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.

Building Bridges Across The Generational Divide

Our increasingly diverse society is reflected in our growing workforce. For the first time in our lifetime we have the potential of working with four different generations in the same workplace. Each generation communicates, interacts with others and is motivated by a different set of values. As this dramatic shift continues, organizations large and small must continue to strive to help all employees embrace and capitalize on their differences. They need to view diversity as an organizational strength not a weakness.

“Building Bridges Across The Generational Divide – How to Develop a Collaborative & Cohesive Diverse Team” – November 21 – Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce. In this session – led by behaviorist Brian Smith – a leading authority on soft-skills training and leadership development – you will explore ideas and innovation to help tackle those differences, and create healthy and productive interactions in the workplace. This presentation provides valuable insight into how to build a collaborative and cohesive diverse team.

If you or members of your team are wanting to learn how to communicate and interact more effectively with others, resolve conflict , solve problems and deal with difficult people and challenging situations – then this workshop is for you. Contact Lorraine MacKenzie, CSP to register for this event. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. UOV Chamber 613.732.1492 – Email: manager@uovchamber.com – I hope to see you there 🙂

Get-A-Grip – Wishing and Hoping Won’t Make it Happen

The life you imagine for yourself is a planned event. Wishing and hoping won’t make it happen. Like the title of my soon to-be-published book suggests – nothing worth hanging around for ever happens by chance. You’ve got to put one foot in front of the other and make it happen. You’ve got to learn how to get out of your own way by pushing self-doubt aside and stay focused on what’s important to you. Be patient – there is no such thing as an overnight success. It takes dedication, hard work and a never-give-up attitude to end up where you want to go.

Worth Remembering … “A good goal is like a strenuous exercise – it makes you stretch” – Mary Kay Ash

There will be detours and road blocks along the way. Others will try to talk you out of pursuing your dream. (Don’t let them)  They’ll tell you they are doing it for your own good. (Don’t believe them) Believe in yourself instead. Believe – truly believe – that you have what it takes  to achieve any goal you set for yourself. If you truly believe it – than nothing will distract you or get in your way from accomplishing it.

A journey of a 1000 miles begins with that first step. Others have taken that first step and have come to realize their dream. If they can do it – why not you? What is stopping you? Will it be scary? Yes – Will you get lost now and again? Yes – Will there be times that you question your own sanity? Yes – Will there be times that you feel like giving up? Yes – A thousand unanswered questions – and a thousand yeses. But so what. Why let that stop you from doing what you really want to do. Why let that stop you from becoming who you are really meant to be.

Worth Remembering … “It is only when a person has their own generator that we can talk about motivation. They need no outside stimulation. They want to do it” – Frederick Herzberg

Know for certain that you have at least one person in your corner. One person who wants you to be successful. One person who believes you have what it takes to do what ever you set out to do. That person is “YOU”. Listen to that voice inside your head. Motivation is inside out – never outside in. Listen to that voice inside your head and keep pressing on. Keep in touch. Let me know how it’s going. I’m in your corner too. – Cheers. 🙂