Archives for July 2020

Organize yourself

Organization is more important than ever. Many of us are working remotely. Even if you aren’t, being organized makes a difference. If you have children, school is about to start around the country with remote learning, pulling even more on your time. Being organized will put you in the best position to be successful in all facets of your life.

Now is the time to organize or, if you are organized, to reorganize. Delay rarely helps in any situation and disorganization leads to disaster. It not only can make you late on your commitments, it can adversely affect your business and personal life.

We live in a “what have you done for me lately” world that demands that expectations not just to be met, but exceeded. Through being organized you can regularly set realistic expectations you know you can meet. If you are unorganized you will have trouble meeting expectations and your clients, co-workers, and others will see it as a negative.

To do this you need to come up with strategies that work for you. It may be keeping lists and calendaring items. Maybe you need another person, such as an accountability partner, to help keep you on track. There are many tools you can utilize to be better organized and keep on task. You have to know yourself well enough to know what will and won’t work for you. Of course, you then have to put what will work in motion and commit to it.

You should start today. The better you organize yourself, the sooner you will set yourself up for success. The point is you have to work hard to be organized. If you try you will see how it benefits you in business and generally.

If you are not sure where to start, find someone you know who is successful and organized and see if they will formally or informally serve as an accountability partner for you. It is investing in yourself and worth every minute you put into it.

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Mentoring is more challenging than ever

Most professionals still are working remotely and will be for the foreseeable future. This makes mentoring relationships more challenging. You can have phone calls or Zoom calls with a mentor or accountability partner, but mentoring relationships grow from forging a relationship based on knowing each other. Getting to know each other is harder to do by phone or Zoom unless that close relationship already existed. Even then, it’s not as good as being able to spend time together in person.

All of this makes beginning new mentoring relationships more challenging because it’s easier to build the relationship and trust through meeting in person, which then can be supplemented by phone calls or other manners of communication. This doesn’t mean solid new mentoring relationships can’t happen without meeting in person, it just means it is harder.

Imagine you switch jobs now. You are coming into a new company. Maybe it even has a formal mentoring program to help integrate new employees into the company and its culture. It’s much more difficult when you are sitting in your home office than if you are at the company’s actual office.

This is because the basis of the mentor mentee relationship is trust. Trust may be assumed at first, but it really is earned over time. The better the level of trust, the more both parties to a mentoring relationship gain. If you are in a mentoring relationship and it isn’t helping your professional growth, it may not be a good fit or maybe it has run its course. Your hope should be that by participating in such a relationship, you both evolve in many ways that benefit you in the long run.

So, depending on where you are professionally or in life, it always is a good time seek out a mentoring relationship. It will help if you are doing so now to acknowledge it may be more difficult or take longer to forge the bond that really allows such relationships to grow and flourish. But I challenge you to do so and look to play an important role in another’s story.

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Preparation is everything

Have you ever trained or practiced something with a goal in mind, such as improving your time on your daily run, memorizing your lines for your role at the local theater, or something similar? When you do, you have to make time to work up to your goal. With no preparation, you may finish the race, but it won’t be fast and you likely will feel it in your body for quite some time. If you don’t practice those lines and really get them down, the opening night will be uncomfortable, at best. These are examples of why preparation matters.

Similarly, why wouldn’t you prepare for any important event or conversation, such as a meeting with a supervisor regarding performance, salary or bonus issues, a job interview, an important conversation with a child, co-worker, spouse, etc. If it’s important to you, it’s worth your time, and not preparing hurts your chance to achieve whatever you define as success for the event or situation.

It helps if you know what you want to accomplish in a given situation. If it’s an important conversation, knowing the message you want to communicate will increase your chances of making sure you and your position(s) are understood and you will be able to give it your best shot. Preparation will put you in a better place to communicate clearly and effectively, which can help you achieve goals or desired results. Being prepared also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you, which is important because reputation is everything.

So prepare for those important events, meetings or conversations, and see where it gets you. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Don’t be that person!

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Change is constant

I have been thinking about change during the last few months as many businesses have had to convert to remote working, and others have lost their jobs or businesses. It caused me to go back to a post I wrote in January 2014, which resonates today (and everyday). I have updated it, but it remains truth that change is constant.

Winners know this. What do I mean?  Being able to adjust on the fly is important.  In my world it can mean abandoning the entire oral argument you spent hours preparing because of a question or statement by the judge, a position taken by my opposing counsel or a client question. It also means having change forced upon you where you need to figure out how to network and develop business in a world where social distancing is the new norm and many businesses remain closed. The ability to shift gears on the fly allows you to be focused on the prize, whatever it may be.

Many times the change or adjustment does not need to be a split second decision.  What if you plan a new business initiative, spend hundreds of hours on it and then learn something has changed or you missed a piece of information that makes it more challenging to succeed?  Change is needed. Is it to scrap everything in the face of adversity?  Is it to rethink and tweak your plan?  Of course the true answer is that it depends on the situation.  But once you acknowledge change is needed you have taken the first step.

Change matters in your professional life.  Don’t become stagnant because the current circumstances don’t allow it, i.e. if you don’t change and adjust others will do so and pass you by.  To be on the top of your game you have to know when to adjust.  Stay up to date on what you need to know to do what you do.  Information is power.  Information is another thing that lets you know when you have to change or adjust.

Life is both a gift and a challenge in which we all can do a better job of doing our best for our customers and clients, as well as ourselves.  So pay attention!  Look for when you have to make adjustments or when change is being forced upon you by circumstance. Being open to change will bring creative ideas and opportunity, and allow you to shape your future.

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