You probably know people who are always negative and reactive. It seems to be part of their personality. Being positive and pro-active seems an impossibility for them. They don’t seem to know how. While that may not be you, we all do tend to lapse into negative and reactive thinking at times, often when we are stressed, meeting deadlines, coping with difficult people or just having a bad day. We can get stuck there, or we can quickly lift ourselves out of it. Once we used to think that we had little capacity to change that. It was the way we were and we attributed it to our parenting, our socialisation or so many other external circumstances, too numerous to mention. With our recent understanding of neuroscience and how the brain works, we now know that if we want to we can change all that. We can move from being negative to being positive, from being reactive to being pro-active. We can develop a positive and pro-active explanatory style. It will change your life.Read More
How to engage with the new world of work is my Monday Motivational message for you. I used to send these a few years ago. They were well received and I’m going to begin again because in the last few months I’ve talked with a number of colleagues who are very disengaged from their work. Many don’t know what they can do about it, are resigned to it being their lot and lack the motivation to do anything about it.
So if you are jaded and disengaged at work, this is for you.
I was talking with a colleague recently. I asked the usual question: “How’s everything going with you?” She replied: “Same old, same old. Do you know I’ve been with XX company now for 15 years and I’ve realised I’m here to stay”. She is 45.
Every part of her being displayed flatness and jadedness – the way she was dressed and groomed, the lack of light in her eyes, the dullness of her skin, her overweight body. It all epitomised her lack of physical and psychological energy. And as she implies, she is there to stay working in that space until she is 70, another 25 years! Who will she be then? What will she have become?
In fact, my colleague won’t be there for another 25 years unless she changes her attitude drastically. She’ll be made redundant by the exponential change that sees people like her moved on while those with high energy and drive move up. Her professional sector is being highly transformed by digital technology. Those in her sector who will thrive are those who enthusiastically embrace those changes, who become a learner, who commit to developing the skills that technology cannot replicate and who engage pro-actively with this new world of work.
It always amazes me when I talk to leaders and employees alike about turning things around in their organisations, restoring morale, energy and enthusiasm to their businesses and work, that I am met with a feeling of powerlessness. Leaders tell me they don’t have the money to put into it and employees feel that what they think and feel doesn’t matter to management so what’s the use.
Neither leaders not employees need to think big. Small things can make a big difference.
I want to give you three ideas for how small things make a big difference.
So many leaders and managers bring to their leadership and management an underlying assumption about their employees that the only way to motivate them to perform at a high level is to use a reward and punishment model of motivation, the old carrot and stick approach. They do, however, use a much more sophisticated management language to describe it. The underlying message is: “If you do what we want you to do you will get a carrot and if you don’t do what we want you to do you will get the stick.” This is extrinsic motivation. There is considerable evidence that employees whose work is solely extrinsically motivated don’t end up being the kind of employees who are engaged in your organisation and want to give 150%. Their only motivation often is what they can get from your organisation, not what they can give. Daniel Pink tweeted that carrots and sticks are so last century and that in his book on motivation – DRIVE – he says that for 21st century work, we need to upgrade to autonomy, mastery and purpose.Read More
Discovering the work of Tony Schwartz about 7 years ago via a Harvard Business Review article, Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time, had a profound impact on me and the way I think about time management.
Tony is the President and Founder of The Energy Project, a global “consulting and training company that provides organisations with a detailed roadmap for building and sustaining a fully energised workforce”. He says that they help “leaders and managers become ‘Chief Energy Officers’ by taking responsibility for mobilising, focusing, inspiring, and regularly renewing the energy of those they lead.”
One of the key points Schwartz makes is that while time is “a finite resource”, after all there is only 24 hours in a day, energy is not. You can expand, recharge, renew, develop and enhance your energy. You can learn ways to do that. You can stop doing the things that drain your energy for starters and use that time to do the energising work that empowers you. Have you noticed how high energy people never seem to be stressed or overwhelmed? They always seem to have time for what they deem to be important to them.
In his article Managing Your Energy, Not Your Time, Schwartz gives a number of practical examples of how he has developed these energy management skills in organisations that make it quite clear that managing your energy can really result in much higher performance.Read More
We all know reactive people who constantly complain about what “They” are not doing and should be doing.
“They” are the people out there who are responsible for everything that goes wrong in their lives. “They” are the people who should fix it all up – their CEOs, managers, partners, their politicians, their governments.
Ghandi says that instead of us wanting “They” to make the changes we want in our lives and our world, we BE that change.
This is exactly what proactive people do.
Being pro-active was one of the late Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people. It was about taking initiative, but also learning “response-ability”.
So take action now, BE PRO-ACTIVE. Make your life everything you want it to be and in the process empower everyone who is part of your life to be the same.
I have read blogs and articles over recent weeks from people saying they have given up on setting goals because they never keep them anyway. I was reminded then of a comment someone made: “In the absence of clear goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia.”
I do set goals. I don’t always keep them but if I abandon them I do so for a conscious reason, often because I have realised they are no longer relevant to what I want or where I want to go.
While goal-setting is important to me, I do know that space where I lose focus and direction, where I become distracted by “stuff” that really is not important and so become victim to performing “daily acts of trivia”. What’s now different for me is that I regularly review my goals and that gets me back on track quickly.
Most of the people I am reading about, and those I talk with as a coach or mentor, abandon their goals because “life” gets in the way – albeit often “life” that is urgent but unimportant. Or alternatively they abandon them because it all becomes too hard – the self-discipline, the persistence, the required resilience and the commitment.
Read on to hear about 5 keys to making goal setting work for you.
In my blog post on New Year’s Eve, I asked you What Change Have You Made In Your Life This Year?
I also left you with some questions to reflect on as you begin the new year.
Today I want to give you some further inspiration for 2016 – the latest edition of the e-book Expect More From 2016 – Strategies for Success from 22 Leading Experts in Personal and Professional Development.
Every year Gihan Perera brings together a group of experts and invites them to write an article that may inspire people in the new year. It has been my privilege to be involved now over many years.
This year my article is : Be An Empowered Leader – Even If You Are Not The Boss.Read More
We will open the book.
Its pages are blank.
We are going to put words on them ourselves.
The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter
is called New Year’s Day.
– Edith Lovejoy Pierce (20th Century American poet).
What words are you going to write on the pages of the book of your life in 2016?Read More
My daughter had discovered that the only way to get some exercise with 2 young children was to put an exercise video on the TV and get her 4 year old to exercise with her while the younger child slept. While only 4 years old, she stayed with the program for a whole half hour until she heard Michelle Bridges say she wanted her participants to “dig deep for this last 10 minutes”. At this she grabbed her mother’s hand and pulled her to the door: “Mum,” she said, “we have to go and dig.”
She’s was only 4 years old and didn’t understand what Michelle Bridges meant when she asked them to “dig deep”, that she wanted the participants in her program to “dig” right down into the bottom of themselves and draw on every resource within themselves. She wanted them to push past their pain and tiredness to discover an energy and resilience they never knew they had to do this last exercise – even though she had worked them very hard already and they were very tired. It’s the people who can do that when they exercise that achieve the best results.
Thinking about this I wondered how many of you reading this would know what I mean when I tell you that if you want to achieve success in what you do, you have to learn how to ”dig deep”.Read More