5 Steps To Creating Clear Focus For Your Team

Focus (2)

Do you often dream of a more focused and enthusiastic team?

Author, Dan Miller provides some great suggestions on how you might help develop a clear focus in his book 48 Days To The Work You Love that could be applied to team environments.  In summary, he says that visualizing, defining, destination, future and success in all areas of life all play a key role in building confidence, boldness, and enthusiasm.

What does this look like in a real work environment?

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Is Your Super Power First Impressions? How to use it in the workforce.

Super Power LunchBox

Adapted: Flickr. Lunch Box by Scott Rubin.

Ever sit around a bonfire with people you have just met and try to figure everyone out? This is exhilarating for some and painful for others. It may feel somewhat like a date, fear and excitement.

You ask questions like:

Where are you from?

What do you do for a living?

Do you have children?

How long have you lived in…?

Or maybe you just observe their facial expressions or how they interact with others.And as the night progresses you can’t believe how quickly you have grown to know these strangers around your bonfire.

Do you find yourself placing people into various categories? Who is introverted, who is extroverted, who might be good at certain tasks, who seems ambitious, who is a great mother or father and on and on.

No, you say this is not what you do, well then maybe I am just weird. Well if not please feel free to check out other blog posts of mine that may interest you like top ten ways to give your mind a break.

So now fast forward many years later as you sit around that same bonfire reminiscing about the first day each of you met and remember all that occurred since those days. Were many of your first impressions correct? Why do you think for some they usually are?

There sure are mixed reviews out there on whether first impressions are accurate but I would have to agree with an article I read that talks about how you must possess both intuition and logic. In the article How Important is Your First Impression Really? Kristi Hedges concludes if you can pull in both your intuition with emotion and tie in your logic and reasoning your first impressions most of the time are accurate.

Some may be gifted with this while others fail miserably. Until you realize this is a gift you may not even think of it as one.

How can you apply this new found gift you ask? Well definitely do not push your assumptions on others. Often times we think out loud and sometimes people even believe us. Well, that’s okay if you always want people taking your opinion but make sure to give room for them to figure things out too.

So where can we apply it? In work situations, this can really come in handy. Do you find that others come to you to ask such things? Are you often the one providing this insight to leadership without even knowing you are? Do you use this to help with project assignments and task delegation?

Gifts are there for a purpose. They are meant to be used for good not evil. Don’t use them to put people into a negative category, use your super powers to put them in a role that fits them best. Build on your first impression and most importantly reassess as you get to know them more. First impressions may be a piece of the puzzle but there is so much more to see when you fit it all together.

What do you think about first impressions? Do you believe it is possible to evaluate so quickly? If you are good at it consider this a valuable gift. If you are not don’t be concerned you have many others gifts that you contribute to this world.

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4 Key Lessons for Teams on Experiencing Culture

Beauty Jamaica

We all dream of it. We all save for it. We all think it will never happen and then it finally does. We get to take that dream vacation we have always wanted with time away to relax and enjoy the sun and surroundings.

For our 15th anniversary my husband and I went to Jamaica and wow what an experience! The food was amazing, the people were spectacular and the scenery was out of this world. But one thing you don’t expect or think about is the impact experiencing their culture will have on you.  Of course we have heard others say get out there and explore the world and enjoy the culture but until it happens, you don’t really get it.

What experiencing Jamaica has taught me and how it might help with your teams or ones you are a part of.  

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Challenge Your Thinking. Think Strengths.

Fishing for a tree

Quotes like this tend to make me stop and reach for an index card, thank you Jon Acoff for that tip.  How often do we judge our children’s grades by the subject they do the worst in?  How often do we think employees are not doing well at work because they can’t complete certain tasks as well as others? We often believe everyone should know what we know and do what we do but do we ever stop to think about what we can’t do that they can. Each person has talents and personalities that are unique.

Picture this for example. While strolling through the park one day a group of us encountered a young child barely walking across a small bridge. She was alone.  As parents we all looked around for where her parent could be and then when no one was to be found we helped her back over and went on looking. We never left her side until the mother was located. I could write an entire other post on how NOT appreciative the mother was but we will be nice and stop there.

Then of course there was my favorite older woman that I encountered while at a family event. She stood up and yelled at me while I was talking with my family and said I need you to be quiet, maybe quiet was not the word, because she couldn’t hear the BINGO numbers being called on the other side of the room.

Each of these examples represents two very different types of people. Stop and think do you need both kinds on a team? Do you need some nurturers and some very verbally honest people? Most of us would say yes within reason. You need to utilize both of their strengths and if at all possible not ask them to play reverse roles because most likely they will fail or become defeated over time.

We live in an improving upon our “areas of opportunity” versus a “building on our strengths” kind of world. Listing to a Marcus Buckingham Catalyst speech from 2006 really spoke this message even louder than usual to me. This concept seems simple yet in real life we rarely carry it out. When someone doesn’t understand something after a million times of explaining it we think what is wrong with this person. When our children don’t do well in a subject we tend to put all our effort into helping them with this subject. These routines tend to carry over into our work life.

So what can we all do about it? Challenge your thinking. Before you think why in the world is this person not figuring it out, think what can they do well and how can I utilize it. Break your goals and tasks up according to people’s strengths. A collective team working on things they enjoy and are good at is much better than a team who prays for 5 p.m. to come along. Will this work all the time, of course not but it sure will help build a better team than the one you might have now. It also will help others see you as a respected and trusted manager.

My challenge for you is to start looking at things a little differently on the teams you work in. You can even do a few of these in your home life but I might stay away from number 5 with your family and friends. They may think you are a little odd if you suggest this one.

  1. Start by asking what they enjoy or what they think their strengths are.
  2. Ask them what they don’t really enjoy doing or what they are not the best at.
  3. Build into their strengths and spend a lot less time on their “areas for opportunity”.
  4. Learn to read facial expressions. For some help check out Vanessa Van Edwards.
  5. Invest in an assessment for each person on the team.
  6. Pick out a book for everyone to read and talk about it.
  7. Start finding ways to help them play to their strengths on the team.
  8. As you learn more about each person adjust your approach accordingly.
  9. Think about if there is a key strength missing from your team.

What is one way that you help lead or build into others strengths? Comment below or share your thoughts on social networks.

And just because I know if you can master this you will be HAPPY.

LIFE GOES ON

Today I decided if I want to move forward I have to put the car in drive. If I keep waiting for the perfect picture or perfect blog post words we will be seeing my first post at the age of 90. So here goes. I hope you enjoy it and if you don’t well then I hope you share your wisdom and words of advice with me.

Am I the only one who hears a song in their head when they read these words???

LIFEGOESON

For those struggling Google will help you out later, nope stay with me for now.

When we look at how many dynamics of life there are and how many different people there are, sitcoms often tell a true story.

They show us everyone is different, everyone has different issues, everyone experiences different things and at different times; and yet life still continues to go on. But you are smart, I am sure you knew that.

So why do so many of us struggle when it comes to working in teams or when leading? It is getting to know people and trying to understand these differences that makes or breaks us. It takes time.

We did not sit through a whole season of Life Goes On to learn about each of our fellow peers or employees lives.

These differences make up who we are, which of course leads us to the type of employee we become and the type of leader we become.

The person

who is an introvert

The person

who is an extrovert

The person

who is good at math

The person

who faces a mental disability

The person

who is diverse

The person

who has a child

The person

who wants to own their own business

The person

who gets fired

The person

who changes jobs many times

The person

who quits their job

The person

who (you fill in yours)

At every job I always end up being the one they turn to for “people” advice or the communication aspect as they say when it comes to leadership, teams and process. So why not share this knowledge with the world.

There is of course one disclaimer; this is my first blog so bear with me on this. To be truthful I did attempt one once but didn’t post anything and can’t even remember how to find that darn little thing. You may have already realized I think out loud and apparently type what I think as well. This might be why I am labeled an extrovert as they say. If you have not had the pleasure of already knowing me check out my about me page.

Question: Life Goes On, but will you go on in life where you are or will you be a better employee, better boss, a better leader? Share your answer below or with any of the many social networks listed.

Oh and if the song is still stuck in your head for all those who loved Becca, Corky, Libby and Drew click here: LINK