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Thursday, 13 March 2014 14:56

Ready, Fire, Aim!



High performers are not like everyone else.  They think about, and do, things differently.  One of the ways in which high performers differ is in their audacious willingness to execute…often when others would prefer to remain inactive or fiddle around trying to have the perfect plan before “pulling the trigger.”  

Execution for high performers follows a very distinct path. High performers follow the “Ready, Fire, Aim” sequence versus the more socially accepted, and dismally fatally flawed, “Ready, Aim, Fire” approach.  

Let’s look at the “Ready, Fire, Aim” sequence more closely to understand why it far out performs the standard “Ready, Aim, Fire.”

READY:
  • The “READY” stage is exactly what you would imagine it to be.  This is the initial step where inspiration ignites into an idea, that idea further aligns with our passion, and we’re off to the planning races.  This is where we collect the energy, knowledge, and resources needed to accomplish the initial steps of our grand adventure.  At this stage it is imperative that we move through with a solid goal setting process – visualizing the overall goal, and then reverse engineering so we can “chunk” up each step.  Without proper “chunking” we will find ourselves adrift after only a couple of “Ready, Fire, Aim” cycles…and we will not reach our goal!  So “READY” is all about taking our inspired idea, molding it into an overarching vision, breaking that big picture into small bites through working backwards, and collecting the necessary information/resources to begin the next step – “FIRE.”
FIRE:
  • Now it’s time to “FIRE” – to take action.  This is where we take that very first step you developed in the “READY” phase and put it into practice.  Remember, that first step is a synergistic element made of all the knowledge, resources, and inspiration, needed to take this action.  None of those elements will likely be perfect - they will never be.  So take that small step of action and allow the environment to provide you feedback.  Listening to that feedback is what allows the next step, "AIM," to be increasingly effective in getting us closer and closer to our target.
AIM:
  • Once we have taken the action of putting our initial step developed in the “READY” phase into the environment into which we intend to impact, we will begin to receive feedback from that environment.  That feedback (wins/losses, improved times, reviews, criticisms, sales numbers, improving/worsening relationships, etc…) is new inspiration, knowledge, and resources, we then put into our next “READY” cycle.  Entering the new data into our calculus allows us to create a new “Ready, Fire, Aim” cycle that allows us to hone in more effectively on our goal than did our first cycle.  Each successive cycle gets us closer and closer to accomplishing that overall goal – step by step.
 
Each of these “Ready, Fire, Aim” sequences then become “chunks” of our overall approach. Each step towards our goal we move through a “Ready, Fire, Aim” cycle specific to that step...and one that builds upon all initiated before.  This is how we “zero” in on our target. 

High performers utilize this “Ready, Fire, Aim” approach to guard against the common phenomenon of “paralysis by analysis” – essentially trying to get everything “perfect” before taking action…commonly leading to no action at all!

“Ready, Fire, Aim” also allows high performers to operate much more consistently within a reality highly engaged with the environments within which they are “playing.”  They are receiving real time feedback from the environment within which the target resides (creating an open feedback loop), not focusing on the often faulty internal feedback system of thier own mind (a closed feedback loop).

One exceptionally important concept to understand with adopting the process of “Ready, Fire, Aim” versus “Ready, Aim, Fire” is that of “failing to succeed” – as in the quickest way to success is through consistent, multiple failures.  In current business jargon this is called “failing forward.”

Are you a high performer?  Are you willing to fail to succeed?  Do you have the courage to operate in a manner in which the masses resist?

You’re reading this blog – so the answer to all those questions is “Of course I am!”  

Then get to it!
 

Find out more about Greg here.

 


Are you a high performer? Please tell us why below. 



This program will help you become an even better peak performer!

     
Coaching In The Workplace



© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Monday, 24 February 2014 17:28

Are You Coddling Your Millennials?



I have mentioned in previous articles the importance Millennials place on strong, clear, communication. Some of the push back I have had from business leaders is about when the communication becomes more like coddling and the inherent frustrations that follow.

Many of those from Generation Y have close relationships with their parents that resemble more of a friendship then previous generations. Those that have been brought up this way naturally carry this learned behavior into college and the workforce. 

Hiring managers, department heads, supervisors, and human resource specialists are getting overwhelmed by this paradigm shift. The energy needed to adjust is exhausting. Meanwhile senior leadership is seeing productivity and efficiency slip, profits drop, and morale bottom out all the while asking for answers from the previously mentioned, exasperated team of people.

As the leader, check out these powerful ways to use communication, not coddling, in your tribe:

  • Bring coaching into your organization! An outside perspective utilizing excellent coaching skills, attached to planned outcomes, can cut through the useless routine of being told what your people think you want to hear, versus what you need to hear. Investing in coaching for your tribe allows your managers and supervisors to focus on their main functions in the organization, while Millennials and other generations have a place to share openly in a positive, constructive manner.
  • Fact: Millennials were raised with constant coaching and feedback and expect it to continue in the workplace. Coaching will keep Millennials engaged in their work. – 2012 Millennial Survey  UNC Business School, Jessica Brack
  • Create solid boundaries and structure. Provide a lot of feedback on performance. Say no, but do it mindfully while showing you care about them as people. Structure and boundaries are in place for a reason and tell them what that reason is using frank language. Ask them to set some benchmarks for themselves and ask to be kept up to speed on results. Help them create a solid follow up plan and check in on them often.
  • FACT: Offer regular feedback on their performance. Clearly communicate your expectations. Share the big picture and the opportunities that lie ahead. – 2012 Payscale Millennial report
  • If you are a CEO or COO consider having frequent town hall discussions with your people. Millennials are sponges for leadership information and they want it from the top. Setting up a one hour meeting, in person if possible, can really shore up a young person’s belief they are in the right place and he/she will want to work hard to stay there. It can also ensure that the company's values are in alignment with their own which is very high on the list for most Millennials.
  • FACT: Currently only 26% of Millennials believe their organization encourages idea generation and sharing regardless of seniority. - 2013 Millennial Survey by Deloitte

Coaching, Collaboration, Measurements, and Motivation are the top 4 things Millennials seek according to a recent report. While those are things for future posts you can begin today using a well thought out plan on communication. This will serve as the underpinning to achieving success with this crucial and dynamic workforce, while increasing the profits for your company.

 

Find out more about Scott here.

 


Are you coddling your Millennials? Please tell us how/why below. 



This program will help you become an even better peak performer!

     
Coaching In The Workplace



© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Monday, 10 February 2014 18:20

So You Think You're an Executive?



I am often confronted with the question “Why are you sending these blogs to me?  I’m not an executive!” from those non-business executives to whom I forward ECU blogs.  After all, we are the “Executive Coaching University”, so all our material is targeted only to those seen as business executives, right?  Wrong!

In my mind the term “executive” is more adjective than noun – it describes how someone approaches her life rather than who she is and is synonymous with “peak performer”…someone who desires to live life at the highest level possible.

An executive/peak performer:

  • Executes – high level performers execute.  They engage the “Ready, Fire, Aim” process of prepare, take action, adjust action that creates greater amounts of positive energy and results, rather than the conventional “Ready, Aim, Fire”…recognizing the majority of people get stuck at “Aim” and never take the action needed.  Ever seen a mom or dad juggle one or more toddlers?  That’s as high performance execution as you will see in any boardroom or courtroom!

An executive/peak performer:

  • Is inside-out focused – high level performers understand that our external environment mirrors our internal developmental level.  In other words, high level performers focus on themselves and drive towards their personal “A-game” rather than continuously looking outside of themselves for responsibility, accountability, and solutions.  Think of the slogan “An Army of One” – each individual piece striving to be at their peak, coalescing into a high performing group entity.

An executive/peak performer:

  • Is gritty – high level performers seek out opportunities to cultivate grit, that mix of determination, passion, and perseverance that allows us to drive through obstacles.

An executive/peak performer:

  • Is neuroscience savvy – high level performers understand how the brain and body work to create the results desired.  Without that knowledge we abdicate our creative power to the unconscious, habit and live our lives on auto pilot.

An executive/peak performer:

  • Constantly seeks to self-improve – the high level performer understands that human beings are biologically designed for constant growth and change, yet psychologically drive towards homeostasis and comfort.  Therefore, high level performers continuously look for opportunities for growth and recognize the motivation for that growth must initially come from within.  They push themselves to “reach” as often as possible.

An executive/peak performer:

  • Is anchored by values and integrity – the high level performer knows what they value and utilize those values as foundation for their decision making and actions.  Integrity is a cornerstone of the high performers psyche – they embody the saying “Always do the right thing, even if nobody else is looking.”

High level performers wear many different hats and hold many different roles within our society.  Yet, they share the characteristics outlined above. 

If you are reading this you are an executive regardless your official “title”! 

Welcome executive – now pass it on to your brother and sister high performers!

Find out more about Greg here.

 


Are you an executive/peak performer? Please tell us why below. 



This program will help you become an even better peak performer!

     
Coaching In The Workplace



© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:59

What's the Big Deal About Women?



Women are better executives than men. Yep, I just said it. Now, I'll back it up!

  • According to Business Insider women rank at 54.5 percent in “Overall Leadership Effectiveness,” with men ranking 51.8 percent.
  • According to the same article in Business Insider, “Overall Female Effectiveness” increases significantly after the age of 40.

Yet...

  • According to Forbes Inc. women currently hold 4.6 percent of Fortune 500 CEO positions and roughly the same percentage of Fortune 1000 CEO positions.

Hmmm…

So why, if women have a higher ranking in “Overall Leadership Effectiveness,” and they get better with age, are there so few women leaders? 

The answers are varied and, quite frankly, questionable. Anything from the standard work-life balance drivel to the "glass ceiling" for female executives.   The quote that jumps out for me is “women need to perform twice as well to be thought of as half as good.”  

So… are women tired of the battle?  I don’t think so…

The reality is that women are the ones to watch!  With their strategic ability, instinct for collaboration, and ability to invest in the teams around them, their rise is inevitable. 

One of their greatest traits is that women maintain the habit of asking for feedback and taking action to improve which makes them invaluable. Do most men? Not so much.

So for all you women out there…continue your path, take initiative, drive for results, know your worth, and lead on! 

For the men…you may want to make friends with your women colleagues so they remember you when they are at the top.

They are indeed a BIG deal.


To your continued success!

 


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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Thursday, 23 January 2014 14:44

Are Millennials Bringing You to Tears?



When asked at a corporate retreat to detail his biggest challenge as a senior level executive, an esteemed colleague recently shared with me that he was literally brought to tears of frustration as he described his efforts to connect and inspire his younger workforce.

Turnover from this segment was at an all-time high and it was severely affecting morale, production and leadership.

This scenario is happening all over the world. Millennials currently represent 30% of our workforce and will grow to over 40% by 2020. This issue will only exapand in importance. The press has written about this generation as the “Me Generation.” There are more similarities in values than one may think between generations; it is the order and priorities using these values in their lives that are different.

Here are three suggestions to engage differently with your Millennial workforce. If you want to gain a competitive edge, reduce turnover costs (and your frustration level), keep reading!

  • Create a plan. Seek outside expertise if necessary to create a strategic approach to this human capital issue. Address it like a budget issue, capital project, operational issue, or other business system. Also, please include your Human Resource people…and remember - this is a leadership issue, not an HR issue.
  • Ask your Millennials to weigh in. Get a better understanding of what the expectations are from your people. Asking during an exit interview is too late to salvage your investment in that person. So be proactive! Many times the solutions are within an organization. All we must do is ask for it.
  • This is a worldwide epidemic in business as more boomers retire and Millennials move in to fill the ranks. Coaching as a management style has never been more important than it is right now. Seek coaching training for your leaders.

Transform your culture to create buzz with Millennials as an organization that “gets it.”

This requires a different mindset in how we lead. Having a coaching professional to help you see things differently...asking provocative questions of the entire organization, stimulates new thinking. This shift leads to quicker solutions.

Remember, all business problems are people problems!

It is a new world. It is changing rapidly. It will not be “the way it was” ever again. By acknowledging these things and creating a plan to engage Millennials differently, you will be out in front as the trend setter with this vital segment of the workforce. Your turnover costs will drop and company morale will rise…not to mention your life will get a whole lot better when you are not frustrated to tears.

Are your Millennials bringing YOU to tears? Please leave your comments below. 



This program will help you become an even better leader!

     
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© 2014 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014 11:19

You're a Fraud!

This is secretly one of the biggest fears of executives.  I know it was one of mine...the fear of being “found out” or exposed as the fraud I felt I was. 

What would happen if people found out that:

  • I didn’t always have all the answers? 
  • I didn’t always know what to do next?
  • I was flying by the seat of my pants, hoping I was making the right decisions? 

To cope, I spent so much of my time being busy; juggling all the balls, hoping one wasn’t going to drop. Pretending that I was ten feet tall and bullet proof.  Trying to be everything to everybody so that I didn’t let anyone down.

  • I was exhausted.
  • I was scared.
  • I was worried.
  • I was fried…

Sound familiar?

I accomplished this juggling act for a great many years until one day I looked in the mirror and I said “you’re a fraud.”  I realized at that moment that I was living my life on other people’s terms, working for their desired outcomes, not mine.  

On the outside I looked like I had it all together.  I had built a wonderful reputation as someone who gets things done. I had built strong teams and developed relationships with peers that are still thriving to this day.  I created what I thought was confidence through lofty accomplishments. 

What I know now is all of that “stuff” was external to me.  I built a life that was external to who I am.  Everything my life was built on was based on my ego, my need to prove my worth. Oh, don’t forget the all important people pleasing that I was a champ at.

I was slowly but surely losing myself in the life I was building.  Day in and day out I was giving more of myself, emptying the tank.  If I hadn’t recognized this fact that lonely day in front of the mirror, I’m not sure where I would be today.

If this resonates with you in any way, then slow down and think...

When was the last time you spent any time in front of the mirror of your life?  I’m not talking about brushing your teeth, shaving or putting on your makeup.  I’m talking about really taking a look at yourself and the life you have built.  

When was the last time you asked yourself:

  • Is this my life or is it someone else’s?  
  • Am I operating from a place of personal integrity?
  • Will I look back on my life with pride or regret?

If you are living this life like it’s truly yours, great! Keep building it.  If it’s someone else’s, don’t you think it’s about time you gave it back?

*******************************************************

Ever feel like an imposter, a fraud? Please leave your comments below. Let’s get this discussion out in the open!

And...

Did you know that all the way to the end of his illustrious career Jack Welch felt like an imposter? You’re in good company...



This program will help you become an even better leader!

     
Coaching In The Workplace



© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.
Friday, 15 November 2013 14:47

Are You Dying to Leave a Good Legacy?



Truly...Are you dying to leave a good legacy?

Want to know how to do it?

So many of my clients are at the stage of their lives where their focus is on leaving a good legacy.  Isn’t this what all of us want? To be remembered fondly...to make an impact...to build something.

While these are very admirable goals (and ones that I find myself thinking of often), I have discovered that leaving a legacy means something slightly different for everyone. 

Most of us focus on building and creating so that when we are gone people remember us.  We focus on the external...not the internal.

What do people actually remember about us after we have moved on?  

Do they remember what we did...or who we were?

One of my clients mentioned that some of the most memorable individuals within the organization were not necessarily the top performers. The reason they are memorable is because they are a nice person who is kind to everyone. It’s about who they are vs. what they do.

Hmmm...

While this seems crazy to those of us who are driven to slay the big dragons, there may be something to this.

Leaving a legacy isn’t just about doing something, it is about being someone.  People don’t just remember what you did...they remember how you did it, and who you were while doing it. 

Legacy is about who you are being while accomplishing your tasks, it’s about interpersonal relationships. It’s about having an impact on the way people think. 

Life is so much bigger than our need to prove our worth...so much bigger than controlling a business outcome...so much bigger than just the bottom line. 

Life is really about being an inspiration to those around you through your actions.

Ask yourself:

  • Who are you being each day? 
  • What imprint are you leaving on others? 
  • How do you make your contribution?

I have yet to attend a funeral where work accomplishments were the main focus. 

I know I want my eulogy to be about the positive impact I was able to make in people’s lives – and not just the bottom line. 

How about you?

Start to think about life as your vehicle to express who you truly are and the positive ripple effect you leave when you walk out of a room.  If your actions connect with another and inspire them in any way, you have left a positive legacy. 

You are leaving a legacy every single day of your life...in every moment. What legacy do you want to leave...starting today?


Tuesday, 01 October 2013 18:35

Are You Part of the 99% Commitment Club?

110 10.1.13

John F. Kennedy said: "There are risks and costs to action. But they are far less than the long range risks of comfortable inaction.”

It is only by being “in action” that we can create the results we want in life, including the creation of an extraordinary life experience and results.

What keeps you from taking action?  

Generally it's because you try to be reasonable. You think it through.  You stick your toe in the water.  You check out how others react.  All very reasonable steps to take and I'm certainly not advocating that you do dangerous things.  It's just that by being reasonable you run the risk of being distracted by events that have more enjoyment or short-term importance and you get off the track toward what you really want to create.

The shift to commitment!

When you are committed you deal with what's most important to you in your life.  As my young adult children would say … DUHHH!  It’s so obvious!  

For example, imagine knocking on a house door and getting no response, though you feel certain someone is home. You wait a reasonable amount of time, then leave.

Now imagine there is a raging fire being wind driven across the yard towards that same house.  Your urgency, your compassion and demand for a result is engaged.  You bang on the door while shouting, "Fire! Get out!"  Your level of commitment brings action that brings the occupants quickly to the door and their lives are saved.

But what if there is no emergency in your life? What if no external force shouts you into action consistent with your priorities? Then where does your commitment come from?  

Creating an extraordinary life requires a 100% commitment. Not 99%. 

In practice, 99% is the same as zero.  Only 100% commitment will actually bring you the results you want in life.  Find a purpose, vision and the actions that deserve a 100% commitment and your entire experience of life will change.  Helen Keller said “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”  I suggest that her life is clearly a model of an extraordinary life we could all learn from.

A less serious metaphor is that a woman is either pregnant or not pregnant.  There’s no such thing as 99% pregnant.  In our lives, we are committed 100% or we are not.  There’s no “half committed.”

My commitment to you includes asking some pointed questions so that you can put these ideas into action:

  • What are you committed to this month, this year, in your life?
  • What life purpose or vision is so important to you that it engages you at physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels? 
  • What promise would cause you to tingle with excitement and anticipation? 
  • What idea would not let go of you until you figured it out? 
  • What action would automatically bring forth overwhelmingly positive feelings of joy and satisfaction? 
  • What commitment would mean so much that it would resonate within you at a very deep level; wake you up in the morning; engage you fully?

Comment and let us know of your commitments, your process and your results!  Doing so will help you get more clear, acknowledge yourself and inspire all of us!

Robert White is a Transformational Architect for business executives. Founder and CEO of Lifespring, ARC International and Extraordinary People, He’s an experienced entrepreneur, professional speaker, and leadership team trainer.


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Thursday, 12 September 2013 16:07

Manager As Coach



Quick…

What one skill is the most important for a manager?

Are you sure?...

It’s coaching!

What about all the technical stuff? Spreadsheets, product knowledge, etc.?

It ALL takes a back seat to coaching.  Here’s why…

Human Capital (your people) is more important than all of the technical stuff combined. They are your most important asset. They are the biggest line item of your budget. Shouldn’t you treat them as the most precious asset that they are?

Huh? Have you really thought about that? Better start thinking now…

Because, according to a recent poll:

  • 51% of your best people are actively looking for another job! The simple truth is that if you coached them they wouldn’t be.

  • According to a recent Gallop Poll, employee engagement levels in North America are an abysmal 30%.

How much money do you think that is costing your firm?

  • In the U.S. alone it’s costing organizations $360 BILLION a year!

Coaching can help with all of these issues…and if you have coaching skills it can help you look like a rock star!

According to a recent Harvard survey, "Coaching skills for managers is the most important skill required for success in the next 10 years."

Got it?

Now, what are you going to do about it?  It’s only your career…

 

This program can help! Coaching In The Workplace



© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 03 September 2013 14:42

Are You Good Enough?

Good Enough 9.3.13

As a coach who works with high level executives I am continually connected to this feeling of not being good enough.  It doesn’t matter my corporate background, level of training, years of experience, or level of success, sometimes I can’t shake this deep down feeling of not being good enough.  Now this isn’t just a “Dear Ann” moment…it is actually a really big challenge that most people can recognize.

Through the hundreds of executives I have worked with over the years I have seen this belief come forward time and time again.  Some say that not feeling good enough comes from our youth and the influence our parents and support system kindly passed down to us.  Others say it is a belief based on certain past actions or experience that change the way we see ourselves in this world.  I think it’s a combination of both influential people and experiences.

The beliefs we have about ourselves, and others, are a direct link to how we behave in our career, relationships, as a parent, as a friend, and colleague.  Beliefs are the undercurrent that drives our behavior.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we spend so much of our energy trying to reinforce the feeling that we know so well (i.e. I’m not good enough) and we play out those feelings in the behavior we portray. 

Take a snapshot of where you are right now:

  • Do you need to control things?
  • Are you angry or frustrated a lot of the time?
  • Do you feel like everything is out of your hands? 
  • Do you feel like you need someone or some thing to be happy?

 Take a moment and ask yourself:

  • What do I believe about myself?
  • What kind of person have I been?
  • How do I present that belief to the world?
  • What do I need to let go of that may not be serving me?

When we can question ourselves with a purely curious nature, without judgement or fear, we can truly see what is happening behind the scenes of our lives.  We can start to piece together actions we may or may not have taken in our past.  We can see with more clarity why we are in the life situation we are in and why we may not be moving forward. We begin to own these things.

This may be an uncomfortable place to sit for you. For most individuals it is.  However, you cannot change what you are not willing to open up your awareness to. 

If you really want to create different outcomes in your life, you need to look at yourself and what role you play in this.  It is really easy to play the circumstantial victim, but you are cutting yourself off at the knees and playing small when you do this.  You are too good to play small!

Take a good look at yourself and your beliefs. Go forward with courage and determination to give the world the best of you. I know you are good enough!

To your continued success!



© 2013 and beyond Executive Coaching University. All rights reserved.

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