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Archive for month: January, 2013

Your 30,000 Feet Office? No!

Do you fly often for your career?

Does your local airport feel like your living room? Do the TSA agents comment when you’ve gotten a haircut?

If so, you may be on the road too much. This Time Tactics LeaderSnip for taking control of the time you have will be valuable to you whether you travel excessively, or occasionally. It’s about that time in the plane.

You may be expecting me to talk about how to get your work done, your notes for the upcoming meeting prepared or working through the snarls in your financial projections while you’re zipping along at 30,000 feet. No – most of the time, that’s not what I’ll be recommending.

What’s coming up may sound like time management heresy, but it’s not. I want to help you be more productive, more efficient, and more successful in your job—that’s true. But even more important—you need to live well and that means you need some “down-time.” Being stuck on a plane, way up high, is a perfect opportunity for some needed down-time.

I usually do not recommend working on an airplane.

Although flying and working sounds like an efficient use of time, it may also make you a prime candidate for burn-out, and you will dread the flights. You’re still working, and now you’re doing it uncomfortably—in a cramped plane, that’s either too cold or hot, and without a good place to put your coffee (or whatever.) If you will discipline yourself to be more organized before you get on the plane, you will not need to use that time for work. What a great idea! Work toward getting your work done AHEAD of time! We use to do that—before faxes, and emails and all the other technology that let us wait until the last minute.

Convince yourself that you will not be “allowed” to work on the plane and you will get that work done before you go through security at the airport. Instead of Excel spreadsheets and PowerPoints, fire up your Kindle or iPad and read the book you’ve been promising that you’ll get too. Or play the newest game, or watch the movie that everyone else has been talking about.

Enjoy yourself!

By using the air time as a reward for your organizational work in preparing for the trip, the time will go faster and you may actually look forward to the long flights instead of dreading them. You need to have a little fun. You just left a hectic work situation and may be heading into another one. Use the time in-between—the flying time to take care of what you “want” for yourself instead of tending to what others may want from you.

The only exception to this is on transoceanic flights or red-eyes—when you are supposed to be sleeping. Then pack, in addition to your fun reading, one of the latest (but probably tedious) industry information books that you know you should read, but are really not looking forward to tackling. When you know you should be getting some sleep, just open that book and very soon, it will be nap time!  It may take four trips to Europe to finish that book, but eventually you’ll finish it…while you’re using it as a cure for insomnia!

What happened to common courtesy?

Has a world that is driven by technology caused us to forget what it means to be courteous or respectful?

what happened to common courtesyThere is no denying that we are living in a fast moving world.  We can have pretty much anything we want at our fingertips in an instant. Through the expansion and development of technology, we have grown by leaps and bounds. The unimaginable has become our reality. However, I’m curious if the simple act of treating others as you would want to be treated has been left behind.

What we have gained in defying the odds, we may have lost in simple human connection.

When is the last time you wrote a  thank you note? Not an email or a message on social media, but an actual note that you sent in the–wait for it–<gasp>MAIL?  Or, how about a phone call to say thank you or to just see how the other person is doing?

These approaches may be  uncommon in today’s society, or if they do exist, they only occur rarely. Let’s make it even simpler. What about responding to an email, especially when someone’s offered a perspective or shared a resource with you? Or, how about sending a personal message directly to a person instead of broadcasting to the world on social media? Do we do that promptly, with authentic, from-the-heart regard for the other person?

I’ve done my best to keep the idea of simple, straightforward person-to-person connection on the forefront of my communications.

Does this sound like you? A colleague or connection sends you an email. This email can be a recommended resource for you or even a quick hello. As you read it, you think, “I will respond to that later. I’m just too busy right now”. Of course you know what happens then, right? You receive a hundred more emails that day and the one you were planning on responding to gets lost in the shuffle. Then when you stumble upon it a week or so later it feels a little awkward to respond. Instead, you just ignore it.

Sound familiar?

What I’m really interested in learning, is if this is what actually occurs? Is the email really lost, or is something else going on?

It is so easy today to sit behind a computer and feel as though we are having personal conversations.  We are chatting away on social media and sending emails back and forth all day long, so why wouldn’t it be personal? Except it is not. Don’t get me wrong, these methods are fantastic, yet they seem to have replaced real forms of communication.

Even more, I’m wondering if the real reason for the loss of common courtesy is an increase in paranoia.

Let me explain: We are on complete Internet overload, especially when it comes to sales and marketing methods. Maybe we don’t even realize that they are there, but open up a Twitter feed or even your email inbox and notice the amount of marketing that is taking place.

This increase in marketing may have left each of us paranoid and wondering, “Why do they want to talk to me? I bet they want to sell me something.”  So we might hesitate to respond to emails or to make social media too personal. We could be building walls between ourselves and don’t even know it.

What if we reintroduced the simple act of common courtesy? What if we broke down the walls of paranoia and really trusted in the gift of genuine connection?

Hmmm, not sure, but I’m thinking that we would all feel a heck of a lot better and more connected.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the act of common courtesy is lost in today’s world? Share your thoughts, I’d really love to hear them. And, I will respond. Person-to-person.

How Happy Are You?

Do you ever find yourself feeling out of sorts or like something just isn’t right?

How happy are youRegardless of whether you consider yourself an optimist or not, there are times when you may find yourself in a funk. Sometimes the gloom and doom can sneak up on you without even noticing that it is there. So, how do you kick it it to the curb and get back in touch with your happy place?

Some people are just naturally happy. Whether or not you are one of them doesn’t really matter. Regardless, you do have control over your overall happiness. In fact, you are the only person who has control over it. If you are looking for that magic pill, the following everyday habits are sure to help.

5 Habits of Highly Successful Happy People

 1. Set Your Intentions for The Day. When you wake up, before you place your feet on the ground, set your intention. How you begin your morning sets the stage for the overall feeling of the entire day. If you wake up feeling dread and full of worry, your day will be focused on those emotions. Change it up to something more positive and uplifting.

2. Smiling Does the Body Good. There are some days that you will need to fake it, but even a fake smile is better than a frown. In fact, your body and mind don’t recognize the difference, so be sure to turn that frown upside down. When you are talking, meeting people, or even walking down the street don’t forget to offer up your smile!

3. Take a Break for Some Fresh Air. Spending time outside can instantly make you feel better. Throughout your day, spend some time on a walk or just sitting on a porch. Breathe in the fresh air and notice what is around you. It really is amazing how quickly this perspective will change your attitude.

4. Surround Yourself With Uplifting Souls. Who you spend your time with makes an impact on your overall happiness. If you find yourself surrounded by people who are always complaining or looking at life through a negative filter, you may want to make some changes. Surround yourself with people who are positive and support you.

5. End Each Day With a Moment of Gratitude. The saying of “Never go to bed anger,” really is true. Regardless of how bad your day may feel, there is always something to be thankful for. Find the blessings in your day before you go to sleep and focus on those. There will be days when you need to dig really deep, but they are there if you do a little searching.

Happiness always come from within. Each and every day, no matter the situation, requires you to choose your attitude. Become aware of your outlook and implement habits that lead you to happiness.

What practices do you use to change your attitude? Share below-I’d love to hear.

Strategy for Growth Requires Never Including Stopping Points

Trouble creating your personal or professional strategy for growth?

 

“I have long been fascinated by the psychology of long-distance runners. Why do they do that? What drives them to punish their bodies by training day after day? When I see the huge crowds of runners lined up to begin a marathon, I want to shout, “Don’t do this! Why are you eager to hurt yourself?”

26 Miles and Not Counting

I have asked and heard some of the explanations for what I view as self-destructive behavior. The answers all seem to include some elements of, “To push myself—to prove to myself that I can hang in there and finish—to feel the sense of accomplishment when I know I’ve achieved my goal of crossing the Finish Line.” Okay, I can accept those reasons. I do not understand them. I can think of many more ways to stretch myself and feel a sense of accomplishment that do not include bleeding blisters on my feet. But if it’s worth it to them, those are good enough reasons for me.

But there’s still the question of “How?” How do they keep going mile after mile, when they’re exhausted, thirsty, and in pain? Surely they just want to stop? What mental tricks do they use to keep their bodies going?

Many years ago, I posed these questions to a friend who is a marathoner. He runs ten miles, six days a week, and on the seventh day—he does not rest, he runs 20 miles. He has run in a ka-jillion marathons and has placed in the top ten finishers in many of them. (I am happy for him because it makes him happy—but I do think he’s a little crazy.) When I asked him the questions about how he keeps going, he had a ready answer. “I just keep running. I don’t run to a ‘place,’ I just run. I never tell myself that when I get to the fence post, or the next turn in the road, I’ll stop. If I allow myself to believe that I can stop at some intermediate spot before the real end, I will slow down too much in anticipation of stopping. I may not be able to restart my momentum or motivation. ‘Stopping’ is not in my mental vocabulary. Only ‘running.’”

I was sure glad I asked him! I learned more than the psychology of running from this conversation. I recognized my friend’s response as a valuable Life Lesson.

When the distance is great, don’t include the possibility of “stopping” before the end.

There should not be “stopping points.” There is only one stop at the end of the project, which is when all the work is done and the goals have been met. After this conversation, I had a better understanding of the difference between people who consistently see the work through to the end and those who stop somewhere along the race and are never able to re-start. The early-stoppers see an “end’ before they should. They perceive a “Finish Line” before the real line is reached. But there’s only one Finish Line. It’s the real one at the end of the work. When you reach that line, you can stop. But before reaching it, you just have to keep running. 26 miles—and not counting.

 

From: Be the Horse or the Jockey by Jeanne Gulbranson, BBD strategist, leadership expert and award-winning author. You can purchase Horse or Jockey and Jeanne’s other books on Amazon.com

Five Tips to Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

We are only a few days into 2013.  How are you doing with keeping your New Year’s Resolutions?  Are you still on track?

Here’s the deal–I think that resolutions for the New Year are a bunch of bologna! Don’t get me wrong, the idea of improving ourselves and/or trying to create a better life for the upcoming year is a great thing. However, most people set themselves up for failure before the champagne cork even pops.

Did you know that at least 20% of resolutions are broken within the first week of the New Year?

Why?

When setting resolutions, most people have an attitude of all or nothing. They don’t allow themselves any kind of wiggle room. This is a strategy that heads them toward disaster.

Even if you are part of the 20%, there is still good news! Just because you may have fallen off the wagon, there is nothing stopping you from jumping back on. However, maybe this time you can be more prepared?

Help for Keeping New Year’s Resolutions

 

1. Keep it Real. Regardless of whether you are still striving towards goals or starting over, make sure your goals are attainable. Set yourself up for success from the start by making each goal realistic, so you are sure to reach the end result.

2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Although your motivation for change may be real, you don’t want to reach for too many goals at once. For example, if you want 2013 the year that you get out of debt, lose 50lbs, and build a six-figure business, you may end up feeling overwhelmed rather than successful.

3.  Chunk it up. A great way to keep you heading towards the finish line is to chuck up your goals into smaller portions. I recommend working 90 days at a time. Of course you can still have your end-of-the-year goals, but break each one into smaller, more manageable pieces.

4. Rewards go a long way. As you break up your goals into more manageable chunks, add rewards along the way. When you have small rewards scattered throughout the year, you are more likely to stay on track. Whether it’s a mini-vacation or buying a new piece of jewelry, find something that provides the on-going motivation for you to succeed.

5. Proclaim your goals. Whatever you do, don’t keep your goals a secret. Find people who are supportive of your goals and will help motivate you to stay on track. Be sure these people are positive, but also able to give you a kick in the pants when needed.

Even though 2013 has arrived, it is not too late to tweak your goals. If you find that you need to make some adjustments, then make it happen.

How are your resolutions panning out so far? Are you setting yourself up for a great 2013?

Leave a comment below and share how you plan to make this year awesome!

Keep things simple in 2013!

Great Internal Processes?  Keep Things Simple!


Changes in the way we work, do business and live are difficult for us to accept even when we know that changes are needed. Rules, processes, methodologies (particularly if they are crafted by someone else) are hard to accept and to follow consistently even when we know the rules are needed. While there are multiple reasons for our difficulty in accepting and following, there’s one reason that is easy to overcome.

Many things are just too complicated; too hard to understand, too confusing.  

We mistrust what we do not understand and are not eager to follow and support concepts, plans and processes which are (often unnecessarily) complex, convoluted or too long to read in any reasonable amount of time. Conversely, we will support and follow (buy-into and “obey” the rules of) business principles and processes that are clear, make sense and that we believe will benefit us. Internal business strategies, plans, processes must be well-defined and consistently enforced to be effective.  


Once we have defined and implemented the processes, the art of leadership means that we look for the quality rule-breakers.

A quality rule-breaker knows that you cannot break (modify) a rule unless you clearly understand it. There is great value in an individual who understands the rules, is able to bend it to achieve an even better outcome and who is willing to share his reasoning and to help make the process (guidelines, methodology) even better. It is often in the rule-breaking that the next wave of innovation surfaces. However, there are people who break the rules because they just want to or because they’re following a personal (and usually inappropriate) agenda. They are not “quality” rule-breakers and need to be “encouraged” forcefully to get back in step.   

Something to remember is that simple is harder to achieve than complex.

Anyone can make things complicated (even up to Rube Goldberg-ish), but it takes refined skills and substantial effort to make things simple and to keep communications/emails/report crisp and to the point. The extra effort required for brevity and simplicity was called out by Mark Twain when he said, “I would have written it shorter, but I didn’t have the time.” We need to be willing to “do the time” to make things simple for others, and expect (hope) that those with whom we work will do the same.

While not everything worth doing is worth doing well, when it comes to business decisions and processes with tremendous impact on the company, the employees and their families and the success of their clients—it’s worth doing well. That includes “keeping it simple.”

At Beyond Boardroom Doors we’ve developed a proven training process that keeps things simple, and it’s not about re-engineering.

Your business likely needs calibration; the fine tuning and adjustment that will move your organization’s business processes from being adequate to being exceptional.

Contact us today for better outcomes in your organization.