A productivity secret for #allthethings

As a small business owner or entrepreneur, there are many things that need to get done for your business to move forward. You can feel like you wear a million hats, and most days, it feels like there are five sitting on your head at once.

When you look at your project management tool or to do list, although you can see that you're making progress and cross something off, it seems like two or ten more items get added and you wonder how it will all get done.

As you look over your list, are there some items that you dread doing because you are not using your strengths, so you feel like you struggle to complete them? What happens to your other tasks and responsibilities when you are spending so much time and energy on a task that is draining you?

In order to lead your team or business, there will always be things that need to get done that you may not excel in doing. However, that does not mean that you must personally complete every item that your team or business needs to have done.

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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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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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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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Learning and Leading

So let's talk about continual learning, and specifically when you've invested money or time or both to advance or strengthen your skills as a leader. 

Perhaps it's a small investment relatively speaking like reading or listening to a book. Maybe it's a course or seminar you attended, or training your company has sent you to for the day.  Or perhaps it's working with a coach or consultant. And even it didn't cost you money, it was your time spent there, including the time spent creating the space to go and getting caught up again (or close to it) once you returned.

When you first went through the course, the seminar, or even worked with your coach, you probably took some notes as a way to help you process what you're learning. Once the course, seminar or coaching sessions are finished, you have every intention of fully implementing what you've learned.

Then more time passes, and although you know you learned a lot, you might feel like you should have learned more or that...

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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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How to Receive Feedback - Part 1

Let's set the groundwork for this two part series with a definition of feedback, which is information about reactions to a product, a person’s performance of a task, which is used as a basis for improvement.

Part 1 - Detach from the Outcome

Part 2 - Your Filter and Decisions

 

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Upleveling as a Leader

It seems that we go through various cycles in our life of mastering something and then starting over as the student.

When we start a new job, even if it's with the same company or group of people, or transition from the corporate world and into our own business, there are new responsibilities, processes, and systems for us to learn.

Each time we try something new, we are breaking out of our comfort zones.

Sometimes it's not a matter of trying something new, but rather breaking a system that made sense at one time and now no longer serves us.

At that point, we have a choice – we can choose to view change as positive growth instead of negative or scary.

We can choose to stay where we are or to rise to the next level and allow ourselves to be the student once more. It’s easy to stay where we are because it’s comfortable and known.

Because moving to the next level requires more from us.

So, what can you do to better prepare for the next level?

The first step is to...

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