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Inspirational Quotes of the Day

“The secret to my success is that I bit off more than I could chew and chewed as fast as I could.”

-Paul Hogan

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Inspirational Quotes of the Day

“If you want to achieve a high goal, you’re going to have to take some chances.”

-Alberto Salazar



Build your Self Discipline Muscle….
January 18, 2011, 10:23 AM
Filed under: Communication, Leadership Quotes, Strategies, Team Development Strategies

“Self discipline means deliberately aligning our energy with our values and priorities. Through mental practice we focus in on a task before us and let other temptations and distractions pass us by.”

—Dalai Lama

 Every year we undertake the ritual of making New Year’s resolutions. And, inevitably, we break them.  Whether it’s losing that extra 20 pounds or practicing more patience at work, we’ll do what’s necessary for a week or two before old habits creep in; and, well, you know the rest of the story.

 The New Year brings optimism and the feeling that we can truly do something different, new, exciting, impactful, and above all, lasting.  And when February rolls around and we have let those new and exciting goals fade back into January, we feel like we’ve failed…and we fall right back into the same old routine.

 Here’s an idea: don’t make new goals. Stick with the one that has been floating in your head for years. You know what it is. It is a good goal right? And if you accomplished it, wouldn’t you feel great? Wouldn’t you be a lot farther ahead than where you are now? You would…and all you need is a healthy dose of self-discipline.

 But how do you do that? We all know people who seem to have good self-discipline. Can it be acquired, or is it a gift from the gods? Most definitely it can be acquired, and you can do it in the next 30 days. Here’s how:

 1. Identify your top priority. Let’s say your goal is to increase your sales volume by 20%. For the next 30 days you’re going to place 80% of your focus on this priority. 

2. Identify the steps needed to accomplish this objective. Have a brainstorm session with yourself. Ask your supervisor. Interview top performers. Find out what they do. Then write down the steps you need to take. Let’s say you come up with five activities that, when you do them, will lead to accomplishing your goal.

3. Focus on the activities that produce results. Everyday faithfully complete the tasks that will lead you to meeting your goal. Do not move on to anything else on your agenda until these things are completed. If you have five activities that will lead to meeting your goal, do those five. Apply all of your energy to completing these tasks everyday.

 But you say, “I have a lot of other things on my plate!” Yes, it’s true that we all have a multiplicity of tasks, objectives and to-do’s that end up on our desk. But none of them is as important and your most important goal. That’s where self-discipline comes in to play.

 When you focus your attention and energy on your most important goal and you don’t divert your attention to other things, something magical happens.  You meet your goal! And you meet it a lot quicker than if you’re trying to juggle everything at once.

 The other things on your list? Get them done after, and only after, you’ve completed your priority tasks. This may be uncomfortable at first. But, as you apply yourself daily to accomplishing your important tasks, you’ll find that you get the important things done faster. You build “priority muscles” that push you forward.

 There’s also a fourth step to this formula: you’ll become more disciplined in what you’re willing to take on or add to your plate. Focusing on priorities places everything you do in perspective, which will inevitably lead you to setting clearly defined boundaries. You’ll be more discerning about what you’re willing to take on. And when you do take on something new, you can set realistic expectations as to when it will get done…making it clearly understood that the bulk of your energy will be put into your #1 priority goal.

 Do this for 30 days. Do it and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your important goals. As you meet your first objective or incorporate those activities into a daily routine (like making healthy choices), the next goal on your list can rise to the top and you can apply the same self-disciplined approach as you did before.

 By the end of the year you very likely will have met or exceeded your goals.  And when the New Year comes and you set some new goals, you can do so with confidence because you now have a set of self-disciplined “priority muscles” that will lead you to success



Overcome the Stress of Working with Someone Who Intimidates You

Is there someone in your office that you just have difficulty communicating with? Do you walk five floors just to get away from them? Do you create distractions down the hall in order to avoid seeing them? And, when you do have to talk to them, do they seem not to care about or understand your needs?

This isn’t about them. It’s about you. (After all, they don’t have this problem with you, right?)

So, what can you do? You’re tired of feeling like a shrinking violet. Here are some easy and relatively painless strategies you can employ that will empower you in any conversation.

1.   Don’t take it personally. Right. Easy for me to say. But, look at the situation realistically and without the emotion (or thoughts of future disasters). We often make things more difficult than they are or need to be. The emotional junk-in-the-trunk we carry around gets in the way of rational thought. You know this is true. We all know it’s true. We’ll tend to create the conversation between our ears before speaking a single word aloud. So, stop doing that. Focus on the positive. One way to do this is to acknowledge that you have no control over what the other person will say. But, you do have complete control over how you respond. Acknowledging this and practicing it will help you to not view any workplace conversation as personal.

2. Strategize. What do you want? What is the path of least resistance that will generate the specific result you want? To what kind of communication does this person respond well? Do you need to paint the picture with a broad stroke? Give minute detail? Flatter? Stick to facts? Create a plan before you engage in the conversation and stick to the plan.

3.Charge neutral. Let’s face it, sometimes in the heat of the moment some people respond rudely, abruptly, with profanity, or otherwise act offensively. While our internal response may want us to put a verbal fist to their nose, or shrink away and find a safe place to hide, neither gets you what you want. Charge neutral means remaining calm, composed and in-control regardless of the situation. This type of response diffuses the emotion in the air and helps bring things back to ground zero. The side benefit is that the more you practice this, the more your reputation grows as being someone who does well under pressure. Here are a few great examples to help you create responses that work for you:

“The way you’re responding makes it sound like you’re too busy to deal with this right now. When would be a better time?”

“Is there other, more specific information that you need that would help resolve this?”

“It appears that you’re upset. I’ll come back later when we can talk calmly.”

4. Be direct. Don’t dance around the issue. Let them know specifically why this conversation is taking place. You are requesting feedback, a request, direction or a decision. You might find that they respond better to this direct style.

Finally, put the emphasis where it needs to be. Don’t focus on the person but on how you communicate, where you’ll feel empowered and valued. Recognize that none of this has anything to do with the person you find intimidating. No one can make you feel a certain way…but you.



5 Strategies for Success in Working with a New Boss

Just when we’ve got the old boss trained…you get the picture. We all know it’s a pain to get a new boss or supervisor. A number of serious questions will inevitably arise.  The thoughts and questions which arise may lead to concern, even to the point of anxiety. Will my new boss like me? How will he know how much I’ve accomplished before he got here? Am I going to have to prove myself all over again?

 In these times of mobility, downsizing and right-sizing, transition in managerial and supervisory positions is frequent. It’s possible that you might have two, even three new bosses over the course of a couple of years. This revolving door can be tiring and frustrating.

There are some simple things that you can do to minimize the frustration and make life at work a little easier. And it all has to do with communication.

 

What are their priorities?

In coming into a new position, a supervisor or manager is going to have some initial objectives that are important to her. What are they? Set some time aside to ask about her priorities. During your exploration, also take notice of how she communicates. Is she a big picture person or a detail person? Will she have an open-door, or do you need to send a memo or e-mail?

 

How open are they?

First, how open are you? Many times your openness will actually facilitate more openness and transparency from the new supervisor. If he feels at ease with you and you are at ease with him,, the more fluid the conversation will be. Put yourself in your supervisor’s shoes. Notice that he’s just as nervous as you. Creating openness puts him at ease and facilitates more honest and open communication. 

Communicate your needs.

Once you establish a relationship of openness and learn about her priorities, communicate your own needs. Present your work style and ask how that meshes with the expectations of your manager. To what do you respond best? Discuss this with her. With an idea toward establishing mutual expectations, be very clear about the kind of support you would like…the kind of support that helps you do your best work.

 

Can you ease their transition?

This isn’t about being a “teacher’s pet”.  It’s about creating an environment for teamwork. Your new supervisor wants to succeed just as much as you do. And if you demonstrate leadership by helping the new supervisor move more easily into his position, you will establish yourself as someone he can rely upon.  

Work smarter.

Don’t guess or make assumptions about the expectations of your new supervisor. Working smarter means asking questions like: What specific information are you looking for in relation to XYZ? What can I share about this project? What would you like to see from me on this? Again, this is about creating expectations and setting a foundation for good communication. The more you ask, the more you’ll learn. And the more you learn, the better off you’ll be in working with your new boss.

 

So, rather than see your new boss as a pain, see the situation as an opportunity. Like so many other challenges, your attitude determines your path. There’s probably a lot you can learn from your new supervisor. Conversely, you have a lot to offer as well. By being open to learning and being of assistance to your new boss, you may also be opening yourself to far more success and satisfaction.



Friendship in the Workplace Can Be TOXIC…

 

Supervisors and managers beware—what you may think is an innocent gesture of friendship can end up as painful and uncomfortable, even toxic.  We’re talking about social interactions outside of the workplace.  You may think that meeting for drinks after work or taking those who report to you out for dinner is a good thing.  It can be sometimes; but, unfortunately, it is risky business.  More often than not, this friendly gesture can become a big headache.

The first challenge is in making certain that everyone who reports to you is treated the same.  That means that every invitation for drinks, dinner, or any other social event needs to be extended to all those who report to you.  What about those who decide they don’t want to participate?  Will they then begin to view your treatment of them as retaliatory because they didn’t want to join you for dinner?  It’s awkward at best and destructive of the dynamics of the workplace at worst.

The second challenge is whether those who work for you begin to see their relationships with you as more friendship and less work.  Perhaps you’ve shared a little too much information, making them feel they are trusted insiders, or making you vulnerable for sharing more than you should have.  In those cases, employees may begin to feel a little too comfortable, productivity may begin to suffer, and you are now in the uncomfortable position of reasserting yourself and having to remind them that you are the boss.

Consider the risks before you go down this path.   Keeping the boundaries clear between supervisor and employees is vital.  It impacts the productivity of the employees, the dynamics within the team, and the credibility of management.  The damage done by a failure to maintain these boundaries can be far reaching and require considerable time to rebuild confidence and trust.