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
While time management is the phrase we use when talking about our desire to be more productive or to be able to get the right things done, time itself is rarely the limiting factor. There are just too many examples of people who accomplish an incredible number of tasks each day and also live a personally fulfilling life. What makes the difference?Read More
"Work is my hobby," he said with a weak smile, and then continued by sharing all he had on his plate at his job. It's a comment I hear far too often. We have become so conditioned to focus on work until some nebulous point in the future when a break will magically occur... but rarely does.
A recent article from Peter Jones also makes the case that hobbies aren't just a luxury but can be essential for our success at work.Read More
What are some of your "trigger words" or phrases? You know what I'm talking about. Those words used by others that ignite strong negative emotion as you hear them leave the other person's lips. For me it's phrases like "this sucks" or the frequent use of profanity.
While not as emotionally irksome as trigger words, I do think there are words we use as leadersRead More
Last week I was interviewed by a NY Times writer for an article entitled, Keep Your Apple Picking Plans. The essence of the article was about why people keep or abandon plans for leisure time. They had actually interviewed some individuals about their plans a few months ago and followed up to see if they kept their plans. Some did while some didn't.Read More
"When I open my email I feel like I'm headed to the dentist, and I hate going to the dentist," the person on the other end of the phone kept saying. I was working with a client who was really struggling with their email management. They had let things get out so out of control that they were rarely checking email at work, opting to spend one to two hours in the evening handling their email. And yes, it was putting quite a strain on their relationship with their family and their own personal renewal time.Read More
An activity in my Making It Happen training sessions is to have participants identify the reasons why they aren't working on their "Its" or Important Things in their workday. The most frequent reasons given are that they can't find the time in their day with all the responsibilities they already have or the It just seems overwhelming because of its complexity.Read More