What Are You Thankful For?

What are you thankful for?  As we lead up to the last month of the year, it can be easy for us to get swamped with emails, distracted with technology, and busy trying to keep our heads above water.  You often hear people remind themselves, “If I can just get to the Christmas break, everything will be fine.”

In the US, Thanksgiving is a holiday that allows many people to have a mini break and catch their breath before the last push for the year end.  It is a very unique holiday which is often spent with family and friends sharing around a large meal together. Originally Thanksgiving was created as a holiday for the Pilgrims to give thanks for surviving another year (mostly due to the help of the native people at the time, but that is a different story).  There is something about being thankful and grateful that can provide a sense of peace.

When people are truly grateful their energy shifts.  It is almost as if they become more content with their place in the world (and the world around them).  More importantly, I believe that these people become more attractive to others and can inspire others to be more than they thought was possible.

I recently had breakfast with two friends of mine that I had not seen in a few months.  As we shared a meal together and talked about our work (and home) lives something special happened.  We started going above and beyond the obvious. We were not stuck in the small issues and distractions that come up every day.  As we shared ideas that inspired each other. After the breakfast meeting I noticed more spring in my step and I was thankful for the time we spent together, it had brightened my day (and the follow up text from them that showed how grateful they were let me know if was reciprocated).

What would happen if we were more thankful for the experiences, lessons learnt from the people around us?  If we spent the time sharing a meal with someone where we had a deep conversation that helped both of us gain valuable insights to want to make a positive difference in the world.

There are a number of ways that you can take action to be thankful:

  1. Staff.  With the lead up to the crazy activity before Christmas, take the time to show staff that you are grateful for their efforts.  Shout them to a morning tea, take them to a lunch, give them a dinner voucher or movie tickets to allow them to have some time with people that they’re grateful for.  Do this before the Christmas function to let them know it is important (and not just the typical Christmas gesture).
  2. Clients.  Let your clients know that they are important and that you are thankful for them.  Do not just do the typical Christmas Cards that are printed and impersonal. Do something that is personal that lets them know you appreciate them.  This can be something as simple as giving them a copy of a book that you believe they would be interested in or something that has meaning to them (like their favourite chocolate).
  3. Loved Ones.  Before the Christmas madness sets in, take the time to let your loved ones know that you are grateful for them in your life.  Give them the hug for no reason and hold onto them a little longer than normal, whisper in their ear that you are thankful that they are in your lives.

Take a moment to write down the names of 3 people that you are going to demonstrate that you are thankful for.  It can be a client, staff member or loved one. Do something to let them know they are important to you and you are grateful.  Remember it is the little things and gestures that people remember and appreciate. And if we can get them to pass it on, we can create a positive impact much larger than ourselves.

You need to add a widget, row, or prebuilt layout before you’ll see anything here. 🙂

Did You Make Fathers Day Breakfast?

Our children’s school has a wonderful tradition every year of the kids and helpers making breakfast the Friday before Father’s (or Mother’s Day).  

Yes, it meant getting up a little earlier to get the kids to the school by 7.30am however it was well worth it.  As they made a little presentation I looked around and noticed how close the fathers and their sons were to one another.  Many of them had a hand on their shoulder demonstrating their love, what a great experience.

It made me wonder if we are committing to the important things in our lives or are we getting too busy with work and life.  There were fathers, grandfathers and special father figures that were there spending time together.  It would have been so easy to skip this morning fathers day breakfast with the common excuses of workload or not planning ahead.

So what are you not taking time to do?  What should you be doing to let the important people in your life know that you care and appreciate them?  It could be a family member, a distant relative, a co-worker or a friend.  By taking a few minutes to connect and share time with them you are helping make a positive difference.  Sharing a meal together, going for a walk or a bike ride, or just picking up the phone to let them know you were thinking about them.  Simple gestures can make a big impact.

If you are overloaded at work and you are looking for strategies to help you, pick up a copy of my new book. Leadership Hacks:  Clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results. It is the smart leader’s guide to getting more done in less time. If you have a copy and enjoyed the strategies can you go onto Amazon and give me a positive review.  To purchase a copy, please click here.

Stay True to Your Path


Action Speak Louder than Words

We have all heard this saying before so it is nothing new.  What I am always surprised to notice is how easy it is for leaders to forget about it.

I remember attending a team meeting where the Manager was going through the results of the last quarter with his sales team.  They had a brilliant quarter and they had smashed their targets by almost 15%.  When the Manager talked about the latest targets he just said a good job to everyone for the effort and then moved onto the next quarter’s targets and the need for his people to go out there and “work harder.”  

I watched as his people’s body language just sank.  You could feel the energy leave the room and the motivation of the group drop to a new low.  Rather than doing something about it, the Manager just continued on talking through his meeting agenda.  When the meeting was finished his staff just walked out of the room demotivated.

He completely missed the point.  Rather than recognising his people and building this positive energy up to keep them motivated his actions took the typical approach and demotivated his people—regardless of what he said.

So how do you make sure that you don’t miss the point?  

Make sure that you select the right way to communicate and deliver your message—by what you say and what you do. Take the time to connect with people and read their energy.  Finally, make sure that what you are saying (and asking others to do) is in alignment with what you are doing and demonstrating.

A close friend of mine, Alan Parker is one of the most talented facilitators in the country.  He has organised Michael Grinder, one of the worlds leading experts on nonverbal communication and influence and is running a series of 1 day and multi-day workshops in both Sydney and Melbourne starting from next week.  

click here to find out more.

In closing, I am very happy to announce that my book Leadership Hacks:  Clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results will be in bookstores across Australia from 1 August.  My goal is to get it to best seller list and I need your help! To purchase a copy, please click here.

Are you an Old School Leader?

I recently was working with a client discussing an issue that they were having with internal politics inside their organisation.  When described what was occurring it was very clear that a number of the Senior Leaders were playing the “old school” game of trying to keep information from others.  When the client analysed why they were doing this they realised that these leaders were brought up in the age of the 1980’s & 1990’s and have the belief if you are a Manager you need to keep ideas and communication close to your chest and not share it.

This was one approach that a Manager could get away with during the 1980’s & 1990’s because the pace of business and communication was also ‘old school.’  We did not have the real-time Internet, email, social media and SMS that allows people to share information and take action faster.

In our conversation, I asked which leaders she admired.  Without having to think she replied, “the leaders that inspire, include and challenge me to perform at a higher level than I even think I can.”  This is a common response that I receive from many people.  They want to be supported, challenged, stretched and mentored by their leaders so they can achieve and succeed at a higher level.  The issue is that we still have too many “old school” leaders that are playing an analog game in a digital world.  This is resulting in many organisations losing their effectiveness, along with their great staff and eventually losing their market share, or for others their existence.
How Not to Get Stuck as an Old School Leader:

  1. Ask Questions to Understand. Rather than assuming that you know everything and keeping information to yourself, take the time to ask lots of questions.  Do this to understand the different viewpoints, concerns, challenges, and successes of your people.    Often I have found that a leader just taking the time to ask the opinion of their people, the relationship gets stronger because they show that they care and value their perspective.
  2. Keep An Open Mind & Keep Learning.  I remember working with a very successful multimillionaire businessman that was in his 70’s.  Whilst I was facilitating a group of other very successful leaders I noticed he continually took out a small notebook and was writing things down.  During one of the breaks, I asked him how he was finding the session that I was leading.  “Great”  he responded and he showed me all of the notes he had taken from the session that I was running.  Although he was toward the end of his career and very successful already, he was continually learning.
  3. Mentor & Stretch Your People. Many leaders do not take the time to mentor their staff.  They often use the excuse of being “too busy.”  The leaders that truly inspire and motivate their people are the ones that take the time to check in and mentor in 1:1 situations.  Look for opportunities to share insights and wisdom and ask questions that stretch or challenge how your people view a situation.  Make sure that you stretch them in a way that is supportive, not putting them down like an “old school” leader would to make themselves feel superior.

In this age of disruption, businesses can’t afford to have “old school” leaders.  The pace of change, competition, technological shifts and staff expectations all demand more of a leader.  Make the choice to step up, be the leader that others admire, respect and would walk over cut glass for.

What Type of Learner Are You?

Getting everyone moving to the same drum

It has been school holidays and we have been focused on having some fun with the kids.  My eldest daughter, Jasmine has also been working on a school assignment during the holidays.  Last night as she was working away I started thinking about the mindset that we have around learning.  For most of us, we were raised during the time that learning and studying were when you were at school and that once you left school you didn’t need to continue learning.

This was probably true in the 1980’s when the time was much slower and things did not happen as fast as they do now.  However, today I am finding that most of the leaders that I am working with are continually learning.  With so many innovations and new technology platforms emerging, it is even more important to keep fresh an open-minded.

I have found that there are 3 types of learners:  Clever, Forced and Reactive.

What type of learner are you?

  1. Clever Learners:  These are the learners that are searching for new information, innovations or ways to do things faster or smarter.  They often spend their time between meetings or projects scanning through the internet or other sources to see what the new emerging trends are and what others are doing to stay productive, leveraging technology and new ways of doing things.
  2. Forced Learners.  I am always amazed when I work with a leader who does not actively look to learn, but the industry or role that they are in force them to learn.  Recently I spoke with a leader who had a team of staff in regional areas that were talking about the change in their organisational structure and how they were getting their people to use technology such as their smartphones and tablets, rather than paper and pen whilst they were on the road.  In essence, these staff were being forced to make the transition because their role had changed and they had no choice if they wanted to complete all the tasks on their plate.
  3. Reactive Learners. These learners are the ones that still are trying to avoid learning and often the ones lagging in their roles.  They are often letting others lead the way and waiting for the learning to land in their lap when they are ready for it.  Unfortunately, these are also the people that I find create stress for their colleagues because they are often viewed as not equally carrying the workload and others need to pick up their slack.

Think back to the last week or two.  Which category would you put yourself into?  Now is the time to be a Clever Learner.  When you have a spare 10 minutes, take the time to search your industry and find out what the new trends are.  Talk to people in your network to learn what they view as the emerging strategies to move forward. 

The more you actively learn, the more others admire and respect you and the better prepared you can be for the future.Anchor