Tag Archives: management

Family Wealth Alliance Webinar – Sept 14

15 Aug


Criticism–used well, this powerful leadership tool can promote positive change and strengthen relationships in business and life. Is it possible to use criticism at work without breeding resentment?

Dr. Deborah Bright, best-selling author and business coach, joins Family Wealth Alliance CEO Tom Livergood for a free webinar and fireside chat about the highly misunderstood topic of using criticism positively in the workplace.

Dr. Bright offers valuable techniques from her most recent book, rated by getAbstract as one of this year’s top 5 business books! She pulls tips from her book The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change to help us:

  • Understand the essential role of criticism in the workplace
  • Overcome common mistakes made when giving criticism
  • Gain insights on handling difficult work-related situations

Register now for this free 1-hour webinar on September 14th, 2:00PM EDT. Turbocharge your workplace and career by learning to strengthen relationships and enhance performance with criticism!

Note: Dr. Bright’s 30-minute fireside chat will follow Bob Legan, of Whitnell & Company, discussing unique issues and planning opportunities with family owned or closely held businesses.

A New Position? Some Tips for Getting a Head Start Toward Success

16 Feb

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image21661599You’ve just accepted a new position in a different division within the organization you have been working in for the past few years. Even though the company goes by the same name, from your point of view it might as well be a different company because all the players are pretty much unfamiliar to you. In fact, the only familiar link you have to this new environment is your new boss – and you barely know her. She’s the one who personally approached you about the job. She impressed you as someone you could easily get along with and the job responsibilities fit well with your competencies. One critical factor in accepting had to do with a lesson you learned from a mentor awhile back – he urged that the best way to “reset yourself” is to leave your current job. Your desire to hit the “reset button” reached a critical point when your husband put his foot down and said you can’t keep going at the pace you’ve been running. Up until this point, traveling was a constant, as was putting in 65-70 hours a week. On weekends, you were moody and glued to your laptop. Rather than argue with your husband’s forceful so-called “request”, you agreed. So now you’ve made the grand leap to change jobs and bring some balance into your life. To make sure you get off to a successful start while resetting yourself to a more reasonable work schedule, here are 4 tips to keep in mind:

 1. Secure Some Quick Wins

Remember, at the start of most any job there’s an implied honeymoon period where you have a little extra time and leeway to make things happen; so, take advantage and use your time wisely. One way to successfully position yourself to identify some quick wins is by interviewing all the key people you support. Ask them, as one successful manger did, the following question – “What is one thing that’s within the framework of my role that I am in control of doing that would be of greatest help to you over the next 30 days?” Write down what they have to say and remember to reconnect with them when you have fulfilled their request.

 2. Don’t Be Too Quick to Draw Conclusions

In your effort to get up to speed in a new job, it’s not uncommon for us to jump to conclusions about what the issues may be only to find out later that we misread what was happening around us. Don’t fall into this trap. One manager, who recently started a new job, avoided that tendency by deciding to keep a daily log that chronicled his observations about people and issues. Each day he would write down his thoughts about the people he needed to support and work with. He also had a separate section that identified pressing problems and potential longer-term issues. As a word of caution here: since this diary reflected his candid thoughts, he felt it was best to journal his ideas at home – just to keep on the safe side! Each week he would summarize his thoughts. To his amazement, he found that many of his initial conclusions about people and issues were totally inaccurate or had to be modified. Explore whether using an approach such as this may prove to be helpful for you. To be successful, you need to accurately read the work environment.

 3. Be Aware of the Expectation You Set in the Eyes of Others

If you demand perfection in everything you do from the onset, others will come to expect that level of performance from you all the time. Is that the reputation you want to create? By no means am I suggesting that you slack off or do mediocre work. Rather, you want to discriminate between when you need, want to, and have the time to go beyond what is required and when you can get by with simply meeting expectations. Use your time wisely and assess carefully the priority you assign to each task. The ultimate control lies with you – so take care to focus your energies on what counts regarding the success of the organization’s objectives as well as your own objectives

 4. Manage the Number of Hours You Work Each Week

In most cases, success is based on results, not long hours. Gaining some insights into what success looks like in your new role may be something you can and should clarify with your boss. You might even consider having a similar discussion with those individuals you support. It’s about reading the culture of your organization that can be important. For instance, is there a culture of expectations that includes responding to emails after work hours or over the weekend? This is something to address early on with your boss, peers, and staff in an effort to keep from being surprised on Monday morning when your boss or team says, “We didn’t hear from you regarding the home office request for budget cut ideas.”

When taking a new position, the idea should always be to move from something to something. Using these tips will help ensure that your new career moves in an upward direction to something even better!

Deb Bright, Ed.D., is founder and president of Bright Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm devoted to enhancing performance. Her roster of clients includes Raytheon, Marriott, Disney, GE, Chase, Morgan Stanley, and other premier organizations. She is also a best-selling author. Her newest book is entitled The Truth Doesn’t Have to Hurt: How to Use Criticism to Strengthen Relationships, Improve Performance, and Promote Change (AMACOM Books).

Get on the Same Page-Get in Tune with Others

20 Jun

While at work, you get a call from your mate. The call isn’t unusual, but what you are hearing is: Your mate has just been offered a great deal on a new car. Immediately, your mind races as you reply, “You know I hate SUV’s and don’t care for leather seats.”   Your mate responds by saying, “But sweetheart, this is such a great deal. I don’t want to turn this one down. Let’s talk about it later.”  Suddenly, you hear yourself saying “OK” and hanging up the phone.

Your day isn’t over yet. Several days ago, you asked a peer in the sales department to give you some sales projections on a couple of products, and he has failed to get back to you. You’re really feeling pressured, because these numbers are to be incorporated into a larger budget report. He explains that he’s almost finished, and by late afternoon he’ll have everything ready. You say fine, but you think to yourself that his lateness is going to put you under the gun, because you really like to proof things carefully before sending them on to your boss. Afternoon arrives, and he hands you the sales projections. After glancing at the figures, you notice that he gave you projections for one, two, and three years in advance. You feel a tinge of anger run down your spine as you explain that all you needed were figures for a single year in advance. Besides saying he’s sorry, he tells you, “I thought you would have wanted to see some more figures. One year seemed inadequate, and I thought that more numbers would be helpful. If I had known, I could have gotten this to you a lot sooner.”

When you recover from that incident, you decide to check your e-mail messages. To your surprise, you get a short note from your boss with an attachment. You go to the attachment, only to find out that one of your customers contacted your boss directly about a matter that you were in the process of handling. Once again, you feel your stress level rising as you ask yourself, “How could my customer bypass me and go to my boss without telling me?”

What do these three snapshot scenes have in common? On the surface, what’s going on appears to be a communications problem. If we look more deeply, though, it becomes apparent that the expectations of the parties involved in all three situations are unmatched. Unmatched expectations span the spectrum from simple, everyday exchanges to more persistent or extensive matters. We all have expectations for ourselves and for others; expectations exist in our relationships at work as well as in our relationships with family and friends. Strong relationships are always rooted in matched expectations.

Big or small, important or insignificant, whenever expectations are unmatched, frustration levels rise and desired outcomes are put at risk. Being able to “move” forward is difficult. So what’s needed first is to listen for and pay attention to expectations that are matched.

Even though you cannot have total control, you can pay attention to and watch for expectations that are matched- prior to taking what happens around you.

Acknowledging People In A Meaningful Way Part II

28 Mar


Praising, rewarding, and, yes, sometimes even criticizing people makes them feel that their presence within the organization is important. Acknowledging people for the value they bring to a team department or organization instills pride, which in turn boosts energy levels that can be creatively channeled into their work.

Giving people recognition is the easiest thing to do, but toughest to be effective at doing. For starters, leaders need to make the reward or recognition meaningful. 

  • The best approach that I’ve learned for how to ensure that an attempt to deliver recognition that’s meaningful is by asking the employees the following question: “Putting money, promotions and raises aside, what is the best way I can let you know that the organization values your contributions?” or “Putting money and promotions aside, is there one thing I can do that’s within my control to let you know that I value your contribution?” 
  • Another option is to learn what people do in their leisure time and use that to reward and recognize people.  It’s according to their interests. 
    • Rewarding people and recognizing them with money is a nice thing but a memorable thing is to give people something tangible that they might not get for themselves. 
    • One thing you can do daily that shows respect and is appreciated  is to say, “Please” and “Thank you” to your people.
    • Give feedback for the results of their efforts is another effective way to recognize employee’s contributions. If someone has worked hard on something and turned it into you, you want to get back to them and let them know how their contribution either helped the project along or detracted from the project.

These are the best things you can do up front.  Remember, it’s easy to reward and even easier to mess it up!

Meeting Deadlines the Positive Way: Part II

7 Mar


 The first step in managing pressure involves learning to identify the underlying sources that cause pressure. When pressure stems from a deadline, the underlying cause is fear of failure to live up to a set of expectations within a given time frame. Such pressure is a natural consequence of recognizing that the amount of time or resources available may not be sufficient to complete the job on schedule, and the active word is “fear.” When we are afraid, a number of physiological changes may occur in’ our bodies, including the constriction of blood vessels, an increase in heartbeat rate, a decrease in blood supply to the brain, tightening of muscles, dilation of the pupils-to name a few.

If these effects continue at this elevated state for a prolonged period of time, performance may deteriorate, even though we continue to push ourselves. After all, we are going to meet this deadline…even if it kills us! For these reasons, it is important to be aware of the signals that your body produces and get yourself back to an “optimal level of performance” by using Bright’s Breathing Quick Charge.      

Bright’s Quick Charges are easily implemented techniques designed to help users perform at their best when a difficult situation demands it.  They are instantly effective, giving their users a “boost” that helps them through high-pressured moments—but even better, they are undetectable by anyone but the person using them.  They are like a “secret weapon” working to keep their user in control of a situation.

 Bright’s Breathing Quick Charge is an effective technique that can be used instantly for controlling the mounting pressure of an approaching deadline:

  1. Inhale deeply and smoothly.
  2. Hold your breath for three or four seconds.
  3. Exhale slowly and evenly while imagining a wave of calmness that spreads throughout your body from head to toes.
  4. Repeat the above steps a few times, if necessary. Each time make sure you relax all of the muscles in your body while exhaling.

It’s important to “stop” and ask yourself:  at what level does this task need to be completed?  Remember, you have some control over setting the performance expectations around a particular task. Not all tasks need to be perfect- but all tasks when completed need to add value! 

 When practicing this technique, it’s important to exhale very slowly and evenly, preferably through your nose. During the exhalation phase, remember to relax your muscles starting with your head and ending with your toes. Besides feeling more physically relaxed, you’ll immediately notice that you are able to think more clearly. Greater clarity of thought is linked to the additional supply of oxygen being transported to the brain. Don’t be embarrassed with using this technique. It expands and improves upon the familiar “sigh.”

Meeting Deadlines the Positive Way: Part I.

6 Mar

One source of stress that pervades every work place is the pressure that comes from meeting deadlines. What’s important to understand is that pressure is a typical example of a stress reaction. I’m not implying that pressure is a bad thing; after all, many of us subscribe to the belief that “we do our best work under pressure”.  Actually, that’s proven not to be true- but more about that in another blog.

 Regardless, pressure is caused by both internal and external sources.  If not handled properly over a period of time, pressure that’s mishandled can lead to health problems and loss of working efficiently.  

To set the stage for learning to control the pressure that comes from meeting deadlines, it’s important to clarify precisely what is pressure. Pressure, as I have defined in my book, On the Edge and in Control: A Proven 8-Step Program for Taking Charge of Your Life (McGraw Hill) is the fear of not having enough time or resources available to meet your own level of expectation or the expectations of others.

If you accept that pressure is a stress reaction that comes from trying to live up to a set of expectations, then it follows that pressure is not inherent in any task, but originates within yourself and is brought to any task. Working with this premise positions you to now be able to manage pressure and the sources of pressure. It is accomplished through a two-fold strategy.

 This two-fold strategy will be explained in the following blogs.

%d bloggers like this: