Posts in coaching
The Risk of Staying in the Safe Lane

For our recent family road trip, my wife and I went with our children for two days of sightseeing in nearby cities. In total, we spent around ten hours in the car, mostly on 3 lane highways and predominantly at night, with little roadside scenery to take in. This gave me, the sole driver, plenty of time to observe my road-mates.

For the most part, the other drivers on the road followed the standard script. Those in the right lane were the slowest, with lots of folks occupying that lane temporarily to enter or exit the road. Drivers in the center lane were the majority. They maintained a healthy, predictable speed and were largely content to keep their place in line. Then there were the left-laners. These folks were the most aggressive, clocking in at the highest speeds. They would also weave in and out of lanes in order to improve their position and arrival times.

Read More
How to Get Your Mojo Back

As a coach, it is relatively common to be contacted by individuals who feel stuck. Often, these people are mid-late career and struggle in their current position.

Their challenges often include, but are not limited to:

  • Long, grueling workdays

  • Insufficient pay

  • Lack of passion for their work

  • Managers who mistreat them

  • Working in industries, such as tight-knit community businesses, in which “everyone knows everyone”, limiting their ability to make lateral career moves

Ironically, when we unpack their situations and identify pathways forward, they are often unprepared or unwilling to take the kind of action necessary to break free.

Read More
Tips to Help Your People Become More Independent

The transition from dependence to independence exists in many arenas, including the workplace. As leaders, we want to quickly help our newly employed or repositioned personnel move from needy and dependent, requiring lots of direction, to confident self-reliant, and thus capable for being delegated to.

Here are some steps that can help expedite the process of making your people more independent.

  1. Avoid micromanaging – It is very common for managers and supervisors to want to ensure that their newest additions feel properly supported. They also want to avoid early mess-ups. So, they micromanage and insist on being involved in every step. While this is understandable, it is also detrimental to the new person’s growth. Find ways to allow them the space to work without constant direction, so that they can spread their wings.

  2. Be willing to let them fail Jon Brodsky of Finder.com takes the approach of letting his newly-appointed managers fast and forward. This does not mean that they get tossed into the deep-water section with the hope they quickly figure out how to swim. Instead, the goal is to give them space and permission (if not encouragement) to fail in controlled, low-stakes ways. This will allow them to learn from the process and start self-correcting. In the long-term, this learning will be far more valuable and lasting.

Read More
From Resolution to Achievement: 8 Tips for Making Your New Year’s Commitments Stick

If you are like most people, you will take some time on New Year’s Day to reflect on the outgoing year and set some resolutions for the year ahead.

Maybe you’ll decide to make a lifestyle change, such as eating healthier and exercising more.

Perhaps you’ll determine that it is time for more work-life balance or to travel more often.

You may set some business-related goals, such as making more sales calls or taking other action steps that will improve your bottom line.

These, or any other constructive goals, are the first step in living a better, more fulfilled life.

Read More
Making the best of a down market

How can we stay positive when the "weather" that surrounds us is bleak?

Here are some tips:

  1. Find the positives ➕ - In every situation, there are positives and things to be grateful for. Despite the rain, the weather is quite warm. Actually, the warmest we're had in weeks. A down market offers opportunities to buy on the cheap. Reduced volume gives us time to think and strategize about how to grow when the trends reverse.

  2. It's all pointing up ⬆️ - Starting tomorrow, the day will begin to lengthen. It will be a long climb, but it will happen. The rain will clear out as well. We can't predict when we've hit bottom in our personal lives, but past experiences tell us that better days are ahead.

Read More
It Needn't be Lonely at the Top

Loneliness is, in a relative sense, measured in the eyes of the beholder. Some argue that the loneliest professionals in the world are those who toil in isolation, with limited opportunity for interpersonal communication. Yet there are others who weigh loneliness not by the frequency or infrequency of their interactions with others but rather with the quality of such exchanges.

Read More
How to Know When to Keep Pushing

Recently, I was out driving on the highway during a rain storm. I signaled right and started to switch lanes. The problem was that, due to low visibility, I failed to see a van that was moving into the same space. It’s tail swiped the front side of my car.

For the next few days, I drove around with increased hesitation. Before turning, I would double and triple check. My driving speeds were down a few miles. In general, I was more cautious. After a while, however, I was back to my New York driver self, navigating the streets with (semi) reckless abandon.

It’s common for people who experience a setback to be more cautious the next time. The problem is, many folks will often view a single failure as an indictment on past efforts and not try again. For example, they make a large number of sales calls that don’t convert. Or they produce a product, service or program that they believe will sell and get almost no response. So, they quickly throw in the towel and give up.

Read More
Winter Driving Lessons for Business Leaders

Driving conditions for much of the Northeast this past Thursday afternoon and evening were downright abysmal. Weather forecasts had grossly underestimated the amount of snow and sleet that would blanket the region, often at blinding speeds. Road crews were slow to respond and were understaffed.

Traffic, naturally, moved at a grinding pace. My commute home, for example, was more than doubled.

Despite my less-than-ideal commute, there were some lessons from the experience that can inform decision making in more normative business conditions. (I guess having multiple hours of solitude can produce some useful insights.😀)

  1. Listen carefully to the forecast – While in this case, the forecast was somewhat misleading, in most instances knowing what is being predicted can vastly improve decision making. The same is true for the workplace. Before taking action that involves outside conditions, such as market and industry trends, seek to get as much information as possible. Then, use that information to guide your decisions. Sounds simple, right? Well, it isn’t, in part because business data is not presented as neatly as a weather forecast. Successful leaders know how much information they need (HINT: it’s not 100%) and then what to do with it and which traps to avoid when seeking to move forward.

Read More
Make your feedback personal

It is not a secret that job satisfaction in this country is not where it should be. A 2014 Conference Board report says that the majority of Americans (52.3%) are unhappy at work. What makes our workers happiest? The CB report says that “interest in work” provides satisfaction to 59% of the workplace. Even more fulfilling was “people at work,” which 60.6% said they liked. Similarly, an expansive study by Boston Consulting Group found that the No. 1 factor for employee happiness on the job is getting appreciated for work. The question for me is this: If interpersonal relationships and the expression of appreciation are so important to employees, why aren’t leaders spending more time doing it?

Read More