Category Archives: Leadership

Can Others Help You Win in Your Business?

An independent business owner (IBO) often thinks he has to “do it all.” For example, he may say, "I AM my business, who else can help with this?” You can outsource just about anything, for a price. Many IBO's may do this for technical things (web development, printing, etc.) but try to fight through the marketing, selling, Social Media, development, administration and accounting, etc. You cannot be good at everything! Even if you work in a specialized field, there are probably things you are not so good at and that cause you to waste a lot of time. Consider how you can partner with people around you to create win-win situations.

For example, the networking organization BNI (www.bni.com) is structured as a sales team for each member of the group. You sell for the other people and they sell for you. A great way to expand your sales efforts up to 40 fold, in just a few hours a week.

Action:

  • Consider what is on your plate.
  • Rate on a scale from 1-5 what you are great at vs. what you don't like and takes you a lot of time
  • Brainstorm how you could collaborate with someone else to get this done. Since this is thinking outside "buying" assistance, consider how to make win-win situations.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

15 Minute Bounce Back

A quick but structured exercise to reduce stress and fatigue

Source: Deb Giffen, MCC, MAPP

Goal of this intervention: The goal of this intervention is to give you a quick and effective way to relieve stress and anxiety that can arise during the course of everyday events. This resiliency exercise will give you a structured approach for slowing down, assessing the situation at hand, reframing the situation more accurately, and setting off on a more productive and satisfying course of action. Your ability to step back and redirect your stress and anxiety will enhance your performance at work, will aid in parenting skills, will build relationships and contribute to a host of other complex situations.

How to conduct this intervention:

  1. BMW Release: a 1-minute ”...moan and whine” session to vent and release the tension
  2. Oxygenate:  10 deep belly breaths; breathe in to a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, breathe out for a count of 4
  3. Values Anchor: emotionally connect with 3 things you deeply value or love
  4. The Context: make a quick list of what is Known, what is Unknown and what is Fuzzy about the situation
  5. The Challenge: Define the specific challenge you’re facing right now, in one sentence
  6. The Goal: Flip the challenge into its “positive opposite”. This becomes the goal that you’d most like to achieve.
  7. The Obstacles:   Identify the 2 or 3 of the key obstacles that you may face in achieving your goal; these are the “buts” that come to mind as you state your goal; then flip the challenges into additions to your goal statement.
  8. Identifying Energizing Question and Action Steps: Create a “learner” question, as opposed to a “judger” question (Marilee Goldberg Adams) and jot down 2 or 3 action steps you could take to help move you closer to your goal (this does not need to resolve the entire situation—just start moving you in the right direction).
  9. White Board: Take some more deep belly breaths with eyes closed while you imagine looking at a blank white board. Ask yourself: is there anything else I need to know?
  10. Clarify Action Steps and Your Role: Define the role you need to play to achieve the action (what “hat” will you wear: authentic leader, communicator, parent, teacher, mindful listener, supportive spouse etc.?)

Questions to ask your client – some suggestions

  • Were you able to work through each step?
  • Did this exercise help to reduce your stress or anxiety in the moment—did it provide you with a direction to take?
  • Were there any steps that were more difficult for you to complete?
  • Were there any steps that you found particularly helpful in moving you forward?

Expected outcome

This exercise should help your client to step back and gain a healthier perspective of the immediate situation. By progressing through these 10 steps, their stress and anxiety should be reduced and they should be able to return to carrying on with their day- with greater productivity and satisfaction.

Things to watch out for

  • A-type personalities may get impatient with the steps of this exercise, particularly towards the end. Encourage them to relax and consciously move through each action—perhaps using it as a deliberate experiment to see if they can slow down!
  • Your client may get stuck on one of the steps- running the risk of derailing the exercise. Encourage them to make a note of which step gave them difficulty—then discuss it more fully in your next session. Why did they get stuck? Is this a pattern? Can this step be reworked/rephrased to get them back on track?

Is there any science to support this intervention

The Penn Resiliency Project (PRP) has done extensive research in the areas of optimism and resiliency including 13 controlled studies among 2000 participants. Majority of these studies showed positive effects on anxiety and behavior.

From the website: www.resiliencyforlife.com, additional studies are cited: Resiliency is "... the inherent and nurtured capacity of individuals to deal with life's stresses in ways that enable them to lead healthy and fulfilled lives" (Howard & Johnson 1999).

"Resiliency is "the process of, capacity for, or the outcome of successful adaptation despite challenging or threatening circumstances." (Masten, Best and Garmezy (1990) We define resiliency as “taking a positive yet balanced asset approach to our abilities. Tap into and use our latent yet oh so very powerful innate skills and relationships to deal with adversity. (Ballard 2007)

Thank you to www.zonepositive.com for providing some great resources!
Find more resources at http://zonepositive.com/resources/positive-exercises/

Collaborate For Win-Win Situations

compassionA small business owner often thinks he has to “do it all.” He may say, ”I AM my business, who else can help with this?” However, you can outsource just about anything, for a price. Many people do this for technical things (web development, printing, etc.) but try to fight through the marketing, selling, development, administration and accounting, etc.

You cannot be good at everything! Even if you work in a specialized field, there are probably things you are not so good at and that cause you to waste a lot of time. Consider how you can partner with people around you to create win-win situations.

  • Consider what is on your plate.
  • Rate on a scale from 1-5 what you are great at versus what you don't like and takes you a lot of time
  • Brainstorm how you could collaborate with someone else to get this done. Think outside "buying" assistance, consider how to make win-win situations.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

The Power of Saying “NO”

I say NOWe are in a season where activities and demands are picking up. There are more schedules to manage and pulls on our time. In general, we want to be helpful and accommodating to people. Therefore we hate to say "NO". People often do anything to avoid this word. We will avoid people, redirect conversations, make excuses, be non-committal or simply say "YES" to things we know we will have a hard time following through on. The reality is we simply cannot do everything. When we keep saying "YES" to things we are adding on "stuff" to our "plate" which causes overwhelm, stress and frustration. Even though we would like to answer "YES" to everything, we must learn how to say "NO" in order to have a peaceful life which exhibits quality, balance and basic sanity.

How do you do it? When you say “YES” to a new activity, you have to say “NO” to remove something else that is already on your full plate. Here is how:

  1. Be clear on your priorities and what is important. If you are not clear, you will not have a compelling reason to say "NO" when you feel drawn to accept a new item on your plate. Try to strike a balance with the "Essential 8": family, friends, work, health, budgeting, fun, physical space (home, office, car), and personal growth (spiritual, educational, personal development). i.e. #1 Family. I will spend 5 hours a day taking care of my family and making sure they get their needs met. #2 Work. I will spend 8 hours a day working on projects that produce an income of $5000/mo. so I can provide the best for my family, etc.
  2. Set filters for each of your Essential 8 areas. You want to have your Essential 8 listed by priority and set a filter for each (take the purpose/goal for each area and then be clear on what fits and what does not). Take special note of the proportion each area is getting. If priority #1 is family, #2 is work, #3 is health and you have 100% work commitments and no family time or personal care several things will happen. Your health will suffer which will then jeopardize your physical ability to complete those tasks and your family will interrupt and demand superhuman feats for you to squeeze their needs onto your already full plate. These filters will help you discern what things you need to say "NO" in order to maintain balance.
  3. Evaluate what is on your plate. Considering each of the Essential 8 areas and your priorities, determine what your "needs" are. "Should's" need to move to one side of the fence. Do you need it or not? Consider your balance so you have some big projects (meat), some personal care (veggie), some daily necessities (good grain/filler), and a hobby/fun thing (dessert). These are the things to which you are saying "YES!"
  4. Say "NO" to the things that do not meet your filters. These may be the least important things on your list OR new things that come up in your life. Remember whenever you say "YES" you are saying "NO" to something. If you say "YES" to a weekend project at work, you are saying "NO" to your family time that weekend. You may not have to tell your family "NO" but that will be the result. If you say "YES" to volunteer at the evening carnival you are saying "NO" to your workout – which could result in your being more tired and lethargic and therefore less productive the next day.

When you say "NO" you have more power to say "YES" to what is important.  Remember "NO" can mean never, it can also mean, "no, not right now".  Let yourself have some space to do what is important. You will experience the power of balance and boundaries which will result in you being more effective and productive. You will enjoy less stress and more peace with your life.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

Scorecards and Dashboards

7As leaders, we are usually diligent at the end of a year to review where we have been and reflect on where we want to go. We take time to set goals and encourage our team to set goals as well. Sometimes people post their goals but usually they are on a worksheet and by this time of the year are getting buried. Good goal planning will advise posting the goal in THREE spots where you will see it daily and can read it often.  If you have goals and they are not posted, consider doing that simple step right now! The challenge with goals is usually ACCOUNTABILITY to the goal. How is it going? Is progress being made? Was there a milestone set? Are we past that? Some leaders who do well with planning follow the rule of thumb 10 min to plan your next day, 1 hour to plan your week and 1 day to plan your next month. These leaders will pull out their planning sheets, traction organizer, business plan ... whatever tools they are using to outline their vision, focus and goals. They then set their plan for the next month. This is a good practice, but can be time consuming and challenging to connect the dots month to month unless you have a SCORECARD or DASHBOARD. These two tools are phenomenal game changers to track performance and goals for your team.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

Leader’s Dilemma: Scorecards and Dashboards

When leaders do not use a dashboard or scorecard it is hard to measure and track and therefore hold yourself and your team accountable. It is often difficult for everyone to be disciplined to keep a matrix or chart updated. However, the consequences of not tracking lead to the "feeling" you are making more progress than you are and before you know it many days and even months have passed and you are not nearly far enough along. This gets serious when we are talking about a shortage of clients, income, production, etc. Often we feel we are doing a lot, when it is not enough to generate the results required for a sustainable and healthy business. SO, moral of the story: TRACK your activity.

Take this survey to tell us about your
dashboard / scorecard usage?

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

Measurement Is the First Step

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"Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.

If you can't measure something, you can't understand it.

If you can't understand it, you can't control it.

If you can't control it, you can't improve it."

-H James Harrington

 

Leadership Lab: Scorecards

  You can find different approaches to tracking, I encourage:

 #1 SCORECARDS: This is a daily or weekly tracker of the "activity" needed to move toward your goal and accomplish your  milestones.

   FOR EXAMPLE:
  • Goal: Grow business by 10% (60 new customers).
  • Milestone: 5 new customers a month
  • Scorecard Activities for a week or month:
    • Follow-up with 10 past customers/wk and ask for referrals.
    • Attend 5 networking events
    • Conduct 25 prospect meetings
    • Write up 10 bins/quotes
    • Plan open house for next month (invites & details)

#2 DASHBOARDS:  Dashboards can be thought of like an airplane or car "dashboard" literally measuring or monitoring where you are. Some people think of dashboards as the daily tools to guide them. use dashboards more as a place to sync the scorecard (reference your scorecard / daily personal activity guide) results from the week or month... which then gives a picture of where you are. For example in the goal above, your goal was to grow your business by 60 new customers. If we are in March and you have goose eggs (0) for January, February and March, you now are going to have to adjust your Q2, Q3 and Q4 targets to attract 7 new customers in order to grow by 10% or reduce your goal to grow by 7%.

The Dashboard is a great tool for leaders to have to monitor the results and activity of their team. If each of your key leaders have scorecards and as a company or team you have a dashboard where the team enters their results, as a leader you will have a daily snapshot of your organization. There are tons of dash-boarding tools...don't get caught up on the details. A chart or excel file can work as you get used to what you want to measure. The key is track and measure. Leaders typically find the activity of their team and their own performance is slightly behind the target. This allows for adjustment of the target/goal or a driving of activity. Either way, you are more on track to reach your goal.

Seem like a lot of work? Don't make it hard. Just make SOMETHING trackable and measure it. What gets measured does get done. Yes, you don't want to spend all your time tracking and don't take days creating your tool. The key is focus on ACTIVITY. The point is TRACK your ACTIVITY so you can adjust accordingly.

Keep Charging & Shine!
Christy Geiger, Executive/Leadership Coach, www.synergystrategies.com

What is Your Body Language?

In her TED Talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are, social psychologist, Amy Cuddy, discusses how our body language affects the way people see us.  She takes this common belief further by stating that our body language can affect how we feel about ourselves.  For example, if you stand in a "power pose" it will make you appear and feel confident.

Watch the full video here.