Gratitude Week – Try Post-it Note Coaching this week!

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”!

However, regardless of our beliefs and traditions, we can all benefit from more gratitude in our lives .  Gratitude is the single most powerful tool according to experts like Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman in the new field of Positive Psychology.

I know that when I have been feeling anger and intensity and literally feeling the adrenaline pumping through my veins, gratitude washes away those feelings in an instant.

I call it my Post-it Note Coaching Program.  If you know me, you know that I say my job is to work myself out of a job.  I believe that because I want my clients and their teams to coach themselves and each other.  This Post-it Note Coaching moves people in that direction with velocity.

Think of a situation where you are NOT getting the results you need or want.  Think about the people who have become obstacles to those results.  Think about the circumstances that have allowed this situation to fester.

Now, take a Post-it Note and write down 3 learnings for yourself from this experience. Think of mistakes you’ve made that you will absolutely not make again.  Think of things you’ve learned about yourself, your colleagues, and the situation.

This exercise only takes about 10 nano-seconds.  Once you’ve written down the learnings or gifts, the frustration will melt away nano-seconds later.  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!

Get Your Growth Opportunities or They Will Get You!

When I was a struggling CPA/Management Consultant, I changed jobs about every 18-24 months. It did not matter if I was in tax, auditing or consulting. It did not matter if my Boss was male or female. I had a daily conversation in my head that when something like this. ” Bob (Fill in the blanks with the Boss’ name) is an Idiot”.

You can imagine that with this perspective and negative mindset, I was not able to win a lot of friends or influence many of my bosses.

The growth opportunities were always therefore me. The problem was that I wasn’t picking up on these opportunities. I was in a victim mindset. People like my Mutha supported me in staying stuck. She said…”it’s not your fault you are really smart!” and she went on to say, “it’s not your fault you are a really hard worker!”. I would say “…you are right! It’s not my fault”.

That mindset kept the growth opportunities coming my way with more and more velocity. By the time I was 32 years old I had been diagnosed with a stress related chronic illness.

We can either get these growth opportunities when they come to us as a whisper, floating by our ear. Or we can wait until they feel like a rock in our shoe. If we continue to run from meeting to meeting in maniac mode, we will not be able to connect the dots or see these escalating patterns. Eventually the growth opportunity will be like a brick, hitting us on the side of our head!

Timothy Gallwey, Author of The Inner Game of Work, says that we all have to be a Student in the greatest seminar on Earth. The seminar is called: My Life. He goes on to say that maintaining this mindset of a student exponentially expands our intellectual, creative and emotional capacities.

Let’s all commit to take time today to give ourselves the gift of think time to reflect. Let’s start to put the pieces of our puzzle together. What are we putting up with? Where are we feeling frustrated and when have we felt that frustration before?

Don’t do what I did, spend almost 20 years of my life in a reactive, victim mindset, where the Boss du jour was controlling my career success and my quality of life.

What Does It Mean to Get The Right People In The Right Roles Doing the Right Work?

A few weeks ago during a radio interview, I had an aha moment.  The interviewer, Carol Blonder, was excellent and was really pounding me about this topic.

I shared my perspective on this critically important issue.

Not only do we, as leaders, have the mandate to help our colleagues identify their strengths  in order to align their roles with those strengths, we also must be willing to address their greatest vulnerabilities too.  If we want significant improvement in our teams’ productivity, we must be open to this level of forthright communication.  We must also provide ongoing encouragement to build in support structures to minimize the risk of those vulnerabilities becoming obstacles.  All of this is  critical to significant improvements in a team’s productivity.

I know that’s a mouthful so let me break it down so it can be easier to understand.

We all have these strengths that we are born with, like our thumbprint.  Dr. Martin E.P. Seligman, the founder of the new field of Positive Psychology, says that our strengths are our ‘core values in action’.  For more about Dr. Seligman see his website at www.authentichappiness.org.

When we get the volume turned up too high on these strengths they become vulnerabilities.  Here at The Halpin Companies we have a program to help individuals grasp all this.  The program is called The Gifts and Gaps Program.  When we over-utilize a strength or an asset, it becomes a liability.

The key is to be willing to be vulnerable and share our own Gifts and Gaps so that others feel safe to share theirs.

The aha for me this morning is that there are still opportunities for me to be more vulnerable in my life, career and within The Halpin Companies.

Who might benefit from your sharing about your own vulnerabilities?

How might this level of authenticity aid in helping others see their own strengths and vulnerabilities?

How might these conversations help better align roles, responsibilities and expectations?

What would it take for you to create a work environment where people felt comfortable addressing these critically important issues?

How big would you want to play?

For our E-Book on Making More and Working Less click here: www.teamalignmentstrategies.com

We All Have Issues, The Question is….Can We Laugh About Our Issues?

For some decades now, I’ve been saying to clients, colleagues and friends, ‘We all have issues….the question is…are we working on our issues?”

About 6 months ago I had a shift and I realized the opportunity for growth for all of us, individually and as teams, is not to continue to beat ourselves up, working on our issues. The real opportunity for growth is to be able to share our vulnerabilities freely and with lightness and humor.

We all have vulnerabilities. If you’re breathing, you have them. We over-utilize our strengths and get the volume turned up too high. We move too fast and can’t think strategically. We clam up and withhold when we need to find our voice and share our needs, preferences and objectives. We confuse activity with results.

As Brene Brown, PhD shares in her TED Talk, vulnerability is the birthplace of Joy, Creativity, Belonging and Love. In a business setting, think of your team’s need for greater alignment, clarity, innovation and connections. Being able to laugh about our vulnerabilities and issues is the key to creating an environment where others bring their best selves and thrive. Record results will follow.

If you’d like to watch Brene Brown’s video, click here: http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

Hilton Worldwide’s President & CEO of Simple Philosophy

If you know me, you know I love the NY Times’ Corner Office in the Sunday Business section. Since my definition of R&D is to ‘rob and duplicate’, I always love to steal the best ideas from successful leaders.  This weekly column by Adam Bryant is always full of great ideas.

On Sunday, October 14, the CEO of Hilton Worldwide, Christoper J. Nassetta, shared some real gems.  He articulated the appropriate role of a CEO succinctly and eloquently.  He said he has one simple philosophy…keep steady hands on the wheel.  I so love this.

To read the full interview click here:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/14/business/christopher-nassetta-of-hilton-on-focusing-its-values.html

Think about your organization for a moment.  Are you driving results with such velocity that your colleagues feel intimidated or overwhelmed? Are you so innovative that they don’t know how to strategically capture all the potential opportunities for your company?  Or, if you’re like me, they all may have a warm fuzzy feeling about you and your company but they may not be clear about their Top 3 Strategic Initiatives for this quarter.

Whatever the opportunity, give yourself the give of ‘think time’ and see how you might, today, keep the steady hands on the wheel.  This way, you’ll be the strategic leader who is developing other strategic leaders.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Total Team Alignment requires both a ‘reserve of time’ as a team as well as ‘reserves of time’ individually.  Perhaps, you, as Bob’s Manager, don’t have enough time to sit at your desk, review the calendar, do a brain dump of the tasks swirling in your head, and think strategically.

If Bob is not performing, it’s most likely because you are not creating an environment for Bob to be successful.  Without the right environment, you will never know if Bob’s strengths are aligned with his role and responsibilities.

Without the required structures, you can never put Bob on the Step Up or Step Out Program.

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Perhaps a ‘reserve of time’ to meet with his manager?

If meetings are cancelled or delayed Bob could feel that his work is not critical to the company’s success.  If meetings are rushed, there is no time for Bob’s concerns to be brought forth.

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Interim Check-points?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what structures are missing?

Perhaps a better opportunity to gain full understanding of our expectations?

Additional Resources or Guidance?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Total Team Alignment Daily Question

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a Daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

If “Bob” is not meeting our expectations, what is missing?

Skills?

Commitment?

Structures?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.

Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.  Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

What Does Total Team Alignment Take on a Daily Basis?

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be offering a daily Question.  In my opinion, the person asking the questions is the person being the Strategic Leader.  I hope you enjoy these questions.

Who are we being that is giving “Bob” permission to not meet our expectations?

If you find this question and your  subsequent ponderings valuable, you might want to participate in one of our complimentary public Webinars on Total Team Alignment.  Here’s the link to find the schedule.

http://halpincompany.com/webinars/

This link provides the opportunity to register and the opportunity to be interviewed during one of these Webinars.

Please feel free to share these links with your colleagues, team members, and leadership team.

Honoring Our Elders

In some spiritual and religious traditions, today is All Soul’s Day.  While I no longer subscribe to those belief systems espoused by these traditions, I do love the rich heritage and rituals associated with days like today.

As someone whose life as been heavily influenced by my Dad, I can’t help but think of him today.  He died at the age of 56 in 1984.

He looked around the breakfast table one Saturday morning when I was about 8 or 9 years old and saw me among my siblings and said, “why don’t you come into the office with me this morning?”.  He owned a sole-practitioner CPA firm, John F. Halpin, CPA, in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  The firm had about a half-dozen ‘girls in the office’ and I became one of them that day.

I started my career that day by operating the microfiche machine to maintain permanent records of his client’s bank statements.

I continued to work with him after school and on week-ends through college.  He’s why I became a CPA.  It took me 20 years to determine I was not well suited for that work.

I can’t help but think of Melody Beattie’s quote today as I think of my Dad and am grateful for all the bad things he taught me workaholicsm, putting the clients’ needs ahead of my own and being a hard worker.  He taught me many good things too.  I learned how to laugh and tell a funny story from my Dad. More importnatly, I learned how to engage people in a way that makes them want to be forthright about their deepest concerns.

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.  It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.  It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.  Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”                                                                   Melody Beattie

 

Reach or Respond? You Choose!

In every moment something occurs.

We have a thought, someone says something or a situation arises.

The question is this.  Can we hit the pause button (as opposed to the snooze button that puts on auto-pilot) and bring our best self to that situation.

Can we choose to respond with thoughtfulness and purposefulness?

Or do we dive into activity without thought of the unintended consequences of our rushing into action?

Today would be a great day to practice the discipline of remembering to hit the pause button regularly.

Grow Your People, Your Productivity and Your Profits in Record Time, with Record Results

What’s the first step in creating these kinds of record results?

The key is to grow yourself. Make sure you capture every growth opportunity when they initially appear.  Build in a variety of ‘reserves of time’ to coach yourself, reflect on your current results and reflect on what Peter Senge calls, the Creative Tension…the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

Give yourself the gift of time to reflect, connect the dots and start to see around corners.

You will be amazed at how your people start to mature as a result.

You will be thrilled at how your productivity escalates because you are more proactive and less reactive.

Increased profits and market share will follow quickly!

What Does Total Team Alignment Take?

People often ask me this question because of my almost 18-years of experience working with leaders on this very important topic.

Most people think that team alignment requires trust, forthright communication, enough time together as a team and, of course, having competent people in the right roles doing the right work.

These are all true.  However, what total team alignment takes first and foremost is for people to not make up stories.

When we make assumptions, assume we know the perspective of others, or simply interpret situations without pushing for clarity, we are making up stories.

The key to total team alignment is to focus on the facts.  Resist the temptation to make up stories about others’ objectives, needs and preferences.

Instead, schedule time to ensure that everyone has time to share their needs and preferences.  Once that is accomplished, a team can spend time clarifying objectives and building goals and plans to achieve those objectives.

These simple steps will minimize the risk of you or your colleagues making up stories.

Look for an opportunity today to focus on the facts by pushing for clarity.  I promise your team will benefit and record results will follow.