By Doug Upchurch Proper coaching of your team of employees is critical to good leadership—and also leads to great results. Doug Upchurch, learning innovation strategist for Insights Learning and Development, has tips for coaching to full effect. Of the many … Continue reading →
Are you striving to become the person you want to be or the person you think others expect you to be?
Like any tool, your goals can be powerful victory-builders. But be careful. If you set your goals too high, you’ll quickly become frustrated.
Around 40% of all of our daily activities are habits. That is 40% of the time, we are not making conscious decisions about what we are doing. This is actually a good thing. Habits are efficient. Thinking is exhausting. It consumes energy and willpower. Think of thinking/decision making as a resource and we can only use up so much of that resource a day. As with any resource, we want to use it as wisely as possible. Habits let us save the thinking/decision making resource for the more important decisions.
So habits are good . . . . . . . well sort of. Habits are good at making conserving our thinking/decision making resource. Whether a given habit is a good or bad decision, depends on whether the outcome of that decision is consistent with your long term healthy goals. So much of our success depends on ensuring our habits are supporting our long term goals.
According to The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Anchor we can change our habits with really small changes. Shawn argues that if you make good habits 20 seconds easier to accomplish you are significantly more likely to actually do that habit. He uses his efforts to practice guitar as his habit. Simply by getting a cheap guitar stand and moving it to a more convenient location was all it took to start practicing. Similarly, making a bad habit 20 seconds harder to accomplish makes it much more likely we will not do this habit.
We can apply this lesson in our personal habits, our professional habits, our team habits and even in our customer habits. Big changes come from small changes consistently applied. Look at how you can make good things just a little bit easier and make bad things just a little bit harder. That little bit will accumulate over time. It will make a big difference in your life. Just start today.
Ever find yourself feeling resentful, overwhelmed, under appreciated, frustrated, and wishing people would stop doing something you don’t like, or start doing something you do? Ever feel like people aren’t valuing you, your time, your contribution, or your opinion highly enough? Of course you do. Who doesn’t?! The reality is that other people […]
Many people attack a challenge with massive effort. Starting from day one, they drop everything else and commit themselves to the challenge one hundred and ten percent. This can be anything from someone trying to start a business or beginning a new jogging program by starting out with a five mile run.
The problem with this approach, I have found, is that it lacks sustainability. Yes. It is true that some people are successful at making this sudden and intense change but most people fail miserably at it. The first day or even the first week, they are able to put off all other distractions and summon up intense amount of motivation to make ridiculous amounts of positive changes. Then the second day comes. Then the third. The amount of effort they put in starts to fade. They frequently think this reduction of effort is a failure, which further dampens their motivation.
Alternatively, people who start small but focus on moving forward a little every day won’t see that initial rush of success. Their little bits of effort are more sustainable and as their start to see success happen, they are more ready to add a little more effort. This slow and steady increase of effort quickly leads to larger and larger positive changes. At the same time, the person has had the time to transition the rest of their lives to include these changes.
My experience and the experiences of my clients has taught me that a little of a lot – that is a little extra effort added every day – yields much better and lasting results than a lot of a little – that is a huge but unsustainable amount of effort.
I have worked with a lot of executives and entrepreneurs. Eventually we start talking about their company’s strategy. Their strategies frequently talk about being the best or the biggest. Perhaps their strategy is about penetrating more markets or expanding into new demographics – yes, we are talking about you, Millennials. The problem with these strategies is that they aren’t strategies. They are worthy goals and objectives. They something worthy to work toward. They just are not strategies.
If you think of goals as “where do we want to go,” then strategies are “how are we going to get there.” Your goal may be being the best candle maker in the world. Your strategy then needs to be how are you going to be the best and even how are you going convince the consumer that you are the best.
On one side people confuse goals with strategy. On the other, people frequently confuse tactics with strategy. Tactics are the short term, yet incredibly important, tasks that are necessary to execute the strategy. Sticking to our traveling concept, our goal may be getting to New York. Our strategy is to fly. Our tactics are researching plane tickets, buying them, getting someone to housesit, etc. There is a real danger with confusing tactics with strategy and goals. In one company, we were attempting to reach people who had never used the brand before. Our strategy was a friend refer friend program and one of our tactics was a free sampler. After I left, the program had been edited for expediency and giving out the free sampler was written as a goal. Tactics were designed around giving out the sampler and the company gave out their entire stock of samplers. They felt it was a raging success because they accomplished their goal of giving out samplers. Unfortunately, once the data was reviewed, nearly 90% of the samplers were given to existing customers. They succeeded in the tactic but failed in the goal.
A third damaging misconception is that strategy and culture are two separate independent things. Ok, to be fair in some failing companies they are. In healthy companies, strategy and culture are overlapping and mutually supportive concepts. A strategy of innovation can not exist without a culture supporting risk taking, thoughtful challenging of status quo and imagination. A strategy involving powerful customer experiences can not exist without a customer first culture.