Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Letting Go of Familiarity

"It is, after all, the responsibility of the expert to operate the familiar and that of the leader to transcend it."
~ Henry A. Kissinger
American diplomat and political scientist. He served as National Security Advisor and later concurrently as United States Secretary of State in the administrations of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford. 
(b. 1923)

With the start of a new year, there are a few choices to make about planning for, and anticipating, the next twelve months. Okay, there are often many choices to make as we anticipate hanging a new calendar with hope!

Often a choice we ignore or simply do not consider, is one of deciding what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to continue to embrace, and what familiar habits, people, processes, and feelings do we want to exit from our lives, or minimally eliminate the expectations around them.

Some people, some experiences, some things in which we participate, are so familiar to us that we do not even realize the impact they have on us - positively or negatively. By making time now, right now, to do the following, there are ways to assess, address, and let go:
1) Review your last year's calendar and make a list of the people, the events, the organizations, the habits that take the most time and/or energy.
2) Consider a five-point scale for satisfaction (5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest, with no partial points) with person, event, organization, habit without regard for others or what you believe you "should" do or what is expected of you.
3) Put all the 1s and 2s on a list. Put all the 4s and 5s on a different list. Put all the 3s on a list.
4) For the 4s and 5s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and reiterate your commitment/relationship.
5) For the 1s and 2s, make time to call, email, or text whomever is affiliated, and thank someone what's transpired, and share your time and interests have changed, and that you will not be as engaged moving forward (yes, even with, and especially with, people). This is not about ignoring people or situations, rather addressing them kindly and professionally. An example is: "Hi Tod, this is Debbie. Hope all is going well. Is this a good time to talk for a couple minutes about some things we've been involved in recently?"..."Thanks so much for being a friend for happy hours and the movies last year. We had some enjoyable times, didn't we?"...With my focus on school and fitness this year, please know I will likely attend few happy hours or movies."..."When we see each other out, or on social media, I'll be sending positive energy, and wish you the best!"..."Thanks again! Here's to a great quarter!"
6) For the 3s, make time to determine what would push it to a 4 or 5, and commit to doing that.
7) Schedule time in/on your calendar for 3s, 4s, and 5s, in order to move the 3s to 4s or 5s, and maintain the 4s and 5s.

While this may seem like a task, think of the results you will get! By investing time and energy now, you'll look forward to the familiar things you want to keep in your life, and not dread or avoid those familiar things you don't seek more of this year.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Replace Cocky with COOL


With the year of the Rooster upon us, it's a time to be like the rooster, a sign of of fidelity and punctuality. Sadly, when we miss these things, we can be perceived as cocky. Instead of being the cocky rooster, let's go for being the cool bird through:

C - Confidence - Be confident in yourself, and confident in others. Without confidence in others, people can seem cocky. Believing others have abilities can be cool.
O - Offer - Offer a positive comment or compliment to someone you meet. Be sincere. Without sincerity, offers can seem overstated and cocky. With admiration of others, you can be cool.
O - Open - Open your mind, your eyes, and your body language to others. Without staying willing to consider other things, people and ideas, your presence can seem cocky. Cool people are open people.
L - Listen - Listen to others and surroundings. People who talk a lot...too much, can seem cocky, where those who listen to learn are welcoming and cool.

When you are aware of not being cocky, you can be COOL...cool in your demeanor, cool in your approach, cool in your approachability, and cool in your loyalty and timeliness!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

New Year Impact Vs. Intent


"All you need is the plan, the road map, and the courage to press on to your destination." 
~ Earl Nightingale
American radio personality, writer, speaker, and author, dealing mostly on the subjects of human character development, motivation, excellence and meaningful existence; so named as the "Dean of Personal Development." 
(1921 - 1989)

As the year comes to a close, we often resolve to make changes, start fresh and begin anew! That's exciting and challenging all at the same time, as often these resolutions are well intended and yet have little impact, and go away more quickly than they take to verbalize.

While there are still a few days in 2016 to consider what you intend to do, there is an entire year ahead to make impact.

What will be different this coming year? Nothing, if nothing is different for you, from you, about you, through you. Many things if you decide to be different in your language, plan and measurement!

For your language, consider removing words such as "I should, I need to, I better, I have to" and replace them with "I want, I will, I am, I do". Using this language will show others, and importantly, you, that you are in process due to desire, and not due to obligation or pressure.

For your plan, consider being optimistic with a healthy dose of being realistic. Be aspirational with inspiration. In the plan, ensure you have have expectations, boundaries, and accountability required to keep you on task and moving forward with growth and challenge. Plan to have an impact partner.

For your measurements, consider setting daily efforts, weekly reviews, monthly updates, and quarterly assessments. Measure effort, actions, responses, and results. Look at progress and set backs. Measure what went well and what can be improved. Measure your language, your plan and be as objective as possible with your review of the measurements. Ask your impact partner to hold you to what you commit to do, and what you may not have done. In effect, the impact partner is also a measurement partner.

So, while intent is great, ensure your impact in 2017 is large, lasting, and long on what you want it to be!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

E-RACE the Racing Life


Since it often seems like we are racing through life, through events and work, driving, and even conversations, please look to E-RACE the racing through:

E - Exchanging - Exchange your perspective of racing to one of being engaged.
R - Releasing - Release the desire to be in a state of hurried and "needed"
A - Actualizing - Actualize the thoughts and feelings to a state of being
C - Clarifying - Clarify the change for purpose and positioning - the what and the how
E - Expecting - Expect there to be a different output from you even if at first there is no change of input from others

When you are not racing around, you can E-RACE the distractions, the diversions, and the difficulty in having a lot you want to do in the time you have to do it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Embracing Thanksgiving All Year Long


"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. " 
~  Henry David Thoreau
American essayist, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, tax resister, development critic, surveyor, and historian. 
(1817 - 1862)


Thanksgiving is a day.
Thanksgiving is an attitude.
Thanksgiving is an approach to life.

While we may be celebrating this month, and many eating, drinking, and sharing in thankfulness outwardly and openly this Thursday, there is no need to keep that attitude of gratitude silent for the rest of the year. Thanksgiving is a way to live life, and keeping it going depends on thoughts, words and actions.

To be thankful also means not being hateful. Thinking about how to assist others, and how to encourage, support, and even wish well, whether you are included in that celebration formally or not, is a form of thanksgiving. This includes thinking ahead to how you impact others, and being mindful of what to do, and not do in order to get your intent (thankfulness) aligned with your results (gratitude).

Verbalizing your appreciation is a form of thanksgiving. Sharing ideas with others in a way that is inclusive, pleasant, and even humble shows thanksgiving. Offering what others do well, bragging about them on their behalf, and hoping, wishing and wanting what is good for them, are all ways to be thankful.

Doing things for others without their asking, taking an extra step, and even doing those things without others even knowing, allow for thanksgiving...all days of the year. Remembering that when you are thankful in life, you are not doing favors, rather you are doing what's right for your thanksgiving. Your actions are without motive other than to express thanks, and your actions flow freely with a loving heart.

By thinking thank you, saying "thank you", and meaning thank you will move you from Thanksgiving Day to a thanksgiving way (of life)...and those simple thoughts, words and actions, will surely lead to more!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Drive the Diffusion CAR in Disagreements

Arguments drive people to do and say things they often wish they had not. If you want to stop arguing and start collaborating, or at least speaking versus yelling or telling, instead of driving each other batty, or driving yourself to defend things, please consider "driving the CAR of diffusion", where you begin statements in the following way, sincerely, in an effort to communicate rather than overtake:

C - Considering - Let the person know you are considering his or her point of view or perspective. "Considering you have a lot of experience with this, you make many valid points, AND..."
A - Appreciating - Stating that you recognize and acknowledge something that is different without judgement means you can, and likely will, be reasonable. "Appreciating the work you do is important to you, you likely have a lot of ideas to share AND..."
R - Respecting - Anticipating someone may not think you are listening, share that you respect the situation and circumstances. "Respecting you are impacted more than others, and you have spoken with your colleagues, WHAT/HOW..."

Notice "and" is there and not "but", and "what" is there and not "Why". And and What or How keep conversations going without defensiveness from "but" or "why".

When you are driving the CAR, drive it to diffusion and inclusion rather than attack or confusion!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tricky Tips for Time Treats

"Lost time is never found again." 
~  Benjamin Franklin
One of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a renowned polymath and a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, freemason, postmaster, scientist
(1706 - 1790)

Often at this time of year, people hear, and even say "Where did the time go?". The time goes the same direction each year, and it doesn't fly faster as we age, we often get in habits that don't serve our full engagement and enjoyment. Time is not un-renewable, free, and one of our most precious and desired resources. Make the most of your time with these 21 tips:

1. Turn most productive tasks/results into habits with intent, focus, and consistency
2. Learn to say "No" and "Yes, and...", "What?" and "How?" (not "Why?")
3. Sleep your necessary hours (what works for you) and get an early start
4. Be focused on the results for the task at hand (by not allowing interruptions to take you away)
5. Use the 4 reasons to think through how time is spent (know, know how, have capacity, and want to, and then address them with information, coaching, assessing fairly, and an attitude check - first on you, and then on others)
6. Don't allow unimportant details to get your attention (cannot solve everyone's issues)
7. Complete worst tasks first (eat that frog!)
8. Be conscientious of time-wasters such as social media or TV(not that al is a waste, rather be aware)
9. Set a time limit for task completion (consider time-chunking in 20-minute increments)
10. Leave some time between activities for bio breaks, notes, sending messages (watch schedule overload)
11. Watch to-do list totality overwhelm (put things in priority and put results in the calendar for completion)
12. Give your body exercise, stretches and nourishment that "feeds your body" healthily
13. Do less when there is not a way to do more (instead of getting only so far on everything)
14. Utilize weekends, just a little bit (to plan for the week to give you a plan)
15. Create organizing systems (and use them)
16. Do something during waiting time (this may be down time or productive - simply choose)
17. Lock yourself in (alone to accomplish)
18. Commit to your plan to do something, and share with others that you are doing it (for accountability)
19. Do things that are similar at the same time, and go to places in order of distance
20. Find time for stillness (downtime and aloneness can be reflective and very rewarding from a re-charge perspective)
21. Eliminate the use of "I'm busy", "Are you busy?", "How are you?" (if you are not in a position to sincerely listen), and any versions of busy (consider full, productive, enjoyable and other descriptors in order to keep control and purpose in your perspective of your time)

With these tips in place, and even habits being formed (see number 1), watch how your time comes into focus as a tool and not a challenge!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

GEAR up for Plans


If you want to get something accomplished, and who doesn't, then here's a quick tip approach to GEAR up for your plans to come to fruition:

G - Goal - Have, set and share a goal.
E - Expectations - State expectations for yourself and others involved.
A - Anticipate - Anticipate challenges and obstacles and ways to overcome them...even if those are people and attitudes!
R - Reality - Have a real view of your results and potential results. Be real, stay real, and really appreciate what you have.

When you GEAR up, you get up to speed, and ready to succeed!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Winners & Losers Vs. Congratulations


"Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it was broken." 
~  Yogi Berra
Lawrence Peter "Yogi" Berra was an American professional baseball catcher, manager, and coach who played 19 seasons in Major League Baseball, and an 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion as a player. 
(1925 - 2015)

While this is not a pitch for 12th place ribbons, nor is it a suggestion that participation is the same as an endeavor that ends with a victory, this is an article regarding perspective. Rarely do I share personal stories, specifically in these newsletter updates, for, out of respect for you, the reader looking for tips and tools, the goal is to provide those while being mindful of your time. The plan is to do both of those things AND share a personal account, as that is what inspired this topic.

As a finalist for the business services category of the Tampa Bay Business Journal's BusinessWoman of the Year, it was such fun to get to be a part of the impressive group of recognized leaders. With over 350 nominations in all, there were 5 finalists in the Business Services Category, and it was an honor to be nominated, and a thrill to be a finalist...until I was not announced as the category "winner", and people started messaging me and coming up at the beautiful gala saying "Too bad you lost". I wasn't a loser, did not feel like a loser, and found it interesting to hear so many people throughout the weekend perceive that terrific experience as a loss. It told me a lot about them, and a lot about me. I still felt, and still do feel like I won, as the experience was outstanding. I hope to be nominated again. I hope to be a finalist again. And, believe me, I appreciate that people likely meant to be supportive, and yet their words, their approach, did not convey that well. Words matter, as they create a perspective, an energy, and a dynamic.

And then it was wonderful again, as what was also telling was how many people that night, and still now, are texting and calling and messaging me with a note of "Congratulations for being a finalist". They got it. Even with the well-deserved category and overall BusinessWoman of the Year recipients announced, people chose happy, positive words to show their acknowledgement and support.

The purpose for sharing this? I am grateful for all encouragement and well-wishes, and even though those awkward moments about my "losing" made me shift in my shoes, smile and attempt to direct the conversation in a positive way, this is not a criticism or condemning of those attempts to engage, rather, a hopeful account from a perspective to encourage each of us to think about where we are and how others may perceive our words. If we congratulate those for how far they got, rather than solely looking at a win or a loss, perhaps we'd celebrate progress...not just perceived "perfection"!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Personal Pep Talk

People often ask about mantras or words of encouragement, and a personal pep talk can be invaluable for small and large opportunities!

How the personal pep talk works is by saying to yourself:
"I want. 
I want.
I will.
I am."

And then following each line with:
Your goal.
Your action. 
Your character word(s).

For example, if you are challenged to get an assignment completed, consider something like "I want to successfully complete the assignment. I want to successfully complete the assignment. I will schedule time each day to make progress on the work...because I am a dedicated, competent Project Manager."

You state your want (the goal) twice to capture the focus and align yourself with it, followed by something specific (your action to get yourself on the path to accomplishment), and support both by your character words to remind yourself of your positive approach and value. This quick pep talk is effective for getting through a workout, presenting something effectively, completing a project, attempting something new, getting through a difficult situation, and more! Give yourself a pep talk, and get yourself going!

Monday, August 22, 2016

WISER Meetings


When it is a meeting with a potential customer, client or a colleague, there are many ways to handle how it goes. 

Please consider hosting WISER meetings, meaning you cover the following:

W-Well...what's gone well recently
I-Improve...what would you like to improve
S-See...what do you see as the gap
E-Expectations...what do you expect of each other
R-Reality Check/Relevance/Resources...can things happen in time frame with what is available

By covering those five things, you will uncover interests, be able to address desires, and get to issues and opportunities, with options and solutions!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The I-I-L-L (Not the “I’ll”) of Leadership

"We must develop knowledge optimization initiatives to leverage our key learnings." 
~ Scott Adams

Often people say or think something like “When I’m the leader, I’ll…” as they look forward to changing things! Sure that is enjoyable to anticipate, and even fantasize about…the “I’ll”, and yet for all of us, regardless of size of business, age, or position, there is a way to look at leadership as the I-I-L-L factor(s) instead of the “I’ll”.
“I-I-L-L”, you ask? Yes, the I-I-L-L stands for:
Impact
Influence
Loyalty
Leverage

Impact is the fact that what you say or do can have an immediate jolt on someone. It can be something bold or subtle, and either way, it changes the perspective or outlook of others immediately, and perhaps only for a short time. That impact is felt and acknowledged. Impact gets attention of others.

Influence is something that happens over time. It is a style and presence that someone, either unintentionally or intentionally asserts and/or shares with others. Influence stems from consistency, desire to be similar or near, and typically last longer than an impact. Influence gets awareness and respect of others.

Loyalty is when someone is true to another. A leader demonstrates loyalty by sharing openly wins and losses, support and concern. Loyalty is developed for a leader from a steadfast, consistent approach that is trustworthy toward people and in situations. That leader’s views and actions present aligned with others or what others seek to be aligned with. Loyalty is long lasting unless trust is broken.

Leverage is being able to call on others…those you have impacted, influenced, and shown loyalty towards. Leverage is a form of leadership that is to call on others directly for support and positioning. Having leverage means acting in the best interests of others and the situation while calling on those who can impact, have influence, and have loyal colleagues, in order to broaden the reach and scope of the message or action one is attempting to lead.

As it works, there is typically an impact or two before true influence is established. Likewise, influence typically has the potential to become loyalty. Likewise, there is little leverage (true leverage, not manipulation) that takes place without loyalty. So, instead of thinking “I’ll do XYZ”, consider thinking about the I-I-L-L of leadership, assessing where you are, and where you want to be, to ensure your I-I-L-L can get you to that XYZ…whatever it may be!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Missed Opportunities

We make mistakes. We miss out. We misinterpret.

When a mistake is made, please consider saying "Please forgive me for XYZ" rather than "I'm sorry" so the apology is about the other person and not you first.

When we miss an invitation or an email, that is a form of error, too.  You may want to offer "Please forgive me for not responding, as that was my mistake for missing XYZ" rather than "I'm sorry", or "I'm so swamped" or "I'm so busy", so the acknowledgment and/or apology is about the other person and not you.

When we overreact, read a text or message in an off mood and reply as such, you'll likely show sincerity and humility by offering "Please forgive me for my reaction to XYZ, as I realize my error in overreacting", or "Please forgive me for my reply to you, as I was fair in my interpretation". This is about owning your action.

Errors will occur, mistakes will present themselves. Misinterpretations happen. Take the situation to heart, face it, and share your response post-reaction to mend the ways and move forward!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Word Manners Matter


"Correction does much, but encouragement does more." 
~  Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
German writer and statesman. His body of work includes epic and lyric poetry written in a variety of metres and styles.
(1749 - 1832)

Word choice is key.  Messaging is important.  Conveying a thought with sincerity is riveting.  Because of this, it is nearly impossible to believe that in an average eight-stop day, one will hear thank you once and you're welcome .25 times.  Yes, based on my own personal experience (and I am pretty consistently a smiling, grateful, positive customer), those are the statistics. 
 
Is it that I am being ignored?  Not necessarily, rather language and communication have sadly been minimized in many cases to "there you go" or "have a nice day" at the close of a transaction and no response or a nearly lifeless "no problem" or "no worries" when a person thanks another.
 
It will serve us all well to consider what we are implying when we chose to direct someone with "have a nice day" or "here you go" after such person has engaged in a service or the purchase of a product.  The person who says those things has subtly, or after reading this you may think 'not-so-subtly', decided that his or her idea is more important than appreciation.  I haven't yet met a person who expressed an interest in being told something to do/take over a simple thank you.  Based on that, whether you work in the food service industry, provide hand crafted items, speak to inspire/train others, or are the CEO, do take the time to smile and show respectful appreciation with a "thank you".  In the vein of efficiency (if nothing else), it actually takes less time to say "thank you" than it even does to muster "here you go" or "have a nice day".  Please do not misinterpret my suggestion as being opposed to nice days, rather this is a recognition of the ability you have to thank someone and how much more value it offers about the transaction and/or experience than something to come in the future (their day).
 
Similarly, many of us have minimized what does follow as a response to a "thank you" or "thanks" from "you're welcome" to a nod, nothing or very commonly, "no problem".  While I am not clear on where or how it came to be that the concept of thanking someone indicated there was ever a problem came to be, responding with "no problem" implies without stating that there is, or may have been, a problem.  The same holds true for "no worries", so please resist the temptation to fall back on that tired expression, too.

Thank you!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ROSY Opinion Sharing


"Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."
~ John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, commonly referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th President of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963.
(1917 - 1963)

Expressing opinions is something people often do, and yet don't do well...from the perspective of those without the same or similar view. What is it about us that drives us to share our opinions so freely, and sadly, sometimes, so offensively?

There are many ways to talk of a view or even a passion that can get others riled up, and yes, there's a way, perhaps many ways, to speak of thoughts and direction without getting a rise...it's by keeping it ROSY!

What is meant by that is the typical statement is anything other than rosy, rather it's more of a thorny approach. Instead of simply 1) stating a view
2) attempting to rationalize or justify it
3) making others feel wrong or incorrect
4) alienate those not in agreement
allow for a ROSY-ness to your messaging by:
R - Reason - Share the reason or background regarding the issue/topic at hand
O - Offer the consideration of both or all views
S - Share a story or experience
Y - Your view/opinion gets stated

An example of the thorny approach to moving a vacation from March to July would be:
"We are not going to the beach in March! We will go in July! Who would want to be in the sand and surf in March? That's crazy! People freeze at the beach in the winter! Good thing we are not doing that!"

An example of the ROSY-ness way for the same topic is:
"Planning a vacation is important for everyone concerned. Sounds like a couple options are a March beach vacation and a July sand and surf trip. Last year, Carl and Bob went to the East Coast for the March Spring Break, and they reported spending a lot of time indoors, at movies, and wishing the weather were warmer. Considering we want to hang out in the sand and surf, I propose we go in July to get the most from our vacation!"

When you are ROSY, and sincere, the result is likely to be less thorny than before!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Turning Down Offers/Invitations/Suggestions/Requests

No is a complete sentence. Oddly, we often want to explain things beyond "no". So, if you are asked to do something, join something, or accept something that is not of interest, consider these options for saying "no" kindly, without justification or too much explanation:
1) "No, thank you."
2) "While you are kind to ask, that's not a good fit for my schedule right now."
3) "You are nice to think of me, and I appreciate that even though I won't be attending. Enjoy it!"

And then move on!

Notice there is no "I'm sorry" or "I can't", or "I'm too busy". Turning down offers/suggestions/invitations/requests need not be burdensome or bothersome. Being direct, clear and kind gets you to that complete sentence you can feel proud of!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Choosing Wisely for the Best You!


"Choose your love, Love your choice."
~ Thomas S. Monson
American author.
(b. 1928)

We choose how we act, respond, or don't respond through many ways. You are already successful, and by considering these choices perhaps you'll not only be the most well-rounded success you can be, you'll be the most well-rounded person you can be!

Choose happiness. While others will attempt to squash it, question it, and even deny it with interference, jealously or nastiness let that be on them, and for you, choose happiness anyway!

Choose kindness. There's a goodness, a thoughtfulness, an approach a kind person takes. A door is held open, a hand is held tight. Even though others may not see it, recognize or reciprocate your efforts, choose kindness anyway.

Choose integrity. Lead with, and close with respect, honesty and decency. Integrity can seem so large, so vast at times. And in life, in each of our lives, there will be times others attempt to sway you to go against your morals and beliefs. There may even be times it is tempting to take the short cut...the easy way. Look yourself in the mirror, and choose integrity anyway!

Choose collaboration. Notice I didn't say compromise, not even competition! There is enough room for everyone who is good when we focus not on others, but focus on success overall. When people expect you to give up, acquiesce or even lose to them, work through it together, and choose collaboration anyway!

Choose forgiveness. This, of all the choices we have, can often be the most ideal, and yet the most challenging. It's often said it takes two to tango. I say it only takes one to be jealous...and it only takes one to forgive. When we hold on to anger, disappointment and disagreement, we don't punish the other person, we keep ourselves from the freedom to move on. So, even when someone seems unacceptable, unrelenting, dreadful, or unforgiving themselves, choose forgiveness anyway!

Choose generosity. Not just generosity of money, when you can, also generosity of time, spirit and compassion. There are takers and makers in this world. Be an opportunity maker. Even when others seem to take advantage, or simply take, take, take, choose generosity anyway!

Choose love! Have an open heart. Be vulnerable. Let love in, and let love out. Love yourself first, and love others as well. Some people may be cold, put up a wall, have been hurt, and not say I love you back. Smile inside and out, and choose Love anyway!


It's the choices we make, not the circumstances we are in, that make us who we are, and who we will be.  Make your choices. Choose well. Choose well for you. Choose to be the best you can be!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Six Moves to Make Photos Memorable

6 Steps to Powerful Photos

Since the summer is around the corner, and a lot of photos get taken, here are six steps to securing a smile when you see the picture, and not just when you are having it taken. If you are alone in the picture, or not able to be in the middle of a group shot, pick your best side, select that end, and then:

1) Plant your back foot
2) Point your front foot (not with a bent knee, rather a point to elongate the leg)
3) Place your outer hand on side between ribs and hips
4) Position your outer shoulder by rolling it back for good posture and a slight openness from the side
5) Peer out from a down-tilted chin, and up-tilted eyes
6) Present your pearly whites with a smile from your teeth to your eyes


These six quick steps will provide a lean, happy look for pictures to capture your fun and your best look(s)!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Small Changes in Words = Big Impact


This is the second part of the words matter message. Words are a part of how we are perceived. Making some small changes in word selection may make big changes in your impact, and therefore, your results, including the following:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Delivering Difficult News Directly & Delicately


"A fellow doesn't last long on what he has done. He has to keep on delivering."
~ Mark Twain
Carl Owen Hubbell, nicknamed "The Meal Ticket" and "King Carl", was an American baseball player. He was a member of the New York Giants in the National League from 1928 to 1943.
(1903 - 1988)

Very few of us are comfortable delivering difficult news. And, even fewer of us want to be good at it! Still, there is difficult news to be delivered at times, and handling that well...directly and delicately, is what is best for everyone involved.

When you are the one in the position of knowing about difficult news, it can be tempting to avoid it, ignore it, or hope someone else informs others. Or, alternatively, our "fight or flight" instincts may lead us to blurt the news, or broadcast it in a way that "gets it off our chest", so to speak.

Instead of either of those approaches, please consider the following to deliver difficult news in an appropriate, timely, compassionate way:
1) Remember, the news is difficult for you because it will be difficult for the person receiving the news. This is really about the other person first, and you second. While you absolutely matter, getting out of your way, and putting the other person front and center in your thoughts and words will work best.
2) Having shared that, even though it is about that other person or people, it is okay for you to feel down, concerned, or uncomfortable!
3) Schedule time, in private, when possible, rather than blindside the person/people. When something unexpected happens, and you cannot schedule private time, minimally move to a private area.
4) When beginning, use the person's name, say something that states it may be difficult to hear, that it is important, and that you care about the person.
5) State things factually.
6) Ask if what you shared was clear.
7) Offer a change of topic and/or exit.

Bringing it together, it would play out similarly to this:
 "Todd, what I am about to say my be difficult to hear, and it is still important it is shared. Please know I appreciate you, so I am going to be direct with you. Your performance on the board has not met expectations. You and I discussed this at the New Year. You had an opportunity to make improvements, and they have, unfortunately, not happened . Surely you want to be successful. I believe your intent is to contribute. Since neither is happening in this situation, wouldn't you agree that it is best you step down?" After a response, thank him for his professionalism, if he agrees, and let him know he is relieved from the role, should he not agree. Either way, thank him for his time and interest, and then stand up to exit the conversation.

Things like this are not anything to look forward to delivering, and yet, if it is a break-up, a death in the family, a hygiene situation, inappropriate behavior, poor work performance, or other things to address, directness and delicacy is imperative to leaving yourself and the other person/people feeling as good as possible in the midst of what is occurring.