Development

Assessing Promotability

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For those who believe that they are getting ready to be promoted, it is wise to understand what are called “limiting behaviors.” These are the blind spots that all people have to one degree or another and the
ability to acknowledge that they exist is often the biggest limiting behavior of them all.

Organizations often employ leadership assessment tools to help managers identify and prioritize their own developmental opportunities. While not 100% infallible, they do contain insight. When combined with 360-degree multi-rater feedback, they can feel downright oppressive!

What do organizations look for in a “promotable” person? Below are “Eight Universal Competencies”
and their associated skills from one of my favorites multi-rater tools, CheckPoint 360°™ from Profiles International. The feedback is usually from a group of 15 - 20 people who have had direct interaction with the person under consideration for promotion.

An honest, objective self-assessment might be very useful. Begin by asking yourself how well you might be doing in these areas:

1.     Communication – Skills associated with communication include: How well the person
“Listening to Others”, “Processing Information” and “Communicating Effectively.”
 

2.     Leadership - Skills associated Leadership are: How well they “Instill Trust, “
Provide Direction” and “Delegate Responsibility”
 

3.     Adaptability - Skills associated Adaptability are: How well they “Adjust to Circumstances”
and the ability to “Think Creatively.”
 

4.     Relationships Skills associated Relationships include: “Building Personal Relationships”
and “Facilitating Team Success.”
 

5.     Task Management – Skills associated Task Management include: How well they Work Efficiently and “Work Competently”
 

6.     Production – Skills associated Production include: How well they “Take Action” and
“Achieve Results”
 

7.     Development of Others - Skills associated the Development of Others include: How well
they “Cultivate Individual Talents” of others and “Motivates Others Successfully.”
 

8.     Personal Development - Skills associated Personal Development include: How well they
“Seek Self-Improvement and “Display Commitment” to personal growth.

 

How did you do?

“To Grow Patience”

 Pa·tience (pāSHənst) noun. the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. Patience is a Virtue.

It was a great time, a week-long trip to the Midwest. We were out of town seeing family and friends. It was very relaxing to the point of distraction. As we drove to ORD, we mused about just what a great trip it had been.  I was heading home with an important early meeting the next day. Spouse had planned some extended time away to visit more family in Michigan. Time to Kiss & Fly. She went to her gate. I went to mine. It was Sunday and all was right with the world (so far).

About 30 minutes after wheels up, it occurred to me that the spouse had the car keys to the one car at the airport I was arriving at. My spouse also had the only set of house keys with us on the trip. Thought to myself, “Oh Gosh darn-it”, I am at a bit of a disadvantage here, (not in exactly those words but you get the idea).

I landed and attempted to call the spouse when the cell phone started continuously re-booting, for reasons I still cannot explain to this day. I had to habitually log in to get a call out in the one-minute window of time the “smart” phone would acknowledge my existence. Once again thought, “Well gosh darn-it here”

The good news? It wasn’t raining and there were options. Okay, got through to the Spouse and explained the predicament. The spouse was going to call the locksmith, from Michigan, on my behalf. Before I could explain that it wasn’t necessary, yep my phone re-booted.

Took the car service home - $75. Sat on the front porch, on my black roller bag, realizing the world was spinning around at 25,000 mph and really not caring much. We had about :90 minutes of daylight left.

My neighbor walked by and I used their cell phone to call my spouse to exchange mutual pleasantries. Then I called the locksmith. The locksmith, of course, could help me for a premium fee on Sunday late afternoon. Okay, it seemed like a solution was finally in sight. The locksmith arrives, the same one who installed the original locks on the house, with about 45 minutes of daylight left. Ah, how good that hot shower was going to feel!

He got there and said, “Hmm, I have never seen these before”. After about :30 minutes of “lock-smithing” he was not able to gain entrance. I thought, “Gee golly gosh, we have some really great locks on our house. Not even the locksmith can get past them”. Indeed, how truly fortunate we were!

So, slowing down, we (the locksmith and I) enjoyed a beautiful sunset all the while I contemplated which window to break to gain entrance. And it was a beautiful sunset! It was an amazingly beautiful celestial canopy, a unique tapestry of spectacular colors and hues, a veritable cornucopia of colors designed specifically for this time and this place. Even the lock-smith was impressed.

My phone rang, yep that same demon possessed phone that was about to put me over the edge. It was my spouse calling to exchange more mutual pleasantries and to remind me that it would be preferable not to break any windows. (What we used to call in the “old days” a real bulletin!). I reminded my spouse that we had both been up since o-dark hundred and that after such a long and rewarding day how much I was looking forward to that hot shower.

Then it occurred to me, Stop, Focus, Think and Study the windows. What? Study the windows. I thought “Well Gosh darn-it here”, we did have excellent Pella windows with great locking mechanisms, guaranteed to keep out whatever you don’t want in, (short of breaking the window). While the apologetic lock-smith looked on, I studied the windows. “Which one doesn’t belong here”?

And sure enough, they all pointed the same way except for one window. That window was over the kitchen sink. It as well off the ground, but being tall it was no problem for me to reach. All we had to do was to carefully loosen up the outside screen and Viola! I called my spouse from the landline inside the house and said to ignore any process servers headed in their direction as it was all a big misunderstanding.

Procedures are now in place to never replicate such a moving experience. To quote PJ O’Rourke, “have not had this much fun since seeing the entire Mexican air force wipe out into a liquid petroleum field.”

Morale of the story - To Grow Patience:

1. Slow down. If you have the tendency to rush around and try to hurry things up, want things done immediately and can't wait for things to take their natural course, STOP.

2. Practice delaying gratification. When you want to reach for that quick solution, stop and think about it first. You can save yourself some aggravation.

3. Practice thinking before you speak. At times we blurt out the first thought that comes into our heads without considering the consequences. If we're patient, pause and go over what we want to say, we can avoid hurting or offending others.

4. Make patience your goal for an entire day. Make a concerted effort to take your time and think about everything you do, be mindful and live in the moment. Developing patience is much like physical exercise because it requires persistence and effort.

How to Think and Act Like a Day One Executive

We recently had April Armstrong on our Voltcast: Illuminating Leadership Radio Show. April is the CEO of Aha Insight and author of the upcoming book called The Day One Executive.  We had a fast-paced conversation about how you could start thinking like an executive. If you already an executive, we also talked about some good practices to sharpen our leadership saw. Below are a few highlights from our conversation.

Jeff-Why did you write the book?

April-If you’re lucky you’ll have a mentor in your career. But I recently spoke to a group and 2 people in the room raised their hands that they had never had a mentor in their life. This book is for them. And quite frankly, even if you’ve had a mentor – this book reflects my experience with hundreds of executives from all walks of life, my journey as a very young executive in a very big company, and a lot of research into top executive traits.

J-What does it mean to be a Day One Executive?

A-You show up differently. You are like the lion looking for “the standard” to eat for lunch. You are that aware. And you show up as an executive starting on Day One of your career. It is a choice to show up as an executive. Anyone can be an executive. This is not something you have to wait for someone to promote you to.

J-How is this different from a lot of the other “leadership” books out there?

A-This takes a close look at a very specific attribute of leadership. Not all leaders are executives, and by no means are all executives leaders. This book is for the born leader who wants to bring out and cultivate their inner executive – starting right now.

J-What’s an example of something from the book that folks may not have heard someplace else?

A-Know the real driving force of the business you are in.

J-Won’t millennials do it all different? Will this book be out of date by the time it is printed?

A-There’s a lot of chatter about millennials versus Gen X and older. And they will do it different. They will reshape the world. But what is not likely to change dramatically is the fundamental underpinnings of what it takes to change the world.

This book isn’t written for climbers or coasters. It’s written for people who want to change the world and it takes a certain leadership to do this. 

I encourage you to buy April’s book. It is filled with ideas, suggestions and tips to help you become a better executive. Here are a couple of thoughts that I have to get you started:

1.     Create an advisory board—identify 3-5 people that can give you feedback on your leadership skills. Have lunch or coffee with them 2-3 times a year and ask them for feedback on how you can grow as a leader.

2.     Be curious about your organization. What are the driving forces of your business? What can you do to take the initiative to help the organization be successful in the key aspects of the business.

3.     Be clear on your development and then go get better at what you are working on. Read a book, watch a YouTube video, find a good podcast to listen to or identify a coach or thinking partner that can help stay accountable to your growth.

4.     Grow others—might be in your organization or could be in a volunteer setting. The best way to hone your executive skills is to teach others and notice where you still have growth for yourself.

Good luck and let me know what you are working on. Thanks to April for a great show!

The Right Stuff: Top 4 Qualities of Change Leaders

The leader comes to the front of the room to speak.

They look around the room and then begin with: “We are implementing a new…..” and with those few words, a chain reaction begins to take place in the hearts and minds of the people around the table.

I mean that literally. When people are confronted with news about change their breath tends to get shallow, and their heartrate tends to increase. Our bodies begin reacting to news about change even before our minds have evaluated what the news means.

The best outcomes for change happen, therefore, when the people around the table have been prepared for the news, and have some agency over the outcomes.

But when was the last time you experienced seamlessly executed change in your business?

·        A new product rolled out well, on both the customer and our workforce!

·        Teams were realigned in ways that everyone celebrated and embraced!

·        Process changes were enthusiastically implemented!

(You might be asking “Do these things really happen like this anywhere in business, or only in articles like this?” Fair question. Read on.)

Change is hard on organizations and individuals, but steps can be taken to increase the change resilience in organizations, teams and individuals. In fact, every week I am with at least one client who is executing change with excellence.

When I compare the qualities present in our clients who execute change easily and well, I find these qualities present:  

Openness, Humility, Creativity and Tenacity.

Here is what these qualities bring to the table, and a habit you can try that will grow this capacity in your leadership and on your team:

Openness: These leaders want to hear a lot of ideas about how to solve and improve processes and products. The leader’s openness creates openness on their teams. Change is easier when we are open.

               Habit to develop: Listening with a “yes” mindset.

Listen fully to what others are saying. Set aside the desire to evaluate and judge ideas. Stay curious all the way through when someone is sharing an idea, asking open-ended questions that challenge the thinking of the person bringing the idea forward. What part of the idea is brilliant?

Humility: These individuals and teams are willing to have their ideas and beliefs challenged. They work hard to hear each other out and fully understand other points of view.

               Habit to develop: See situations through someone else’s eyes.

Imagine the idea or outcome from the point of view of the person or team bringing the idea forward. When we do, our own thinking becomes more nimble. Richard David Carson, author of Taming Your Gremlin wisely points out that beliefs are simply opinions we have developed loyalty to over time. Seeing the world through the eyes of others gives us broader perspective and protects us from blind spots.

Creativity: New ideas and interpretations are valued and heard. Changes of perspective are regularly undertaken by every member of the team and their leader.

               Habit to develop: Use your imagination.

Be creative! When we dabble with our artistic side, or try something new in a discipline outside our professional expertise, we unleash our imagination. Play with a new idea, concept or experience. It keeps our thinking and perspective fresh.

Tenacity: Determination and grit create the momentum to move forward and the mindset for success.

               Habit to develop: Have a thinking partner.

A thinking partner is someone who can help you reframe situations and circumstances. Many leaders engage a trusted person outside the organization who can help them turn problems into possibilities. These people often act as accountability partners as well, asking questions and providing insight and encouragement when leaders feel stuck. This is some of the most rewarding time I spend with clients.

Here are some questions to help you get started in your own change process:

  1. Imagine the last time you went to the front of the room to speak about implementing a new change. What did the people in the room think about your openness, your humility, your creativity, your tenacity?
  2. Which of those imagined “scores” would you like to change?
  3. What new habit would help you improve in this area?
  4. Who can help hold you accountable to being the kind of leader you want to become?

I encourage you to take a half an hour and think through these questions. When we stop and assess ourselves, choose something to change, and then implement those new behaviors, we are building our own change resilience.

TAKE A JOURNEY ON “THE LEADER SHIP”

How do we get there from here? We encounter that question a lot at Voltage Leadership with regard to leaders of all types. This is especially true for front line leaders who have been promoted into areas of great responsibility.

Our answer is for them to take a journey on “The Leader Ship”, pun intended. Below please find some tips and tools we employ with clients of all sizes in multiple industries to keep them on course.                                                                       

  • Pre-Boarding – Use assessments to help understand the leader’s behavior, motivations and aptitudes. At Voltage, we employ many assessment tools. Two of our favorites are DiSC, and Profiles XT depending on how deep a dive may be required for the role.
  • Charting the Course – The ability to “see the big picture” is essential for most leadership roles. We employ several tools that can be applied to any team at any level. Two of our favorites are:  1) the “Team Charter” which asks, why are we here, where are we going and what are the behaviors that will get us there and 2) the “Structural Tension” model which asks What are the desired outcomes? What is the current reality? How can we use our assets/strengths to overcome barriers? What baby steps can we take to get closer to the desired outcomes?
  • Navigating – Once the right course is set, continue to actively steer the ship, by continually communicating the course to the crew. Make the right course corrections at the right time, based on firsthand knowledge from the crew obtained in well planned recurring 1:1 meetings Behind the Leader’s Closed Door.
  • Avoiding Icebergs – At Voltage we help client firms goBelow the Waterlineto ensure they fully understand and accept ownership of clarity regarding roles, responsibilities and expectations. If there is “noise” from the crew, understand why it is there. They may be right and helping to keep your ship afloat.
  • Sounding the Ship – Proactively engage in Team building. Be aware of potential counterproductive cultural issues, ie. removing drama, perceptions of favoritism or downright intentional negativism. Voltage can show you how to escape theDreaded Drama Triangle aka the Cultural Bermuda Triangle.
  • All Hands-On Deck – Intentionally spend more crew time with “rising stars” vs “falling stars”. Design your time to include recurring meaningful recognition to build real crew engagement. Actively invest time in crew who are helping to drive the ship (vs those who may need to walk the plank for the right reasons.)
  • Enjoy the Ride - Once Pre-Boarding is done, our Course is Charted, Navigating well, have Avoided Icebergs, the Ship is Sound, and All Hands on Deck are really engaged, Enjoy the Ride…Ahoy maties!
     

CYA AND THE IMPACT ON YOUR TEAM

I bet you are thinking I’m referring to “Cover You’re a$$!” with CYA. Well, that one can definitely have negative ramifications on your team so I am writing about a different CYA.

Choose Your Attitude! Your team is often taking your lead on their mood based on your behaviors, mood and attitude.

I am working with a C-Level executive who had been starting all his meetings with the problems happening in his area.  The meeting started by listing where the team had missed the mark and then progressed to a general inquisition that occasionally resulted in a beheading. The form of punishment would last until you were either dead or decided to leave the department/organization.  While it was not quite that drastic, it felt that way to the participants of the meeting.  The leader’s mood would shift from inquisitive to frustrated to pissed off to victim to persecutor and generally wrapped up in resignation by the end of the meeting.  Have you ever attended a meeting like this?

How could this go differently? Let’s go all the way back to getting out of bed.  One exercise that I both utilize and recommend to my coaching clients is choosing a word or two for the day.  When I know I have a challenging meeting coming up, I might choose “curious.” This helps me stay interested in why people are feeling and acting the way they are acting.  When I have a busy day filled with coaching sessions, meetings, and kids’ soccer games, I might choose “energy” to help keep my energy up all day.  Another common word for me is “awesome”. I like to use this one after a so-so night of sleep.  It is easy to respond with “Fine (or okay) because I did not get a great night’s sleep” when you are asked how you are doing. However, when I say awesome, I feel a lift in my step and the other person looks at my quizzically. I generally then say something like I got to take my son to school today and I have 3-4 coaching sessions today that I am looking forward to.  Does this work every day, of course not! However, it does help me and my clients create their own story each day instead of showing up like a zombie just getting through the day and reacting to everything.

Okay, so now let’s get back to the team meeting. One recommendation I had for the leader was to get there 2-5 minutes early, and have a personal conversation with his teammates so he could connect better. Next, I asked him to consider starting the meeting with 2 questions for each person—“What has been going well in your area? What are your desired outcomes for this meeting?” These questions shift the mood from defending your areas to celebrating accomplishments and naming what you need help with.  This is the land of possibility vs. justification.  There are still problems that need to addressed, but the team will get to those after they understand the desired outcomes. The leader I was discussing started doing these two habits and his team is doing significantly better.  They feel like they really know him better and they want to come to work for him.  Before this started, several team members had confided in me that were looking outside the organization for a new job and they dreaded coming to work. They still know the meetings will be intense at times but that is okay because this team gets results. They feel much more supported now and they know their leader listens to them.

What is your attitude towards change? Do you embrace it or do you whine to your team about another area “making you and your team change.” I can promise you how you describe the change will impact how your followers will respond.  I am not saying that all change is easy to accept or that you like it, however, if you state the reasons for the change and why things will be changing, others will follow your attitude and lead. Yes, there will still be some whining but a lot less then when you get in the trenches and whine with your team.

One final thought—how often do you provide recognition vs. giving developmental feedback.  I encourage you to try to provide 5 pieces of positive recognition for every piece of developmental feedback you give. People will love this. Watch how your change in attitude will impact the team. So, what attitude will you bring to work tomorrow?  Have some fun with this and send me some feedback on what you see in your team. Good luck!

BE MINDFUL OF EACH DAY

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking at a professional healthcare conference attended by leaders from three states.  My topic was great and I was jazzed about presenting it.

The speaker preceding me was a young man named Matt Jones.  Matt is a three-time cancer survivor whose story has been featured in national magazines and on TV shows.  While a senior in college, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and given less than 10% chance of survival.

After developing a fever, Matt slipped out of consciousness.  Unsure if he would make it through the night, doctors had family and friends called.  Matt not only survived but, one year after finishing chemotherapy and relearning how to walk and talk, he completed marathons in San Diego and Rome.  He has since completed marathons on six continents and is in training for the seventh in Antarctica.  He is an impressive young man.

Matt’s message was elegant in its simplicity, “Be mindful of each day.” We could tell by the tone of his laugh that deep down, having looked down the barrel of that gun three times, he really was not affected by what others may have thought of him.

This took me back to 1993 and Jim Valvano’s inspiring words at the Espy’s, (knowing he was not likely to survive as Matt ultimately did).

“...To me, there are three things we all should do every day.  We should do this every day of our lives.  Number one is laugh.  You should laugh every day.  Number two is think.  You should spend some time in thought.  And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.  But think about it.  If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that's a full day.  That's a heck of a day.  You do that seven days a week; you're going to have something special….”

“…. Time is very precious to me….”  Jim Valvano.

Matt Jones made me think, “Are all or most of the areas of my life in the right priority?”

 How about you?  Are these areas of your life in the right priority?

1.      Faith

2.      Marriage/Couples/Intimacy

3.      Health/Physical well-being

4.      Family/Parenting

5.      Career/Employment

6.      Friendships/Social life

7.      Education/Personal growth and development

8.      Recreation/Fun/Leisure

9.      Citizenship/Community stewardship

Jimmy Valvano was right.  Don’t hold back.  If there is somebody important to you, tell them.  If there is something you need to say, say it.  If there is something to do, do it.  What are you waiting for?

Laissez les bon temps roulez!

FEEDBACK IS A GIFT! Part 1

Feedback is essential for our growth, our development and our ability to hit our goals.  So why is it so hard for people to give it and receive it?  I am not immune to this dilemma myself.  When someone wants to give me feedback, I can feel my heart start to race and my breathing become a bit shallower, and I can get defensive and try to explain myself.  Even when the feedback is positive, I find myself blushing or cutting the person off so that I can get out of the situation.  I used to think I was alone in this challenge, but I see it every day with the people I coach and teach.  The question is, “What to do about feedback?”

We have to understand that we need to give feedback.  It is even more important in this digital age.  A text, tweet or email is generally not the best way to deliver feedback.  The best way is face to face, but that may not always be possible. 

·       Try to deliver improvement feedback either face to face or on Skype so you can see the other person’s reaction.

·       Aim for a balance between direct and compassionate.

I see many people who are nervous giving feedback and who take one of two tracks:

1.      Get direct and get out of there!  Well, it is over quicker that way, but the receiver is left feeling run over and unsure how to move forward.

2.      Get vague, talk in generalities and hope the receiver translates the message.  I tend to have this challenge. The problem is that, while it may make the deliverer feel better, the goal is really for the person and/or the process to improve.

Some of the best practices for effective feedback delivery include:

·       Have a clear intention for the feedback

·       Find a good time for both of you to be able to have a productive conversation

·       Find a good location

·       Be specific in the feedback

·       Ask for feedback from the recipient regarding what they think about the feedback they received

·       Determine the next steps and accountability for the next steps

·       Thank the recipient for participating.

Notice what type of feedback you normally give.   A good book to use is Leadership Conversations:  Challenging High Potential Managers to Become Great Leaders by Alan Berson and Richard Steiglitz.

 A model that I like from the book is ACE.  This describes three types of feedback:

1.    Appreciation

2.    Coaching

3.    Evaluation

All three types of feedback are critical, but it is important to know:

·       What type of feedback you are planning to give

·       Your intention for the session. 

If you plan on talking about performance and then spend most of the time in appreciation, the message about performance gets lost.  Similarly, if you only ever give me feedback about ways to improve and never provide recognition, I want to start avoiding you like the plague!  

Feedback Goals

·       Clarity

·       Provide all three types of feedback over the course of a year

·       Be open to feedback yourself.

One final note:  give feedback often.  One of my clients called me in to do a 3-way conversation because the top two leaders would battle each other. We were able to get to a good place after about three meetings over four days, but there were a lot of hurt feelings.  The root causes were that neither person really gave the other feedback, that each made assumptions about the way the other was acting, and that each leader was judging themselves by their intentions.  We were locked in a dramatic scene that could have been made into a movie.  However, once we set some clear expectations, shared some feedback, and looked for ways to recognize each other’s strengths, we were able to find common ground.  The two leaders now meet weekly to share feedback so that it does not build up so much.

Who do you think you want to give feedback to?  Take a moment to plan it out, take a deep breath and go do it.  

FINDING YOUR FORMULA FOR LEADING OTHERS

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Congratulations:  you are a leader who sets the course for your organization.  Wow, that’s fantastic, but do you feel that you are the only one who cares about the organization?  Why do others look like they are just doing a job?  Fear not!  We have ideas on how to provide a SPARK for others to become more motivated and engaged in your organization.

S – See It and Say It

You must know where you are going for others to buy into your dream.  Joel Barker says, “Vision with action is a dream.  Action without vision is simply passing the time.  Action with Vision is making a positive difference.”

If I went to your employees or key supporters and asked the vision and mission of your organization, would they say the same things?  If not, how do they know if they are doing the right things?  Nail down your vision and mission and then SAY IT!  You must consistently tell folks the right behaviors and let them know what is critical in your organization.  The best way to accomplish this is to Role Model the behaviors you want to see in your team.

Do you want them to act like owners in your company?  If so, ask for their opinions and reward suggestions.  Implement their solutions and give credit for having the courage to speak up!

P – People:  Hire and Develop the Right Talent

The right talent is the engine for you achieving the dreams you had when you started out.  I see business owners and leaders consistently miss on this.  They tend to hire family, friends, or people like themselves instead of what the company needs.

Here are three suggestions to avoid this trap:

·       Write down what you need to be done and be very specific.

·       Always be recruiting.  Talk to people about your company long before you need to hire them so you can know what type of person they are.  Network with leaders, search firms, and at conferences to meet future talent.

·       Finally, make tough choices.  One of my clients let go of someone after thinking about it for two years.  The new hire was outperforming the incumbent within a month and my client is still kicking himself for not acting sooner.

Do you have the right talent around you to achieve your goals?  If not, what are you going to do about it?

A – Action and Attitude

 You must have great expectations for your team members.  They want to be part of something great, so outline your expectations and goals so they know how to be AWESOME performers.

To help your team:

·       Set clear, concise, and SMART goals to make sure you are all on the same page

·       Get small wins

·       Congratulate them on progress and ask them what it will take to get better results

·       Reinforce the key behaviors often.

To help motivate your team members ask:

·       What can I do to help you reach your goals?

·       What can I do to help you develop?

Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then is a habit, not an event.”

What habits or key behaviors are you reinforcing?  What attitude are you bringing to work each day?  Does it create an engaging environment?  Choose Your Attitude.

R – Recognition

If you want to create a motivated and engaged team that wants to come to work every day, you need to recognize each person.  Over 64% of employees were not recognized once in the last year, according to the book The Carrot Principle. 

How do you develop the habit of recognition?

·       Ask your team, “When you do something great, how do you want to be recognized?”

·       Put time on the calendar weekly for some recognition.

·       Be specific about what the person did well so they know how to repeat it.

K – Know Yourself

This is the hardest but most essential part of the formula.  You are the face of your organization.  If you look stressed, tired, or frustrated all the time, your employees, customers, vendors, and other leaders wonder how the organization is doing.

Three Tips to Take Care of Yourself:

·       Personal life and professional life can blend together.  Find a way to give your personal life a chance to be the top priority.  Put your personal life on your calendar first so you have to make a choice to move something off your calendar.

·       Find a coach or peer group to share your ideas, challenges, and thoughts.  This can give perspective and provide ideas you might otherwise not see.

·       Learn a small but powerful word - NO!  You might have to use it with a volunteer group, a key customer making unreasonable demands, or an employee’s request.

I hope these ideas SPARK some new ways of thinking for you and help you provide a jolt of energy into your organization.  Good Luck!