The question seemed like such a simple one. I asked a group of senior leaders in an organization how they would invest 100 hours of their time over the next two weeks if all of their day-to-day responsibilities were removed from them. They could only focus on activities that would move the organization forward. I additionally asked them to break down the 100 hours by project or goal. Easy, right?Read More
Last week was going to be different. Maybe you made the decision to start exercising, or to more effectively plan your day. You really wanted things to be different. You're tired of the constant pressure of trying to get everything done or feeling like there's something more important you should be doing with your time. Your new activities lasted about a week... and then you slipped quietly back into old habits and old ways of thinking.Read More
One of the parts of speaking at a conference I find so interesting is interacting with the group before I speak. Whether it’s a networking event on the previous evening or just talking with participants who arrive early, I love to watch the reaction when I tell people what I do. When they ask me about what I “speak” on and I respond with “I help with the struggle of too much to do,” there’s almost always a conflicted response.Read More
How many times in the past week have you said, “I only have ___________ minutes right now?” Judging from my conversations with coaching clients and program participants, we are all saying it a lot more often. Not that it's a bad thing to be cognizant of how much time you have available. It's just that saying the phrase usually leads to choosing an easy-to-complete task (like checking email, social media, or some mindless activity) that really doesn't move your work or life forward in the most meaningful way.Read More
Yes, I meant to type "inciteful" and not "insightful." A recent blog by Seth Godin has completely changed my attitude about how I look at what I might read. One of the questions I now ask about a "good book" someone mentions to me is, "How did you change behavior as a result of reading the book?"Read More
How often do you spend some time in deep reflection about who you are and where you want to go? A time of sacred idleness when you let those deeper thoughts that have been suppressed by a crazy busy schedule bubble to the surface. Moments when you pay attention to your feelings, questions, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.
If you're like many people, your answer is "rarely."
While on vacation you stop in a local restaurant for breakfast. You’re adventurous so you didn’t check the Yelp ratings before choosing this one. Seated near the kitchen, you have a birds-eye view of all the action. Cooks are working furiously to keep up with all the orders thrown at them, dropping dishes or utensils from time to time, and occasionally getting yelled at by the wait staff or manager for how long it’s taking to fill an order. The menu is extremely limited because the cooks have only basic ingredients and haven’t been trained to do anything except the quick stuff. Those apples and breakfast bars back at your hotel room are looking better all the time, aren’t they?Read More
It seems like there is always a desire to describe the essence of a concept, philosophy, movement, culture, or societal ill as succinctly as possible. In our sound-byte driven world, having just the right catchphrase for one of the afore-mentioned situations gets attention from others. “Knowledge worker,” “millennials,” “#metoo” and the “experience economy” are four that quickly come to mind.
Sometimes, however, these phrases don’t work as well.Read More
One of the reasons for this lack of productivity is the sheer number of distractions and crises vying for our attention each day. These items keep us moving, but not necessarily in a forward direction. But might there be other circumstances causing us to feel so overwhelmed with all we have to do and underwhelmed at what we are actually getting done?Read More
Whether you are an associate manager or a senior executive, what you say, how you say it, when you say it, to whom you say it, and whether you say it in the proper context are critical components for tapping into your full strategic leadership potential.Read More
While sitting with my daughter Sydney at a recent violin lesson, I watched her struggle to get the rhythm right with one particular piece. Her teacher was so patient and helped her understand how the rhythm of the piece should be played by focusing on a few measures at a time. Then, when they played the whole piece together with different rhythms, it sounded amazing! (from a proud dad's perspective).
The experience reminded me of how important...
Have you thought (or said) any of these statements in the past 30 days?
- I thought we had that problem handled.
- When will I have time to focus on what I need to get done?
- I should have seen this coming.
- All people ever bring me are problems.
If you said yes...Read More
By the time many of you are reading this blog, you will have already broken one or more of your resolutions for the new year. You didn't mean to... it was just so hard to keep that major commitment. While I do believe in setting worthwhile and measurable goals for a new year, I prefer identifying small changes I can sustain throughout the year as opposed to vague or emotionally-driven resolutions. For example,Read More
Open your calendar (app or otherwise) and look at last week. As you reflect on the meetings, activities, and reminders from the past seven days, would you say the focus of your time was on getting things done or becoming a better person than you are now. Sure several activities play a dual role, but what's the "feel" of where your time is being spent?Read More
In my book, Juggling Elephants, Todd Musig and I outline how the best way to manage your work and life is like running a circus. A key tenet is that you have three "rings" in your life: A work ring, a relationship ring, and a self ring. The key to success, we believe, is to have quality activities in all three rings... not just one or two.
An interesting part of the training on the book isRead More
I know, I know. No one likes ticks. I can't remember the last time I was sharing a meal with a friend and they said, "You know, I was just thinking about ticks." Like mosquitoes and the IRS, we want to avoid contact with them at all costs. However, if you work outside in the summer months in various parts of the country, staying alert to their potential presence on your clothes or skin is essential to maintaining good health.Read More
If you live in the US, you'll probably hear the words "Thank You" a little more often this week. As Thanksgiving approaches, we tend to recognize the blessings of family and friends a little more and that causes us to think and act differently toward others.
Hopefully. that same sense of gratitude will permeate thoughts about our jobs and those with whom we work.Read More
Where do you think you have more impact as a leader or manager? Is it in the formal, planned interactions like team meetings or performance reviews? Or is it in the casual conversation that started with the question, "Have you got a minute?"
My experience with coaching leaders and managers is...Read More
Read any number of books on how to be successful, and at some point, the author will mention the impact some habit or routine had on their upward professional or personal trajectory. Lots of books have even been written on the topic of routines, and my personal favorite is The Slight Edge.
Over the years I've found that a key to making a routine stick isRead More
Last week I had two unforgettable experiences. The first was the opportunity to spend time with five individuals who I have known for over 30 years. We had not been together as a group for five years, and the chance to reminisce and catch up on what was going on with each of us was just fantastic. That was the first experience.
The second one, while involving this same group, was very different.Read More