Don't Make This Mistake When They Call for the Interview

Recently a client told me of a firing squad interview experience that warrants a share and checklist. 

Thirteen candidates were interviewed in a large room, 20 feet apart, by 12 people who scored them on three questions. Their names were drawn from a hat as to who would go first for all three questions. Candidates could hear other candidate’s responses. There would be a second round of these interviews to reduce a pool of 26 candidates to 4. 

Question Checklist for When They Call to Schedule the Interview. Ask:

  1. Who will conduct the interview and their title. Who else will be present/title? 
  1. Where will the actual interview occur? Not just where do you meet the HR professional. 
  1. How much time is allocated for the interview? 
  1. What do you see as the biggest challenge of the position and what should I focus on in my preparation?  
  1. Please send me the complete job description? It may have not been posted online in its entirety.  
  2. ...
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The Tool to Narrow the Gap in the Equation of Career Happiness

Throughout my years as an executive coach I have seen people triumph over immense hardship while others falter over minutiae. I’ve seen a sense of urgency spearhead achievement while chronic victimization hamstring progress. I’ve been party to personal transformations because people risk vulnerability with great courage and I’ve seen stagnation be the end-product of complaining about unmet expectations. Most often the underachievers carry self-doubt that they don’t know how to convert to confidence. 

It’s pretty clear to me what makes people happy and empowered to create the life they want and what does not. It’s a simple equation. 

The Golden Rule of Happiness

The shorter the distance between what you want and where you are the happier you will be and the more risks you will take. 

You Want a Better Job

Let’s say you want to move up in your career, possibly changing companies. And right now you are in a miserable role. There...

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How to Deal with that Difficult Employee Who is Poisoning Your Culture

Here is advice I recently gave to a client who just had two staff members explode at a meeting. Managing bad behavior starts with drawing healthy boundaries.

Boundaries: The invisible line between what you will and will not allow.

Difficult Employees: People who don’t take ownership of their own behavior and spew their dissatisfaction with their perceived powerlessness, victimization and lack of self-worth on others.

Dealing with Difficult Employees: Affirm their unhappiness. Affirm how they must be feeling. Ask them what they want. Then every time they act insubordinately ask them how that is getting them closer to what they want. 

When Difficult Employees are Out of Control: Get the values of the company in hand, show them how their behavior is insubordinate of the values, put them on a Performance Improvement Plan, establish the specific measurable threshold they need to meet, tell them your goal is to help them meet it and revisit in 30 days. That’s a boundary.

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Breaking the Cycle of the Treadmill to Nowhere

As an executive coach I see three main challenges repeatedly surface for leaders seeking to better their careers, teams and relationships. 

  1. The Treadmill to Nowhere 

When things aren’t going well people get stressed and think that if they just try harder the situation will get better. They focus on one size-fits-all strategies such as – work more hours, hold more meetings, take a course, call a recruiter, network more, get another degree, put in for another promotion, change for the sake of change, read more self-help or business books. They think things will improve because of their fierce dedication when in fact doing more of the same just brings more disappointment, let down from unmet expectations, stress, lack of confidence and makes them feel exhausted on the treadmill to nowhere. They seek “more” instead of less. They can’t slow down enough to be vulnerable – to risk searching inside themselves where the answers always lie. So...

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Holding a Hand for the First Time

Last summer my father passed away. It was a difficult time for me as I know it is for any of you who have a dying parent or who have lost a loved one. I did a lot of journaling during that time and I share the passage below with you in hope that it inspires you to embrace the difficult feelings of grief. My wish is that you may process and won the feelings you turn away from - that you allow them to flow through you - not get struck inside you and fester. That is how we have freedom. Namaste.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Last night I held a hand for the first time. Indeed throughout my life I have held many hands - extending myself to help, reaching for comfort, joining in an act of love. But last night I held the hand of a man who knows he is dying and it felt like we were the only two people in the world. 

My father is the epitome of grace, leadership, and strength. At the end of his life all of these qualities still stand in spite of a failing body. I coach and train on mindfulness, the...

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No one wants to hurt

Recently I had the honor of attending a mindfulness presentation and meditation session by Buddhist Monk Dr. Barry Karzin, physician for The Dalai Lama, sponsored by UPMC in celebration of Nurses Week.

He reminded us that one of the kindest things we can do for someone we are serving, no matter what the industry, is to ask them, “What’s the most important thing I can do for you today?”

There is no word in the Tibetan language or in Buddhism for “guilt” because when we have healthy confidence no one is ever condescended to. There is no putting down - especially of one’s self - only compassion. Compassion is the desire and action to alleviate suffering. Loving others, especially when their behavior makes it difficult, helps us to be compassionate.

We all want to be happy. No one wants to hurt.

Your coach,

Mary Lee

P.S. Money replenishes itself. Time does not.  Click here to request a call with me and let's talk about your...

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The Seven Deadly Sins Leaders Commit That Hold Them Back

The Seven Deadly Sins is a group of vices within religious teachings that are known as excessive versions of one's natural faculties. Though identified by desert fathers in the third century as passions one needed to overcome, these shortcomings play out today in the workforce. And they can make you pretty scary to deal with.

  1. Pride that you are more capable than your employees. How gratifying is it to be dubbed ‘King Know-It-All’ when everybody hates your guts? When you make all the decisions and give continual directives it cuts off their independence and desire to take risks. Innovation suffers and disengagement grows. Hire good people and get out of their way. 
  1. Sloth in your dedication to develop your personal growth and that of your team. You develop projects but how often do you develop your emotional intelligence? When was the last time you asked an employee, ‘Where do you see yourself three years from now? What project would you like to...
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The Dos and Don’ts of Executive Presence When the Pressure is On

When you are in that high-stakes meeting, sales presentation, interaction, or conflict your executive presence is both emotional and physiological. Your thoughts race and your heart rate escalates. People watch you. How do you execute when the pressure is on?

Confidence and self-esteem are two different things. Both are essential for executive presence. Confidence is being capable, but that isn’t enough. Self-esteem is feeling worthy – that you belong. We build both intentionally by challenging ourselves and regulating our emotions in the moment. That means you know the goal but focus on being your best without pre-occupation with your performance. Slow down your breathing and move your focus from anxious thoughts to following your breath. That clearing allows you to observe your behavior before emotions move you into a fight-or-flight mentality.   

A prime athlete trains to win. When the game is played she isn’t focused on the score, just...

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Self-Awareness Building Questions to Answer Before the Interview

Before you spend time preparing to answer difficult interview questions here are some questions to ask yourself. If you can answer these questions you will better be able to position your signature strengths in alignment with the company’s goals. 

Self-Awareness Building Questions to Answer Before the Interview 

  1. Do you understand the purpose of the business for which you are interviewing? Study it on their web site. Ask people who know the organization questions about the culture. Be able to describe what your impression is and ask questions about it. Say it out loud.
  2. Why are you passionate about the company mission? How do your values align with the company’s values? Say this out loud.
  3. Have you defined your transferable skills - click here for free training on Transferable Skills and other ways to advance in your career)- from your education and experience that can be applied to this position? Can you recite them out loud?
  4. What signature strength do you...
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Five Ways to Establish a Strong Leadership Brand

Create a five-column matrix and fill in the blanks with responses to the following points. When we have humility to mindfully accept the truth of our situation on paper, it gives us a tangible and actionable plan to execute and track. 

  1. Your Aspiration: List three things you want to be known for.   

If you aren’t sure, imagine you were giving your retirement speech. Looking back, what would you comment on as your most fulfilling accomplishments? 

  1. Their Perception: What do you suppose your colleagues would say about you now? Be honest. 

Ask yourself this: What would be said about you at your funeral by 1) a friend 2) a family member and 3) a work colleague? What would those who don’t care for you say? 

  1. Your Reality: Ask five people you work closely with how they would describe you at work.

Send an email to five unbiased people with whom you have worked over the last year. Tell them you are working on your leadership...

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