Katharine’s Definition of a High Performing Team

As a Team Alignment Expert, I feel confident in establishing my own definitions. Of course, because I am so opinionated, I do this all the time, not just in areas of expertise!

Here’s a really important Katharineism:

High Performing Teams consistently share 3 characteristics….

1) A shared Vision or Common Purpose

2) A commitment by each team member to each other’s individual success (no dog eat dog mindsets)

3) An ability to speak with one voice!

Yesterday while having a Halpin Company Alumni Association lunch with a fabulous senior executive in one of Arizona’s biggest and most successful companies, we were celebrating her Quantum Leap Results.  She reminded me that in order to build these kinds of teams, she had to do 3 things….

1) Throw People the Ball in a Way that Others could Catch It

2) Stay in the Conversation….

3) Be Proactive, not Reactive.  In order to do this, we both agreed we have to use lots of self-management approaches.

It is always great to celebrate successes but especially with former clients who you worked with in 2005-2008!  What successes have you had recently in forming high performing teams?

2013 Resolutions by Dear Abbey

This is something I intend to reflect on daily in 2013.  Dear Abbey (Pauline Phillips) adapted this from the original Al-Anon Credo.  It speaks for itself….

Just for today, I will live through this day only.  I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow.  I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once. 

I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime. 

Just for today, I will be happy.  I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me.  If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

Just for today, I will accept what is.  I will face reality.  I will correct those things that I can correct and accept those I cannot.

Just for today, I will improve my mind.  I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.  I will not be a mental loafer.

Just for today I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable.  I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I will not speak ill of others.  I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.  Just for today I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.   

Moving Into the Final Stretch of Holiday Preparations with Some Sanity

Fortunately for me, I’m not much of a shopper so my Holiday preparations are simple and fairly streamlined.  I like to give gifts that are meaningful and I like to give gifts all during the year.  This keeps me from feeling any pressure to over-give during the Holidays.

There are other areas of my life and career where I do get a bit over-stimulated and over-prepared.  If you know me, you know this is so true!

My belief is that we all have only strengths, not weaknesses. When we get ourselves in trouble – and for me that occurs about 100 times a day – it is not because of a weakness.  I get in trouble when I simply get the volume turned up too high on my strengths.

My ‘over utilized assets’ get me in trouble regularly when I take responsibility for things that are not my responsibility and I value the team, more than I value myself.  This is easy to see since I know my strengths are in the areas of driving results and building relationships.

During the Holidays, especially over the next 8 days when we wind up our work commitments for the year, prepare for 2013 and throw in lots of Holiday Parties, family activities and a tremendous amount of time with our ‘extended family’, it is even more important to know what works for us, what does not work for us and what our strengths are.

With this awareness and information, we can plan our activities according to what really serves and honors us and our values.  We can establish boundaries with others more easily with this information.  We can build in parameters around shopping, Holiday parties and traveling.  We might even be able to sustain our self-care during the Holidays with this information.

If you would like even more information about yourself, your strengths and your vulnerabilities click here:

http://members.taylorprotocols.com/Tools/CVIGift.aspx?GiftHash=c92db9ef-58a1-1030-aa1a-adf0ab89abbd&t=96VeC%2bHJGCg%3d

You’ll be able to take the Taylor Protocols’ Core Values Index and obtain your complimentary profile. If you like it, check our website in January for a series of complimentary Webinars to learn even more about yourself from the CVI Profile.

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

One key to enjoying life is to have moderation in everything.  A life lesson I continue to learn, by the way.

With awareness about ourselves we have the ability to choose.

When we have the ability to choose while practicing self-care and having good boundaries, we most often choose wisely!

If you thought I covered about 82 separate topics in this one blog post you are correct. I intend to take each topic…self-care, boundaries, and moderation and reflect on each of these in more detail over the last week before Christmas. While many people do not celebrate this holiday, almost everyone is caught up in the frenetic activity which can, potentially cause us to make poor choices.

Happy Holidays!

Why Some Executive Demonstrate Bad Behavior

Brian Evje had a recent piece in Inc. Magazine titled, “Why Executives Are So Bad At The Behavioral Side of Management”.

After a 40-year career, I certainly do not believe that all execs are bad at the ‘soft’ skill issues (which we all know are really the hard issues to address).

Mr. Evje states that “In reality, there is nothing ‘soft’ about the skills need to relate to people well enough to lead them.  True leadership involves both hard skills and harder skills”.  I love this quote.

He summarizes that there are ultimately 3 things leaders have to do to be more effective:

1) Admit that inter-personal skills are important.  He even posits that we must be able to lead ourselves.  I call this self-management.  Being able to bring the required perspective to every situation and to do this ‘in the moment’ requires presence, discipline, thoughtfulness and a feeling of being grounded.  Humans don’t gain this ability without getting exercise, getting out in nature, taking think time, and having a variety of reserves of time in place every day..

2) Rethink your definitions of ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills.  He’s got great questions to ask yourself.  See the full article here:  http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-leadership-skills-2012-11

3) Get some help.  As a Leadership Strategist for almost 18 years, I, of course, love this idea.  Just like in sports, we don’t know what we don’t know about our levels of effectiveness. An outsider can help you raise your awareness and ultimately, make different choices.

When I re-tweeted this article yesterday, one of my Facebook friends added a comment that most execs put their self-interest over the interest of their employees, companies, communities.  Again, I don’t agree with the broad generalization.  I have seen more execs do this than I’d like to admit. However, the key here is to only hire values-based people and people who share your values.  If you value transparency, figure out what questions to ask in the interview to assess the applicant’s perspective on transparency.  If you value integrity, ask them to share an experience when they’ve been asked to compromise their integrity.  The interview might  be very short based on their response to this question.

If you enjoy these posts, you probably would enjoy our free report, 7 Secrets to Making More While Working Less at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

 

 

 

Execution is Not Easy! If it was, everyone would be doing it…even the US Air Force

How can really bright people screw up to the tune of $1 billion?

Our colleagues in the US Air Force were successful in just that.

They selected a software vendor in 2006 to “configure, deploy and conduct training and change management activities” related to a $628 million contract for an off-the-shelf enterprise-wide software system.  Randall Stross, a Silicon Valley author and professor at San Jose State University, captures the details in Sunday’s New York Times.  He quotes an Air Force executive,  laying the groundwork for this debacle by 2010, “We’ve never tried to change all the processes, tools and languages of all 250,000 people in our business at once, and that’s essentially what we are about to do.”

Mr. Stross attributes the failure to endless meetings, complex bureaucratic requirements and the constant need to fight wars.  My assessment of the situation is much simpler.

My experience working with leadership teams for over 30 years tells me that the team’s Vision and planning process was flawed.

This is what happens when the collective attitudes and beliefs are not addressed as part of the vision process.  This is what happens when the vision cannot be articulated or is not embraced by every member of the team.  These are the obstacles to almost every planning process.  When the planning process is flawed, no amount of expertise in execution can bring an initiative to a productive close.

If you would like to align your team around a vision for a $1 billion initiative or something smaller in scope for 2013, get our free report at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

Here’s the full article in the Sunday business section of the  New York Times: http://nyti.ms/YOI6CF  It’s worth a read.

Self Awareness – A Key to Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

In Sunday’s NYTimes’ Corner Office by Adam Bryant, Tony Tjan, Founder and CEO of Cue Ball, a Venture Capital Firm in Boston offers extraordinarily valuable insights.

I thought his most poignant point, in talking about the dot-com buts of 2000 was that “…self-awareness trumps all.  You need to know what your superhero strength is, but you really learn at tougher times what your and others’ weaknesses are.”

His point is like that Hallmark Card that says something like people are like tea bags.  You never really know them until you put them in hot water.

What does it take to have a level of resiliency that allows us to bounce back from setbacks and obstacles?  What kinds of self-management tools do we need to practice consistently so that when an obstacle arises we can easily circumvent it?

A key self-management tool for many of us is Strategic Think Time.  I’d encourage you today to give yourself this gift to read and reflect on this piece.  Here’s the link:  http://nyti.ms/YOzNGN

 

Pearl Harbor Day Thoughts

Today, December 7, we know is the anniversary of the bombing of the US by the Japanese at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

I have a dear friend, Evelyn, who passed away a few years ago. Ev had been in the WAVEs (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and was stationed at Pearl Harbor.  Her family still has her  photos of the Japanese surrender delegation aboard the USS Missouri signing the surrender documents with Admiral Nimitz.

When I reflect on the atrocities of war, I wonder how we can devolve into those situations?  As Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.   I know from my own experiences, if we want peace on earth, we must first find peace in our hearts.

What are the opportunities today for all of us to have more peace of mind?

Do we put financial security over our values? Do we place convenience and a few pennies in savings over supporting our locally owned stores? Do we harbor ill will towards others? Do we just get too busy to stop and express gratitude for the abundance we enjoy?

For me, I sometimes forget to trust the process.  When those times arise, I will throw my self-management tools out the window and roll up my sleeves.  I will quickly start to force some outcome.

Trust me, no good comes from these situations!

Try to find some time today to increase your own experience of peace.  Take a moment to express forgiveness to someone who cuts you off in traffic or has harmed you.  Find a way to express love and caring for your loved ones and colleagues.  Take an extra moment to give someone an experience of being heard, valued and appreciated.

As studies show, the giver receives the greatest value during these moments of forgiveness and generosity.

My friend Ev went to college on the GI Bill, became an Accountant in the aerospace industry and eventually owned her own printing company.  She created jobs, wealth and abundance for her clients, employees and her own family.  If she can put aside the atrocities she witnessed and experienced, surely we can put aside our petty differences and look for ways to connect with others on the path to more peace in our hearts.

If you enjoy these posts, you might enjoy our free report, 7 Secrets to Making More Money and Working Less at www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

Get the Right People in the Right Roles Can be Messy!

How do we get the right people in the right roles?

In addition to gaining a full understanding of people’s strengths, we need to have clarity about each other’s vulnerabilities.  I believe our vulnerabilities, or growth opportunities, fall into several categories:

* Risks when we simply get the volume turned up too high on our strengths

* Unmet needs that can unconsciously drive us to make poor choices and decisions that have negative consequences, and of course,

* our egos.

How do we then get the right people in the right roles doing the right work using the right strengths and managing their growth opportunities or vulnerabilities?

First, you need to know the strengths of your people.  We use a proprietary tool developed by Lynn Taylor of Taylor Protocols to identify strengths and vulnerabilities of individuals.  This affirming profile helps people see themselves in a new light.  More importantly, it helps the rest of the team and their manager have a much more realistic perspective on the individual.

Thomas Leonard, founder of Coach U and one of the founders of the profession of coaching, articulated that we all have needs.  When these needs are left to fester they can become significant obstacles to effectiveness.  For almost 20-years I had a need to ‘get credit’.  That need drove me to be irrational at times. I would volunteer for every difficult assignment.  I would raise my hand to serve on every task force or committee.  When I started my training at Coach U and saw this need, my life and career transformed.  With awareness  and self-management, I was no longer ‘driven’ to get that need met.

What’s your unmet need?  Do you have a need to be the smartest person in the room? Do you have the need to be liked? Do you have the need to be validated? Do you have the need for external recognition?  Do you have the need to be heard? Do you have the need to be part of ‘the team’?

Every human being has these needs.  The question is are they driving us in an invisible and unproductive way?

Can we gain this awareness about ourselves or will we remain driven by these underlying growth opportunities?  Can we then self-manage in a way that gets these needs met or at least keeps them in check?

Once you know who you are dealing with you on your team and the various aspects of each team member, it’s easy to ensure their roles play to their strengths.

The next step is to ensure that everyone demonstrates both the personal and professional maturity to develop themselves, self-manage and embrace these growth opportunities.

For our free report, Make More Money While Working Less click here: teamalignmentstrategies.com

 

Vision vs Execution

As Thomas Edison said, “Vision without Execution is Hallucination”.  In today’s world with our addictions to activity, we now know that Execution without Vision is CHAOS!  In some organizations, it can be total chaos.

Without a Shared Vision, everyone on the team develops their own.  Unfortunately, they don’t stop there.  People take action often based, not on the Facts but on the stories they make up about the facts.

Without a shared, clear, concise vision, chaos reigns.

How do you develop such a vision?  Only by including all the stakeholders in a thoughtful multi-step process.  So many any leaders lack the discipline to adopt such a process.  They believe, incorrectly, they will be more effective being in action.

What has to happen for us all to be willing to invest in the process if developing this Shared Vision with our stake holders?  What would be the benefits?  What is the personal and corporate cost of the chaotic approach?

Getting the Right People in the Right Roles Requires Hiring The Right People in the First Place

Yesterday’s Corner Office Interview by Adam Bryant in the Sunday Business Section of the New York Times hit the ball out of the ballpark.  Sandra Kurtzig is Chair and CEO of Kenandy, a software management firm in Redwood City, CA.

She had a number of very valuable points.  The title is Don’t Chase Everything That Shines and she speaks about the need to have good boundaries and high standards.  Not every idea is, in fact, a good idea!

The most compelling pieces to me were her hiring questions.  She asks “Why are you here? What do you know about our company that made you want to interview for this job?”  She says if they have not done their homework about her company that’s a real red flag for her.

An even more important interview question is this: “Why do you want to leave the company you’re at right now? Looks like you’re doing a pretty good job, and you’re doing well.  What is it that you don’t like there?”

She says the answer to this question is ALWAYS an eye-opener.  She uses this to mine for their perspective on a number of topics.

I highly recommend the entire piece.  It will take all of about 3 minutes to fully digest.  It will take some extended period of time, however, for most of us to build in the discipline and clarity that Ms. Kurtzig demonstrates.

See the full article here: http://nyti.ms/VcZ5qn

If you enjoy our blog posts, you’ll love our free report, The 7 Secrets to Making More Money and Working Less.  Go to www.TeamAlignmentStrategiest.com for your free copy.

To Innovate or Not to Innovate? That is the question…

In our ‘new normal’ economy we no longer have the luxury of being ‘fat and happy’.  Just like other business owners and executives, I’ve been there multiple times in my career as a principal of a consulting firm.

For every nano-second we allow ourselves to coast, to wait and see, to continue business as usual, we are turning over the reins of our businesses to others.

If we are not gaining market share, we are losing market share.

We must innovate and we must innovate effectively.  We must first assemble the ‘right team’ to innovate.  We must then research our options by inquiring of our best customers what they want and need that we are not currently providing.  How might we meet the customers’ needs in a more effective and efficient way?

We must reflect on our customers who drain us of energy, time and resources. How might we refer them to our competitors? We must ask ourselves tough questions and get the brutal facts out on the table.

Most importantly, we must get out of our comfort zones, bring clarity, focus and discipline to our innovative endeavors and be willing to look at our companies, products, services and customers from different perspectives.

Lastly, we cannot miss the important step of considering all potential unintended consequences of our innovative efforts.

By approaching innovation in a disciplined, thoughtful manner, our companies will grow, our people will grow and we will grow as leaders.

The gains in market share, revenue and profit will become automatic and predictable.

Gratitude Week – Be Thankful for Real Rejuvenation

Thanksgiving week is ending and we have the benefit of moving from 2-3 days of Holidays into a weekend . For me, I am on Day 3 of 5 of my Holiday Weekend .

Today I am grateful for this time away from my normal routines and obligations . I am grateful for time to be in nature and for a beautiful mountain setting. I am grateful for my health and mobility that allows me to move and breath in the mountain air.

How much time have you given yourself this holiday weekend for real rejuvenation ? How much time could you carve out today ? What would have to happen to allow you to give yourself this gift?

The more we can create an experience of real rejuvenation during our time ‘off’, the more likely we will be to build this into our regular routines .

This week I have been writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all. I hope you will read all my posts this week.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – A Powerful Example of Using Gratitude to Control Our Own Destiny – Karen Perry’s journey from loss to gratitude

In an effort to not offend my friends and colleagues who chose not to celebrate Thanksgiving, but focus on celebrating with their loved ones a Fall Harvest Celebration, I hesitate to say, “Happy Thanksgiving”!

I am with family and friends in the mountains of Northern Arizona with amazing weather and time for real rejuvenation.

This week I have been writing about aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all. In yesterday’s AZ Republic, Pulitzer prize-winning, columnist, Laurie Roberts, shared the amazing story of Karen Perry. Karen is the mother from Mesa, AZ that lost all 3 of her young children last Thanksgiving eve.

Her story is a powerful testimony to resiliency, gratitude and moving forward powerfully. She really is controlling her own destiny after devastating losses.

Please take the time this holiday weekend to read the full article at www.azcentral.com to read Laurie Robert’s 11/21/12 column on Karen Perry.

A search for Laurie Roberts will bring up yesterday’s column. Give your self the gift of this inspiring account.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – Are we controlling our own destiny?

Sometimes life is hard.  Our loved ones become ill or even transition on.  We have health challenges ourselves.  People we care about lose their jobs and their homes, often for no fault of their own.

Sometimes, we just can’t sleep or relax.

Whatever we are faced with we still retain the opportunity to look for the silver lining.  While hokey, this is really our only productive approach.

When we adopt the victim mindset, we give control of our destiny over to someone else.  When we maintain a productive mindset and look for the growth opportunities and even the blessings, we remain effective and we move forward.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!

Gratitude Week – Be Grateful for the Little Things!

My older sister and I received a text on Sunday from our baby sister who was attending a bi-annual Women’s Retreat.  She acknowledged us for the ways we had contributed to her life when she was a child and now as an adult.

The text meant a  tremendous amount to me.  I believe we all have a basic human need to feel valued and appreciated.

Further, I believe that need is so great that it is just above food, shelter and safety.

Who in your world could benefit from an expression of gratitude and acknowledgment?

How might you provide that acknowledgment?  For me, the key is to first put pen to paper and to make a list of all the aspects that I can be grateful for.

From this, I typically find a theme. With or without this level of ‘think time’ and preparation, I am confident that your connection with this person will be strengthened.

More importantly, you will be helping this person get this basic human need met in a powerful and effective manner.

This is a powerful way to experience the full power of gratitude.

This week I’ll be writing about other aspects of gratitude that are important and useful for us all.

If you are enjoying these posts, I’m confident you would enjoy one of our free webinars on Total Team Alignment.  These webinars are filled with useful, practical and easy to implement solutions that produce record results right away.  I hope you’ll join us for one.  Here’s the link to register:

www.HalpinCompany.com/webinars

Please have a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of love, laughter and real rejuvenation!