Category Archives: Uncategorized

Letting Go

ImageTo move up on onwards people have this idea you need to take on more responsibility and get better results and faster. But really how is that possible? Do you see any of your senior management team or CEO running around like a crazy person trying to do more and get more done, probably not. I don’t even see directors doing that.

So why is there some idea when people are at the individual contributor level that more is better? It’s not, in fact, more is less. The more you do, the less better it becomes. It’s a cycle to keeps you at the individual contributor level. What distinguished managers from individual contributors is the ability to let go. To find someone you trust who is capable, who is driven and who will deliver. Once you pass off the work (note: pass off is not equivalent to dumping) you free yourself up to take on new and challenging work that grows you. Sometimes even then you aren’t a manager, but the ability to let go is one that great managers have. They hire great people who deliver great work.

Don’t know how to let go because you “can’t”? Think people require you do to the work you want to let go of? Here is a negotiation trick I learned early in my life, say about 13, you tell the people who want to see you succeed, presumably your boss, that if you cannot let go of the work then the opportunity to take on this new and exciting challenge just won’t be possible. Simple right! You will be surprised how well people will respond when you lay out the facts. Great managers will find a way to reshuffle, reprioritize and make a great employee (like yourself) have the opportunity to develop. Remember, your success is actually their success. Happy letting go.

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All I want for Christmas is another… Meeting Request?

So the holidays are approaching, as is the New Year. Does that mean that all year people have slacked on their goals and tasks that they increase the number of meetings in December by 100%? Why the sudden rush.

Let us take a page out of a yoga practice and BREATHE. So the next time your about to send out a meeting request, ask yourself – “Am I doing this because I didn’t plan this out?” or “Can I just pick up the phone and ask?”

Just some holiday love from me.

Inspiration & business. Oxymoron?

Inspiration & business. Oxymoron?

I have recently acquired the knowledge of something important.  I will share this shortly, but look back to your favourite boss, manager, trainer, and team captain and ask yourself “why were they great?”.  I am sure we can list many attributes that make or made them great. I believe that Richard’s 500 interviews is due for a concise list.

In my opinion, INSPIRATION is something that has made our great leaders epic. Inspiration can come in different sizes and shapes –  Gandhi versus Martin Luther King, for example.

 

One day I will be a manager and be a part of change, big game-changing change, even though right now I feel that I am not inspirational (that I know of).  I went to a beloved pick me up website www.ted.com  and looked for some videos tagged inspiration to inspire me.  This one by Richard St. John on 8 secrets of success just blows my mind every time.

Once you watch the video and see the 8 secrets of success, you think “yes, yes, you’re right, Richard.”  But I know there are people in the world that have been following the 8 secrets of success, but aren’t.

 

I won’t get into name calling but just think politicians, actors, athletes, executives that buried their businesses and someone will come to mind.  But the ones that are successful I think have that extra quality of INSPIRATION.

Inspirations moves people, your focus (one of the secrets) won’t move others, your passion may, but inspiration is what gets your troops moving and makes things happen.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African proverb. It also takes more than one person to make an idea, company, initiative, organization, school or association successful. Inspiration forms the bond and ability to make change happen.

Today, ask yourself, who do you inspire?

Learning’s from another industry, who would have thought

I was fortunate to attend the Prudential Forum 2010 in Phoenix Arizona (August 30-31, 2010) and the opening speaker, Dan Coughlin, had spoke about 5 accelerator Actions. Although I usually come to conferences in a place of scepticism about what I will learn, I was pleasantly surprised. The conference theme was “innovate, accelerate, generate.” The only observation (to date) is that the conference is very specific to affiliates, employees and suppliers versus clients (us).

Midtown Phoenix skyline, looking north up Cent...

Image via Wikipedia

 

Mr. Coughlin spoke about “practical ways to achieve sustainable success.” I will rattle off all the accelerator actions at the end of the article, but the one that made me happy was number 2: “Maintain daily enthusiasm.” This accelerator is only a two step process:

a)      “Clarify the purpose for my work. (Why do I do the work that I do?)”

b)      “Every day focus on fulfilling my purpose.”

  • “Remember that passion flows from purpose, not the other way around.”

I feel that I do have the passion or enthusiasm in my work. In fact, thinking back about how I feel about my work, my manager, the company I work for. I am just as happy (if not more) about what I do everyday than when I started on day one. I get excited Sunday nights and am eager to come to work. I realize from this speaker that I do work everyday towards my purpose:

My purpose is to develop, and attribute to business development, growth and future sustainable growth for the company. Everything I do daily attributes to this purpose (in the form of tasks completed the same day or work that will attribute to a large project that will support these objectives).

Although I do find bliss at work and I will take some accountability for my ability to see what I am shooting for, I do want to acknowledge how important it is for the business to communicate to its employees on what they should be focusing on. Not a once a year communication, but an ongoing non-stop conversation to ensure all initiatives are pointing in the correct direction. In my opinion, this will drive to cohesive strategic decisions throughout the organization.

Here are the 5 accelerator actions:

  1. Schedule thinking & non-thinking time
  2. Maintain daily enthusiasm
  3. Innovate to sustain success
  4. Sacrifice to accelerate
  5. Collaborate to accelerate

I plan on blogging about the other accelerators upon my return back from Vancouver.

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Email Anxiety

I won’t pose this as a question, but rather a fact. All of us have at least once experience email anxiety. Email anxiety usually comes in the form fearing what the email will say from the email sender, usually the main cause of the anxiety. To further expand on this, imagine a co-worker or manager who keeps on emailing you with things to do that don’t make sense, or someone who keeps on changing their mind on what they want, or lastly, someone who wants to world and believes you’re the one to deliver it.

Dealing with email anxiety is weird, because talking things out isn’t really an option. I however do not consider ‘ignoring’ a form of approach, that’s just being inappropriate. I have experience email anxiety twice in the last 4 years of my HR career. It can be debilitating to performance and personal morale.

My first case of email anxiety was resolved by leaving my employer. Drastic, maybe. Necessary, certainly. My most recent case of email anxiety has been manageable and I have a game plan. Firstly, I openly talk to my closes peers (in HR of course) and manager about the situation in whole, focusing on fact, and openly share the email culprits. I respond to all emails with facts only and removing any empathic, apologetic, and wording that may have the recipient consider a weakness. I learned how to write strategic emails from a professor at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, Bob Basil, about 3 years ago and it has changed my email communication for the better. From there, I build up my professional reputation by managing multiple time consuming situations via emails and before you know it, “BAM!” like Chef Emeril, the emails stop.

The good news. I know how to deal with email anxiety. The bad news, its not quick and simple.  Email anxiety will exist, you now have to choose the deal with it and win. Good luck.

I cried at work, and it’s OK

I am very passionate about what I do. Everything in life is either full on or just off. When I make mistakes, I am very accountable to fixing them. When someone gives me feedback I take it as a gift and not a personal attack. I am committed to my work, just like everything else I do in life.

My fear in life isn’t dying, getting ill, never falling in love, growing old alone, not being successful, but disappointing those who I respect (or love). So when I make a mistake at work that disappoints my boss/bosses that I trust and respect I get upset, when I feel upset I cry.

So why does even Martha say “women in business don’t cry” when clearly I did? I read multiple articles after crying at work and there is a lot of tactics and strategies on how to deal with a crier or if you are the crier, but when it boils right down to it, aren’t we all just human? Why can’t we behave at work the way we would outside of work? Why do we need to be robots at work and emotional wrecks at home?

My incident has made me more open, better understood, and more – of what drives my performance, motivates me, and what I am truly passionate about. Today, I am taking a stand for all the criers out there and say its okay to cry (sometimes).

Do it your own way, RFP that is.

Recently I have been part of picking vendors for everything HR.  To speed up the process, I decided to keep the RFP part to myself and gather the information via research and one on one meetings with all vendors; this way I could assess those non-tangibles.

When I was done with the process, I decided to put the top two vendors to the test.  The one who on paper and in person seemed to blow the competition out of the water ended up not meeting our service levels and what they communicated.  I was delighted to see that the runner-up didn’t just meet my expectations, they delivered better quality, faster service, and were able to pivot on the spot for our company needs.

My lesson learned – the right decision isn’t how good you do your research, it’s based on reality.

Presentation Meltdown

Being a young panelist, yup, that’s me!

So I was asked to speak at a panel on March 15th 2010 in Richmond about my career path/ advancement. I found this quite flattering and obviously said yes. Now that I am 4 days away, I am starting to feel a little nervous and ill-prepared. So what does a young professional do when you need help… you google.

Long story short, I need a PowerPoint presentation that explains how I got to where I am

in my short period of time. I need to talk for 15 minutes, boy is that ever a long time! This isn’t some kind of dinner with copious amounts of wine either.

I found this cool presentation 101 link on google and it gave me an awesome id

ea to

use lots of pictures versus all text. I was always really good at it, but I am going to try to take it to the next level!

Wish me luck, and once I do my presentation, I will blog about my experience.

Until next time,

Agata