Category Archives: DEVELOPING YOU!
TRIPLE III TIME: Self-Improvement: A “Common” Approach
It is not comfortable or easy to address and take on the task of true Self-Improvement in the workplace. Self-Improvement requires you to look closely, deeply at what YOU do and how YOU do it. Then you must identify not just that you need to be better…but also figure out how to be better! Honesty and openness are a definite requirement, along with an open mind about options for Self-Improvement. So…do you really consider Self-Improvement in its purest form?
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message: Self-Improvement: A “Common” Approach recommends everyone try a: “What Bugs You The Most?” fun journey to Self-Improvement. First, I want everyone to think of a few of the main (common) issues that occur in the workplace and belong on a “What Bugs You The Most?” priority list. What are they? Let me offer a few (common) examples:
- Not getting a timely message returned (or at all) or call back.
- One person that always thinks they have a better or the best idea.
- Endless debate.
- Being always told to wait a little longer.
- Being told NO but without a real reason why.
I am sure everyone could add to this list. However, I am guessing most are asking: What does this list have to do with MY Self-Improvement?
This Self-Improvement: A “Common” Approach message is designed to inform you that one of the greatest Self-Improvement activities is learning how to better handle these (common) types of “What Bugs You The Most?” issues! Do you let them eat away at you for hours/days? Or do you reconcile them in some timely way? By taking A “Common” Approach to Self-Improvement in the workplace, honesty and openness can become easier, conflict becomes less likely and progress remains the standard.
TRIPLE III TIME: In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION!
Some of my favorite movies are the Indiana Jones series starring Harrison Ford. You know which ones I am talking about: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Temple of Doom and The Last Crusade! Each told a story about a dedicated college instructor and archeologist who was in search of a special historical treasure that somehow was lost with the times. Was Indiana Jones always successful…yes and no? Often through creative challenging endeavors he did locate his treasure, but someway, somehow it always faded from his possession.
But wait, what does my favorite movies have to do with this week’s TRIPLE III TIME message?
Well, I believe in some unique way when one goes In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION, just like Indiana Jones creative challenging endeavors will need to be employed. Consider these everyday TOP 10 efforts:
- Take mistake responsibility with grace.
- Appreciate the contributions of the old and encourage the input of the new.
- Ask relevant questions.
- Maintain a solid dress code (you know what I mean).
- Avoid and disregard all gossip.
- Give help whenever you can…without being asked.
- Share acknowledgment and appreciation.
- Keep your workplace business appropriate.
- Use social media with class.
- Practice an everyday BEFORE & AFTER policy (Arrive early BEFORE work starts and stay AFTER if necessary).
Unlike the treasures sought by Indiana Jones which needed to be discovered, treasures obtained while In Search of a GREAT REPUTATION must always be EARNED!
TRIPLE III TIME: Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message is about the importance of periodically going through an evaluation process of Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses in you as a professional and/or the organization/business you work for. Isn’t this possibly the greatest example of “professional discomfort” you can think of!?
So then I want everyone to think hard about this professional discomfort generating activity…and honestly determine if you can really complete this type of an evaluation thoroughly.
I can report that I go through this type of process at least once a week. And during my self-assessment steps I think about:
- Did I cover all topics that seemed necessary in the American Government & Politics classes I teach?
- Were there gaps in my instruction or weaknesses in my delivery because I wasn’t prepared?
- Did I interact or follow-up with every consultant customer on their expectations of me…and my assignments to them?
- Did I reveal gaps or weaknesses in their organizational structure, product line, communication methods, etc.?
As you can see there are multiple approaches and useful results that may come out when Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses. Often you may find trends, situations that can lead to creativity and innovative alternatives. And if you extend your assessments to include your team of co-workers, Agency or company, who knows what progress concepts could be suggested.
Finally the Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses activity may help you realize that you may be too close to an issue to see it clearly and/or discover that the problems may not at all be what you thought.
Bottomline: Do NOT just conduct the Recognizing/Identifying Gaps & Weaknesses activity on a random basis. It’s value arises from assessment consistency.
TRIPLE III TIME: Finding the “I Can Help Sweet Spot”
I am not sure why…but more recently the everyday consultant challenge of Finding The “I Can Help Sweet Spot” for individuals and groups has become way more difficult. I know…everyone who knows me…knows I always have ideas. Whether the issue is dealing with performance, developing new service delivery concepts, customer recruitment, staff training…whatever I have ideas. However sometimes even the best ideas don’t seem to be the right ones.
But then as I thought more about Finding The “I Can Help Sweet Spot” situation, I began to realize that this is NOT just a consultant challenge…it is an everyone who works with people challenge!
Today more than ever before it is critical to consider the “place” someone or an organization is before drafting and recommending alternative ways forward for them. The problems and issues people/groups face today are not traditional or historic. They are different and unique.
Next there is the question of “best fit”. Based on YOUR experiences and knowledge YOU are confident that YOU can identify the best “I Can Help Sweet Spot.” WRONG! The most important consideration is THEIR experiences and knowledge and then how together find a best fit option to move them forward.
Finally, people who work with people need to be prepared to recognize that the Sweet Spot may move forward, backward or even side-to-side during the I Can Help process…and this is something no one can control. It is just important to realize and accommodate.
So please keep these realizations in mind when Finding The “I Can Help Sweet Spot”! in your work/life. Don’t think you are failing when your initial ideas and recommendations aren’t a winner. Your authenticity and caring will be your most valuable asset.
TRIPLE III TIME: Professional Affiliations
Professional Affiliations: “An organization or group a person belongs to based on involvement in a particular profession.”
As I have regularly discussed and encouraged professional development and keeping an accurate life-long record of where you have worked…your education credentials…special achievements and awards; I realize one area that I have “skipped-over” is identifying Professional Affiliations. You all know what I am referring to. I mean having a membership with organizations like: Chambers of Commerce, alumni groups, education associations, Farm Bureau…and the list goes on. And in most instances their value comes out during a job search action or career change. Specifically Professional Affiliations are most often listed on resumes to demonstrate one’s involvement in personal development beyond a day job.
This week’s TRIPLE III TIME message however will go beyond just words on paper and focus on the “action value” of maintaining Professional Affiliations. During my career I can not even guess the never-ending benefits I have obtained from my Professional Affiliation networks! Example benefits include basic sharing and learning about new ideas, extending interests in a professional growth area, participating in a cool event and/or just obtaining independent advice on an issue or problem. These are not just stagnant, readable benefits…they are activities that show how your Professional Affiliations are a vital part of your ever growing/changing career.
It is also important NOT to minimize any personal growth/development group you are or HAVE BEEN part of. Being involved in a church choir, joining the FFA, becoming a band or National Honor Society member…and on and on! You will never know when or where one of your Professional Affiliations (old or new) may help you.
Bottomline: Take stock of your TOTAL Professional Affiliations. Take action to appreciate their written and action value. Finally keep building your Professional Affiliations in a diverse way…the benefits are endless.
TRIPLE III TIME: Recognizing The Little Things As BIG!
Recently I was involved in the planning for an entrepreneurial event with a small Committee. The Committee was made up of both public and private sector representatives and fortunately a rather wide range of professionals from different age groups. All of course were/are very passionate about helping people start their own business and create unique products and services. And as we discussed what kinds of “mini-sessions” we should have…the oldest gentlemen in the room suggested “how about a workshop on how we need to begin Recognizing The Little Things As BIG!”
I could tell by the combined looks on everyone’s face that they were not sure how to respond or what questions to ask about his suggestion. So just being me I blurted out: “Ok…just what would we talk/train about in our Recognizing The Little Things As BIG mini-session?” Well without hesitation he cleared his throat and began “How about stressing these things:
First tell everyone to treat EVERY customer like they were brand new.
Second be sure to show or tell customers about one new thing you are doing or selling.
Third don’t assume customers know your best product or service…tell them.
Fourth enthusiastically ask them why they stopped by today.
Fifth make sure your total customer service area is neat, clean and has a confident business feel.
Sixth send out one (1) hand written Thank You note to a customer each week.
Seventh co-promote partner companies as best you can because it’s the right thing.
Eighth give the 10th customer each day 20% of their total purchase or a complementary product/service.
Ninth explain to all that work for/with you that if they can’t smile and laugh on the job they will only help in the back.
Tenth set aside a small but prominent spot in your place of business to display why Recognizing The Little Things As BIG is your company motto.”
As you can guess there was a quick unanimous vote to incorporate a Recognizing The Little Things As BIG session in our entrepreneur event…because we already had THE instructor!
(P.S. He also reminded us that all 10 discussion ideas could work in a business/organization online or in person…with a wink.)
TRIPLE III TIME: Responsibility “Roots”
Every once in a while some action or message brings back memories of the multiple life lessons delivered to me by my Dad. And mostly they were provided not by words…but by assignments. Assignments like:
- Treating livestock the way I would want to be treated.
- Maintaining farm implements so they would last forever.
- Repurposing tools that have passed their original use.
- Put equipment “to bed” for the winter so they were ready to go when we “woke them up” in the spring.
- Oh yeah one more… to always shake someones hand like you mean it!
The size and purpose of the assignments changed with time… but the Responsibility “Roots” that were planted with me never changed.
I believe for the sake of quality personal and professional growth it is valuable to consider the source of your Responsibility “Roots”. When and where did the initial Roots get planted in you? Who was most responsible…what were they and how did you deal with them? These are all serious questions that can assist in growing and nurturing the Responsibility “Roots” that are part of your everyday life and world of work.
If you have a solid foundation and longer-term network of Responsibility “Roots” the more prepared you are when new/different responsibilities come your way. Think about it?? Do you have a habit of avoiding taking on new responsibilities and dread the thought of unique challenges? Or do you have a “Bring It On!” attitude that welcomes new challenges and views them as continuous learning opportunities!?
I know I was fortunate to have (and still have) great people involved in planting and expanding my Responsibility “Roots”. I believe it is helpful to periodically step back and review your entire history of Responsibility “Roots” development. As you do you will identify the best…ones that were not so helpful…and then better map your example-setting future. It is a very good history lesson.
TRIPLE III TIME: Are YOU The Boss Of YOU?
Just a little bit ago I was having an interesting conversation with one of my very young grandsons. Most of the discussion centered around…”Grandpa what do you do anyways?” Well as I tried to explain what I do to help people and groups…another direct question came blurting out: “Grandpa Are YOU The Boss Of YOU?” And even though I began a simple explanation “speech” to him about Boss-isms…I began thinking a lot more about his question.
In real life and work Are YOU The Boss Of YOU? Without question the answer is forever “YES!”. However as I tried to give this question the value it deserves, I couldn’t help writing down some prime time TOP 10 related questions:
- Do you set a good Boss example everyday for yourself?
- Have you been encouraging to YOU and those around you?
- Do you need to “pump-up” your Boss reliability factor?
- As Boss of YOU…have you taken the easy-way-out on important decisions lately?
- Have you been a good Boss listener to yourself this week?
- Are you an inspiring Boss (to YOU)?
- Are you a Boss that procrastinates?
- Do you often or even sometimes say “that’s good enough” (as the Boss of YOU) when finishing an important project?
- Do others seek you out to benefit from your Boss of YOU priorities?
- Finally at this Christmas time and end of the year…would you nominate yourself as Boss Of YOU…for the year?
Have a fun time with these Are YOU The Boss Of YOU? TOP 10 questions and enjoy your Christmas.
TRIPLE III TIME: Prepping For The “Pick Me!” Moment
Whether you are seated at a formal meeting, a motivational workshop, a team building session or just with a small number of co-workers are you ready for the “Pick Me!” moment? Everyone knows what I am talking about. That moment when the meeting leader calls on you to speak on an issue being discussed! Some people don’t look up, some go for long bathroom breaks or even try to convince everyone that they have an urgent call to take in an effort to avoid being picked to share their thoughts.
Prepping For The “Pick Me!” Moment is one of the most important skill sets to attain during your professional career. It is just common sense to understand that people appreciate and respect those that are not only prepared to respond solidly to a question/issue but also display a working knowledge on the proposed topic.
What does this mean in real life?
I believe that because Prepping For The “Pick Me!” Moment is a critical professional priority…everyone should give appropriate attention to the following TRIPLE III TIME suggestions:
- Be “armed and dangerous” with high quality information to share on the topic.
- Offer thoughts and suggestions by volunteering to participate instead of having to be picked for comment.
- Allow for questions at any point during your “Pick Me!” Moments.
- Appropriately add substance to the input of other attendees.
- Be an example of professional compromise on any challenging issue.
- Avoid “Pick Me!” Moment rambling.
- Take short but specific notes as a “standard operating procedure” during “Pick Me!” Moment discussions.
- Don’t limit your prep based only on YOUR views…but from others too.
- Prep for conflicting opinions…always.
- Finally always set a high level “Pick Me!” communication example.
OK…yes I used my TOP 10 TRIPLE III TIME message delivery format. Give them all some thought. You never know when the next “Pick Me!” Moment will arrive!
TRIPLE III TIME: Learning About “Emotional Intelligence”
Psychologist and author Deborah Rozman at one time made this important point: “If you don’t manage your emotions, your emotions will manage you.” And I have to be honest I really don’t remember where or when I read Ms. Rozman’s statement, but it wasn’t until recently as I strategized with a colleague consultant did the term Emotional Intelligence become a priority professional development issue for me.
Emotional Intelligence is defined as: “the ability to understand, manage and express one’s emotions in healthy ways.” Think about that definition and then apply it to yourself. When you feel good about yourself and where you are going in life, your emotions help with appropriate energy and enthusiasm. On the flip side when we are down-in-the-dumps and seem to be going nowhere, fear, anger, frustration, sadness and worry take a tremendous toll on our health both physical and mentally. I believe Learning About Emotional Intelligence is something everyone should undertake. What do I mean? I mean allow personal and professional time to better understand your emotions and the emotions of those you live and work with. Consider ways to…I will use the term harness…your emotions to possibly reduce stress, anger and move more quickly to positiveness. No one enjoys being caught in life’s ups and downs roller coaster ride. I believe these are the most critical times when understanding the impacts of Emotional Intelligence can lead to a quicker, positive life or work situation.
The goal of this TRIPLE III TIME message: Learning about “Emotional Intelligence” is just to create a greater awareness and understanding of this topic as a professional development tool. Thanks to JK for sharing it’s basics with me and I encourage all III readers to do a little research and reading about it.