Recently I was not feeling well and missed an event where I had hoped to extend my deepest appreciation to several hundred volunteers at St. Margaret Hospital. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t be there to thank these outstanding stewards of our patients who struggle with the biggest challenges of their lives. The next day I received this note from the two directors of the event - simply run off on their printer that said:
Thinking of You -
Hope you’re feeling much better
and hope you’re remembering, too
The many warm thoughts and good wishes
that always are right there with you.
If you think personal notes (talking hard copy here and not email) are a thing of the past you are wrong. This totally captured my attention, warmed my heart, made me smile and immediately inspired me to reach out and thank them.
I keep a drawer full of informal note cards for this very thing - from personalized Crane to Kate Spade to convenience store birthday cards. And I...
Feedback is crucial to performance improvement because it enables us to look at situations and ourselves from a third-party perspective. It unlocks self-reflection and growth, and opens the door to opportunity. “You are doing a great job” or “You have to do better,” does not give the employee the needed tools to improve or the intrinsic fulfillment to make him want to stay with the company and grow.
Effective feedback has three mindful components. It is 1) Strategic, 2) Developmental and 3) Aligned with the values of the organization. These require us to be aware of our restrictive biases.
Strategic Feedback: The employee can most benefit from feedback that answers this question: “What should this employee do more or less of to be maximally effective?” If you aren’t sure of the answer, ask the employee. Once you have the answer, you can work with her to clear distractions from her workload and position her to do the most meaningful and...
At the end of every week I try to reflect on one thing learned and one thing advanced. This builds self-awareness and focus.
This week I learned that just because you try something that doesn’t work out doesn’t mean your idea was wrong. Maybe the provider wasn’t right. Or the goal needs to be modified. Or the approach isn’t sound. I almost abandoned a strategy because of one let down. Another provider opened my eyes.
This week also I advanced a weekly planner I had been working on with my designer and wrote another article for The Ladders. This feels great! If you are interested in the free PDF week at a glance sheet - my Flow-on-the-Go Guide - that I use to track my daily routines and goals click here. This is what will be in my book. All my clients ue this. We need structure around building routines and creating goals to fulfill us. Without it goals are simply notions and routines become unfulfilled dreams.
P.S. Feel free to send this...
I see a lot of my corporate executive coaching clients struggle with the balance of certainty and humility as a leader. They want to have the presence of a strong leader yet they don’t want to appear arrogant or they have some self-doubt. Too often they dial back their executive presence as well as their voice. Here is a good strategy.
I had to layoff four people in the first 30 days of one of my roles as a CEO. It was very difficult.
As a leader you most certainly will have to make a difficult decision that will affect someone’s life if you haven’t already. When we can lean in to the difficult feeling this brings us and deal with them first, we can better bring compassion to the situation and others. These decisions can leave us feeling hurtful, frustrated, too practical, disliked and more. Name the feelings. Being comfortable with our own discomfort is a good place to start.
Open communication with others is the first step to building bridges not road blocks. I met with each person in the office and asked very specific questions about what they thought the direction of the office should be, what our strengths and weaknesses were and what they would do if they were me.
They saw the layoffs coming. I placed as many people elsewhere as I could and promised those left behind that we would eliminate...
If I believed anyone who told me it was impossible to go from being a single mother of four children under seven-years-old on welfare to getting hired as a CEO it might have dragged me down. So I didn’t ask anybody if they thought I'd succeed. I just went about my work and goals as if I could not fail.
Over the last 20 years I have led organization with up to $26 million in assets. I increased trade show attendance 150% my first year as executive director of a trade association. I led a campaign to add a patient pavilion and healing garden when people said, “That will never happen.” And I led a $10.4 million capital campaign for a heart center, new ER and Women’s and Infants' Center on the heels of the largest hospital bankruptcy in U.S. history.
“Impossible” is just a lofty word thrown around by people who play it safe. It is a notion to believe that just because something isn’t mainstream or the norm it cannot be done. More significantly -...
MINDFUL OF SELF AND OTHERS - OUCH!!!! Have you ever gotten off the phone with someone who called to ask you for help and felt like you'd just been worked over? Have you ever found yourself thinking, "There is something about that person I do not like or trust?" Trust your gut. Your head is too analytical and your heart is too emotional.
This happened to me yesterday when a person called me to help them regarding a positon I happen to know a lot about. This person was referred to me by a friend. It was for free advice. I agreed because of my work relationship with the other party. I was annoyed and put an end to what felt like an interview quickly after first turning the 'interview' on this person - to help this person realize the rudeness of the behavior. It didn't work. No self-awareness.
Don't doubt yourself. Believe in your instinct. Instinct has kept us alive as a species for centuries. If a perspective is that visceral it is trying to tell you something. Listen.
Note to Self -...
RESILIENCE is not just bouncing back after a difficult challenge; it is the speed at which we bounce back.
I watch clients struggle with things that have been ongoing or happened years ago. We carry with us the burdens we don’t know how to release. We can’t release something we don’t want to face and own.
Maybe what's happening was not at all your doing. But we own that we might be taking it personally or blaming it away. Own the feeling. It hurts.
Feeling the hurt is the first step of letting go. Don’t armor up against it. Sit with the discomfort and it will flow through you. If you turn away it will just keep chasing you down. Release it once you've processed it. And use it as a stepping stone.
Don't let it hold back your leadership, vibrancy and executive presence any longer.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach who helps leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere with confidence, candor and calm so they can be more effective leaders and have...
You learned about statistics, cash flow, engagement, profit margins and productivity in college and business school. But you didn’t learn the tenets of how to uplevel your career or presence for higher performance and better income. It starts with the personal transformation of your mindset. If you are at a crossroads and ready to make a shift in your life here are eight steps that you can use right now to find clarity and disarm doubt.
Eight Discovery Steps to Make a Mindset Shift Right Now
D – Decide to Change. Tell people. Write it down. Be self-aware without judgment. Set deadlines to monitor your progress.
I – Investigate Yourself. What do you love to do? What do you observe in silence? What have you forgotten about your strengths?
S – Sit on Your Ego. Say nothing. Listen only. Forgive. Be kind to the unkind. They need it most.
C – Confront Your Head Trash. What fear is running your life? Face your fear. Talk to it. This...
People search their whole lives for what will make them happy – material goods, a spouse, a home, vacations, freedom, better health, etc. Usually they frame happiness in the caveat of “more.” If only I were a little more thin, more healthy, more rich, had more time, more friends, etc. “More” is not a qualifier for vision. You can’t ultimately end up in a fulfilling place if you cannot define what fulfills you. That's where creating your vision of what you want makes a difference.
When you craft your vision make it the best, richest, juiciest, scariest vision you can imagine! Do NOT take into consideration what you perceive today to be possible. I work diligently with my clients to define the crispness of their vision and a vision statement because that clarity is crucial for results. When creating your vision only consider your ideal dream – your friends, your home, your family, your career, your business, your creative outlets,...
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