Life Lessons – How to Get The Life You Want 11

1475825_10202358184503139_292663748_nI’d like you to take out a blank piece of paper and write down the first thing that comes to mind. “In a perfect world, your world, what would you rather be doing then what you are doing right now?” Don’t over think it – just write down the first thing that popped into your head. Now I know there is no such thing as a perfect world – nothing is perfect – but I think we can get close to it by doing those things that we are meant to do. And we are meant to do those things that make us happy. What is getting in the way of you doing what you’d rather be doing? Life – your life, is a planned event. Wishing and hoping won’t make it so.

If you aren’t excited about what you are doing – excited to the point that you can hardly wait to get up in the morning and get at it  – then it’s time for you to choose an alternative career. If you aren’t excited about what you are doing then it’s time you gave some serious thought to how you are going to get to where you’d rather be. It’s time you gave some serious thought to what you need to do to get the life you want.

Worth Remembering … “A journey of a 1,000 miles begins with the first step” – Lao-tzu

First things first. Take a moment and list all the things that need to fall into place for you to accomplish what you are wanting to do. What pieces of the puzzle need to fit together so that you can accomplish your goals? Look over your list and prioritize what needs to happen and when. (I must do A, then B and move on to C, etc.) Congratulations! You now have a game plan.  You now know what you need to do to get the life you want. The only thing left for you to do is to start working your plan. I know it sounds simple – and some times it’s easier said then done. But if you have the strength of your convictions and believe in yourself – you will succeed. The only thing getting in your way is you.

Worth Remembering …. “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have discovered 10,000 ways that do not work” – Thomas Edison

Always keep in mind that there is no such thing as a perfect plan. Trust me – there will be road blocks, detours and traffic jams along the way. We all experience those. However, DO NOT let that stop you. Stay focused, stay committed to completing the journey you’ve started. If you have to adjust your plan or tweak it here and there along the way – so be it.  Stay strong. You will succeed. You will realize your full potential. YOU WILL cross the finish line. And most importantly, you will have the life you want. Now get to work. 🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for keynote speaking or for delivering a seminar on a variety of soft-skills topics. To find out more about Brian and what you can do for you and your organization visit http://briansmithpld.com

If No One is Following You Aren’t Leading

images (8)Whether you are in a management position or play a leadership role in your organization, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and the next decade. Not everyone chooses to lead – but everyone gets to choose who they want to follow. What do you look for in the leaders you follow?

Worth Remembering … “One of the most important things about being a good leader is to lead with a heart. You have to know the business, but you also have to know what’s at the heart of business and that’s people.” – Oprah Winfrey

Daniel Goleman, in his groundbreaking book Working with Emotional Intelligence, might have said it best: “We are being judged by a new yardstick: not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other.” Soft-skills, your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization. You stand little chance of winning the hearts, minds and hands of those you lead without the ability to connect with them.

Worth Remembering … “Communication is the breakfast of Champions.” – Ken Blanchard

All the great leaders: Churchill, Lincoln, Roosevelt, Thatcher, Trudeau and Clinton, they all had one thing in common – they had the ability to communicate. They had the ability to communicate in such a way that you could see a future that you wanted to be part of.  The power of the spoken and unspoken word can’t be overlooked. The words you choose and how you go about saying them can be a catalyst for action or in-action. You can build people up or tear them down simply by the tone of your voice and the non-verbal message your body language sends. Regardless of your political beliefs, President Barack Obama’s ability to communicate and connect with others inspired a Nation – and changed our World forever. Agreed, leaders also need to be patient, understanding, flexible and great listeners. But, if you can’t communicate in a way that others will want to follow – then you aren’t leading.

I believe you aren’t born a great communicator but, I believe you can learn to become one. Here are a few suggestions on ways to communicate and interact more effectively with others.

  • Provide regular opportunities for informal, casual discussions. This is a great exercise for building collaborative teams.
  • Check for points of disagreement or misunderstanding by being more intuitive to the non-verbal signals being sent. Ask closed questions for clarity. Ask open-ended questions to promote dialogue.
  • Listen more than you talk.
  • When giving instructions use direct, to-the-point communication without a lot of social chatter. Too much information muddies the water and tends to confuse rather than inform.
  • Use two-way dialogue, responding to a person’s feelings is just as important as what is being said.

Give them a try. After all – the worse thing that could happen is you’ll draw a crowd. And for today’s leaders, that’s not such a bad thing.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith – Reformed Control Freak. Brian is available for speaking engagements and seminars on a variety of topics including: communication, dealing with difficult people and challenging situations and leadership development. To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com

Soft Skills for a Hard Place

millennials-200x192Daniel Goleman in his groundbreaking book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” might have said it best: “We are being judged by a new yardstick; not just how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how we handle ourselves and each other”.  Times have certainly changed. I think there has been a dramatic shift in people’s attitudes. Their wants and needs are changing. For the first time in our lifetime we have the potential of working with 4 different generations in the same workplace at the same time. Each generation communicates and interacts differently and want to be managed and manage differently. Each generation have a different set of values and career aspirations. For the newest generation – the Millennials – life outside of work is just as important,  if not more important,  then life inside work. Each generation is motivated by different things. What you need to decide now is – will the management style that got you here – be the same style that will sustain you or get you to where you need to go? Is one style of managing and leading others good enough?

Worth Remembering … “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing – expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein

Productivity is still the name of the game and that will never change. One of your roles as a manager or leader has always been to minimize the input and maximize the output. In today’s ever-changing, competitive global marketplace you need to produce more with less. Your survival and your company’s survival demands it. To accomplish both – managers and leaders must change from being task-focused to being people-focused. People like to work with people they like. People like to feel wanted. People like to feel that they are appreciated and respected.

Worth Remembering … “One of the most important things about being a good manager is to rule with a heart. You have to know the business, but you also have to know what’s at the heart of every business and that’s people”. – Oprah Winfrey

Technical skills are important but, for the most part, you can get that out of a book or Google it. What is needed to be successful managing and leading others in the 21st Century are soft-skills, sometimes referred to as people skills. Successful managers and leaders will be those who have developed great soft-skills for a hard place. Successful managers and business leaders are F.O.C.U.S.E.D. (C) on their most important asset – their people.

Friendly: Someone who can smile and say hello. Someone who can make the other person feel important.

Observant: Someone who can recognize those that need help and those that don’t. Someone who will get out of their way and let them do the job.

Consistent: Some who is consistent in the way that they apply policies and procedures. Consistent in the way they treat people and deal with situations.

Understanding: Someone who tries to see things from the other person’s point of view. Empathy is a valuable 21st Century skill to have.

Sincere: Someone who truly wants their people to be successful at what they do. Managing and leading others is a team sport – create win-wins.

Energized: Someone who is enthusiastic. Someone who looks and acts like they want to be there.

Dependable: Someone whose word they can depend on. Someone they can trust. If they can’t trust your word they won’t trust you.

Are you F.O.C.U.S.E.D.?  🙂

Copyright (c) 2013. Brian Smith-PLD. Brian is the author of “Confessions of a Reformed Control Freak – The Top Ten Sins Most Managers Make & How to Avoid Them”. Looking for a speaker? Planning a lunch-n-learn or organizing a workshop? Contact Brian. briansmithpld@gmail.com

 

The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century 3

images (1)It doesn’t matter what environment you work in – retail, manufacturing, construction or the corporate world, the challenges remain the same. New leadership skills are required for the workplace of today and the next decade. Your success as a manager or business leader is no longer dependent on your technical ability alone. Soft-skills – your ability to communicate and interact more effectively with others, now plays a more pivotal role in your success and the overall success of your organization. It doesn’t matter what book you read, the workshops you participate in, or the seminars you attend, know for certain that there are no silver bullets here. Unless you are committed to a new way of managing and leading others you will get left behind. The workplace is changing and if you don’t adapt to keep pace with those changes you stand the risk of falling by the wayside.

Do you feel at times that your staff are turned off or have tuned out? Is it getting more challenging to motivate others? Are you finding it difficult to attract or retain talent? You are not alone. Gallup’s ongoing survey findings indicate that 70 % of workers are not engaged. According to Gallup   “Millennials are most likely of all the generations to say that they will leave their jobs in the next 12 months if the job market improves”. If you want to re-engage the disengaged and attract new talent then you need to master the art of managing and leading in the 21st Century.

The Four Step Leadership Development Model (C)

I believe the key to retaining and attracting new talent is to develop and fashion your leadership style around these four easier said then done disciplines:

Congregate: People work for people they like. Learn how to build collaborative teams and develop those all important relationships.  No one is successful by themselves. Together everyone achieves more. Always keep in mind that you need your people a great deal more than they need you.

Communicate: If you can’t communicate, then you can’t manage or lead others. If you can’t communicate in a language that others will understand – then whatever you say will mean absolutely nothing. You can never communicate too much. Be open and receptive to what others have to say. Give your people a voice.

Educate: People aren’t born knowing what they need to know – it’s a learned behavior. It’s your responsibility as a manager or leader to teach them the skills needed to take the organization to where it needs to go. Take the time to discover what your people do well and then put them in positions where they can play to their strengths.

Delegate: Surround yourself with people who do some things better than you do. You’ve got to give up control to get control. If you aren’t sharing some of your responsibilities with the people around you  – you are robbing them of their opportunity to grow. Resist the urge to micro-manage.

Copyright (C) 2013. Brian Smith. Excerpts taken from Brian’s soon to be published second book – “Leadership Lessons from a Reformed Control Freak – The Art of Managing and Leading in the 21st Century” (C) To find out more visit http://briansmithpld.com