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Together

Together. Eight letters that, together, create one powerful word.

Typically, people meet together. You talk together. You travel together. You work to solve problems together. You live together. You play together. You create together. …and so on…

People are endlessly invited into the experience of togetherness.

Over 7,500,000,000 people on the planet, and you are in relationships with a select number of them. As human beings across the globe, we are all now, in a very real sense, together.

As leaders, we truly are better – together. Before March 2020, it seemed that heart to heart connections with others may have been forced or uncomfortable. The broad range of electronic tools, apps, and screen related avenues to “talk” with people while connecting us in a more meaningful way, was eluding us.

And many of you are currently experiencing how the broad range of electronic tools available to us are creating togetherness now.

I’d like to propose that the word, which is firmly supporting these influential times in your own history, is the word: together.

  • The word is filled with meaning and inspiration. It makes all the difference between a group of individuals plotting their own course and a unified team.
  • The word symbolizes the culmination of actions individuals can take and fits them, piece by piece, into collective power.
  • This powerful expression describes how individuals can collaborate to achieve extraordinary results – together.

Leadership is about togetherness. It’s about creating as one, adventuring uncharted waters as one, learning as one, transforming as one, working as one, innovating as one, operating as one, and managing as one.

It’s quite possible that during this time we are currently in, you have the opportunity to re-evaluate the strength of togetherness in your family, in your community and in your workplace. Could a fresh vision for connections shift from an antiquated “command and control” model to a more empowering, supportive and successful “agile and adaptable” model?

What would your influence as a leader look like on a daily basis if you intentionally began using the word ‘together’ more?

We’d love to hear your ideas on how you are bringing people closer together, and how togetherness plays a role in your leadership. Please comment below with your supportive ideas and thoughts on the value of togetherness in today’s current global situation.

The Importance of Executive Coaching for Start-ups

We already know that executive and business coaching holds numerous benefits for those who seek it. Whether this is done to streamline your career, negotiate a career shift or raise your levels of productivity, there is no doubt to how beneficial seeking executive and business coaching can be!

So Many Start-Ups

There are numerous start-up companies and businesses that have recently sprung into the market. Many of these offer similar services and products so what separates the best from the simply good tends to boil down to the finer things.

Executive Coaching for Start-Ups

One of the things that can seriously benefit a start up business, company or organization is executive coaching.

Over the course of this blog, we’re going to elaborate on how this is so.

A Removed Perspective

Many of those involved in starting and running their own start ups are passionate individuals. Further, the startups they are invested in hold much significance in their lives emotionally and otherwise. Though this kind of commitment is great, there are times when one needs to take a step back and view situations more objectively for the greater good of the business.

At times like those, where a director or owner cannot distance themselves from the emotional investment, an executive coach can offer valuable perspective.

Goal Setting and Management

Setting goals is an important part of any business; as is managing and seeing them through. A start-up receiving executive coaching will be supported greatly in the area of goal setting and management.

An executive coach will not only help the start up figure out its priorities and vision for growth. They will also provide support and motivation helping those working for the startup see these goals through.

Early Risk Assessment

Executive coaching can help you identify potential risks, losses and pitfalls a lot earlier in the game than you would without it. This is because the executive coach you work with has likely worked with numerous businesses, start ups and individuals.

They also have a realistic idea of what different markets are like and are informed by way of trends. In other words, they not only help you make the right decisions but also help you to avoid numerous risks by identifying them early.

Team Evolution

Managing a new team can at times be tricky. At the same time, if your team is not getting along it will probably be quite difficult for your upstart to thrive. Similarly, an unhappy team means shoddy work. An executive coach can help streamline team interactions and help with motivation as well as morale. They work with the team evolving them into the happy yet productive force you need to function well and make it big!

Sculpting Leaders

Last but not least. an executive coach will help you sculpt yourself into the right kind of employer, partner or leader.

They will inform you about qualities that will help with your work and interactions and provide guidance. They offer perspective and can help you become more aware of your strengths so you can play on them. They will also alert you to growing edges and professional weaknesses that you could work on to be better. Needless to say, a team with good leadership will get places!

Upshot

If you’re involved with a start up and feel you could use the extra support getting up on your feet that’s perfectly normal! Better yet, we’ve got you covered! Those looking for executive coaching in Minneapolis can give us a shout or visit our webpage for more on the effective executive, business and career coaching we offer!

Gratitude and Mindfulness

Gratitude and Mindfulness

Wishing you and yours a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving Holiday

Gratitude – a feeling of thankfulness or appreciation.

Mindfulness – paying attention to the present moment.

I wanted to share a few takeaways from a recent Mindfulness Lecture I attended featuring Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, hosted by the University of Minnesota’s Center for Spirituality & Healing. It seems especially appropriate to share some of those highlights during this week’s Thanksgiving Holiday here in the U.S.

Over 2,000 people were in attendance at this Mindfulness lecture. 10 or even 5 years ago there would not have been a full auditorium.

There is great potential in this mindfulness movement; the time is now.

joyHow much are we really living the life that is ours to live?  We seem to be always trying to get out of this moment to find a better moment; we’re conditioned this way.

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.
Henry David Thoreau

How many moments do we let slip away?

We can’t stop breathing.  We can’t stop our heart beating. In a very real way, there’s no end to a mindfulness practice.  Breathing is just one way to drop into the fleeting, present moment, as is noticing the beating of your heart.  It’s about the awareness that is an intrinsic part of our being.

We can test our mindfulness throughout the day by asking 3 questions:

1.  What am I doing in this moment?
2.  Is my mind on what I’m doing?
3.  Am I happy in this moment?

Most people polled were doing things halfheartedly; they weren’t fully engaged.  If you can’t be present for yourself how can you be present for another, take in the world or make wise decisions?  It’s not a luxury to create Mindfulness.  It’s an old tradition that is the most sophisticated psychology on the planet.

The more UnPresent you are, the more UnHappy you are.

Now that we’re attached to our mobile devices we’ve become perpetually addicted, it’s like we always want to be somewhere else.  A supercomputer in our purse or pocket, what a concept!  Rather than being mindful we’re looking for that next adrenaline or dopamine hit that seems so satisfying, yet is fleeting.  Having our devices so accessible destroys the depths of conversation because no one is being present.

Your creativity, intuition and imagination are all sitting right inside the multi-dimension of right now.  If we were trained in Mindfulness in kindergarten we would be cultivating a deep awareness that’s much deeper than thinking.  Inside each of us is vast open heartedness, spaciousness – sharing the same space of the world.

It’s simple, not easy.  Exercise the muscle.

Tomorrow morning when you wake up, take a few extra moments in bed lying down and see if you’re fully awake.  Let your mind and your attention scan your body from head into your toes and heels and feel your body being breathed.  Rest in awareness, an awareness that’s so big and so spacious, it’s wakefulness.  These are perfect moments to linger and be fully awake before you get out of bed.

A real mindfulness practice is how you move throughout your day from moment to moment; full presence with others at home and at work. You can have thoughts, just don’t get so attached to them.

We are completely connected with the planet, cycles, and with each other. We are beginning to transfer science from mind/body to larger society and planetary levels. We are these miraculous human beings who don’t know it yet. Find wise ways of being in touch.

Just be present. Just be with and love rather than fix or judge.

There is major research and programs in 4 areas:
1. Healthcare.
2. Education.
3. Business/Corporate.
4. Criminal Justice.

We need a thousand different ways to address issues currently happening in our society.  Consider practicing mindfulness rather than mindlessness.

Let’s not miss out on the most important dimensions of our own life.

New thinking gets Lean

New thinking gets Lean

Most leaders have at least one area of concern associated with their businesses that keeps them awake at night. To keep a finger on the pulse of what executive leaders are facing, the Executive Development Associates, Inc. conducts a survey every other year to understand the trends, growth, and evolution of executive development.

The group was surprised to see a shift in the top hot topic of executive development away from leadership, as it had been for over 20 years. Now ‘critical thinking’ has become the top issue that has executive leaders concerned.

Many companies are making critical thinking a part of their culture by implementing Lean thinking. The core idea of Lean thinking is to maximize customer value while minimizing waste   The concept has a goal to problem solve until perfect value is provided to their customer, through a value-added process that has zero waste. It works to ultimately encourage businesses to never stop looking for ways to improve their businesses, the value they give to customers, and saving as many resources as possible across multiple areas and systems of the company.

At one time, Lean thinking was considered to be most important for the manufacturing industry. Yet determining how to add value while stripping waste can and does apply to every business and every system or process, and Lean thinking is now spreading across all industries and services including healthcare and government.

These groups are applying Lean principles as the way they think and perform in every part of their jobs. Their Lean processes may be branded differently so that the company can feel an ownership of the process. The process becomes an operational philosophy that dramatically improves on those big critical thinking issues.

Regardless of where your business is, the concepts of Lean thinking can stimulate the way your associates develop their critical thinking skills. You don’t have to know all the ins and outs of Lean thinking to start applying the concepts to your work and business – check out this simple cheat sheet.

Already applying Lean techniques to your business? Share with us how you’ve been effective.

Tools for Making Meaningful Connections

Tools for Making Meaningful Connections

How we meet and make new business connections may have changed significantly with all of the technology now available to us, and it still remains a critical component to the longevity of small and large businesses alike.

The standard operating procedure for making contacts and generating leads may vary significantly depending on your industry, products and services – and there are still a few human communication basics that continue to apply to meeting new people who may become important contacts for your career and business success.

One key networking tool to know and keep relevant is the 30 second elevator speech. By practicing how to quickly share your company’s vision and its relevancy to the person to whom you are speaking is still an important tool in your networking toolbox.

Find out what the contact may need by

  • asking questions,
  • listening,
  • watching for non-verbal clues, and
  • hunting for how you can help or support.

Check out this article on the 7 Key Components of a Perfect Elevator Pitch.  Also, consider following up by reaching out to connect on LinkedIn so you can continue to deepen your business relationships when a communication opportunity presents itself.  This gives you the opportunity for ideas on how you may be able to help each other and helps you to create additional brand touch points which are essential when converting contacts to clients.

While we are on the subject of LinkedIn, we should also talk about making sure your profile supports your 30 second elevator speech by being current. Include examples of major projects that are relevant to your current position. Consider how you are leveraging LinkedIn to demonstrate your knowledge of your industry such that more contacts would like to connect with you. If you are new to LinkedIn here a few videos that can help you get started.

What is LinkedIn In 5 minutes

Building an Awesome Profile on LinkedIn

Connecting with Others on Linkedin

Remember, another classic is your business card. No matter where you are in your career or where you are headed, a business card says you are prepared. A great business card is another great brand touch yet can be forgotten. Need a little refresher on business cards? Check out this blog for the ABCs of Business Cards.

Keeping the brand alive means touching new contacts through social media, phone calls, face to face, and emails. You may be amazed to find your business growing by setting a goal of reaching out to 5 new contacts per week. Give it a try, along with these tools, and share your success with us.

Color Your Work Environment for Success

Color Your Work Environment for Success

One measure of our professional state of mind is what I like to call our workday vs. non-workday preference barometer. I define this as one’s level of hope or dread of workdays compared to Saturdays, Sundays, vacation and holidays.

Many of us have had days we weren’t exactly looking forward to, and when we feel stressed or anxious on days we have to be our best professional selves, that more often than not, is an indicator.

Gallup survey last summer found that the “40 Hour Workweek” had grown to 47 hours for most professionals.  What does that mean?  One scenario is that if don’t enjoy our time when we are working, we are spending more than 10 years of our lives unhappy.

Here are a few ideas to consider implementing into your work environment.

Change up the environment

Our physical environments impact our physiology and this affects our thinking and energy flow. Refreshing our office space can inspire creativity and new perspective. A simple yet effective change we can make is to consider a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Colors in our environment play a role in our mood, productivity and job performance. Colors can affect how we feel which impacts how we think and what we, and our teams, are able to accomplish and produce. Check out this guide to choosing the right paint and décor color to support a healthy business.

Let in some natural hues

Living and working in high-rises, driving in our cars, or riding on public transportation are keeping us all cooped up and are limiting our time spent in green spaces and in natural sunlight.  You might consider adding plants to your office space and making a conscious effort to increase your exposure to natural light. If you can’t raise the blinds on the windows or there are none near you, consider taking your lunch on a patio or take regular walks outside. You could also check out your options to having an outdoor meeting once a week and bringing in some plants from this list.

Shades of Strategy

We can often forget to pay attention to what’s driving our business plans even more so than forgetting to notice the color of the walls around us.  Our professional and/or business strategy must be top-of-mind for us and it also needs to include the right mix of what will challenge and inspire us every day. If it’s been a while since you really considered your most important professional goals and how to achieve them, make time to consider if they need to be brightened up a bit.

Our professional lives take up a great deal of our energy and time. Break out a color wheel and your green thumb and help yourself to a colorful world that excites you every day.