Mind the MIT Let's Grow Leaders

Four Questions to Keep Your Team Focused and Working on What Matters Most

When I look back on my career at Verizon at the times my teams truly knocked it out the park–the times we increased results exponentially and led the Nation in results or had a major turnaround pulling a team out of the abyss, there is one common characteristic. We had the team laser-focused on the one or two critical behaviors that mattered most at the frontline– and they were doing them consistently.

Seems so basic and easy? Right? And yet it’s so easy to get distracted–focusing on the 27 other “critical” metrics on your scorecard, or the merger, or some special project, or…

4 Questions to Keep Your Team Focused on What Matters Most #MindTheMIT

If you’re looking to get your team FOCUSED on what matters most… it starts by IDENTIFYING what matters most. And then, consistently reinforcing those behaviors (as my teams would descirbe “Like a maniac”) through every means possible.

What Matters most?

  • What do our customers really need from us–consistently? (Not 37 things. Pick one or two.)
  • What values have we committed to?
  • When we walk away from our work, what will we be proud to have accomplished?
  • Win or lose, how will we know we’ve done our very best?

Which actions have the most Impact?

  • What are the critical behaviors that drive your results?
  • If we could only do one thing, which behavior would have the greatest impact?
  • What invisible behaviors might we forget? (eg: sleep, time with others, fun)

Where Do I / we need to say No?

  • What are we choosing to do instead of our MIT?
  • How can we make a different choice?
  • What are silly, creative, impossible ways to do things differently?
  • Where do we need to have tough conversations?

How Will I/we stay Disciplined?

  • What are my/our biggest distractions?
  • How can we ensure they don’t derail us?
  • How will we keep the MIT in front of us all the time?
  • How will we hold ourselves accountable for maintaining focus on the MIT?

To make it easier for you to use this tool, you can download it for free here. 

4 Secrets to a Successful Performance Improvement Conversation

You sit down for an earnest performance improvement conversation. Things improve for a minute. And the next day (or the day after), she’s back to her “hot mess” behavior.

Sound familiar?

Maybe it’s her. Some people are hard to reach.

But before you write her off as “unfixable,” take a hard look at your approach.

Center Your Performance Improvement Conversation Around These Four Components

Successful performance improvement conversations should include discussion around the following components:

Clarity: “I know what to do.”

Almost every time I work with supervisors on improving their coaching, they are sure they have communicated what to do. And, of course, they’ve been crystal clear on many levels. What is often missing is isolating the very specific behaviors that must change for the employee to be successful. What exactly do you want your employee to do? How will they (and you) know that’s happening. Isolate and breakdown the behaviors you most need for success. Note: “A positive attitude,” “More customer focus” and “Being more strategic” don’t count. Be specific.

Conflicts: “This is where I’m stuck”

Listen here. Closely. It’s easy to discount the “reasons” they can’t improve:  competing priorities; overload; mixed messages; customer angst. This is the part of the conversation that will give you insights to not only what’s getting in the way for her, but also what is driving your high-performers nuts and frustrating your customers.

Confidence: “I can do this.”

Okay, here comes the hard part. If you don’t think she can get there from here, she will see that a mile away. First do a gut check. Are you giving her the benefit of the doubt? Do you believe this is possible? (If not, cross your t’s and dot your i’s on your performance documentation.) But if you are coming from a place of “Yes you can,” be clear on why. Show her examples of how she’s done this before. Break down the goals into bite size behaviors. Start small and be impressed.

Conviction: “I’m committed to doing it.”

If here in lies the challenge, start by asking questions. Why does she choose to work here? What makes here feel great at the end of the day? Connect what you’re asking of her to why it matters.

Holding successful performance improvement conversations takes practice. Consistent focus on these four areas will help you get to the root cause of the issue more quickly. Don’t be afraid to ask her, “What else can I do to be most helpful?” And then, really listen to the what she has to say.

10 Things to Do When Your Team's Not Listening

Her call touched me deeply. She was trying so hard…to establish the right vision, to key in on the important behaviors, to scaffold and develop…and her team just wasn’t listening.

Perhaps you’ve been there too. You’ve got vision. You care deeply. You teach. You repeat yourself. But no one seems to “get it”?

Here are ten questions worth asking when you hit that wall–when your team is just not listening. Note this is a preview of Winning Well Insights from our new book. You can download the first few chapters for free here).

1- Do you say it in different ways?
People learn differently—some by seeing things, some by hearing, some through practice, and so on. As you practice communicating frequently, use different techniques. Try our Winning Well 6×3 communication strategy: repeat critical information at least six times through three or more channels. For example, to communicate a new procedure, you might use email, a staff meeting, and one-on-one meetings for your three channels.

2- Do you say it often enough?
We have worked with so many frustrated leaders who complain that their team is insubordinate or unresponsive. When asked if they communicated the issue to their team, they say “yes.” Here are a few of the answers we got when we asked, When was the last time you communicated the issue?
“Last year.”
“At that off-site the year before last.”
“We were in the hallway six months ago.”
“At the staff meeting last month.”
“In an email.”

If you’ve communicated something once, you haven’t communicated. Managers who win well communicate frequently.

3- Do you check for understanding?
An idea is rarely as clear to the listener as it is to the speaker. Ask your listeners what they heard, what they understood you to be asking, and what they understand the consequences to be.

4- Have you explained the “whys”?
Even military briefings include the reasons and objectives behind the orders. Sometimes people’s lack of response results from not understanding the consequences of their action or inaction.

5- Are you ordering or inviting?
Invitation is the language of collaboration. We don’t mean the literal phrasing of the words (although that can make a difference too), so much as the attitude behind them. People know when you focus on relationships along with results. Do you communicate that you’re better than everyone else and they should serve you? Or do you invite people with mutual dignity to participate with you?

6- Do  you know what matters to them?
Everyone values something. If the values you promote conflict with your people’s values, you’ll have trouble being heard.

7- Do you have credibility?
If your team can say, “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” and they have evidence to back up their conclusion, expect to be ignored. Credibility is built, not demanded. If you don’t know what you’re doing in a certain arena, admit it and seek out others with the expertise to supplement what you do know. When your people can’t trust you or rely on you, but you insist on compliance, you fight an uphill battle you cannot win in the long run.

8- Do you listen?
If you don’t hear what people tell you, they’ll naturally think you don’t care, they’ll lose heart, and they will stop caring. To learn whether or not you’re hearing people, ask a few team members to share with you: “Is there anything you’ve been trying to tell me that I’m just not hearing?” Be quiet and listen. Thank them for sharing, and respond in time. You don’t have to agree, but you do need to hear. It takes both internal values of confidence and humility to truly listen without defending yourself. When you listen, you strengthen the connection with your people and learn what areas of training, execution, and accountability need attention.

9- Do you speak their language?
Do the words and concepts you use mean the same thing to your team that they mean to you? Do you share numbers and facts when stories and demonstrations are needed—or vice versa?

10- What do you really want?
Whenever you have management challenges, the first thing to examine is your own motivation. Are you truly focused on results and relationships, or are other self-protecting or self motivations creeping in? There’s a big difference between wanting what’s best for the team and wanting what’s best for you. So what is it you really want? If the answer is submission—“I know what’s best, and they’d better listen to me”—then you won’t ever have a team that wins well. They will act out of fear when they have to and ignore you when they feel it’s safe. When you want more—for the group to succeed together, to make an impact—you’re on your way to Winning Well

If you feel as if no one’s listening, ask yourself these ten questions, be honest with yourself, and take action in response to your answers. Winning Well managers master these challenging communication moments.

Want to learn more about Winning Well? You can see our book trailer, and download the first few chapters for free by clicking here. 

The Amazing Side Effect of Make-It-Right Customer Service

I thought I was getting ahead of the blizzard, After all, the snow wasn’t supposed to start until Friday morning. But apparently I wasn’t the only one thinking Thursday morning was a good time to slip out to our local Trader Joes. Every register was open and the every line stretched all the way to the back of the store. I had to give them credit–they had clearly planned for the onslaught and called in reinforcements.

Knowing that customers weren’t happy, the manager was getting on the microphone being a merry as possible.

“Hey everybody, oh my gosh, did you hear it’s going to snow?”

 A few minutes later she was back on the mic.

“Okay raise your hand if you are number 7 in your line.”

We all worked together to count. Nice distraction.

“Wow! Just wow! Today is your special day! Everyone of you in the number 7 spot gets a candy bar.”

She approached the #7s behind me, “Can you share?” The skinny 70 somethings behind me looked at her longingly and she caved, “Okay here’s two.”

She was clearly trying, and empowered.

After about 45 minutes, I was next in line. The woman in front of me tried to pay with her smartphone and it completely crashed the computer register in my lane which I had already observed was lane 8, #justincasetherewasanothercontest. At this point I was hungry.

They had to call headquarters IT. After 10 minutes of trouble shooting, I turned to the candy-bar-crunching 70-something- number-7s behind me.

“Okay, they were doing great, but now this is a fiasco.  I’m a leadership and organizational effectiveness consultant, here’s what I think they need to do next… I’m so ready to go give them some free consulting. Do you think that would be rude?”

They were all ears on my plan, so we began chatting about how I could offer to help in the spirit of being useful vs. obnoxious.

As it turned out no intervention was necessary. The jolly manager once again grabbed the mic.

“Okay, so this happened…. we have a lane down, so here’s what we’re going to do. If you’re in lane 8 raise your hand.”

We were all ears in lane 8, and eagerly raised our hands in surrender. Everyone else just rolled their eyes.

“First of all, if you are in lane 8, Steve here is going to come by and ask you what your favorite Trader Joe’s item is. He’s going to go get it for you and you will get that for free.”

But here’s where the rest of you come in. Some of these folks in lucky lane 8 have been waiting for nearly an hour just like you. So, you don’t have to do this, but if you would be willing to let them step in front of you, raise both of your hands (yup, that’s how many feet of snow we’re getting), and you too will get your favorite Trader Joe’s item for free. Raised hands all around, and the people began chatting and moving in an orderly fashion.

Her plan trumped mine by a landslide.

The lady next to me kindly let me step in front. We both got our steaks for free.

As my new cashier was ringing me up, she was all smiles.

“How great is this?” She questioned. “Can you imagine ANY OTHER grocery store that would respond this way?

We both knew the answer.

“This is why I work here.”

6 Competencies Your Sales Team Must Master

My husband looked at me in bewilderment as I explained why I couldn’t buy that “perfectly good” house in the neighborhood with the great schools, close to his work, UMD where I teach, BWI airport, our church, and our gym.

“I love the house. It’s a great community. But I just can’t trust that builder. If they hire someone LIKE HER as their sales manager, I question who’s running the place. How can they allow her to act so cocky? How can we be sure their project managers or contractors will be any less self-centered? I’m sorry, I know you like it, but can we just keep looking a little more?”

We settled on a similar house a mile down the road. They probably thought it was the fireplace options. Nope. It was “Sarah.”

6 Competencies Your Sales Team Must Master

Great selling never feels like it. That’s why so many companies are moving away from traditional sales roles and teaching their teams to be “consultants,” “strategic partners,” and “solutions architects.” Of course a rose by any other name… Here are six key competencies fundamental to your sales team’s success.

1. Knowing When To Walk Away

Kenny Rodgers was right, at least on this note.  Your team will do more harm selling the wrong fit. Train your team to understand the value proposition behind: “I’m not sure this is the best solution for you right now, may I recommend…(insert competitors name here).” Trust me, I do this all the time in my own business. It’s painful. But this approach builds loyalty and referrals. Never sell anyone anything that isn’t just right.

Your customers must know that your team has best interests at heart. They have to be sure you care more about their mission and the greater good, than your numbers.

2. Asking Great Questions

Your team can’t make great recommendations if they don’t get the scene. Train them to ask strategic, open-ended questions and truly listen to the response.

3. Showing Up With Confident Humility

Your customers want to know you have a great solution to their problem. Start with a great product that your team can be proud of. Then work hard to get your team past their own agendas, listening well to offer real solutions that meet the need. If it’s ever more about the sales guy than the customer, you’re sunk. You can’t fake confident humility.

4. Building Genuine Connection

People don’t do business with businesses, they do business with human beings. Encourage your team to slow down and learn about the people they’re working with. Then stay connected by remaining interested. “How did your daughter do in that game?” “How was your trip?” “Is your wife feeling any better?”

5. Staying Patient

Yes, I know that most B2B sales take at least seven touch-points before the decision maker takes action. Of course your best sales people stay hungry. But no one wants to be rushed into a decision. Customers appreciate being given the space to make the right decision.

6. Giving Generously

Almost every day I get asked, “If you keep giving away all this free content why would any one ever hire you?” Sure there are companies that will take your free ______ (trial, consulting, white paper) and run. But those aren’t the clients you want to work with in the long run. Teach your sales team to give generously and add value above all else. It might take some time, but your company will be top of mind when they’re (and others they know) are ready.

In an era where almost anything can be bought with one click, if your customer wants to talk to a human, be sure they’re a good one.

The Biggest Reason Employees Stop Caring

When I was in my sales and customer service executive roles, whenever I needed a pick-me-up, I would go talk to the new hire classes.

They’re fired up, full of ambition, and ready to serve.

“Raise your hand if you’re looking to be promoted into management.”

Every hand in the room goes up.

Sadly, in many companies something happens along the way.

Talk to the same group a year in, and the sentiment is not quite the same. Just why does that happen?

Please comment and I will capture your thoughts on a future post– what are the main reasons employees stop caring?

Here’s an excerpt from my Results That Last Program.

P.S. If you want to take a quick look inside my Results That Last Program, here’s an easy link to preview the first 2 modules. Please reach out to me if you would like a full demo.

A Deeper Dive into Developing Your People

When I ask managers where they regret not spending enough time, unequivocally, the number one answer is “Not spending enough time developing my people.” There never seems to be enough time, or resources, or support from above, or fill in your favorite blank here _______. And yet when I ask managers to identify one thing they KNOW would improve their results, you guessed it… the same answer, “If only I had more time to develop my people.”

Perhaps you’ve felt that way. Trust your instinct.

I will never forget the year that I shifted my approach to spending 30% of my time developing people–within three months results had taken a hockey stick turn for the better and engagement was way up.

Sure, it’s scary.

Yes, it takes serious effort.

But no matter how competent you are, you are one person.

No matter how hard you work, developing a team of A players will blow anything you can do on your own.

Spending 10% of your time developing your people is standard. For three months, try investing 30% and see what happens…

A Metaphor From the Deep

As I was doing a lot of underwater photography while scuba diving in Bonaire over the Christmas holidays, my mind kept moving to what a wonderful metaphor underwater photography is for employee development. So here’s a bit of deep-dive reflection for you as you begin your 2016 developmental planning process.

Be Still and Observe

48c5bb99-4289-44d8-b7c0-b5306141ab63

Sometimes the biggest developmental needs are the least obvious. Invest the time to observe behaviors across a variety of contexts and situations. Where do they feel most confident? What scares them? How are others responding to their style? Where do they need to be challenged? In which areas do they need some additional training?

Anticipate the Future

It’s impossible to get a decent picture of a swimming fish by pointing the camera where the fish is, you’ve got to anticipate where they’re heading. It’s the same with employee development. Great employee developers envision what their employees are capable of becoming and help people see themselves as more than they ever thought possible. Then they build the development plan with that lens in mind.sting ray

Be Patient

lion fishThe hardest part of underwater photography for me is patience. My inclination is to chase the fish, which of course scares them. Sometimes it’s important to move a little slower, to build confidence and incremental improvement.

There’s no greater gift you can give your team then challenging them to become more than they ever thought possible. Go deep.

 

How to Launch a Successful Project

Have you ever been handed an “impossible” project, only to realize that the next step is to convince your team it’s completely doable?

In this video, I share two manager’s responses to the identical task. The project was identical, their team’s response and level of engagement is worlds apart.

I imagine both scenarios will feel scarily familiar. What can you do to encourage more from scene number two in the New Year?

Thanks so much for your support of Let’s Grow Leaders in 2015. I love the feedback I’m receiving on the 2016 planning survey. If you have asked for something specific, and not included your contact information, please send me a note to let me know how I can reach out to you.

Also for anyone near the DC area, I’m excited to be supporting the Project Management Day of Service, where hundreds of project managers will volunteer their time to help non-profits organize and plan their projects. There are lots of ways to get involved, from volunteering to signing up your non-profit to benefit from the free services, or becoming a sponsor. It’s an amazing endeavor. Last year they had over 400 project managers donating their time and helped over 100 organizations. I encourage you to check it out.

I’m not going to be writing between Christmas and New Years, spending time with extended family and headed out on a scuba trip (Sebastian’s first, now that he has aged in at 10.)

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Namaste,

Karin

grow in peace

Winning Well books at the bookstore

The Inside Story

As we prepare for our Winning Well speaking tour, I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to talk with the media about our mission to help leaders Win Well–without losing their soul.

Today, I’m sharing My Interview with Dr. Gayle Carson.

We discuss:

  • Why I left Verizon to pursue this dream
  • The most difficult part of transitioning from executive to entrepreneur
  • How I’m looking to make a difference in the world
  • What makes my multi-media course unique and who can most benefit
  • Advice for others beginning their entrepreneurial journey
  • What inspired me to write Winning Well
  • The art of collaboration
  • My 5 year vision for Let’s Grow Leaders

Winning Well-3DWinning Well is now available for pre-order (lowest price guarantee, and eligible for Prime shipping), click here. If you’re an LGL fan, please know that pre-orders significantly enhance market positioning…and will help us spread the Winning Well mission more quickly.

AMAZON is offering 25% off any book through Dec. 14th. See offer here. 

We are booking dates now for our Winning Well speaking tour. If you’re interested learning more, please call me at 443-750-1249.

California LGL Community

The Winning Well Tour is taking me to CA for 2 weeks in May. And since CA is a long way from MD, I’d love to add more sites to the itinerary. I’ll be in Long Beach the week of 5/10 and Santa Monica the week of 5/26. This would be a great opportunity to add speaking/training/consulting  without having to fund the travel. Please reach out if you would like to talk more.

 

Great 360 Degree Feedback Tools

8 Reasons Your Peers Rate You Low on Your 360 Feedback Assessment

Without a doubt, the peer rating is by far the most consistent shocker for folks taking a 360 degree feedback assessment. Managers usually have a good grip on what their boss thinks, and at least an inkling of the pain points for their direct reports, but for some reason peer feedback tends to feel like stepping on a Lego in the middle of the night– yikes, where did THAT come from?

As I work with managers to dig underneath such painful perceptions, here are 8 key issues that continue to surface.

8 Reasons Your Peers Rate You Poorly

  1. You fight for your team at all costs.
    Of course this is generally a good characteristic, but anything taken to extremes can become toxic. Sometimes the best person for the special assignment is not the guy on your team, it’s Bobby on Mark’s team. Sometimes your team screws up. Sometimes the bigger bonus needs to go to the guy on the other team who knocked it out of the park, even though your teams been working hard too. Yes, advocate for your team. But also take a step back to be able to stay objective.
  2. You hoard talent.
    You’ve nurtured gaggle of A players, but now you’re afraid to let them go. You’re sure to put the best talent on your projects and give the leftovers to support other objectives.
  3. You’re lazy.
    They’re tired of picking up the slack.
  4. They don’t know you.
    You show up, do you work, and go home. You don’t let anyone know who you are a person. It’s hard to trust a bot.
  5. You don’t know them.
    You work side-by-side but never take a personal interest in anything they’re doing. They’re far more likely to trust the guy in the next cube who remembers their mother is ill and that they like to eat pizza on Tuesdays.
  6. You withhold best practices.
    You’ve figured out a way to do the work faster, cheaper, or with higher quality–and you enjoy being at the top of the stack rank, so you’re slow to share the secret to your success.
  7. You don’t follow-through.
    They can’t count on you to do what you say you will.
  8. You under-communicate.
    You’re doing great work, but it’s in a silo. No one knows quite what is going on.

If you don’t know where you stand with your peers, it’s worth asking. Effective peer relationships are one of the consistent predictors of career advancement. 

Now Available

At last, my next book, Winning Well (being published by AMACOM) is now available for pre-order on Amazon.

Winning Well-3DIt can feel like a rigged game. Executives set impossible goals, so managers drive their teams to burnout trying to deliver. Employees demand connection and support, so managers focus on relationships and fail to make the numbers. The fallout is stress, frustration, and disengagement, and not just among team members―two-thirds of managers report being disengaged.

To succeed, managers need balance: they must push people to achieve while creating an environment that makes them truly want to. Winning Well offers a quick, practical action plan―complete with examples, stories, online assessments, and more―for getting the results you need. Managers learn how to:

• Stamp out the corrosive win-at-all-costs mentality
• Focus on the game, not just the score
• Reinforce behaviors that produce results
• Set clear expectations―delegating outcomes rather than focusing on process
• Celebrate even small successes
• Correct poor performance using the INSPIRE accountability method
• Demonstrate confidence and humility
• Energize teams to sustain excellent performance
• And more!

Today’s hypercompetitive economy has created tense, overextended workplaces. Keep it productive, rewarding, and even fun with this one-stop success kit.

I know this book will add value for your teams. Pre-orders significantly help the positioning of the book in the marketplace. I truly appreciate the support of the LGL community in spreading the word, and buying some advance copies for your team.  

I’m also booking keynotes and workshops for the Winning Well book tour this Spring. Please call me at 443 750-1249 to discuss further.

6 Reasons to Give Your Team More Upward Exposure

“If I bring my SME along to the meeting, my boss will think I don’t know what I’m doing.”

“She’s a little rough around the edges. She’s not ready for that kind of exposure.”

“Not all exposure is good exposure. What if he says something stupid?”

These are just a few of the reasons managers give for keeping their employees in the background doing the heavy lifting, while they present the results and negotiate the political landscape. Of course, from one perspective that makes a lot of sense. It’s more efficient to have the workers doing the work, and let the managers explain it. But there’s also much lost in such division of labor.

When a manager serves as an Ambassador, they know that true advocacy also involves teaching their team how to position the work that they do.

6 Reasons to Give Your Team More Upward Exposure

    1. The Spotlight Will Show Up When You Least Expect It
      Perhaps the most pragmatic reason to get your team comfortable speaking at the next level is that someday, you won’t be around and they’ll need to. Some exec will start asking questions as they poke about, and if your employee’s not prepared, he’ll likely stick his foot in his mouth.
    2. It’s the Best Way to Understand the Bigger Picture
      No matter how many times you explain “why” you are asking your team to do something, somehow when your boss says it, the lightbulbs go off. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard my managers say, “You know I said that exact thing, but when you said it, they listened.” Sure it’s frustrating. But the point isn’t who gets credit for getting through–the point is getting through.
    3. They’ll Learn By Watching You
      Bringing your employees along gives them a great chance to watch you in a more senior environment. They’ll learn more from watching than anything you could tell them.
    4. They’ll Learn By Watching Your Boss
      I’ll never forget the first time I walked onto the C-level floor. The atmosphere was completely different than the scurry below. There was a calm intensity and standard protocol. Not easy to explain. The only way I learned to swim in those waters was to watch the bigger fish.
    5. The Preparation Is Great Development
      The conversation you have while preparing for, and debriefing, the session is full of opportunities for growth and connection.
    6. It Takes Time to Build a Brand
      Don’t wait until Jane is perfectly ready to be promoted until you start talking up her accomplishments and skills. A slow and steady trickle of positive exposure will lay a strong foundation when it’s time to throw her hat in the ring.

It’s natural to want to protect your team until their completely ready for higher level exposure. Don’t throw them into the spotlight under-prepared, but regular exposure to higher level people and strategy will go a long way in accelerating their development.

You're Busy, But Are You Productive?

I see them in every organization I work with–the super-busy, really stressed manager who gets in early, stays late, eats lunch at their desk, and still can’t get it all done. Sadly they’re also often resentful that their performance doesn’t warrant an “exceptional” rating or a promotion. They lament: “Can’t they see how hard I’m working? I’m sacrificing everything for this job.” The problem is not lack of effort, it’s effectiveness. Often this stems from letting other people set your agenda and spending too much time on tasks that add little value.

This week, I was interviewed for the terrific post by Kelsey Manning in the Levo League:  11 Differences Between Busy People and Productive People. It’s so timely for our LGL Accelerator week, that I’ve shared an exerpt here. I loved all 11 tips.

The Difference Between Busy and Productive

1. Productive people view productivity differently.

Get rid of that checklist mentality, stat. “Busy people concentrate on the task completion aspect of duties and responsibilities—maintaining a ‘checklist’ focus—while others embrace a broader perspective of contributions that measurably contribute to the higher strategic objectives of the organization, says Donn LeVie, Jr., a career strategist and former Fortune 500 hiring manager. “Workaholics ask: ‘What’s next on the list?’ while high performers ask: ‘What’s going to provide the biggest bang for the buck for the organization?’”

2. Productive people understand which tasks actually matter.

The tasks that feel urgent are not always the most important. Productive people understand that the point of any job is to deliver value. “It’s vital to understand which behaviors and actions are getting results and which are not,” says Karin Hurt, CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders. “And then, you need to have the courage to stop wasting time on the behaviors that get no ROI [return on investment]. The biggest time-suckers are conference calls and unproductive meetings. Truly productive people don’t sit on conference calls that don’t add value. If you find you can multi-task through an entire call, that’s not an indicator that you’re productive, it’s a sign that you shouldn’t be on that call. Speak up and change the approach.”

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