Return to Running

Today, three months after my injury and remedial therapy, I ran. It was the first time since November, that I strapped on a pair of running shoes and it felt great. I was tentative when I started, I was fearful as I waited for the first bit of pain from my tibia. I was careful about how I ran, ensuring that I paid attention to the mechanics of the run. I was observant of what was in front of me so that I could avoid all potholes and obstacles in my way.
As I ran, I enjoyed the feeling of moving, and having my mind clear as I became focussed on finishing the run. I missed being around other runners, I missed the camaraderie as we encourage each other on, often by our mere presence.
At the end of today’s session I knew that I am back to running. I will continue to do the stretches and exercises that the sports therapist shared with me. I will continue to learn more about the mechanics of running and practice what I learn. New challenge for me and I am looking forward to it.

What activities that you enjoy have you stopped doing? Do you want to reclaim it? IF yes, then write me a note.

What I Got For Showing Up – Blog 81

Today I honored a commitment that I made to a group of professionals since earlier this year.  They attended the inaugural training session of Change Or Die – The Business Process Improvement Manual,  which is based on my first book (of the same name). As part of the training, I offered a free one hour coaching session to the attendees.

Most of the participants did not take up the offer, but six participants from one company, bundled their coaching hours and I spent the morning with them.

I took a copy of my new book – Lead Your Team To Win – to share with them and reveled in the excitement that was generated and the congratulations that  were extended.

As they passed the book around I noticed that one of the managers was taking notes as she thumbed through the book.  At the end of the session, she came to me and said, “I made a list of topics from your book. I think that it will be a good idea to host a seminar around these points for our new managers.”  She went on to say that the company will purchase a copy of the book – Lead Your Team To Win – for each manager.  She committed to get in touch with me during the following  week so that we could confirm the dates.

This was definitely not part of my plan.  I left home this morning focussed on showing up, keeping my commitment and doing a good job.  And for that I was unexpectedly rewarded.

What happens when you show up? What have you received just because you did?

I Don’t Want a Job – Blog 65

Today one of the team members came to my office with questions about how to progress in the organization.  They were good questions since I could easily answer them.

The way to progress in any organization begins with a well defined role; which is not a job description.  While a job description says what needs to be done on a daily basis and emphasize tasks accomplishment; a role suggests transformation of the individual over a period of time.  It offers that there is a great need for the skill sets and shows how these skill sets are weighted in the organisational context.  The role does not necessarily represent where a person is right now, it can project what the person will  develop into over a two or three year horizon.

Each year staff and I review these roles, identifying what else needs to be done to get to the nth limit of their professional development in their chosen field. From the roles, it is easy to develop annual performance objectives and training plans to ensure that employees progress.  The role guides the projects that they will get involved in, the training they will attend and gives them full control of their careers.  There is no need to identify tasks, tasks evolve from identifying what is needed to fulfill the role requirements.

This is not a job for Human Resources.  Human Resources does not determine my departmental objectives, therefore they cannot determine how staff should be engaged to achieve the objectives.  They can make recommendations based on what I have proposed and engage in discussions based on the organizational policies, procedures, protocol and precedence.

I am passionate about people development thus I have a keen interest in role development.  I have seen the listlessness of people who have a job description that suggests the same tasks year in and year out and I have seen brilliant people retire at more or less the same level at which they entered the organisation; hence the reason why I have worked with my staff to create alternate scenarios for them.

Though I appreciate that some jobs are task oriented or doing jobs and people have different levels of ability; I challenge managers to define meaty, stretch roles for all staff so that each can bring their innate intelligence to the job and to develop to their highest competence and ability on the job.

I discus this idea of role development in my book Lead Your Team To Win.  Join me and five other experts on October 3rd at noon Eastern as we explore this and other concepts in the book in the free “Secrets of Leaders” webinar.  Click on the link and register today

5 things not to do when bored (at the office)

What to do when bored?  How to manage time?  How to stay focused? What not to do in an offic?.  5 things that you should never do in an office

Just to balance things a bit, and ensure that the last blog serves you well, I decided to write about the things to not do when bored (in the office).  Very often we are told what to do and only when we make a mistake then we learn what we should not have done.  So here goes – things not to do when you are bored.

1)      Don’t Go and chat with folks – So you are bored and need a break, it does not mean that other people are bored – you may be disturbing them.  Don’t hang around the water cooler looking for conversation, go to a designated break area if you must.

2)      Don’t Talk on the phone – Ever hear about drunk-dialing?  You don’t want to be bored dialing, having aimless chatter on the company’s dime.  Long spells on the phone rarely go unnoticed and we can tell from your body language exactly what kind of chat you are having.

3)      Don’t Have ineffective meetings – Misery loves company. Please don’t invite people to your yawn party by having a meeting.  A meeting is a good use of boring time, but having an ineffective meeting with no purpose and no agenda is a sure way to waste everyone’s time.    Don’t call me to a meeting unless you have effectively planned and are ready for it.

4)      Don’t Post blogs – According to your company’s internet policy, this may not a good time to post your blogs that were written when you were last bored.   In most companies, visits to blog sites, Facebook updates, aimless web surfing are considered “improper use of the internet” so tread carefully. Check your companies internet policies before you decide to use your time this way

5)      Don’t B*tch about it – Please don’t go around saying how bored you are.  It shows a lack of initiative and may reflect your redundancy.  If you are not being challenged lobby your boss for greater involvement or offer to assist colleagues get tasks done.

I understand boredom at work – it is a real thing.  It often is the downtime between ending a project and starting a new one or may signal to me mastery of a skill.  It always says to me that I need to change gears and start something new.  If you have anything to add to the list of things to NOT do then please add.

How to network at a Conference

How to network at an event or conference?  How to get noticed at a Conference?  How to get the maximum benefit from attending a Conference? 

If you ask all the marketing gurus “How to make the most of a Conference?” the answer is usually  “Network!” If you are like me, I interpreted this to mean print call cards, develop slick brochures and hand them out to as many people as possible at the Conference. After the Conference diligently connect on Linked In or Facebook with all that I met.   These relationships fizzled and popped leaving me with a number of dormant contacts.

In February 2013, I believe that I broke the networking code.  I am unsure if it complies with Guru Wisdom, but I measure the success by new friendships that I created, new business opportunities, book sales for Change or Die – and that feeling in my heart that says “Yes! I achieved personal success at the IAF Jamaica Conference”.    Yes, I gave out call cards but the experience went way beyond that.  

As with all things I share the learning with you so that you can reap tangible benefits from your next Conference Outing.  If you have any comments please drop me a line.

  1. Give, give, give – I put this first since very often we think about “what can I get”.  Old wisdoms shares that “it is in giving that we receive”. When the Conference organizers need help, give help.  Offer your services before and after, focusing on “How can I add value to the Conference?”  This may lead to opportunities beyond your wildest dreams.  At the IAF Jamaica Conference I was asked to fill in for a panelist on the plenary discussion who had to cancel.  I jumped right in, unprepared and willing.  What an opportunity to give and I in turn received.  
  2. Become a focal point of the Conference – Present a paper, be part of a discussion, do something that makes you visible.  Each network has hubs from which all other lines emanate.  What can you do to be a focal point? To have you name of the lips of a few people? I presented a three hour workshop at IAF Jamaica on Change or Die – Grueling yes! It was a great opportunity to really connect with attendees.  At the IAF June Conference in Orlando, I do not have the opportunity to make a presentation; instead I am going to assist any presenter who may need my help.   I figure that it’s better to be close to a focal point than far from one. Perhaps something will rub off.
  3. Attend more than one conference – When I went to the IAF Conference in Denver, I realized that the presenters and attendees knew each other while I knew no one.  Even though I presented a 3 hour workshop to a large audience, I was just not part of the circle.  Now I understand why.  Who wants to spend time getting to know a one hit wonder?  Other attendees also want to maximize Conference opportunities so why will they spend time with you if they will probably not see you again.  After attending the IAF Jamaica Conference I have gotten some traction in my relationships.  I can’t wait to build on these relationships at the Orlando Conference in June 2013.
  4. Match the spirit of the Conference.  Each Conference has its own vibe.  IAF Jamaica was a huggy affair, lots of joy and warm feelings.  Any attendee who came to this Conference to do a hard sell would have stuck out like a sore thumb.  Feel the vibe of the Conference before you launch a networking attack.  Your motive needs to match the spirit of the Conference.  Be yourself as well, don’t pretend to be a touchy feely because other people are doing it.  It is possible to match the spirit without betraying yourself.
  5. Serve in between Conferences– What are you doing between conferences to keep the relationships, connections and opportunities alive? What about the local chapter of the Conference?  Are you a member? Can you start one?  Gill Chambers, Ulla Wycloff and Sandra Cooper, the organizers of IAF Jamaica Conference started the IAF Jamaica Chapter and are now the focal point for facilitation in Jamaica. Everyone who participated in the Conference knows their names, and everyone at IAF International is aware of their presence.   Now that I am back from Jamaica, I have been inspired to work with Barbara King to get our IAF Trinidad Chapter off the ground.  

After my successful Conference I am left to redefine the word network.  I am doing this by looking at the words “net” and “work” and generating two questions. How do I “net” or  hold the relationships that I made at the Conference? What “work” do I have to do  to keep those relationships alive?  I have not figured out that bit yet.  I am trying a few things.  When they work I will share.