Without a Plan – Anywhere You End Up Will Do 4

It’s that time of year again when we sit down and map out where we’ve been – stroke off what we’ve accomplished – and look over our things to-do list and see what still needs to get done. What’s on your list? What are those kinds of things that you’d still like to accomplish over the next 6, 12 or 18 months? It’s time to stop making New Year’s Resolutions and start making plans instead. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so – life is a planned event. Without a plan – anywhere you end up will do.

Worth Remembering “Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of eliminating the non-essentials” – Chinese Proverb 

Goal Setting: Take a look at your list of things that you’d like to accomplish. Think carefully about what items on your list are most important to you. Which one – when accomplished – will bring you closer to where you’d like to end up? Which one would give you the best return on your time investment? Which one would bring you the most joy? Write it down on a piece of paper. Don’t generalize. Be specific. If you want to lose some weight – write down how much weight? If you want to save money – how much money do you want to save? If you want to switch careers – what would you rather be doing? A good goal starts with the end in mind and walks back to the here and now. When you write your goal down also write down a realistic timeline. Don’t set yourself up for failure. If you want to lose 40 pounds by June 1st. Mark June 1st. on your calendar. How many weeks are there between now and then? How many pounds do you need to lose per month? per week? per day? (Anyone can eat an elephant one bite at a time)

Worth Remembering … “Once the what has been decided the how will surely follow” – Author Unknown 

Planning: You’ve most likely heard it a thousand times or more before – “Fail to plan – plan to fail”. But it’s absolutely true! Committing yourself to a goal and then writing a plan to accomplish that goal – is the only way to demonstrate to yourself and others that you are serious about accomplishing what you’ve set out to do. Goals and planning go hand-in-hand. Once you have decided what it is you want to accomplish – all you have to do is write down all those things that need to fall into place to make it happen. If your goal is to lose 40 pounds – what steps do you need to take in order to accomplish that? You’ll need a meal plan, an exercise plan, perhaps you’ll need to join a support group or club. You’ll need to empty out your fridge and cupboards – throwing out all those things that will get in the way of you accomplishing what you’ve set out to do and replacing them with the kinds of foods and snacks that will help you lose the weight.  You need to change the habit to change the result.

Worth Remembering … “Our habits may control our destiny, but we can control our habits. Before we change our habits we must change our thinking” – Author Unknown 

If you aren’t willing to put in the time and effort to accomplish your goal – then just keep doing what you’ve been doing and you’ll continue getting what you’ve got. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. You are the boss of you. You may be a victim of circumstance but where you end up is a choice that only you get to make. Your future is not in your past so stop living there. If you aren’t satisfied with the cards you’ve been dealt – then it’s time to fold your hand and get into a new game. Dreams are merely goals with deadlines. What would you rather be doing then what you are currently doing? What changes will you have to make in order to bring more joy into your life? Decide what it is you want to accomplish and put a plan together to get there. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so – life is a planned event. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2012. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced or printed in any form without written permission. Excerpts of this article  were taken from Brian’s soon to be published book – “Get-A-Grip – Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make it Happen”

If You Think They’re Listening – Best Think Again

Do you feel at times that your staff are turned off and have tuned out? Are you finding it difficult to motivate others? How challenging is it for you to attract or retain talent? Well you are not alone. Results of a semi-annual employment engagement index published by the Gallup Management Journal suggested that only 29% of employees are actively engaged in their jobs. Fifty-four percent of those surveyed admitted that they where not engaged – while 17% said that they where actively disengaged. These disengaged employees where busy acting out their unhappiness, undermining what their engaged co-workers where trying to accomplish.

In his book , “Getting Engaged: The New Workplace Loyalty” author Tim Rutledge explains that an engaged employee is an employee who is willing to invest their time and energy to insure that the organization succeeds. He surmised that truly engaged employees are attracted to, and inspired by, their work. They are loyal to each other – committed to doing what ever it takes to accomplish individual and team goals. Engaged employees understand that if the company wins – they all win.

Worth Remembering … “Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the World on your shoulders. The World would go on even without you. Don’t take yourself too seriously” – Norman Vincent Peale

Meaningful change is top down never bottom up. If you want to engage your employee’s heads, hearts and hands it must start with you. You need to invert the triangle and put your people at the top. The phrase “Our employees are our most important asset” must mean something. People hear what they see – not what  you say. You can start the process by applying the three “C’s”

Connect: Managers must show they value their employees. Trust and respect don’t come automatically just because you’ve been given the title of manager. You need to earn both – one employee at a time. Get to know your people for more than the work that they do. You need to establish rapport – in order to build a relationship – that eventually leads to mutual respect. People like to work with people they like. How much fun are you to be around? Would you work for you?

Contribute: Employees want to know that their input matters. That what they are doing is contributing to the organizations success in a meaningful way. You and I both know that there is a number of ways to accomplish the same thing. Solicit their input. People like to put their own personal stamp on things. It doesn’t have to be just your way to get the same result. Resist the urge to micro-manage. Delegate, delegate, delegate. You must give up control to get control.

Collaborate: Great managers and leaders are team builders. Together Everyone Achieves More is not just a fancy sound bite.  Studies show that those teams that are committed to each other out perform individuals and teams who are not.  Good teams don’t happen by chance. You can’t expect to throw people together – call them a team – and expect them to perform that way. Let everyone know what is expected of them. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing – so tear down those cyloe’s , eliminate the individual sandboxes and build collaborative teams – one team player at a time.

For the first time in our life time we have the potential of working with four different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates and interacts differently. Each generation have their own set of values and are motivated differently. But the one thing that will never change is that people are people – and they all want to be treated as people. EQ (Emotional Intelligence) – often referred to as soft-skills – is now considered a more valuable commodity than IQ. You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room to be the most successful manager or business leader in the room.  You just need to get everyone on side. Applying the 3 C’s is a great start.

What Legacy Will You Leave Behind? 9

A hero, a teacher, a mentor, a coach – both on and off the field. A good father – a father who loved his six children unconditionally and was proud of the adults they had become. He loved his grand children and his great-grandchildren. A man who adored his wife – and for the 66+ years that they were married he did everything he could to make her the centre of his world.

A go getter. An achiever. Someone who was all in no matter what he was doing. He figured if you are going to put in the effort – you might as well give it your all – because you just never know how far it will take you or where you’ll end up.

He was a kind man who reached out to his friends when ever he could.  He was fun to be around and hang out with. He was a story-teller. He was not a saint or a sinner. He believed in God but didn’t force his beliefs on others. He was a proud Canadian who wore his colours on his sleeve and fought to defend our rights and freedoms.

He was my Dad. He passed away yesterday on his terms – quietly and at peace. I will miss him dearly. I have a lifetime of memories to keep me company until we meet again. Bye Dad – I love you – but you already knew that. 🙂

Get FOCUSED – 7 Key Steps to Becoming The Person You’d Rather Be 4

Everything we choose to do alters our brain and it fundamentally changes who we are, a process that continues until we die. Dr. Richard Restak – clinical professor of neurology at George Washington’s University Medical Center and author of “Mozart’s Brain and the Fighter Pilot: Unleashing Your Brain’s Potential” – believes that the human brain has the ability to reprogram itself. All the new research on the brain suggests that no matter how old you are, it’s never too late to change your brain for the better. Adults can learn new things given the right set of circumstance and in an environment that is conducive to learning. The point I’m trying to make here is that if you aren’t happy with your lot in life – if you aren’t happy with the cards you’ve been dealt – you have the power within you to pick up your chips and sit in on a whole new game. How bad do you want it? How willing are you to change? Motivation is inside out – never outside in. Are you ready to get FOCUSED?

 The Seven Key Steps to Becoming The Person You’d Rather Be.

Friendly: How likable are you? How much fun are you to be around? If you get invited to a house party or social event do you approach people you’ve never met – introduce yourself and strike up a conversation or do you huddle in a corner hoping someone will notice you and venture over to say hello? You don’t need to be the centre of attention but you do need to mingle and become part of the conversation. Success in any under taking is more about who you know – not what you know that matters most. Someone knows someone who knows someone who is looking to hire someone with your talents. You need to learn to be an effective networker and network like crazy. Join a service club – volunteer – and expand your circle of influence. We all like to be liked – it’s a basic human need.

Organized: Time management is life management. How you manage your time is how you manage your life. You have 168 hours in the course of a week – no more – or no less. Your time is not a renewable resource. You can’t make time – you can only learn how to spend your time more wisely. Take the time to make sure you are allocating your time to those things that are most important to you. Your life is a planned event. Where would you rather be in 12, 18 or 24 months from now? What new skills will you have to learn to get there? What pieces of the puzzle still need to fall into place for you to accomplish your goal?

Confident: What you think of yourself and say to yourself on the inside is reflected in the way you act and are seen by others on the outside. If you don’t believe in yourself – then others won’t either. We all feel insecure and unsure of ourselves from time to time. We all have self-doubt – especially if we are doing something for the very first time. You are whoever you think you are – it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think you can or can’t – you’re right. If you are physically and mentally capable of becoming the person you’d rather be – then the only person who is getting in your way – is you. You need to get out of your own way. There are a number of great books on how to develop your self-esteem. It starts with your internal dialogue. One of my favorites is “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem’ by Nathaniel Branden PhD.

Understanding: Empathy – the ability to see something from another person’s point of view. It is to emotionally put yourself in the place of another. Empathy, understanding and compassion are closely related to one another. Daniel Goleman in his ground breaking book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” suggests that EQ – the ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others which is often referred to as soft-skills – is more important than IQ. For the most part and for most careers – intelligence is highly overrated. You don’t need to be the smartest person in the room to be the most successful person in the room. What you do need is the ability to connect with people on an emotional level. Some people are better at it then others – but it can be learned.

Sincere: It’s not what you say that matters most – it’s how you go about doing it that others will remember. If you treat others with the very best of intentions – then it will come through in the way that you treat them.  If you were to sit down and write your personal code of conduct what kinds of things would you put on that list? What set of values do you hold to be true and you aren’t willing to compromise them no matter the situation – no matter the consequences? Always be true to yourself.

Energized: What are you really passionate about? What really turns your crank? If you could pick the ideal career for you – the one that most suites your talents – what would it be? Do you love to sing – write – work with the less fortunate – play sports – dance – sell products or provide a service? Play to your strengths – do what makes you happy – do what you were meant to do. If you do what you love to do – all the other things like food, a home, money, family and friends – will fall in line.

Determined: Think Big – Dream Bigger. Attitude – your attitude is 100% in your control. Only you get to decide how you want to react in any given situation. There will be missteps along the way. You will make mistakes – there will be barriers to go around and you’ll need to navigate the odd detour along the way. But, keep moving forward – one step at a time. And never, ever give up on your dream. The words coulda, shoulda, woulda should not be part of your vocabulary.

Copyright (C) 2012. Brian Smith. Not to be reproduced or copied without written permission. Exerts of this article were taken from Brian Smith’s soon-to-be-published book – “Get-A-Grip – Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make it Happen