The Power of a Good Pause

To me the most remarkable part of Christmas is how everything goes from ridiculously busy to a full-on stop.

The Winning Well workshops, the keynotes, the 2017 planning, the filming, the travelling (well not that), the rehearsals, the concerts, the shopping, the cooking, the visits, and then the pause.

When I walk into a candle lit church, all the chaos seems to melt away. We stop, we remember, we give thanks, we hope.

I love to take a run through our town, usually bustling with people shopping or meeting over coffee and feel the peace of the empty village.

I wonder what others are doing and thinking in their stopping. What do those closed doors offer? What inspirations are brewing? What hopes are catching spark?

The Power of a Good Pause

What’s about to start after the stopping?

I recognize that for many there is pain in the stopping. Quiet time does not always equate to peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you. In our family we also have concerns that weigh heavy. Stopping can sometimes be too quiet.

I am also so grateful to all who cannot stop this holiday. Police, firefighters, military, call centers, convenience stores. There are many people “going” to empower our stopping. Thank you.

May this holiday season give you the peace of pause, today or in the year to come. Enjoy the quiet along with the joy.

What will you become in your holiday pause?

In Peace, Hope and Joy,

Karin

what if my team is having conflict?

5 Questions to Help You Resolve Your Conflict

We’d both been looking forward to it–our first Thanksgiving together. We’d each been the primary holiday cooks in our previous marriage, which can feel lonely and overwhelming at times. But not this year. Now we had each other. We’d planned the perfect menu the week before while eating sushi over candlelight. We’d had fun shopping. We were all set.

I was full of anticipation of a snuggly time of gravy tasting, stolen kisses, the warm glow of the fireplace in the next room, and the happy ruckus of the parade marching in the background.

Apparently David had a vision for the morning too, which included precise execution, a clutter-free work space– and not so much noise.

So when I started peeling potatoes while still neck deep in the residue of pumpkin pancakes and bacon grease from breakfast, and he pulled out his spreadsheet to do some “backward mapping…”

We decided to take a time out and go for a walk in the woods.

“I just want this to be a romantic time of cooking together. I’m so glad to be with you and want share the experience.” I shared, a bit choked up.

“You’ve told your Dad I’m a great cook, and your Dad IS a great cook. I’ve got to live up to expectations.  It’s important for me to make a good impression on your family.” David explained.

And there we were neck deep in the frustration of miscommunication and unmet expectations.

Ever happen to you?

5 Questions to Ask When Trying to Resolve a Conflict

1. What am I trying to achieve?

What do I really want the outcome of this situation to be? Have I shared that? What does the other person want? And how do I know?  Have we shared our objectives with one another?

2. What is this conflict really about?

Conflicts are almost never about what you’re talking about. At least at first. Despite the obvious dialogue, we were not really talking about whether the apple pie needs an egg white wash before the apples. We were defining how we were going to roll as a couple, in real life. It’s amazing how we can write a book, share many stages, negotiate the financial aspects of the business, and then get worked up about how to mash a potato.

3. What am I expecting?

What are my expectations? Have I said them out loud? Not once did I say, “Hey what I really want here is for you to pay more attention to me than the Brussels sprouts.” Nor did he say, “It makes me feel better to start with a tidy work space.” As it turns out, all that was a nontroversy. I’m always happy for him to clean the kitchen 😉

4. What’s the best way to communicate about this?

Clearly, we needed a time out. A walk in the woods reconnected us to what mattered most– we were together at Thanksgiving and delighted to be a team. We then laughed and pulled out our Winning Well techniques of clarifying expectations and talking about our MIT (most important things).

Another great tool is to consider the range of style-options you have for resolving the conflict and picking one that may come less naturally for you. The TKI indicator is the best tool I’ve found for working with teams on this.

5. How can we achieve the results we want AND enhance the relationship?

Winning Well teams have conflict. Conflict is valuable and often inevitable whenever two or more people are passionate about creating something remarkable. It’s important to keep both the results and the relationships in mind as you’re working through the conversation.

In our case, relationships won on this one. The walk was productive, but the potatoes cooked too long. My nephew ran out to get a box of instant spuds to save the day. I’ll take it.

Frontline Festival: Leaders Share How They and Their Team are Preparing for the New Year

Welcome back to the Let’s Grow Leaders Frontline Festival. This month’s festival is all about preparing for 2017. Thanks to Joy and Tom Guthrie of Vizwerx Group for the great pic and to all our contributors! Next month’s Frontline Festival is all about goal setting.  Please submit your very best links to your goal setting posts. The question for the month is: “What your best practice for helping teams set meaningful goals?” Submit your answers and blog posts related to this question: here!

Jon Mertz of Thin Difference tells us that preparing is more than an act of getting ready or having a fixed plan. Preparing is creating the proper conditions to act more fully in the change we desire. Follow Jon.

Wally Bock of Three Star Leadership suggests that we forget resolutions. Concentrate on what you will DO differently. Follow Wally.

Michelle Cubas, CPCC, ACC, of Positive Potentials, LLC offers a post, “Loose Ends and Promises”, outlining some thoughts about the transition to a new year. Follow Michelle.

The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today.
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

From David Dye: In Winning Well we emphasize the importance of Committing with Clarity: mutually shared, clear commitments are the backbone of breakthrough results and healthy relationships. To that end, one way we’re preparing our team for 2017 is to create a playbook – a one-stop guide to the critical goals, messages, and activities of each strategic theme. It creates alignment, ensures we’re all focused on the same goals, and helps us to move faster. Follow David.

Chris Edmonds of Driving Results through Culture  says:  I’m a solopreneur – but I have some fine players in my “band.” (Bear with me – I’m a working musician on the side.) My publicity pro is amazing. My virtual assistant is brilliant. I’m doing more proactive strategic planning with my publicity pro with monthly calls so we can stay on top of trends and news-jacking opportunities that arise quickly. My goal for 1Q 2017 is to decide what my extremely capable VA can do more of – so I can do less of that and more content creation, writing, and marketing. Only if I trust these players more – and delegate more – can we do more for leaders, companies, and communities in the months to come. Follow Chris.

Eileen McDargh of The Energizer  shares: There are three people on my team: me, myself, and I. If I can get those three people in sync, then I can manage the other people who support me. I take myself away for three days on a silent retreat. I hike, write, and journal ideas. I meditate. I listen deeply. In the stillness that surrounds me, I come away refreshed. I don’t always have great breakthroughs and that’s ok too. The silence centers me because the rest of the year, I will be surrounded by the spoken word. Follow Eileen

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.
~ Steve Jobs

Michelle Pallas of MichellePallas.com encourages us to understand ourselves, from all perspectives, before taking on something new. Follow Michelle.

Becky Robinson of Weaving Influence is preparing her team for 2017 by reflecting about and sharing wins from 2016 while setting goals and priorities for 2017. We’re all excited to launch a new website in the first quarter of 2017, which will more clearly reflect our company’s unique offer in the market while showcasing our authors/speakers. As we work on the website, we’re setting the stage for our best year ever.  Follow Becky.

William Steiner of Executive Coaching Concepts  says his team is cleaning up all contact files so our communications can be cleaner and more strategically targeted.  They are also going to have a nice party in January to celebrate the publishing of his new book, which was a collaborative, group effort.  Follow William.

Every day brings new choices.
~ Martha Beck

John Thurlbeck of Wear Consulting is reviewing how he did on goals in 2016 and setting goals for 2017 using Michael Hyatt’s Best Year Ever model. Follow John. 

Dr. Artika Tyner of the Planting People. Growing Justice Institute is preparing her team for 2017 by focusing on their brand. She feels this will serve as the foundation for developing new products and services while also holding the team accountable for clearly conveying their brand purpose and consistently delivering their best. Follow Artika.

Beth Beutler of H.O.P.E. Unlimited has a unique arrangement — she has a small team  of colleagues that help her provide virtual assistance, and she is ON more than team, providing virtual assistance. One of her hopes for the new year is that she cultivate herself and her own colleagues in such a way that the clients HOPE serves feel like the only team HOPE is on–is theirs. Follow Beth.

Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
~ Oprah Winfrey
how do I raise the tough issues at work?

4 UGLY Conversations to Have With Your Team Before Year End

The second half of December is a great time for recognition, celebration, white elephant gifts and other fun. Yes, yes, please do all that, but don’t stop there. The best holiday gift you can give your team is to “own the ugly.” To help your team have the tough conversations they’re longing to have; to stare squarely in the face of what’s not working and clear the decks for a remarkable 2017.

Own the Ugly

The other day I was facilitating a 2-day offsite strategic planning retreat for one of my start-up clients. We’d designed a “speed-generation” problem solving session where groups rotated through stations to identify the ugly issues that needed to be addressed and worked on real solutions.

Within 60 seconds of the first rotation, one group listed every “efficiency” tool their company was using to make “work easier” and then created two columns on their easel sheet–a  “should it stay or should it go” vote.  Everyone who rotated through their station got a vote and indicated what work group they were in. By the end of the session over half of the tools were “voted off the island.” The chairman raised his eyebrows, but took the lead in initiating a curious conversation.

What they found was that the tools they had selected one at a time for good reasons all made sense, but the requirements to keep everything up to date were driving people crazy.

I’m convinced that 40 minute conversation (which everyone gladly stayed beyond our promised closing time to continue– even though beer was being poured in their next agenda item…a holiday happy hour right outside the door) will save them thousands of hours of frustration next year.

“Why didn’t you raise this before?” Well, “No one asked.”

Own the Ugly. Make it safe to talk about what’s not working. It’s getting talked about somewhere. Best to lift it up, stare at it, vent if needed and then figure out what must happen next.

4 Ways to Own the U.G.L.Y.

Here are four ugly conversations worth having with your team. Ask, and then really listen.

U– What are we Underestimating?

Competitive pressures? New technology? The destruction that new manager is doing to our culture? The opportunity that we “don’t have time for?

G– What’s Gotta Go?

What are we doing now that doesn’t make sense anymore? What processes are more habit than value? What meetings are wasting our time? What’s gotta go for us to be remarkable?

L– Where are we Losing?

Where are we still under-performing despite our best efforts? Why? Who’s doing it better? How?

Y– Where are we missing the Yes?

What must we say “Yes” to in 2017? What new opportunities are yearning for our attention? Where must we invest more deeply?

Teams admire managers who “own the ugly.” Winning Well managers have the confidence and humility to go there– to start the conversation, and then listen deeply to the solutions.

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Personal Brand

If you Google you, do you like who shows up?

Do you feel like you’ve got a powerful message to share, but without the right positioning, find yourself talking to the metaphorical mute button?

Are you having trouble outgrowing an outdated reputation at work?

Or maybe you’re just looking to get a better seat at the table.

9 Ways to Strengthen Your Winning Well Brand

If your brand could use a power boost, take a step back and give your brand a Winning Well refresh using these nine approaches.

Results

1- Rock your Role
If you’re not knocking your current job out of the park, start there–even if you’re looking for something else. There’s nothing better you can do to enhance your brand than having a long track record of success. 

2- Mind the MIT (Most Important Thing)
Pick something extraordinary to accomplish and prioritize getting it right. If there are 27 metrics on your balanced scorecard, trust me, they are not all created equal. Pick one or two that matter most and be known as the guy or gal that cracked the code. 

3- Focus on the Game (Not the Score)
Don’t go around talking about metrics and stack ranks (even if you’re on top). Identify the key behaviors that will change the game, and focus yourself and your team on executing on those consistently. You build a brand by playing the game, not by measurement and commentary. 

Relationships

4- People before Projects
Of course projects are important (see above) but results without relationships leave people burned out, frustrated, and unlikely to give you their best effort. Take the time to establish genuine connection with the people you work with. Yes, you have time, because it will save you time downstream, not to mention building a reputation that will attract “A players” to want to work with you the next time, which of course, makes everything easier.

5- Prioritize Peers
Most managers understand the importance of supporting their team and making their boss look good. But to build a brand that lasts– have your peers backs (see 8 reasons your peers rate you low on your 360 feedback assessment) and go out of your way to make their lives easier. Trust me. I wish I learned this one sooner. Your boss may want you at the top of the stack rank, but your bosses boss wants a team of people working together to accomplish the bigger picture. A high tide rises all boats. Do what you can to be helpful.

Confidence

6- Take a Stand
When I first started writing my blog, the folks at Verizon got a little twitchy. And, I had no intention of leaving my day job at that point. I just wanted to help spread the word that you can get results without losing your soul, and yes, you can blend the bottom line with the human spirit. I loved my work at Verizon (and received the highest performance reviews during this time) AND I had something larger to say. I thank God every day that I had the courage to speak up and was open to next steps.

7. Expand your Expertise 
If you want to build your brand, get very, very good at something important. When everyone tells you, “You’re the best!”–that’s a great sign… keep learning and work harder. AND work on broadening your knowledge. I started at becoming the best HR expect I could be… and then made a career out of leading teams where I was not the expert in the field. I learned so much. It pays to be a “utility player” with deep knowledge in at least one arena.

Humility

8- Channel Challengers
One of the best ways to improve your brand is to know what people are saying behind your back. Ask for feedback. Say thank you. Work to improve. If you want to be the best possible version of you, surround yourself with people you respect who will tell you the truth.

9- Own the Ugly
Here’s a secret. When you screw up… your team already knows. If you want to foster respect and build a trusted Winning Well brand, admit your mistakes and make it right.

There are no shortcuts to a Winning Well brand. It’s showing up consistently day after day oriented in confident humility with a laser focus on results AND relationships.

Five Ways to Win Well with Your Assistant

He’s in the background responding to emails, setting appointments, or fixing your website. She’s overseeing projects, and clicking off those daily/weekly/monthly tasks that you may forget about while you focus on what YOU do best. He’s the glue that keeps things together, she’s the one who graciously gatekeeps, protecting your time and workload when she can. That’s why it’s vital for you to develop a Winning Well relationship with your assistant(s.) 

Let’s Grow Leaders/Winning Well has a team of several people who assist in the mission. My particular role is Executive Assistant / Winning Well Ambassador, which means I take care of a myriad of things for Karin (and David) including staying in communication and coordination mode with other team members. Karin invited me to write a blog post and I decided to share five of the Winning Well principles that you can apply as you interact with those “rock stars” on your team.

Blend the bottom line with the human spirit. Your assistant is not only your right hand, but also a vital, interesting person with lots to contribute! Make sure to take time to get to know them as a person and learn what energizes them. In our case, Karin and I enjoy being connected on Facebook, and having a regular Zoom meeting. She’s also willing to listen and give input into my journey as a small business owner.

Leaders don’t motivate, they cultivate. I’ve grown in my professional life since being on the LGL/WW team. We’ve seen the business expand, and the day-to-day needs change. We talk honestly about the best place I can fit and areas in which we both can grow in how we communicate, the roles we play, and more. Have regular conversations with your assistant about how they are growing and what areas of responsibility and workflow may need to be looked at again.

Nothing inspires a team more than being willing to admit a mistake. Some time ago, I made what I considered to be a pretty substantial mistake with Karin’s work. I owned up and made a commitment to making sure it didn’t happen again. Instead of hammering me about it, Karin acknowledged it but helped us quickly move on. She could tell that I already had thought through how to avoid it in the future. She also has taken responsibility when she felt responsible for an oversight.

If you’ve communicated once, you haven’t communicated. We’ve found it valuable to revisit the “why” behind why certain tasks are needed. Even recently, Karin reiterated the rationale behind a particular initiative I run with regularly. As an administrative pro, it’s easy to get caught up in the systems and workflow, and neglect to remember the big picture. A good manager will make sure their “behind-the-scenes” staff are up-to-date and on board with the organization’s mission and values.

Make the MIT (Most Important Thing) clear. Karin doesn’t play the MIT card on everything…but when she tells me that a particular task is an MIT, she explains why, and I know that is something to make sure I focus on consistently and make a priority.  

One of my daily MIT’s is to Help Overwhelmed Professionals Excel. It’s a privilege to have Karin as part of my client family and to help her have a smoother day. In fact, I recently released a free 30 minute course to help professionals Unlock the Doors to a Peaceful Work Day: Five Keys to Putting Together a Smoother Day. With her encouragement, I invite you to check it out for a few tips about how you can experience a little more peace in yours.