Friday, January 27, 2012

Child-like Behaviors = Adult Results

“It is the childlike mind that finds the kingdom.” - Charles Fillmore, American Linguist (b. 1929)

When was the last time you acted like a child? Have you been recently you have acted childish? The two are not the same, you know!!! The former I am supporting, and the latter, well, I think you already know about that one…

We mature, responsible adults can get caught up in the seriousness of our adult lives, and yet being all too serious can eclipse the fun that we have to make the time to have! Sure, sure, we have places to be, bills to pay, proposals to finish, a dog that could use a bath, or a room to organize (really, does the list go on and on like that?!?!?), and yet unless we allow ourselves to “play”, we will feel the lack of fun in our personal and professional lives.

I am not promoting skipping an event for which you have RSVPed or calling in sick, rather, either allow yourself “fun time” each day or week for something (somewhat) spontaneous, and/or schedule something childlike or playful each day or each week. Playing can be one of the most important thing we can do for ourselves and for those we want to feel connected to personally and/or professionally. Much research shows children learn the most through active play. Play generates creativity, endorphins, relaxation, heart-rate fluctuations and/or all of the above!

So, make a list of something you can do that is simply fun. If it accomplishes no other goal than having a good time, that alone is enough. You may want to do this with your spouse, partner or team…heck even your whole company! You may want to be child-like all by yourself. That is up to you! Go ahead, get out there and enjoy your day, your week, your life like you did when you had less on your plate, and likely you will feel lighter, better, and even more equipped to tackle those adult responsibilities once you have played…once you have acted like the child you once were, in order to enhance the adult you now are!

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Feedback Really POPS!

“Action may not always bring happiness ... but there is no happiness without action.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of Beaconsfield, KG, PC, FRS, (21 December 1804 – 19 April 1881)

While we rarely want to get criticized, most of us appreciate constructive feedback…after all, feedback is a way in which we can reflect, take action, and eventually grow. Criticism often just smacks us down, defeats us, or drives us to change just to prove we can.

Well then, how can we share ideas for improvement without taking away from the efforts...and without being too timid?

There are many approaches to sharing insights, including the “kill ‘em with kindness approach the “lay it on the line approach”, and even the “Oreo cookie approach”. In my experience, if you want to really be constructive, professional and effective, consider using the “POPS approach”.

Where the “kill ‘em with kindness approach” can be wimpy and the opportunity to improve can be lost in niceties, and the the “lay it on the line approach” can be overly harsh and direct, and even the “Oreo cookie approach” of having that was rough/wrong first, softened in the middle with something that went well, and then finished with something else that was solidly wrong can still be negative, and even confusing. The POPS approach is:

Opportunity to improve

In other words, it is the reverse of the Oreo, and therefore is about what is right, and how to enhance/change something in order to be even stronger. If someone gave a talk that was strong and effective, but few people could hear it, the POPS approach would be: “Sue, you had a strong opening with the statistics and that went well. You may want to use a microphone or learn to project your voice, as you had a lot of your audience straining to hear you, and that is the role of the speaker…to be heard. Also, your video clips were powerful and funny. So, stick with your stats, work on volume or a mic, and keep the humor, and you’ll likely have even a more lasting impression on the audience.”

By offering two sincere compliments and one bit to improve twice (one in the statement, and again in the summary), you are likely to be perceived as assisting the person, providing feedback over just criticism, and it will likely make a favorable impression that will lead to change/action versus defense or frustration on the receiver’s part!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Personal Advisory Board

Write down the advice of him who loves you, though you like it not at present. ~ English Proverb

You are Me, incorporated. You are responsible for you, your happiness, your direction, your actions, and eventually, your results!
Whether you own your business, are a partner in a practice, work for a firm, or simply want direction in whatever you are doing, you may be lonely, looking for direction, or simply enjoy a sounding board of sorts! This is where a Personal Advisory Board (PAB) comes into play…

A PAB is a group of people you like, admire, trust and respect, who want the best for you and have other expertise/perspective than you do. The PAB consists of whomever you like, and I find it is most successful when you have no more than 10 people on it, and minimally, you have the following roles defined:

Driver – someone to whom you are accountable (likely a spouse, partner)
Cheerleader – someone who sees the good in you and most things, who believes you can do most anything (could be your parent or best friend)
Strategist – a business person who has a perspective of what may or may not work, timing and opportunities (someone you admire for his or her big picture thinking)
Problem-solver – someone who is a detail person who looks for resolve instead of conversation (a go-to person for issues)
Mentor – someone in your industry who can assist with industry or company issues (they have expertise in your field)
Coach – someone who can ask the what and how questions and give ideas from other similar situations (not a friend, could be a professional coach, a former teacher of yours, someone you trust and confide in from personal to professional issues – not part of your industry, likely)

The Personal Advisory Board members are not financially compensated, but you may want to consider a special gift of thanks each year for your Board. Your PAB can be a yearly requested role for a person that starts in January or February and ends in December, as you do not want to overstep your request, or for someone to overstay his/her influence. Set the request, expectations and time up front, so each requested Board member can decide if there is a fit for him/her. You likely will interact with your PAB once a quarter in a meeting in person, via the web or phone, and you may chat with them in between. Ensure your dates and times are set at the onset of the PAB requests.

Often we find ourselves needing advice and counsel, or we are just misdirected. With a Personal Advisory Board, often the distractions or misfires can be avoided, or minimally calmed and repositioned to ensure success and growth in the year ahead!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Be Resolved

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” - Helen Keller, American Author and Educator who was blind and deaf. 1880-1968

Happy New Year! As many of you know, I am not a fan, proponent, or practitioner of New Year's Resolutions. I am not knocking you if you like them, either...

For this start of a new year, rather than resolutions, please consider being resolved to:

Be true to you and your family
Think people first and money second in business
Know your personal brand, and don't compromise it for others
Recognize your strengths and your opportunities to improve...and work in/on both
Consider the other person's perspective prior to reacting to him or her
Decide that you are going to celebrate progress, and not just focus on perfection
Leave work early if you used to stay way too late, or stay late if you used to leave way too early
Be your own biggest fan...and be someone else's big fan, too
Have a mantra that works for you, about you, and that you say to yourself for your own pep talk
Assess what is important for you this year, verbalize it, see it happening, take action, and enjoy the results

If those 10 are minimally part of your plan, I anticipate you will be resolved to be productive, happy, contributing, learning, and lovin' life...and what better plan for the year could there be?!?!?

Cheers to an outstanding 2012,