Friday, December 26, 2014

What would YOU add to this list?

This is the time of year where we all begin to feel almost guilted in making New Year’s Resolutions. Recently I read an article by Lolly Daskal (@lollydaskal)which outlined 10 things likable people do constantly. As I read them, it occurred to me that these are qualities, not only in likable people but attributes found in great leaders as well. Perhaps you can draw a resolution or two from the following:

1. Listen without interrupting.
Become a great listener. That means no butting in, no rushing along, no asking questions until the speaker is done. Listen not to frame your own rebuttal but rather to genuinely understand. First seek to understand…

2. Smile without smirking.
Smiling and warmth make others around you feel good. It seems simplistic, but smiling is a lost skill of sorts. Master it and you'll stand out. Take some time…LOOK at yourself…literally in the mirror…practice “the smile”

3. Speak without dictating.
Speak and share your thoughts and ideas, but treat such conversations as a two-way street. Your voice and your wisdom have value, but set them forth in a way that respects the voice and wisdom of others in true dialogue. VALUE the person with whom you are speaking.

4. Give without receiving.
As the adage says, we make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give. Don't keep score; give with a genuine heart, because it makes you happy…servant leadership.

5. Enjoy without complaining.
Enjoy and be grateful for all that you have. It is gratitude that gives us the best reasons not to complain. A mindset of gratitude versus the greed of want pays dividends for the entire organization.

6. Trust without wavering.
Trust, someone once said, is like an eraser--it gets smaller and smaller every time you have to use it. When we can offer others our sincere word and they know they can trust us, that's no small thing. Consistently doing what you've said you would do, and not doing what you've said you won't do, earns you a huge amount of trust.

7. Promise without forgetting.
People with good intentions make promises; people with great character keep them. Keeping promises should be your highest priority--because when you give your word, there is no room to forget. Keep your promises.

8. Forgive without punishing.
I believe there are two kinds of forgiveness: the kind that also gives the other person a chance, and the kind that forgives but still compels you to move on without that person. Either should be used wisely, and neither should be about punishment. The healthy way to forgive is whatever works best for you without punishing the other person.

9. Be honest without deceiving.
The people we like the best are those who are honest, who follow their convictions and speak their truth. We like people who act on their beliefs. They may not always win, but you know what they stand for.

10. Be positive without reservation.
Negative, angry people drag down everyone around them. Work on maintaining a positive attitude at work and in life. Make an effort to look for opportunities and solutions instead of barriers and problems. Whatever the situation, focus on what can be done.

So my friends, are there any that resonate with you? Care to add to the list? Feel free…Happy New Year…

Be good to yourself…

Friday, December 19, 2014

The 3 R's of Christmas

In a very short time your halls will be empty, the last of the “Happy Holidays” will be heard from staff and students and you’ll be able to give a little sigh of relief that a long overdue respite is within reach.

This is the time to re-energize, re-familiarize, and reflect…

RE-ENERGIZE – Take some time for YOURSELF….REST, REJUVENATE yourself physically and mentally. Read that novel you meant to read 2 summers ago, go on a hike, listen to your favorite music with the headphones ON, turn your phone OFF, force yourself NOT to read an email for 8 hours…RELAX…you’ll remember how to relax…it’s like riding a bike…:-) 

RE-FAMILIARIZE – Reacquaint yourself with family and friends. Unfortunately, too many times we take for granted the people we are closest too. They need to be reminded that we haven’t forgotten them and how important they are for our mental and emotional well-being.

REFLECT – Take advantage of this time of peace and quiet to reflect on days gone by and what needs to be accomplished in the days ahead, by whom and by when. Because before you know it your peaceful existence will give way to, “So how was your Holiday? Didn’t it go by quickly?”

Be good to yourself…and Merry Christmas and Peace and all good things to you and your family…

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Riddle

Here’s a riddle for you…What is in everyone’s office, that everyone MUST have, everyone MUST read and understand, but no one can place their hands on? Answer? The Employee Handbook.

I find it curious that, as leaders, we spend untold hours writing, editing, adding (very rarely DELETING), publishing and reviewing our rules, procedures, values and beliefs in our employee handbook year after year with the same results…no one reads it!

I came across Nordstrom’s employee handbook recently as I was searching for new ideas to aide in editing an existing handbook. What I found gave me pause to ponder.

By anyone’s standards, I believe it safe to conclude that Nordstrom is a successful retail chain. Can you imagine what their employee handbook looks like? You might be surprised; I know I was.  Their entire handbook is 2 pages.

Page one states their Number 1 Goal – “Provide outstanding customer service.”

Page two states their only “Rule” – “Use good judgment in all situations.”

Pretty simple, but efficient. No doubt EVERY employee could articulate these expectations without blinking an eye. Is the same true in your organization? Do a simple test and ask ten people to write it down.

Consider the value in razor sharp vision. As we enter a new year, consider refining your handbook to simply two pages. Tell me…tell your organization…

What IS your Number 1 Goal?

What IS your ONE rule?

Just askin…

Friday, December 5, 2014

Balance? At this time of year? REALLY????

We all KNOW that to be successful we must find balance in our life. The art of juggling is not lost as we try desperately not to discount one aspect of our life while pouring our energies into another.  In a recent post of Royale Scuderi, she outlines 10 steps to help us find balance.

·      Turn it off – Disconnect on the weekend. I hear the excuses already, but try it, at least for one day or even a few hours each night. Put the phone down and turn off the computer. Give your work brain a rest. Bonus: Spend the extra time actually interacting with your family and friends!

·      Trim, trim, trim – It’s a given that if your life is overflowing you will never be able to achieve balance and manage it all. It’s just not possible. Say no to everything that is either not essential or doesn’t add something valuable to your life. Be ruthless!

·      Pay attention to your health – We hear this over and over again, but usually only give it lip service. We know what we need to do, but it isn’t a priority until we have a health crisis. Our health really does affect the quality of our lives and our work. We are far more productive and happier when we get enough sleep, eat a little healthier and fit in some type of activity.

·      Minimize toxins– By that I don’t mean chemicals (though that might help too.) Minimize the negative influences around you. Avoid toxic people (complainers, whiners, poor attitudes.) If you can’t completely avoid them, at least minimize contact and tune them out as much as you can. Surround yourself with positive, supportive, can-do people whenever possible.

·      Spend time alone – Making time for you is probably the hardest thing to do for the typical overworked and overwhelmed person, but it is crucial for lowering stress, increasing happiness and encouraging creativity. Some things to try; meditate, write, sketch, do some yoga or simply sit quietly for a few minutes each day and do absolutely nothing. You can do it!

·      Relationships do matter – Set aside quality time with your family and friends. Don’t just sit in front of the television, really connect and pay attention to those you care about. Make a date with your significant other, have coffee with a friend, play a game with a child. Really get to know the people around you.

·      Treat yourself– Get a pedicure or a facial. Better yet, schedule a massage. It doesn’t need to be costly; a glass of wine, your favorite coffee or tea, a delightfully scented candle or beautiful flowers will make a huge impact.

·      Explore the world - Take a walk and pay attention to what’s going on around you. Take a new route, visit a new town or try being a tourist in your own. Attend a local performance, play amateur photographer or go to the park and watch children play. They really know how to enjoy life!

·      Expand your awareness – Take a class, learn to paint or try something new that you’ve always wanted to learn. Read a book that sparks your interest or try listening to uplifting music. Find what interests you.

·      Remember fun – Laugh, joke, play, find your sense of humor, subscribe to a daily joke or get a tear-off calendar. Nothing makes the feel better as fast as a good old-fashioned belly laugh.

So my friends, feel free to use any of these strategies, or feel free to add to the list ~ how do you find YOUR balance?

Be good to yourself.