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The Attention Deficit Workplace – The Answer Starts with YOU!

You are a role model … to someone. The expression “tone at the top” is true. The example leaders demonstrate is often believed to be a requirement employees must follow. No matter what’s written in policy handbooks or said aloud, the traits leaders demonstrate others will implement as their own. Even though most leaders recognize this to be true, it’s easy to forget how daily behavior is observed and actions are emulated. When we use the word ‘leader’ we are referring to everyone, it doesn’t matter your title, responsibilities or what’s printed on your business card, everyone leads.

Consider this, distractions cost US businesses $588 billion dollars in productivity each year, according to the Information Overload Group. It makes me wonder, how many of these distractions are derived from your leadership “tone” and daily work behavior.

Let’s determine the answer with a pop-quiz.

1. Email:

  • Do you expect immediate responses to emails sent?
  • Do you pop into an employee’s office, send a text or call them within 30 minutes without an answer?

2. Phone Call:

  • Do you always take phone calls regardless of what you are working on or who is in your office

3. Devices:

  • Are you always seen carrying your cell phone?
  • Have you interrupted meetings or allowed yourself to be distracted in order to respond to messages or alerts?
  • Does your phone stay on and active throughout each work day?

4. Unannounced Visits:

  • Are you known for walking into an employee’s workspace unscheduled to discuss a project, question or need?

5. Open Door Policy:

  • Are you devoted to an open door policy permitting others to interrupt your activities throughout the day?

6. Schedule:

  • Do you allow for an open schedule of time that anyone can take to meet their needs?
  • Are you intentional about blocking off time throughout the day to work without interruption

7. Meetings:

  • Do you accept every meeting invite?
  • Do you require an agenda before attending or does the invitation merely imply your required attendance?

8. Priorities:

  • As other departments or peers make demands of your time or request non-priority essential tasks, do you take on their requests without scrutiny?

9. After Hours:

  • Are you known for sending or responding to after hour emails or texts?
  • Are you willing to interrupt your family time to take incoming work-related phone calls?

10. Social Media:

  • Do you pop on social media to respond to posts and comments throughout the day?
  • Do you actively share and communicate with others online frequently?

11. Vacation:

  • Have you been known to respond to messages while taking time off from work?
  • Do you regularly take time off to decompress, relax and refocus?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions (and I admit, I definitely did!), you are sending a message to your employees the same is expected of them. If you are unable to allow yourself time to focus without interruption, or if you are not proactively seeking ways to avoid disruption, others will fail to do so as well.

As the leader, you are the Attention Ambassador of your office. Lead by example. When you silence your phone, others will too. If you refrain from sending or responding to after-hours messages, others will feel permitted to do the same.

It’s up to YOU as the leader to prioritize your time and demonstrate that your team can feel empowered to do the same. As a result, employee productivity will soar, engagement will skyrocket and so will the profits that follow suit. When employees feel free to say “no” to other’s request for their time and attention, they can say “yes” to what matter most.

Choose to lead by example. Be the role model. Be a true leader. Be aware of the example you set. Change the expectations and remember – Attention Pays.

Best Practices Health and Wellness Human Resources Management Marketing Skills Women In Business

Use Project Management Principles to Accomplish More

“The project is 10 months behind, you need to deliver it in two months and raise $10 million dollars. Can you do it?” That’s the questions my boss Phil asked me. This was totally outside the scope of my existing role in the oil industry, but I had developed a reputation as someone who could get things done. Oscillating between excitement and terror that I’d been selected for the challenge, of course I said, ‘YES!”

Admittedly, I didn’t sleep for two months but I did deliver the project, on time, and within the budget with 100% compliance from the stakeholders.  It was one of my career highlights and it reminded me project management principles could be applied to every aspect of your life.

Project management has been around for thousands of years. I’m picturing some fabulous Egyptian leaders standing around debating the process for delivering stone blocks for the pyramids. Can’t you just see that?

Let’s take a look at nine project management principles that will help you in business, and in life.

1. Have a project management mindset. Start with that 30,000-foot view. Evaluate what you need by way of budget, time, milestones and deliverables for every project.

2. Be budget smart.How much time and money does your project require?

3. Timing is everything.Put a timeline in place from start to finish.

4. Put it in writing.Outline your milestones and mission plans and write them down.

5. Organize and order. Create the checklist and timeline for the progression of tasks.

6. List the stakeholders. This helps keep you focused and on task.

7. Appoint a project sponsor. This might be your mentor, your boss, or colleague. This person will assist you progress the project, help handle any challenges you might face, and help you be accountable for deliverables

8. Create a folder for every project with the following structure:

  1. Project chassis (overview)
  2. Budget
  3. Communications
  4. Meeting Notes
  5. Miscellaneous

9. Focus on the outcome. Keeping your eye on the prize helps drive personal energy. Especially when you are in the thick of things, tired, and need to be inspired!

Best Practices Body Language Entrepreneurship Human Resources Management Marketing Negotiations Skills Women In Business

Do You Know Where to Look to Find Yourself?

“A sense of uncertainty arouses the senses of being lost. Avoid the lost sense of uncertainty by truly knowing yourself.” – Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert

As we go through different phases of our life, we seek assurances that we’re within the confines of society’s norms. Then, we use that feedback to adjust our actions and the way we interact with others. At some point, we find the wherewithal within ourselves to venture on a path of life that states, we know what’s best for us. That process may take years and sadly, some never discover it.

Some never discover the fortitude within themselves that states they have something of value that’s needed by others. Some never discover the quality about themselves that states that they possess more insight and knowledge than others give them credit for. Some never discover that they are more of what the world needs more of. The reason they don’t or can’t embrace that reality is that they don’t know where to look to find themselves.

No matter what phase of life you’re in, you have a sense of uniqueness that’s of value to someone. Look deeper into the values of those that need your uniqueness to find more of yourself. No matter what setbacks you may encounter, look deeper into how those setbacks occurred, in order to discover the uniqueness that lies within you. No matter what you encounter, look at those encounters for the value they possess. Look at them as a value-add to your life. Then, and only then, will you find that elusive place where you discover more about who and what you are. That will also be the tipping point when you discover more of what you want to be … and everything will be right with the world.

What does this have to do with negotiations?

In a negotiation, you may be besieged with doubt about the strategy you’re implementing. You may ponder the right course of action to adopt due to unforeseen occurrences in the negotiation. During such times, don’t allow despair to surround you. It will stifle your train of thought. Don’t allow hopelessness to engulf you. It will deter you from moving forward. Don’t let fear deride you, it will make you stop dead in your tracks. Instead, when you find yourself perplexed by the thought of inaction, seek attunement with the inner you. Explore the possibility of why what’s occurring is happening and the meaning of it. Be mindful to give the meaning you assign a positive perspective. That will be the doorway that leads from the disruption of darkness into the light. That will also be the doorway that allows you to find more of yourself.

Remember, you’re always negotiating.

What are you thinking? I’d really like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

To receive Greg’s free 5-minute video on reading body language or to sign up for the “Negotiation Tip of the Week” and the “Sunday Negotiation Insight” click here http://www.themasternegotiator.com/greg-williams/

#HowToNegotiateBetter #CSuite #TheMasterNegotiator #ControlEmotions #Psychology #Truth #Perception #rejection #leadership

Best Practices Growth Management Personal Development

A Useful Metaphor: An Organization is a House

Metaphors are useful. They help us to appreciate ideas, especially innovative ideas, by putting them into a context we already understand.  A useful metaphor for building a high-performance organization is to imagine building a house.

In 2016 an article in the NY Times outlined the alarming news that a sizeable number of homes have their foundations crumbling.  The homes are now worthless.   According to the NY Times, the cement used in these homes has an ingredient that swells and cracks with exposure to oxygen and water. (Foderaro, 2016)

An organization with a crumbling foundation is worth less.

The Foundation

A house, and an organization, must have a solid foundation or it could eventually be worthless.  In a high-performance organization, the foundation includes the Vision (an ideal picture of a future state), the Mission (purpose or aim i.e. why the organization exists), the Values (intrinsically important priorities), Management Theory (how the senior leadership thinks about problems and people), and Strategy (the long-term plan of action and priorities).  If each of these is clear and communicated to all employees, it helps everyone to make decisions quickly and implement the structure.

The Structure

The structure (or framing and walls of the house) of an organization is made up of all those things that puts the items in the foundation into action.   Because the structure is supported by the foundation, if the foundation is sound, the more effective the structure can be.  A weak foundation will cause the walls to crack.  The structure includes the policies, procedures (processes), competencies (skills), knowledge, learning, continuous improvement, problem solving, objectives, rewards, and measures.

The Roof

The roof protects the house from the external elements.  In an organization, the roof represents the results. The stronger the results, the more the organization is protected from the threatening elements of the environment.  These threatening elements include the competitors, the economy, the government regulations, the changing market conditions, the changing customer expectations and demands, etc. The results include, revenue, profit, employee engagement, customer loyalty and trust.

Leaders want results. Sometimes leaders want results so badly and so quickly they forget to look at the foundation. They immediately address weaknesses in the structure (e.g. changing the performance management policy) or fix holes in the roof (e.g. offer employees new benefits to address engagement issues).  Precious resources can be wasted by trying to fix the roof when the real root cause is a weakened structure caused by a weak foundation.  The results are poor and so they “repair the policies to plug a leak in the roof” and they do it over and over.  A better strategy is to reinforce the foundation, and then repair the structure because a lack of alignment on the elements of the foundation can create tremendous barriers to growth and quality for an organization.

A solid foundation must be more than just the creation of the Vision, Values, Management Theory, Culture, and Strategy for the organization. It is not enough to just clarify those items. A successful Leader must know how to align people behind these items and they must know how to have the patience to reinforce them capturing their hearts and not just their minds.  We must capture both hearts and minds to achieve commitment.  Alignment of all hearts and minds means people are willing to act, be creative, solve problems, be pro-active and have all those other characteristics or behaviors that CEO’s are looking for from their people.  It’s not about motivating people. It’s about creating an environment within which they can naturally be self-motivated.

The foundation must have all the “bricks” in place (Vision, Mission or Purpose, Values, Culture, and Management Theory) because they are interdependent.  The Vision tells us where we are going. The Mission (or purpose/aim) tells us why we want to get there.  The values and culture tell us how we are to behave and how we make decisions along the way.  The management theory helps us to think and solve problems and remove barriers we encounter. The strategy gives us our priorities.  Together they help us answer the basic questions i.e. Where, How, Why, When, with Who. When these questions can be answered by every employee, they act. They make decisions quickly.  They become like a self-organizing system.

The current management theory encourages this lack of alignment.  Most leaders want to evaluate each individual separate from the environment and this creates competition, confusion, and waste.

In his book The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge describes the need for alignment in a team. (Senge, 1990)  A great jazz ensemble, a great sports team, or an orchestra are all examples of aligned teams or self-organizing systems.  The individuals have a sense of connection and interdependence.  They can make decisions quickly and interact with each other with ease and accuracy without wasted time.  They won’t do this without a solid foundation.

What is the condition of your “organizational house”?  Is the roof leaking?  Is the structure in need of repair?  Perhaps you need to start with reinforcing your foundation.  Perhaps it is time to find the root cause of the problem in the foundation and stop continuously repairing the symptoms.

Check out the interview on C-Suite Best Seller TV to learn more about how to stop leadership malpractice and replace the typical performance review: https://www.c-suitetv.com/video/best-seller-tv-wally-hauck-stop-the-leadership-malpractice/

Wally Hauck, PhD has a cure for the “deadly disease” known as the typical performance appraisal.  Wally holds a doctorate in organizational leadership from Warren National University, a Master of Business Administration in finance from Iona College, and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.   Wally is a Certified Speaking Professional or CSP.  Wally has a passion for helping leaders let go of the old and embrace new thinking to improve leadership skills, employee engagement, and performance.

Foderaro, K. H. (2016, June 7). With Connecticut Foundations Crumbling, “‘Your Home is Now Worthless’. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/08/nyregion/with-connecticut-foundations-crumbling-your-home-is-now-worthless.html

Senge, P. M. (1990). The Fifth Discipline. New York, NY: Currency and Doubleday.

Growth Leadership Personal Development Technology

Do You Know What Your Reputation Is?

Have you ever Googled yourself and been surprised by what you find?  I have a relatively common name, so I always find out things about the famous Tim Collins’s of the world… a Major League Baseball player, a British general, and more.  But one time, I came across something that I clearly did not want associated with my name.  I shared a name with a serviceman who involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.   The story and its search results have long since faded into the background, but it taught me a lesson about monitoring and managing my online reputation.

The majority of business interactions happen online, including interactions with Executives.   Most people will Google you immediately after meeting you.  This includes hiring managers and recruiters, employees and prospective employees, vendors, journalists, and of course, customers. First impressions matter, so make sure you give people the right impression.  The first step is being aware of your online reputation.

Google just your name.  If you have a relatively unique name, your results will be straightforward.   But if you have a common name like me, you will see results from others who share your name.  While it can be informative and amusing, it can also uncover negative news that could rub off on your reputation.  Imagine sharing a name with Monica Lewinsky, as more than a dozen women on LinkedIn do.

Google your name + your current company.  Double check that the results aren’t derogatory, particularly on the first couple of pages.

Google your name + your last company.  Your results can get interesting if your former company has had a bumpy ride since you departed.  For example, I left Wells Fargo just a few weeks before their account scandal broke.  More recent negative company news can get mixed in with your historical accomplishments, particularly if there are others still at the company with similar names.

Focus your attention on results on the first pages.   Over 90% of searchers never go past the first page of search results.  If there is something derogatory on page one, action is required.   But 99% never go past page three, so a negative result on page six won’t really matter.

What do you do if you’ve found something negative?  For many, one relatively easy task is to create content that pushes the negative results down, ideally onto the next page.  For some this could be as simple as participating in a popular podcast or YouTube video that features the key words that yielded the negative result.  For example, I might create a contemporary video about “What Tim Collins learned at Wells Fargo?” with content that has nothing to do with their recent troubles.  Depending on where the derogatory information came from, the video may have to be posted on a site with some level authority to displace it.

Since the search engines prioritize active personal social media presences, another solution is to create a robust social media presence that pushes down negative results  Walt Bettinger, CEO of Charles Schwab, has a robust presence on Twitter and LinkedIn, and these two accounts both pop up near the top of his search results, pushing other content down.  Contrast that with Morgan Stanley, CEO James Gorman, who is not socially active.

Of course, building a robust social presence is something that I can help with.  But with really challenging online reputation issues, with multiple derogatory results, a reputation management company is called for.  One that I can recommend is Blue Ocean Technologies. There are numerous others.

But the first step is awareness.  Google yourself, and hope that the results you see are positive.  If not, take action.  Remember, first impressions matter.