve.

The late Arthur Ashe is someone I quote often. He was action oriented. The quote I will use in a goal-setting workshop later in January goes like this:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can”.

When was the last time everything was 100% perfect in your life? All of the elements are not perfect in the project I just mentioned. But they can be made to work together with some effort. Is waiting for the perfect moment keeping you from achieving more success?

Collaborate with others who can help you improve your performance

Henry Ford also believed that

“The accumulation of great fortunes calls for POWER and POWER is acquired through highly organised and intelligently directed specialist knowledge. But that knowledge does not necessarily have to be in the possession of the man who accumulates the fortune”.

In other words, you can spend time trying to be a specialist in several areas. Or you can offer your skills to a group of people who have other skills you can draw on. Who will you work with this week?

What Will You Do This Week To Redefine The Word ‘Possible’?

Hopefully you are inspired to start making a difference in your own life. The Pareto Principle suggests 80% of your results can come from just 20% of your efforts. It is surprising where small initial steps, in line with your values, can take you. What ‘impossible’ outcome will you achieve this month?

As I mentioned above, I will discuss these ideas with people coming to my goal setting workshop on 28 January – details here http://bit.ly/Set_Goals_Take_Action – so expect to hear more about the benefits of taking action over the coming weeks.

Meanwhile I would love to hear about what you are going to accomplish in 2015. Share your plans here in the comment section, on Twitter @RogerD_Said or have your say on LinkedIn if you would prefer.

Top 5 Tips If Your #Goal Is Job Hunting In Your 40s And 50s

Setting And Reviewing Goals Does Not Take Long

Taking Action To Set And Review Your Goal Does Not Take Long

How is January working out for you? Is your goal a New Job to go with the New Year? You are in good company as many people make a fresh start in the Winter.

What are the key elements in the strategy you have chosen? Will you be:

  • Letting people in your network know you are in the market for a new role?
  • Making time to research the types of organisations you would like to work for?
  • Reviewing which of your skills need to be refreshed?

All of these elements could form part of a positive strategy. For women and men with 20 to 30 years’ experience in the workplace a few extra elements might be useful too.

Older Wiser More Experienced

If you have spent a generation at work you will be in your 40s or 50s. Was your focus achieving results and raising your family? If so you are older, wiser and more experienced.

You are now competing with people in their 20s and 30s. That means you may need extra support to find a workable strategy. Should that be the case, help is at hand.

Your Top 5 Tips

The Guardian newspaper recently asked experts to answer questions from readers about searching for jobs. Here is the link http://bit.ly/Job_You_Love to that conversation. There is some good thinking on offer and the whole discussion is worth a read. If you just want some pointers please see the bullets below.

I asked their panel of experts for advice specific to people in their 40s and 50s. Here are 5 Tips from their comments (what would you add to the list?):

  • “Someone in their 40’s and 50’s can bring a wealth of experience – the important thing is to make sure that your CV highlights that which is most recent and relevant to the job you are applying for. You can summarise earlier experience in a few lines or a short paragraph and give the space to bullet pointed achievements where you have added value to your organisation”.

 

  • “Make sure you show technology savvy, your success in working as a team member, and that the language used in your CV is current”.

 

  • “Don’t use job descriptions on your work experience, use bulleted lists. This will help your experience stand out”.

 

  • “The last 10 years in detail is probably sufficient, with an “Earlier Career History” section (without dates) for the earlier stuff”.

 

  • “Make sure you are present at the key social networks for job search, i.e. LinkedIn, Twitter with updated professional profile”.

 

How Will You Make Use Of This Information?

I hope this information adds value to your search for work that you love.

Feel free to share this information with others who would find it helpful. You can comment here – on Twitter @rogerd_said – on Facebook or continue the conversation on LinkedIn.

Do You Behave Differently When Your #Boss Is In The Room?

Team Leader's Desk

How Does Your Boss Make You Feel?

My recent post on 3 steps to a happier Christmas and a more authentic new year mentioned that some Good Girls or Nice Guys act in a way that feels false, to please their boss.

That struck a chord with a few of you, so I wanted to share some fresh thinking from academics and ask you a question about how you have managed the tricky relationship with a difficult boss.

How Authentic Are You When Your Boss Is Around?

The idea of inauthentic behaviour at work got me thinking about recent items in the Harvard Business Review, which has published a couple of great insights recently on improving the Boss – Employee relationship.

Liane Davey posted this article which is worth a read, as it suggests ways you can take action and feel more authentic when you help your boss respond more positively to you.

Charalambos Vlachoutsicos previously suggested that some people in the leader / boss role are simply don’t understand that their conduct can seriously damage employee engagement and productivity. He suggested Bosses who want to improve their leadership style need to keep a change diary

Most Bosses Are Positive About Leading Others

Thankfully most bosses (even if they have the odd bad day) are basically able to learn, change and grow. They know that they support the development of their junior colleagues by being a better version of themselves.

As a plus, the skilled, assertive and confident employee can help their boss grow by asking for support and offering options to show how engaged they are.

What Options Do You Have If Your Boss Is Negative?

Having said that, in my experience – as a team member and as a coach – I know there are a few people who are not suited to leading others. That isn’t anyone’s fault, it is just sad that their own issues adversely affect the way they treat subordinates. Their influence is toxic.

Who wants to be micro-managed, subject to sarcasm, or receive the impatient eye rolling treatment as they try to speak to their boss?

If an employee has a choice of working for someone like that they face a choice:

  • Try to tough it out, with the long-term consequences on their levels of engagement, productivity and self-esteem
  • Find another team to work in, where the leadership is supportive and they have the scope to engage, produce great results and to flourish.

How Have You Successfully Managed A Difficult Relationship With Your Boss?

Most people never have to act out their strategy for dealing with a difficult boss (or even form a strategy in the first place).

If you have taken action to help yourself what did you do? How did it work out? What did you learn?

Please use the Comment section to share your experience, or keep the conversation going on Twitter @RogerD_Said . Have your say (or just look around) On Facebook and Google+ too.

If you prefer you can use LinkedIn to View Roger Dennison’s profile

3 Steps To A Happier Christmas And A More Authentic New Year

Statue with head in hand

Christmas Needn’t Be A Headache

It’s less than a month away, but the Christmas To Do lists are already getting longer.

Have you ended up – again – with the Christmas Project role of organising the office meal / after work party / big family get together? You got bounced into your extra duties didn’t you?

Not to worry, we’ve all been there.

If you want to, you can change others’ perception of you as the go-to Good Girl / Nice Guy who makes everyone else’s life easier. There is scope to turn the head-in-hands sinking feeling of organising diaries / menus / Secret Santa into a positive task. One you are authentically able to deliver well, in a way that uses the support of the people around you.

What Is The Impact Of Not Asserting Yourself?

Remember, if you are grinning through gritted teeth there may be a consequence in strained nerves in later in December. The UK’s National Health Service even talks about the impact of Christmas on Divorce rates in January  It is better to assert yourself to help ensure you get more of what you want in the coming weeks.

Ready To Try A Little Assertion For Christmas?

This can seem a difficult step to take if you are not used to politely, but consistently, stating what you want from a situation. However it is a necessary step if you want to feel more authentically tuned in to your own agenda next year (i.e. able to choose what you want to do next, rather than feel you have to please others time and again at the cost of moving forward towards your own goals).

Your First Step

A first step to managing your stress levels is establishing your boundaries. Make it clear you are not taking this challenge forward on your own. Identify the development needs which can be met across the team if others’ time is freed up for specific tasks which will add to their skill set and get the Christmas project delivered on time.

Once you have your allies do the best you can with the support that is available to you and document the process for the benefit of whoever does the role next time (there are 3 further steps below)

Here Are Your Next 3 Good Practice Steps

If you do nothing else a bit of informal Christmas project planning helps you manage the various parts of your December life better and help others’ see you as more than the go-to person in their life:

  • Capture everything you need to achieve on your Christmas project plan, including the fun tasks (so that you can see the progress being made towards your outcome, which combats the sense of overwhelm)
  • Delegate as much as you can to your partner / family members / colleagues (so everyone can play their part using their skills and building new ones)
  • Schedule plenty of ‘you’ time (so you can unplug from the craziness for a while)

How Will You Use And Share This Information?

If this post has been helpful please feel free to use the Comment section to add your secrets to thriving at Christmas, so others can benefit from them. You can share your ideas on Twitter too @RogerD_Said so the conversation helps more stressed Christmas planners.

#GEW – What’s Your Secret To Confident Public Speaking?

Speakers At The 2014 Work & Family Show

What Is Your Secret To Public Speaking?

Are you getting connected with the no-cost and low-cost events in the UK during Global Entrepreneurship Week ?

Hopefully your goal is to sample some of the Networking Sessions; Webinars and Presentations scheduled from now until 23 November. You will definitely be able to hear some inspiring ideas from some talented speakers in the next few days.

Any one of those learning opportunities might be the right one to give you clarity. They will help you see past the fog of options that you might pursue and focus on your next development goal.

What’s The Secret To Confident Public Speaking?

Have you ever wondered how some speakers seem to effortlessly get their points across?

Whether you are in the UK, US, the EU, or further afield I think the speakers you listen to will have 3 points in mind as they clear their throats and start speaking. They will be mindful of the need to:

  • Focus on meeting the information needs of you, the audience member
  • Present their message in a simple and straight forward way
  • Give you a summary and a call to action before they finish speaking

How Do These 3 Strategies Help Speakers Get Their Message Across?

  • Addressing the audience on their terms means the content is relevant and accessible, rather than too academic
  • Simplicity means you are more likely to remember the key message or stat the speaker referenced
  • Summarising the content underlines its importance and signals that there is more information on the key topic than the presentation could contain

These 3 strategies also naturally lead you and the rest of the audience to read an article online, subscribe to a Newsletter, or book onto a follow-up session if that is the final point the speaker mentions.

How Will You Share The Information You Gain During #GEW ?

Feel free to comment below – or on Twitter @RogerD_Said – on the learning you have undertaken and how you will apply inside or outside work. I’ll be sharing my GEW takeaways here and across social media during the week. Why not join the conversation?

 

Goals 2014: 5 Ways To Make The Most Of Your #MidYearReview

What Makes Your Mid-Year Review A Positive Experience?

What Makes Your Mid-Year Review A Positive Experience?

If your staff report year began in April your mid ear review is due about now. You and your Supervisor / Team Leader / Manager will be preparing for a conversation which will cover: your performance against your goals; the competencies you are using and those you can develop; plus support you can tap into from coaches, mentors or formal training providers.

If you are a UK civil servant this process might raise wider issues, some of which are discussed in a feature on morale this week in the Guardian newspaper   The article is worth a read if you have an interest in staff engagement, or the delivery of public services.

5 Ways To Get The Best Out Of Your Mid-Year Review

Whether you are working in the private, or public sector your review is your chance to share the evidence of your good work so far this year with your Supervisor.

If you are a Supervisor chairing the session it is your chance to have an empathic conversation, which uses evidence to highlight the good work your junior colleague has produced. You can propose any development areas that need attention and leave the session on a positive note overall.

The Review is also the spring board to the second part of the year. You can create momentum from this session. Enough momentum to carry you toward whatever achievements you want under your belt by next Spring.

Here are your 5 pointers to make the most of your mid-year review

  • Bring your evidence (customer feedback; stats showing what you have accomplished; learning log highlights).
  • Listen intently to what is being said, so you can note down positive and interesting feedback.
  • Check you understand any adverse feedback and ask for evidence where necessary.
  • Clarify next steps and timings at, or shortly after, the review (especially if you have to follow a timetable to record your difference of opinion over something which has been said).
  • Create a development goal, in line with your values, which you can work on this month. Make sure it also moves you forward towards a personal goal. This will give you an immediate lift, should you need one and give you confidence you can use at work too.

What are your favourite strategies to make sure you conduct effective reviews with your staff? What factors tell you that your Supervisor has made your review a positive experience? Share your thoughts in the Comment section below, or send me a tweet @RogerD_Said

Feel Free To Share This Post

If you found this post useful please share it with your friends and suggest what other subjects you would like to see featured here.

Goals 2014: How To Be #Mindful And Confident Before Tackling A Change #Goal

Tai Chi Exercise

What New Challenge Will You Take This Week? Picture credit The Tai Chi Club on Morguefile

I’ve recently been posting on LinkedIn and elsewhere about the feel-good benefits of taking action. Action can mean getting an enterprise of the ground, or encouraging others to make effective use of your time

If you follow the links you will see the context for those posts is making the most of yourself in the world of work. However, in the real world work and life co-exist. Making any kind of change in one part of your life opens up the possibility of a positive outcome in the other.

Starting an exciting new work project adds spice to your social life. Getting people to respect your time at work increases your confidence generally. Having a reserve of confidence to draw on helps you prepare, step forward and change.

How Do You Know That You Are Ready To Change?

Being mindful about your inner state and your readiness to change something significant in your life involves knowing what is in both your head and your heart. Procrastinating about change goals is understandable Taking action on a change goal involves accepting the discomfort you will experience.

Starting a social or commercial enterprise involves making connections; sharing your ideas; overcoming problems; being resilient. It is not a head-based issue. Your heart is involved too. The big question is: How does the idea of changing your situation make you feel? What small, but important, step can you take to increase your confidence levels?

What’s Confidence Got To Do With It?

Like I said you need a reserve of confidence to call on to help you picture your success. You won’t take the first step and plan – let alone undertake – effective action without it. Some people are too low on reserves of confidence to make the first step. Their life goals are low priority items. Their goals lie low on the list, behind the day to day pressures of an agenda topped by paying the bills.

If those pressures persist for long enough they can contribute to health problems. Those problems can escalate to an extent that they become mental health issues (according to the Mental Health Foundation 1 in 4 of us will have a problem like this in the course of the year)

Tackling Mental Health

Great then to see that Sport England is directing £2m ($3.2m or 2.5m Euros) into improving the lives of people with mental health problems.

Their project director (a former boss of mine) Mike Diaper says:

There is compelling evidence that participation in sport and physical activity has a positive influence on mental wellbeing and mental illness. This includes enhancing day-to-day moods, reducing the impact of stress and enhancing self-esteem”.

Obviously there is a long way between under-confidence and serious health conditions like anxiety. I’m just glad some work is being done on these debilitating issues.

How Do You Ensure You Are Taking Good Care of Your Health?

What’s your secret for remaining healthy under the pressure of your personal and working life? If you are preparing to make a major change in your life how do you build up your energy reserves?

  • Is it by ensuring you eat healthily and sleep well?
  • Do you make time for your weekly mind and body work out of Tai Chi?
  • Is your main priority relaxing with your family over the weekend?

Share Your Secrets To Getting Stuff Done

In the pressured world in which we live it is good to know how people maintain their day to day balance. If you are ok sharing your story please add a comment below. You can continue the conversation on Twitter @RogerD_Said too.

Goals 2014: How To Keep From Being A Victim Of A #BadBoss

Can You Spot The Bad Boss? Picture credit seemann at Morguefile

Can You Spot The Bad Boss? Picture credit seemann at Morguefile

Is your leadership making your colleagues sick? Probably not, if you are reading a web post about how to improve your performance. That means concepts like ‘authenticity’ and ‘values’ ring bells with you. Your goals are based in empathy. Your colleagues will be grateful for that.

Having an authentic set of core values means you communicate in a consistent way with your team and clients. You don’t fake it. Your actions show you treat others as you would be treated yourself. Maybe you can influence a Bad Boss you know to help raise productivity, by treating his / her colleagues better?

What Does It Feel Like To Have A Bad Boss?

Years back I experienced BBS (Bad Boss Syndrome) courtesy of a supervisor who used sarcasm, blame shifting and setting team members against one another as a management strategy.

Working for that colleague made Friday evenings a time to celebrate. It also made Sunday evenings a time for regret. I wasn’t the only team member whose job-satisfaction and productivity dropped. Morale wasn’t a metric that interested the Boss. Luckily I was able to move to another job when a reorganisation took place. Some people, sadly, get stuck in situations like this.

How Do You Keep From Being A Victim Of Bad Bosses?

Stay rested; Stay connected to your network; stay optimistic. A good night’s sleep helps maintain your energy levels. Your professional network helps you maintain perspective about your situation. Optimism reminds you that you are located in a situation caused by your Boss, not by you.

I just read about some workplace research in the Washington Post that describes the symptoms caused by the bad boss. I also found an item posted on LinkedIn outlining possible ways to manage the feelings caused by BBS. Good to know that if your boss could be making you sick there is light at the end of the tunnel, since you can learn How successful people handle toxic people . Both articles are worth a few minutes of your time.

Which Questions Help You Start To Combat BBS?

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself if the symptoms of BBS are starting to ring bells with you:

  • How do you wish to be treated by your supervisor in the workplace (if you are a supervisor how do colleagues rate your style)?
  • What is the effect on your productivity of the treatment you receive right now?
  • What action will you take this week to improve the treatment you receive and to become more productive?

Want To Share Your Story With Others?

I’d be very interested to know what actions people have taken, in the past, to improve their situation where their supervisor was harming their productivity. Feel free to share your stories in the comment section, or on Twitter @RogerD_Said

Goals 2014: How Will You Keep Developing Your #Leadership Skills Next Week?

What Connections Do Leaders And Managers Inspire?

What Connections Do Leaders And Managers Inspire?

Are you content to leave tackling your leadership goals until the New Year? Or are you ready to spend 5 minutes today planning your next step towards self-development?

What Happens When Leaders Build On Their Strengths?

If you are motivated to take action to achieve improvement here are some interesting trends from a US study of leaders’ self-improvement results:

  • Leaders can measure their performance gains, when they take action on the goal of developing their strengths.

 

  • More than 70% of those leaders who focused on building strengths felt they had improved their overall effectiveness

 

  • Nearly 60% of those strength builders feeling their improvement positively impacted their organisation

The article from which I’ve taken these data was written by Behavioural Statistician Joseph Folkman and is published online by Forbes magazine.

What More Could Leaders Do?

I think it would also be valuable to see how the people who directly report to those leaders view the ‘After’ picture. Also other stakeholders might have valuable views on what the leader’s post-improvement results look like. Do those groups feel more connected to their leadership figure after they have developed, compared to before the change occurred?

The biggest ask would involve leaders applying themselves consistently to the areas in which they are not strong. After all, it is relatively straightforward to take action to build on your strengths. Taking these actions involves going with the flow and doing the things that feel nice and rewarding.

How Challenging Is It To Go Against The Flow?

The real challenge – which involves working against the flow – means acting on goals which involve deep, authentic, growth work. These are the areas where resistance is strongest. These areas touch deep seated fears and are the ones where the knot in the gut usually gets in the way.

That hard work pays off, over time. There are real rewards in overcoming that resistance. Rewards for self, colleagues, and clients. There is a sweetness to those development gains too.

What Does A Mix Of Goals Look Like?

It is a challenge to go full on after hard to reach self-development gains. I remember one of my coaching clients felt much better tackling a mix of goals when she decided where she wanted to be in 12 months, then:

  • Focused on developing her empathic skills (to serve her colleagues and clients better meantimes)

and

  • Prioritised being more assertive (so that she could have a more effective working relationship with her supervisor during her personal development phase).

She was understandably pleased with the results she achieved, over time, by combining straightforward and hard to reach goals.

Which Strength Building and Challenge Goals Will You Act On?

Please use the Comment section here to share your stories of pursuing your goals. Let your colleagues and friends know that goal setting isn’t time consuming and that effective support makes the difference, whether you are in the US, UK, EU or further afield.  Your success will inspire plenty of people who need a nudge to get going.

(Tweet me @RogerD_Said and I will continue the conversation there too).

Goals 2014: 3 Ideas To Help You Stand Out In Your #JobSearch

It is that time of year.  Your goals set last January have been accomplished.  Your summer break is a fading memory and you are back into the familiar rhythm of the working week.  Hopefully you are ready to take decisive action, rather than staring out of the window at the leaves changing colour.

Your Top 3 Job Search Suggestions

If you are looking to change of your job role, or place of work you might find you need to polish up your CV / Resume and covering letter.  The information in the Tweeted link helps you do just that.

Basically the Guardian’s Job Goddess suggests that jobseekers should remember to:

  • Start their letter by talking about the fit between their experience, their skills and the role for which they are applying
  • Specify how much impact they have had in similar roles (How many customers did they have? How much revenue did they generate?)
  • Demonstrate their continuous learning strategy by mentioning what recent qualifications or experience they have gained.

Who Will You Share These Suggestions With?

If this isn’t the right time for you to be moving on who do you know who would benefit from this information?  How will you share it with them?  When are you going to do it?  I’m sure they will be grateful that you passed these ideas on.

Tweet your feedback to me @RogerD_Said or use the Comment section here.   I would love to know how these ideas help in practice.