We’ve all been in meetings where we repeatedly check our watches. Our time is valuable. A well-run meeting makes people feel they are a part of progress – not process. Lead progress by first establishing a safe and productive environment with meeting ground rules. Email the rules to participants before the meeting. Post them in the room. People will come prepared to contribute to something that matters not observe, yawn and hope they don’t walk away with more on their to-do list.
Eight Killer Meeting Ground Rules
1.) The purpose of the meeting will be evident in the invite and placed where participants can see it. All relevant information is invited, and no other issues will be discussed.
2.) Everyone has a chance to speak without interruption.
3.) After everyone has spoken all will get to share final thoughts.
4.) No idea is a bad idea. All ideas and opinions will be respected.
5.) Ideas and opinions are encouraged to survive...
Recently I had a client tell me that when she opened a discussion with a direct report about a violation of the dress code the person erupted, quit on the spot and immediately left the workplace. We role played the discussion and how to frame such a discussion so as to depersonalize it.
What I found most interesting is that the company rehired this person who abandoned the workplace the same day at another location in another leadership role. What???
Now my client has to manage a team who knows the organization will tolerate unprofessional and insubordinate behavior. She has to gain respect from a team who knows they don’t have to listen or adhere to company policy to keep their job.
We are now positioning her transferable skills for a company with a more solid culture. In the meantime here is a tip for when you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee.
Four years ago, I saw an opportunity to take on a dual role where I would be the CEO of two operations and expressed interest in doing so. I knew I could do both jobs but ultimately the organization wanted a CEO devoted only to them. Instead I developed with much more seriousness my executive coaching business and never looked back.
Recently that same organization came to me and asked me if I would now run both organizations. I said no.
My priorities are clear now. I like helping my clients far more than having more corporate power. And I love spending time with my family, friends and creating things. The one CEO role I have is enough. Imagine that - feeling like what you are doing is rewarding enough - high performing in an area you love. Not needing to do more to be happy. What a relief that is.
If I take on more responsibility now I now evaluate it against whether or not it aligns with my values. If it does – it will ultimately be...
By nature we home into a negative bias. It’s how we’ve evolved as a species and not become extinct - by keeping ourselves safe. We are very good at noticing danger - so good that our ‘danger antenna’ is primed more than our ‘happiness antenna.’
So how do we break through this false-prison-comfort-zone we trap ourselves in?
Certainly not by pressing down the gas peddle on more of the same - complaining, blaming, victimizing, playing it safe. These are the very thoughts we need to let go of to take the risks that bring growth.
Deal with the things you run from. It is the only way to let them go. Yes, it’s hard. But if we don’t admit what feeling is at the root of our pain it will bubble up each time that feeling you haven’t accepted is triggered. You may have felt abandoned, rejected, dismissed, hurt. Whatever it is examine it. Don’t turn away. “I feel dismissed and it hurt.” Get...
Have you ever been in a high stakes meeting or in a conversation where someone challenges your position and you immediately start to feel the world closing in on you? Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl describes that moment this way ~ “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
It’s important to have actionable strategies when our thoughts take over and rule our actions. You are not your thoughts.
The Pause Café
When you feel anxious or aggravated practice what my clients and I call “The Pause Café.” It starts with a deep breath where you ask yourself, “What is going on with me?” Invite in the tension by being curious to it, not turning away. What we run from chases us down until we deal with it. Identify where the tension sits in your body. You may...
You know you want a better job, relationship with loved ones, home, group of friends - the list goes on. Yet you are wise enough to realize that those are just trappings of fulfillment. “Getting” doesn’t bring joy. A peaceful perspective where you make room for curiosity and compassion and edge out judgment and perfectionism is where you want to be. You long for a state of mind where acceptance is king and expectations and resentment are banished from your kingdom to a place where forgiveness prevails and control has no value – a place where your career and personal goals are aligned with your authentic self and whoosh into your life like the sweet breeze of freshly cut grass.
So why can’t you get there?
Do you see your future pretty much like the present +/- 10%? Have you dummied down your goals? Do you lack the energy to organize your life and set new goals for fear of the next trying challenge that is just around the corner?
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:
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...
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....
As an executive coach I see three main challenges repeatedly surface for leaders seeking to better their careers, teams and relationships.
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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