The Leader's Role in Reducing Stress

March 27, 2009 by  
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A recent workplace poll conducted by the Business Journal shows that nearly 40% of employees are worried/fearful.

Surprising?

Not really, because the media continues to focus on news that’s negative. What’s the solution? While it’s impossible to guarantee there won’t be any layoffs, it’s imperative that managers and leaders in organizations lend a sense of security through their own confidence.

How can that be done? One simple solution for managers (and leaders) is to get out of the office and talk with staff. Even if you don’t know all the answers, at least engage people in conversation.  Talk with them and ask questions.  Find out how they are doing and ask them how you can help make their work easier.   Ask and then LISTEN.Ask questions and then LISTEN

Some managers are afraid they won’t have all the answers.  Here’s a hint: NO ONE has all the answers.

So, get up right now, get out of your office and start talking with your people.  Unless you are the type of manager who scares everyone by your mere presence, everyone will be better off.

If you are the type of manager everyone wants to avoid, well that’s a whole other story.

11 Keys to Ensure Your Company Survives, Even Thrives, In Uncertain Times

March 11, 2009 by  
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To say we are in uncertain times is a gross understatement. Investors are in a quandary trying to decide what to do. Employees are ringing their hands as they watch their 401k and retirement funds dwindle. And business owners are wondering what the future holds and what actions they should be taking.   

As consultants, the last thing any of us can afford to do is allow our own practice and/or clients to play “turtle.” Success will not come from pulling heads into shells and wishing for the best. It is crucial for us to face the reality of the situation and continue to carefully move forward. 

IMC AZ member, Joel Strom, identified 11 Keys to Ensure Your Company Survives, Even Thrives, in Uncertain Times.  For the March ’09 breakfast meeting,  his interactive presentation for IMC AZ members and guests  addressed how to help yourself and your clients get through these tough times in one piece, and maybe even grow a little.

About Joel Strom:  Twenty-five years ago Joel founded his consulting practice with a commitment to help business owners harness their entrepreneurial passion and create successful business growth and personal wealth. As an entrepreneur himself, having grown his own manufacturing company, he knew his clients and audiences would demand direct and realistic solutions that worked…not fads or gimmicks. His consulting practice, and the demand for his presentations and seminars, grew along with his reputation for providing real solutions that businesses and organizations could actually implement. 

 To learn more about Joel’s 11 Keys, visit his website.

What's TRUST got to do with it?

February 17, 2009 by  
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I recently had the pleasure of listening to a local Phoenix author, Victoria Crawford, talk about her new book, titled “The Art & Practice of Trust.”

Victoria was a presenter at the Phoenix chapter of the ICF — the Greater Phoenix Alliance of Coaches. Through her presentation and guided discussion, we explored why TRUST is one of the foundations of coaching. To me, the subtitle of her book, “Finding Your Way Through Uncertainty, Change & Transition” provided a central key.

When people venture into unknown territories, they are often filled with trepidation. Fear subsides when they realize they’re not the first ones to go into the unknown. And, confidence builds when they discover there is a pathway to follow. The pathway Victoria described is elegant in its simplicity.

We may venture into the unknown with a coach, a friend, a mentor, or only have our self to rely upon. In any case, what we tell ourselves, and the actions we take, determines how we handle change and uncertainty.

Think about the last time you faced a new challenge. Initially, your heartbeat may have quickened while your breathing became more rapid and shallow. So, even though blood was pumping through your veins, you were starving your brain (constrictive). Not a great combination for taking effective action.

As Victoria shared from her years as a yoga instructor, when facing new situations it’s vital to take some deep breaths, the kind in which you can feel your diaphragm go in and out (expansive). Only then can you begin to explore options. It’s the willingness to explore options and increase your awareness that leads you to trust your decisions and take committed actions.

As I was leaving the ICF meeting (which was held at Jobing.com), I saw some walls covered with handwritten comments. Someone told me they are left by former employees, as well as, by people who visit Jobing.com. What struck me was they seemed to be like signposts or markers. Just like those telltale markers we see on hiking paths: the ribbons tied to trees which indicate others have gone before us. Instead of hurrying out the door, I paused, took a deep, full breath, read a few of those messages and then smiled.

In times when the media seems to offer nothing but bad news and dire warnings, it was good to remember others are on this path with us and that trust (in oneself) is the key to success.

Cheers,
Syl

Rapid Response: difference between life & death

January 16, 2009 by  
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Yesterday, I both observed – and personally experienced – the vital importance of rapid response.

Right now I am sitting in a hotel room in Providence, RI, listening to news coverage about flight 1549 and the Miracle on the Hudson. Reporters are talking about the rapid response of the rescue teams.The doctors they are interviewing said that with the freezing temperatures it was vital to get everyone out of the water as quickly as possible to prevent hypothermia.

Yesterday I recently experienced two more instances of rapid response. The first occurred in the afternoon at the business conference I attended with three dozen other people. As we neared the end of the day business cards were being exchanged, and one of the people, Stephen Balzac, suggested we simply create a list with our contact information and that he would later share it everyone. Not remarkable in itself as I’ve attended many meetings or conferences where this was done. The difference here was that Stephen created a private user group almost immediately after the meeting ended and he then sent a personal invitation to everyone. Rapid response.

The third time I observed rapid response and where I experienced it personally occurred last night, just a few minutes before midnight when the fire alarm began ringing. I’ve read stories about how some people simply ignore the fire alarm in hotels. Not me! I dressed as quickly as possible and made my way outside, long before I could smell the smoke winding it’s way down the halls. Yes, there was a fire. One of the hotels guests at an evening event decided to extinguish a cigarette. Where? In, of all places, at the base of one of the artificial trees, You know the ones with the dried moss, aka, tinder? Simply brilliant.

The fire department was there in less than five minutes. Rapid response.

Three instances of rapid response caused me to think about its vital importance in business. My mentor, Alan Weiss, of Summit Consulting, has built rapid response into his business. He personally returns phone calls within 90 minutes. Of course, if he is flying overseas and not able to do so he alerts people in advance, and/or arranges to have someone field his calls.

When my partner and I founded Client Compass Software, we established a four hour reply policy for all e-mails and phone calls. Four hours was the maximum time allowed and we both encouraged and rewarded the members of our team for responding within one hour. Like Alan Weiss, we recognized the importance of rapid response.

What about you, your team/department, or your business? Do you have a policy of rapid response? After all, it can make the difference between the life and death of your business.

When Small Change Makes a Big Difference

April 16, 2008 by  
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Modestneeds_2

I recently learned about a great site called ModestNeeds.org and immediately became a sponsor. Modest Needs was created by Dr. Keith Taylor and their mission is to reduce poverty.

I took this directly from the site:

Modest Needs exists

  • To prevent otherwise financially
    self-sufficient individuals and families from entering the cycle of
    poverty, when this might be avoided with a small amount of well-timed
    financial assistance;

  • To restore
    the financial self-sufficiency of individuals who are willing to work
    but are temporarily unable to do so because they do not have the means
    to remit payment for a work-related expense; and

  • To empower
    permanently disadvantaged individuals who otherwise live within their
    limited means to continue to live independently, despite a temporary,
    unexpected financial set-back.

I am very impressed with the work Keith has done and fully support Modest Needs.

Remember, every little bit helps.

Sylva

A Worthy Goal – Eliminating World Hunger

February 4, 2008 by  
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Today I discovered a very worthwhile site, called Free Rice.  Test your vocabulary and donate grains of rice for each word you correctly identify.

Freerice_2

Leadership, Values & Trust

December 10, 2007 by  
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Last week I attended a presentation at Grand Canyon University where I listened to Eric Pillmore as he spoke about leadership and trust.  Who is Eric Pillmore?  He was an SVP at Tyco. 

No, not during the "glory days" of Dennis Kozlowski and all his cronies. Pillmoreeric Eric was brought in to rejuvenate the company and its 250,000 employees after being demoralized because of the scandal. One of the first steps he took was to establish four critical corporate values: integrity, excellence, teamwork and accountability.  He, along with his team, created a guide book for ethical conduct which was translated into 26 languages.  Then, he was instrumental in training 500 managers to deliver the message about Values & Trust.

They hit the road — visiting employees in  all of Tyco’s divisions.  Simple?   Yes, but not easy.   The y received pushback from employees who said the information was too US centric, saying that if the information was important, not only did it have to be localized (i.e. in the language of the country), it also had to convey local thoughts and ways of doing business.  What I also found interesting was that they incorporated  measurable behaviors which corresponded to the values.

As I was watching the slide set I thought some of the language looked familiar.  Two of the phrases: managerial courage and business acumen, were familiar from Lominger’s Voices 360 assessments. I’m certified in Lominger and use that with Executives when they want to receive feedback about their competencies.

Another presenter, Teri, later spoke, saying there are not any assessments able to measure managerial courage.  Huh?  Lominger’s assessments definitely tap into that dimension.

Afterwards, I spoke with Eric.  I guess I surprised him by asking if they used Lominger 360.  He broke into a grin and said they had indeed used that tool.  Eric has promised that he will send  his PPT presentation in which he goes into much more detail about how they rolled out the transformative  strategy.  A strategy which, BTW, took Tyco from the bottom of the barrel of companies to the the top 10% in terms of turnaround.   

Do you know about Brain-Based Coaching & Neuroscience?

April 11, 2007 by  
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In mid-June I will be returning to Seattle to attend the ICCO Symposium on Neuroscience and Brain-Based Coaching.   I’m actually on the organizing team for the event. Haven’t heard of ICCO?  It’s the International Consortium for Coaching in Organizations

ECS & ICCO

ICCO evolved from the Executive Coaching Summit (ECS), an annual think-tank of Executive Coaches which takes place two days prior to the start of the ICF conference.  It’s an invitation-only event which has grown from only a handful of people in the late 90s, to about 80 executive coaches. This year we’ll have more than 100 coaches who join us.

I heartily support both the ECS and ICCO and I’ve been privileged to attend the ECS for the past six years. The Summit is one of the highlights for me each year because I reconnect
with colleagues who are top Executive Coaches from around the world.

Last year, for ICCO, I produced the ROI of Coaching as the first in the series called “The Voices of Leaders”.  It’s a CD with three hour long interviews with the leading coaching
experts on the ROI of Coaching: Merrill Anderson, Mary Beth O’Neill and  Jack Phillips.  We introduced the ROI interviews at the ICF/ECS and they are now available through the ICCO
website.

Then, last winter I was honored to have the ICCO board ask me to join them as their technical advisor.

Want to know more?  Visit the Executive Coaching Summit or ICCO websites. If
you have any questions about ICCO, the ECS and how you can get involved, send me an e-mail.  I can be reached at info@sageleaders.com

The Seattle ICCO Symposium

The focus for the Symposium in Seattle is Neurosciences & Brain Based Coaching and we are privileged to have one of the experts in the field, David Rock, with us for the two days.

To learn more about Neurosciences, download and read an article from the International Journal of Coaching in Associations.  The link is HERE

Interested in attending the Seattle Symposium?  This will be a small-group intensive learning experience and a maximum of only 30 people can attend.  There will be 10 corporate/organizational coaches, 10 organizational representatives, and
10 participants who are coaching researchers, educators, trainers, or
associations. Visit the ICCO website to register.

Hope to see you there.

Expect the Best,
Syl

ps  Make sure you visit www.WindowSyl.com regularly to read about Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.  Now that my “sabbatical” is finished I will be adding lots more information.  Is there a topic on Leadership Development you want to know more about?  Let me know.  If it’s something in my repertoire I’ll add to the blog.  If I don’t know about it then it’s probably a good topic for me to research and write about.

Are your keywords dense – Or are you?

March 27, 2007 by  
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Today I was listening to some teleseminars delivered by my friends Patsi Krakoff & Denise Wakeman of The Blog Squad.  They were talking about optimization of blogs. I have to admit that I didn’t understand the whole concept behind key word density and how it related to optimization. I just didn’t get how important it is for both a blog and a website. That is, until I was listening to them.

So I hopped over to Wikipedia and read the following about Key Word Density & Optimization

"Keyword density is the percentage of words on a web page that match a specified set of keywords. In the context of search engine optimization
keyword density can be used as a factor in determining whether a web
page is relevant to a specified keyword or keyword phrase. Due to the
ease of managing keyword density, search engines usually implement other measures of relevancy to prevent unscrupulous webmasters from creating search spam through practices such as keyword stuffing.
"

Okay, so density is just part of the whole equation.  Then, somehow I stumbled across a FREE tool to see how "dense" keywords are on a blog or website. http://www.keyworddensity.com

Test your own blog or website.  Are your keywords dense enough to attract search engine spiders?

What other tools do you know about to increase your visibility?

Too Important to Ignore

March 8, 2007 by  
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On Thursday evening, my very good friend, Rob Fricker (in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) sent the following information:

The
presentation below was created by a high school teacher at Arapahoe High
School in Colorado
– part of a
blog involving teachers who are exploring constructivism and 21st century
learning skills. It is worth the 8 minutes to view – has great impact to show at
a staff meeting to start much-needed discussion regarding the criticality of
change.  One of the Microsoft presenters showed it at the recent VISTA workshops, and it
resonated with the audience.

AHS In the
first few slides, the  stands
for Arapahoe High School. Click on the link below to launch.

Did
You Know?  Windows Media Player
Version
(with music)

Power Point Version

What are your thoughts?  Take a moment to post your comments below.

Sylvaleduc_3

Syl

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