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How do you start your day?  How should you start your day?

This is a question I have been wrestling with lately.  Do you start your day off with your to do list in front of you and accomplish the first big tasks?  Or do you go and connect with your people first?

I have seen the effects both positive and negative of both.

As I work through this issue that has been a constant pushing and pulling it has been really difficult. 

Which of the following is you?

Focusing on To-Do List Person

You feel a huge sense of accomplishment by getting the things done you need to get done.  Your task list is clean and neat your desk is tidy and you don’t feel behind.  Each day you feel like you accomplished what you needed to.  Personally you are getting a lot done.

Focusing on People Person

You spend most of your day talking with people.  You know a lot about what is going on with everyone on your team.  Some days at the end of them you wonder what you accomplished all day.  You look at your to do list and see nothing of yours personally got done.

 

Don’t be too much of a To Do List Person.  You are probably really talented as a leader and can accomplish more than anyone else on your own.  But there is only one of you and there are many who are part of your team.  Your job as a leader is to make sure that everyone on your team is running as effectively as possible. 

Make your team the first priority on your to-do list.  Maybe even select one person on your team each day to connect with and find out what is going on.  Find out how you can maximize their talents.

The other day I learned that babies pay more attention to high pitched voices.  So when people speak in “baby talk” they are actually speaking in a tone the babies enjoy and favor.  No matter what you say to a baby the only thing that matters is the tone.  If you talk softly the baby will start to calm down no matter what you say.

It is amazing that through the years we don’t change much.  No matter what people say you can take more from facial expressions and tone than gestures. 

People are drawn to people with a positive tone and positive body language. 

So instead of focusing so much on what you say, focus on how you say it. 

How to communicate more effectively learned from being a dad:

  • Smile: Smiling makes the biggest difference.  It totally changes your tone and people are drawn to people who smile.
  • Eye Contact: Look directly into the persons eyes and they will know you are genuine.
  • Expression: Have expressions if you are excited and you will allow the other person to share in the excitement.
  • Tone: Change your tone often as you are talking about things.  How much do you want to listen to someone who is monotone.

It is amazing how communication does not change throughout the years.  Maybe we should stop trying to make it so complicated and learn from our kids.

Recently I have heard the phrase many times “I am going into full time ministry.”  I don’t mean to be nitpicky about this phrase but it is one of those phrases that downplays what every other person does.

Does being in “full time ministry” or work having to do with the church make you that much better of a person?

I get worked up a little when I hear phrases like that because sometimes I take it the wrong way. 

Instead I have decided to use this phrase to challenge myself.  I don’t believe full time ministry has to do with just the Church.  We as Christian leaders need to being doing full time ministry in our jobs on a daily basis. 

We as business people come across a wider range of people that most people in “full time ministry” would ever come across.

I don’t mean to be negative with this but I brought this more as a challenge to myself.

Why does it bother me so much?  Probably because I do not treat my life as full time ministry right now and I know I should be. 

When people ask me what I do I want to use the phrase (or something like it) “I am in full time ministry.” 

I don’t need to be connected with a church or organization to be in full time ministry.  I should do it every single day.

My goals for the year were to change a habit each month.  January I gave up pop, February I decided to exercise, March I wanted to try to get up on time, for April it is to stay in touch with my people.

Right up until April my goals were going great.  Then busyness set in and the rest of my goals went by the wayside.  I started drinking pop because I needed it to get through the day, or so I thought.  I stopped exercising because I lost free time both with work and with having a baby.  Getting up on time has stopped happening because I don’t stick to a schedule and routine of going to bed on time and having enough time for relaxation.  Now I am so busy trying to keep on top of customers that I don’t know what is going on with some of my team.

I need to get back in a routine and start to focus.  To get past things you need to focus and have a plan.

To stop drinking more pop: Don’t buy it at home and take a jug of water to work and make sure that is the only thing you drink. 

Exercising: Schedule 3 days a week to do some exercise.  Don’t try to overdue it.  Just start slowly.

Getting up on time: Stay on a schedule of going to bed on time and have a routine to start your morning.

Keeping in Touch with my Team: Put them as an action item on your to do list.  Have things written each day to talk to each of your team members about.

 

Sorry this post was so me focused.  But if I cannot live out what I am talking about here I am just another blathering idiot.  I will get back to you on how this is going.

Many people talk about how you need to start your day off right.  That is a great idea.  But if you really want to improve as a person and a leader you need to end your day right.  Your work day is what I am talking about.

What does ending your work day look like?

  • Organize your desk and things and get ready for tomorrow.
  • Make a list of the top 5 tasks you have for the next day in order.
  • Think through what happened throughout the day.
  • Think how you reacted to things and how you should have reacted to things. 
  • Make some mental notes on how you could have done things differently or how you handled things correctly.
  • Make notes of 2 people you need to praise for things the next day.

Those who start their day off right are far ahead of most but those who finish are the ones who always end up being the best.

What a crazy phrase!  I was frustrated with myself the other day and how my days were turning out.  I stopped doing the things I had worked so hard to keep myself disciplined to keep doing. 

I decided enjoyment came before discipline.

How far from the truth I was.  Discipline on the front end will lead toward a lot of enjoyment on the back end.  If you keep yourself disciplined you will get more done but also have a lot more time to have enjoyment in other things.  You will also have a lot of enjoyment in the thing you have disciplined yourself in.  No one in their right mind likes to run.  But after a while of being disciplined and running you start to see results and it starts to be enjoyable.  Not many people go out and say I want to run for fun then after weeks of running for fun they start to get disciplined.  That just doesn’t happen.

I don’t want to say stick to a routine.  Routine is a word that to me screams boring and stuck in their ways.  I would rather say stick to a framework.  Set aside certain chunks of time at certain parts of the day to work on specific things. 

For instance if you are in a retail sales job you should get most of your office computer work done right away in the morning along with communicating with employees.  This will free you up to have more time for your customers throughout the day. 

When you discipline yourself early and often then later on you can have a lot more enjoyment.  Enjoyment firsts leads to a lot of regret later.

Do you always wonder how to make work more fun?  Or anything more fun for that matter. 

Don’t you remember when you were a kid (or even now) to pass the time while driving you would play the ABC game or you would play Zip or some other game like that.  Your goal at the end was getting to your destination but you needed some tools to make the journey more fun. 

I love to transfer childhood lessons learned to leadership and business.

Today at work I was going through everything I ordered and also thinking about my goals for the year.  I was thinking to myself I need to give myself a jump start to get excited about selling things and talking to people.  I talked to one other person and we decided to make a game of greeting people and keeping track if we sell to them.  No this game isn’t all about sales.  It is more about making conversation with people.  I want everyone who comes to my business to get talked to by at least two people.

This is how my thought process worked:

  1. I thought of my goal: My goal was to sell 10% more than last year.
  2. A main step in getting toward the goal: Making sure every customer who comes in gets talked to and made to feel welcome.
  3. Come up with 3 ideas of how to achieve: Make it a policy, make it a reward, or make it a game.
  4. Think of how to implement your idea: Keeping track of how many customers you talk to and how many end up buying.
  5. Enlisting Others: Talked to another person at work about the idea and we decided to make it a game with lunch as the reward.
  6. Leaving room for change: Be willing to change how to keep track and different ways to make the game more interesting.

What is the use in playing games if you don’t keep score.  Quit making it easy and basing it on numbers.  Anyone can create a game like that.  Be a little more ingenious.

"Focus on remedies, not faults."

   -Jack Nicklaus

 

Are you one of those people who can always find something wrong with everything?  This is an awful problem to have if you don’t have the follow up question after it.

What is the follow up question to pointing out what is wrong?

It is trying to find the remedy for the fault.

Any person can find fault in things.  There are so many people who only find faults.  These people are called pessimists.

The only difference between a pessimist and an optimist is the follow up question. 

Pessimists point out the bad and tell everybody about it.  Optimists tell themselves what the bad is and do everything possible to turn it into good.  Optimists don’t just share the bad with people.  They share the solutions to the problems.  They are always looking for remedies.

So be a leader.  Be a remedy finder not a fault finder.  Fault finders are a dime a dozen.  Remedy finders come once in a great while.

 

If the people in your business had top pick someone to follow on a volunteer basis would they follow you?

Kevin Eikenberry had this tidbit of info in a recent blog:

Chuck Noll, coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers for many years and winner of 4 Super Bowls, said,

"The mercenaries will always beat the draftees, but the volunteers will crush them both."

 

Do the people you lead have the attitude of volunteers, draftees, or mercenaries? 

Do they have that attitude as a result of how you treat them? 

How do you create people with “volunteer” attitudes?

  • Listen: Listen to what they say.  Listen to their ideas and listen to what is going on in their life.
  • Care: If you treat them like employees they will be.  If you treat them as valued individuals they will treat you the same.
  • Respect: You are their boss but don’t be their dictator. 
  • Encourage: Offer encouragement when they do things right.
  • Teach: Don’t just tell people what to do all the time.  Teach them and let them fly. 

Why are we surprised when our employees talk about us behind our backs?  Think about how you treat them?  Are the mercenaries, draftees, or volunteers?

 

 

 

When you stop paying attention to your negative emotions and just masking them with positives you could cause huge problems down the road. 

We are so into the self help books that tell us to be positive all the time.  Don’t hear what I am not telling you.  I am all about being positive in every situation.  The key is not to suppress the negative emotions that come.  You need to recognize them as they are coming and figure out how to learn from it.

Negative emotions have similar affects as failure.  You learn the most from failure but most people don’t want to experience it.  Negative emotions are a part of growing as a person and if you try mask them with positive emotions you will never learn anything.

Be optimistic in life but learn from negative emotions and things that happen.

A great article related to this is at Personal Growth Map.