Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's All In The Execution

It is all in the execution.  We all hear how the best laid plans often fail and that at least 60% of all plans never are implemented.  What happens?  There are several success factors that can enhance your likelihood of executing your plans successfully:
Focused action - keep yourself and your team on track and in focus
Sense of urgency- keep the energy and excitement ongoing
Leadership - you must accept the leadership and the responsibility. If you are inexperienced as a leader, develop this skill or get a business coach to help you
Teamwork - be sure you have a team to support goal attainment.  Learn more about team leadership and team dynamics
Roles and responsibilities - be sure everyone involved understand what they need to be doing, how much, by when, etc.
Communications- you must also be sure you have ongoing communication systems in place.  Consider internal and external communication needs
Supportive tools and resources- invest in the tools and resources that will get you to your goals.  Without these you may find your goal will be out of reach. An investment now can reap huge returns later.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Measures - don’t forget to identify how you will measure success and to incorporate milestone measures along the way
Follow up - do not make assumptions and be sure to track and monitor your progress

If you keep the above success factors in mind, you are once again setting yourself up for short and long term success in 2013 and beyond.  Go for it!!!!    Carol     Visit for more business and leadership tips

Monday, February 25, 2013

Are you demonstrating leadership?

“What attributes are most critical for a leader to demonstrate?”  The answer is not about what attributes a leader has, it is about what actions s/he demonstrates.

To lead effectively in 2013, a leader must:

§  Engage, align, and connect with his/her followers and peers

§  Embrace change

§  Understand and leverage his/her personal leadership strengths

§  Thoroughly understand his/her business/function/industry, including all the connections

§  Be willing and able to lead as a trusted advisor within a leadership team

§  Continue to self-develop

“Effective leadership is not about making speeches or being liked; leadership is defined by results not attributes.” Peter Drucker

Sunday, January 13, 2013

   Happy New Year!

SUPER SMART your goals for  2013!

And with the new year comes the time to determine what you plan to accomplish by year-end and beyond. Most of us were taught at one time or another that we should write “SMART” Goals. Setting SMART goals is a good start, however, it is not enough. Today, we need to take SMART Goals to the next level. We need to SUPER SMART our goals.
Now you might be trying to remember what the SMART acronym letters represent:     
                 S  pecific
                 M easurable
                  A   ction-oriented
                  R   ealistic
                 T    imely

According to the SMART Goal Setting Process, well-defined goals are SPECIFIC.  You know exactly what it is that you need to accomplish.  They are MEASURABLE.  You know “how much” you need to achieve. This way you know when you have “gotten there”. They are ACTION-ORIENTED which means they are written using some sort of action verb that indicates what you are going to do.  SMART Goals are REALISTIC and RELEVANT.  They have to be within your reach, although you do want to be sure you have put some “stretch” into them and they must be relevant.  They must be moving you in the direction of achieving your dream.  Finally, SMART goals have a Time-component linked to them.  They are not open-ended.
As mentioned, SMART Goals are a good start. The problem with traditional SMART Goal Setting is that it does not go far enough.  If you are not careful, you can go through the process and establish goals that are “safe and guaranteed”.  You want to be sure that you are including true stretch into your goals. You may also be setting goals that do not have a real connection to your longer term vision or dreams.  In many cases you may not perceive the real impact that goal achievement can have on you personally. And, finally, you may not have incorporated interim reviews or “mini-goals” to ensure you are making necessary progress.
When defining your SMART Goals in a “SUPER SMART” way and use the following, you will take your goals setting to the next level and increase the chances of accomplishing, even exceeding them:
             S pecific using all of your Senses
          M easurable with Milestones
                    A ction-oriented in Attack Mode
                    R ealistic with Reach
                   T ime-defined focused on the Target
                                                                                                      © IMPACT Learning Inc. 2011
When setting your goals, not only do you need to make them specific with the who, what, how much and when, you also need to be able to picture the outcome using all of your senses.  You want to visualize exactly what the outcome will look and feel like.  Picture it using all of your senses.  You may want to draw it or have a photo of what the outcome will look like.  What will you hear others say when you accomplish it?  What will you say?   By visualizing the achievement of your goal, you make its outcome more real to you.
In general, when asked to make goals measureable, most people can do it.  For example a common goal many folks share is to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year. The problem is they set that same goal at the beginning of every year, never accomplishing it.  As you establish the way you will measure the success of your goal, be sure you have included some milestones along the way so that you are monitoring your progress along the way.  By monitoring your progress, you can determine whether you are on track and make appropriate adjustments as necessary to ensure your success.
Goals need to include the action you will take to achieve them.  You need to be sure that you are “attacking” them with a sense of focus, enthusiasm and urgency. 
If you goals are not realistic and relevant, you will set yourself up for failure.  However, you also need to be sure that there is some reach incorporated into your goals.  You want to have some stretch.   People will always strive to achieve a goal.  When you have to reach just a little farther, you will find that you will work a little harder and smarter to get there.
Finally, incorporating time oriented deadlines is key to ensuring you will reach your goal in a timely manner.  By keeping the target visible and in front of you, it will help you to maintain focus.  Just like an archer will keep the bulls eye in focus, you also need to have a visual reminder of your target.  Post your goals in a place you can see them everyday and be reminded so you can stay focused.
By taking your SMART Goals to the next level - “SUPER SMART”- you will find that you can accomplish amazing things and faster than imagined.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Managing Change Starts with the Realization of Hope

Recently, my husband and I entered a new "season" of our lives- better known as the "empty nest".  Yes, both of our children are college students, away at school.  And, yes, it has caused me to face a major life changing event for which I was definitely not ready.  What is interesting to me is that I have always been one to embrace change, even to seek it out.  Yet for the first time, I find myself desperately wishing that there was a way to turn the clock back and go back to the way things used to be. 

Logically and rationally I know that children grow up and move on.  I did, you did, we all did.  It is the normal progression of life, yet as we well know, managing change, especially unwanted or undefined change is emotional, not logical.  We feel its ramifications in our gut, in our hearts, and in our souls.  To face this change and address it in a positive manner, I realized that I need to really listen to the same guidance I share with my clients.

First and foremost, facing change requires three key actions:  Being Courageous, Acknowledging There Is Hope, and Using and Leveraging our Strengths.  We have to demonstrate courage and be willing to take a risk.  Look for the positives associated with the change and recognize that staying where you are or moving backwards is not the answer.  Whether the change you face is in the work place or at home, when we take the risk to positively engage the change and move with it instead of allowing ourselves to be trampled down by it, we can make progress.  We can even triumph!  We need to proactively get involved with the change that is going on around it. Then it won't be around us, instead we will be part of it.

Once we take that risk to get involved, we can begin to see that there is hope:  there is a reason for the change and it is to help us move forward.  We need to begin to move beyond the change at hand and search further into the future.  How can we use the effects of the change to bring us closer to achieving what is most important in our lives.  Sometimes a change provides us with new clarity regarding a life goal. Other times, the change is a detour or a struggle that will make us stronger.  The change may confuse us or put in a situation where we lack clarity about the future.  It is in these situations, we need to take a moment to find something we can hope for.  Having hope for the future, for a goal, for a new direction, for an outcome is essential for us to manage change effectively.  We have to find something associated with the change that lends itself to a hopeful outcome.

Finally, we all have strengths.  Everyone of us has talent and ability.  Discover your strengths and use them.  Just using your talents and your strengths in some way, every day will help you to move forward.  As humans we find joy and happiness when we have success.  The surest way to achieve success is by doing those things that use our key strengths every day.  Take the time to identify your greatest strengths an then find activities at work, at home that allow you to use them every day. 

If you engage in the change, have hope for the future and use what you are really good at, before long you will also move along.  You may even find yourself initiating more change.  Most importantly, you will feel good about who you are and where you are going.  And, quite honestly, that is what matters the most.  When we feel sad or stressed about a change, it is usually because we feel a gap or a void somewhere.  If we can fill that gap or that void by being courageous, having hope and using our strengths, we can move on to a good place.  We might miss the times of the past.  We might want to reminiscence and hold those memories close, Yet, we will still be able to look forward to more good times ahead.

Yes, I have to admit I still miss the late night, "Hey Mom, I need.... and I need it for tomorrow morning."  And, yes, I walk past their bedrooms looking for a glimpse of the past.  However, I know there is a next phase, and if I actively engage in it, I will in all likelihood have new adventures, new memories, and, yes, even more changes in the future!!!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Caffeine and Collaboration

The results of recent study presented some intriguing information about the use of caffeine and the ability to collaborate effectively.  According to Lindsay St. Clare and her research team in the UK, caffeine negatively impacts the ability of men to collaborate under stress.  The study  "Interactive Effects of Caffeine Consumption and Stressful Circumstances on Components of Stress" was published in the  Journal of Applied Social Psychology In December.  The study results indicate that when it comes to collaborating on stresssful tasks, caffeine impairs men's performance, but boosts women's.  The research team say that their laboratory study raises the question of whether men "fight or flee" while women "lend and befriend" under stress, and whether caffeine may intensify these behaviors.  It also leads to the question as to whether providing coffee at business meetings may actually sabotage collaboration.

For more information on this study, read the abstract and overview below: 

Overview of the Study: 
The study involved 64 male and female participants all of whom were coffee drinkers at the University of Bristol which is located in the UK.  The average age of the particpants was 22. Participants were required to complete various construction puzzles, negotiation and collaborative memory tasks in same-sex pairs. They did this after drinking decaffeinated coffee, which either had or had not been intentionally altered with caffeine (the equivalent of about three cups' worth of coffee). Stress was elevated for some of the pairs by advising that they would be required to give a presentation to a group, and that their participation fee would be performance dependent.

The results were very interesting.  The men's memory performance under stressful conditions with caffeine was described by the researchers as 'greatly impaired' whereas caffeine didn't affect women in the same situation. For the construction puzzles, caffeine under high stress conditions led men to take an average of twenty seconds longer (compared with no caffeine) whereas it led women to solve the puzzles 100 seconds faster.

Further research is clearly need to replicate the findings and explore the possible underlying mechanisms. Such work is urgent, the researchers concluded, 'because many ... meetings, including those at which military and other decisions of great importance are made may be dominated by men and coffee or other caffenated drinks may be provided.  Their research suggests that men's effectiveness is particularly likely to be compromised. Because caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, it follows that the global implications could be potentially staggering.'

Source:   St. Claire, L., Hayward, R., and Rogers, P. (2010). Interactive Effects of Caffeine Consumption and Stressful Circumstances on Components of Stress: Caffeine Makes Men Less, But Women More Effective as Partners Under Stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40 (12), 3106-3129

Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights on this topic!!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Need a boost to get 2011 on track to achieve your goals?

It may be hard to believe- January is nearly gone.  If you find the month just zoomed by and you are already behind, you need to take URGENT action and take it now.  If you missed our webinar on how to Achieve Results in 90 Days by building your foundation for success, you can still take advantage of the information.  Carol has introduced a new e-book- really more of a workbook – that can take you step by step through the same process as the webinar.   The workbook can be purchased on IMPACT Learning Inc website.  For a limited time, you can purchase the workbook for less than $10.   And if you did attend the webinar, the workbook is a GREAT way to take action on the concepts that were reviewed.

Are you living an urgent lifestyle?

More and more of us are finding ourselves caught up living, or should I say, watching our lives pass by in an URGENT Lifestyle. 

Are you finding the following statements common words flowing from your mouth?
-         “I am burning the candle at both ends.”
-         “Good thing I am a good multi-tasker.”
-         “I just don’t have the time.”
-         “I wish I could add two more hours to every day.”
-         “I feel like I never get anything done.”
-         “At the end of the day, I have more things listed on my “to do” list than I did at the  beginning  of the day.”
-         “As good a multi-tasker as I am, I am not making any progress.”
-         “Life is out of control.”
If these are common statements for you, then it is very possible that you are, in fact, living an URGENT Lifestyle.  An URGENT lifestyle occurs when you feel everything you are doing has to be done immediately, or should have been done yesterday.  You may feel that you are constantly facing URGENT challenges or situations that take your attention and zap your energy. Today’s fast paced and complex society requires us to not only perform our jobs at the highest levels, but also to manage and balance our personal lives, continue our learning, adapt to constant technological change, stay abreast of local and world events, communicate effectively and more…  And- all of this has to be done right away.  As a result, it is a common feeling that we are running on a treadmill that never stops and never takes us to a new location.
Would you like to get out of this “URGENT” rat race? If so, keep reading.
The following steps can help you:
  1. Acknowledge you are caught up in an URGENT Lifestyle
  2. Take 3 deep breaths, relax and agree that you are ready to make a few changes.
  3. First you must reassess/validate your long term vision and goals – write them down!
  4. Get back on track with a specific plan – write down your priorities
  5. Be sure the plan is directly aligned to your longer term vision and goals
  6. Work your plan – be sure you have the resources, systems, team to help you
  7. Stay focused on doing those things that contribute to goal achievement
  8. Do not let yourself get off track
  9. Ask for support from friends, family, colleagues, a coach
10. Routinely evaluate your progress, adjust and continue execute your plan
11. Do NOT allow yourself to get distracted – Keep your focus
12. If you must feel a sense a urgency, direct that urgency to the execution of your plan, not to all the “other stuff”!!!