Archives for September 2022

Being organized matters

In my world organization can mean many things including time management, having an organized office, or being organized in the work I am doing for cases generally and in relation to deadlines. As in all worlds, disorganization leads to disaster. It not only can make you late on your commitments, it can adversely affect your business and personal life. For me it can mean losing time (and therefore money) or malpractice if I miss certain types of deadlines. The point is we all have consequences if not organized, if we miss deadlines, or if we don’t meet the expectations we set for clients, customers, or our bosses.

We live in a “what have you done for me lately” world that demands that expectations not just to be met, but exceeded. These include your expectations of yourself. I consider myself to be well organized, but that is because I constantly am working on maintaining organization and control of my time, work space, and calendar. If you struggle in any of these areas you need to come up with SMART goals to help change this. It will be hard work, but you will be happy you did it if you stick it out and improve your organization skills.

Initially set your expectations low and gradually raise them. Becoming organized takes work. If you set the bar to high to start with you have a greater chance of failure and not improving, even incrementally. It also helps to let at least one other person know about your goals. Of course, doing this exposes you to potentially let others down in addition to yourself, but it also give you a better chance of success.

So how do you do this? It depends on you. Will lists and calendaring items keep you on track to meet or exceed expectations? Do you need another person, an accountability partner, to help keep you on track? There are many tools to better organize 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.

What can you do today, this week, this month, to better organize yourself and set yourself up for success on meeting and, hopefully, exceeding expectations? Answer this question, work it and see how it benefits you in business and generally.

If you are not sure where to start, I suggest you find someone you know who is successful and organized and see if they will formally or informally serve as a mentor or accountability partner for you. For insight on mentoring, I suggest you review an older blog post of mine: “Why Mentoring Matters?”

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We all bring different things to the table

A favorite saying of mine is “If we all were the same, the world would be a boring place.” I believe this to be true. Some people are more comfortable with people just like themselves. I don’t understand that manner of thinking because I believe diversity breeds innovation and opportunity and makes the world more interesting. It also can mean so many different things.

This comes into focus when you are in a group setting. It can be a team meeting at work, a non-profit board, or any other group setting. Having people with different backgrounds and experiences makes any group function better.

I always think of this when I listen to someone with a marketing or advertising background. Their ideas come to them easily and make so much sense, but my brain doesn’t work like theirs and I would never come up with the cool and creative ideas they do.

I bet many of you are thinking of diversity as a team with people from different racial or religious backgrounds. That is diversity and can bring different ideas and angles to a situation for sure. But how about people who grew up in different states, have different educational background, or more or
less professional experience. The world of differences is seemingly endless if you really think about it.

How you approach an issue or opportunity may be different between someone who grew up on a farm in the Midwest versus New York City, or someone with an engineering degree versus someone with a sociology degree, let alone no degree or college level education, or, in my world, an attorney with 25 years’ experience versus someone with 5 years’ experience. The differences can be endless, but they matter and make for better teams. 

If any of the terms or descriptors I used above describe you, your background, or your experience level, it is your individuality that makes you stand out to others. It also is your creativity and the ability to think
differently than others. If we all just fell into line with people just like us for the next corporate job or role where would innovation come from?

The point is to be open to ideas from others approaching the same situation differently than you. Listening well and thinking through ideas you never would have thought of will broaden your world and provide a better chance of success for whatever group you are in. Try it and see where things go.

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Do you talk too much?

Is this you? To honestly answer this question requires self awareness, which many people lack. We all know that person, the one you meet in a business or personal setting who cannot stop themselves from dominating a conversation or room. At the end of the conversation they think it went well while you hope not to run into them again.

When that type of conversation is over, you know too much about them (most people like to talk about themselves). At the same time they didn’t let you speak enough to learn about you to have anything substantive to remember. They may not even remember your name

I recently revisited an article about annoying personalities you find on display at all networking events. That author had nicknames for various types of characters. It made me think of different types of people. The person I describe above can be referred to as the “Chatterbox.” The Chatterbox may be that way for a number of reasons such as (1) ego; (2) lack of self-awareness; or (3) social awkwardness. The reason doesn’t matter, but what you should do does: exit the conversation because it will provide no value for you. Positive conversations are shared experiences, not a one-sided monologue.

When meeting someone for the first time make sure you try to learn more about their background and their business versus what you speak about and share. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share about you and your business. If you focus on asking questions and learning about them, you will put yourself in a place to make a possible connection. There is a better chance they aren’t walking away thinking you talk too much and don’t really care about what they do or have to say.

I read another article on this subject a few years ago and I revisit it at times to keep its premise top of mind. The author of the article wrote about what he referred to as the Traffic Light Rule. It is another method to use to avoid talking too much. The idea is that the light is green the first twenty seconds you are speaking, yellow for the next twenty seconds and at the forty second mark the light turns red. If you talk through that red light you are talking too much.

The next time you meet someone new or are networking try to put these ideas into play. Don’t be a Chatterbox or run red lights. If you focus on the other person and not just on what you want to say you will put yourself in a better position to have meaningful interactions and make positive connections.

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