Category Archives: DEVELOPING YOU!
Yes it is the start-up of a new college semester…and yes I am again teaching a couple classes in American Government & Politics. It is satisfying to know and see all of the students in person and again draw on their real attendance energy when in the classroom.
It is always my practice to spend the first class period as a “get-to-know-you” moment. Of course we cover course expectations but before we end that first class I always try to give them a special word…phrase…or sentence that specializes the learning time that we will share. So this semester I told them we will discuss the need and importance for every professional to begin: “Stretching Flexibility”
What does this mean to the students…why is the combination term “Stretching Flexibility” so major that each student would talk about it after they complete the class?
Well first as I continually stress to every class that American Government & Politics impacts everyone and everything in their daily lives… “Stretching Flexibility” actions must be applied. For example in the area of education, we must continue to learn and teach with more of a non-traditional mindset. Likewise with the speed of medical science…we must be more open to the fact that quality treatments can be developed in shorter time periods (i.e. stretch our capacities to be flexible in trying new medicines).
The class will also regularly talk about the magnitudes of technology in all fields of employment and how only by Stretching YOUR Flexibility will you be able to effectively and efficiently work in the new economy. Additionally during the conduct of every class session we will address the quiet, increased personal/professional value of Stretching and being more Flexible in applying your observation and listening skills.
As we near the end of the course hopefully they will know that “Stretching Flexibility” means that CHANGE will be the most constant occurrence in your life. And finally in my pursuit of theming “Stretching Flexibility” for the class, I will challenge them to look around and see if they can locate a local, regional, state, national and/or international Champion who “Stretches Flexibility” everyday…EVERYDAY.
It will be a good semester. I wish you all could join us!
As you age the challenges of managing your time seem to grow more every day. I guess this should not be a big surprise because the older you get…the more you realize that your “time” is limited. So maybe it’s appropriate for this reason and maybe more for all of us to give TIME MANAGEMENT some special attention this week!
First think about where time management challenges come from. Are most of them generated by employment…family…personal finance…or unforeseen life issues? Second try and determine if certain circumstances drive more time management issues to you or does your life/work style build the incidence of endless challenges and thereby rob you of quality time.
I believe everyone…EVERYONE should seriously assess and personally redesign their own TIME MANAGEMENT strategy…monthly! Creatively addressing the issue of TIME MANAGEMENT on a “keep it fresh” and pre-planned basis is a professionally strong activity. We talked about it before…the speed of change…advances in technology…and a global economy…all demand a persistent TIME MANAGEMENT effectiveness review.
Ok, ok…I can hear the question: What specific TIME MANAGEMENT considerations do I employ? Well, consider these:
- Prioritize completing tasks that enable co-workers to advance their work.
- Perfection doesn’t exist…so do a good job and move on.
- Take on a leader mindset…and don’t allow for time wasting distractions/discussions.
- If you are unsure of what tasks are most important…ask management.
- Minimize multi-tasking…it often reduces product/service quality.
One last thought: My grandpa used to remind me to not waste or give away your time…”cause it comes to you in a limited amount”.
One of the more challenging professional development areas I frequently become involved in is having discussions about the critical need for everyone to: “Finish The Starts”. What am I talking about? Specifically, the topic of “Finish The Starts” deals with those in the world of work that really enjoy taking on a new project or different area of responsibility…but never seem to totally finish tasks they start. Instead, they work real hard and get an assignment to a solid level of completion…and it is looking good…but then they jump to another new or unfinished work area!
This “Finish The Starts” workplace phenomenon seems to affect all occupational areas. Administration, construction workers, techno-builders, maintenance/custodial people, educators, elected public officials, farmers and the list goes on. And remember individually they are all well intentioned, quality workers…they just need to be encouraged and reminded that they need to “Finish The Starts”!
Therefore, the goal of this week’s TRIPLE III TIME “Finish The Starts” message is to simply offer a special TOP 10 list of thoughts on how to improve addressing this issue:
- Always remember completion of one start allows another new start to better begin.
- Prioritizing finishes sets a good workplace example.
- Too many starts…equals too few finishes.
- It is OK for co-workers and supervisors to promote “Finish The Starts” as a priority to employees.
- Share your Finish versus Starts strategies to ensure everyone understands.
- If appropriate delegate Finish or Start actions to improve progress in both sectors.
- Don’t assume co-workers/supervisors can read your mind and understand/support your Finish/Start work diversity style…JUST SAY IT!
- Asking for “Finish The Starts” advice from colleagues shows leadership.
- Multiple starts with limited finishes may reflect poor time management.
- Remember: HALF DONE is just that…HALF DONE!
Bottomline: I believe everyone gets caught-up in the “Finish The Starts” challenge from time to time. So keep these TOP 10 handy just in case.
We have all heard the expression: “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” And you have also heard the statements:
*”I have the worst luck…things never go my way!”
*”I tried everything but I am someone where good luck just doesn’t come my way!”
And what if you do a quick self-assessment…which statement best exemplifies your style/position?
I am a total believer in the phrase: YOU Make Your Own Good Luck! Why? Because as you take on certain work/life projects…your attitude/approach will very much dictate the LUCK you feel. Your positive approach/statements will be infectious and will cause others to contribute quality positiveness to your cause.
Also, the progressive energy you generate will cause you to look and research other good opportunities that may be related to your initiative and that too will convey a GOOD LUCK message. Additionally people are naturally attracted to positive people. As a result, the potential for them to bring with them GOOD LUCK opportunities and cool experiences goes way up.
Building and having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK! attitude/approach costs you nothing. However, having a “YOU Make Your Own GOOD LUCK!” attitude/approach can result in priceless unseen/unexpected benefits.
Isn’t it always a challenge to try and maximize attendance at training sessions, staff meetings, recruitment events and/or other assemblies that you often spend a whole lot of time, energy and money planning? Then even as the activity is underway, isn’t it natural to spend extra time reviewing Who’s In The Room? And guess what…isn’t it also likely that after the session is over and the presenter was absolutely excellent…that more time is utilized discussing the fact that the room was only half full instead of feeling good about the quality of the event!!
Well let me first admit that I have fallen into the Who’s In The Room? evaluation mode too many times. My assessment of an event has been driven more by attendance expectations…rather than the excellent learning that was achieved by those participating. Simply put I focused more on those NOT in the room…rather than those who were!
The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message is to encourage EVERYONE to always dedicate the majority of your leadership/management attention to who IS in the room for critical trainings, meetings and events. Think about this issue in terms of time management. Consider:
- Time wasted while trying to understand/rationalize poor attendance
- Understanding that you CAN NOT positively impact people who didn’t attend.
- Realizing the extra special product/service quality improvement impacts that were shared with those that DID attend.
- The importance of measuring more than attendance.
- The opportunity to have more personal/individual time with attendees that may turn out to be “priceless!”.
In closing let me say that I no longer allow myself to over-focus on event attendance. Instead I emphasize appreciation to those who honor their commitments and responsibilities…and make sure they receive the best opportunities and support I can offer.
Now that the major “working from home” phenomenon has eased and face-to-face customer service has been prioritized…has anyone given much thought about the pandemic effect on tomorrow’s “dress code”? Do you think that our recent health scare and distancing from people would/should be a reason or rationale for softening what should be professionally worn to work…no matter your occupation?
Strangely I have received interesting comments from both sides of this issue. Some say that the pandemic and work-from-home experience will lessen the importance of appropriate work attire…and heightens the focus on one’s work capabilities. On the flip side I have heard several individuals indicate that they believe workers will make efforts to improve their workplace image with “a better look” than they had maintained in the past!
Well first I have to admit that I don’t recall ever Talking “Dress Code” in any of my nearly eight (8) years of TRIPLE III TIME blogging! Second with my position on this issue I may show my age…and emphasize the value of tradition. Regardless I do feel it is prime time to give yourself a cool fresh start.
I believe “looking like you mean business”…means a lot. Looking your best displays pride in what you do and who you represent. This does not mean looking better just on Monday’s or boss visitation days. Looking like you mean business should be an every work day priority. This Talking “Dress Code” work ethic came from my Ma and Dad. Despite their farming world-of-work, they understood the value of looking professional EVERYTIME the opportunity or responsibility required it.
Bottomline: Look like you mean business in your world of work. The quiet respect and attentiveness you will receive will be worth the effort.
If you looked up the word NETWORKING in an Oxford Dictionary & Wordpower Guide, you would find the following definition:
“Networking-A group of interconnected people…keeping in contact with others to exchange ideas and information.”
The definition and actions that surround the term NETWORKING sound simple and pretty easy to accomplish…right? But for the purpose of continuous professional development this TRIPLE III TIME message will offer a little more in-depth scientific assessment of this “maneuverable” term.
First, I believe to be a high-level NETWORKING agent you must always go beyond your current group of inter-connected people. Stretching yourself to network beyond your comfort zone, is professional development at its finest! Also, with my belief that the need/cause of innovative diversity must always be part of your planning for quality life and work tomorrows…NETWORKING beyond expectations is high value.
Likewise, with the understanding that a good idea can only be good if it is shared…NETWORKING with ideas and information is only logical. But in order to “science it up”…could you categorize your NETWORKING colleagues? Maybe create special section areas like political, private business, education, guest speakers…you get the idea. Or periodically create a NETWORKING challenge/contest about a certain problem issue and who can offer the best solution. Or maybe establishing a specific time every year to have an online moment when all share “The Best Ideas Ever!” for everyone to learn from.
Never underestimate the power of regular, expansive, diverse NETWORKING. It has a wonderful way of expanding your thoughts and idea-generation in the most progressive/positive way.
As an everyday leader inside and outside your world of work, setting and being the best professional example you can be is critical. Yes, I know we have talked about example setting in other TRIPLE III TIME messages…but have we ever discussed the importance of looking back to measure our example setting actions? In other words have we ever asked ourselves directly: “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?”
You know what I mean! Example “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?” issues are easy to identify. Think about:
- Do you avoid doing personal stuff at/during work hours?
- Do you practice your own version of allowances for “comp-time” or follow Agency policy?
- Do you share company/organization information equally among co-workers?
- Do you advance company gossip or never “go there”?
- Do you engage in professional development training/workshops as you prescribe for others?
- Do you invite communication advice and/or ideas from all?
- Do you maintain your work/office space?
- Do you step-up to help others or with special projects?
- Do you allow yourself “dream-time” to be continually creative?
- Do you show up late…leave early or set a positive attendance practice?
These ten (10) examples of “Do YOU Practice What YOU Preach?” are just a short list of the leadership “preachings” that have appeared in TRIPLE III TIME messages over the years. And although I do not support offering repeat messages, I do support regularly assessing personal professional progress (i.e. measuring do I practice what I preach!).
One phrase I never like to hear during my consulting opportunities is: “Well I have tried and done everything to improve/fix/advance in this area …so I don’t know what else is left?” I know you have all heard it and I would guess that you too have uttered these words some time in your life/work history! But as you can guess my corrective action approach is and has always been to go through an often-extensive list of alternative possibilities…and not surprisingly there are maybe one or two actions that were untested.
Given these experiences I thought it may be helpful to use a TOP 10 list of lets “Try One More Thing!” fun concepts for this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message.
- Go Back To Go Forward: Got back in time and find the origins of the challenge issue. History may help you see the future.
2. Phone A Friend: Colleagues…a new set of eyes will always add insight to the issue.
3. Draft An Idea Paper: Sometimes just writing down details about a challenge and seeing past ideas in writing…sprouts a new one.
4. GOOGLE IT: In today’s high-tech world…sometimes the problems can be just a click away.
5. Break IT Into Smaller Pieces: Addressing pieces of an issue often assists in identifying brand new opportunities.
6. Assemble A Game-It Group: Break the “I’ve tried everything” mind block and assemble a small group and address the issue in an idea-generation game fashion.
7. Attempt A “Visioning” Exercise: In a creative way try drawing a picture/diagram of a possible solution.
8. News Reporter Interview Technique: If a reporter from the New York Times was interviewing you about solutions…would your “innovative-spirit” fire up?
9. Go To An Inspirational Spot: Location-Location-Location…may be an asset in finding a new option.
10. What Would_________Do?: Think of a LEADER you admire most…and ask yourself What Would _________Do?
Bottomline: So in the future before you shout “I’ve tried everything!”…check out this TOP 10 and “Try One More Thing!”
The year is now 2021. What are you going to do to kick off the new year in an extra special direction? No… this is not a New Years Resolution TRIPLE III TIME message. Rather it is a professional suggestion to begin 2021 with a unique analysis to identify YOUR Source of ENERGY… progressive… positive… innovative ENERGY that will serve as a guide going forward.
I will bet that you have never really completed an analysis of your sources of ENERGY before. But right now, think hard… are your sources:
And don’t take the easy way out when completing your analysis and say, “All of Them!” While that may be true based on specific circumstances… I believe everyone has a select ENERGY “WELL” that they go back to for help.
- New Projects
- What? Who?
Why is completing this YOUR Source of ENERGY analysis so vital right now? Because too often… especially given the challenges of 2020… people seem to get entrenched in a Zone of Dis-Energy…. and their spirit of potential… future thought… personal and professional entrepreneurship goes/remains dormant.
Bottomline: Make a pledge/promise/commitment right now to maximize connectivity with YOUR Source of ENERGY! Daily let the progressive sources of energy surround you. YOU have the power to do this. Build on current solid sources of energy and weekly seek out one or two more. Don’t allow negative sources of dis-energy “control-the-flow”. Remember this process begins with a quality analysis of YOUR Source of ENERGY. Don’t short-change this fun “input” activity… it will lessen the new ENERGY output.