Saturday, May 30, 2009

Who is Living up to YOUR Expectations? Cringe!

Let's say you have an uphill battle ahead of you, maybe it is a project that you know will be challenging and you are going to need to rely on someone, REALLY rely on them.

"I expect you to" .... ugh! I cringe when I hear that phrase, partly because I have used it before and also because it doesn't work most of the time, especially when said in a mandatory-like tone.

People want to live up to high expectations but they do best when someone takes the little time to express BELIEF that they WILL do it....that they are already capable of doing it....not because it is "expected" of them by YOU. It's not your expectations that will motivate them as much as their expectation. So instead be a catalyst to help them see their own capabilities.

A few short comments can do wonders for somebody's confidence....especially at the outset of a project.

"You will do great at ..."
"I can't wait to see how you ..."
"I suspect you will thrive ..."

If they take your comments and run ... GREAT. If they have any doubts ... ask a follow-up question: "What do we need to do to help you ......... ?"

Expect greatness, but express to them THEIR greatness, and you will get it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Procrastination Reason #2 (of 10) - Fear of Failure

#2 Fear of failure!

Sometimes people procrastinate doing something because they fear they will not be able to accomplish the (sometimes complex) task. They will fail! Their mind races into the uncertain future with the fear-cloud of failure hanging overhead.

One of the biggest reasons people procrastinate when facing a tough task or project is the fear of diminishing them self (in their view.) Thank about it ... if you don't try or don't start, you might not feel like you are risking failure. You did not try or start, so you did not fail! You know how we accountants are risk averse!

The problem with that is not doing anything at all ... all that does it keep you in the EXACT same position you are right now! If that is what you want, if moving forward is not a goal, then by all means do nothing. Hide out under your fear cloud.

How do you fight the fear mind-set? First of all, you recognize it. You identify fear as your obstacle and you identify the specific fear. Define the fear clearly. What are you specifically fearing? What is the outcome? How does that outcome affect you negatively? What is the real risk here?

Now you need to take a different perspective (because the perspective you were taking before was not working!)

What will it take for you to overcome your fear? Be intentional about it. Ask yourself:

What is the cost of NOT getting this done, of not trying at all?
What is the cost to your confidence and your personal brand of allowing fear to stop you in your tracks?
Is it ok if you fail?
Is it ok if you try and fail? How can that be a good thing? How can that be a learning event?
How will it feel if you can overcome your fear?
How do you specifically get started in overcoming your fear?

Procrastination no more!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

It's the kitchen's fault!

You have probably been there....unfortunately many times. You are at a restaurant, your order gets messed up, and then you're eating one hour or more after you first arrived.

It is interesting to see how a "mistake" is handled in this scenario. Somebody messed up. In this case when it happened to me this past weekend, our waiter blames it on the kitchen. They LOST our order. Somehow it vanished, and the waiter (our hero) re-submitted it as fast as he could. He told us he had nothing to do with the problem. The manager at the store came over to our table and basically gave us 50% off our meal. The waiter then reminds us what the total WOULD have been had we paid full price. Translation: my tip should be based on the full price. I did not mess up, the kitchen did.

What has he done? He blamed someone else at his company. He did not take responsibility for the restaurant's mistake. Does it really matter who messed up? The customer starts to paint a negative picture of the restaurant in general. What would have been great .... the waiter taking full responsibility and showing a little more empathy for the CUSTOMER, not spending time blaming the kitchen!

Remember this when working in your teams. If you are truly a team then any mess-up as seen by outsiders is a team mess-up! Teach shared responsibility.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Procrastination Reason #1 (of 10) - Getting Started

#1 The task is too much - You don't know where to get started!

Sometimes people procrastinate doing something because the project or task seems a little overwhelming and fear of the ENTIRETY of the project stops you in your tracks.

How do you fight that mind-set?

Define the very first thing! What is the very first thing you must do to get started? How specific can you be in defining that? Is it looking up somebody's number? Is it opening up a book to do some research? Is it writing the opening sentence in a memo? Make it simple. Make it easy. Make it something you can visualize yourself doing right now ... and then just do that one simple thing.

Procrastination no more!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Roles and Goals, Roles and Goals

What are the most important roles you serve in your life?

What are the biggest goals in your life, in your week, in your day?

Time management is really about priority and energy management.  What are you prioritizing? How are you expending your energy and showing your intensity?   ....  your roles and your goals should help you answer these questions.

Ask yourself as often as you can .......
What am I doing right now and how does that help me to reach a goal or fulfill an important role?

Ask it again when you are doing something new.  And then ask it again.  Life is short.  Live it on your terms.