Get Back in the Groove

Returning from vacation and getting back into a work routine can be challenging. Here are some tried and true ideas that help you get back in the groove faster:

  1. Re-start your morning rituals –the familiar, seamless routines that set the tone for a productive work day; those that include exercise, meditation and making your bed, for example.
  2. Gradually get back into your sleep regimen. 15 minutes earlier to bed every couple days until you’re back to your normal bedtime.
  3. Sync up with people you see on a regular basis, at the gym, at the local coffee shop or at the office.
  4. Resume a healthy diet and reduce the use of alcohol, etc.
  5. When you sit down to plan your day, recall those revelations you had flying 30,000 feet over mountain and plain. Perhaps you resolved a vexing problem, re-aligned your priorities or made a decision on a relationship that was well overdue. Now back on earth, can you apply those revelations and make your life easier?
  6. Overwhelmed with the 200+ emails, the to-do lists, bills, and the work you planned to finish before vacation? Break it into smaller tasks. Crank up some tunes or a podcast, get some snacks and take a small, but consistent bite out of each task every day until you get back in your groove.

Having more trouble than usual getting back in the swing of things, getting started and following through? Contact me at [email protected] 

Root Out Perfectionism First @ the Day Job

Len wants to leave his job to start his own design studio. As Len smartly assesses his entrepreneurial readiness, he wants to rid himself of one habit that could doom his startup — perfectionism.

Mark Cuban of the TV series Shark Tank said, “Perfectionism is the enemy of an entrepreneur.” It cannot be cured over night, but can be broken down gradually through coaching.

Frustrated with the indecisiveness and stress that come with perfectionism, Len agreed to apply a strategy to a current problem: Len owes HR five staff performance reviews (perfs) by the end of the week. They are six months overdue.

In light of other tasks that beg for Len’s attention, I asked him to describe what an “adequate” perf would look like. Would it sufficiently meet the expectations of the employee and HR? How much time would it take to do each one? Len could not identify any downsides to an adequate perf.

A “perfect” perf would include more flowery language and several links to training videos that would likely be ignored. Compared to an adequate perf, Len admitted that a perfect perf was excessive and a poor use of time with no upsides.

Contrasting the two versions in terms of time and benefit was a practical step towards tempering Len’s perfectionism. It eased the ability to get started and complete the task in time.

Perfectionism may require more than coaching, however. It is essential to manage this behavior efficiently before starting your own business. Contact me at [email protected]  

Motivate Your Employees to Their Full Potential

Once you’ve hired your “A” team members, how can you keep them engaged and working to their full potential? Even if benefits and raises were available, they can’t be the solution.

As one VC told me, “There are many factors that contribute to an employee’s desire to work to their potential…the mindset they bring to the startup is one thing. The rest is up to the founder.”

According to an industry-wide SHRM survey of 14,500 workers in 2017, only 15% of workers claimed to be working to their potential on a regular basis. The survey found that employees work to their full potential when:

  • they are clear about expectations.
  • they feel safe asking questions.
  • they are not overwhelmed with rules and unproductive meetings.
  • their suggestions are taken seriously
  • there are rewards and recognition for jobs well done.
  • supervisors demonstrate a high level of emotional intelligence.
  • they see purpose and meaning in their work.

At your next meeting, get some feedback from your team on each point. See how you can ignite greater motivation and commitment by doing your part.

Notice how all those factors are related to communication? Need help? Contact me at [email protected]

 

  

Curb Your Pitch

A few years ago, I participated in a short course for entrepreneurs on pitching an idea. My job was to help these founders speak their pitch in a confident and leader-like fashion. However, it took the majority of the session to get these very technically savvy and driven founders to clarify their concept into words that the average customer or investor could understand.

Can you clearly explain your startup or business idea to someone not in your industry in about 30 seconds?   This means you have to boil down your concept to bare bones, no jargon or complex technical terms. This length of time is in step with the average person’s attention span.  This equates to about 4 medium length sentences spoken at a modest pace to allow for any listener to process.

Test your ability to convey your idea as intended.  Ask five people who know nothing of your idea to participate in this exercise. Write up a 30 second explanation of what your startup does and read it aloud to 5 people. Ask them to tell you back how they understand it. Compare their answers to what you think you said.

Need help condensing your message into one in which stakeholders can understand? Reach out to me at [email protected]

5 Ways to Assess Your Top Soft Skill

Now that summer is upon us and living is a little easier, this is a good time to invest in your personal growth as a leader/founder. Where to start?

According to the Stanford Research Institute International and the Carnegie Mellon Foundation only 25 % of long term job success depends on technical skills, where a whopping 75% depends on soft skill mastery. Soft skills include critical thinking, leadership and communication skills, with the latter topping the list. (Actually, all the soft skills have language at their core!)

If you haven’t already discovered – in business, communication is everything.

To identify where your communication skills need a boost, ask yourself and a trusted other :

  1. What comments about my communication skills have I received? In what ways am I most effective in communicating with customers or as leader of a team? How am I least effective?
  2. In what situations (sales, negotiation, conflicts, public speaking, etc) do I find my communication competency challenged?
  3. How would I rate my emotional intelligence (the ability to manage my emotions appropriately and influence the emotions of others) in regards to communication?
  4. Would my team and those I interact with on a regular basis call me a “good listener?”
  5. Does my co-founder (if I have one) complement or conflict with my communication style?

Want to be a more mindful communicator at home and at work? Coaching works! Contact me at [email protected]

Add a Morpheus to Your Mix

A COREageous CEO listens to the good, bad and the ugly.

When passion takes hold and our vision becomes invincible, our mirror gets cloudy and we’re apt to act on murky and idealistic perceptions. It is comfortable to surround ourselves with people who share the same mirror, instead of those that come from a more realistic perspective.

Include people in your organization who will expose the weaknesses you may have denied or overlooked. As in the movie, The Matrix, the character Morpheus delivered the truth. Consider forming a small team of Morpheus’s that will help you see clearly. And will you listen?

In the highly recommended book, “The Art of the Start 2.0” the author, Guy Kawasaki, suggested having a Morpheus for each aspect of your business:

  • Research and development
  • Operations
  • Finance
  • Ethics

Kawasaki claims that a Morpheus is the yang to the CEO’s yin. The CEO decides “what” while the Morpheus identifies “what could go wrong?”

Could having a Morpheus on your team safeguard your venture?

Have trouble listening to the hard stuff that could save your startup? Listening is “my thing.” Contact me at [email protected]

 

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