Making the Most of Your Time

5 Tips to Cultivate an Intentional Mindset

Our collective emphasis on productivity and efficiency in the workplace has a dark side. It shows up in part as “time pressure,” or the sense of feeling ever more rushed to complete tasks. When we experience time pressure as stressful, over an extended period of time, it can actually become harmful to our physical and psychological health. Moreover, our ability to focus and do our best work diminishes significantly when our minds are constantly operating at full speed.

What can we do to combat this sense of time pressure? It can help to take a step back and remember that how we spend our time is a choice. Of course, we all have projects to complete, deadlines to meet, work relationships to sustain. But when we make intentional choices about how to spend our time, we can improve our productivity, health and happiness. We are more productive and less vulnerable to burnout when we recognize our need to “press pause” and make sure that our time is spent on activities aligned with our priorities.

Read on for 5 tips to help you make the most of your time by cultivating an intentional mindset:

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5 Top Benefits of Work-related Coaching

If you operate a business, then you probably think that your bottom line is your bottom line.  It is all about bringing in the profits.  It is all about delighting your customers so they will return and tell all their friends (which today may include thousands of Facebook friends, as well). So, it’s very likely that in your quest to increase sales and beef up marketing efforts, you are focusing most of your energy on just that – sales and marketing. You may also be thinking of ways to improve your product and/or customer service.  Those are all worthy goals. However, there is something important that many business leaders tend to overlook – their people.  

People are THE  key to a successful business.  Why? Because people are your direct line to the customer.  If they are not performing at their best or growing their capabilities then your business isn’t doing that either.  One solution to creating a more successful business with people bustling with productivity is to provide work-related coaching.

How does work-related coaching differ from life coaching?

Work-related coaching and life coaching may seem very similar on the surface.  Both leverage self-awareness and feedback, tend to be goal oriented and generally assume a positive outlook on individual capacity for change.  Where they differ rather significantly is in their context and purpose. 

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5 Mistakes to Avoid When Developing Your Leadership Bench

pexels-photo-416405.jpegAn organization is only as successful as its leadership. Especially as a business grows, a single leader – no matter how competent or charismatic – will not be able to guide it through continued expansion and to sustainable success. That’s why developing your leadership bench is so important.

How can you develop leadership talent within your organization? How can you build a solid foundation for success, both on the departmental and the organizational level? Both of these questions rely on first identifying and then developing individuals who have the potential to grow into senior management roles and guide your business. Unfortunately, that effort often fails.

While global companies spend $31 billion annually on leadership development programs, only 13 percent of executives actually have confidence in the success of these programs in developing new department heads, managers, and executives. Naturally, that is not the type of success rate organizations should aim for.
As a result, even when spending money on developing the next generation of leaders, your pipeline might be lacking. It only makes sense to take the necessary steps to change that situation. But first, you have make sure that you can avoid the errors that led to this situation to begin with. In short, here are 5 mistakes to avoid when developing your leadership bench.

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Executive Presence: An “Inconvenient Truth”

Each time we interact with someone at work, we subconsciously assess the other person regarding his/her abilities to complete the task at hand.  Do they speak to us with a calm confidence, looking us directly in the eye? Or do they seem unsure, anxious and lacking knowledge or confidence?  Business Insider reports that most people will make up their minds about us within the first seven seconds!   This universal phenomenon occurs across all geographies and cultures despite whether “we” like or agree that it ought to be so.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett describes executive presence as a “combination of confidence, poise, and authenticity that convinces the rest of us we’re in the presence of someone who’s the real deal. It’s an amalgam of qualities that telegraphs that you are in charge or deserve to be.” (Source: Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success (Kindle Locations 191-193). HarperCollins).  In fact, Hewlett suggests, “You can have the experience and qualifications of a leader, but without executive presence, you won’t advance.”

Executive presence has three primary components according to Hewlett – gravitas, communication, and appearance.

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6 Barriers to Organizational Change, and How to Overcome Them

Woman on top of stairs

Change is one of few certainties in our work lives.  Regardless of industry, company size, or leadership team experience, your team or organization is bound to experience several major transitions.  If you are in a leadership role, you are in a unique position to anticipate and plan for change so as to maximize its benefits and mitigate disruption in your organization.  Why does this matter?  Because research tells us that initiatives with excellent change management are six times more likely to meet objectives than those with poor change management.  Just increasing your change management rating from “poor” to “fair” means you are three times more likely to meet objectives.

Below are six common barriers to effective organizational change, along with strategies and suggestions on how to manage them.

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Leading in a VUCA World

Businesswoman walking on a tightropeIn a vacuum, leadership would be a lot simpler.  For example, you could learn the skills required to engage different people, create a compelling vision, align stakeholders with the vision, and execute it relatively quickly in a linear fashion.  But we live in a VUCA world, which is the opposite of simple and linear.

First developed in the 1990s by the U.S. Army, the term VUCA describes the post-Cold War environment that is more unpredictable than generations before us experienced.  Despite its military origins, VUCA applies equally well to civilian life and leadership, as well.

VUCA is an acronym that stands for:

  • Volatility, especially as it relates to the dynamics of change as it has increased in speed, volume, type, and scale.
  • Uncertainty, arising out of the increased volatile environment that makes forecasting the future more difficult.
  • Complexity, leading to confusion as cause-and-effect relationships are more difficult to determine.
  • Ambiguity, or the existence of multiple meanings that results in a lack of clear answers and solutions.

In short, outcomes are no longer as easy to predict with accuracy for our human brains as they may have been for us to predict in the past. Every decision, both in our personal and business lives, may effect and be affected by a larger set of rapidly shifting variables than we can easily integrate.   Once you embrace the concept, you may start to recognize VUCA dynamics operating around you in many different contexts.

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Leaders: It’s Not Too Late To "Resolutionize"

7 New Year’s Resolutions for Leaders

“A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and the compassion to listen to the needs of others. He does not set out to be a leader, but becomes one by the equality of his actions and the integrity of his intent.” Douglas MacArthur

Your organization’s success and reputation hinge upon your leadership. Five-star general and world-famous leader, Douglas MacArthur, described leadership as a multi-faceted ability.  Whether you lead a military establishment, a startup company, or a non-profit organization, succeeding as a leader requires you to hone your leadership skillset and identify what really matters to your organization.

 

What are the key behaviors that leaders should exhibit in 2018?

The first step is to identify the key behaviors that account for the overwhelming majority of successes for people in a leadership role.  Researchers have isolated four leadership behaviors that account for 89% of leadership effectiveness. By focusing on the four leadership behaviors below during the new year, you can bolster your success as a leader.

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