Daily Quote– New England Patriots Football Gate

Message for New England Patriots–

“The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the full light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you choose, what you think, and what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny…it is the light that guides your way.” Heraclitus

Keep deflating the footballs and other questionable activities and watch your integrity and reputation disappear. The means never justify the ends. Good Look guys in the Super Bowl…

The Sterling Effect: How to Change Thinking about Ongoing Ignorance about Racism

What do you say to a person spouting ignorance about race? Just let them talk or confront their irrationality? Promote more education and understanding on projects that unite us? Try to understand the complexities of our own unique American history?

Recently, I was reflecting on this ongoing racism in America and then I remembered a conversation by James Baldwin to Studs Turkel that provided me with information and insight to this ongoing conflict in America. Don’t miss this this audio tape–

http://www.udel.edu/History/suisman/206_08-Fall/1-07%20James%20Baldwin,%201961.mp3

White Southern person says “it is just the way I was raise and you Yankees don’t get it”. This is not only an ignorant statement it is a way to try and forgive oneself and gives up the power of independent and critical thinking. You can change your thinking if you chose to.  Studs Terkel was best known for his work documenting the stories of everyday Americans, illuminating the undercurrents of the American psyche. James Baldwin’s lyrically hypnotic novels capture the struggles of the American black experience(s), wrestling with the intricacies of human identity in such a way that shakes readers to the core. Baldwin was perhaps best known for his ability to explore the nuance of typically taboo  interracial relationships, homosexuality, complexities within spiritual communities and his ability to articulate both anger at injustice and an ongoing belief in the underlining unity of humanity.

In this short and layered conversation, Baldwin recalls listening to Bessie Smith in Switzerland while writing his first novel, Go Tell It On the Mountain,  an autobiographical look at growing up in a conservative church in Harlem.  He boldly discusses race and racism, the invisibility of the black experience among most white Americans, and the deep need for an education that truly explores the historical interweaving of black and white Americans. “Education,” Baldwin states, “demands a certain daring, a certain independence of the mind.”  He talks of how the racism has harmed the nation in ways we are only beginning to recognize.

Terkel and Baldwin close the discussion by touching on his novel Nobody Knows My Name, noting the interdependence of human knowledge and freedom:

”To know your name, you’re going to have to know mine,” Baldwin

Daily Quote and Reflection: YOUR PERSONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

 

Daily Quote: “KEEP AWAY FROM THOSE WHO TRY TO BELITTLE YOUR AMBITIONS. SMALL PEOPLE ALWAYS DO THAT, BUT THE REALLY GREAT ONES MAKE YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU TOO CAN BECOME GREAT.” MARK TWAIN

REFLECTION: SO TRUE. I DO NOT NEED TO ADD MY 2 CENTS!

SELF-COACHING CHALLENGE: ESTABLISHING YOUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS EXERCISE.

Instructions:  Many organizations have a Board of Directors to provide policy guidance and direction.  On this Board of Directors are key individuals who contribute to the formulation of the organization’s vision/mission, goals and operating policies.

If you take a moment to reflect…you will realize that you have a “Personal Board of Directors” that has influenced you, at one time or another, during your life.

Spend the next 10 minutes trying to recall each of the members of your “board”.  Write their names DOWN AND IDENTIFY HOW THEY HAVE BEEN INFLUENTIAL IN YOUR LIFE.

After identifying the members of your “Board of Directors” and answer the following questions:

1.  Who provides emotional support?  Who do you turn to when times are tough or to share your successes?

2. Who provides emotional challenge?  Who helps you see reality when your emotions are dominant?

3. Who provides a nice balance to your strengths and weakness?  Who do you turn to when you are stumped or need ideas?

4. Who provides inspiration and stimulates you to do your absolute best?

5. Who provides comic relief?  Who do you have fun with?

6. Who can level with you and provide caring confrontation and feedback without you getting defensive?

7. Who sees the world through the same set of eyes and point of view and can provide support when you are down or stuck?

8. How many are older than you? ………………younger than you?

9. How many are males?……………………females?

10. Who do you absolutely trust and you feel comfortable with so that you can be vulnerable with and self-disclose inner secrets and dreams?

Now …who are willing to call or contact to tell them that they have had an impact on your life?  Pick one person…..and do it tonight!

Do the rest of your contacts by the end of the month.

 

Want to Improve Team Effectiveness: Learn about Team Emotional Intelligence

Daily Quote: “Emotional Intelligence has had a real impact on individual growth and performance but the only problem is that so far emotional intelligence has not focused its research on team competency or effectiveness. The reality is that most work in organizations is done by teams. And if managers have one pressing need today, it’s to find ways to make teams work better”. Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff

“EXCELLENT” Meetings. Meetings are what bosses “do.” Meetings are de facto Leadership Opportunity #1. Act accordingly.  Dr. Tom Peters

How to make meetings more satisfying, productive and work more effectively? “Begin with the end in mind” or the vision thing. By setting a vision of what the team wants to accomplish and what a successful meeting looks like the changes of increasing engagement and having more satisfying outcomes increase dramatically .

We generally ignore priority setting or vision thinking in most meetings. For some reason there is pressure to get down to work quickly. This thinking goes like this “we can’t waste time on all this petty stuff we have important things to do”. So what happens is that most team leaders and members avoid or ignore answering these important questions: What is the most important thing to work on and accomplish while we are together this morning? Why are we doing this? What are we trying to achieve? Where are we trying to get to?’ What does success look like? How do we handle side issues that might come up? How do we get everyone involved, engaged and committed to what’s important to discuss and decide on today? What the leader and team fail to understand is how important it is to answer these questions not just to motivate thinking and members engagement but to guide how to use our valuable time together. Both “structure and processes” are key elements for increasing energy and productivity in meetings.  So my advice to those who are bored or frustrated by meetings is to –STOP, CLARIFY and GET AGREEMENT on what is important to focus on today.

Another important idea is presented by Druskat and Wolff in their Harvard Business Review’s article that the real source of a great team’s success lies in the fundamental understanding of group emotional intelligence. This understanding allows effective task processes to emerge like setting decision-making and communication norms and that cause members to commit to the shared established by the team. Their research says there are three conditions are essential to a group’s effectiveness: trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a sense of group efficacy.”

Planning and detail thinking are both about “how” to implement your vision, with planning being more at the 30,000 level and big picture thinking, and detail discussions are more ground level dealing with specific actions and commitments.   “This kind of ‘how’ to execute or work together is very difficult if you don’t have a  clear why these activities are a priority and important to the individuals, team and organizational imperatives.

Self-Coaching Challenge: Learning how to conduct effective meetings can’t be learned over night. To break the habits of poor meetings will take experimentation and practice. In the beginning instituting new group maintenance procedures or processes will feel unnatural or uncomfortable. So as a team leader it is important from a learning and mental stand point to stick with changes long enough to see if they can make a difference in your team’s productivity. Remember that ” A team can have everything going for it the brightest and most qualified people, access to resources–a clear mission and still fail because it lacks group emotional intelligence and understanding of group dynamics”.

So over the next month your challenge as team leader is to explore ways to improve your meetings through feedback and speaking-up. Start first by reaching out to team members on two questions:

1. How do they feel about the effectiveness of our present meetings.

2. Ask for suggestions on what needs to change in order to make them more productive?

 

Third Ear–Active listening Techniques for Connecting with Others

” Listening is an attitude of the heart, a genuine desire to be with another which both attracts and heals”. Carl Rogers

Active listening is a critical skill for leaders and coaches. As a an effective listener you show interest and are demonstrating the “golden rule” of listening: MMFI (Make Me Feel Important).  You will encourage people to more fully develop their answers and this will provide you invaluable information, understanding and insight.  Setting your concerns and self-interest aside and “being there” in the “here and now” with the other person is rare and powerful.  If you are truly listening you not only hear the words, but also the emotions, fears and issues of the other person.  This provides a unique bond of empathy and an opportunity to learn and connect with others. 

CPR Technique for better understanding and personal connections 

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Dr.Stephen Covey

Clarifying

Ask questions to check your understanding of the meaning of the person’s words or ask person to clarify by telling you more… use open-ended questions.

  • Please tell me more about that issue….
  • “When you say __________, what exactly do you mean?”

Paraphrasing

In your own words repeat or restate what you think the other person said.

  • “Let me see if I understand you correctly…”
  •  It seems to me, if I understand you correctly,  that you want to find a new job. Have got it right?

Reflection

Use reflection to display empathy and to check your perception of the person’s emotions.  There are two components of reflection:

  • Tentative statement (“It appears that you are overwhelmed with forms”)
  • Attempt to identify the feeling (“You’re frustrated with…”) Identify the feeling being expressed, if you are wrong the person will set you straight.

Additional Active Listen Tools   

Focused Attention

Tune out distractions. Concentrate.  Look the person in the eye and turn toward them to clearly communicate your interest in what they are saying. Do not multitask when talking with others. Resist need to respond too quickly or interupt the other person.

Silence

Give the person time to collect their thoughts and continue.  Use non-verbal cues to demonstrate your receptivity.

See more at TED talk on Importance of Listening 

Want to know the quality and strength of your relationship with your Partner? Don’t miss this quiz!!

Dr. Gottman is a highly respected authority on predicting whether your relationship with your partner is healthy or in need of a tune-up. This quiz highlights elements of what Dr. Gottman refers to as your “love map.” In his workshops, Dr. Gottman discusses the step-by-step process of making sure that you nurture your friendship with your partner. In a survey of 200 couples attending a weekend workshop, Dr. Gottman found that the best predictor of passion and romance in a relationship was…you guessed it…the quality of the friendship!

Check the quality of the friendship by clicking this free quiz. http://www.gottman.com/how-well-do-you-know-your-partner/

Enjoy this check-up quiz and remember if things aren’t going well you have the power to change them.  Coach Mark

Daily Quote and Reflection:Leading others to Discover their Highest Potential

Daily Quote: Lao-Tzu’s Tao Te Ching On Leadership:

“Learn from the people
Plan with the people
Begin with what they have
Build on what they know
Of the best leaders
When the task is accomplished
The people will remark
We have done it ourselves.”

Reflection:

This has always been one of my favorite quotes because it focuses on how we don’t accomplish anything with others support and effort. Like you I have worked with some egocentric bosses who take all the credit when things go well and look to blame others when things go bad. Of course this de-motivates and times infuriate the team but in addition it is selfish and not constructive in building loyalty and trust which are the keys to empowering others. Really, Lao-Tzu’s advice tells to be unselfish and in to this we become “servant leaders”. When leaders focus on developing the people around them they challenge people to perform and do things they never though they could do. This is the true job of leaders–developing and helping others discover and reach their full potential by encouraging the to take ownership of their lives at work. This adds a wonderful sense of meaning and purpose to their lives.

Challenge Activity: When was the last time you gave the credit away to others. If it has been awhile ago try in the next 24 hours surprise some with a sincere compliment about their self-initiative and job well done.   Doing nice things for other people makes you feel good too.