Valuing Your Experts

No matter if you're in the corporate world or running your own business, you're working with other people who have different skill sets from yours. The beauty in that is that's why you're working with them, or in some cases, hired them.

Or why someone hired you.

You bring a specific set of skills, talents, abilities, knowledge and gifts that only you could do. Just like each person you work with.

So when situations present themselves where you question what your expert says or does, remember why you hired them in the first place and seek to understand where they are coming from before jumping to any conclusions.

The saying about "knowing enough to be dangerous" is what's running through my mind because that can be a double edged sword. To know enough to be dangerous so that you can have a conversation and be wiling to say when you don't know and ask questions is great. Yet to know enough to be dangerous and not ask questions or assume you know more than you really do is setting...

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Playdough Inspired Thinking

This idea was inspired by a recognition approach from one of the organizations I was in back in the corporate world. We awarded baby playdough - you know the little ones you find in a party pack - to individuals who suggested creative, out of the box ideas to move our overall big picture vision forward. It didn't matter if the idea was implemented as much as it was rewarding the creativity and courage for sharing something different. We wanted to achieve something different and we knew the "same old, same old" type of thinking wouldn't help.

It's like Einstein said, "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

In addition to shaping and sharing new ideas and thinking out of the box, I saw the playdough with a couple of other reminders. One was to detach from the outcome and be willing to start over when needed. Sometimes we can get so attached to an idea or thing that we can't let it go in order to make room for something better. Maybe that...

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How Do You Get To 10?

I had a college professor who explained during a lecture that there wasn't just one way to get somewhere. He said there was "the" way like there were many paths you could take to reach your vision or end goal and there was "thuh" way - meaning that there was only one way that would work and all the others were subpar or would even fail to achieve the desired goal.

And as I reflected on that lecture, I realized that this could apply to many things. For instance, in math there are a few ways to get to 10. Such as 5+5, 2+8, and 1+9.

And in business, there's no right way to achieve a vision or goal.

We would all love the direct route, but what typically happens is the curvy, zig-zag path. You might have one way that you think it ought to be handled, but if you're working with a team and not fully leveraging what they are individually and collectively bringing to the table, then the vision will not be as full and impactful as it could be. By allowing your team the opportunity to offer...

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Advice on Handling Difficult Conversations

It’s another start of the work week, and you think things are going great….until… things aren’t.

You get a voice mail or face to face encounter from a customer, vendor, or co-worker that is most unpleasant. This unhappy camper is frustrated and rather than focusing on the problem or situation at hand, it feels like an attack on you.

In the moment, it can be very difficult not to take the conversation personally. It can also be challenging to turn the conversation around to something more productive, but if you are able to, it will be well worth it.

So when you are in the heat of the moment, try these three tips to help you constructively and productively move the conversation forward.

Tip 1 - View the concern as a way to improve

Tip 2 - Consider the person said something because they care

Tip 3 - Apply the Three Cs

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Fully leverage your gifts

What your gifts are – those things that really make you YOU – the more positive impact you can make for your team, organization or business.

And you may not be really clear what they are, but you look at your experiences, why people come to you and for what reason, what lights you up and what feels effortless and time goes so quickly, you’ll see breadcrumbs to help you identify them.

I remember being in the corporate world and working with my VP for a new recognition program. It needed to have a different approach and feel than anything done before. She gave me her vision in a few words, and I took that back and developed the concept, branding, process, and budget for it. When we regrouped, she said – you see the vision, and with a few parameters, create a viable product and deployment plan. That was one of my breadcrumbs.

As you are clear on your gifts and working from them, determine how you can take it a step further and enable your team or clients to do...

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The ONE Activity to do Everyday

Whether you are new to your position or have been there for some time, there’s one activity you can do each day to make sure you are ready for the next opportunity.

This activity is applicable if you are an individual contributor or in some level of management.

It's one that may seem easy to do.

In fact, it may seem logical, yet it can be difficult to do on a daily, genuine, consistent basis.

Do you know what that is?

It's doing the best you can with the job you currently have.

This means putting your best foot forward to the assignment at hand or making sure you are prepared for the meetings you need to attend.

It means you aren't asking your boss every chance you get when you will move to the next level, but you are open to taking on new projects and opportunities if they present themselves.

It means you’re learning all you can for the responsibilities you currently have, so that you are able to do your job to the best of your ability.

It means you’re supporting...

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The Power of One

There is power in one.

One word may brighten someone else's day or tear it down.

One shift in attitude or perspective can completely change how a challenging situation is handled.

Focusing on the one person in front of you during a face to face or that one person on the other end of the phone for that one conversation and ignoring the distractions will communicate volumes of respect, appreciation, and engagement.

Focusing on the one step that needs to be done now versus the next 20 will minimize overwhelm and increase productivity.

There's power in one - take some time today to leverage that power to its fullest and feel the shifts that it will make in you as you lead.

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Why CONFIDENCE is so Important to Leadership

To show up as the confident business leader you're meant to be, you need to share your strengths and stay true to your vision and values and that's where confidence kicks in.

The more confidence you have, the more you will:

    • Know what your strengths are and be willing to put yourself out there and share them over and over again
    • Push yourself to desire a big vision and realize you're fully capable of making it happen and with confidence you declare it as yours
    • Trust you can turn that vision into reality by creating an actionable and achievable plan to get there
    • Make decisions that need to be made and execute them, especially difficult ones, without second guessing
    • Know and trust what to say yes to and what to intentionally say no to
    • Communicate effectively what the vision is and work with others to help them know what it is, why it's important and how they fit, so that they are able to buy into the vision because they're buying into you
    • Develop and grow your group from high...
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Are You Asking?

As leaders, we need to get clear on what we want and why.

Then we need to speak up.

As a leader, it's your responsibility to set the vision and direction for your project, organization, or business. And although it may seem repetitive, asking and communicating often is necessary and so important. Sometimes you'll need to repeat yourself multiple times, in different styles to get things started and moving.

For some individuals, they only need a nudge to understand what's needed and support. For others, you may need to be a bit more direct.

If you have a question that will impact a decision you're making, be willing to ask and patiently listen for the answer. If you'd like periodic updates on a project, communicate your expectations and remind your teammates only as needed.

Once you're clear on your vision and your why, be willing to enthusiastically communicate it clearly, succinctly, and frequently. Your enthusiasm coupled with your ability to ensure your team, colleagues, and...

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Leveraging Your Curiosity

As a leader, you are presented with new information each day.

This process of continually receiving and synthesizing information helps you to make informed decisions in order to support your team and achieve the company’s overall vision.

Sometimes it may feel like you have too much to work with and other times, it may feel like you don’t have enough.

To compound the waves of data, as the leader, you are viewed as having “all the information”, so it might feel like saying “I don’t know” is not appropriate.

The thing is that although it may seem like you are expected to know all of the answers, you won’t.

You are expected to know how to get the answers and be clear with what is happening on your team or project, even if that means you know you need to learn more.

So how to do work with the information that you have?

I suggest leveraging your curiosity by accepting that you won’t have all the answers, but that you will be open to...

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