Posts tagged - business

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.

No Comments

Opportunities come from relationships

Everything is who you know is a true statement. This includes the company president and the janitor. You never know who will be important to you in the future or what that person may achieve. The company president may be important to you professionally, or maybe the janitor’s child had the same issue your child is having and has suggestions or connections that may help.

These are reasons to know many, people, as well as different types of people. Having relationships with a diverse set of people also can help you overcome implicit bias. Many times your relationships will take you farther and provide more opportunity than your brain. Don’t get me wrong, your brain can help you in life too, but sometimes you don’t get the chance to use your brain if a connection doesn’t provide the opportunity.

Make it a goal to expand your network and relationships. Don’t just make it numbers, but look for people from different backgrounds, types of work, etc. The more you nurture these types of relationships, the farther you will fly.

No Comments

Vision without execution is hallucination

I heard this somewhere and it stayed with me. Think about this and you will know it’s true. If you can’t execute, your ideas are useless. This may mean you need to work with other’s whose skill sets compliment yours, i.e, they are better with follow through and can execute. Or it may mean you need to work on your follow through and execution.

What to take from this is that it’s important to have self-awareness and know your strengths and weaknesses. This is the only way to assess what you need to work on. But know that working on your weaker skills may not help you. If not, you need to look to others to work with who are strong in areas you aren’t

The last thing you need to be is the person with seemingly great ideas who can’t act on them. Or maybe you are great taking ideas and turning them into action, but couldn’t come up with the type of ideas you like to work on even if you tried.

You need to figure out your skill sets, those you need to work on and then determine whether you can get there or not. It is okay not to get there because that is part of learning your strengths and weaknesses. As you learn about yourself, you can adjust so you can, whether alone or with the help of others, make progress executing and moving towards your goals.

No Comments

Acknowledge mistakes and move on

We all make mistakes. Sometimes others notice, sometimes not. When you do, find a way to learn from it and laugh it off. If you do so, it will pass faster and you can move forward instead of looking backwards.

The more you let mistakes roll off of your back, other people will forget too. The point is to move forward, fix what you can, or note what you did so you can learn from it. This includes acknowledging mistakes to superiors at work or your spouse, etc.

It doesn’t mean there won’t be a tense or stressful moment. If you are honest and apologize, and maybe explain what happened or that you have learned from the mistake, the faster you will move past it.

Remember, everyone makes dumb mistakes. Everyone. You aren’t alone in this. If you figure out how to deal with mistakes in a constructive fashion they will be in your rearview mirror as you move into the future with a clear conscience and free from the weight of the mistake.

No Comments

Be Kind

We all are moving fast through our days. Are you nice to the people who cross your path? You should be because how you treat people is what stays with them when they think about you.

The benefits of being kind outweigh the efforts you put in. Knowing this and acting on it will help you and your reputation.

In the same vein, do random acts of kindness. Bring in donuts (or maybe something healthier) to your office for your co-workers. Compliment someone. Be patient with those who make mistakes, whether a co-worker or the waiter or waitress at a restaurant.

Doing so is good for you in many ways. The feedback and reactions you get will brighten your day. What you do or say will brighten others’ days. Try it and see how good it makes you feel.

No Comments

Time flies so goals and planning are important

When I was younger, clichés such as “The days are long, but the years are short” kind of bugged me. As I aged, I learned that clichés are clichés because they generally are true for most people. I am reminded of how quickly time goes by each week when Shutterfly sends me an email with a few pictures and a subject line such as “Your memories from this week ten years ago.” Then I look and see much younger versions of me, my wife and our children, friends and families, and fun travels from the past.

My point isn’t to lament the passage of time, or of aging, but to consider it in a different light. I think how fast time goes by in the big picture makes setting goals and planning how to reach them that much more important.

I encourage you to make a plan. It can be for a year, six months or whatever time frame works best for you. You may combine personal and work related goals in a single plan or have different plans, but writing down your goals makes it more likely you will reach them. In doing so, you should turn your goals into SMART goals (this can easily be Googled) with action steps to reach them. This is the first step. Many people do this and then don’t look at their plans again.

For most of us this alone won’t help us reach our goals because you need to keep your goals in mind – yes, the cliché that comes to mind is “out of sight, out of mind.” Instead, you need to keep your plan where you will see it regularly. This could be a printout on your desk at home or work (or both), or as a file on your computer’s desktop where you will see it every time you start it up. Or maybe use it as the wallpaper on your computer monitor as a reminder.

Then, and this is big, you actually need to review it regularly. This allows you to see where you are and adjust steps or goals, if necessary. You can make it a part of your routine on whatever time frame you think works by setting calendar items or tasks so you are reminding yourself to review your plan. If you try this, it likely will become a default activity you make time for, which is the definition of investing in yourself.

No Comments

Vacation shouldn’t be your office in a different location

As the week of July 4th is upon us, a huge number of Americans will take the roads and air to get out of town. Whether you are doing so or not, make sure to plan time away from your work.

Vacation is important. It provides a break from your routine. This allows you to re-charge and connect with friends and family. Yes, this means you should try to not check your work email all the time when you are out. Your body and brain will thank you – it’s part of why most people go on and crave vacation.

If you must think about work while away, plan actions you can take to improve your business or generate new business, as opposed to just doing your usual work from some different, beautiful locale. Take the time and space to think about the bigger picture. That is a benefit of getting out of your day-to-day routine.

But also leave your work behind for at least part of your vacation so you really can allow yourself to rest and enjoy your time away.

No Comments

Are you likable?

Studies have shown that likable people are more successful. This makes sense because I feel comfortable saying that almost any person you ask would rather be around and do business with someone who is likable versus someone who is not. Because of this, it’s good that being likable is something you have the power to control and improve on.

Being likable is easy if you think about the qualities you like in others. For me, and likely most of you, these include being sincere, listening well, being transparent, and being understanding of others and their differences. And, again, people who have these skills and are highly likable have been shown to outperform those who don’t.

So what can you do to be more likable? Ask questions. People like to talk. If you ask questions the other person will think the conversation went well even if you only spoke a small percentage of the time. This involves listening fully so you are engaged in the conversation and can ask good follow up questions. I have a partner who says you want to picture the other person wearing a baseball hat that says “Make me interesting.” He means ask good questions and stay engaged.

Another thing you can do is be genuine. Nobody likes people who are fake. They want people they can trust, people who are comfortable in their own skin. If you are trying to win people over, you are approaching it the wrong way. Be yourself, and confident in who you are.

It also helps to have positive body language. Body language communicates a lot, even when you aren’t paying attention to it. An example is the person sitting across from you who is smiling, but has their arms crossed and is sitting in a closed manner. They think they look happy and confident, when they truly appear tense and closed off. If you are not sure about your body language. ask someone you trust. You may be surprised at what they say. If they tell you things they think you can improve on, you can practice in front of a mirror or pay more attention when you are speaking with others.

There are many other traits that go with likability, but the few I mentioned are a good place to start. Even if you believe you are likable, try to see if you can improve on these in business and personal settings. Practice can help, and it is worth your time and effort to invest in yourself.

No Comments

Preparation matters

I had a conversation this week that reminded me of a post I wrote years ago about the importance of preparation. I went back and looked. The post was spot on regarding the conversation between me and my client. So I revised that post for the current situation because it is a good reminder of how import preparation is.

This week, I called a client to set up a block of time to prepare for a mediation. The client didn’t understand why we needed to meet and thought you just go in and see if the dispute can be settled or not. This common misconception regarding mediation speaks to the importance of preparation.

I explained to the client that the two most important times in a lawsuit are mediation and trial. Mediation is the last time a party has any control over the outcome of a lawsuit because you have no real control when it is in the hands of the judge or jury. Why wouldn’t you prepare for such an important event??

It begs the question as to why you wouldn’t prepare for any important event or conversation, such as a mediation, a year end meeting with a supervisor regarding performance, salary or bonus issues, a job interview, an important conversation with a child, co-worker, spouse, etc. Preparation is much better than “winging it.”

Preparation allows you to create the message you want to communicate and will give you a better chance of making sure you and your position(s) are understood. This will put you in a better place to achieve any goals or desired results. It also will bolster your reputation and what others who deal with you think about you. And reputation is everything.

The message is prepare, prepare, prepare, and see where it gets you, because, as Benjamin Franklin smartly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

No Comments

Ordinary people do extraordinary things every day

I first remember reading or hearing this in a quote from Jim Valvano, the North Carolina basketball coach who said “Every Single Day, in Every Walk of Life, Ordinary People do Extraordinary Things.” In 1983 in the NCAA Men’s Basketball championship game his underdog team was pitted against the heavily favorited Houston Cougars, but won right at the end of the game. He later passed away from bone cancer, but, in addition to starting a foundation for cancer research, he gave speeches and made enduring statements such as the one I quoted above.

Of course, you don’t have to be an athlete to do extraordinary things. All of us have the ability to do so. One way is by supporting non-profits and helping lift up others in your community who need your support. Many of you likely do this already. All of us can and should because we all can do amazing things for others.

I look to people like Maria Brunner, who lives in the Phoenix metropolitan area, and runs Insight Management,  a company that focuses on marketing and promotion in the music and entertainment industry. For the last few years, in the free time she doesn’t have, she has convinced bands, promoters, caterers and others to provide her with leftover food from backstage catering that would otherwise go to waste. When they provide her with the leftover food, she personally delivers it to shelters for homeless veterans or other homeless populations. Many times she leaves and comes back while a concert or event she is working is still going on so she can complete the work she is paid to do.

It took some time for me and another person who knows Maria, along with others, to get her to turn her good deeds into a real non-profit, but now Musically Fed exists. In addition to what she has done to help homeless populations in Phoenix, she has convinced some bands and managers to do this on every tour stop in each city. Bands and groups that I am aware of doing this include Fleetwood Mac, the Country Music Association, and others. And I know am missing other bands and groups pitching in

Maria may not be happy that I am telling her story because she is not looking for kudos or thanks for what she is doing. She does extraordinary things every day despite not really having time to do so because it’s who she is and what she does.

If you question how she does all she does and gets it all done, I think you will hear some version of when you see a hill, it always looks worse than it is, so you take it in small chunks. If you approach your days like this you will be able to accomplish more than you can imagine.

I challenge you to find the extraordinary things you can do in your days to make your corner of the world a better place.

I also want to point you to Musically Fed’s website, which is located at
https://musicallyfed.org/, in case you are inclined to support Maria’s fantastic heartfelt mission. You also can contact me for information.

Go forth and do good!!

No Comments