Category Archives for "Personal Leadership"

What did you say?

This past week communication was top of mind.  Not only did I read the book Conversations Worth Having but there were quite a few client and family conversations that left me wondering "what did they say?"  

These conversations led to a heightened awareness of how I’m interacting with the people around me and what I can do to have better communication and conversations.  

At its most basic level, communication is the exchange of thoughts, information, ideas and messages between people and groups.  And over the past few weeks I’ve noticed how often the transmission of what is in someone’s head does not quite make it to the other person as it is intended.

Some of the things I’ve noticed:

It’s not always easy to stay focused on the message

Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they pause and say “Now where was I going with this?”  After some forensic diagnosis -- “We were talking about…” “And then…” -- you finally remember where they were going and the conversation resumes.  

Staying focused on the message creates clear communication and help get the point across.  

As the listener, your role is to focus not only the words being used but also the intent, context, and tone to create mutual understanding.  

If action is necessary from the conversation, making it as clear as possible will ensure it gets done.  And it’s up to everyone to be clear on what, when, where, and who.  

Keep the message simple 

We are all busy and have information overload so when you’re communicating, cut through the emotions, “couching,” and hyperbole and get to the point.  When you’re able to communicate without the noise and repetition, the message become easy to digest and, if needed, actionable.   

It’s only a dialogue if everyone contributes

All parties have a role in clear, concise communication.  It’s not just the person initiating the conversation. We’ve all heard that we should listen more than we talk.  In a conversation, it’s important to create opportunities to ask questions, clarify terms, and confirm actions.  

When we pause in our conversation and ask questions, we’re opening up a free flow of ideas, topics, and meaning.  Allowing time for the questions to unfold is critical to a conversation.  

Old patterns are hard to break

We all have patterns of conversations that we fall back on at times.  One of the ways to break unwanted patterns and habits of communication is to look for the things you agree on instead of looking for points of contention.  Appreciating the relationship you have with the other person and what they bring to the table may steer the conversation in a different direction.

As a business owner, clear, concise communication is critical to leading, managing, and growing your business.  Understand what your goals are in communicating, stay focused on the message, and keep it simple.  

Recognize your communication habits and, if needed, change how you typically approach conversations.  If you need help recognizing your communication patterns or getting ideas on how you can get better results by changing not only what you are saying but how you’re saying it, SCHEDULE A CALL.

Are you spending your time wisely?

Last week I went to a seminar where I was immersed in 2 days of facilitation skills and design work.  

The value I got out of the seminar was priceless; I made connections with other coaches, was exposed to new ideas and had dedicated thinking time. 

There was some trepidation about leaving the business for 2 days but learning from one of the best in the industry was well worth my time.  

How we spend our time is so important because it determines the quality of our life.  It's easy to know the high value uses of our time -- they are all the things we need to do to accomplish our goals.

But often we get stuck in the low value uses of our time.  

Have you ever heard of Pareto's Law commonly referred to as the 80/20 rule?  It says the majority of results, 80%, will come from about 20% of the effort.  

The key is to know and focus on the activities that create a majority of the results.  This means ELIMINATING the things that you spend time on that don't get results.  

In his book, The 80/20 Principle:  The Secret to Achieving More with Less, Richard Koch provides a list of the top 10 low value uses of time.

Since time is THE resource we can't get back and we can't make more of, it is THE resource we need to use wisely and be ruthlessly focused on how we spend it. 

We don't get time back; once it's gone, it's gone.  

In the list of Koch’s top 10 low value uses of time, he gives insight into how we get stuck working on things that aren’t advancing our goals and our lives.  

The List: Top 10 Low Value Uses of Time

  1. Things other people want you to do
  2. Things that have always been done this way
  3. Things you're not unusually good at doing
  4. Things you don't enjoy doing
  5. Things that are always interrupted
  6. Things few other people are interested in
  7. Things that have already taken twice as long as you originally expected
  8. Things where your collaborators are unreliable or low quality
  9. Things that have a predictable cycle
  10. Answering the telephone

Sometimes we get so caught up in habits and rituals that we stop questioning why we do things the way we do and we get stuck in doing things for the sake of doing them.  

When was the last time you thought about why you are doing something.  

Print this list and refer to it when you're setting up your schedule for the day.  Use it as a filter to identify anything that doesn’t get you closer to your goals.  

And use it when you're reflecting on your week.  It will help you see why you didn't get as much done as you planned. 

If you need help seeing things from a different perspective SCHEDULE A CALL with me and we'll create a roadmap to get you on the right track.

A surefire way to screw 2 things up at once

Do you ever wonder how you’ll get everything done you need to?  

If you’re anything like me, you have a quite a few things on your list.  There might be a few big things like client meetings or hiring an employee and a lot of smaller things like social media and administrative tasks.  

One strategy people use to get more done is Multi-tasking.  Multi-tasking is when you try to get 2 or more things done at once.

Have you ever:

  • Checked e-mail while you’re on a conference call?
  • Taken a client call while having a conversation with your spouse?
  • Signed a contract while talking to an employee?

Even though it seems like we’re getting more done, studies have shown multi-tasking is really a way to screw 2 things up at once. 

A study done at Stanford compared groups of people on their tendency to multitask and their belief that it helps performance.  They found that heavy multitaskers were worse at multitasking and had trouble organizing their thoughts and filtering out irrelevant information.  Another study showed that multi-tasking can actually lower IQ.

Although we can do 2 things at once -- talk and chew gum for example -- we can only FOCUS on one thing at a time.  If we're trying to check email and pay attention on a call, we are switching from one thing to another rapidly - so fast you don’t even notice.  

In the switching, we lose our concentration and it takes time for us to “remember” where we left off and start over.  It’s the constant stopping and restarting where we tend to forget things. This leads to days and weeks of unfinished business, loose ends, and shoddy work.  

The solution to this is planning your day so you can focus on the things that need your full attention.  Some ways to do this are time-blocking your calendar, using a timer to focus on one thing (Pomodoro Method), and doing tasks that require your focus earlier in the day.

Even though multi-tasking seems like the solution to our busy lives, it’s actually focus on the important things that will grow your business and lead to more fulfillment.

Add some Spark to your 2019 plans

It's 4th of July week and as I'm writing this I'm watching my neighbors load up the car with a cooler, backpacks, and the family headed for a weeklong get-away. (Yup, I work from home and spy on the neighbors!)

Nothing says freedom more than owning your own business. You get to set your own hours, decide what you'll work on and when, pick your perfect clients, spy on your neighbors...

Unfortunately, some business owners become disillusioned while trying to grow their business to 6-or even 7-figures per year. Maybe leads aren't coming in fast enough, or there are employee issues, or production problems are keeping them from realizing their goals.

Sometimes it feels like owning a ball and chain rather than a business.

And the prospect of freedom, opportunity, and abundance doesn't seem possible.